Channeling Your Energy Into Something Positive
When you’re an adoptive family, you will go through a journey of emotional ups and downs before a baby is placed in your arms. It’s normal to have both negative and positive feelings at different stages in the process, but it can certainly be emotionally exhausting when the bad thoughts seem to overwhelm the good.
There are a few complicated emotions adoptive families might feel as they wait for a placement. Whether you are coping with jealousy or guilt, or wondering how to deal with anger as a waiting adoptive family, remember that your feelings are always valid — and there is always help.
Any waiting adoptive family can always reach out to their adoptive family specialist at any point during their adoption process. But, how do you know when your emotions are a sign of something bigger — and how can you channel what you’re feeling into something positive?
The Many Different Emotions of an Adoptive Family
Every adoptive family is different and so is the path that they take to their adoption placement. However, most families will experience some kind of anger, grief or frustration at some point in the adoption process. Adoption is long and complicated, with many requirements, and we understand how difficult this can be for an adoptive family.
Here are a few of the emotions that waiting adoptive families may feel at some point in their journey:
- Anger: At those who become pregnant more easily than they can, at how long they have been waiting for a placement, that they have to go through so many more hoops to have a child than others
- Despair: That they will never have a biological child, that their adoption wait is taking longer than they expected
- Grief: Over the lost dreams of a biological child, for the losses of their future adopted child
- Jealousy: Of those who are able to have children easily and those in their life who are currently expecting or having children
You may feel all of these emotions, only some of them, or none of them at all — and that’s completely normal. Your adoption journey is your own, and only you know what your adoption experience is like.
How to Deal with Anger and Other Emotions as a Waiting Adoptive Family
While these emotions are all completely normal for adoptive parents, they can be overwhelming. But, it isn’t healthy to dwell on negative emotions, especially when you are preparing for a brand-new and exciting time in your life. So, how do you cope with these emotions?
Our adoptive family specialists have a few suggestions:
- Identify the source of your feelings.
Before you can address what you are feeling, it’s important that you fully understand these emotions first. Emotions are complicated things; what you think you may be feeling may not actually be accurate. We encourage all adoptive parents coping with difficult emotions to get to the root of their concerns. This may need to be accomplished with the help of a trained counselor or therapist.
For example, an adoptive family feeling angry at their friends and family for their pregnancy announcements often are feeling sad and frustrated about their inability to have a baby themselves. Although they may feel like their anger is directed to their loved ones who are expecting, it’s actually not. Only once a family has identified the truth of their emotions can they properly address them in a healthy way.
- Speak with a counselor or therapist.
When you work with American Adoptions, your adoption specialist will always be there to support you — but, sometimes, we cannot offer the specific support you need, especially if you are coping with infertility struggles. It may be in your best interest to seek out a counselor or therapist who specializes in the emotions you’re feeling. This can be the most productive way to address your concerns and move forward in the most positive way.
- Channel your emotions into something positive.
Sometimes, the emotions you’re feeling as an adoptive family don’t go away easily — and that’s perfectly normal. In these cases, we encourage waiting parents to channel those feelings into something good. You may find that putting your focus toward something else will help alleviate your negative emotions and keep you busy until you receive an adoption placement.
You may consider journaling or keeping a blog as a way to express your emotions and as a way to share your process with other waiting adoptive families. You might consider taking up a hobby or volunteering with a local group to put something positive back into the world.
- Maintain your everyday life.
It can be stressful knowing that your life can be uprooted and changed at any moment, but that’s the nature of adoption. However, being on pins and needles during your entire adoption wait is harmful for your emotional well-being. Therefore, our adoption specialists encourage all waiting families to maintain their everyday life as much as possible. Keep your day-to-day routine going, take that trip you’ve always wanted to, and don’t make drastic changes to your plans before you are even matched with a prospective birth mother. If you do, you may end up regretting the lost opportunities later — when you’ll be a new parent and unable to take advantage of them.
The Big Picture When It Comes to Emotions During the Adoption Process
If you find yourself struggling to cope with your negative emotions and wondering how to deal with anger as a waiting adoptive family, take one thing to heart: the right adoption opportunity will come when it’s right for you. It’s hard to see when you are anxiously waiting for a child, but the son or daughter that is meant for you will come, sometimes when you least expect it.
A lot of things have to match up before the perfect adoption opportunity comes along, and it can take some time for that to occur. Rather than become more frustrated and disappointed as your wait gets longer, keep this in mind, and try out some of the tips above for coping with your emotions. We know this path can be difficult at times, but talking to other adoptive parents will help you understand how it is all worth it in the end.
As always, if you have any questions about the adoption process and our agency’s average adoption wait times, please contact a specialist today at 1-800-ADOPTION.