Holding Space for Adoptees During the Holidays

Adopting as a single parent

For adoptees, the holidays can sometimes be a hard time as they can stir up a wide range of feelings. As a parent, it is essential to think ahead and be prepared around the holiday season to care for your adoptee well. Here are some ways you can hold space for your adoptee during the holidays.

Acknowledge missing family. 

During the holiday season, your adoptee may be wrestling with feelings of disconnection with your family. The holidays are often a time when family and friends gather, and that can stir up feelings of sadness or loss associated with their biological family. Simply acknowledging that your child may be feeling this is important in allowing them to feel seen. Additionally, make sure to validate the realness of those feelings.

Be mindful of the language used by extended family. 

If your family is around relatives or friends during the holiday, be mindful that people are using positive adoption language. Additionally, don’t hesitate to correct others and use it as an opportunity to teach and challenge misconceptions about adoption. 

Establish boundaries. 

There may be certain family members or even relative’s homes that feel unsafe for your adoptee for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe these individuals ask personal adoption-related questions or make comments that feel hurtful. Having conversations about boundaries around the holidays is crucial so you can make and arrange plans that keep your adoptee feeling safe and comfortable. 

Set aside time for reflection. 

Knowing that your adoptee may be working through a lot of hard feelings during the holidays provides you with an opportunity to pause and connect. Setting aside time to talk about these feelings, whether they are about missing biological family members or feeling like they don’t fit in, can be so important. Although it’s a busy time, be intentional about carving out time to connect and check in with your adoptee. 

While the holidays are often a time many look forward to, some adoptees may struggle during this time. Do your best to find ways to partner with your adopted child to make sure they feel safe, seen, and supported during the holiday season. Creating a space for them to share and work through their feelings is one of the best things you can do as an adoptive parent.

By: Ramya Gruneisen 

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