I slowly walked into the kitchen, the moment feeling surreal. The glass of juice in Dad’s hand paused mid air as he looked at my face.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
I held up the preserved newspaper article that I'd found while searching for my birth certificate in Dad’s documents drawer. Next to the article was a picture of a green trash dumpster and a caption underneath. My eyes bore into Dad’s as I quoted it from memory.
“Baby Found in Dumpster Lives.”
I could hardly believe my ears. Dad's eyes closed in regret and my heart struggled to keep its rhythm of beating.
“That’s me,” I pointed to the dumpster in disbelief.
“That’s me!” I repeated hysterically.
“I didn’t want to hurt you!” he cried defensively.
“I’m hurt now,” I said bitterly.
Emotions were taking over us both even as we struggled to maintain control. He gripped my arms.
“Vanessa. I love you. Nothing changes.”
“How can you love someone who’s not yours!”
His horrified gasp followed me as I raced from the room.
“Vanessa!” he called desperately as I slammed the front door shut, leaving him on the other side.
Tears blurring my vision, I headed for the neighborhood park a couple of streets over. Walking past the picnic area, I spotted a large trash bin. How disgusting it looked- a green box of metal overflowing with odiferous waste, flies buzzing overhead like mini vultures.
The newspaper article read that someone-possibly my birth mother- had put me in a trash bag, placed me in the bin, and left me for dead. I’d read of horrifying situations like that but never guessed that it could happen to me. Who would do such a thing to a baby? To me? Overwhelmed by the revelation of my past, I lowered myself to the ground and cried out to God.
“Lord. Nobody wanted me. Nobody loved me!"
I wrapped my arms around my knees and closed my eyes, sinking into loneliness.
“I love you,” was the instant heavenly reply.
“But I’m worthless,” I said, the admission exposing my pain.
“Your father loves you also,” the still small voice insisted.
I smacked the ground in anger.
"How can he love someone who isn't his?" I argued.
"Like I loved you and rescued you."
"It’s not the same. All he did was find me in some dirty trash can and - “
My eyes flew open as realization dawned on me. Like God had rescued me from my sins, I had been saved from a horrible fate as an infant. My father could’ve left me for dead, but he took me in and loved me as his own.
I turned at the crunch of leaves and there he was, inches away from me with tears in his eyes. Nervously, he held out his hand. I tried to cling to my anger, but the new revelation was slowly melting it away. Extending my arm, I let him pull me up. We stared at each other, neither knowing where to begin.
There were long conversations to be had, hard questions that needed answers. But that night, God had given me what I needed most –assurance. Something I realized my father needed just as much, if not more than I. Something I had the power to give him if I chose to.
I stood on my toes and kissed his cheek.
“I love you, Dad,” I whispered my assurance.
Emotion overwhelmed him as deep sobs shook his body. Wrapping my arms around him, I thanked God for my rescue, both spiritually and naturally.
Moments later, Dad put his arm around my shoulder as we walked home-past forgiven, dumpster forgotten.
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