With Christmas coming my house is full of chatter about gifts- gifts for the angel tree, one more gift to put on the list for Santa, what gift my children hope to buy for one another. SO. MANY. GIFTS! GIFT is a word I also hear a lot in the adoption community- parents who feel they have been given the gift of a child, birth parents who have told me that the parents they chose for their child were the gift, adoptees who resent being referred to a a gift but what people have lost sight of in all the political correctness of adoption is the heart of the matter. WE ARE ALL GIFTS. We are gifts to one another. Family is a gift. Sacrifice for another is a gift. Belonging to one another is a gift. Unconditional love is a gift. In all our worrying that we may step on toes of another I hope we are not missing out on acknowledging these amazing gifts. We have but one life to live- don't we all want to know that just being us is enough and that our mere existence is a gift to another person? That just by being our self we are a gift?
Some would say that as adoptees they are offended to be referred to as “a gift,” because people are not something to “be given”. We are not a commodity or an object, but it is true that we ARE, in fact, gifts. You know what? You are, too! We are all gifts to our parents: every single one of us adopted or not. That is how it should be. And that is what children need to hear- NOT because they are adopted but because they are these amazing people you get to share your life with- because they bring light and love and their own special talents to your family!
We all need affirming words; as children, spouses, parents, siblings...
I hope you will unwrap the gift of family this Christmas- that you will all see each other as gifts for what you bring to the family. That is what families do- that is what parents do-- don't be afraid to share with your child how much they bring to your family. We ALL need to hear that.
Finally- if you have the opportunity to be a voice or to do anything to help the over 100-thousand children waiting in foster care for a forever family or the over 20-thousand who will age out of care this year without a forever- please do it. EVERY child deserves a family and not one of us is too old to want or need one.
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