Whether you’re an adoptive parent, birth parent or adoptee, there’s a good chance that adoption has changed your life for the better.
This beautiful process gives a child the love, support and safety they deserve. It gives women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy a way to do what is best for their life and receive the support they need. And it gives hopeful adoptive parents the best gift of all — the chance to see their dreams fulfilled.
Everyone has a unique experience, and it is important to leave space for those who still have a complicated relationship with their adoption story. You may not relate to feeling thankful about adoption, and that’s okay, too.
But for many, as we enter the Thanksgiving season, there’s a lot to be thankful for when it comes to adoption.
Here are seven ways that you can express your thankfulness for the ways adoption has changed your life.
Giving Thanks as Adoptive Parents
Adoption is a way for hopeful parents to start or grow their family. Adoptive parents have so much love to give, and there’s plenty to be thankful for.
1. Help Other Hopeful Adoptive Parents
Do you remember the most challenging parts of your adoption process? Think about the resources that provided the most support for you. Can you invest your time, skills or finances to help other hopeful parents?
This could mean volunteering your time and experience for adoption support groups, or donating to organizations that provide financial grants to help cover the costs associated with adoption. Sometimes, the best way to give thanks is to give back.
2. Thank the Birth Parents
Are you in an open and semi-open adoption? If so, now is a good time to make a specific effort to express your gratefulness to your child’s birth parents.
They made the ultimate sacrifice so that their child could have the best life possible. Their selflessness gave you the opportunity to become parents. Let the Thanksgiving season be a reminder of how thankful your family should always be to your child’s birth parents, and take it as an opportunity to reach out and express your gratitude.
3. Re-Tell the Adoption Story
Children should be told their adoption story early and often at an age-appropriate level. This helps reinforce the idea that adoption is normal and celebrated, and reminds them that they can be proud of this part of their story.
Thanksgiving is a great time to re-tell the adoption story, emphasizing how thankful you are that your baby is a part of your family. You could even consider making the re-telling of the adoption story a Thanksgiving tradition — something you do before or after your meal together.
Giving Thanks as Birth Parents
When you’re a birth parent, your adoption story most likely brings up positive and negative emotions. Even when you are completely sure that adoption was the right thing to do, there are challenging feelings that don’t fully go away.
All of your feelings are worthy of attention. Thanksgiving is a time to focus on the positive. If you can, allow yourself to dwell on the beauty and goodness that adoption has brought to your life, and to the life of your child.
4. Share Your Story
You did something heroic when you chose adoption. One way to give thanks for this experience is to share your story. Only do this if you feel comfortable.
Your story can be an inspiration to others who are also considering adoption. Additionally, sharing it gives others the opportunity to offer you support and encouragement. People who love you may not be aware of the brave journey you’ve been on, and letting them into this part of your life gives them the chance to show you how much they love you.
5. Speak with Your Child
Do you have an open adoption? If so, Thanksgiving is a great time to speak with your child. Ask them how they are doing, and give thanks for the love and happiness they are experiencing because of their adoptive family.
This is also a good time to be thankful for the popularity of open adoption. While it used to be a rare occurrence, the vast majority of modern adoptions are at least semi-open. Take a moment to think about how much this ongoing relationship means to you.
Giving Thanks as Adoptees
Adoptees often have complicated relationships with adoption. Many are extremely grateful for adoption and see it as an essential part of their identity. Others may not be ready to feel thankful for adoption, and that’s okay, too.
If you’re looking for ways to express your gratitude for adoption, there are a couple ways you could do that this Thanksgiving.
6. Talk to Your Parents
Your adoptive parents and birth parents have both played important roles in your life. Both love you deeply and, in their own ways, did what they could to give you a great life.
If you have an open adoption, now is a good time to talk with your birth parents. They made a difficult choice when they created an adoption plan, but they did it because they wanted you to have the best life possible.
7. Educate Others
You have lived an experience that very few others have. One way to cultivate gratitude is by sharing about your journey. What do you know about adoption that others should know? You can share your story in an Instagram story, TikTok video, or in person with your family and friends.
These are only a few of the many ways for adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees to be thankful for adoption during this Thanksgiving season. If you have other ways that your family celebrates adoption during Thanksgiving, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.