Thanks to Adoption UK’s support this year, adoptive parent Wendy feels she and her son Mark can spend Christmas their way, rather than trying to meet other people’s expectations.
This Christmas Wendy and Mark have decided to do something completely different. They’ll both be skipping their turkey with all the trimmings to instead help the NHS in Sunderland provide Christmas lunches to the elderly, who would otherwise be alone.
Wendy said: “We had no-one to worry about but ourselves so we’ve decided to volunteer. For me, it’s about giving back and is reminiscent of the sense of community I experienced when I was younger. It also means we don’t feel pressure to meet the expectations of anyone - we will literally eat what we want, when we want and not worry about cooking times.”
Mark, now aged 16, was overly anxious when he spent his first Christmas with his adoptive parents because he associated celebrations with moving on, so assumed he had to leave his new home.
“This was quickly sorted by taking all decorations down first thing on Boxing Day,” Wendy explained.
“But he still expects to be disappointed so his Christmas wish-list goes from very long to a single item of little cost - in the hope that he gets one thing at least.”
Mark struggles with over-stimulation at Christmas but his parents have managed this by going for long walks in the hills or on the beach, talking and immersing themselves in non-Christmas activities.
Wendy encourages all adopters to reach out to Adoption UK if they haven’t already.
“No adoptive family is the same - but by reaching out and sharing we learn from each other and help support one other. Adoption UK has been incredibly useful to us as a family. Being able to meet, chat to and contact others lets me know I’m not completely bonkers - which I did wonder for some time!”