I close my eyes, desperately trying to forget the horror of the past year. Images of my mom flash through my mind like a photo reel, her last words floating about me. “They can’t take you away! I’ll get you back. You can be sure of that.”
The brick building comes into view and I’m not sure what to feel. Anticipation rises up inside, along with the voice I’ve tried so hard to forget. “I’ll get you back.”
The caseworker glances at me from the rearview mirror. “Alissa, do you have any questions before we go inside?”
The questioning words jerk me back to the beginning; the night I was taken from my home.
Suddenly, panicked emotions encompass me. Memories of the horrific verbal abuse and terrifying screams take over. It’s taken years to numb myself to the pain, yet, somehow, it all comes flooding back.
I struggle to hold back the tears, begging myself not to let the hurt show, but it’s too late. I can’t hide forever.
“Honey, it’s okay. Is there anything you want to talk about?” The caseworker brings the car to a stop, as we pull into the nearest parking space. The tall office building stares me down, beckoning me to come inside.
Being in foster care is difficult enough, but the hardest part is what lies before me. “I’m fine. This is the only opportunity I have to make things right.”
We make our way up the sidewalk to the large, double doors. After checking in, I prepare myself for the very last visitation with my biological mom.
The hallway guides me closer to the visiting room and I clutch tightly to my foster parents’ comforting words. “Alissa, you are a very brave girl. Remember, no matter what anyone says or does to you, you’re never alone. Keep your faith strong.”
A newfound peace washes over me. I’m ready.
I enter the small room and see my mom standing there, a look of emotion I can’t quite recognize over her face.
After a moment of quiet thoughts, my mouth begins to let out all that I’ve wanted to say.
“Mom, you hurt me in more ways than I can say. It’s taking me a long time to heal from the terrible lies you put into my head. But I want you to know that I...” A small tear rolls down my cheek and onto the hardwood floor. “I...forgive you. And I hope, one day, you’ll realize just how much I care about you.”
They say courage gives us the power to do the unimaginable. And, they're right. I say courage gives us the freedom to forgive.