Everyone expects the holidays to become a little more complicated once you get married. "Who will we spend Thanksgiving with? Where will we have Christmas morning?" As a newly-married couple, if both families are close by, it seems generally expected that you split time between his and hers. Once children come along, maybe it changes a little. If family is at a distance, it becomes more challenging. Do you travel, or do you stay home?
You're with me so far, right?
I got a little of this feeling long before I was married. When I reunited with my birthparents in the summer of 2005, my birthfather immediately expressed his eagerness to include me in his family. He, his wife, and their daughters came to celebrate my birthday with me that fall. They sent me care packages at college. And when the holidays rolled around, they invited me to spend Christmas Eve at my birth grandparents' house, which is one of their big family traditions. Fortunately, my [adopted] family didn't really have any Christmas Eve traditions, so I eagerly agreed. I have spent every Christmas Eve since with my birthdad's family.
Then my husband came along.
We were engaged during the holidays last year, and it made for some interesting moments. You see, my husband's family does have Christmas Eve traditions. My husband was a little reluctant to miss out on them. And his family made no allowances for us--coming from a family of 10 children, if somebody has something else going on, then they just miss out.
I was very grateful to my soon-to-be-husband for making that particular sacrifice. Christmas Eve is, most years, the only time of year that I see my birth grandparents. And as I don't see my birthdad & fam nearly as often as I would like, it's an important occasion with them as well. I know that my husband could tell how much it meant to be. And this year, as we were discussing how to spend our holidays, he treated it as a given, that we would spend Christmas Eve with my birth family. Between you and me, the excellent presents we received there last year probably helped!
Adoption complicates life. There can be no denying that. Yet I continue to feel that adoption makes my life a fuller and more richly rewarding experience, for me, and I hope, for my own little family.