Written by a CORRAL Programming Intern.
A few months ago at CORRAL, I was on a walk with a girl who seemed to be spiraling further and further into her anxiety. She was walking quickly, somewhat disjointedly, with scattered thoughts tumbling out of her mouth. The air was brusque, the sky was blue, and the oak trees were shedding their last leaves of the season.
She shared thoughts and questions along the lines of, “Why did my birth mom not want me?”, “Do I have any brothers and sisters?”, “Am I meant to be here?”, and “If I have kids in the future, will I do the same to them?”
I recognized all of these questions, of course, because I am also an adoptee. I had asked many of them myself, several times, over the course of my life.
But then she turned to me, with her eyes bright and full of unfallen tears. She asked one question that, in my opinion, resonated louder than the rest. She pointedly asked, “Am I a mistake?”
I, too, have asked myself this very question. Once I heard it from her, it made me realize that it is probably fairly common among all of us adoptees.
Of course, I told her that she was certainly not a mistake. But I also recognized that she had probably heard this same denial from others plenty of times. So, I wanted to drive the point home.
I turned to her and said something along the lines of, “I have asked myself this same question… I was the result of an extramarital affair that shouldn’t have happened. I used to wonder, ‘does that mean ‘I’ shouldn’t have happened’?”
Then, I checked in with her, and asked, “What do you think of what I just told you?”
She paused, wide-eyed, took a deep breath, and said, softly, “Ms. Kristy, that’s so sad!”
I gently offered, “Do you know what I realized, though?” and paused, taking a deep breath myself. “God doesn’t make trash. We’re all meant to be here. We all have gifts that make us unique. So, you are a beautiful person… and you’re meant to be here.”
She paused for a few moments, seemingly taking it in. We continued our walk, and the conversation moved on. She had a few more questions and concerns about her future.
The conversation eventually moved on to more “normal teenage drama,” and how she was upset at her parents for not allowing her to go to the mall with her friends.
At this, I took another deep breath, and was relieved that I could be there for her, especially in that moment. My own sense of purpose and peace flowed through me, and I felt a sense of joy.