#BeABlessing – Supporting Foster and Adoptive Families Through the Holidays

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Many of us look forward to the holiday season. We anticipate all of the things that we love...crisp weather, favorite seasonal foods, and family traditions. As you know, not everyone shares the same sentiment. Often the memories of previous holidays for children from hard places are overshadowed by chaos, financial struggles, and substance abuse. How can we best celebrate this season while also honoring the challenges others might be facing?

Here are a few suggestions for a holiday visit with the foster or adoptive family you have committed to support:

Take cues from the kids: It’s wonderful you’re excited and there’s no harm in helping promote a loving and fun season for the kids you support! However, if a child seems to be in a different emotional space, instead of trying to cheer her up through activity or enthusiasm, try meeting her where she’s at. The more you can align yourself with the emotions a child is experiencing, the more healing and holiday joy you’ll bring a child.

Check your expectations at the door: The more plans and expectations you have for holiday festivities, the more pressure you create for the child and family. Overstimulation, a busy schedule, or stress created while creating the picture perfect event may overwhelm a child to the point of shutting down or experiencing an emotional outburst. Outlining details of upcoming events while maintaining flexibility will meet the child’s need for structure and provide margin for him to enjoy some downtime if needed.

Allow kids to create traditions: To empower a child to feel like they have role in the family, ask her about favorite past traditions. If she cannot recall a positive memory about the holiday, brainstorm favorite foods that could be integrated into the menu. Determine hobbies the child enjoys such as baking, making crafts, decorating, organizing, singing and engage them in corresponding holiday activities. Spending time together with help build your relationship as well as create memories that will last!

Provide extra support for parents: Support for parents comes in many different forms! Maybe it would be beneficial for the foster or adoptive parents to have a holiday date night during this season of busyness. There might be fancy Christmas parties they would attend if you provided child care. Perhaps parents would appreciate a Christmas shopping date. Support could also mean providing an extra meal or relieving them of being responsible for the turkey.

Give the gift of quality time: Instead of buying technology gadgets or individual toys, give the family a game they can play together. A zoo membership or a mountain train ride also provide great experiences for the family to have together.

As we celebrate the blessings the Lord has given to us, let us also be a blessing to those around us who may be struggling through the holiday season.

By Megan Magel

Tags: Blog Support

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