I love November because on so many social media sites you see people listing something they’re thankful for each day. While I’m sure many of us count our blessings every day, it’s extra special to have a month dedicated to giving thanks. Here is my list of adoption related things I’m giving thanks for this month of November, this Thanksgiving, and really, my entire life.

1.  My Son

Ok, ok, it’s an obvious one, but he’s the greatest thing to ever happen to my life. He makes me smile, he challenges my patience, and he’s the bright light in my life, no matter what. I truly can’t imagine my life without him, nor would I want to.

2.  My Son’s Birth Parents

These amazing human beings chose my husband and me to be parents to their baby boy. There’s no greater love, and there’s no greater sacrifice. I will forever be thankful for their choice and for our relationship with them. They have become friends, and I greatly value our friendship.

3.  My Fertility Struggles

A strange thing to be thankful for, however, I know without those struggles I wouldn’t have met my son. Without those struggles, I know I would appreciate the gift of parenthood, but perhaps I wouldn’t have understood exactly how precious of a gift I’ve been given. I grew a lot as a person during this time, and I know it’s only helped me become the best mother I can be.

4.  My Family’s Acceptance of Adoption

It’s hard when doing something “out of the ordinary” for people to come around and accept your choices, but my family has embraced the adoption culture and has even educated themselves on proper adoption terminology. My son is just as much a part of the family as if I physically gave birth to him, and that’s exactly how it should be.

5.  My Stepson’s Response to Adoption

My stepson is 9 and my son will be 2 in April, so there’s quite a bit of an age gap between the two boys, however, ever since my son came into my life, my stepson knew he had a little brother and fell into the big brother role with ease. To him, adoption was just another way to grow his family (and get a brother which was his main goal). He even had the word “resemble” as part of his vocabulary homework, and he wrote the sentence, “I resemble my mom and my little brother.” I wasn’t about to argue that point. Family is more than genetics.

6.  The Support of My Friends

Throughout the entire adoption journey my friends were there to support my family 100% of the way. They were shoulders to lean on as I found out we were not picked by a birthmother and they remained cautiously optimistic as we navigated the final steps that eventually led us to meet our son’s birth parents. They were there with gifts, diapers, formula, food, coffee (lots and lots of coffee) and whatever else we needed. I could not have gotten through the adoption process without them.

7.  The Fact that Adoption Exists

If you really think about it, the fact that adoption exists is pretty great. And the strides in positive directions adoption has taken over the years are to be commended. No, it’s still not a perfect system, but it’s one that, with a lot of love, can be a beautiful way of growing your family.