When I started thinking about who I needed to forgive in my adoption, I immediately began looking on the surface of my journey and found a lot of candidates:

My parents, for not supporting and understanding when we decided adoption was our choice.

Our friends, for calling us selective parents and wondering how a parent who already has kids could choose to “give one away.”

The Church, for trying to talk us out of our decision to place our child for adoption.

My list continued to grow in my head, but as I started thinking of why I needed to forgive these people, I realized that, for the most part, I already had. There was nothing that needed to be said and they were immediately wiped off of my list.

Then I began digging deeper, and a few “big ones” came to mind. These are some that I pretend do not bother me, but I know better than anyone when I am fooling myself.

First things first: I need to forgive my husband. He is a birth father and he signed the same papers that I signed and he made the same choices that I made. I have always rested on his faults being the reason we chose adoption, and that’s unfair to him. I chose adoption right next to him and I enabled his life choices that brought us to the fork in the road. I am just as guilty of these choices as he is. I have been unfair, and I also ask for his forgiveness as I work on forgiving him.

I need to forgive adoptive parents everywhere who have at any time made me feel like less of a mother because of my choice. I allow my internal guilt to twist simple words or comments and turn them into a personal attack on my heart. This is my guilt and sadness being outwardly projected with no fault to them. I need to have mercy on my heart.

I need to forgive other birth mothers for openly judging me for my choice to place a child after I had parented. I often hear, “But you’re married! You have a job and a family.” I need to not allow those comments to change how I feel about myself. They do not know our back story or our struggle, nor do they need to. I need to allow others to have their opinions without letting it affect how I feel about myself. I need to remember that I am a good mother, no matter in what form.

Who else do I need to forgive? Simply put, I need to forgive myself. I need to allow myself to be human. I need to allow myself to say, regarding my choices, “It is okay.” I have forgiven many people in my life, regardless of if we have a relationship or not, but I have not forgiven myself. Why couldn’t I do it? Why did I choose adoption when I knew that I could parent? I am not sure if I will find the path to full and complete forgiveness of myself, but I am working on loving myself at least half as much as I love others. I am working on forgiving myself at least half as much as I forgive others. Every time I think about adoption, a pit hits my stomach. The pit of self-loathing. I need that pit to be overwhelmed with acceptance of my choices and love for myself through my faults. I may never gain a full understanding of the life-altering choice I made when I placed my child for adoption, but learning to forgive my own heart and those intertwined with my journey helps me gain perspective on how much I need to love and forgive ME!