Celebrating “Have A Bad Day” Day, Adoption-Style

Adoption--no matter what stage you're in--is going to have some bad days. Why not live it up anyway?

Denalee Chapman November 19, 2016
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It’s our national HAVE A BAD DAY day. That’s right! Haven’t heard of it? It’s not exactly like it sounds – it’s not the wish that everyone has a bad day today. It was created for those in the customer service industry who say “have a nice day” so often that it’s not only a rote phrase, but it’s beginning to drive them batty.

So what of those in the adoption community? Can we celebrate HAVE A BAD DAY day? And why would we? And how might we? I’m an eternal optimist. Sounds like a good, healthy way to be, right?

I’m learning it’s not the best thing when it comes to emotional health. Sure, looking at the bright side of things, seeing good in everything … that’s all fine and dandy. But when taken to the extreme (as I’ve done) we tend to kill all other emotions – those we consider negative.

It was recently pointed out to me that emotions, all of them, are not good or bad. They simply are.

It’s what we do with those emotions – our actions and reactions – that are either good or bad. So for adoptive parents who find themselves turning into that eternal optimist – those who, regardless of the situation always wear a smile and speak softly, this may be the day for you! Use the day to discover some of your other emotions, then figure out how to deal with them appropriately. Of course, that can’t be done in a 24-hour period, but today, HAVE A BAD DAY day, can be the time to begin!

Are you at the beginning of an adoption and everything seems to be going wrong? But you refuse to give in to those feelings of discouragement, sadness, and anger? Or have you brought your child home and bonding seems like a distant dream? Is he refusing your love, regardless of how you try to give it? And yet you keep that placid smile on your face and tenderly speak sweet affirmations to everyone in the house?

How about today you sit down with a pen and paper. Pretend that you’re not you – you’re a raging monster. What would you feel, given your situation? Write it down. What would you do with those feelings (if you were the monster, of course)? Scribble it down. How would you feel after releasing those feelings? Draw it. If you’re like me, you’ll want to seclude yourself to do this. After all, you’ve determined it’s not OK to have those feelings. So if they’re not OK in your mind, you certainly don’t want anyone to see you experiencing them.

But you can begin, even if you insist on doing it privately, by becoming the monster on this HAVE A BAD DAY day. If you’re brave, invite your family to join you. Want to help them develop healthy emotional habits? Give them the gift of feeling all emotions. It’s OK if it’s going to take a while for you to get there, but invite your family to start now. This new beginning may help you decide that November 19th of every year will be a great celebration in your home!

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at DenaleeChapman.com.


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