It can sometimes be challenging to choose an attitude of gratitude when you are on the path of adoptive parenting. Adoption inherently involves loss and grief, and the wait to bring your child home can seem unbearable. How can we focus on giving thanks as we go through this stressful process?
Consider taking a few moments each day to identify something for which you are grateful. Here are some possibilities:
- Birthmothers who choose life for their unborn child.
- Your current or future child.
- Your support circle: friends, family, neighbors, coworkers…. Those who surround you with practical help and a listening ear.
- Your adoption agency or attorney.
- Your spouse.
- Your parents and how you were raised.
- Your child’s birth or genetic parents. No matter how you adopt, your child has birth/genetic family. Your child would not be the special blessing he or she is without those key people.
- Personal growth and healing throughout the adoption journey.
- Additional time with your spouse dedicated to strengthening your marriage.
- Grant agencies or other financial donors.
- Friends you have made while on this journey.
- Employment that grants you stability.
- Your home and community.
- Your health and physical wellbeing.
- Family traditions.
Research has shown that gratitude has immense benefits.
Giving thanks can:
- Improve Physical Health.
- Decrease Depression and Anxiety.
- Improve Sleep Quality.
- Help Relieve Stress.
- Enhances Empathy.
- Improves Self-Esteem.
- Increase Energy.
- Feel Good.
Here are few other interesting articles about how giving thanks can benefit you.
Are you interested in developing an ongoing practice of gratitude? If so, consider the variety of exercises provided by Positive Psychology, from journaling to making a collage or gratitude rock, to learning how to do a gratitude walk.
There are many books available specific to the benefits of gratitude and developing your own gratitude practice. One that is fairly popular in the Christian community is One Thousand Gifts. This list of children’s books can also help you teach your little ones to give thanks.
If you are in a season of contemplation, waiting, parenting, or supporting others who are pursuing adoption, gratitude can benefit all of us. Find something that you are grateful for today.
written by Alicia Olsen