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first christmas

'It made it all feel real': Our first Christmas with our 12-week-old daughter

Emily Westbrooks remembers the first December 25 after the birth of her daughter Maya.

Every week this December, we’ll be hearing the tale of a first Christmas. Here Emily Westbrooks remembers her first Christmas with her daughter Maya. 

MY HUSBAND AND I moved to Ireland in 2008. I am American, but he was raised here. We moved here after we got married and lived here for eight years. 

When we were faced with infertility, we decided that we would rather not do fertility treatment but rather pick up our entire lives and move to Houston, Texas to pursue adoption. We kind of lovingly call it the path of most resistance. In retrospect, I have no idea why we thought it would work. But miraculously it did. 

We landed in Houston in August 2015. On 4th October, Maya was born and on 7th October she joined our family. It was all super fast and we weren’t even fully licensed to adopt yet when she arrived. We had six hours of knowing she was coming – or that she was already there.

She was perfect and she made us parents.

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 1.28.03 PM Emily Westbrooks Emily Westbrooks

She was eleven weeks old when we moved to Maine. My family are all from Maine so we spent Christmas there and it was utterly magical because we were able to introduce Maya to our whole extended family, including my siblings. 

It was really exciting and perhaps also made it feel real. Until then it was a little bit like we were living in this bubble like, “Is this real?”

Christmas made it feel real. My sister put her in a little red dress and little tiny tights. She got to spend time with my grandmother for whom she is named. We lost my grandmother the following summer so it was nice and really special to see the two of them together.

Screen Shot 2018-12-05 at 1.22.33 PM Maya and Noah in their Christmas pyjamas. Emily Westbrooks Emily Westbrooks

Once Maya arrived, we realised that perhaps it would be really great if she had a sibling. So we stayed another two years and we adopted Noah. He is a year and a half now. We moved back to Ireland in July of this year. We had three Christmases in the States and now we get to have our first Christmas at home in Ireland. 

The plan is to stay home and get to enjoy our family for the first time in our house. It’s going to be really fun to start our own traditions in our own home with our own family. For Christmas morning, we’re looking forward to just having the four of us and getting to enjoy a three-year-old who finally understands Christmas!

- As told to Amy O’Connor 

Want to win a Luxury Beauty Advent Calendar? We’re playing Santa with a weekly Aldi Christmas Magazine competition. Enter right here. 

More: My first Christmas… away from home (and 3,400 metres up in the Andes)>

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