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Lauren K and family
by Lauren K.
Arlington, VA

"I wonder what she looks like," I remember telling my mom as a young girl. "Do you think I have her eyes? Her nose?"

From as early as I can remember, I knew I was adopted. "You were chosen for us," my mom would tell me. Being adopted didn't make me different from my friends and peers. In fact, it rarely crossed my mind!

I met my birthmother when I was 18 years old. I thanked her for choosing adoption for me - for giving me my loving and wonderful family. And yes, we did share some physical features - a little brown spec in the corner of our bluish-green eyes, short, stubby fingers and toes.

But mostly, I resemble my mother, Melissa, both inside and out. My birthmother gave me life, but my mother raised me to be the woman I am today. There is really only one person to thank for that - my birthmother. She gave me the chance to grow up in a family where I was loved unconditionally, disciplined appropriately, and challenged and encouraged to pursue my dreams. "You can do anything you want in life, sweetheart. Your daddy is so proud of you," my dad would tell me.

I know my life would be so different had my birthmother chosen a different path for me. She was so young - just 18. She had hopes and dreams of her own - going to college, getting married, having a family. She chose to give me the greatest gift of my entire life - my family. And I'll never know how to thank her enough for choosing adoption for me.

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