Birth Family

Honoring and Celebrating Family Connections

Holidays are a time for connecting with loved ones and provide the opportunity for time travel – we visit our past, experience the present, and set intentions for the future. It’s easy to think about the family members we see and touch base with regularly. But what about those who were part of your child’s life before they were part of your family? It could be birth or foster families, orphanage caregivers, or early childhood friends. Even if your child was too young to remember these relationships, they are an important part of your child’s history and who they are today. Finding ways to bring their birth family, birth culture, and past into the present is important for deepening your relationship with your child.

Be imaginative about honoring those connections. The rituals and traditions you create with your child can be tangible and concrete, like putting together a Lifebook that has pictures of those important people, sending letters and cards, or setting up a visit. If you don’t have direct contact, the rituals can be symbolic. Go for a walk in the park where you first decided to adopt; eat the favorite food of that important person every Thanksgiving; collect stones from important places in your child’s life. The smallest detail can have a huge impact on your child now and in the future. Remember, be creative and make it a special tradition that is unique to your family. Your child might not like or understand the meaning of the rituals now, but it is important that you’re doing all that you can do to document and celebrate your child’s past so they can cherish it in the future. When you honor those who are connected to your child, you are honoring your children, their story, and your family’s roots.

Spence-Chapin offers a variety of community programs and events to support your family. Whether it be parent coaching, counseling, mentorship program for teens/tweens or adoptive family playgroups, we're here for you. Visit www.spence-chapin.org/community-counseling to learn more or contact us at 646-539-2167 or postadoptionservices@spence-chapin.org.

Modern Family Center Grand Opening

The Modern Family Center's counseling services, groups, and kids programming offer a relational approach that accepts, celebrates, and helps complex families grow, heal, and build the lives they want.

Finding Birth Family Online

There was an excellent feature on ABC News on June 25th about how Facebook is impacting the world of adoptive and birth families. As I pointed out in my article in Adoptive Families magazine on the same topic, individuals now have access to each other without the support or preparation that can be so helpful in negotiating these new relationships. While openness is a wonderful opportunity for all members of the adoption triad to know each other and understand their shared path, relationships are never easy and often fraught with emotional landmines. Teenagers are particularly prone to jumping in rather than slowly building these relationships. Parents need to keep communication going about what their kids are feeling and wanting to do in relationship to their birth family.