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- ▼ 2015 (8)
Monday, December 28, 2015
As 2015 comes to a close, I am reminded of how blessed I am. From a family who loves me and friends who would do anything for me to just being alive. This, however, hasn't always been the case. Six years ago, I didn’t look at my life as a gift. I looked at it as a source of humiliation and shame--all due to the circumstances surrounding my birth.
When my birthmother pulled out a police report and told me that I was conceived through rape, I was devastated. This was not what I was told while growing up as an adopted child of loving parents. From the very first moment that my parents told me I was adopted, I was reassured that my birth parents were young and in love, but were still in school and couldn't care for a baby, thus the decision to put me up for adoption. I was a loved and wanted child of two people who loved each other. That is what I have believed for 37 years. How could I have spent the last 37 years of my life living a lie? So many questions raced through my mind, but answers were in short supply.
After a few days of denial, I resolved to prove my birth mother's story a piece of fiction. The last thing in the world that I wanted was for this circumstance to define my life.
I started my search for answers at the police station that took my birth mother's report of rape more than 30 years previously. My quest for answers continued as my husband and I walked the streets of the town that my birth father called home. My husband, armed with a video camera, documented our every step. Although I wasn't quite sure what motivated his desire to video tape this encounter, today I am thankful for the footage. I have to say that the more that I learned about the circumstances surrounding my conception, the more deeply depressed I became. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want this to be my life, my story. I only desired to be the wanted and loved child of my birth parents, not a child thrust into this world by an act of violence.
After fact-finding missions at the court house, police station, library, hospital and health department, I still had doubts about her story. Not because the evidence didn't exist; it was there, in abundance, and all pointing toward the truth of my birth mother's story, a truth I refused to face. In a last ditch effort marked by desperation and pain, I arrived on the doorstep of my biological father's house. I just wanted someone to deny this horrible truth and tell me it was going to be okay. Naturally, I turned to the one person who would surely deny it.
My husband, camera rolling, and I drove past his home four times as I summoned the courage to stop. Although patient with the whole process, my husband's agitation was beginning to show. As we drove by his house one last time, we noticed a woman on a ladder painting a garage. I looked at my husband and said "Okay, it's time; let’s stop."
With the camera still rolling, we pulled into the driveway. The woman turned around to see who it was and then began to descend the steps of the ladder. My husband and I got out of our car and walked up the drive. My first words were “Hi, I’m Monica." That was all it took. There was no hand shake, no “it’s nice to meet you," nothing. She stared at me and coldly said, "I know who you are and you’re not welcome here."
This woman turned out to be my birth father's wife, who had been married to him for many years. She went on to tell me that I was ruining their lives and that he didn’t want to be my “father," all the while throwing in a few choice insults for good measure.
As she continued to call me names, my husband stepped in and calmly said, "Do you realize that this has nothing to do with Monica? You are blaming an innocent victim for your husband’s crime.”
Grabbing my hand in a quick reassuring squeeze, my husband then escorted me back down the drive toward our car, with my birth father's wife following close behind, calling me names and telling us to leave their family alone. Shaken, we reached the relative safety of the car. As my husband started the engine, he looked at me and said "You know this isn’t your fault, right?"
We drove down the road for about a mile when my husband stopped the car and gently pulled me into his arms. The remainder of the ride home was quiet and long and full of tears.
I didn’t get to meet my birthfather that day, but I did receive a phone call from him that evening. I finally got the denial I was looking for. My birthfather went on to tell me that there was two men with the same name and that he was the wrong guy. I explained that I had his birthdate, social security number and I didn’t believe him. I am not sure what changed me after hearing the words of denial come out of his mouth, but I suddenly became very defensive and adamantly defended my birth-mother. I then asked him for a DNA test which he agreed to do. This would settle it once and for all. We scheduled a date to have the DNA test done at a hospital two weeks out.
After a few weeks of riding an emotional rollercoaster, the final proof of my new reality arrived at my doorstep in the guise of a letter. It was from the attorney hired by my biological father. This letter advised me to stay away from my birthfather and his family and I finally had the answers that I was looking for, he was my birthfather and I was his daughter. I was forced to face the facts. No matter how much I tried, no matter how much I didn’t want this new life--my life-- this was the one I was given. It didn’t matter how much I prayed to be the wanted and loved child of my birth parents. The harsh reality is that I was not.
One long, dark day stretched into another until my husband finally came to me and said, "Monica, enough is enough. I need my wife back and our kids need their mother."
As I came to the realization that my journey wasn't mine alone, but my family’s as well, I wept for the lost moments of joy and for the shared sorrow borne by those who love me more than anything in the world. They experienced my tears, my sadness, and eventually, my breaking point. Now, it was up to me to find a way through the pain, so that our family's journey could continue.
Today my family and I celebrate my life knowing the circumstances of my existence. Although my vision of my life might have changed, I am now a stronger wife, mother and daughter to my family.
We always must remember that when Christ puts us on a path to purpose, we can look the other way, try to find a different road, or simply ignore all the signs. But when you accept the road and start walking with purpose, amazing things will happen.