Birthright

The lie of adoption as I’ve lived it—that I can be compelled to call strangers mother and father and family, strangers who can dispose of me, “rehome” me when I cease to please them or serve their needs; that I exist as part of other people’s stories while robbed of a story and agency of my own—grips my heart, presses upon my chest like a fist. I struggle to breathe against its weight. I feel helpless, frozen, as the lie chokes the light from my body, severing my life into unrelated fragments.

I was forced to learn the art of forgetting who I am so that I could arrive at the doorsteps of my adopters a blank slate on which they could impress their image. Whose image do I reflect now?

The lie whispers to me that I am not a person in my own right but an appendage of those who own me by right of legal contract. To whom do I belong now?

For so many years I’ve wandered a beggar, pleading for identity and belonging and deferring my own agency to others as if still a helpless child. Who will restore what was stolen from me?

I lift up my hands in prayer.

Holy Mystery, your breath animates my body, binds me to all who receive breath and life from you, reminding me that all is gift, and you are the Giver.

Holy Mystery, your fire courses through my veins, weaves through the rhythm of my heart, burning up all that hinders me from uniting myself to the great dance of life, and you are the Dancer.

Holy Mystery, your sacred waters—waters of life, waters of rebirth—wash me clean, restoring my innocence, lifting up my voice to join in the chorus of all beings, and you are the Singer.

Holy Mystery, your body stretches forth and envelops me in fathomless embrace, nursing me to wholeness, assuring me of my home in the flesh of the world, and you are the Mother.

You send me forth carrying your fragrance on my lips, until at last I raise my voice, rejoicing:

“My heart is my own,

my heart is my own,

my heart is my own.

For you are my heart and all that you are you share with me.

Blessed be, my heart is my own.”

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