By Mindy Jensen, LSW // Social Worker
The new year has a different meaning for each of us. For me, it is a time of reflection and new beginnings. I enjoy pondering the experiences I have had and the lessons I have learned so as to avoiding making the same mistakes twice.
This year I am excited to leave 2015 in the past and look forward to exciting adventures in 2016. If adoption is one of the adventures you are hoping for in the next year, I have 5 goals for you to consider.
One of the most common concerns for hopeful adoptive parents is affording adoption, but careful planning can help to alleviate some of that concern. Start with a short-term savings goal, such as setting aside $20 a week or month, rather than long-term savings goals, such as $2000 over a year. People usually see greater success when they keep short the short-term goal in sight. You will be surprised at how quickly the money adds up if you succeed at your short-term goals.
“Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
My husband and I like to take our family to see new places every summer. Before we embark on our journey, I like to read books about our destination and talk to people who have been there. I learn as much as I can about where to stay, what to see, and of course the best places to eat. The things I learn prior to our journey make all the difference in the world. The preparation brings me peace of mind, reduces stress, and allows us to thoroughly enjoy our time.
Preparation for your adoption journey is no different. Make a goal to read four books about adoption or join an adoption Facebook group so you can connect with others who have traveled the road before you. Education is the key to being prepared for the journey.
I feel the option of adoption for women facing an unexpected pregnancy has faded into the background over the years. If you love adoption and want others to know that it is an option, make it a goal in 2016 to become more involved in the adoption community. Talk about adoption, educate others about positive adoption language, attend local adoption events, and help dispel some of the stigmas and myths attached to adoption. As Mother Teresa stated, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
4. Practice Optimism.
According to Health and Fitness Writer Leanne Beattie, optimism is “the tendency to believe, expect, or hope that things will turn out well.” Keeping a positive attitude throughout the process of adoption can be challenging, especially when it seems as if you are swimming upstream. I’m an optimist by nature, but even I have those days when all I want is a pity party – complete with party hats and cupcakes. This year I’m setting a goal to shorten the duration of those pity parties. If you would like to join me, here are a few tips:
- Think about, and focus on, the good things in your life.
- Make a list of your blessings and the things you are grateful for.
- Make a conscious effort to stop complaints from exiting your mouth.
- Believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.
- Use positive self-talk. Don’t get down on yourself when bad things happen. Don’t let those experiences define you. Learn from mistakes and hard times and move forward.
5. Nurture Relationships.
Adoption binds three groups of people: adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees. Focus on those relationships this year. Send a thoughtful text, enjoy honest conversation, send hand-written notes, serve each other, plan a visit, forgive easily, and don’t let fear guide your actions. Roy Lessin said it best: “Things are temporary, relationships last forever. Nothing can replace the time we spend investing in the life of another.”