25 November 2009


I have never really been one of those "I'm thankful for..." kind of people around the Thanksgiving holiday. In truth, even though I can be a very emotional and sappy kind of gal, I always found the whole "I'm thankful for..." exercise at the Thanksgiving dinner table - well - just a bit hokey.

I suppose until this year I took the Thanksgiving holiday and my life a bit for granted.

Thanksgiving was always just about getting together for a crazy big sumptuous meal and a day of family fun (and/or family drama...)

But in this difficult year when there has been so much turmoil, so much sadness and uncertainty, when so much has happened in our family...
  • The loss of Chris' maternal grandmother - Babci.
  • My mother-in-law coping with breast cancer, chemo, surgery, radiation therapy and the loss of her mother all in the same year.
  • My father dealing with a second and much worse melanoma, surgery and a difficult recovery with complications that no one expected.
  • Our youngest cousin who has a degenerative condition coping with numerous and lengthy hospital stays and the matching with and then devastating separation from her service dog
  • The loss of one of the beloved family dogs - Maggie - just a few months ago.
  • Annabel being taken so suddenly from us.
...I'm not taking anything for granted anymore.

I am going to say out loud and clear and to whoever might listen...




I am thankful for ALL that I have in my life...
  • Wonderful husband who I adore
  • Amazing family - both biological and the one into which I married
  • Lovely and supportive friends all over the world
  • The opportunity and ability to adopt and expand our family by a Little One
  • Beautiful and loving pets
  • Nice home and lovely, safe community in which to live
  • Job with caring and wonderful colleagues and enough income to go beyond having just the basic necessities to be able to live comfortably
  • Our health (knock on wood)
  • Love and laughter and joy
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Jenn,

    Please save all of your blog posts because it has the makings of a fantastic adoption article/book (especially a humorous memoir/novel - we all need to laugh more!). I know if I was adopting or a birth mother looking at the adoption option all that you discuss and reflect upon would be helpful. However it isn't just adoptive parents who benefit from your thoughts. Any parent, especially those of us trying (note the word "trying"!) to parent mindfully, comes away from your blog with something.

    Many of the feelings you describe I experience, albeit with a slightly different spin. When I married in 2008 I got a son along with a lovely wife and Boxer dog. I'm 41 and my son J is 11. He is adopted, but I think that will be less of an issue. (J knows he is adopted, mom absolutely wanted J's adoptive mothers to adopt him and they appreciate her. Also, mom is in some distant contact and available should J wish to be in touch someday.) No, J's journey is most likely to be about his disability.

    I always struggle with this word - it's so, well, sanitized. "Disability" doesn't even begin to evoke what J has to contend with on a day-by-day, minute-by-minute basis as he navigates a severe anxiety disorder, autism, developmental delays and an oppositional defiant disorder. "Disability" doesn't convey the isolation of J and us his parents due to his inability to go out in public much less socialize, go to a movie, grocery store, etc. "Disability" doesn't tell of the hours spent trying to find him care both now and for when he is an adult and we aren't there to watch out for him. "Disability" doesn't tell of the lack of understanding and often overt pressure from family and community to just "give him more discipline," "be more firm," "stop letting him get away with stuff" (or, conversely, think we're abusing him when J has to be restrained for his safety and/or the safety of others).

    To be honest, I sometimes feel that if being adopted were the "only" thing that J had to contend with he would be a very very lucky and much happier boy, youth, man. (Please know that I'm not at all trying to dismiss that as a very important process.) However he has this other thing - elephant size thing - on his plate and, as his parent, all I can do is do my very best to help him navigate the world/his life with the cards that have been dealt to him.

    I guess it's all any parent can do...to the best of our ability. And where our abilities fall short we must seek help whether that is something as drastic as giving our child up for adoption or (for example - in our case) putting one's 8 year old in a psychiatric hospital in the hopes it'll help stabilize him.

    I don't care what Peace Corps says about their work being "the hardest job you'll ever love." I'm sorry but that moniker is already taken. It's called PARENTING.

    I wish each and every one of you good luck,