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Unwrapping Holiday Joy and Grief (for Birth Parents)

By Cale Unitas Macke

The holidays are a time of joy and celebration for many, but for birth parents, they can also be a time of grief and sadness. Placing a child for adoption is a difficult and life-changing decision, and the holidays can bring up feelings of loss, longing, and guilt. It is important for birth parents to acknowledge and accept these emotions and to find healthy ways to cope with them. In the following article, we’ll share three wonderful holiday traditions that you can share with both the child and the adoptive family to bring a little more cheer to the season.

With the holidays coming up, you can always reach out to Adoption Choices of Arizona for adoption counseling and support when needed.

Accepting All Emotions During the Holidays

The holidays can be an extremely whimsical time filled with excitement and holiday cheer. It can also be a stressful time spent planning and spending money that we don’t always have. If you have placed your child up for adoption during this season, you may experience entirely different emotions. On the one hand, you may feel a sense of gratitude that your child was able to be brought up in the family they’re in now. You may feel satisfaction that your child is safe and growing up in a happy home, especially if, during the time of your decision, you were unable to provide those resources.

Grief, however, is often a strong feeling felt by birth mothers at this time, especially given the overall sentimentality that these holidays bring about. You want to share their traditions with the family but don’t want to overstep. It is important to remember that you are a part of their life, although it may not always feel that way, and you should plan accordingly; we recommend creating a few traditions (1 at the least) that you can share with the child as well as the adoptive family. 

3 Holiday Traditions To Bring Everyone Together

1. Plan Yearly Visits

This is the most hands-on option, as it allows face-to-face interaction with the child and the adoptive family. Depending on where you live, these meetups can revolve around all kinds of events. These can range from picking out a Christmas tree off the lot to going to light shows or parades or something as simple as gingerbread house decorating contests. Compared to some of the other options below, this one allows for the full spectrum of celebration, from the in-person aspect to being able to communicate freely about your history or overarching feelings to exchanging gifts in real-time. We know, however, that this may not always be in the cards every single year—life is complicated—but if possible, it can be an extremely gratifying ritual. One that you, as well as everyone, will look forward to.

2. Become Pen Pals

This one doesn’t solely have to be tied to holidays, as you can do this year-round, but holidays do allow for additional reachouts. Receiving any sort of gift is always an exciting prospect, especially when you’re a kid. Not only does this option give the child this excitement, but it also allows them to have an entirely personal line of communication with you. Seeing their own unique handwriting and signature is enjoyable on its own, and the fact that it is dedicated to you makes it all the more beautiful. It also allows you to create more memories as you’ll have a physical timeline of your growth. You can also turn it into a scrapbook for a more accessible memento.

3. Create/Send And/or Decorate Ornaments/Decorations Together

As the title suggests, there are a few variations to this idea, depending on your availability or situation. The first variation is creating an ornament for the child on a yearly basis. You can either give it to them in person or send it through the mail. Either option works for connection (it’s always a good 1-2 combo to call them after it has arrived to chat a bit!). If you are able to connect in person, creating an ornament together is a fantastic bonding experience. You can either make your own ornaments or make them for each other; both are fun! All the ideas have one thing in common: creating shared experiences with the child. Whether that be via emails, letters, phone calls, ornament-making, or yearly visits, it’s always about sharing the time we have with them.

Adoption Resources For The Adoption Process

The adoption process can stir up all sorts of emotions, from the good to the bad to the ugly. However, there are a lot of great resources out there for you to use that will bring you peace of mind, acceptance of your feelings, ideas for growth experiences, counseling, and much more

If you are a birth mother considering adoption and seeking information or resources, please visit Adoption Choices of Arizona