The adoption is a difficult emotional experience for everyone involved, especially for both birth mothers who are navigating the complexities of their choice to place their child for adoption, and for adoptive parents who are anxiously preparing for a new child. The adoption process can also be very demanding as all parties involved must follow rigorous guidelines. With all this additional stress, it can begin to take a toll on you. Below are some tips for keeping yourself healthy both physically, mentally, and emotionally throughout the adoption process. While everyone has a different experience, here are some self-care tips to consider as you navigate this emotional time.
- Use your Resources
When the stress of the process seems overwhelming, it can help ease any anxiety or discomfort by reaching out to your adoption counselor, social worker, lawyer, agency, or other staff that is helping you through this journey. They can provide you with information, walk you through your adoption plan, answer any questions, and ease your worries. Their job is to help you, so always remember that you can reach out at any point. Additionally, they can provide you with materials whether it be books, websites, online community forums, etc… to help you share your experience and talk to other people going through the same experiences.
- Talk to Someone
Taking care of yourself is important, and during this process, it is important to reach out to others to find additional support. If possible, maybe try to talk to a therapist or another licensed medical professional who can provide you with different tools and resources to help you throughout this time. However, this might not always be possible and that is okay. If you cannot talk to or do not feel comfortable talking to a therapist, you can talk to a family member, a friend, or another trusted person in your life. They can provide you with the support and help you may need.
- Schedule Time for Yourself
While this may seem obvious, giving yourself the time you need to focus on yourself is not always a top priority. People often get caught up in everyday life and the added stress of the adoption process only makes the rushing around more hectic. However, this is an incredibly emotional time for everyone involved. Because of this, self-care is even more important. Know yourself and your body and set some time aside each week to unwind. There are many ways for people to do this whether it be through exercise, meditation, a religious practice, or a favorite hobby. Whatever your preference might be, it is important to find time to relax. This will help you both physically and mentally as you go through this process.
- Focus on Small Goals
It is easy to get caught up in the stress of finding the perfect adoptive family for your child or preparing yourself and your home to welcome a new member into your family. Often, these big goals can seem overwhelming and can be a source of anxiety and fear. Rather than focus on the long-term goal, take a step back and focus on the present. Set daily goals for yourself. Even if it may feel unimportant, focus on the day in front of you. Do not be afraid to be kind to yourself. If you got up, showered, went to work, or just faced the day, that is a victory. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge the different obstacles you overcome daily.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Express Emotion
This process is hard! It is okay to have bad days. It is okay to cry, to break down, to feel stressed, to worry about the future, to have doubts. Everyone has days where it feels like it’s all too much. Acknowledging your feelings and expressing your emotions throughout the experience is an important part of the growth and acceptance of the process. These feelings of pain, grief, anxiety, and excitement are all part of the process. However, while it is important to acknowledge these things, do not let them consume you. Be confident in yourself, your decision, and the process. While it may be difficult at times, at the end of it all, adoption is an incredibly selfless decision on the birth mother’s part and an exciting moment for new parents who are hoping to create a family.