Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Being Grateful...

It feels good to be writing again. My life has been pretty crazy lately. Work has me traveling a lot which really restricts my writing

Anyways, I was perusing through the typical blogs and came across one talking about the expectation of being grateful for being adopted. Maybe I read it wrong, but it felt like there was some resentment towards that "expectation"?

It made me think about how I view the definition of "grateful" and what it meant to me.

To me: Gratefulness is a self attitude of thankfulness or appreciation for something, usually undeserving. Gratefulness usually is tied to a current condition, although you can be grateful something didn't happen to you.

You can't be grateful if you are enacting it just because someone tells you..however should we not be grateful for everything?

I am grateful that I am adopted. I don't know why this is such a hard thing for some adoptees to deal with or feel like they are pressured to be by society? You can't be pressured into gratefulness because it is a self attitude.

I know that being adopted is not ideal. I know that in a perfect world I would not have been adopted. But that does not, and should not, prevent me from being grateful for being adopted.

So what causes someone to be grateful? Why are some adoptees grateful for being adopted and some not? Well since it is a self attitude, I guess it has to do with some inner self reflection and thought? I know a lot of people hate the attitude of "move on", but it is so true, I don't know how to formulate a thought without that mentality. No amount of reflection, self loathing, or anything else will change the fact that I was adopted in the first place. So I guess I have to "move on" past the fact that I was adopted. Now you can "move on" with a bitterness towards what happened to you and that the best scenario didn't work out, indifferance, or gratefulness that something worse didn't happen. I guess my feeling is if you live your life always looking back and reflecting on how much better it could have been, I realize that you miss what is going on now, and actually make what is going on now worse because I am bringing that negative attitude to what is happening now.

So in light of this here is a quick list of what I am grateful for:

1. I am grateful that my birth mother gave birth to me (the alternative is so much worse!)

2. I am grateful that I was found in the bakery by the police (sure its not ideal, but better than roaming the streets at 3 years of age!)

3. I am grateful for Grace Home Orphanage in Daejeon, and my Orphanage mother and sister who I have met.

4. I am grateful for my parents, providing a home and family to me. It seems that some adoptees view that adoptive children make a family to APs, but they overlook that APs provide a family in return. Its a two way street.

5. I am grateful to adoption agencies. Even though there is a lot of difficulty with them, and they may be inefficient or corrupt at times. Without them I would have never been adopted.

6. I am grateful to visit my motherland, Korea. Even when it is difficult seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting things that I remember from when I was a child. Or even the pain I feel when I have to explain to the people that I can't speak Korean, and the look on their face. I am still grateful.

7. I am grateful to the Korean family that "adopted" me back when I visited Korea. I still am in touch with them and very much consider them family!

8. I am grateful for finding blogs. I started blogging 3/4 of a year ago and got me into writing about adoptions. It has really opened up a lot of emotions and feelings that I never explored before. But it is for the better. I am grateful that I "survived" the endeavor, and came out the same person as before.


  1. "however should we not be grateful for everything?"

    Well, should we wake up being grateful we aren't starving to death? Should we wake up and thank God every day that we aren't suffering from dehydration?

    Contrary to what you have, it is possible to be pressured into being grateful for everything.

    I actually think that is counterproductive to an extent - if you spend so much time thanking God for everything *every single day* - then isn't the focus on merely being alive than rather LIVING through life?

    I am grateful that I have this life now - without having to bring the "adoption" label into it. I believe people should be appreciative - not grateful - that they have good parents, a good home, and a good life.

    But I do not think it should be the basis for everything. You can appreciative life to the fullest which doesn't necessarily mean getting down on bended knee every single morning to thank God for the "privilege" of even being alive.

    I am grateful for the life I live now, but I will NEVER be grateful for the circumstances that caused me to be relinquished.

    "I guess my feeling is if you live your life always looking back and reflecting on how much better it could have been, I realize that you miss what is going on now, and actually make what is going on now worse because I am bringing that negative attitude to what is happening now."

    Correct. However, to some extent, the past does influence the present. That is how people learn from their mistakes.

    "1. I am grateful that my birth mother gave birth to me (the alternative is so much worse!)"

    Let me ask you something, InMySeoul: have you considered that your mother might have actually been forced into giving you up? I do not want to assume, but based on your previous conversations with me and on this blog, you have not managed to find her yet.

    Do you base your assumption of the statement "the alternative is so much worse" on the mere fact that you are adopted? Do you know any direct information about your birth mother, or is it all agency information from a second-hand source?

    You could be right - maybe she didn't feel she could raise you. But have you considered that she might have only *felt* she couldn't raise you?

    After all, not every birthmother thinks they are capable of parenting correctly on the first try. They don't come with "manuals" on what to do to parent properly. They just do it. Do you know if your birthmother had any resources? Do you know if she truly had no options?

  2. Mei Ling,

    Doll you said better than I ever could. Why should adoptees have to be especially grateful? Do you see the non adopted being that grateful? I don't. They are allowed to live their lives without that concept being thrown at them. For me personally, abortion was not an option for me. I was born before 1973. Do your adoptive parents really know that you think this? I know my adoptive mother would have a fit if I thought this way. If they are like mine, my mother is grateful for the opportunity of raising me. I would figure your parents would be too. My adoptive mother does not want me being grateful to her.

    Am I grateful for the life that I have been given? Yes but I still have questions. I want my questions answered. I do not feel that I should be grateful in order to get those questions answered.

  3. I think some people think of gratitude as you do here, as an attitude, and others as an action, something you do or should do or may feel pressured into doing.

    As an attitude, I don't think gratitude needs to be applied to specific life events. It's more a sense of acknowledgment that in spite of the bad things that have happened in one's life, it's still worth living just as it is. This attitude in no way precludes taking action to stop those bad things, either, nor does it have to drive one's life. It's just one of many perspectives, feelings, call them what you will, that are part of who we are.

    I hope my kids have never gotten the message from me that they should ever have to be grateful or display gratitude to my husband and me for having adopted them. This kind of gratitude comes, I think, from thinking of adoption as charity, which in my opinion is just plain wrong. I completely agree with adoptees who dislike this view of adoption, which in driven by adoptive parents and adoption agencies with little thought for how it affects adopted people.

    Thank you for speaking your mind. It's good to have different views on this subject out here.