Ok, it’s November. For those of us who live in the US, it is the month where we take a day to celebrate Thanksgiving. Now, aside from the slightly warped way that this holiday came about (that’s material for a blog post of different kind), I’ve decided to embrace the “good” of this holiday, the essence of why this holiday was made: taking time to be thankful.

Particularly as an adult transracial adoptee (TRA), I feel that being thankful is an important topic. I tend to encounter a lot of other TRAs who have mixed feelings about their adoption. Some can be quite angry about it. Some go through ups and downs of bitterness and happiness. Others are blissfully happy, and sometimes other TRAs will secretly judge those happy adoptees as being in denial. I know because I’ve been and done all of those things. The reason why thanksgiving is so important to me is because it helps me to keep my head out of the self-pitying sand, chin up, and eyes forward. I can be the change agent I desire to be.

Are there challenging things about being adopted? Yes. I’m not gonna lie. But I can hear other adoptees’ less-than-ideal stories of their family life (both biological and adopted!) and empathize with their pain. However, I choose to be grateful–not forced to be grateful–and I use that as the fuel for moving forward.

So, this month I will post “30 Things I am Grateful/Thankful For…” — one for each day. So here are Days 1 and 2.

Day 1: I’m grateful to be alive, especially as an adoptee.

Seriously. I was born in the U.S. in the late 1960′s: the era of sexual revolution and illegal abortions. My biological parents were young college students and were not married. Because my biological mother is Asian, I can imagine a pretty conservative upbringing, one that would not look highly upon having a child out of wedlock. I don’t know all the details, but I know my US History, and I believe that I could have been aborted. So when I think about my life, waking up each day being able to breathe and LIVE, I am humbly grateful. (Note: this gratitude does not necessarily shape my views on abortion rights, which is also material for another blog post at another time).

Day 2: I’m thankful for the amazing family God has given me: biological, adopted and spiritual.

Yes, I’m a Christian. And before you go jumping to any conclusions about what that means, I hope that you will continue to read my posts so you can get to know me.  But I will say that only recently have I become comfortable with admitting that I am a Christian publicly because of all the “bad press” Christians get, especially in the adoption realm. Some feel called to put into practice their “true religion” which is “to take care of orphans” (James 1:27). I’m all for taking care of others, but don’t just adopt with blinders on because you are solely trying to live out your religion. That said, I take comfort in the fact that God saw me in my mother’s womb. Even though I don’t know who she is, God does (Ps. 139:15-16)! Also, I believe that God has a plan for my life working through my adoption (Jer. 29:11). I believe that He placed me in my adoptive family so that I would reach out and find Him and be blessed with an amazing spiritual family, too (Acts 17:26-27). For all of these things, I am sincerely thankful.

P.S. November is also National Adoption Month in the US.