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First Christmas with Adopted Child: How Can We Create New Traditions and Include Our Existing Children?

First Christmas with Adopted Child: How Can We Create New Traditions and Include Our Existing Children?

By Michelle K. Forgey LMHC, LPC, RPT, MA Crosswinds Therapist

 

Oh, the holidays. It’s a time for rejoicing, celebrating, laughing, getting family and friends together, mourning the loss of loved ones not present, and dealing with all of the stress of having so many people together! Holidays can bring some of the most utmost joy along with some of the most dramatic times…if you know what I mean. Every family has their own traditions that help to form amazing memories.

However, this holiday season is different-you have now added this wonderful addition to your family and you want to develop new traditions without sacrificing the ones you have made with your family. How do you do this task that can at first seem so daunting? First off, you talk about it. I know, I know not exactly rocket science, but it works. Trust me. After all, you are reading this blog. Talk with your adopted child and see if he or she has any traditions from before that he/she would like to include. Including traditions that your new adopted child had in the past will help to develop a special bond amongst family members and let your adopted child know it is okay to talk about the past. It can be hard to learn all of the new traditions of a new family and can often leave the child feeling lonely. This simple sweet gesture can go a really long way in making a child feel like he or she belongs.

The next step you can take is having a family meeting. The family meeting doesn’t have to take hours or be anything super formal. Just take some time to have everyone share something they like about the holiday and their favorite traditions. Make sure to give everyone the chance to share and to not let one person dominate the conversation. Be certain that you share some of your favorite memories as well. After everyone has shared, then have everyone decide on a new family tradition that they would like to start this year. You can have everyone try to come up with ideas. If your family is anything like my family, you may need to have a few suggestions of your own. It can be anything from getting a new ornament every year, watching a movie
together, making a special food, playing a game, etc.

I know you may be thinking, “How am I possibly going to fit one more tradition into our already hectic holiday schedule, let alone get everyone to agree?” I get it. Holidays are hectic. I want to encourage you to challenge your thinking from “How am I going to fit this in” to “How awesome it is we get to have another tradition.”

Changing your thinking will, in turn, change your feelings and then your actions. This will help you to enjoy every moment and not just wish the holiday season away. Sit down and look at your schedule…maybe there is a Christmas party you
can miss or maybe do the tradition on a free morning etc. The important thing to remember is that the entire family needs to help choose a tradition and that you implement it. If you can’t decide on just one tradition, then maybe try a few. After you have tried them, then decide which one you want to keep and which one you want to leave behind. May this be the best holiday season for you and your family! This is a time of new beginnings while honoring the past! Enjoy every moment.