I have recently read a lot of heart breaking letters on The Huffington Post. They reminded me a lot of my past and my biological family. Those letters also reminded me of how much you have positively influenced my life.
We are about to graduate from college. I say "we" because you have been my inspiration and have pushed me towards greatness. Who would have known that I would make it up from the gutter of life to receive a college degree, to be accepted to law school and to have a bright future ahead of me?
Apparently you did.
My vision has been clouded by forty foster homes, three groups homes, adopted parents who passed away and a biological family that hated me from infancy. I never knew the meaning of "me and you against the world" until you brought me into your life. This is not an excuse, it is an explanation. You know me better than I know myself.
There were days that I thought you would kick me out and I ran away. I wanted to give up and you would not let me. You would not accept failure and yet would understand when I made mistakes.
A police officer that knew me once said, "You did a good job raising yourself."
I suppose he meant that I survived and perhaps that is an honor unto itself. Still, you taught me how to love.
My biological family abandoned me years ago and you adopted me as an adult. You understood my past when they judged me harshly. They could have been there when I was young and simply ignored me.
I was supposed to be dead, crazy or in prison for life. Which explains why I tried committing suicide when I was younger and have been hospitalized and imprisoned too. By the grace of some deity I survived it all. You have always encouraged me to look forward and to keep moving upwards. You remind me that in any situation, "this too shall pass" and it does.
Even your mother, my adopted grandmother, was proud of me. As Grandma became more and more elderly, I would drive to Pennsylvania to visit her. I wanted to hear stories about my adopted family so I would know about the people who took me in.
Imagine the love I felt when I walked into the nursing home and everyone knew me already. My grandmother thanked me for being a part of the family as if I were doing her the favor and she also taught me how to love, by her example. I remember being able to talk to her about my gay lifestyle. Without an ounce of hesitation my grandma, your mother would always be ready with animated advice.
There is also your brother and sister-in-law, my Uncle Kenny and Aunt Diana. They have always offered love and support and have never outwardly judged me ever. Instead they always answer the phone and give good advice or just general conversation that tells me I am accepted and protected. Contrast that with my biological uncle who hated me from birth, mostly because of his hatred of his sister, my biological mother. Though I am certain he hates me because I am Hispanic, gay and born out of wedlock. "I could never have you around my children," he once said in reference to my homosexuality. I have come full circle: when I was rebellious I would tell you I wanted to be straight to get a rise out of you. You would tell me, "You don't really want to do that, you would not be happy."
It has not been easy from my end. It is not easy to accept help or trust others after all of the betrayals I have experienced in life. It is also not easy to trust myself.
I realize I have not always been easy to deal with and I have not always said thank you and that you have my unconditional love.
In a few months I will have my undergraduate degree and in less than a year I will be in law school. I have mundane problems now that the scars in my life are slowly fading away. I am lucky to have someone as loving and understanding as you in my life. I am proud to call you my mother and I am my mother's son.