The F Word: Learning to Forgive, as Adoptees
Forgiveness. That word. The F word. Forgive? Never. Not me. Not in this life. Maybe you’ve heard yourself think these thoughts, or even pose these questions out loud: Why would I forgive someone or something that has hurt me so deeply? Why would I forgive someone who chose to leave? How could I ever forgive?
Forgiveness can be difficult, as adoptees. We hold onto hurt. It’s hard to let it go. Yet, forgiveness—I have discovered—is the foundation for a life that is lived in love, and a life that is lived through love.
When we move through our days, void of forgiveness, we stay stuck in the past. We stay harnessed to the hurt. The anger that we believe gives us a control, or power, over someone who has let us down, really only serves to stifle our own growth and our own progress. We remain cemented in fear and resentment. Wouldn’t it be a relief to release all of that?
As adoptees—and as human beings—we deeply desire love and connection. Remaining in an unforgiving state blocks us from getting the very thing we long for the most. When we can’t bring ourselves to forgive, we sentence ourselves to sadness. We see danger in every relationship. We’re scared to be vulnerable. Hope is stifled. Pain wins.
This is what I’ve learned along the journey as an adoptee, and I want you to lean in really close on what I’m about to say: For me to forgive others I had to, first, forgive myself. Self-forgiveness set me free.
Now, recognize that self-forgiveness can be the harder thing to do. As adoptees, we are often more critical of ourselves and more unforgiving to ourselves. We live with limiting beliefs about our potential to forgive and that chips away at our sense of self-worth. We just can’t seem to let ourselves off the hook. We remain hopelessly anchored to an adoption story that keeps pulling us under.
Yet, there is hope. The hope I’m offering you today comes in three simple but transformational words: I forgive myself. These three words, alone, have a powerful impact on your inner dialogue. Say them, daily, and you’ll begin dying to those limiting and disempowering beliefs about who you are. You’ll start living a whole, new reality.
As you practice self-forgiveness, you’ll find that the forgiving of others comes easier. Releasing resentment toward any and everything having to do with our adoption stories becomes possible. There’s freedom in this place. It’s empowering. It’s love. It’s joy.
The adoptee who cannot forgive is a person filled with fear. There’s no room for love because fear has consumed every corner of the adoptee’s mind. Peace is lost where turmoil is present.
The adoptee who forgives is a person filled with love. There’s no room for fear because love rules in the adoptee’s heart, mind, and soul. Peace is found. Turmoil is banished. The forgiving and forgiven adoptee is a person who has become whole through the practice of forgiveness. They’ve let go. There’s freedom in the letting go.
It’s radical, I know, forgiving ourselves when the world tells adoptees that our lives should remain in shame and blame. Believe me, I listened to that messaging for a long time. It’s a dead-end street. It’s a no win kind of existence.
If you’re an adoptee, struggling to forgive, I want to help free you from those chains. I want to help you transform your relationship with your own adoption and the lingering hurts that still sting. Forgiveness is the key. We start with YOU. What if you stopped everything right now, found a quiet space, and said: I forgive myself.
What if you offered forgiveness to yourself today?
What if you started there?
Would you feel lighter? Would you feel more open to giving love and receiving love? Would you, finally, feel worthy of love? Would you see yourself as love? Would you love yourself?
Don’t fear the F word.
Love is waiting.