You’ve probably already made plans on how you’re going to ring it in — whether it be a quiet evening at home, getting together with family or friends, or going out for a night on the town.
But what about the rest of the year?
As an adopting parent, what are your plans?
How do you intend to build your family through open adoption?
How will you be reaching out to expectant parents?
What are you planning to do to get the word out about your adoption profile and find a match?
You don’t need to have all of the answers now. You probably don’t.
But in the next few days, you should start thinking about them.
After all, once the holiday winds down and you get back to your routine at work and at home, your life will get awfully busy awfully quickly and you won’t a lot of time to think about anything, let alone your plans to adopt.
So why not start the New Year now? To help you along, here are three things you can do now to kick-start your adoption plan and make this year the best ever.
Make peace with the past
Whether you’re just starting to reach out to prospective birthparents now or have been at it for a while, this is an exciting time of the year — a chance to make a fresh start and try new things.
But before you can take advantage of the new year and the opportunities that it brings, you need to make peace with the old one first.
For instance, if you’re new to open adoption and have arrived via infertility, that means coming to terms with what open adoption is.
Open adoption is a great way to start a family. But it’s not the same as raising a child you gave birth to, and that’s something you’ll need to keep in mind as you travel down your new path to parenthood.
Whether you build your family through open adoption or another type of adoption, your child will always have two families, even if the one that brought him into the world won’t be actively involved with you or him on a daily basis.
No matter how much contact or openness you choose to have with your child’s parents, they will always be part of his life. You can’t erase them any more than you can erase a part of your child’s past.
And that’s okay. It just means that your child will have more people to love him.
Cut yourself some slack
If, on the other hand, you’ve spent the last year trying to connect with prospective birthparents and have nothing to show for it, this time of the year can be a bit of a letdown.
It’s hard to start the new year with high hopes when last year’s outreach efforts didn’t pan out.
But don’t let it get you down. Adoption matches take time. Connecting with prospective birth parents is a marathon rather than a sprint.
Nevertheless, stay motivated and keep believing that the match that is meant for you will eventually come your way.
If you don’t, you might as well throw in the towel now. Adopting a baby is just too hard a task if you don’t have faith in what you’re doing.
The reality is, most hopeful parents do end up adopting. It may not happen as easily or quickly as they had hoped, but it does happen.
Just remember that when it comes to connecting with prospective birthparents, there’s just one thing that can hold you back: you.
So be honest with yourself. There’s too much at stake, financially and emotionally, not to be.
Don’t fool yourself into believing that there’s nothing more or differently you can do this year.
At the same time, be patient with yourself. And cut yourself some slack. We tend to be our own worst enemy when things fall apart or don’t go according to plan.
But instead of judging yourself, take pride in how far you’ve come. Remember your reaction when you first considered adoption — how worried you were and how people tried to talk you out of it?
And now here you are!
Just remember that adopting and finding a birthparent match comes with a huge learning curve. There are so many things you need to get your head around.
Making mistakes — if that’s the way you want to look at the twists and turns and detours and bumps you’ve encountered along the way — is just part of the process.
So instead of dwelling on what’s gone wrong — the “could’ve-, would’ve-, and should’ve-dones” — learn from your experiences.
You’ve probably a stronger, more resilient, more compassionate, and more informed person today because of them.
Be open to new opportunities
As mentioned, so much of the matching process comes down to plain old trial-and-error — doing this, trying that.
There’s no one way — or right way — to connect with prospective birthparents.
As you put together your networking strategy for the new year, reflect on the year that was.
What worked for you and what didn’t?
What could you do differently? What could you do better? What changes should you make?
Should you re-do you adoption profile? Re-jig your website? Join an adoption profile service? Expand your social networking strategy? Create an advertising campaign?
Anything’s possible. After all, the new year is a clean slate, a chance to re-start and re-boot.
When it comes to deciding what to do next, a lot will depend on your priorities, resources, skill set, and over all comfort level.
Be realistic. Don’t expect results overnight. And don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things if you’re not getting the desired results.
Teaching yourself new skills will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-confidence.
Keep testing and tweaking. Sometimes even small changes can lead to a big payoff.
If you find that you can’t do something yourself, outsource it to someone else.
Even though you’ve got 12 months ahead of you, there are only so many hours in a day.
So make sure you use the time wisely. You can do a lot of things, but you can’t do everything.
Decide what you can do or want to do and find other ways to do the rest.
And don’t forget to take the time to enjoy things that aren’t adoption-related.
Find a balance between your adoption plan and the rest of your life. Only then will you get the new year off to a good start and make it the best one ever.
What are you doing to ready yourself for the new year? What plans do you have to make this the year you adopt? Share your comments in the space below.