I received the most amazing piece of jewelry for Mother’s Day from my sweet B’s mama. It is a cherished item that I wear close to my heart every day. It’s a simple stamped charm that says “Find the Joy in Your Journey.” I placed it on a necklace next to a black pearl that a beautiful friend gave to me during a girls cruise earlier in the year. This cruise is where I decided that my journey as a birth mother was not something to hide under a rug and that I was going to find the pride and beauty in it. Her sending me this charm just from our correspondence solidified that I am on the right path.

I was sitting at my desk at work when a coworker asked me about the charm. He is new to the office and hadn’t already heard my “I am a birth mom” story, so I told him the condensed version. Awkward silence and a blank stare set in. This is where my mind deviates elsewhere and I imagine how the response can go. I was like the little cartoon character who jumps around after eating something hot as I scrambled and wondered if I should have just made up an answer to avoid the conversation altogether.

To my surprise, his face turned soft and his eyes became wide as he explained to me that he was adopted at age 2 from an orphanage in another country. Oh, my heart! He immediately put his hands to his heart and told me that, even though he knows nothing about his birth family, he loves his adoption story. He proceeded to thank me for my choice to place my child. Not only did I want to hug him, which would be strange in an office, but I wanted to sit for hours and talk to him about his journey. Immediately, we were connected on a new level, and he is now my friend.

Our conversation and newfound friendship reminds me that my story, no matter how different it is from the person to the left of me, is mine. Irreplaceable friendships are forged through sharing my placement with perfect strangers. Passion and happiness are emerging out of a very sad time of my life because I am allowing myself to see it. I am finding the joy in my journey. Like the lonely bloom in a deserted space, I am reminded that beauty surrounds my placement, and I am a very blessed woman to know that my story touches lives.

Her simple gift of a charm has reminded me that my story is a gift to someone that will potentially open a door that they boarded up and never wanted to visit again because of fear or sadness. Her simple gift of being my friend and an amazing mama to my sweet B gave me a boost in my confidence: the confidence I now am putting down on paper and sharing with the masses.

Although my placement is not wide open like many these days, I find the beauty in what I am able to share with my sweet B’s family. Her mama’s gift to me has opened yet another doorway to my healing and my ability to help others in theirs. Regardless of how we are affected by adoption, whether it be as an adoptive parent, a birth parent or an adoptee, we all have a story that will in one way or another touch someone’s heart. How do you see your story helping others? How do you respond to the mantra “the destination is in the journey”?