As 2019 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time for you and your family to look to the future. With a new year comes a chance to set some new resolutions and goals — and a great opportunity to set an example for your child by following through with them!
This last decade may be one full of love and promise fulfilled. It may be the decade that you finally became the parent you’ve always wanted to be. But don’t forget that adoption is a lifelong journey, so the years and decades ahead will require you to continue sharing and celebrating your adoption story for all to hear.
With that thought, we’ve gathered 20 resolutions that adoptive parents should consider making their own in 2020. Do any of them fit your list?
1. Reach out consistently to your child’s birth family.
If you chose open adoption when you brought your child home, it’s important that you honor that agreement with their birth parents. We know that life and other circumstances can get in the way, but should anything be more important than your child’s connection to their biological family? This year, make it a goal to reach out at least monthly by sending an email or text, by sending pictures and letters through our agency or by scheduling an in-person visit. Even if your child’s birth parent does not respond, you will be able to tell your child you made an effort.
2. Use positive adoption language.
Unfortunately, there are still many people who use phrases like “give up for adoption,” instead of more positive language. As an adoptive parent, you have the responsibility to teach your child adoption-positive language and help others understand the importance of doing so. Slip-ups are normal but, this year, take the initiative to actively change your language choices.
3. Read together more.
Reading to your child is one of the most effective ways to bond as a family and help them develop their language skills. So, make it a goal to read to your child for at least 15 minutes before bedtime every night. Might we suggest some of these books centering on adoption stories?
4. Volunteer with your children.
It’s important to give back to your community, so we encourage you to find local volunteering options that your family can participate in. It can be something as simple as “adopting a family” for the holidays or picking up trash at your local park. When you instill in your child the importance of volunteering, it will benefit them for the rest of their life.
5. Get your family outside.
It can be easy for your kids to be stuck inside all day, between going to school and bringing back homework. So, this year, try to get your kids outside and active for at least 30 minutes a day. It has great benefits for their health, and it will help them recognize the joy to be found outdoors, not just in their screens.
6. Take a vacation.
Have you always wanted to take your family on a special vacation? Make 2020 the year you finally do it! Whether it’s a day trip to a nearby historic location or a week-long trip to a foreign country, your family vacation will leave your children with many positive memories. You might even consider using your family vacation to visit your child’s birth family or birth state or country.
7. Spread awareness about adoption.
Adoption shouldn’t be something you celebrate once a year on your child’s birthday. Adoption should be a celebrated part of your life every day. So, this year, don’t be afraid to talk about adoption and spread awareness of your journey by telling your story, supporting adoption programs and more.
8. Celebrate your child’s heritage and culture.
Whether or not you adopted transracially, your child has a unique heritage and culture from their birth parents. Make it a goal to celebrate that in 2020 and the years to come. Consider visiting local cultural festivals or incorporating their birth family’s holidays into your holiday season. If you’re short on ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to their birth parents for suggestions.
9. Eat more dinners as a family.
In today’s busy world, the practice of eating together as a family has become nearly impossible. While it may not be realistic for you and your children to sit down together every night, try for at least three nights a week of eating together (without any phones or electronics). This gives you a chance to catch up on your children’s lives and promotes a healthy relationship between you and them.
10. Talk about adoption with your loved ones.
While adoption may be an open topic within your home, don’t let your conversation stop there. Talk to your loved ones about adoption, too! Answer their questions about your adoption story details and help educate them about the reality of all kinds of adoption — not just private domestic infant adoption. Your child will mirror your actions in talking openly about adoption with those important ones in their lives.
11. Share your adoption story.
There are other ways to share your adoption story, too! You can choose to share your adoption whenever you’re ready and however you want to. Have you considered writing up your experience for a blog post on our website? Our team is always happy to help you get started.
12. Be an adoption resource for others.
In addition to sharing your story on our website, you can also be a resource for other families in another way. Our specialists frequently connect prospective and waiting adoptive parents with successful adoptive parents like you. That way, they can receive the answers and support they are looking for. If you’re interested in acting as a resource family, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or email your personal specialist.
13. Start a new family tradition.
A new year is a great opportunity to start a new tradition for your family. It could be a tradition for a certain holiday (like sending out letters to veterans on Valentine’s Day) or a tradition any time of the year (like setting up a yearly visit with your child’s birth parents). In fact, we encourage you to incorporate your child’s birth family into that tradition in any way you can. They may even have a few great ideas for you!
14. Be patient in answering adoption questions.
We’ve all been there — heard the same insensitive questions and comments over and over as soon as someone found out our child was adopted. It can be frustrating to address those questions and comments, but remember that, by choosing adoption, you made yourself an ambassador of this family-building process. So, in 2020, try to view these conversations as an opportunity to learn and educate others about this beautiful journey.
15. Create an adoption lifebook for your children.
A scrapbook can be a great way to share your child’s adoption story with them. And, if your child is old enough, you can even involve them in the creation of this scrapbook! Of course, don’t forget to ask their birth parents if they would like to be involved. Get started with these tips.
16. Find an adoption support or meet-up group.
Online adoption groups can only go so far. Your child (and you!) deserves to talk in person with others who have been through this unique family-building journey. Check out sites like Meetup.com to locate adoption support groups near you. Can’t find one? Make 2020 the year you start one yourself!
17. Create an equitable chore chart.
It’s never too early to establish a sense of responsibility in your child. A chore chart is a great way to alleviate some of your burden while giving your child the chance to help out around the house. Make sure the chores are age-appropriate, and determine what kind of reward is suitable for your household.
18. Accomplish a lifelong goal.
Your 2020 resolutions don’t have to be all about your family. Take a moment for self-reflection; are there any goals or wishes you had for yourself that got pushed to the wayside? Make this year (or decade) the time you accomplish those goals. Whether it’s going back to school or changing up your career, achieving your personal goals will not only make you happier but also set a great example for your children.
19. Celebrate yourself — and your adoption decision.
Although it does come with its ups and downs, adoption is a beautiful lifelong journey. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day details of raising an adopted child so, as the new decade starts, promise yourself that you’ll take a deep breath and appreciate how you got to where you are. Adoption is amazing, and you are an amazing parent for choosing to build your family in this special way.
20. Start the adoption process, if you haven’t already.
Still on the fence about adoption? Make 2020 the year that you commit to learning more about this process. When you’re ready to get started, American Adoptions will be here to help. Request free information online or join now to make your family-building dreams come true.
Here at American Adoptions, our resolutions always involve better serving you, your child’s birth parents, and your child. That means we are here for you, no matter what. Our specialists would love hearing from you, so don’t hesitate to reach out anytime and share your life updates and your family’s pictures!
Have more resolution ideas? Drop them in the comments for us to see!