Mr. SCHWEIKERT. To my good friend, Mr. Smith, thank you. Thank you for managing this.
The last handful of Congressmen that have come up to the mic have been medical doctors. I get to stand here behind the microphone and share a slightly different story. This is that one very special time of year I get to stand here and say ``thank you'' to a woman named Mary Lynn Sheridan, at the time who was named Mary Lynn Gephart.
She was a 17-year-old who found out she was pregnant, and she was in the car on the way, at that time in southern California, on her way to, apparently, Tijuana. And she broke down crying and kept crying more and kept hyperventilating. The two girlfriends she was with were so terrified she was getting sick in the car, they turned around and took her back home. Heaven forbid, she told her mother she was pregnant.
I was born a few months later at Holy Family Unwed Mother's Home in downtown L.A. The amazing thing is--picture this: You're in your thirties. You come into work one day. You turn on your computer, and there's an email saying, Hi, DAVID, you have no idea who I am, but your sister gave me information. Here's your birth mother.
What do you do? How about if she's never told her family, told her two daughters that I'm out there?
And I send a really carefully worded note after having a family meeting, and I had one of the most amazing experiences you could imagine. Imagine a couple of weeks later, you get a phone call, and it's this little voice saying, I've prayed for you every single day of your life. Every March 3, I go to mass and I light candles for you. Are you okay? Are you happy? Have you had a good life?
All I could tell her through all the tears was, Look, I'm incredibly lucky. I was adopted by an amazing family. I've gotten to live a great life. I'm here in Congress, which, actually, in many ways, may have disappointed her.
But the reason I stand here and tell the story is I've had this amazing relationship, having now met my birth father, having spent holidays with my family that has raised me and my birth family. I have a picture in my office with all these kids and all these people where all of our families--even my little sister, who has met her birth family, because my siblings are all adopted, and we get everyone together and go to Disneyland.
I've noticed there is an amazing change out there where the little kids come up to you and say, Okay, my mom is your sister, but your sister is not my mom's sister. The little kids get it. I think with this I get to come here behind the microphone and say, Thank you. Thank you for giving me the chance to be alive. Thank you for giving me the chance to engage in this battle that we have here in Congress of trying to do good things for our country. Thank you, Mary Lynn Sheridan.
My mother would send my birth mother pictures of me as a baby. So when I would go to Walnut, California, and go see my birth mother, down the hallway would be all these pictures of me as a little kid. My birth mother has developed a very aggressive type of Alzheimer's, and something amazing has happened in her mind. She can describe all those photos. In her mind now, I grew up with my two younger sisters there in Walnut, California. In her mind, I've been with her this whole time. And that heartbreak she used to describe to me for all those years wondering what had happened to me is gone.
Thank you, God, and thank you to Mary Lynn for giving me a chance to be here today. Thank you.
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