To my oldest daughter… You will never
know how much you have helped me
come to this point in my life. It is not
a birth certificate that made you
our daughter, but your big blue eyes and
your small smile as you wandered through
our apartment building on many late
nights years ago. You were only eight
when you would be found peeking through our window and knocking at our door.
You would always ask the same question,“Can I baby-sit?” At first, I giggled at the
thought of such a young girl wanting to
care for a boy almost her own age. I wish
I would have listened to my heart, and looked in your eyes at that time.
Why didn’t I question how such a small child was allowed to wander through the apartments alone… You never used words, then, to explain how much you were hurting. It was a few years later, when you were eleven, that you finally found the courage to tell us of the abuse you were suffering. But, because I had not yet accepted my own past, I denied the truth that you were attempting to share with me. It was my own fear that pushed you to become a runner and live with a shame that wasn’t yours.
My dear daughter, it was the phone call you made at thirteen, from the institution for difficult juveniles, that changed my life. When I saw you, again, your pain mirrored my own, and guilt consumed me at having failed you, just as others had failed me. I decided then that I would use adoption and foster care as my way of helping you and other children to be seen. Still though, it wasn’t until you had children of your own, that I saw your trust in me return to your eyes. You are still my silent child who chooses not to speak of your shame, and so I will now speak for you… It is not your secrets I will reveal, but mine. Thank you for teaching me the greatest lesson of all – because you forgave me, I can find forgiveness for others.