Many children thrive on routine, especially adopted kids. Holidays, while fun, can be a time of chaos, with many interruptions to the normal routine. This can be stressful to the whole family, and it's tempting to let a gray cloud loom from Thanksgiving to New Year's.
But holidays can also be a time to practice intentional inclusiveness.
We have several nativity sets, but our Chinese nativity is especially precious to me because it says to my girls, "We blend our traditions with your birth culture. You matter. Chinese faces have value."
Once children are old enough to really grasp the Biblical Christmas story, adopted kids may have another component to their difficulty with the holiday. Everybody is celebrating a mom having a baby. Moms have babies. Most moms keep their babies. Why couldn't my mom keep me?
When I first started adding adoption related or China related ornaments to our family Christmas tree, I wondered, "Am I pushing it? Should I just let Christmas be about Christmas?" But then I realized, for many kids, they're already thinking about their adoption. Let's create an atmosphere where it's acceptable for them to do that.
Hannah and Katie really got into decorating the tree this year with all their special ornaments. I know, the day will come when I'll see an ornament that's just perfect for one of them that has nothing to do with adoption. And that's okay.
Adoption doesn't define them. Being Chinese doesn't define them.
My girls will grow up remembering new pajamas every Christmas Eve. They'll remember cinnamon rolls and orange juice for breakfast every year after stockings on Christmas Day.
And hopefully, they'll remember feeling accepted and loved for who they are. Multi-faceted, precious, Chinese American, adopted, funny, smart, beautiful, talented girls. In a big, crazy family.
We have another special tradition that we keep every year involving a nativity set, as well. My hope is that as our flock of animals grows and grows, it will be a visible reminder to all my children that Christmas is a time of giving to others. In honor of the greatest Gift ever given.
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