Cope or Cop-out

June 8, 2013 § 6 Comments

Cope /kōp/ 1. (of a person) Deal effectively with something difficult. 2. (in building) Cover (a joint or structure) with a coping.

Cop-out \ˈkäp-ˌau̇t\ 1. A failure to fulfill a commitment or responsibility or to face a difficulty squarely 2. An excuse for inaction or evasion.

I’m becoming more withdrawn these days….

Day to day things like grocery shopping, running errands and chores do me in. When it comes to extra-curricular activities with friends and such I’ve been tending to “cop-out.” Part of my coping is keeping a very low profile and a predictable schedule.

Because this isn’t the quintessential me, it got me looking into the psychology behind self-preservation and coping methods. What I found intrigued me:

In psychology, coping is “constantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing” or “exceeding the resources of the person”. Coping is thus expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict.
There are three broad types of coping strategies:
1. Appraisal-focused
Appraisal-focused strategies occur when the person modifies the way they think, for example: employing denial, or distancing oneself from the problem. People may alter the way they think about a problem by altering their goals and values, such as by seeing the humor in a situation…
2. Problem-focused: Any coping behavior that is directed at reducing or eliminating a stressor
People using problem-focused strategies try to deal with the cause of their problem. They do this by finding out information on the problem and learning new skills to manage the problem. Problem-focused coping is aimed at changing or eliminating the source of the stress.
3. Emotion-focused: Directed towards changing one’s own emotional reaction to a stressor
Emotion-focused strategies involve releasing pent-up emotions, distracting oneself, managing hostile feelings, meditating or using systematic relaxation procedures.

I’m quite sure I’m using all of these methods at the moment. When you are going through something as painstaking as an international adoption process with so many pitfalls, some comic relief is crucial. So is endless hours of research on your child’s birth country and other people’s successful adoption stories, etc., etc., etc, …so much research!

Ranting on adoption forums feels like a wonderful way to release pent-up emotions, at the time, but can leave the audience reeling with more food for fret. It’s better to save it for Private Messages with others who inquire specifically. (IMHO)

“The term stress is defined as a condition where an object or individual is under (mental or emotional) pressure. This pressure may be obvious to the individual. In most cases, in fact, individuals are often unaware that they are under stress. Stress usually produces a physical and emotional response in your body, which is how the body deals with the stressful situation. This is actually good for you as it works to stimulate your body into action. However, over time, this may prove to be harmful to the body as it will continuously be exposed to the stressful state this will eventually have an adverse effect on your health…Long term stress is far more dangerous for the body and is known as ‘bad’ stress. This kind of stress occurs when an individual is in a situation that subjects him or her to emotional or mental pressure for a considerable period of time.” (

So how do you concurrently cope with the stress of a long drawn out adoption process and all the uncertainties that come along with it?

stay positive!

Count your blessings!

According to Wikipedia, preparation, social support, nutrition, sleep, exercise, relaxation and humour are key to coping in a positive way.

Anxious avoidance (staying away from outings where you know people are going to ask you why you’re child is not home yet), dissociation, sensitization (rehearsing worst case scenarios) and escape (self-medicating) are cop-out mechanisms and are not healthy!

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5

Tracie Miles summed it up in her book Stressed-Less Living: ” the psalmist…chose to change his attitude, to cry out to God for help, to seek guidance, strength, and the will to persevere.”

stay positive!

Stay positive!

I don’t mean to bog anyone down with glum posts, but I’ve noticed this walking-dead-like zombie mode is no stranger to the adoption world. I’ve heard chatter about people not leaving the house except for necessities or to see a doctor because herbal remedies are no longer working, parents stop looking at their child’s photo because it is too painful and people are literally pinned to their smart phone at every moment for months on end as they wait for that little “ping” that could signify an email with some good news.

‘Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.’ ~Mother Teresa

So let’s not “grow weary in doing good” my friends, but keep on keeping on!

All the best,



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§ 6 Responses to Cope or Cop-out

  • Valerie Rawlings says:

    This is an encouraging analysis that helped me face some of the avoidance techniques I am using right now.
    Thank you for the insight and for having the courage to share your situation so bravely with us Liz. Love you!

    • lzook says:

      Love you too Auntie Val!

      Trying to stay positive and not turn into too much of a Debbie Downer, hopefully soon I’ll be blogging some giddy happy posts…

      Take Care :~)

  • Faith says:

    Found your blog and have been following it for the last few weeks. We are also from Alberta – adopting from the DRC. It’s a crazy process for sure. I feel stressed and tired all the time. It doesn’t help I know – but it is good to know that there are others out there who are going through the same process. I am praying that the government will start issuing exit visa’s soon and that all of you who are waiting to travel will be able to soon.

    • lzook says:

      Thanks for stopping by. We were told by several people at the beginning of the process that “adoption is not for the faint of heart” and boy is that an understatement! Good thing we didn’t know how difficult it would really be, or we may have been scared away—and never been matched with our beautiful daughter!

      Hang in there, every day is progress…even if you can’t see it. (So I keep telling myself.)

      Message me at anytime..

      🙂 Liz

  • Dawn Meier says:

    Hi Lizzy So sorry it’s taking sooooo long for your dream to come true. It’s so hard to understand sometimes.
    Your “choosing happiness” picture reminded me of something my 3-year old grandson (Janine’s little boy) said not long ago. He said, “I’m crabby. I am choosing to be crabby. I am not choosing to be happy, I’m choosing to be crabby!” We all had a laugh at that, as we have all chosen to be crabby (or some other negative emotion) at some time or another. Glad you’re working on choosing to be happy in spite of the difficult situation! Praying with you that your faith and patience will be rewarded soon!

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