There is a great need to explore healing in relation to our adoption experiences. To heal, we must acknowledge what is and what has been our experience, forgive everyone for everything and then express gratitude for lessons learned and grace given. Until we heal the wounds in our hearts, there is no room to receive the joy in life or love in adoption!

The healing process I use regularly involves 3 essential steps:

Step # 1: Acknowledge what has happened and how it affected you.

Step #2: Forgive everyone for everything. (This includes forgiving oneself and other for your/their feelings and actions.)

Step #3: Express gratitude for the lessons learned and the good in your life.

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins” – Neale Donald Walsh

While I recognize there are many challenges, disappointments, heart aches, and even traumas that come with adoption, I believe those involved experience circumstances in which they feel immense gratitude. Lives and circumstances are literally changed through the blessings of adoption.

I believe birth parents are extremely grateful for an adoptive family who is willing to nurture, care for, and love their child as their own. Grateful for the virtues and values taught. Grateful for every tender touch. Grateful for every late night taking care of their sick child or assisting them with school assignment. Grateful for every opportunity to visit and connect with family, travel, explore, and enjoy life! Grateful for kindness and generosity when teaching their child about adoption, who they are, and where they came from. Grateful for a shared love.

Equally, I believe adoptive families are grateful for birth parents who are willing to courageously sacrifice their own heart and desire for their child. Grateful for trust. Grateful for the stewardship of parenthood. Grateful for every encouraging word and support of their new role. Grateful for mercy and forgiveness. Grateful for this beautiful sweet child in their lives. Grateful for kindness and generosity when talking to their child and others about adoption, their adoptive family, and their choice to place. Grateful for a shared love.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou

The act of giving cheerfully and receiving gratefully changes us. Adoptions bless everyone, including birth parents, adoptive couples, adopted children and extended families. Open adoption exchanges of giving and receiving are not a one-time, nor a one-sided event. Nowadays, there are many birth parents and adoptive families who have created long lasting relationships based on love and appreciation.

Even if our adoption experiences and relationships are not ideal, we can still be grateful for the blessings they bring into our lives. “We can choose to be grateful no matter what.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I love changing negative words and thoughts into something positive. For example, if your adoption relationships are currently not what you want them to be, can you still find the good in them? Instead of focusing on how sad you are that your adoptive family didn’t stop by for a visit because they were visiting their other extended family, be grateful for the love which surrounds your child in their adoptive family. Or if your birth mother isn’t contacting you as much because she is in school and dating, be grateful she is living her life, building new relationships, and creating new adventures.

“Gratitude is a powerful process for shifting your energy and bringing more of what you want into your life. Be grateful for what you already have and you will attract more good things.” – Rhonda Byrne

Of all the tools and skills to cultivate, an attitude of gratitude is at the very top of the list. It is essential to our ability to give and receive love and attract good things into our lives. Don’t we all want that?

There is always something to be grateful for! But we need to do more than just feel grateful–we need to show gratitude. “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” – William Arthur Ward

Have you expressed your gratitude to those in your adoption world? Have you thanked those who supported and loved you through your adoption process? Have you expressed love and appreciation for your birth parents or adoptive family?

Practice expressing your gratitude in your own way TODAY! Do something big or small to say THANK YOU! Any offering of love and appreciation from you is good enough. Rinse and repeat!