It’s a weird feeling, not knowing who your parents are, not knowing your family. Sure, there are the two people who have raised you, and all of their relatives. They all love you to death, treat you like their own. And I love them too. I would never trade them for anyone in the world. But sometimes I wonder. Do I have my mom’s eyes? My dad’s smile? Did my unnatural fear of anything with more than six legs come from them? Being adopted does not really bother me. I do not feel unloved, or empty, like some people say they do. My family is my family. I just wonder sometimes about my birth parents. I wonder what they are doing, what’s happened in their lives since they gave me up. I was always told that they cared deeply about me, and gave me to my parents so that I would be better taken care of. Up until recently, I didn’t think about them very much. They were like strangers to me. I had never met them, and I went on just as if they weren’t there, as if my parents were my birth ones. My life was good. Loving parents who would give up the world for me. Great friends, breezing through school. There were tough times too, of course. My parents always had trouble, but it got worse this year. It really affected me. My grades started slipping, I didn’t want to go out as much. When my mom and I moved out in June, I vowed to make sure I pulled myself together, and never slipped like that. It made me strong. During that time, I thought about my birth parents more than usual, thinking about if they ever had problems like that. I became curious. My mother had always vaguely mentioned that she had things from my real father, and suddenly I wanted to see them. He wrote me a letter. In it, he talks about how much he loves me. Asks if I love singing like my mom, if I had an unfathomable love for stuffed animals like he did. And I do. Singing can always brighten my day, and my closet has been bursting with stuffed animals ever since I was a little girl. Having connections like that with people that I have never even met baffles and amazes me. I read their descriptions, and found that I have my mom’s green eyes and my dad’s dark hair. Maybe I look like them, maybe there’s not much resemblance. I have no clue. At the end of the letter, he talks about how one day, if I want to, to come and find him, and he’ll welcome me with open arms. Right now, I’m not sure if I’m ready for that. I’ve lived my whole life without knowing him, and done just fine. But inside, I have a deep desire to meet him, or even just talk to him on the phone, hear his voice. Knowing that he really does care, and wished that he hadn’t had to give me up makes me feel warm inside. It takes such great strength to give up someone you care about, and I hope that some of that strength got passed down to me. I think that it must have. Many people who are adopted hate their birth parents for giving them up. But I don’t. I believe that being adopted has taught me many things. Compassion, because instead of not caring about my birth parents, I love them more because they had the courage to do what was best for me, even if it wasn’t what they wanted. Forgiveness, because before I read any of my father’s apologies for giving me up, I had already forgiven him. There really wasn’t anything to forgive. And finally, I learned what it means to truly love someone. Nicholas Sparks wrote in one of his books, “"I finally understood what true love meant...love meant that you care for another person's happiness more than your own, no matter how painful the choices you face might be.” My parents gave me up because they couldn’t give me the life they wanted me to have, and cared more about my happiness and well-being than how hard it would be for them to give me up. Knowing this has shaped my life. It has given me a strong love for helping other people, because a deep love and compassion for literally everyone has been instilled in me. Making people happy is what makes me happy. That is why I want to be a physical therapist. Not for the money, not for anything except for the simple fact that I want to make people feel better, and make them happy. I have a long road ahead of me, both in school, and in finding my birth parents. But, as with all things in life that are worth reaching, the final destination is always worth a difficult journey.