My kids and I were out running errands today and at about 6pm they started to complain that they were hungry. My oldest, 4, said that he was “starving” and this instantly struck a nerve in me. I know that many people may use this term this loosely but personally I don’t like to use it and it is something I prefer that my children don’t say. The Merriam Webster definition of starving is “to perish from lack of food; to suffer extreme hunger; to suffer or perish from deprivation.” By this definition my children are not, by any means, “starving.” I am very thankful that I am able to provide food for my family and I want my children to also appreciate what they have and not take it for granted. It’s so easy to run through a drive-thru and satisfy our hunger and to complain that we are hungry or “starving”. But do we really know what it means to be hungry?

I live in America where I have close friends, family, good health, food, clean water, a great job, home and many other wonderful things that I am thankful for. There are so many things that I have to be thankful for and so many things I take for granted. Even though I have so many things to be thankful for I sometimes find myself complaining about trivial things that others would consider a blessing. For instance, today I struggled to find something to wear. I have plenty of clothes in my closet. Instead of complaining that I have “nothing to wear,” I should be thankful for having clothes that fit, that keep me warm on cold days and that I have more than one outfit to choose from.

I work in the field of adoption. I help families in their journey to provide a home for orphans. The reality is, orphans living in Bulgaria, Congo, Nicaragua, Samoa or Ukraine that I serve on a daily basis do not care what I wear, and neither should I. These orphans desperately need a loving family and a suitable home environment. There are approximately 147 million orphans worldwide who do not have a family to be thankful for this thanksgiving. Many have taken on the 30 days of thankfulness challenge for the month of November and have posted on Facebook or Twitter their thankfulness for their families. There are many children who long for the chance to be thankful for those same things.

November is National Adoption Month, and our focus at MLJ Adoptions this month is to focus on those children, promote adoption awareness and to help find loving, stable forever families for these children. I hope that wherever you are you celebrate every day with appreciation and thanksgiving and don’t take what you have for granted. As we approach Thanksgiving, we should take time to embrace our family, friends and make a conscious effort to change our attitude, stop complaining and be truly thankful for all that we have. You can promote adoption awareness this month to help orphans around the world find families that they can be thankful for.

Photo Credit: David Dennis

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.