If you’re anything like me, trying to balance your family’s schedule around the holidays practically requires hiring a personal assistant. Making sure you see all of your relatives and your in-laws, friends coming in from out of town, not to mention basketball games/practices for your oldest son, not being able to leave the house during nap time for your toddler, and trying to manage your husband’s work schedule is enough to drive anyone crazy. Now add in your child’s birth parents, and it seems impossible to fit everything in. But, with some creative scheduling, flexibility, and a smile, you’ll be able to fit it all in and be happy doing it.

Plan an “off” holiday celebration

One great suggestion that my family has been doing for years is to plan an “off Christmas” celebration. This way you’re not running all over the place on one specific day, and you’re able to really connect and enjoy your time spent with other people. Last year, we ended up celebrating Christmas with my son’s birth parents in early December. This year we’re going to end up celebrating it in January. It’s not about celebrating the holiday on the actual day, but more about being able to get together and enjoy our time together.

Send gifts to your child’s birth parents If getting together with your child’s birth parents isn’t feasible, then you can always send them gifts. I have found that gifts personalized from your child are the best types of gifts. It was difficult to buy presents for my son’s birth parents for our first Christmas together. I remember thinking, “I know these people on such a deep, personal level, but I don’t know what to get them for Christmas!” Last year, their favorite present was an ornament with our son’s handprint on it. Send thoughtful gifts that let them know you care and are thinking about them.

FaceTime or video chat with them

Visiting is the best for us, but when you can’t visit, video chat works quite well. Even if they’re local, it’s always nice for them to see a glimpse into your family’s world on a “regular” day. Knowing the joys and struggles that every family goes through and getting to see that, while we try, we’re not always perfect is comforting for many people. My son’s birth parents have said they enjoy seeing him “in his own environment” because it gives them a sense of how he’s growing up and what his true personality is like.

Keep your plans with them

This should be self explanatory, but the holidays do get busy, and life can seem overwhelming, but if you make plans, stick with them. In time, the relationship can turn from an obligation to time you both look forward to spending with each other. Nothing is more important than your children, and if you happen to have a child that was adopted, birth parents are a part of his or her life, which means they are also a part of your life. Honor your commitments, especially around the holidays, and you’ll be making lots of people happy, including yourself. Life gets busy, but family is what’s most important, especially around the holidays. Make an effort to include everyone, do it with grace, and have a blessed holiday season!