If you are an adoptive parent who is currently waiting to be matched with a birthmother or waiting for your baby to be born, it’s very likely you are experiencing some level of stress. The adoption journey is an emotional one. There are many unknowns along the way, difficult decisions to make, and unexpected things that can come up. Because of this, the adoption process can be very stressful for most parents. This stress can have negative effects on your physical and mental health, so it’s a good idea to learn about the stress management in relation to the adoption process.
Effects of Adoption Stress
Because so many elements of the adoption process are out of your control, this can be very challenging for your patience. This often results in high levels of stress. You should keep in mind that the adoption process is a life changing time for everyone involved and it’s just as joyful as it’s stressful.
Many people don’t realize how the stress of adoption can have negative effects on their health, behavior, communication, and even their relationship. Unmanaged stress can be damaging to yourself, your family, and others in your life. Here are a few common stress symptoms, both emotional and physical:
- Headaches, especially tension headaches
- Low energy
- Sleep disturbances
- Digestive or intestinal issues
- Weight gain or loss
- Irritability and moodyiness
- Getting easily frustrated or agitated
- Having difficulty relaxing
- Feeling overwhelmed or like you’re losing control
- Low self-esteem
- Avoiding others
How to Cope with the Stress of an Adoption
Many families and individuals suffer from adoption-related stress. If you are going through an adoption, the most important thing is to recognize the signs of adoption stress and learn how to manage it. Here are some tips:
- Look for positive things and focus on the end result. Remember that you’ll be welcoming a new baby into your family after this process is finished.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Lean on your friends and family for support.
- Actively work to prepare yourself to be the best parent and a role model to your child.
- Get in shape and change your diet. Exercise keeps you busy and healthy at the same time. Do this not just for you but also for your baby, who you’ll soon be carrying, chasing after, and bending over for.
- Many of us don’t breathe correctly. Learn how to breathe deeply and use this technique every time you feel anxious or stressed.
- Do something important to you. Engage in your favorite hobbies and do things that make you happy.
- Engage in active mind exercises and work on developing your patience.
- Keep an adoption journal. It’s very therapeutic when you release your negative feelings and emotions by writing them down.
- Begin putting together your adoption story for your future baby.
- Focus on preparing your house for the baby. There’s a lot of work to do, like baby proofing your house or setting up the nursery.
- Don’t bottle up your emotions. Allow yourself to laugh and cry when you need to.
- Pay attention to self-care. You’re going to be a parent soon and it’s important for you to take proper care of yourself in order to properly care for another.
- Recognize what triggers your stress and try to avoid those things. If they are unavoidable, understand what it feels like when the stress is coming on and actively work to get ahead of it before it brings you down.
Believe it or not, the stress of adoption is an opportunity for you to grow. Stress management means avoiding stress and it’s important to manage it for your benefit as well as for the benefit of your future child.