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Becky-1The left side of my ankle hangs the words, “I love you” permanently inked into my skin to represent a birthmark that told the story of my beginning. Although simple and almost comical at first glance, the words hold the key to unlocking my journey of adoption, abandonment, and finding the beauty in the life we have been given.

It was 2013 when two of my friends from high school and I decided to do something that was outside our small town comfort zone. I felt too old to get a nose piercing and the chronic acne growing around my nose would make me regret that decision. No one likes a bedazzled zit. I opted for a small tattoo, and brought in the Bible that was left to me by my birth mom. It was the only thing I had from her, and after losing it numerous times I wanted to figure out a way that I would never lose it again. Inside the liner of the book, the stranger left this note:

“Precious one, I love you so very much. Out of love and concern for you I have decided to place you into adoption. This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but I really feel this is what is best. Remember, I love you!" -Your birthmom

The note was written in pink pen with tear marks dropped between the ‘e’ and ‘c’ of decision. The note represented pain and freedom, love and sacrifice. “I love you” was a phrase that gave me pain of feeling alone for so long, but revisiting the words the day in the tattoo parlor opened the floodgates of forgiveness, acceptance, and finally understanding that I am love. The tattoo now serves as a launching pad to tell others the story of my birthmother’s sacrifice. On the days that I feel alone or struggle to find purpose I can settle in the truth that I am loved.

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