Something that seems to be common amongst adoptive families is tough holidays. It is prone to make one grinchly be heard to say “holidays schmolidays”!! It is hard to watch the warm, sweet commercials with huge family dinners, perfect present giving, and snowball fights when you are trying to hold a child together who is struggling. And a family who longs for those moments.
I recently read an article by Empowering Parents – titled “Don’t compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides”. This is something my husband and I have learned the hard way. Lately, the catch phrase that also explains this is – “everyone is going through something”. It just seems when your 15 yr old rudely walks right by the man at church extending his hand in greeting, our something is visible!
So instead of having another pity party here, maybe I can give you some insight into why our kiddos hate holidays! (this list is by no means exhaustive). As they say, knowledge is power. Even if it is the power for you to give us adopted moms an extra hug this Christmas season!
- Learned behavior at holidays from bio family. This is self explanatory. If dad got blasted and beat up mom on Christmas Eve, why wouldn’t adopted family do this. Their best defense is almost always a good defense! That is why routine is vital to them. Their chaotic previous life induces sheer fear when anything out of the norm happens. Yep, PTSD.
- Rejection theory. I wasn’t good enough for bio family to keep me (trust me there is little logic in their back-of-the-brain thinking) so I am sure not good enough for you to either. This attitudes comes in all sizes and shapes. Isolation, hostility, violence – sabotage mostly. Which leads to…
- If I wasn’t kept, I must have done something wrong. (I HATE this one btw! Because of course they didn’t do anything wrong, its the bio family who messed up). You also can’t explain this wasn’t their fault even in the kindest terms regarding the bios. This is where the healing must begin for them. And that is a hard row to hoe, the healing road.
A few disclaimers, my friends. Not all adoptive kids have these issues, more foster/adopt kids do than not. Attachment is just beginning to be understood and most professionals are slow to acknowledge this is actually a mental issue.
And so my friends, our outsides are messy and so are our insides. But mostly, so are these young lovelies. Please give us your grace, prayers, and our kiddos your understanding if our season is not so “bright”.