In December of 2010, my husband and I were placed with a 14-month-old little boy named Harley. We flew to Texas from Utah to pick him up and still refer to him as the “best Christmas present ever.” For the first four months after we brought him home, his birth mother remained in Texas. She then moved to Utah and we loved having her so close. We could spend a lot of time with her. When my husband was accepted to pharmacy school in Ohio, we wondered how we could keep that close relationship from almost 2,000 miles away and involve birth families during the holidays.
One way we involve our son’s birth families is through video chat. This must be one of the best ways to keep in touch with people we can’t physically be with during the holidays. I remember watching The Jetsons and marveling at the thought of being able to video chat. I’m so glad someone figured it out because there is something about being able to see our loved ones when we talk to them. Every Christmas day, we video chat Harley’s birth families. He tells them all about what he got for Christmas and we get to visit and catch them up on Harley’s life.
While we text our son’s birth families frequently, I find that we do more of it during the holidays. From Halloween to Christmas, there are so many things to share with Harley’s birth parents! From Halloween costumes to Christmas loot, texting and phone calls help us share these awesome parts of Harley’s life.
I live by the rule that you can never have enough photographs of your life. Lucky for me, Harley’s birth families love seeing photos and videos! I feel like he is growing and changing every day and I want them to be able to see that. During the holidays, there is so much focus on family, and we consider Harley’s birth families part of our family. We want to share things about Harley, but we also want to hear all about their lives. It means so much that they share their lives with us.
One of our favorite things is to send happy mail! Just because people live far away doesn’t mean we can’t send awesome presents through the mail! Harley loves to pick out gifts for his birth parents and fill up special packages to send. We love to include things like photo books, photos, artwork, and treats. Lately we’ve made mix CDs (we are so hip) of Harley’s favorite tunes, his favorite candy, and now that Harley is writing, he is able to write his own letters to them. It’s something he always looks forward to!
There is nothing more important than those we love. Each year we find new ways to stay close to our son’s birth families. With any relationship, things change and we find new ways to make things work. Including Harley’s birth families during the holidays from 2,000 miles away isn’t easy, and it has required some creative thinking and effort, but it’s worth it!