By An Adopt4Life Community Parent
Like most of us, my husband and I dreamt of being parents for a long time. We also envisioned how lovely it would be to be parents during the holiday season.
In November 2009, we adopted our daughter (almost 3) and son (7 months). In August 2012, we adopted our third child, another son (10 months). Our daughter is now 10 and our sons are 8 and 6.
Our daughter has an intellectual disability, ADHD, and attachment issues. Our older son has ADHD and learning issues. Our younger son has anxiety.
We are far from a “typical family.” Not to mention the fact that our older children were placed with us in the midst of the holiday season. Naturally, our immediate and extended families, as well as friends wanted to meet our children right away and shower them with holiday gifts. The pressure was on to fulfill these requests despite the fact that they had a negative impact on our older child’s attachment.
Fast forward a few years, and our older child’s attachment issues had settled down. However, the holiday season continued to be overwhelming for all three of our children, especially with our older children facing their grief and loss that comes with every November.
It became clear that not only did we need to let go of our own expectations of the holiday season (after all, what prospective parent doesn’t dream of perfection). However, we also had to educate our friends and family about their expectations and that our children would not act or behave in a “typical way”. Our children may not be able to express gratitude upon receiving multiple gifts but might actually seem overwhelmed or ungrateful. Our children might be anxious to attend holiday events with family and friends rather than seeming excited.
It was a long road and each holiday season brings progress for us as a family. We have learned to be in tune with the needs of our children so that we can support their needs and feelings throughout this time.
Thanks to the hard work of everyone in our family of five, we’ve found ways to make the holidays a success, from avoiding crowded events to coaching our kids at family gatherings. We get into the spirit early and build slowly.
From our family to yours, we hope you find happiness in the holidays this year!