The scent of cinnamon spiced eggnog and sugar cookies. The sight of Christmas lights twinkling brightly on a tree. The sound of relatives or friends asking invasive personal questions about family planning. “When are you two going to have children?” You guessed it. Christmas.
To be honest, this isn’t a problem my husband and I faced. We have always done things a bit differently, so it’s quite possible that friends and family just learned to roll with the punches. We decided to get married within 2 months of dating. We got married on a Tuesday, a year to the day after our first date. I wore a black dress to our wedding and there were only 6 people in attendance, including the Justice of the Peace. The list goes on from there.
We had always planned on adopting from foster care, so it was a shock to no one when we started down that path. We were often asked why we didn’t “decide to have our own” children first. I was never quite sure what to say about it. Sometimes I said, “Why did you decide to give birth?” For the most part, our family didn’t ask too many questions and let us do our thing, our own way. This isn’t always so for couples who are experiencing infertility and/or awaiting the long process of adoption. In order to help with this, Dawn Davenport, and Creating a Family.org, have created a guide to help manage the holidays. The complete guide is entitled, “Surviving the Holidays Without a Child.” It is completely free and you can download your copy at this link:
Overall the guide was informative and interesting. I plan on using some of the suggestions to explain the absence of our teen-aged boys. This may be my hardest Christmas yet, so I am glad I have my guide. These are my favorite things about the survival guide:
It is Universal- No matter what your situation is with starting a family, the holidays are always a tough time. Everyone generally expects you to be merry and happy with family all around you. It simply isn’t the case for everyone. This guide gives practical advice, that can be applied to any situation during the holidays that causes you distress. For example, my personal guide would be entitled, “Surviving the Holidays Without My Two Disrupted Sons” or “Surviving the Holidays After Adoption Disruption.”
It Offers Practical Advice- The guide gives tips and tricks for handling emotional distress around this time. This includes exercise and rest as well as physical signs of stress. It tells you what to do in order to avoid triggers and stay sane. It also includes multimedia sources such as audio, blog posts, and articles.
It Acknowledges The Truth of Our Feelings- I am so happy that instead of telling women to hide their feelings, or act differently, it acknowledges the truth of our feelings. We all have triggers, we all get sad, we all feel the way we feel. Period. Thankfully this guide embraces that fact.
It Gives You a Practical Script of What to Say- Ever been in a situation where you don’t know how to respond to a very personal question? This guide offers phrases to use when answering sensitive questions.
It Gives You a Snarky Script of What to Say- This guide also adds some humor and levity to a heavy subject. Let’s face it, we don’t always want to be nice about this stuff! I may even use some of the one-liners myself when answering an inappropriate adoption question!
Whatever your family situation, I would highly recommend grabbing your own copy. After all, it’s free!
*Image courtesy of CreatingaFamily.org
If you’ve ever considered foster care and/or adoption, I encourage you to get started on your adventure today!