Rachael Clark, who was discarded in a trash can by her birth mother--umbilical cord and placenta still attached--shortly after her birth in 1989, is a remarkable young woman by any standard. Now 23 years old and about to graduate with straight As from the University of Maryland, Clark, who was raised by adoptive parents, is seeking her birth parents...to tell them she forgives them. More from NBC News:
The 23-year-old is so focused and busy that she sometimes forgets about the turmoil that's dogged her since childhood. "Some days, it's like it never happened," Rachael said. "But some days, I really do struggle. I have such strong abandonment issues."
Her issues stem from the way her life began. On Sept. 27, 1989, the day Rachael was born, she was sealed inside a dark garbage bag with her umbilical cord and placenta still attached. The trash bag was then thrown, hard, into a dumpster.
Minutes before she ran out of oxygen, someone heard her cries and saved her. Her abandonment and rescue in Temple Hills, Md., became one of the most widely publicized stories of its kind — so well-known, in fact, that Rachael overheard people talking about it in front of her when she was about 2.
Now, at this especially happy juncture in their lives, Rachael and her adoptive parents are speaking out about their story. They want to let other adoptive families know how normal it is to need help navigating the delicate process of telling adopted children about their violent or tragic pasts.
They're also making their story public because, in spite of everything, Rachael has a persistent longing to find her birth parents.
"I just want to be able to tell them that I forgive them," she said.