To catch up on the Gratitude Project, I will cover a few days at a time. I must admit that using micro-blogging sites like Twitter and Facebook makes it easy to pop up a gratitude statement each day. However, I’m hoping that you are returning here, dear readers, for the explanations for WHY I’m grateful.

Day 4: I’m thankful for adoption resources: books, blogs, etc.

Even when I was growing up in the 70′s and 80′s, there were SOME books about adoption. Now there are multitudes of places to turn. Adoptive parents just have to search them out. I live in western Massachusetts, and towns can get pretty spread out from here to there. But even in Western Mass, I’ve found a surprising amount of parenting groups, support networks, and other resources for families formed by adoption. When I meet adoptive families, especially the parents, there is a large range of ages and stages. But no matter the age/stage, I would hope they know that they are not alone: there are commonalities among adoptive family situations. All they need to do is reach out.

Day 5: I’m grateful for my mom, who used every resource she had.

I consider myself blessed. My mom (and when I say “mom”, I’m referring to my adoptive mom) was a librarian when I was growing up, so her mind was trained to research. She used the powers of the public library to bring home books for me on all kinds of things, but I remember two books in particular in my teenage years: a book about natural beauty (tips on beauty without slathering on makeup) and “Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye,” by Lois Lowry. Lowry’s fiction book about a 17-year old adoptee searching for her mother (in the pre-internet age) really spoke to me. It helped me feel okay about loving my parents and searching for my birth family.

Day 6: I’m thankful that my mom paid attention to Pennsylvania State legislation.

The Adoption Act of 1984 was passed in Pennsylvania, which sealed all original birth certificates of PA-born adoptees. Remember, my adoption was a closed one. Below is an explanation of the current law. I’m grateful that my mom paid attention and requested my original birth certificate before this law was passed, and I do hope that PA House Bill 162 (which would restore birth certificate access) will make it through the House of Representatives and the Senate.

When a child is adopted in the state of Pennsylvania, the adoptee’s original, factual birth certificate is altered–or amended–to make it appear as though the adoptive parents actually gave birth to the adoptee. There is no indication on the amended birth certificate that an adoption even took place. The original, factual birth certificate is sealed away and not legally recognized. Currently, Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees (age 18+) are not allowed to access their original birth certificate. In contrast, all non-adopted adults born in Pennsylvania can obtain a copy of their original birth certificates through a simple request process.

Prior to 1984, adult adoptees born in Pennsylvania were able to access their original birth certificates just as all non-adopted adults who were born in Pennsylvania. This equality under law changed upon the enactment of Act 195, The Adoption Act of 1984, which took away the right for adult adoptees to obtain their original birth certificates. Because of The Adoption Act of 1984, all Pennsylvania-born adult adoptees have been treated differently from all Pennsylvania-born non-adopted adults under law for over two decades. (http://www.pennsylvaniaadopteerights.org/2013/01/house-bill-will-restore-birth.html)

Day 7: I’m grateful that I have the names of both my birth parents. It gives me the option to search, should I so choose.