Kris’ Corner – Navigating the Holidays with Biological Families

by Andra Martinez

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I want to take a minute to address navigating them with biological families.

I’ll be the first to admit that I *might* not have handled our holiday experiences as well as I would have liked. But, I am hopeful that you can (once again) learn from my shortcomings.

Here’s the thing…on our first Christmas with our son, he had only been with us a handful of months.  But, I already felt as though he was ours. At that point we did not know that our relationship would culminate in adoption but I felt very possessive. I was also frustrated that he was given time with biological parents, specifically at Christmas.

What I failed to realize was it was THEIR first Christmas with him too. He was a baby who was born in early summer.

So please take a moment and chew on that. It was their first Christmas with him too. How must that have felt to be apart for their ONLY CHILD on his FIRST CHRISTMAS?

Thankfully, in spite of my possessiveness, I did not refuse to share. Honestly, I don’t know what that would have accomplished anyway. The biological parents had several hours of visitation on Christmas Eve (because that’s when the visit supervisor was available). I had him Christmas evening and all day Christmas Day…so clearly I had more than my “fair share”.

Today, I wish what I had done was send a gift to the biological parents, from him. And I wish that I had sent them a Christmas card and a picture of him dressed up for Christmas. I wish that I would have given them all the things that parents would want for their child’s first Christmas. Even if they didn’t keep it and even if it made them angry. I regret that I did not show more compassion.

It wasn’t until the adoption was finalized that I realized the error in my attitude and thinking.  Today, I rely on snail-mail to inform her about what we are doing, especially during the holidays.

So, I guess my encouragement to you is this: try to put yourself in the biological parents’ shoes. How would you feel without your child on a holiday? Can you imagine Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter without your kids? How about birthdays…both yours and your child’s? These are times when we are with family, and to be missing your child…it’s a heartbreaking thought. Not that a picture, or a craft, or a gift can fill that void. But, at least it lets the parents know that they are thought of, and loved…even if it’s from a distance.

I am in no way implying that this is easy to do. These children have experienced hurt, pain, trauma and neglect. And so it’s hard to be loving and caring towards the people who inflicted the pain. But, they are still biologically related to the child, whether the child remains with you forever or not. And depending on the child, they may very much want to still have that connection with their biological family. So their inclusion (whatever that looks like for you and your family’s situation) is a good way to do that.

Sincerely,

Kris