Normally I don’t write articles about a single experience. After all, adoptive parents, adoptees, foster children, infertile couples … really, we’re a dime a dozen. Even though there are lots of us, we each really do have a special story. It’s our story. Every now and then, though, someone stands out by sharing what we all may feel. It’s done in a way that tugs at our heartstrings and we want to shout: THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS! THAT’S HOW I FEEL!
Such is the case with adoptee, Chris Burton’s letter to his parents. And Chris’ parents as well. As an adoptive mom, myself, I want to shout what I’m sure his parents felt when reading this: We know the uncertainties of your life have eaten at you. We know you’ve wondered about your beginnings. We know that somewhere deep inside, your little self has wondered if we would leave you or if our love was real. And we know you love us. And son, as much as we’re your parents, you are our son. We love you.
When I read Chris’ letter to his parents, I imagined my own adopted son writing something similar. He’s shared his heart in other ways. But my gratitude goes out to Chris for expressing what so many adoptees feel, and for sharing it to the rest of us.
And so my thoughts have wandered. Have I expressed appropriate gratitude to my son? To his birth parents? To my parents? My son’s siblings? Do I grab opportunities to say thank you – even if it’s something mundane and expected? Have I given signs of gratitude in tangible ways? Ways that can be remembered and revisited often?
After examining my own actions (and lack of) I’m putting a call out to every reader of this article: Find a way to show gratitude every day for a week. It doesn’t matter if they should already know you’re thankful! Tell them anyway. Write it, record it, take a photo of it, speak it. Be creative, or be predictable. It doesn’t matter. Just do it. Sure, I’ve always known my son loves me and is grateful I’m his mom. But when he expresses it, my heart gets a little warmer, my smile gets broader, and my desire to show gratitude to others grows. Be the seed that starts the gratitude plant among your family and friends. It’s contagious and can bloom into a glorious site!