6 Ways to Survive the Holidays With Newly Adopted Children
Everybody wants the holidays to be perfect. If this is your first holiday season with your adoptive child, here are some suggestions on how to celebrate as a new family.
- Recognize your child’s past holidays. Look for ways to integrate your child’s past holiday traditions into your own. The perfect holiday season may not happen, but you have the opportunity to create new traditions for your family.
- Talk to your child. The season can bring a flood of emotions for your child. It is important to provide an open line of communication in which you ask your child what he or she would like to see for the holidays. For example, if large groups cause anxiety for your adopted child, be open to changing it up and keeping the celebration small for the first season.
- Accept the grieving process. Holidays can stir up feelings of loss for your adopted child. If your child is old enough to remember past holidays with his or her biological family, be aware that these memories will carry over to this holiday season. Allow your child to work through his or her sadness.
- Be mindful of how your child interprets innocent stories. The emphasis on “being good” for Santa Claus can frighten a child with a history of abuse or neglect. “You’d better not pout, you’d better not cry” may seem to be a harmless line from a song, but adopted children can interpret it to mean they will be sent away.*
- Acknowledge ethnic and cultural differences. Your child may feel like he or she sticks out. One way to ease that sense of difference is to incorporate a special dish or specific ritual that he or she is accustomed to.
- Deal with family. Educate relatives to be sensitive and not ask inappropriate questions. Your child’s story is his own. While relatives may believe they have the right to know, it is perfectly all right to keep your child’s story private.
Now is the time to create new traditions. These can include the addition of new foods, new or different rituals and integration of stories from your child’s past. For more information on this and other topics, follow Sierra Forever Families on Facebook and Twitter.