For years, off and on, I had yearned to meet my birth mother. That yearning didn’t materialize into anything further than prayers on her behalf until years later.

A mother myself to grown children, I was suddenly taken with the desire to see my birth mother’s face. I didn’t know why the desire became so insistent and gnawing, but it did. I wondered why I’d so easily accepted that perhaps I was never meant to meet her; that my contact would never go beyond thoughts and prayers. However, as the desire became stronger and more consistent, I realized that I was meant to search. I was meant to try.

One day in particular in the midst of my search, I found myself alone at home. I remember lying across my bed and releasing a flood of tears. I felt myriad emotions which all seemed to conflict with each other: the yearning to meet my birth mother, shame that I wanted this so badly, gratitude for the life I’d been given, anger for feeling like I should be far more grateful.

I began to pray. I asked, “Please, please let me meet my mother.”

As it dawned on me that this was the very first time I’d ever said the words out loud, I thought of the quote, “You have not because you ask not.” Well, I was asking now.

I won’t glibly say that if readers go pray and cry while doing so, the petition to find a birth parent will just automatically be answered. Mine certainly wasn’t; that prayer was the beginning of a long, laborious journey that often felt like climbing a mountain in the dark.

Each step felt like a stumble and I spent more time feeling lost than on any certain path, but the thought of finally seeing the face of the woman who brought me into the world propelled me forward. My yearning finally had a focus, a purpose. I climbed.