The holidays can be far from a joyous day of celebration for some adoptees due to adoption loss and trauma. Adoptees may be asking themselves, “What is there to be thankful for? I was given up for adoption by my birth mom, abandoned, not loved; what should I be thankful for?”
I understand your mindset if you are thinking this way. I have spent most of my life as an unhappy adoptee during the holidays. Who wants to celebrate a day of family coming together knowing your birth family is out there somewhere celebrating without you? Not to mention wondering if they are even thinking about you or missing you. It can be painful. It down right hurts to the heart actually, and it may seem like there is not a person in the world that can understand how you are feeling. I want you to know I empathize with you, I have been there, and I have found ways to get through it.
Here are a few tips I used to cope with my holiday blues:
Throw out ALL expectations you may have for the holidays
Forget about all the family traditions you have been brought up with or you see others family and friends have. Look at it this way, with no expectations there are no letdowns and no one can hurt you. There’s no waiting up for people or expecting their phone calls that never come through because ‘their phone died. There is no waiting for them to honk their horn and yell out their window, “I’m here!” hours later because of a so-called flat tire, chocked on a turkey bone, or my dog died story.
Go where YOU are happy and celebrate.
This is your life. Find your happy place. It doesn’t have to be sitting at the dinner table staring at a dead bird or pig no matter how delicious it may look. It doesn’t have to be sitting next to the Christmas tree with candy canes and reindeer praying those deers would dash away. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be with family if it bothers you that much. You have boundaries and it is OK to set them. If you are not happy and it is driving you to depression don’t go to Grandma and Pop’s house or anyone’s house. If your still living with your parents, this would be the perfect time to send them a text, email, or little memo and let them know that you need time and you won’t be making it to wherever they are celebrating. So where is Happy Land for you? Go there. For me, it is typically hanging with the homeless, kids, or even hanging out at a park or a coffee shop. Bottom line, YOU make your HAPPY.
Stay away from alcohol or any bad habits to ease your pain
The holidays are known as a time to drink and celebrate for many; however, for those that are hurting there might be a case of way too much alcohol. “HEY, WHO SPIKED THE EGG NOG”? The truth is, no matter how much you drink or smoke, that temporary feelings won’t take away the deep pain down in your heart. This is the perfect time to pray about whatever you are going through and give it to God. He can give you a permanent solution instead of you giving it to the bad things that can
only offer you temporary peace. You don’t want to do or say anything you will regret for the rest of your life. So no alcohol or smoking if you are using it mask your pain. Always remember, there is peace and hope in God.
Plan your day out
The Key thing is to keep busy. Let’s say the holiday blues come around during Thanksgiving, grab your calendar and every day make it a point to do things you love to do or even work on those awesome goals you have meant to get to. You know, the gym, designing and cutting up a new t-shirt or jeans, start a blog or new business, volunteer, walk your dog, read your Bible and pray, journal, put up more shots on the basketball court. Whatever you want to do that makes you happy. IT IS YOUR DAY!
FOCUS ON YOUR FUTURE HAPPINESS
Here is the thing; you don’t deserve to be unhappy every holiday season. You hold the key to your joy and only YOU can cast away your blues and trade them in for days of joy and peace. You have so much to live for and be thankful for during the holidays. You may not have everything you want in life, but it doesn’t mean that your life is over.
There is always hope for change, dreams to come true, reconciliation between family and friends, and much more. I know for a fact YOU are a gift to someone’s life. Your story, your tears, your experiences, and the fact that you made it through so much already is enough to bless someone with. Someone is looking up to you. There is no greater feeling than that to be thankful for this holiday season. You mean something to someone even if they never said anything to you about it. Trust me. There have been many people in my life that have helped me get through my journey of depression that have no clue that I thank God for them all the time and I will never forget them even if we only met one time or in line at Starbucks, my favorite place.
You deserve happiness, and I pray this holiday season that you make a commitment to give your blues to God in exchange for permanent peace and joy because you deserve it. Smile.
Never forget you are loved and needed in this world.
Are you suffering from the holiday blues? How do you cope?
John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
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I appreciate your perspective – as an adoptive mama of an infant daughter, it provides some food for thought as we raise our daughter and consider what family traditions to initiate and celebrate with her birth mother.
Hi Northern Star! Happy Thanksgiving to you! Thank you for taking the time to read up on adoptees to help you better understand your baby girl as she grows up. You sounds like a pretty awesome mom in my book. Sounds like you are in an open adoption? Raising awareness of adoptee feelings during the holidays has always been important to me because it is one of the hardest times we ever have to experience. I love knowing that their are mom's out there that care enough to take these tips or food for thought moments into consideration. Happy Holidays 🙂
As another adoptive mom, I love this post. My son is old enough to know that something doesn't feel right but too young to be able to vocalize to us what he is going through. Your perspective is very helpful in gaining some insight into why he is acting out and ideas to help him feel more comfortable. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Mama Bear, I love your name. Thank you for sharing that with me and your support. What is important is that you continue to be as open as possible even if it gets tough at times. It would have been much easier for me if my (adoptive) mom talked about it more with me. I grew up feeling like there was something wrong with me. She was always open to share if I asked, but sometimes I wish she would have initiated the conversation because I was always in fear that I would hurt her. She has always wanted what was best for me. Open communication shows that we have nothing to hide or be ashamed of as adoptees. I pray you have a wonderful holiday season with you family and friends. Peace, love, and hugs!