I am 14 years old. My mom, sister and I are sitting around the kitchen table, my lanky elbows resting on the edge. While talking to each other, my mom utters a set of words that tore through my inner being. Words that no parent should say, and no daughter, should hear.
“You’re not a real daughter.”
You’re not a real daughter. Her words hit me hard, they made my stomach ache and my head hurt. My eyes welled up with tears and I quickly went to my room so my mom wouldn’t see them. I didn’t understand. Why did she say that? What did I do wrong to deserve such a comment?
Like many adoptees, I had a deep yearning to feel accepted. I wanted to belong and know that I was part of a family forever. Adoption made all of these a struggle and those words seemed to solidify my biggest insecurities. It felt as if, no matter what, I would never be good enough to be considered a daughter. A real daughter.
The weight of those words still sneak up on me today, I can still feel the punch. But I’ve also learned forgiveness, learning to hold onto its power. A power over hate and anger and a strength to rise above and acknowledge love. I’ve had to continue to hold onto truth within my being, forgiving my mom for saying those words, knowing that they hold no pull in my worthiness of being loved and accepted.
People will say and do things to us that hurt. Life will treat us unfairly and we will find ourselves in situations that feel anything but pleasant. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we condone what was done to us, it means that we no longer let anger and sadness take up space in our minds. Forgiveness has the ability to help us see the humanity we all share, amidst all of our faults. It doesn’t erase the hurt and it doesn’t mean we forget, but forgiveness has the power to not let those hurts hold us down and stop us from achieving what we put our minds too.
So, to my mother, I forgive you. I no longer hold the anger in my heart that I did for so many years. I know we’ve all made mistakes, and I am chalking up those words to one of yours. With my head held high, and my heart open, I walk through this life knowing that I am loved, cherished, wanted and accepted. I am a daughter.
A real daughter.