Adoption Holiday Blues

    At some point we all experience the holiday blues no matter who we are, whether it was a breakup, a divorce, or a death in the family. But specifically for adopted children, the holiday blues are about missing a child’s birth family, rejection, and celebrating a day that is not always so “merry” for everyone. There is nothing worse than being forced to jingle bells when you have the weight of Santa’s sleigh on your shoulders.

    Every year around Christmas time I would cry myself to sleep every night praying to God that He would reunite me with my birth family for Christmas. I was unlike every other child that asked for clothes, shoes, and electronics for Christmas. I asked for my birth family. It was all I would think about during the holidays. Seeing Christmas decorations or hearing Christmas carols used to send me into a downward spiral of depression in an instant. I refrained from going to stores as much as possible in fear that I would have a meltdown and people would think I was crazy. I remember working the 1st shift at a retail store a year ago, and I was in charge of designing the holiday layout that consisted of Christmas trees, animated reindeer and snowmen, and of course an entire section of nativity sets. I felt as if I was being tortured! All I could think of was what did I do to deserve this. I was good all year. Why was I of all people being forced to carry out this job? If only they knew what Christmas did to me or the effects that the holidays has on some adoptees.
    It was 4 am, the store was closed, and I was alone looking at the nativity sets and staring at baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by Mary, Joseph, angels, and shepherds. What a glorious moment it must have been when Jesus was born. Every year at church they make a huge deal about this little baby Jesus. His birth was EVERYTHING. How important He was. At that moment in between the aisles, I began to cry in the store and ask myself why wasn’t it such a glorious day when I was born? Why wasn’t I important enough to my birth mother to keep me? Where were the angels and people in the community to tell my mom how blessed she was that I was born?
    There were no silent nights or sleeping in peace during the holidays. I wanted and needed the holidays to pass on quickly. I didn’t want to be the Grinch every year. It hurt me that I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate the holidays. I wanted so badly to be happy and celebrate with my adoptive family and friends. I had no control over my feelings. The loss of one’s birth family or rejection are feelings that are almost impossible to shake. I concluded that I would not celebrate Christmas ever again until I found my birth family. I thought then I would have found the joy in my world again. I was wrong, though.
    I reunited with my birth family two years ago, and I kept my promise to myself that I would begin to celebrate Christmas. I bought everyone I knew Christmas gifts. I tried to create the perfect Christmas story. However, what I found was that it was even more painful. Those same Christmas songs that made me cry years ago would still trigger childhood memories of rejection and loss. I would open gifts on Christmas day, and I was still sad. I would go back to my room and cry myself to sleep. I thought to myself I was going to have to live with this pain forever. I will never feel that Christmas spirit that I know many people feel when they get excited that Starbucks has the Peppermint Lattes back in stock for the holidays, or when people become excited to put up Christmas decorations at home and work finally. I wanted to be that person badly. I did not want to be the Grinch anymore. I did not want to put on that fake smile for everyone like I was okay. I only wanted to be jolly.
    Earlier this week I was at Starbucks sipping on my Cranberry Bliss White Mocha Latte, a holidays flavor in Japan. You should try it if it is at your Starbucks! I caught myself jamming out to the Christmas songs they were playing. I mean, I was going all in –  bobbing my head, singing, and before I knew it, I threw my arms up as I got into the song. I could not believe not a tear fell out of my eye!

    Sweet baby Jesus! Was I possessed? This couldn’t possibly be me. Usually I would run out of any place that was playing Christmas songs in tears. I sat there for a little while longer sipping my latte and listening to the songs as I looked out the window and stared at families playing around outside. I had the biggest smile on my face. I began to realize many things about myself and both my adoptive and birth family at that moment. Yes, I was abandoned as a baby, but I am still worthy of love and having a family. Yes, I was born on purpose with a purpose no matter my beginnings. I cannot allow the decision of my birth mother or anybody else to dictate or steal my joy. I have spent too many years allowing the Grinch to steal my Christmas.I allowed the decisions of others to make me a prisoner in my body for years refusing to celebrate the holidays and even my birth. This holiday season, I owe it to myself to celebrate family. Family being those that love me, accept me, raised me, and made me the woman I am today. I celebrate my adoptive mom and my sister for they have always loved me. I celebrate being in reunion with my birth family as challenging as it STILL is; I am still grateful for reunion and the gift it is. I celebrate all of you for I am blessed to have your support and love daily. I celebrate the fact that my life will never be perfect. I have suffered loss and trauma from adoption, but it will never define my life. I cannot change the past; however, I can choose my future. I choose to celebrate.

    If you are struggling through the holiday season, I understand your pain. I do. I encourage you to read, How to Cope With the Holiday Blues a post I created to remind me that I will get through the holiday season. I believe you will too.

    Define your joy this Holiday season. Jingle your bells! You have so much to celebrate this holiday season! Look how far you have come this year. It is not about everyone else. It is about you. Find a reason to celebrate this season and CELEBRATE!

    Love you all! Thank you for all for being a gift in my life xoxo

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    Jessenia Arias
    Jessenia Arias
    I'm Jessenia. I am an adult adoptee with 10 years of experience advocating and fostering relationships with adoptees, and over five years of experience teaching adoptive parents how to have a successful and genuine relationship with their adopted child.

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