Christmas this year has been a special time for us. Our three year long wait to become a family of four put some extra expectations and excitement on these holidays. One year ago we had been matched and were dying to meet our son E. Our parents, usually cautious and discrete, were so overexcited that they were loudly hoping to have him home last year already. It had to be this year and here we are, ten months after placement, having know each other better and able to spend Christmas happily and peacefully.
We asked our parents to fly here and spend Christmas in Finland. It’s actually the third year in a row we make this choice, and it’s always been a success. We found through Facebook a neighbour who had travelling plans and rented his house for one pair of grandparents, while the other sleeps in our guest room (sounds like luxury, but it’s standard commodity in a expat family’s house!). My brother, who lives in Finland with his girlfriend, visited on the Eve and had dinner with all of us. Italian families tend to celebrate both Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch with big meals. I have no idea who planned this, because every Christmas Day I don’t feel like eating at all after the previous day’s dinner. Anyway, we had the traditional fish dinner on the Eve and planned a buffet lunch on Christmas Day.
E has fully adapted to his new family situation. He’s madly in love with his grandparents and his uncle. In these days, he’s been getting as much cuddling and attention as he possibly can. Surprisingly, he’s not overexcited, but I’ve noticed he needs more sleep than usual, so he must be quite exhausted. Despite having set some rules to limit presents, the space under the tree was packed and the kids were over the moon. R said her favourite gifts were the Frozen castle and a Lego Friends playset. E loved some books and a DVD with his favourite Italian cartoon character Pimpa. Fine, we spoiled them this Christmas but you know what? They both have been amazing this year. E went through the trauma of adoption and he proved to be strong and determinate to find serenity again. He learned Italian in a bunch of months and can now speak at the same level as his peers. He’s started learning Finnish as well, can understand simple instructions and says a few words. He allowed himself to trust us, he let go of his fears and let us in completely. R has been a perfect big sister. She had been queen of the house for four full years when E joined us and I was expecting some storm, but it never came. She welcomed him in her heart from day one. Sure, she had a pinch of healthy jealousy at times, but nothing compared to what everyone was expecting. She’s a caring and loving sister. They both have amazed us in the past year and deserve a treat.
I was happy to introduce E to all our family Christmas traditions. Beside decorating the house, we daily opened our candy Advent Calendar together, read Christmas books, baked gingerbread, and left milk and a cookie to Santa. And of course we spent the holidays with the people we love. I took two weeks off – which is something in my job! – to fully enjoy this time with family. We played boardgames, read tons of books, played with all the new toys and the old ones, and have exciting plans for the free days ahead.
It was the perfect Christmas time and cannot wait to have many many more like this one. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and cherish all the time you spend with your family!