Everyone in this world has faith to some degree. Religious or not, spiritual or not . . . every action is proof of faith. The difference between belief and faith is that faith requires action. We might believe that a plant will grow from a seed, but when we plant the seed we are exercising faith.

In the adoption and foster world, we might believe that families can be created, that children can rise above negative circumstances, that there could be happiness around the corner . . . but until we act, it’s just belief. It’s our faith that propels us to push through paperwork, to sign relinquishment papers, to take a DNA test. Even in the midst of hardship and discouragement, we continue to act on faith. Even when we don’t realize it.

So how do we power up our faith to squelch our fear? What can we do to enjoy the process, even though it’s heart-wrenching, or time consuming, or filled with setbacks?

1. Recognize what you’re doing right. Sure, our efforts might not be culminating in the results we expect or want right now, but at least we’re acting! Every night before bed either write a list (preferred!) or create a mental list. Today I looked through parent profiles. Today I printed a picture of our waiting child. Today I visited a forum and contributed my opinion. Today I created my birth plan. Today I talked with my sister about my adoption plans. Stay out of the fear trap by recounting what you have done rather than dwelling on what is concerning you.

2. Make a plan. Most fear is based on uncertainty. So when a plan is created to eliminate as much unknown as possible, even before acting on those plans, much of the fear is alleviated. For example, if you’re hoping to adopt but it looks like you’ll “never get picked,” your plan could look something like this:

A. Research parent profiles, then gather all things needed to begin ours
B. Start a blog and share our desires to adopt – share on social media and ask others to share
C. Join a support group and learn how others have navigated their adoption journeys
D. Pull up the local Heart Gallery – is there a waiting child who really belongs with us?

3. Use Positive Affirmations. They really work! Tape a phrase to your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, and of course, the fridge. Whenever you see it, repeat it several times – out loud is best. Affirmations could be anything positive. Here are some suggestions:

A. I’m giving my baby a life he deserves
B. Finding my birth family is an exciting adventure
C. Our child is coming home soon
D. I can do this!

4. Share your fears, feel them, then release them. Recognize that you are in control of how you feel. Sometimes the fears grow so huge inside of us that if we write them down or tell them to someone, they’re brought back to normal size. It’s okay to feel what we feel – sadness, grief, concern – of course we’ll feel like that during our experience. But instead of feeding the fear, feel it thoroughly for a time, then let it go. It’s so freeing! Give yourself permission to be happy and to let go of negativity. Circumstances do not have to dictate feelings. You are in control of you, so reclaim yourself. Make the choice to release fear and grab onto your faith.

5. Pray, meditate, ponder, relax. Whatever works best for you, find your comfort area and do it every day. The hurried, busy craziness of life can sometimes contribute to our fear. When we take a step back to regroup, perspective returns and trials seem more conquerable.

Plato said, “We are twice armed if we fight with faith.” So today determine to fight fear, don’t claim it. Circumstances might be scary, but inside of you is tremendous faith that has carried you so far . . .  It will continue to carry you!