Monthly Archive for December, 2012

Adoption Holiday Traditions

All families have holiday traditions.  Maybe you decorate your home right after Thanksgiving so that you can have Christmas cheer for the entire month.  Maybe you wait until Christmas Eve to trim the tree with friends and family.  Maybe you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.  Whatever you do during the holidays in your family, the tradition has been passed down for many years and you know what to expect and you look forward to the customs that define your family. 

 

Consider children who come into a home through adoption or foster care.  These children may have grown up with the tradition that was part of their family of origin.  Or maybe the home environment was too chaotic and the holidays were not formally celebrated.  Maybe the child was raised in a family that was of a different religion than yours and celebrated their beliefs differently.  Maybe this is the child’s first holiday with you.

 

As families move forward to adopt a child, please take some time to think about the holidays in a meaningful way for the child placed in your home.  Children who are older that have been placed for adoption through the foster care system carry with them all the past holiday celebrations in which they have participated.  Take some time to discuss what was important to them before you plan your new family holiday.  Including some of the past into your celebration will make them feel more included and at ease. Many family celebrations would not be complete without a certain food, a smell or a song.  Learn how to make these foods, sing these songs and honor the past traditions for your child.

 

Younger children also deserve to learn the traditions of their culture.  Even if this is the first time they are celebrating the holiday, an adoptive family should take the time to discover how the holidays are celebrated in the child’s culture. Incorporating parts of these new customs with the past traditions of the family, creates a new way to honor all members of the family.

Birth Mother support group for the holiday

The holidays are a time where everyone’s thoughts turn to our families. We get together, we exchange presents and share traditions. For the women who have placed a child for adoption, the holidays can be especially difficult. Most of our birth mothers have some sort of open relationship with the family that adopted their child, but most of the time they aren’t included in holiday celebrations. This leaves these women needing extra support and friendship over the holidays. Kinship Center has traditionally had a yearly party to celebrate these women and bring everyone together and to support each other for the holidays.

Kinship Center’s meeting room is transformed into a winter wonderland, with lights, a beautifully decorated tree and presents set out all around. There is a beautiful table with decorations and food and we welcome all who want to come. The women look forward to seeing each other year after year. They hug and catch up with what has happened since the last time they saw each other. Treasured pictures of growing children are exchanged and everyone comments on how cute that child is.

We all eat together and then each woman shares their adoption story, how they are doing and what type of contact they have with the family. There are newcomers every year and they benefit from hearing from women who can mentor them about what to expect over time. Tears are shed and hugs are freely given. It is such an honor to bear witness to these loving women who in difficult times had to make a tough decision. Now we honor them for their choice.

Taping for the yearly adoption show, Home for the Holidays

Kinship Center staff was in the audience at the taping of the annual “Home for the Holidays” show.  For those of you who are interested in adoption, this yearly show is not to be missed.  The show is a celebration of adoption and the families that have opened their home to a child or children.  Having a program that celebrates building families through adoption allows adopted children to feel special and it brings attention to the joyfulness that adoption can bring.  Who wouldn’t like that?

On top of all of the above, you get to hear some amazing musical artists who perform their latest hits between touching stories of adoption.  This year County Music group Rascal Flatts headlined the show.  Also performing was American Idol winner, Phillip Phillips singing his hit song, “Home”.  Melissa Ethridge and Matchbox 20 rocked the show and had the audience on their feet.  X-Factor contestant Rachel Crow is a 14 year old adoptee.  Her adoption story was highlighted and then she belted out a song that displayed her strong voice.

It is a priviledge to be part of the community of adoption.  Kinship Center and our employees that work with the program Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) participate in this event every year.  WWK along with Children’s Action Network make sure that there are children who are available for adoption highlighted within the show.  The hope is that these children are seen for the wonderful, funny and adorable people that they are.  There has been much success with placing these children into homes after this program.

Please take an hour out of your day to sit down and watch this important show.  It will air on CBS on December 19 at 8:00 P.M.  It will entertain you, move you and bring a little more joy to the holiday season.