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Adopting can be stressful in the extreme. Therefore how can I build my resilience?

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Many parts of the adoption process are stressful, frustrating and demanding. Waiting for a match seems like an age and then caring for your child can cause you to stress about how you are doing, as well as the demands created by your child. It is very important therefore to build your own resilience. To build the tools and confidence to flourish.

What is resilience?

Resilience is our ability to cope through challenging times and when we face uncertainty. Never has that been more important than now, in modern life. This means we have to find new ways to adapt, to balance parenting and the demands of life.

Factors in building resilience.

Resilience is developed by the combination of a number of factors:

Many studies of resilience show the primary factor in resilience is having supportive caring relationships both within and outside of the family. These relationships contribute if they create love and trust, provide role models, reassurance and encouragement, helping to build a person’s resilience.

There are additional factors including:

  1. The ability to make realistic implemented plans and carry them out.
  2. A positive view of yourself, self-confidence in your strength and abilities.
  3. Communication skills and ability to problem solve.
  4. Capacity to manage strong impulses and feelings

All of these factors can be can be developed by individuals themselves.

Ways to build your resilience

  • Make positive connections
  • Don’t think of crises as insurmountable problems
  • Accept that change is a part of life.
  • Move steadily towards your goals
  • Take decisive actions
  • Look for opportunities for self-discovery
  • Develop a positive view of yourself
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Maintain a positive outlook
  • Take care of yourself.

Habits of Resilient People:

  1. Recognise that tough things happen to all people
  2. They choose carefully where they concentrate their attention and are good at noticing positives in their life.
  3. They ask themselves before they do anything “would it help me or harm me?”

(Based on research and a speech by Lucy Hone, a director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience)

Suggested Activities That Build Your Resilience

Listen to music

Make something

Attend support groups

Go for a run

Play a sport

Write about it

Walk the dog

Be intentionally positive about how it will turn out

Go to bed early

Call a helpline

Talk to someone

Meet with other adopters

Find new friends

Spend time with pets/animals

Prioritise and break the problem down


Arrange childcare

Plan to do something different

Go for a swim


Take a day off

See a counsellor

Set goals

Look up information and advice

Have a laugh



Go out with my friends

Discuss how you feel with your partner/family

Go into the country/park

Ask for help

Go and see a favourite person

Problem solve

Cook something


Call friends

Have a meal out

Regular date nights

Spend time with family

Do something out of the ordinary

Play date with other parents


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