As everyone enjoys the warmth and sentiment of the upcoming holidays with those they love, some may still be waiting on that new addition to the family. If you are involved with the adoptive family community, chances are that you may know someone waiting to adopt this season. Amidst the fun and festivities, it’s important to be mindful of their feelings since it can be a sensitive time.
Hopeful adoptive parents may experience a multitude of emotions during a season that revolves around family and children. They may feel isolated or excluded from peers, family, and friends who have the experience of raising a child, and it may be challenging for them to answer questions about their situation at family get-togethers. Any adoptive parent has likely faced these issues when waiting for answers during the adoption process, but it can be especially trying during the holidays.
Whether or not you understand the perspective of a hopeful adoptive parent at this time of year, you can still help through a number of ways:
Listen: Simply lending an ear can help. Offer your time and understanding if they need someone in which to confide. It can be very therapeutic to have a friend to talk to. So long as you try not to overstep your boundaries or give unsolicited advice, this can be a great way to extend your support.
Send a Gift: Get into the holiday spirit and prepare a gift that focuses not on adoption or parenthood, but that represents the person as an individual. A customized gift can help take their mind off the adoption. It can also serve as a great reminder of self-love and empowerment.
Respect People’s Privacy: If they don’t want to talk about the adoption process, make sure to respect their wishes. Certain questions or topics may be more personal or uncomfortable for hopeful adoptive parents than you might think.
Behave as Your Normally Would: Nobody likes to be treated differently, so try to maintain the relationship you had before. Instead of avoiding loved ones for fear of mentioning sensitive topics, simply checking in or asking how they are feeling can go a long way.
Invite Them Out: Sometimes, the best way to stop worrying is to go out and do something fun with friends or family. Give the hopeful adoptive parent an opportunity to participate in an activity with loved ones, but don’t pressure them into going.
If you know someone going through a difficult time during the holiday season, there are many things you can do to encourage, support, and uplift them. However, remember that not everyone responds to certain words or actions the same way. At the end of the day, hopeful adoptive parents will appreciate it if you are respectful and understanding of their emotions.
AdoptHelp is a wonderful resource and full-service program for hopeful adoptive parents. If you have any questions regarding adoption or coping with the process, please don’t hesitate to call us at 800-637-7999.
Suggested Reading: Celebrating the Holidays for Hopeful Adoptive Families