Let’s face it: the holidays are a difficult time for everyone. It’s stressful to please even the closest people in your life, and December brings a flurry of frenzied shoppers and bustling city streets. Boutiques tempt buyers with promises of sales, flashy new items, and the hottest new brands. Merchandise is visible wherever you look: from billboards to online advertisements. Winter brings an oncoming storm of commercialism, and the never-ending payments are often a symptom of living in America. This year, heed the Latin proverb caveat emptor –“buyer beware.”
Try to remember your very first Christmas, Hanukkah, or festive family tradition. As the snowy morning light crept through your window, you felt a rush of excitement as you sprang to greet your family downstairs. The early evening brought flickering fires and tales of holidays past. When your relatives wandered over to greet you, you eagerly presented them with a gift you’d been hiding for weeks. You couldn’t wait to see their faces light up with joy.
When we’re young, the “true meaning” of the holidays is quite clear. As we grow up, materialism overwhelms us. This year, practice gratefulness by honoring those close to your heart. Make sure to remember your child’s birth parents — the ones who started it all. Without them, your holiday season would be drastically different. That’s why we’re counting down the five ways to honor birth parents before the decade comes to an end.
1. Remember their Roots
Holidays bring a surge of emotion, and it’s not always positive. We feel lucky for our loved ones, but we also remember those that are no longer around. Throughout the month, children may ponder their past, prompting questions about their birth parents. The holiday season leaves many birth parents lonely and isolated. Past memories resurface, and they may linger on the absence of their child. Large families in holiday movies — from It’s a Wonderful Life to Home Alone — are a constant reminder of their loss.
Commemorating your child’s birth parents can be as easy as a quick conversation. Remind your child of their roots. Acknowledge the sacrifices made by your son or daughter’s birth parents. Signify the importance of remembrance by hosting a small ceremony for them. Light a candle by their photo, put their ornament on the tree, or plant a small flower for them.
Honoring your child’s birth parents also means paying tribute to the ancestors before them. By recognizing the birth parents’ cultural background, you are valuing your child’s heritage. Exposing your child to two traditions doesn’t need to be complicated. You can let your child light both the menorah and the Christmas tree lights.
2. Memories Matter
Memorializing someone, in its most basic sense, means making memories with that person. If your child’s adoption was open or semi-open, consider reaching out to the birth parents this holiday season. Even if nothing ever comes to pass, the invitation will indicate how much you respect and cherish them.
One hour with a birth parent holds an infinite range of possibilities and gives your child an endless archive of memories. Take your child to a frozen rink, and marvel at the figure skaters performing pirouettes on the ice. Grab a peppermint hot chocolate or eggnog latte, and exchange stories at your local café. Take a forest stroll and snap hundreds of pictures as your child builds his or her millionth snowman of the season. Years from now, your child will pass by a similar snowman, and smile fondly whilst remembering winters past.
3. Sharing is Caring
Signaling your respect for your child’s birth parents can be as simple as sharing a piece of your life with him or her. Most birth parents want to know that their child is happily thriving. Send a short video of your child’s choir performance. Send a postcard from your family vacation. Mail printed photos of your little one’s first day of school.
When you keep birth parents updated on their child’s life, they don’t feel quite as forgotten. Incorporating them into your everyday life is more straightforward than it might seem.
4. It’s the Thought that Counts
Even just a small gift can mean the world to your child’s birth parents. It lets them know that you thought about them during one of the busiest times of the year. A small necklace or framed picture symbolizes something much greater: a sustained bond between two families.
A DIY present is just as special as something store-bought, if not more. Bust out your brightest markers, construction paper, and golden glitter. You could frame your child’s hand print or his or her daily doodles. If your child is old enough, he or she could even write a little card and address it to his or her birth mother. Make sure to make a copy for yourself and hang it on the fridge!
5. Future Families
If you’re reading this, it’s safe to assume that adoption has changed the course of your life. Without adoption, you wouldn’t be able to celebrate two beautiful families. By cherishing both aspects of your child’s identity, you indirectly honor the adoption process as a whole.
Honor your child’s birth parents by making a donation. This selfless act could fuel nationwide efforts to place children in safe homes. It lights the way for future families to find one another. What better way to commemorate the powerful sacrifices made by your child’s birth parents?
Honor Birth Parents: A Lifelong Connection
Impart upon your children the famous wisdom of Dr. Seuss. In the classic holiday tale, the Grinch ponders the real meaning of Dec. 25: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means… a little bit more.” This holiday season, don’t be a Scrooge. Honor the timeless blessing of family, and thank the ones that started it all.
Although December is a month of giving, you shouldn’t reserve just 31 days to honor birth parents. Their love and sacrifice transcend a set time period. Celebrate your child’s birth parents throughout the year. Your gratitude encourages others to find the same love in their hearts. Isn’t that what family is all about?
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Kenneal Patterson is a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. She is honored to work with Adoption Choices, and hopes that her journalism will inspire others to be more empathetic and kind. She thinks that writing can convey important messages of hope and love, and wants to share these messages with others.
Kenneal spends her summers at home in Golden, Colorado, with her many cats and dogs. She is eternally grateful to those who read her work!
Destiny Adoption Services. “Five Ways How to Honor Birth Parents During the Holidays.” Destiny Adoption Services, 28 Dec. 2018, destinyadoption.com/five-ways-to-honor-birth-parents-during-holidays/.
“How to Honor Your Child’s Birth Family This Holiday Season.” Adoption Star, www.adoptionstar.com/honor-childs-birth-family-holiday-season/.