Thanksgiving Thoughts: Celebrating the Miracle of Adoption

Article excerpt

No nation needs a thanksgiving holiday more than the United States, because we have so much more for which to be thankful. One could excuse the people of Kosovo or Poland or The Congo if they didn't set aside a day to give thanks - fate has dealt them a hard and bitter history. But we Americans would be a loutish and ungrateful lot if we didn't pause to give thanks for our many unmerited blessings.

Thomas Jefferson, on thinking about the moral shortcomings of our then young country said: "I tremble for The Republic when I consider that there is a just God." So should we all tremble. But though we do not fully deserve the good fortune that providence has provided us, yet collectively we are, in part at least, the authors of our good fortune, and not merely lucky bystanders. So, as I, an immigrant as a young boy from England, think about this last Thanksgiving Day celebration of the Second Millennium, beyond my personal gratitude for family and friends and health, the thing I am most thankful for is the American people.

I say that, even though mindful of the murder, mayhem, materialism and malice reported in the news every day. Because, while we are all, of course, imperfect, and a few of us are malignant, no other people on Earth are as big-hearted and capable of such effective voluntary good works as Americans. What triggered this thought was a statistic I saw in the just-released Adoption Factbook, put out by the National Council For Adoption: In 1996 there were only about 300 infant adoptions in England and Wales, while in the United States there were almost 24,000. Adjusting for population, if Americans adopted at the same rate as the British, we would have adopted only 1,800 children. The total number of United States adoptions for all ages, both related and unrelated, was almost 110,000.

I confess to a bias in the matter of adoption. After having two sons born to us, my wife and I adopted a baby girl two years ago (I heartily recommend both paths to becoming a parent. Adoption is the ultimate win-win situation, for both parent and child.) Since then, I have learned a little about the adoption process both here and around the world.

It surprised me to learn that in many countries adoptions are frowned upon. As a result, currently there are millions of foreign unadopted, parentless children waiting for families and homes. …