This was posted before Thanksgiving, but will be helpful as the Christmas season only gets busier.
It is hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us! For many of our families, this is the season for which they have been waiting and dreaming. This is the season their children are coming home.
Finalizing an adoption during the holiday season is so exciting! It is with thankful hearts that families return home and with joy, anticipate the days to come. Family members and friends are often ready to celebrate with you… and what better way to celebrate, they think, than some holiday fun.
As tempting as it is to “go all out” (especially since it is your child’s FIRST Christmas as part of your family), it is important to be mindful not to overwhelm them with all of the hustle, bustle and holiday cheer.
In order to provide the absolute best advice to new families, we contacted several experts. Experts, of course being our AW families who returned home this time last year!
The advice their shared was simple, yet profound.
Lower your expectations! Don’t expect a “Hallmark Holiday”. This Thanksgiving and Christmas will be like none other. It will be your first with your new child however, they may not be ready for the Great American Celebration. Be willing to cut back and even eliminate some of your usual plans.
If you have recently returned home, do not skip the cocooning process! It’s so important for children of all ages to have the time they need to bond with you and with their siblings. For some families, the holiday season can make it hard to hunker down and shut the world out for a while. However, this is what adopted children need to adjust and transition from surviving to thriving.
Focus on being a family. Watch movies. Drive around and see the lights. Enjoy the simple and every day experiences of life without overwhelming your children with all of the grandeur that is Christmas in the States.
Prepare family and friends in advance. Let them know you may be unavailable for your usual parties and holiday traditions. If you do choose to venture out, let them know in advance the needs of your child come first. This may mean needing to leave a party early or finding a quiet place for your child to rest and de-stress.
If your house is Christmas Central for your extended family try breaking visitors up into smaller groups or family units. Stay close to your new child for reassurance and let family and friends know, if it seems like too much for your child to handle their time in your home might be cut short.
As you celebrate, allow your child to explore without forcing them to participate. Don’t overwhelm them with too many gifts or toys. Allow them to engage in the holiday process at their own rate and in their own timing.
At the end of the day, what better time than this to remember and focus on the true meaning of Christmas!
-Sara Munyan, Director of Post Adoption
Contact us with questions or for further post adoption support.