Sunday, October 11, 2015

On Giving Thanks...

There are celebrations during fall in different cultures, faiths and families throughout the world.  To only name a few, India celebrates its Festival of Lights (Diwali), the Muslim faith celebrates Eid-Al-Adha, the Jewish faith celebrates Sukkot, Cambodia commemorates the end of the rainy season with its 3 days Water Festival (Bon Om Touk), the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in China and in Vietnam.

In North America, we celebrate Thanksgiving.  This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.  In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated at the end of November.

Growing up in an all-French environment in the 1970s, we never talked about Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was the mid-autumn long weekend when we would collect the leaves fallen from the trees.  I have dear memories of my late father making huge piles of leaves so I could jump in them when I was a little girl.

When I moved to English Canada for university in my late teens, I discovered there was a lot more happening than just picking up leaves.  The hallways in the elementary school where I was a French language monitor were covered with turkey and harvest  themed crafts made by the children, the markets selling autumn flower arrangements in downtown Ottawa, the squash on display coming in all different colours, and of course, the turkey and its fixings being advertised on sale everywhere.  I love fall, I have always loved fall, maybe because I am an October baby!  But I love fall even more since I started to make a point of including Thanksgiving as an official celebration in my life.  It started in a very modest way when I was living on my own, but it took a bigger turn over the years.  And I married an anglophone, which made it easier!  Michael loves cooking on Thanksgiving.  He is up early to prepare the turkey and its fixings and I usually take care of the baking.  We love having people over and entertaining.  I love seeing the crafts the little ones make at school.

Thanksgiving is widely celebrated in English Canada.  It is an occasion to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest.  But for our family, it took another meaning, a very special one.  On Thanksgiving weekend in 2008, we received the proposal to adopt our beautiful Logan Hoang.  We got an email with his picture and it was love at first sight.  This wee little guy was then 2 months old, in an orphanage in Vietnam.  From then on until adoption day 2 months later, we lived on 2 time zones, constantly thinking about him and his well-being.  We get very emotional each year as Thanksgiving approaches and as Logan Hoang is growing, he senses the importance of the whole deal.

In 2015, Thanksgiving is gaining even more meaning for our family.  Let's not sugar-coat it, we have been through quite the year.  But in hind sight, it has been a wonderful successful one.  We are grateful for everyone who has been supporting us, for all the media who have helped us convey our message.  I am not a believer for say, but I like to thank Life for my beautiful daughters' health, and also for preserving my other seven children's sanity through it all.

I am grateful for the medical teams who have been involved with the twins, Michael and our anonymous donor.  I am grateful for my Canada who took my twins under its wings while they were so sick.

Thank you Michael for being the father you are and for giving Phuoc a second chance at life.  Thank you anonymous Donor for your unselfishness and for giving Binh another chance as well.

From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving to all!