Making the Holidays Easier for Your Adopted Children

Holidays can be incredibly overwhelming and disheartening for adopted children. They can make children feel disconnected and empty in comparison to their peers.

“The holidays are always harder on adopted children,” stated Jeffrey A. Lavallee, LMFT, a clinical application supervisor at Island View residential treatment center for adolescents in Utah, which delivers support for adopted children.

If you have an adopted child, be aware that the holidays may be affecting them. They may be thinking about where their biological parents are, how they are observing the holiday, and upset at the fact that they aren’t there to celebrate together.

“Be mindful that it can be harder for the adopted kid during these times than blood siblings, whose biological parents are right downstairs,” Lavallee said. “They sense a little bit of emptiness of these lost people.”

These feelings can lead to higher rates of depression and substance abuse in adopted children, which may be triggered by the extra stress and feeling of disconnection and emptiness that the holidays may bring.

Incorporate Culture

If your family adopted a child of a different ethnicity, there’s a great likelihood that the child’s culture and heritage will get lost unless an attempt is made to keep it. Throughout the holidays, this can be accomplished by incorporating your adopted child’s culture into your family’s celebration. That doesn’t mean completely changing how you celebrate the holidays, however, it does mean making some adjustments so that your adopted child receives a sense of culture and celebration as well.

Understand Their Traditions

If you adopted your child as a newborn or baby, they won’t remember how holidays were celebrated in the past. But should you adopted an older child, inquire what great things that they consider the holidays and try to add those customs to your . Maintaining a few of the traditions from your kid’s past might help reduce their anxiety about the holidays, and create a feeling of relaxation and predictability that they could need.

With parties, food, household and presents, the holidays can become overwhelming. For an adopted child who may not be acquainted with your traditions and your family, it just might be too much and cause unnecessary anxiety.

Keep the holidays simple until your child becomes adjusted to their family. Restrict the amount of parties you attend, the presents you swap and the household you introduce them to. Get a sense of how your child responds to different stimuli before assaulting the holidays like you did before you embraced.

Response Questions Honestly

The holidays are a time of the year when adopted children tend to overlook their families, even if they didn’t know them. It might also be a time when they ask more questions about where they came from, who their families are and why they had been set up for adoption. They might not be ready to hear all details of the situation, therefore tell only what you believe your child would be comfortable hearing.


Your child may be feeling a great deal of different things throughout the holidays, and if they’re shy or not yet comfortable communication with you personally, you may not ever know what they’re thinking. Don’t forget to talk to your adopted child about what the holidays mean to them, what they’re considering and the way they’d like to celebrate. Doing this may result in a more festive holiday celebration for your whole family.

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