The holidays are the perfect time to express our love for our family — both birth and adoptive! This year, start incorporating adoption into your annual holiday traditions with these 7 simple practices:

1. Light a candle.

Say a prayer, express your gratitude, or just reflect on the reasons why you love the people in your life who are there because of adoption. Create a quiet tradition that allows you to gather with your loved ones and reflect on birth family, adoptive family and adopted children.

2. Send something in the mail.

Gifts don’t have to cost much! Sometimes the best way to let the members of your adoption triad know that you’re thinking of them is to collect some photos, write a letter or have the kids draw them a picture, and send it all in the mail.

Talk about the year, update them on your life, or just tell them that you love them and are thinking of them.

3. Make space for sad feelings.

The holidays can bring a mix of emotions for many people. Remember that it’s okay if not all of those feelings are happy. 

Adoptees may feel sad around this time of year when thinking about their birth family. Birth parents may feel the loss of their birth child more keenly. And adoptive parents may grieve the losses the birth parents and their child have felt.

The best way to honor these feelings is to talk about them together, and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel both happy and sad about adoption.

4. Pick up the phone.

A phone call on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day can mean the world to the members of your adoption triad. Even sending a text with a photo is an easy way to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

5. Schedule a visit.

If your open adoption includes visits, the holidays are the perfect time of year to get together. Just make sure that you try to book your visit in advance — we all get busy during this season!

Grabbing lunch, going to see Santa together, or taking a walk to see the lights are all simple ways to catch up in person. In fact, we have a whole list of open adoption holiday visit ideas.

We’re all trying to find ways to safely connect as we navigate the holidays in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. So, consider making this year’s visit virtual!

6. Make an ornament.

Every year, get crafty and make an ornament. It could be painted, feature a photo of your child from that year, or follow a theme! Send it to the members in your adoption triad or hang it on your own “memory tree,” then watch them add up throughout the years.

7. Retell the adoption story.

Adoption isn’t a one-time conversation. It should be a commonplace and celebrated topic in your home. This season is often a time to reflect on the past, as well as look to the future. 

So, this is the perfect time to re-tell your child’s adoption story. If possible, birth and adoptive parents can join together (even if it’s just virtually) to tell the story and express the love they continue to feel. The holiday season is all about expressing love and gratitude for family of all kinds!

What are your family’s favorite holiday traditions? How do you find ways to honor adoption during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments!