New Year’s resolutions are a great way to start the year off on a positive note.
Problem is, if you’re like most people by this time of the year you’ve likely abandoned your resolutions or forgotten them.
Kicking off the year with good intentions is important. But good intentions aren’t enough to reach your goal, especially when your goal is as ambitious as adopting a baby.
Unless you translate your words into actions, you won’t get very far.
But setting lofty goals for yourself has its own set of drawbacks. They can add extra stress to your life and leave you feeling disappointed and frustrated if you don’t achieve them.
The good news is there is an easier way to move forward with your adoption plan and keep things on track: Just ask yourself these five simple questions.
1. Where should I begin?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” the saying goes. As a hopeful adoptive parent, you need to figure out where to begin yours.
With so many different things tugging at you at once, adopting a baby can be a complicated process. There’s your home study, creating your profile profile, educating yourself about open adoption, just for starters.
Needless to say, it can get overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be.
Forget about doing everything now. Instead, hone in what you need to do at this stage of your journey and put everything else aside for later. You’ll have lots of time to tackle it when you’re ready.
2. What are my strengths?
For most hopeful parents, adoption is a new experience—-one that takes you out of your comfort zone and tests your assumptions and beliefs about family, parenting, race, and other issues.
From creating an adoption profile to connecting with expectant parents, it also requires a specialized skill set. Before beginning the outreach process, it’s important to assess what your strengths are as individuals, as a couple and as potential adoptive parents, and to showcase them in your profile and networking efforts.
With so much at stake, your letter, photographs and communication skills need to be the best they can be. At the end of the day, they could be the game changer—the reason you could find a match now rather than a year from now.
3. What are my weaknesses?
This stage goes hand in hand with the one above. Confronting your weaknesses is a critical part of the process, but the truth is nobody wants to do it.
Being honest with yourself is hard. It forces you to confront things you’d like to pretend didn’t exist. But if you approach the process the right way, it could take months, or even years, off your adoption wait.
Oftentimes, a little adjustment can make a huge difference. Let’s say your profile is excellent, but your phone manner is lacking. Every time an expectant parent calls you, you freeze up and don’t know what to say.
A simple remedy is to create a list of questions or topics to discuss beforehand, and to have your notes ready when the phone rings.
Nobody’s good at everything. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Keep in mind what your goal is and how much you want it. All of that extra effort will be worth it in the end.
4. What do I need to do more of?
Even though you have an team of experienced professionals helping you with your adoption journey, you can’t afford to sit back and let them do all your work for you.
It’s your adoption—you need to take the lead. And that means working on the things that will help you reach your goal.
For instance, If you live in a province where you can advertise, it could mean doing more outreach online through social media and adoption websites or finding new ways to stretch your advertising dollars.
If, however, your province prohibits you from advertising, it could mean spreading the world through more word-of-mouth marketing.
The thing is, there’s always something to do. And the more you do now, the sooner you’ll find a match and the faster the time will pass.
5. What do I need to do less of?
Adopting a baby isn’t for the faint of heart. But if you’re like a lot of waiting parents, you may find yourself paralyzed with fear and unanswered questions. What if nobody picks us? What if the family we’re matched with isn’t a good fit for us? What if we get chosen, but there’s something wrong with the child? What if the expectant mother changes her mind?
Adoption is full of uncertainties. That’s just the way the process works. Running through the different scenarios in your head is normal. But eventually you’re going to have to let go of your fears and take a leap of faith.
For instance, If you’re worried about the expectant mother changing her mind, only connect with women who have given birth or are in the final stages of their pregnancy.
Educate yourself about the process now so that when the time comes you can make an informed decision rather than jump into a situation blindly.
And in the meantime, surround yourself with positive people and thoughts. Join a support group. Connect with other families. Adoption can be a long and lonely trek, but with the right attitude and approach you’ll be ready when it comes time to make a decision.
With the start of the New Year, it’s easy to create all kinds of grand plans for yourself as far as your adoption journey goes. But it’s also important to keep things in perspective and have realistic goals. Asking yourself these five questions can help you keep your adoption journey on track and reduce your stress and frustration in the months to come.
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