This guest post is by Alana Redmond, a legal content writer.
An open adoption is a very special opportunity for a child to grow up in a network of love and support from both parents.
The holidays are an even more important time to spend with loved ones and share memories that will last a lifetime.
Every open adoption is different so it’s important to consider a few factors before jumping full-swing into the holiday season.
Communication is Key
Having an open communication with your child’s biological parents will be a crucial part of having a smooth holiday season.
Ensuring your schedules are all planned out well in advance can save a lot of trouble for both sets of parents.
When working with your child’s birth parents, always remember that your child comes first. Ask yourself what holiday experience is best for your child?
Typically, many families have to travel during the holidays so it’s important to be efficient and consider your child’s school schedules and travel times.
Work Out Plans With Birthparents
Every open adoption is different. In some cases, a birth parent might not have the funds to travel during the holidays or your child’s birth parent might have to work and are unable to take the time off.
Every situation is unique, but it’s important to always put your child first.
The holidays are a perfect time for giving. If you have the funds to help out your child’s birth mother with travel fees—consider it this holiday season!
It may not be on the top of your list, but it could mean the world for her and your child.
Consider Other Birthfamily Members
When it comes to having other members of your child’s birth parents visit always take care of the arrangements ahead of time.
Organization, pre-planning and communication will help the holiday season run as smoothly as possible.
You will be faced with a series of questions: What behavioral impact does contact with your child’s birth parents have? Are they supportive and excited to see you and your child? Does your child want to see their birth family?
A post-TPR visit can have a major impact on your child’s behaviour both in school and at home.
Talk with your child about the relationship they want with their birth parents.
This won’t be an easy conversation, but it will be a crucial building block for how their future will go. Be supportive and give them as much time as they need to think about it.
In some instances, having the extended family at a distance may allow more time for you and your child to bond with the birth parents.
If you are planning one of your first holiday seasons with your child’s birth parents, it might be best to keep it intimate and avoid inviting other people.
Create Traditions and Get Creative
For birth parents, the holidays can be a very tough time. This year, make it your mission to work with the birth parents to start creating traditions that will last a lifetime.
This could be something as easy as getting together for Thanksgiving dinner or attending Christmas Eve mass together.
Cooking and baking together is also a wonderful chance for you to bond with your child’s adoptive parents.
Cooking has many proven benefits that allow people to connect on an intimate level and it allows you to focus on the simple things. In addition, the American Institute for Cancer Research explains that cooking with your children results in an increase in self-esteem, creativity, cultural awareness, curiosity, team work, acceptance, and ultimately bonding.
Here are a few other fun ways to create new holiday traditions with your child’s birth parents:
Go On An Outing
The pumpkin patch or an apple orchard is a great place to let your little ones loose. Small moments away from your child can be a good time to have an adult conversation between you and your child’s birth parents. Whether you’re planning your next visit together or just having a casual adult discussion, these conversations will be great for relationship building.
After you return from your visit to the orchard or pumpkin path, take it a step further and bake a pie or make some cookies! This fun and tasty tradition will be something the whole family will be able to enjoy.
Plan a Gift Exchange
A Secret Santa gift exchange or white elephant party can be a very fun way to mix families and create funny memories. Secret Santas are perfect because they are light hearted, inclusive and allow you to place a cap on how much money is spent on each gift.
Arts and crafts are a fun and relatively cost efficient tradition to start with your child and their adoptive parents. They could include painting, decorating a Christmas ornament or making a candle –the possibilities are endless!
Whatever traditions you and your child’s birth parents decide, it’s important to stick to them!
Being consistent will not only make them feel more appreciated, but your child will benefit from these lifelong memories shared together.
Every open adoption is different—in each situation both parents need to set boundaries, plan and make a holiday schedule that works for both families.
Being open, honest and well prepared can allow both families to come together and let loose. Having a well prepared plan before you meet up with your child’s birth parents and releasing any expectations will help things run much more smoothly.
As the holidays draw nearer, remember it’s a time for family and giving. Embrace every moment with your loved ones and have fun!
Alana Redmond is a legal content and child safety writer who works with Farah & Farah and several other law firms across the country.
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