I’m not an advocate for theft. In fact I’m a pretty good rule follower. But I do have an experience where I stole something and what I gained changed my life. I have been told I was adopted for as long as I can remember. When I got old enough to ask questions about my birth family, my mother would say that when I turned 18 I could find out more information. So right around my 18th birthday I requested that the court send me all information regarding my birth mother and the adoption. It turns out the adoption was closed and very little information was released–none of it identifying. But I had a few details like what hospital my birth mother was in and what drug I was born addicted to. It turns out heroin doesn’t cause brain damage and I’m just fine, but I was a very sick newborn. After reading through the packet of information I decided I didn’t really want to find a woman who took drugs right before giving birth so I put the papers in the bottom of a box and forgot about them. A year later I happened to run into my foster brother who reintroduced me to our foster parents. I was only in a foster home as an infant for a few months while my adoption was being finalized. My foster mother remembered a few details about my case. She said that my birth grandmother originally wanted to adopt me but for various reasons couldn’t. The fact that someone wanted me was huge. Now I have always been told that I was so special and that my parents were so happy to have me as their daughter. But being adopted also means that my birth mother rejected me and I’ve always felt the weight of that while also feeling the love of my parents who adopted me. Fast forward to just after I graduated from college. I ended up moving to the town where I was born. Occasionally while walking down the main drag I would wonder if my birth mother walked down the same sidewalk. Where did she live? What was her life like? What did she look like and did I look like her? I would have moments where I was overwhelmed with curiosity. Finally I decided to steal my birth mother’s records from the hospital. I didn’t have her name but I had the dates in which she was a patient and I knew that she delivered a baby girl. Within a month of having the idea I had in my hands my birth mother’s file which included her name, an old address and the name of my birth grandmother who I knew at one point wanted me. Once I got up the nerve, I rang my grandmother. She remembered the month of my birth. She said she knew one day I would find her. She also said I had a sister. Soon I was introducing myself to my sister and meeting her for the first time. I couldn’t have found a better sister! Also, it turns out I look like my birth mother. At one point I was worried about my parents having hurt feelings about me finding my birth family. I’ll never forget my mother’s response, “In times like this your heart can only get bigger.” My heart and my life are bigger now. Like I said, I’m not an advocate for theft. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do.