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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Holiday Performance Panic

I have no problem with my kids being in holiday choirs, singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “My Dreidl, Dreidl, Dreidl”. For our family, the festival of Hanukkah and the celebration of Christmas are what this season is all about. Decorating the home, giving gifts, enjoying special foods—it’s all icing on the cake—and a time of overstimulation in general. But becoming a hermit was never an option.

I’m starting to think that hermit-life might not be so bad, after all….

You see, my oldest girl is generally tapped to play Mary, and I have a Nativity-pictureproblem with that. My husband believes that I am out to destroy all fun on Planet Earth, yet for me, this type of role spells big trouble. Forget about me, for my daughter, the role spells big trouble. Could the casting direction please choose someone else?

With an adopted child, pregnancy in general and unwed pregnancy in particular hold loaded meanings. For some, it means suffering rejection as a scaled.12082010_Web_Nativity.006_t653child. For others, if they might become pregnant at an early age, it means a way to acknowlege and bond with an unknown birth mother. For the rest, it means replaying history, but this time they would choose to keep the baby and somehow right the wrongs of the past that were done to them.

Emotional mine fields.

In our family, we view Mary the mother of Jesus (or Miriam the mother of Yeshua) as a young teen who conceived not due to any promiscuity on her part. Instead, she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, or as Isaiah foretold hundreds of years before:

“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name web1_nativity_121013JL_002Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Nothing shameful in that, really quite an honor.

But could you leave our daughter out of it? Please? Can’t you make her a camel, an innkeeper, or an angel?

Our oldest has played this role more than once and I see her change. It’s not for the better. I could have predicted exactly what’s happening, right along with Isaiah. She’s now 16 and hangs out in the hallway Years-5-6-Nativity-Performance-2-294x300with this year’s “Joseph”, a guy in his late 20s, a decent fellow who does not understand that she really senses a connection with him as they wait to go onstage. He, and others, do not comprehend that her grasp of reality versus fantasy is very, very sketchy. Shouldn’t they get to know one another better? After all, they’re married… or betrothed… or expecting a baby.

My head is spinning. I feel a headache coming on. How could a religious holiday play contribute to the delinquency of a minor?

As soon as you insist on a child of trauma and abuse being front and center.

Happily, most of our middle class congregation know nothing of prostitutes-as-unfit-mothers and unwanted babies being neglected and starved. They don’t realize that Baby Jesus may be in real danger in the arms of a young person who bullies others and feels disdain for any that she deems to be weak or helpless.

Does our daughter babysit? Have you ever seen her drawn to a newborn or ask to hold a little one? People, figure it out.

Let my daughter come to wholeness and healing on her own time schedule. (And believe me, I wish it were yesterday, as well….)nativity2 Please stop putting her front and center in areas that she cannot handle because she comes from a “good family”.

It’s at home, when you cannot see, that the rage surfaces and the mouthiness spirals out of control. Whatever I say, she usually does the opposite. And yes, physical violence towards me. All spiking because of the holiday play.

Or maybe not. Maybe things would just be awful all on their own.

Maybe our other kids could handle being Mary or Joseph, but this one, maybe it highlights for her that she really, really, really doesn’t measure up.   Rather than being a sub-par normal, maybe she’s aiming for being the best… of the worst.

Dec22_CCFNativitySceneAnd now suddenly she’s Mary. You have made her think she’s special, chosen, a prima donna who can do no wrong. Out of all of the young ladies on the face of the earth, she was picked from the crowd to play Mary.

I have never in my life heard anyone discuss this most delicate of holiday issues—not adoptive parents, not neuropsychologists, nobody. Are we alone? I’ve tried to give casting directors a heads-up that perhaps they could use someone else without going into extensive detail about our situation, but it never works. Thankfully, the Lord is not only with us during the calm times, but also during the storms of life. But sometimes….

My hope is that this piece may help others in similar situations. May we all come through the holidays unscathed and trusting in the Lord’s goodness and redeeming power more than ever.


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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar abby says:

    SAY NO MORE, no, SAY A LOT MORE!!! You speak the truth. Ihave never heard anyone address this either. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your honesty matters.

  2. avatar Karen says:

    Okay really I never considered this. Could it be an older child versus younger child adoption kind of issue? Sounds worth considering if it would negatively impact a child. Then what’s the answer? No holiday celebrations? Say it isn’t so!

    • avatar admin says:

      Absolutely, Karen. I’m sure that my kids have all sorts of older child memories that children who came home as babies and toddlers don’t have. Holiday celebrations are important for many reasons. They give cadence and rhythm and meaning to life. They allow the child or young adult to stretch and become part of a larger community. But when their behavior tells us that it’s too much, nothing wrong with scaling back a bit. Moderation, my friend, moderation. 🙂

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