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Adoptees and Foster Kids Will Likely Identify with Elf at Christmas

Elf Finally Tries to Find Closure for the Adoption Mystery in His Life

Boy, do I ever identify with Elf!

I bet most adoptees and foster kids do, too, for you see, Elf was adopted.

Buddy (Will Ferrell) is dropped off at the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Bob Newhart is his adoptive dad.

Elf just didn’t fit in and felt like a square peg in a round hole. Trying, trying to fit in, but just couldn’t.  He was physically huge, loud, awkward, clumsy and couldn’t make toys turn out right.

Convinced that if he found his bio father, he would finally feel a sense of belonging, he shoved off for the big apple (NY).

There, he finds a high-level executive, over-achieving, workaholic father.

And, the feelings of not belonging intensify.

Finding Lost Birth Parents Is Never Enough to Satisfy

Let me stop here…I believe Buddy’s feelings of not belonging are much like real time adopted and foster kids.

Often, we entertain the idea that if we reunite with bio family, the pain and repercussions of adoption will disappear.

Hmmm…that is probably a version of adoptee fantasy.

What Brings A Sense of Belonging

Only knowing where and how their lives began will provide satisfaction beyond belief.

Each was created in the heart of God the Father, in eternity past. Not only are they accepted and loved, but they have a specific life purpose set aside for them, which no one else can fill.

Now, does this mean that adoptees and foster kids shouldn’t or don’t need to search for birth relatives?

Absolutely not.

We all want truth.

I can’t tell you how many adoptees in the support groups I have led in the past, when anticipating a reunion secretly believed they wouldn’t feel adopted after reunion.

When they return and are asked if they still feel adopted, their faces turn red, with an affirmative nod.

Adoptive and foster parents, please know this reality for your child and that  your child will likely sense this “not belonging” during extended family Christmas celebrations.

What Can Parents Do?

  1. Watch the Elf movie together and talk about the issues.
  2. Remind your child of two things:
  • His/her feelings are normal
  • He is not alone…there are 7 million adoptees in the US that feel this way
  1. Watch my YouTube offering about Christmas:


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What Adopted and Foster Kids Really Want For Christmas

What Adopted and Foster Kids Really Want for Christmas

In childhood, Christmas was a chance for my mom to show extravagant love for her only child,  her beloved adopted daughter.

Mom spared nothing, even though their incomes were modest.

A glance at the presents beneath the tree might indicate a large family lived at our house. Every present was meticulously wrapped in Santa paper and tied with sparkly ribbons. Multi-colored snowball lights adorned the tree and ice cicles hung from every branch.

All the excitement prompted me to “become wild,” as mom often said.

So, when Christmas Eve arrived, would I be able to stay awake long enough to hear Santa’s reindeer on the roof? I learned that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not real. Would Santa like the sandwich, cookies, and milk? Would he have time to read my note? Mom and dad reinforced the “believing without seeing” by making sure Santa’s sandwich got eaten.

On Christmas morning, mom and dad watched while I opened…a golden majorette outfit, red cowboy boots, beautiful Madame Alexander dolls.

Could I not give them a gift?

Even just a fingerprint drawing?

Would they like it?

In the teen years,  mom thought of my every need.

No detail was too small, no job in fulfilling too large.

Take nylons, for instance.

I punched holes in them every time.

Well aware of this, mega pairs were under the tree, each wrapped with ribbon.

Was there something wrong with me that I couldn’t stop punching holes in nylons? Why was putting on nylons just as hard as solving an algebra problem?

Was mom embarassed by my clumsiness?

Was she covering my inability with her ability?

When Christmas festivities were over, I was lonely.

For sure, partly from being an only child, but there was more.

Like any adoptee, I craved connection and how I wanted it on this highly-stimulating day.

I wish mom and dad would have sat on the green couch and wrapped their arms around me. I wish dad would have told me my adoption story again. I wish we could have gone out for a walk together.

But, they didn’t know.

If they had, they surely would have connected with me beyond beyond.

No parent can know completely, except our Heavely Father.

He knows our deep need for connection. This is why Jesus became man and dwelt amongst us.

Through our relationship with Him, we can snuggle on the green couch, go for a walk, and hear our adoption story.

That’s why we decorate the Christmas tree and wrap presents with Santa paper and sparkly ribbons.

That’s what all adopted and foster kids really want for Christmas.