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Adoption Blog: Straight to Bunk Beds

A First Christmas at Home
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This holiday season held special meaning to our newly blended family: It was the first Christmas at home for our nine-year-old son since he was adopted last winter.  It meant that he looked on with eager anticipation of all the flurry of activity that is associated with Christmastime in our house: winter break from school, shopping, baking cookies, crafts at home, a Christmas program at school, a visit to Santa… so many new traditions to take in for a child.

Decorating the Christmas tree is something our family looks forward to every year. My husband brings boxes out from storage, and we put the ornaments on one at a time - reminiscing about where we were when we received the ornaments. Many were made by our 12-year-old at school when he was so very little up through last year. Many were our own little craft projects at home. Many were gifted to us by friends and family we adore. Some were presents from teachers throughout the years. Others we hand-select to remind us of something special that happened during the year. So many memories wrapped up in our Christmas boxes…

This year as we went through the box, our nine-year-old was as delighted as the rest of us to pull out the Batman ornament from the year our oldest fell in love with that superhero. And the oh, so many sports team ornaments from all of our favorite teams. When we started telling the story about the painted teddy bear ornament made when our oldest was just two years old, in preschool, he was amused that his big brother could ever have been that little.

But then his face changed a bit. “Mama, I would make you bumps [ornaments] too if I could be here when I was little.” [Insert Mama trying not to cry here.] Yes. Yes, you would have made us a tree full of memories if you were here for the first years of your life.

Then he pulled out the precious ornament commemorating our 12-year-old’s early-years obsession with penguins. It’s similar to one that many families might have on their tree—three penguins in a row, personalized with our names painted underneath. “But what about me, Mama? Where am I?” So many reminders for our new son that we were a family of three before a family of four. “Maybe we can leave a few ornaments off this year,” I tell him as I gently pack that ornament back in the box.

As we all sat back looking at the finished tree in the living room, I jumped up from the couch, mentioning that there was one last ornament to put on the tree.

I came back with a little box with a brand new ornament in it… a tiny snow globe that was personalized with our nine-year-old’s name on it. His beam was greater than the lights on the Christmas tree!

Since we put up the tree, our youngest has already started adding more ornaments of his own. A present from his third grade teacher. A lollipop ornament he made in class. A candy cane ornament he made at home. A gift from his Great-Grandmother on Christmas Day.  Memories of a first Christmas at home.


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Sarah Kussow

Sarah Kussow

Minnesota

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