Today is Memorial Day. Three years ago, Jacob and I started a new family tradition. It was his first Memorial Day in the United States and he was a new American. I took him in his stroller and we walked about 20 minutes to the local parade. We bought breakfast at McDonald's near the parade route and ate it while we sat in the grass waiting for the parade. It was a great time and we have repeated it every year since then. It is why I try hard to get this holiday off work.
Memorial Day has taken on new meaning since I took my first international trip to Peru and even more after I became a mom. My first trip to Peru, I realized how blessed we are in this country. It is the land of opportunity. Yes, it is harder to succeed if you grow up in certain areas or families but I have seen enough people come from very difficult childhoods to be successful adults. Whether it was my friend whose aunt and uncle raised him in a low-income neighborhood and left him mostly unsupervised, my friend who was adopted from foster care at age 13, a fellow student who was severly abused as a child or any of the countless other people I have met, they all show it is possible to make your dreams come true here. It is a gift that many other people around the world will never experience.
I always get slightly emotional when the soldiers and flags go by during the parade. I remember all the blessings I have. I think about my children and how in so many other countries we would not be allowed to exist. Single parenthood is never tolerated and sometimes outlawed. In this country, I do run into resistance occassionally. People who think my children would be better off in other families. People who as why I "just don't get married." People who assume I am unethical and immoral because my children and I don't "match."
Yet mostly we receive support and love. Most people get excited when they ask about M's adoption. We have become somewhat of role models for other people looking to adopt children. A month doesn't go by that someone doesn't approach me looking for answers about foster care adoption or international adoption. Many people ask if I am done having children. When I tell them I want one more someday, they get excited and begin telling me where they think my next child should come from. At this time, I don't know when that child will come or from where. I am still waiting for God to tell me.
This Memorial Day I want to say thank you. Thank you to the civilian emergency responders who protect me and my family on the homefront. Thank you to the military members who protect us overseas and protect our borders. America is not perfect but it has given me more blessings than I could ever imagine. I love this country and am glad we live here.