Fostering the Holidays

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

The holiday season can feel like an ordeal. Preparations can be time consuming, expensive, and stressful. Holiday gatherings can make you feel like you're in a reality TV show or playing a supporting character on a soap opera! The holidays can be even more daunting for foster kids and foster alumni. As I've connected with other foster alumni, I've begun to recognize a few common threads that tie our experiences together. One common theme: Those currently in care and foster alumni often have an extra weird relationship with the holidays.

Many foster children may not have the best memories of holidays prior to entering care. For me, my childhood holidays were not full of wondrous things and loving people. My holidays, like most other days, were full of fear, abuse, and neglect. I was a step-child, and my family made sure that I knew that some how made me less than whole. Holidays are supposed to be joyous occasions, days for celebrations and love and peace. Instead my holidays were full of arguing and violence. While watching the other children receive gifts I was often told I had been forgotten. Sometimes there were gifts the next day and sometimes not. The stuff was not the point. It was the feeling of 'otherness' that all of this created in me. Holidays are supposed to be times of respite from the normal routines but for me holidays often felt like the darkest, loneliest days of the year.