As a child, my mother's lion locket became synonymous with holiday gatherings and nice dinners. It was a wardrobe staple, a familiar possession that was uniquely hers. And what made this relic special was that it was her mother's necklace before it was passed down to her on her first Mother's Day, just months after the birth of myself and my twin sister. And it was her mother's mother's before that. For my sisters and I, the necklace has become a symbol of strength symbolizing the women of our family, a relic passed down through generations. And yet the necklace brings up questions of identity just as much as it provides clues to the women of my family. As an adopted child, my mother's heritage contained questions for many years. The lion necklace had come from Poland, where her Jewish ancestors resided before moving to the United States. But although my mother had been adopted into a rich heritage, her biological heritage remained a mystery. When she found her biological family, the legacy of the lion necklace was threatened; now she had a new heritage with which to reconcile her own identity. But through the experience of meeting her new family, she came to understand that a biological heritage was no more important than an adopted heritage. She did not lose a nationality; she gained a second and found a more nuanced identity. My mother's complete journey is now represented by the lion necklace, aligned with the beauty of her mother and grandmother's.
– Rachel Coffin