The holidays are a time for family and celebrating. They are a time for creating memories and reflecting on the year. But for some, the holidays can also be a painful time. For those who have lost a loved one, Christmas can be a hurtful reminder and a time that highlights that loss.
For waiting parents who do not yet have children to celebrate Christmas with, everywhere they turn, there are reminders of the dream that for them has not yet come true. Another holiday without a child’s stocking to hang or the excited sounds of glee on Christmas morning can feel crushing.
For parents who have a child waiting for them in an orphanage halfway around the world, having to celebrate without them creates a void that cannot be filled until that child is safely in their arms.
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If you know a family who is waiting this Christmas, here are some things you can do to make it less painful for them.
- Acknowledge it. Don’t pretend this is just another Christmas for them. Acknowledge that you know that this must be hard for them.
- Ask them questions. It’s better to ask them questions like “would you like to attend Jill’s Christmas concert or would that be too painful for you?” than to assume they don’t want to come and not extend the invitation or to pretend that they wouldn’t have mixed feelings and invite them casually. Ask them how they are coping through the holidays.
- If they have been matched with a child but that child is not yet with them, include that child in your celebrations. If you give gifts to the other nieces/nephews or grandchildren, have a gift for that child wrapped under the tree as well. To the family, this child is every bit the same in their hearts as the children who are present.
- Even if they haven’t been matched, consider doing something for the family that acknowledges the path they are on. Giving them an adoption ornament for their tree can be a beautiful gesture.
- Give them some grace. The road to adoption isn’t an easy one and the holidays can highlight some of the harder feelings that go along with it.
Be there for them. Acknowledge the pain that they may be feeling to either be without a child on Christmas or be without THEIR child and just give them a bit of extra love.
If you’re a waiting adoptive family, what have others done or said for you that have helped you through hard times like the holidays?
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