The holidays are a time to be joyful, hopeful, and most importantly, thankful. There are so many reasons to be thankful. For instance: the roof over your head, the food on your table, and the wonderful people that are in your life. The laughter and smiles of your children filling the room make it an even better season.
At the same time, the holidays can be a difficult time for birth families. Their house may be a little quieter. They might even retreat into themselves or fill their days with countless activities in order to keep themselves busy while others are celebrating. During this time of year, it’s hard for birth parents to cope with their gift to you, especially when seeing family-orientated decorations and hearing festive songs.
As an adoptive parent, you can do your part to heal the pain, even if it’s just a little bit. They have given you the greatest gift possible – a child – and that’s something you may want to thank them for. While nothing can ever compare to their gift of life, your efforts in honoring birth families during the holidays will provide them with the warmth and comfort they desire. Also, keep in mind the post adoption contact compromises you have made with the birth family so that you do not overstep any boundaries.
Honoring Birth Families in an Open Adoption
1. Send Holiday Cards
Even just sending a simple holiday card to the birth family can make their day a little brighter. It lets them know that you are thinking about them even during the busy holiday season. Make it special by personalizing the cards with photos of your child and have them sign it. If they are old enough, have them write a special message they want to convey to their birth parents. It can be a meaningful way for the child and birth parents to have contact with each other and for you to ensure that parties in the adoption triad remain happy and warm in the cold holiday season.
2. Create a Photo Book
Any gifts you send your child’s birth parents will be significant. However, the gift of a photo book can help them cope in unimaginable ways. To have a collection of photos of their child growing up over the year is something all parents desire, even if they have placed their child for adoption. If you already send pictures of your child on a regular basis, then you can coordinate to take holiday-specific photos. By creating a photo book, you are honoring the birth parents’ place in your child’s life.
3. Call or Facetime Them
Phone calls and video calls with birth parents can be a regular routine in your everyday life. Nonetheless, having that interaction during the holiday season will certainly make the birth family feel loved and welcomed. The conversations don’t have to be lengthy, as long as you set aside time for your child to converse with his or her birth family. In the long run, it is crucial for them to have some relationship with their birth parents because it is part of their identity. It is also an essential way for members of the adoption triad to form a strong bond with one another.
4. Invite Them to Dinner
If the birth parents are comfortable with the idea and if your relationship with them has been well-established over the years, it would be worthwhile to invite them over for a holiday dinner. Although they placed their child for adoption, they might still want to be involved in the child’s life as they grow up. This will make them feel like they are a part of your family and shows your dedication to honoring their presence in your life. Plus, your child might enjoy having double the presents and double the amount of love.
Honoring Birth Families in a Closed Adoption
1. Talk to Your Child about Adoption
It has become more common for adoptive parents to talk to their children about adoption. However, the process should not feel forced. You should still strive to talk to your child about his or her birth parents near the holiday season. Try to incorporate birth parents into conversation or activities, such as saying “I think your birth mother would love how you made these cookies.” By simply mentioning them, it can help both birth parents and your child cope on their journey to healing.
2. Dedicate an Ornament
Decorating a Christmas tree is one of the joys of the holiday season. It builds family bonds and strengthens your child’s imagination. Every ornament has a story, and, when your child is not able to meet their birth parents, dedicating a unique and personal ornament to represent them will help your child develop self-identity. He or she will appreciate your efforts to respect his or her beginnings and first family. It is also a very sweet way to remember the birth parents and keep them a part of your family.
3. Make a Donation in their Name
If you are unable to send presents, then you can allocate that money to a charitable cause in their name. One such nonprofit organization is Tomorrow’s Hope with a mission of fostering health-related research, education and support activities for individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other life-limiting illnesses. Not only will this help your child learn empathy, but it will also make a difference for someone or something in need. Birth parents will be happy to learn that they have contributed to the distribution of goodness in the world.
While some look forward to the holiday season, others might want it to pass as soon as possible. For birth families, this time of year might be the hardest. Honoring birth families during the holidays will not heal their spirits, but it will help your child thrive with his or her identity. Along with that, being able to spread joy and warmth to everyone is a reward in it itself.
Adoption Choices of New York
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.
About the Author
Lisa Truong is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Denver. She is minoring in writing and Chemistry. She has been commended by professors for her news stories as well as creative writing.
During her freshman year, her essay “See Ya on the Other Side” was displayed at a writing exhibition sponsored by the University of Denver. That essay later went on to be published in Many Voices One DU, a book also sponsored by the university.
Lisa frequently volunteers to be a leader at the Daniels School of Business for their quarterly Ethics Boot Camp where students learn about the importance of character in business. In her free time, Lisa enjoys watching animated movies with her mother, listening to music, going for bike rides, and eating breakfast food.
Thorton, Devon. “Ways to Honor Your Child’s Birth Mom on Mother’s Day.” Adoption Choices of Nevada, May 8, 2019. https://www.adoptionchoicesofnevada.org/ways-to-honor-your-childs-birth-mom-on-mothers-day/.
Asadmin. “How to Honor Your Child’s Birth Family This Holiday Season.” Adoption Star. Accessed November 25, 2019. https://dev.adoptionstar.com/honor-childs-birth-family-holiday-season/.