Thanksgiving for Family


I am one of the fortunate majority. I am thankful I was born into and raised by the same family. I never had to question who I was or where I belonged. I am thankful for that.

Sadly, there are millions of children on this planet who cannot share my gratitude. These vulnerable children are without families. They may have some contact with their birth families, yet they must live with the reality that their family cannot care for them in the way they would like. Others have no contact at all, or even memories, of their birth family.

Self-awareness is a key value for me. It’s one of my favorite pursuits and greatest strengths. I cannot imagine the difficulty of working on self-awareness without my family as a reference point. I know I have my father’s eyes, my mother’s curves, and a face shaped like my grandfather. Culturally, I know I am mostly of German descent, with a smattering of British Isles on my mother’s side.

I am thankful my mother was devoted to family genealogy. Thanks to her efforts, I know the immigrant story of nearly all of my ancestors. This knowledge means I am firmly grounded in a rich history, a lengthy generational timeline, and a narrative larger than myself. I cannot imagine navigating my teen and early adult years without this foundation.

Yet this is exactly the challenge faced by a child who has been adopted. They must rely on their forever family to gather and pass on the best information available about who they are and where they come from. They must creatively fill in the gaps, choosing what elements become part of their life story. They craft an identity without being able to go back to their birth family and ask questions about their early childhood, their family of origin, or why their birth parents chose adoption.

I am exceedingly grateful for adopting parents, families that are willing to face this challenge with their child. I am grateful for their curiosity, their willingness to reach outside themselves and meet a child’s unique needs. I am grateful for the questions asked by MLJ’s adopting families, the way they anticipate their child’s needs. I am thankful these vulnerable children will be able to know where they belong.

Join us as we celebrate National Adoption Awareness month throughout November.

Photo Credit: Rachel Titiriga

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.