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It’s Not All About Me

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In the summer of 1959 I was born to a single mother. During those earlier days a pregnant single woman was not accepted as she would be today. And life as a single parent has always been difficult. Did her family accept her pregnancy? Or was she outcast? Was the pregnancy something completely unexpected? Was she afraid? Did she have doubts about her ability to feed us both? Did she have a job? It is possible that she was alone and scared of the future. It is possible that to her, as a single mother without family or employment, it seemed that the entire world was against her. It is very possible she became afraid for us both. And she could have doubted her ability to create a safe, nurturing environment for me, her child.

When we adoptees think of our birth parents we often have resentment for them. We ask ourselves how could they have given me up? They should have kept me! But instead they gave me up. How can I forgive that? They did me wrong. When we think or say these things we are thinking only about ourselves. We are thinking about what we want or need. We should be thinking about our birth parents. What they felt, what they wanted and what they thought would be the best decision for our safety. That should be what we try to understand. We were not the only ones involved in that decision they made. We must let go of our selfishness and think of our parents. It does not matter if our birth was planned. It doesn’t matter if we were an unexpected surprise. What matters is that we are alive and that we owe our existence to two people that, quite possibly, we will never meet face to face. We must set aside any thought of resentment or anger because they create an emotional sickness within us.

Our lives are filled with joys but also problems and very difficult decisions. Our parents’ lives were the same. Everyone has to make difficult, often painful, decisions in our lives. And, quite often, there is no guarantee that things will turn out the way we hope they will. But we make the very best decision we can and hope and pray that things will work out. As children who were put up for adoption we cannot know just how painful it must have been for our mothers and fathers to say goodbye to us and hand us over to someone else. We cannot know if they forgave themselves or, to this day, have doubts that their decision was the right one. But we must trust that they loved us. What parent could not love their own child? What parent could not hold the child gently in their arms and softly kiss their forehead? What parent could give up their child for adoption and not cry for a long time because they had been separated from their own child?

Let us pray that our mothers and fathers are calm and trusting that the good Lord guided us to safety and that we love them and hold no grudge for what must have been the most difficult decision of their entire lives. Let us forgive our birth parents and hope they have at last found peace. When we take ourselves out of the equation and begin to consider the needs of others we can also think of our adopted parent/s. My Mom and Dad could not have kids on their own. And they wanted children so badly. They made the decision to adopt and they chose me and my sister. Then two people became four and every day they proved to us that they were grateful for a family and that they loved us very, very much. In this matter my entire adopted family was blessed. And we have had a great life together.

Every family has ups and downs. That is true. But we are together and thankful we have each other. I have let go of my resentment and anger. I hold in my heart a gratefulness to the woman who, as a single mom, trusted that I would find a kind family who would treat as one of their own. I have long forgiven the woman who gave me the gift of life. And I will continue to love her until my very last breath. And when I pass away I hope to meet her and share with her all that has happened to me since we parted. I think she will be proud of me. And that is a very good thing.

– Andrew J.

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