I set you free with forgiveness but i still carry guilt
Motherhood has opened many doors for me. It has changed my heart and my life. It is one of the most beautiful gifts God has blessed me with and I try my best to live in gratitude for this vocation because I know not all are blessed with the ability to be a mother. It has softened my heart to people – it has made me admire, adore and aspire to be more like Mother Mary. I have grown to have the ability to forgive and have deep empathy for my own mothers – my biological mother and my mother, the woman that adopted me.
I want to share a story with you – I was born on November 7, 1989 in Albuquerque, NM to Virginia Salazar and Pedro Apodaca. I do not know anything about my birth story. I do not know my time of birth, I do not know how much I weighed, I do not know if my birth mother had an epidural or if she powered through and had me naturally, I do not know if she fell in love with me the moment she saw me, I do not know if my birth father was there, I do not know if I cried all day and all night or if I was a calm baby. It never hit me how much I cared to know how I came into this world until I brought my own child into this world because it was the hardest yet most beautiful and fulfilling day of my life. I sometimes wish I was able to ask my birth mother these questions and I sometimes regret not giving her the opportunity to have a conversation with me because I feel like she would have loved to share that story with me and I would have loved to hear it. I feel like we would have liked each other.
When I was 5 months old I went to live with a foster family because my birth parents were arrested and were going to spend some time in prison. They both suffered from addiction which eventually led to my birth mother’s murder in 2008. In my 5th month of life, God blessed me with a my forever family – my saving grace. My birth mother had several siblings and her sister, my momma and her husband, my dad, accepted me into their home as their own. I was blessed with a dad, a mom and two beautiful sisters. They saved my life and I do not think they will ever understand how grateful I am and how much I love them for being so gracious, selfless and kind. I had a beautiful childhood and a beautiful life because of their gigantic hearts. I was theirs and they have never made me feel otherwise. They made the decision, without hesitation, and they loved and treated me as their own every day of my life. Although I did have the most amazing family and childhood, that did not make things easy for us. I never realized until now, as a maturing adult, how much adoption had affected my heart as a child and a teenager. I never allowed myself the opportunity to wonder or ask my family questions regarding my biological parents or my story. I was always too scared to ask any questions because I feared I would hurt them or they would feel I was ungrateful for them. I brushed my feelings under the rug and it came out in anger and I unknowingly turned to alcohol to suppress my hurt, confusion and anger. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you know why I was angry or who I was angry with but I took it out on my family – the ones the saved my life and the ones that did not deserve it one bit. Right before I met my husband I had began to renew my relationship with God and the church and God led me straight to my husband. My husband rocked my world. He made me believe in my worth and that I was worthy of true, pure love. We were married and had our first child within 3 years of meeting each other and my child was able to put a lot of things into perspective for me. My son pushed me even closer to God and I was beginning to live more and more like Jesus. My heart was beginning to soften and I was able to live my life with grace, forgiveness and love. I was learning to deal with my emotions. I was learning to deal with the hurt, pain and confusion I carried in my heart. I was able to open up more and was learning to communicate my love and appreciation toward my family. I still have so much to learn and have so much room to grow but all I want is for my family to be proud of me, be proud of my heart and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I love them and know I am more grateful for their selflessness than they will ever understand.
Motherhood has led me to forgiveness, understanding and empathy for my birth mom. I have shed the hurt, frustration, confusion and pain that I have carried with me. I am still working on the regret and guilt I carry for not allowing myself to have a conversation with her. I feel a deep sorrow for her because I know that she suffered from guilt and shame. All that I wish for is for the chance to tell her, face to face, that I forgive her. That I am not angry with her. I want to tell her that I am proud of her, I admire her strength and that I wish nothing more than for her to let go of her shame and guilt. I now understand that she did the best she could. I now understand that she not only gave me life once but she gave me life twice.
If you are reading this and are going through a similar situation but your birth parents are still alive – I greatly encourage you to start praying NOW. Pray for perspective, pray for peace, pray for a tender heart that forgives and has the ability to feel empathy. No one deserves to carry the burden of shame or guilt. I know it is difficult and hard to wrap your mind and emotions around your situation but remember that God would never give you something you cannot handle. Adopt Jesus’ being, be brave and take the necessary steps to start a conversation because regret is a heavy burden to carry.
I wrote my biological mother a letter. I know that she has read it. I know that she has accepted it and I truly believe wherever she is, she has been freed of the burden that she held for far too long. Now I just pray to keep letting go of the regret and guilt that I carry of not speaking with her when I had the chance.
Here is the letter that I wrote to her:
I wanted to write you a letter for several reasons. I want to thank you for a few things, I wanted to apologize for a few things and I want to share some things with you that will hopefully allow you to let go of any negative feelings that you hold deep in your heart.
I first want to start off my thanking you for my life because without you and without certain choices you made, I wouldn’t be here or be where I am today. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be in your shoes and I won’t ever know if it was an easy or hard decision to carry me in your womb and to make the decision to give me life but I am so thankful that you chose to give me life. From what I hear it wasn’t an easy choice for you to allow someone else to become my parent and I cannot imagine it would be an easy choice and I feel so deeply for you now that I know what it is like to be a mother and have my own child. I imagine it would have been one of the hardest decisions you have ever had to make. But you deserve for me to thank you. You deserve to feel proud of yourself for having the courage and strength to allow someone else to take that roll from you. For someone to take your child from you. You have given me life not once but twice because of your strength and bravery and I thank you more than you will ever understand. You gave me a wonderful life with wonderful parents and I now am able to be a wonderful parent because of you. No one deserves to carry on the burden of guilt, shame, regret or pain. I know that you lived a life of sorrow and pain and I am so sorry for that. I pray that wherever you are you are able to let go of all of that pain, shame, guilt, regret and I pray that you are able to forgive yourself so that you are able to move on and move closer to God and live happily in His Kingdom for eternity. You are His child and you are perfect to Him and He forgives you. Maybe you were just waiting on me to tell you that I wasn’t mad at you and I am so incredibly sorry that I was never comfortable or mature enough to talk to you when you tried. I know that I have caused you pain and hurt and I am so sorry. I hope you know that I had a happy childhood. I hope you know that I had the best mom, dad and sisters anyone could ask for. I hope you know that I have great life now and that I am very happy and that all started with you and your strength and bravery. I want you to know that I am able to be a mother because of you. My son is my most precious gift and I am so thankful for him. Please forgive yourself and let go. Please allow yourself to be with God. I will pray for you for the rest of your life and please pray and watch over my family and I as well. I know that you’ve always wanted to hear me say I love you back and I am sorry you never heard me say it but I do love you and I am so thankful for you. Rest in peace and be happy. May God be with you always.
If you have ever felt the burden of a grudge or unforgiveness being held against you – I can assure you it is an awful feeling and can hold you back from your potential. Do not hold on to that grudge – pray to set them free.