Holiday Tips for Waiting Families

As the holidays roll in, you may find yourself in a time of longing and waiting—waiting for your family to be complete; waiting for your child; and waiting on the Lord’s perfect timing.

One friend of Lifeline said, “My younger sister was adopted, and I remember my parents . . . being so consumed with sadness and a desire for our family to be complete. It was frustrating for my mom to have to explain to family and friends that we were still waiting even after two years. She struggled when telling people how out of control she felt. My parents felt an overwhelming sense of guilt because she was angry with God’s timing. This little girl was all the way across the world in China and the rest of our family was in Georgia.”

First, know that feeling this way is completely normal. How we deal with these feelings (as normal as they are) is what will make a difference in our “heart health” this season. Our eternal perspective and belief in God’s sovereignty can help us journey with these emotions and still have joy. We can have hope in waiting, peace in unsettled or heightened emotions, and joy in our Father’s love. A lot of good can come out of this waiting period when we seek to use this time with purpose and perseverance! Read some tips that our post adoption team offers to help your waiting have more purpose:

1. Remain in prayer. Pray for your child, the caretakers, people in government who are passing laws regarding adoption, and everyone who has anything to do with your process. The Lord wants and desires for you to come to Him with your prayers; turn to Him!

2. Educate and have conversations with friends and family. Seek out a safe person with whom you can talk about the process and how you are feeling. Educate friends and family in some of the ways parenting an adopted child will be different, how bonding and attachment will happen, and your child’s country of birth. Having this dialogue can be a good part of processing the adoption for you as well as inviting others into the journey.

3. Write letters or make a scrapbook for your child. This activity is a tangible way to remind yourself of how the Lord has worked in this journey and is a way for you to help tell your child later about his or her story.

4. Spend special time focusing on children already in your home. Involve them in the process as much as possible. Consider researching some holiday traditions in your new child’s birth country and exploring those together as a family. Involving your other children will help them feel more attached to the new sibling even before he or she is in the home.

5. Celebrate your child in your festivities as much as possible. Consider your new child’s birth country as you prepare food for family or decorate your house. For Christmas, place an ornament representing your child or one with his or her photo in it on your tree. Also, have a gift for under the tree to give when he or she arrives home.

6. Spend time encouraging others, who might also feel lonely during this season. Reach out to an elderly couple, those without families nearby, children in the hospital, or those who’ve experienced loss this year. Helping others enables us to look beyond ourselves and cultivates a selfless spirit, which will be necessary when our new child comes home.

7. Remember the meaning of these holidays. Thanksgiving centers on our gratefulness for all that the Lord has done in our lives. Despite any crummy surrounding circumstances, be intentional to look for that which you can be thankful. During Christmas, focus and center your life, your day, your family, your thoughts around Jesus and His coming. “Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Live in the freedom of Christ’s gift to us this season, and remember the promises that He has made to us as believers. He knows the exact date your child will be home, and He will guide you to the “right place at the right time” and all of heaven will rejoice!