When I was thirteen years old, I was adopted.
I’d spent most of my life in and out of foster homes throughout the state of Michigan. When a family came along that I loved and that loved me dearly, I asked my birth mother to sign over her rights so that I could be adopted. My caseworker drove me to her home, and I pleaded with her, telling her that if she truly loved me and wanted what was best for me, she would let me go. She would give me the opportunity to have a different, better life.
Soon after my adoption, my adoptive family and I moved to another state. The pain, however, stayed with me.
I tried to put it all behind me – the memories, the hurt, the fear. My adoptive family tried their hardest to support me with love and structure. They thought that their love alone could heal me, and while it did help, it also hurt. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t overcome the pain of the past, I felt out of place in a happy family where I seemed to be the ever-present rain cloud.
In my torrent of emotions and shame, I became rebellious and even more angry.
During that time of despair and acting out, my adoptive mother said something that at least cushioned the heart break I was experiencing. She told me that she had chosen me out of all of the children in the world to be her daughter. I wasn’t born into their family, I was specifically chosen to be a part of it. For the first time-maybe ever-I felt special.
I’m twenty-nine years old now, with three beautiful children. I love my life. I love my adoptive family. And I love my birth mother. It took a long time, but I think I finally understand that despite her failing to protect me from harm when I was in her care, she loved me enough to free me.
It took twenty-two years, but I now have contact with my birth family and I can’t wait to get to know them, all over again.
There is hope.