On the top shelf of my old bedroom closet sits a pink and white box. It has been there since I can remember. One evening, in my early teen years, I became curious about this particular box. I grabbed my little wooden rocking chair that I've had since I was a baby, and I stood on it, attempting to reach the box from the shelf. I broke my rocking chair in the process, something I wish (to this day) I didnt do. I knew my parents wouldn't be happy with me. Still, I was determined to see what the box was all about. I went into the dining room, grabbed one of the light blue chairs, and headed back to my bedroom, and shut my door to finish what I had started. I finally pulled the box down successfully. I set the box on the floor and I opened the pink lid. There were a few small toys, baby clothes, a folded "happy birthday" balloon, and several letters and cards. I started reading the letters. They were from various friends, family and acquaintances, many of whom I have never met before. They were congratulatory love letters to my family and myself after my adoption. These letters and trinkets brought a big smile to my face. So much so, that several years later I would open the box time and time again, including my last night living there. The contents of this simple box has illustrated a beautiful story that I am happy to share. A story of simple belonging. This is more than just a box of materialistic items that was stored away to make space. It gave me much needed peace of mind during times of immense uncertainty.
Mom and dad, if you are reading this, I just wanted to say thank you. You did a wonderful job with both my sister and myself. Thank you for not only inviting me into this family all of those years ago, but thank you for making me feel like I belong. Rejection can only move so far. The box in the closet symbolizes how much I am loved, by you and many others. I'd like to think that you put that box in the closet because you knew my curiosity would lead me to it. Even if that was not your initial intent. Regardless of your reasoning, I want to thank you for putting it there. It has been a big help during many heavy feelings of rejection and troubled self worth.
At this moment, the box is still in the closet of my childhood home. One day I will go back and get it, one day I will tell the story to my future children. I am sharing this now because I know so many loved ones who are having trouble seeing their self worth. I leave you this story as well as a quote I admire by Brené Brown that states “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
You are here for a reason. You belong.