My birth mother Lisa, at 14.
Then Lisa at 19, pregnant with me.
For many years, this pink photo album was my only window to her life. Enclosed inside its pages is a long handwritten note telling me all about her life and her decision to give me up for adoption.
I'm not exactly sure when I first started looking at this album. I guess always knew it was on my parents shelf with the family bibles and gardening books, but it took me a long time to actually become fully aware of what it was and what it meant to me.
In a way I think these photos have become harder for me to look at because I've now come to understand the heartache Lisa went through. It was always easy to focus on the positives of her choice as I was growing up. My parents always tried hard to make me feel like it was a decision made out of love, and that it was God's great plan for my life. My name even means "Gift of God."
But her side of the story is much harsher, even though she felt she made the right decision.
I guess I never wanted to give into aching for her when I was younger because I felt like I'd be betraying my adoptive parents, who have done so much for me and love me so deeply.
Lisa is an incredibly strong woman who has been through many challenges in her life. I feel like I learn from her every day.