Chapter Sixteen

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I never wanted to have another family discussion like that first night when we found out, yet here we were. Another secret was to be revealed, but this time it was Cameron and me who were holding the potentially upsetting information. Sitting in front of our parents, I told myself in this case, it was probably better to ask for permission than forgiveness. We both decided that meeting our birth parents behind their backs wasn't a good idea.

Cameron looked to me, pleading for me to rip off the bandage and tell them. The sound of the news playing on the TV in the background was pulling their attention from us to the tragic events around the world. I reached for the remote and pressed the power button, watching the screen go black. My dad's eyes floated across the room until his gaze landed on Cameron and me.

I took a deep breath, clearing my throat. "We want to meet our birth parents." The words flew out of my mouth like rapid fire. I pursed my lips, as Cameron shook his head. That wasn't the way I wanted it to come out and Cameron definitely wasn't pleased with my abruptness, but if it had come from him it probably would have been laced with anger. My parents remained silent, anticipating that there was more to come. "We've been in contact with them and we're going to meet our birth mother tomorrow. We just thought you should know."

Without looking at my mom, I could imagine the expression she was wearing on her face. She was trying to cover up the disappointment, but the way her mouth twitched and her eyes squinted were a dead giveaway of how she felt.

My dad, on the other hand, was deep in thought. I could almost see the gears turning as he tried to think of the right response. Lines of worry creased his forehead and a frown crept onto his face that seemed involuntary.

I imagined that they were dreading when this day finally came. There were questions Cameron and I had that they just couldn't answer.

Dad leaned in and cleared his throat. "I think you should. They're a part of you, it's only natural that you want to meet them. Do you want us to come with you?"

I looked at Cameron. As much as I wanted our parents there to defuse the situation, I feared that they would take it a step too far. It was our time to get to know our birth mother, not make her feel bad for the decision she made or feel any less our mother. Even though it wasn't something that Cameron and I had talked about, I already knew his answer would be the same as mine. We had to do this on our own, but that didn't make saying no any less difficult.

"I think this is something we have to do on our own." I swallowed down my guilt and turned my attention to my hands entwined on my lap. "Thanks though."

My mom sighed. "Just be careful, alright? I know she is your birth mother, but she's also still a stranger. You don't owe her anything, not money and not your love. At any time you can say you don't want to be in contact anymore; you don't have to feel guilty."

"What if we do want to get to know her and for her to be a part of our lives?" Cameron interjected, annoyance lacing his tone.

"Then that's your choice, and we will respect it." Dad stepped in, trying to defuse the situation. He reached over and laid his hand on top of my mother's. "We just don't want you to get hurt."

"We'll be fine," I said, locking eyes with Cameron.

Not two months ago we didn't even know we were adopted and now we were going to meet our birth mother. It felt surreal. Life really could change at the drop of a hat.

"So you're okay with this?" Cameron muttered under his breath.

Mom sighed, looking to my dad. He nodded, urging her to say yes, but still I feared that she was about to say no. I bit my lip as her mouth opened, the words on the tip of her tongue. "We are."

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