A Source of Hope

September 11, 2011

I am very mindful of today, September 11, being the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Last evening my family and I, along with GIFT Family Service’s virtual assistant, Kris Jamieson, and her mother, attended a commemoration event in our home city of Minneapolis. Both Kris’ family and my own are adoptive families. We sat together, listening to the music and the reflections that were shared to honor the occasion and bring a renewed sense of unity.

One theme that was stated over and over again was that, despite the tragedy we face in life, there is always hope. No matter where we have come from, we all share the same desire for peace and new life. This common hope and common desire unite us as human beings.

I believe that the themes of hope, peace and new life - along with the conviction that we all share a common humanity- are what under-girds adoptive families, as well. Though there may be differences within our families and though pain and loss may be a part of our past or present, ultimately, we are not defined by them. Adoptive families are defined by hope, new life, and a recognition that we are all a part of the human family.

I was especially mindful of this last night when my son, whose birth family is Muslim, placed his hand in mine while we heard readings and listened to songs from many faith traditions, including Islam. At that moment, I had feelings of joy and hope. I had an immense appreciation for the distinct family of which I am privileged to be a part. With the appreciation came a fresh recognition of how the range of our experience together – from the easy to the difficult – has given our family a depth of character and strength that I do not think we would have known otherwise.

When I took a quick glance at Kris, I noticed she too had that same feeling with her mother by her side. We’re all in this life together, making it through. Along the way, we are discovering the fullness that family, friends, and community bring to us.

GIFT (Growing Intentional Families Together) Family Services shares these same convictions. Adoptive families are sources of strength, hope, and life. As adoptive families, we are examples to the world of the fullness that can come when we experience and share life together.

Sally Ankerfelt

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