A Miracle with Do-it-yourself Forgiveness.
A Miracle with Do-it-yourself Forgiveness.
Our hearts melted into one another’s in instant recognition throughout that first hug. Two bodies reunited after 36 years…two spirits that had never been separated. The gap of time was instantly filled during this 1 moment of reunion. The bond of mother and daughter can never be broken. Only shame, guilt, and remorse fed the fire of apparent separation. Only forgiveness would dowse the flames and complete the circle of love.
Thirty-six years before, I had given birth to my first daughter and then released her for adoption. Struggling with a center broken by the decision to honor my parents’ wishes that I not marry my first love, I emerged from as an “unwed mother” with emotional scars so great that my only defense was to bury them deeply, get my life like nothing had happened, and go on. So successful was my denial of the gaping hole within my heart that, while the years passed, I could not even remember my child’s birth date.
How was it possible then, some 30 years, four children and two marriages later, that I could find myself in a type of spiritual counseling students that had six other women who shared the same closely held past that I did? We were all birth mothers. Our secret became our magnet acim podcast, and we began to generally meet and vision a ministry at our church that might prayerfully support all people that are suffering from adoption: adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents. It had been a noble idea, and one that could require that we do our personal healing work in order to be open to others.
And so we began the excruciating journey of dredging up our pain. We individually faced our personal demons — guilt, shame, blame, anger and self-recrimination — at whatever pace we felt effective at moving, and collectively we prayed for one another and all those whose pain we share. We created the Adoption Triad Ministry at The Agape Center of Truth in Los Angeles and invited people touched by adoption to come and tell their stories and join in prayer each month. We opened how you can allow each member of the triad — adoptee, adoptive parent and birth parent — to dialog with the other, seeking an knowledge of the unique emotional problems that each carries. And many of us searched to get our child and/or parent. My decision to try to look for my daughter opened my personal Pandora’s box.
It had been because atmosphere of prayer and spiritual guidance that I felt safe enough to manage my very own walls of defense and denial and try to bring them down. The procedure was agonizing. Not just was I delving into the shame and pain I had caused my parents and siblings by learning to be a pregnant teenager, I was allowing to surface the hatred I held for myself for lacking fought for what I wanted…my mate and my baby. What I was inviting into conscious awareness – and ultimately acceptance – were the shame and guilt of experiencing sinned, based on the church of my childhood in addition to the mores of society in 1961. I was admitting that I was filled with rage at my parents for interrupting my fantasy to really have the perfect family, and at my boyfriend for lacking fought harder to save me from this torturous sentence of a banished offender. During the look for my daughter, I was required on numerous occasions to recall those difficult circumstances surrounding her birth, and it absolutely was all I could do to keep from passing out. As I unleashed one tidal wave after another of suppressed feelings, I was constantly on the verge of emotional overwhelm. What kept me going was my deep, deep desire to get my daughter, to inform her how much I loved her, to fairly share with her that she was conceived in love, and to complete the circle that began with her birth.
And so I searched…and I prayed…and I began to forgive. As I progressed through the classes in spirituality that were preparing me to be always a spiritual counselor and prayer practitioner, I came to understand that without forgiveness I would struggle to free myself from the maze of negative self-judgment which I had allowed to tarnish the sweetness of the birth of my daughter. I understood when I were to welcome her with true open arms now, I had to obtain the good within my being her birth mother. I knew that the healing miracle I so dearly sought was possible only when I released my guilt, shame and blame concerning the circumstances surrounding her entering this world.
“Seventy times seven.” Jesus admonishes us that this is one way often we have to forgive in order to be free — put simply, as often as it takes. I was well on my solution to completing my forgiveness of the other actors within my drama — my parents, my first love, my church, my society. Now it absolutely was time and energy to forgive myself. I had held myself on the cross of self-blame and shame for such a long time that I wasn’t sure how to let myself off.
I started by feeling great compassion for the teenager I was who had been so in love and so passionate about life, and who only wanted to have and express that love by any means she knew how. I listened to that 19-year-old’s pain of profound loss and of feeling that she didn’t belong. That pain have been so severe that she’d essentially shut herself removed from trusting her very own beautiful heart. I listened to her, consoled her, informed her how much I loved her and that I would not let that sort of pain happen to her again. The I AM of me (my God Self) forgave her for just about any belief she held about being truly a “bad girl,” a “sinner,” an “undesirable good-for-nothing,” and a “reason for pain to others.”
The months — and yes, years — that I’ve spent forgiving the layers of self-recrimination and loathing I felt for myself have truly unburdened me. Freeing myself from the shackles of this seemingly unforgivable and unforgiving past has truly given me a new life. The attitude I now hold toward myself, my loved ones, my first love and my pregnancy is only gratitude, gratitude for one of the greatest growth experiences of my life. By coming to terms with my past, the gift of compassion was ignited in me — something special I will and do readily give all those I teach and counsel. The miracle experienced from my commitment to forgiveness is the profound love I give my first-born daughter, a love activated the minute we hugged that’s continued to enrich my life ever since.