The holidays are a time of good cheer and celebration — family and friends come together in the spirit of the season to make memories, exchange gifts and carry on special traditions. But for birth parents who are not spending the holiday with the child they placed for adoption, the holiday season can also bring difficult feelings of grief and loss.
If you are struggling to stay upbeat this holiday season, know that you are not alone. Here are four suggestions to help you manage difficult emotions during the holidays after you’ve placed a child for adoption.
Take Time to Grieve
Even after you’ve moved through the grieving process, difficult feelings often resurface during the holidays. Whether you need to turn down an occasional event invitation or step outside during a holiday party to take a few deep breaths, there is nothing wrong with allowing yourself to be alone and acknowledge your loss — but it is important not to isolate yourself entirely. Consider joining a birth parent support group, or confide in a close friend or family member who can be your support throughout the holiday season. Recruit someone who will understand if you’re feeling less-than-festive and who can stay close by in case you need encouragement, distraction or a caring confidant during a holiday get-together.
While you might not entirely feel up to a night of caroling or a day of shopping for holiday gifts, getting involved in the season’s festivities may help you get into the holiday spirit. Make plans to spend the holidays with family and friends, or give back by volunteering your time at a local charity. Bake holiday treats and deliver them to friends and family. Carry on old traditions and begin new ones. Scheduling these activities in advance will give you something to look forward to and will help keep you active and involved in the celebration.
Write a Letter
If you have contact with your child and the adoptive family, send a holiday card or letter letting them know you are thinking of them during the holiday season. Tell them about your own holiday plans and the family traditions that you’d like to share with your child. While you may not be able to physically celebrate together, exchanging letters and photos can become a new, special holiday ritual that you share.
Remember Your Reasons for Choosing Adoption
While it may by painful to think of your child spending the holidays without you, it may also help to think of all of the love and joy they are surrounded with this holiday season. Remember your reasons for choosing adoption in the first place and the important role your choice played in making the holidays so special for another family. The parents you chose for your baby likely waited a long time to celebrate the holidays with a child of their own. You gave them, and your child, the most precious and selfless gift that they could ask for — a gift that will endure not only for this holiday season, but through every holiday season from now on.