learning to forgive

Phyllis - el cajon, California
Entered on February 20, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I can still picture the day I met my birth mom for the first time. I was 13, my heart was racing, and my palms were sweaty, walking up a trail to see a woman that I’d never met before, but had dreamed so much about. As soon as our eyes met, she burst into tears. She wrapped her arms around me and began to sob, speaking unintelligible words between gasping for air. The only words she said to me that have stuck with me through all these years were “I’m so sorry, will you please forgive me?” It was as simple as that.

I believe in the power of forgiveness, and its ability to heal all wounds.

I was adopted at three months old. My grandparents on my dad’s side took me in without hesitation and raised me together until I was nine years old. After my Papa died, I began to question my family situation. The fact that the person I called Mom, was also the Mother of the person I called Dad, was a little unsettling to me. So I began to do research, and started digging through countless albums and stray pictures trying to find a reason why I felt so misplaced. When I first saw the picture of my birth Mom sitting with my Dad, my sister and little baby me, I knew that she was somehow connected to me. So I stole the picture and confronted my then, only sister. At first she hesitated telling me anything, but eventually the truth came out. She said, that’s your mother, and you also have three brothers and another little sister that you’ve never met.

At first I felt confused, like this can’t be happening. Then I felt angry and I had so many unanswered questions. Why did this happen to me and not any of my other siblings? What did I do wrong that I was given up for adoption? So many emotions went through my mind, more than a normal 11 year old should comprehend.

I wasn’t supposed to meet my birth mom, or even know about her till I was 18, so confronting my other mom, who raised me all these years, and telling her that the secret was out, wasn’t very easy for me. We screamed, we cried. She accused my birth mom of being a bad mother and I accused her of being a liar. I hated the fact I was lied to all these years, that everyone else knew about my situation except me.

As time went by, I was told the whole story of my adoption. The reason why my mom and dad gave me away, how I ended up with my grandparents and why they never tried to get me back. My mom spilled her heart to me, telling me anything I wanted to know.

It finally hit me, I was not mad at my mom for putting me up for adoption; she only did it because she knew I would have a better life. All she ever wanted was the best for me, and how can I hold a grudge with the woman who gave birth to me? I wasn’t mad at my other mom for keeping my adoption a secret; I know she only did it to protect me.

I know that everything happens for a reason. Good or bad, there is a plan for everyone on this earth and I refuse to let anger and resentment have the best of me. I know my mom loves me and she always will. I believe that forgiveness has saved my relationship with my family, without it, I’d be lost.