“Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.”
Whichever side of the triad you are on, adoption is a long, hard journey. I know that, because I’ve been there. One of the things I absolutely hate hearing when I’m going through a rough patch is “Just have a better attitude about it!” Like it’s just that simple. If I have a fake, sunshiny attitude, then I automatically will stop being frustrated, worn out, or hurt. Everything will be rainbows and butterflies and all my problems will go away. I wish.
Recently I’ve been learning that there is a difference between always being cheerful and choosing to think positively. You do not have to deny your sorrow to be positive. Here are 3 ways to stay positive on your adoption journey.
Restructured thoughts = Restructured emotions
One of the key components of cognitive behavioral therapy is restructuring the way you respond to your environment. You cannot always change what you are going through, but you can change the way you react to it. Having the ability to see things in a positive light will help you feel more hopeful and upbeat. The cool part about this is that you don’t have to book a session with a therapist – you can do it right here, right now. Make a list of the negative thoughts you are dealing with, and re-structure them in a positive light. For example-
“I will never have a family” —–> “I am trying to grow the family that I have”.
Unless you are adopting as a single parent and have absolutely no friends or relatives, you have a family. It might not be ideal, but it’s a family. This simple shift in thinking can make all the difference. Thinking this way acknowledges that yes, you long to adopt a child, and that’s hard. But not having matched yet does not make you without family or love. Adopting is simply adding to the love that already exists.
Remember that the pain will not last forever.
A bad day does not equal a bad life. Go ahead and cry it out, but remember that you won’t always feel this way. Most things really do feel a little better the next day. Something that helps me when I get down is to think about all the things I didn’t think I would survive – childhood trauma, placing baby R, the loss of loved ones, my first few years of college. But here I am.
I didn’t just survive those things, I overcame them and flourished. Each and every one of those trials made me a better person, and led me where I am today. Parts of your journey might be messy, ugly, and longer than they need to be – parts of mine sure were. But that’s all they are – parts. Rough patches on a long road to happiness. Soon things will even out, even if you still have a ways to go.
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Comparison is poisonous for positivity. There will ALWAYS be something better – someone who matched quicker, or who has a better relationship with their adoptive family, or who has a more open adoption. Spending any amount of time dwelling on comparisons will not help you. This might be the hardest thing you’ll have to do – but try and be happy for others. Their joy does not mean you have to be sad.
Staying positive won’t always be easy. For more tips on how to get through the hard days, click here. Restructure your thoughts, push through the hard parts, and remember that your journey is uniquely yours – things WILL work out in the end.
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