The 12 Days of Adoption Gratitude: Day 9 – Supportive Friends and Family
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” - Denis Waitley
Happiness is a choice, as is the experience of gratitude. Gratitude is an attitude that we can have if we look for things to be grateful for every day. Every day brings with it an opportunity to be grateful about a situation, a blessing, a person, an experience, etc. If we choose to look at life through the lens of gratitude, then we will experience gratitude on a daily basis. However, if we choose to look at the world from the perspective that we are victims, then we will never truly appreciate what we have.
Choosing adoption didn’t only mean making the sacrifice of being a custodial and legal mother, but it also meant sacrificing unhealthy relationships with people who did not support my adoption decision. Today, I am grateful for the supportive friends and family who stood by me through my adoption decision, and the relationships that have healed in my present life.
Unsupportive Friends and Family Members May Not Understand Adoption
Choosing adoption is a decision that a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy may make, and then find that there are friends and family members who will not support her decision. I have come to the conclusion throughout the past seven years as a birth mother that it is possible to forgive the feelings of betrayal from unsupportive friends and family members when it comes to the decision for adoption. I have found that the greatest reason for lack of support has to do with a misunderstanding of why an adoption decision is made. Unsupportive friends and family members may truly not understand the beauty of adoption for years to come, if ever. This doesn’t mean they are bad people, just that they are uneducated in the beauty of adoption. I have also learned that unsupportive friends and family members are afraid to face their own emotions when it comes to adoption. They may feel that they are losing someone they have never had the chance to love.
Express Your Gratitude to Supportive Loved Ones
It is important to remember those who stand by you through an adoption decision, and let them know how grateful you are for them. In my experience, I had a few friends and family members who honestly supported me. They were my rock while I was going through the adoption process. They encouraged me and loved me through the entire process in the best way they knew how. Some of them listened to me express my pain, some were a shoulder to cry on, and some shared the moments of joy I experienced throughout the process. No matter the form of support from a friend or family member, it is important to remain grateful for it.
Forgiveness is the Key to Freedom in Healing as a Birth Mother
Forgive the friends and family members who do not support your adoption decision, because holding on to that anger only hurts yourself in the long run. It is toxic to carry long-term resentments toward anyone. Healing is possible, and forgiveness is possible. Through the healing process, it will hurt to face those feelings of betrayal, but feelings are temporary and healing and forgiveness are possible. If you find yourself in the position to show gratitude to those you love, then take advantage of every moment you have to do so. If you find that you are facing feelings of betrayal, then focus your attention on healing activities that produce forgiveness in the heart.
Remember that no matter what you go through as a birth mother, healing is a right and a responsibility. If you have the chance to thank someone today for being supportive of you as a birth mother, then tell them. Life is too short to risk losing the people who love you without being grateful for them. If at any time, you just need to talk to someone about what you are going through as a birth mother, please complete this form and you will be connected to an adoption specialist who can discuss unplanned pregnancy options along with offering healing support resources.
This is the fourth post in a 12-part series on gratitude in adoption. Stay tuned for more.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption seven years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.