Okay, so it seems like the topic of "to include or not to include" keeps coming up with me and my friends a lot lately. Do we include our referred (but not home) children in all of the Christmas traditions of our homes? Do we buy presents for them? Hang stockings? Get them an ornament? Hold a picture up of your referral in your holiday photo? What do you do???
I've mentioned a few times that this is our second go 'round with waiting over Christmas with a child already referred but not home. The first time was admittedly MUCH harder because we were waiting for our first child. But I *thought* this time would be easier than it actually is. It's really hard not having Bright home during this very special time of year for our family.
As scary and "dangerous" as it feels sometimes, I feel like I MUST include our referred child into the holiday as much as possible. Bright isn't home yet but I've claimed him as my son in my heart. I love him deeply. [I used to wonder if what I was feeling for Taevy before we met her was love, but it really was. You definitely CAN love your referred child before you ever meet them. It's different, but it's real love.] If he's my son in my heart I feel like I've got to treat him as such in "real life" too--even if there is a potential that something could go horribly wrong and he never actually comes home.
So what do we do? Attached you can see Bright's stocking--hanging in the middle of everybody else's in the family. He also has one hanging at my mom's house (where Santa visits and brings things for each grandchild). Also, my mom had a family ornament for us made, including Bright's name. When we were waiting for Taevy to come home (our first) we bought her some gifts (and my mom did too) and we opened them on her behalf on Christmas day. For Bright we haven't bought any gifts, but I know my mom has probably purchased a few things for him. I also bought him an ornament (a star) that will be labeled with "Bright--First Christmas in Our Heart--2006." Next year his ornament will say "Bright--First Christmas Home--2007." Since traditional "First Christmas" ornaments don't really fit, we've found that this method feels "right" to us. This is his first Christmas in our family, as far as we are concerned. He just isn't home yet.
I think the thing holding me back from buying things for Bright is that we really don't know how old he will be when he gets home. Toys appropriate for him now are not the same as the toys appropriate for him 6-8 months from now (when I have a feeling he will finally be home). The most painful thing we did when we were waiting for Taevy was fill the closet up with clothes that we then had to be fearful about her outgrowing. So we aren't doing that with Bright. It will just be an extra fun (and expensive) few weeks before we go and pick him up! We haven't set up a crib for him, because we're not sure we'll need one by the time he gets home. Everything will be very last minute. Hmmm...getting off topic here.
Anyway, I just want to put it out there that I don't think there is any "right" way to get through the holidays with a child in your heart but not in your home. Each of us need and can handle different things. I just wanted to share what we do. And hopefully I'll hear from some of you how you incorperate (or don't!) your referred child into your holiday season.