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Lewis and Ellie's story

Lewis and Ellie struggle in the build-up to Christmas but thanks to Adoption UK's support, their parents Sarah and Andrew feel more confident about coping with Christmas this year.

Lewis and Ellie were placed with Sarah and Andrew in 2008, when the children were aged two and four respectively.

Their first Christmas together as a family was very memorable, as mum Sarah recalls:

“My daughter and I wrote her Christmas list together and she only put two items on it; toast and Maltesers. It broke my heart and reminded me what her previous experiences of expectations of Christmas had been like.”

Each year Lewis and Ellie struggle in the run up to the big day and over Christmas itself. Because of their early traumatic experiences and the upheaval they endured before being placed with Sarah and Andrew, they find it hard to cope with the excitement, the change of routine and sensory overload that the celebrations bring.

Sarah said: “Our daughter gets withdrawn and tries not to engage with us emotionally. So we revert back to her being a toddler and encourage her to sit on our laps and have lots of cuddles whilst watching Christmas films.

“Our son, in contrast, gets very angry, teary and rowdy as he is unable to cope with his emotions. We avoid the busy shops with all the crowds and lights as this heightens his anxiety. Instead we plan calming activities like crafts, baking and, again, watching the Christmas films together.”

However, thanks to the training and peer-support services the family have accessed through Adoption UK, they feel more confident about coping with Christmas this year.

Sarah continued: “Adoption UK has definitely helped our family – especially sharing experiences and advice through the networking side of things – other adopters understand. We get it. They get it. We get it together.

“Thanks to some therapeutic training we received earlier this year, I also feel more confident in reducing the likelihood of a Christmas-induced ‘meltdown’ happening, or at least how to deal with it better this time."

Sarah added: "There will be only one planned activity; breakfast out and nothing else. My advice to other adoptive parents over Christmas is don’t plan too much. Keep things simple and quiet if you can.”

Return to the Adoptive Families at Christmas main page