The holidays are a little more family-focused than they used to be for the Seiler family of Cape Girardeau since their adoption of 2-year-old Miranda.
"Even though family was important to us before, it is even more important to us now," said Cathy Seiler. "The holidays haven't changed a whole lot, but the family wants to see her. I feel like it's not fair to the family if we're not there."
Steve and Cathy Seiler have been taking care of Miranda since June 2000, when she was 2 months old. The adoption, coordinated through Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri, became final in February 2001.
Except for one of Cathy's sisters who also lives in Cape Girardeau, both sides of the Seiler family live in St. Louis. The Seilers have always alternated between families when attending holiday functions, which are sometimes held in St. Louis and other times locally.
And though they may have skipped a family reunion in the past, things have changed since Miranda came into the picture. They even traded in their old pickup for a newer truck with a back seat and air conditioning to make their more frequent trips to St. Louis more comfortable.
"This will be our third Christmas together, and the first one I think she will really remember," Cathy said. "It is fun to teach her stuff about the holidays. She knows about baby Jesus, Santa and the reindeer. Thanksgiving is a little harder to explain, but we have books."
Several other adoptive parents across the state will be enjoying new additions to their family for the very first time this holiday season, according to Molly Strickland, director of the Southeast Missouri office of Lutheran Family and Children's Services. To date this year, 25 infants have been placed with families statewide.
With November as National Adoption Month, Strickland said the Lutheran service tries to promote adoption as a viable option for pregnant women and married couples. The local agency will be holding an informational meeting in January for couples, regardless of religion or race, interested in adoption. Call 334-5866 for more information.
335-6611, extension 133