It is hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just over a month away and that means family parties, gatherings, and a lot of group festivities. The holidays can be a stressful time for anyone, with gift lists, budgets and long to-do lists always on the horizon, but if you are going through the adoption process there is a whole new level of stress to contend with. Especially if you will be seeing family who do not yet know about your adventure into adoption.
Instead of going to a family dinner and finding yourself blindsided with questions about “what’s new with you?” or the dreaded “when are you going to have kids?”, consider preparing for those conversations now. Having a plan on how to answer questions or announce the news will greatly ease anxiety and stress long before you ever step through the door to the party.
Below are a few tips for how to prepare now, but if you are in the midst of the adoption process and are feeling especially stressed at this idea, then reach out to your adoption counselor and/or therapist and ask for their help. When making a plan, it’s always good to have help!
Make A List
Every family has that one especially inquisitive uncle, grandparent or long-time family friend. Sit down with your spouse and talk about who those people are in your respective families. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have an inquisitive family member! But it’s also good to consider who you will see this holiday season so you know what to expect.
When thinking about your families, write down all of the questions you think people might ask. This is especially important if people know of your adoption plans, but are not in close contact with you. They might take the holidays as a chance to ask all of the questions on their mind, so brainstorm what these might be. Go ahead and be thorough! Just the act of writing them down will help you set a plan in motion.
If your family tends toward the taciturn, then you might need to make a different kind of list. Start by brainstorming ways to break the ice in a family gathering or how you can bring up the adoption in conversation. If you don’t think people will ask you questions, you might find that you feel more at ease if you go ahead and talk about it. And, sometimes, people will wait for you to bring the topic up before they ask questions.
In part two of this blog we will tackle the next step – making a plan.