Christmas is a holiday filled to the brim with traditions. Some traditions have been passed from generation to generation, and others are new. With the placement of our son, Christmas became filled with new traditions shaped by adoption. Each year, there is a special excitement that comes in the month of December. Here are a few traditions that have been molded by adoption.

Our son was placed with us on December 10, 2010, and we brought him home to Utah from Texas on the 16th, just 9 days shy of Christmas. We affectionately call him our “best Christmas present ever.” Every December, my husband and I tell Harley his adoption story, from beginning to end. We show him photos, letters, and journal entries about his placement. Then, we read a few adoption books, our favorite being God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren. I can’t get through the book without shedding tears.

Each year Harley gets to put together Christmas packages for his birth parents. When he was young, my husband and I picked the gifts. Now that Harley is older, he can hand pick items for each of his birth parents. He also usually paints or draws a special picture that we frame and include in the package. The past few years we’ve been making photo books (Chatbooks for the win!) to include that depict Harley’s year in photos. It’s awesome to see how much thought he gives to the items in the package. It’s a fun and special tradition that we look forward to every year.

One Christmas tradition that has sprouted from open adoption is what we like to call “Skypemas.” Harley’s birth mother and her family are scattered across the U.S. Using Google hangouts, we can get everyone online for a video chat on Christmas day. We do try to video chat with Harley’s birth parents as much as possible. “Skypemas” allows us to see them at least once a year. Harley’s favorite part is showing off all his new Christmas loot. We love catching up with Harley’s birth families.

Adoption brings richness to our lives we never anticipated. We are grateful for the traditions that keep us close to our son’s birth families, and remind us of how awesome Harley’s adoption story is. There is nothing else we’d rather celebrate!