In my little world, Fall brings all sorts of insanity. It means the holidays aren’t far away and I’m already too far behind on all my Christmas shopping. It also means for me, family photos! With Utah’s ever-changing weather, we never know if the backdrop will be gorgeous golden, orange, and crimson leaves, or the sparkling snow that has no-doubt blanketed the valley only to melt a few days later. I spend at least a week or two obsessing over what clothes we should wear and what colors would look best against whichever backdrop we’re anticipating.

Next comes the list. Oh the list. Which people do we send this to and which do we avoid and hope they don’t notice the lack of card? Heck, I have to admit that there are times (like this year) that I’m dreading doing a card at all. Things feel so out of sorts but I know that as soon as they are ordered and sent I’ll heave a huge sigh of relief.

I remember LT’s first Christmas, we did a card with a TON of pictures for all the moments leading up to the holidays. Our families no doubt felt we did that for them . . . buuuuut we didn’t! It was more for us and for LT’s birth family. Even though they were seeing updates and photos on Facebook and Instagram (God bless social media!) we felt it would be nice to have a tangible representation of those little moments.

While I might be just a little self-absorbed, I feel like LT’s family enjoys them and it helps solidify their feelings that they are our family, not “just” LT’s birth family. I stand by it when I say that we didn’t adopt a little boy, we adopted a whole family, and vice versa.

In addition to a holiday card, each year we put together a year-in-review book. It runs from birthday to birthday. So this year’s book is from LT’s first birthday to his second.  Originally I had sent one book, since last year was the first time, and I was unsure of if it would be more painful or not to see all those photos. Well, I ended up sending a second! So this year I have already ordered two for them, along with this year’s Christmas card.

I think my experience with this is more of the “norm” and holds true for most birth families. They WANT to see those photos. They ENJOY those photos. From the birth mothers I’ve had the pleasure of talking with and observing, I’ve learned that a simple photo along with a text telling her how thankful you are can completely turn the day around, much like the adoptive family forgetting to do so can turn what was once a happy, joyous time into a complete and total day from hell.

So this holiday season, no matter your faith/religion/etc., please take a moment to reach out and send those photos, cards, and—if you can—a big ol’ photo book!