Being Born a Burden

The Weight


Some days I can float through life, and carry it like a light weight backpack.

Other days, I can’t even crawl with the weight from this burden.

It’s heavy.

It hurts.

It’s hard for non-adoptees to perceive.

They will never understand.

The weight of being a burden just from being born is a hard pill to swallow. It’s hard to fathom that just being born into this world has caused so many people so much pain.

Including myself.

Some days I’m fine.

I’m a professional at stuffing my feelings, putting my mask on so everyone around me doesn’t see the real pain. After all, they should stay comfortable because I want to do everything in my power to not be a burden.

I wouldn’t want to burden anyone with my problems.

Some days I’m not fine.

The pain.

It’s unbearable at times.

My heart gets heavy.

It’s hard to breathe.

I wish I could flip the switch and turn my brain off.

If anyone knew what was going on in my brain they would not want to be bothered with me. They would leave me and I wouldn’t blame them.

I have God in my life, yet some days I still feel empty. I know he understands this pain, the lifelong grief and loss many adoptees experience. All I can do when it comes so heavy is cry and sleep and cry and sleep. I just woke up from sleeping for 12+ hours and all I want to do is go back to sleep. I don’t want to think.

Don’t forget hiding it from everyone possible.  This is exhausting in itself therefor the less people I’m around the better.

I went to Iowa over the weekend. I had an amazing experience meeting some biological family for the first time. My heart is so grateful for them opening their homes and lives up to me. Seems like it should be a dream come true, and it is.

The emotions that have gone along with this, and knowing my birth father has STILL rejected me has brought on loads of grief for me. I really wasn’t expecting it to be this heavy. I see why so many adoptees never search for their people. It’s painful and not many can even go there.

I was sitting at the dining room table of my aunt and uncles house looking at old photo albums. Photo albums I should be in, but I’m not. I began looking around while everyone is eating the amazing home cooked meal my aunt made. I was thinking about my birth fathers house being within a visible distance of where my uncle lived. He didn’t even know I was there, and trust me- he wouldn’t want to know I was there. How is it his family can embrace me, yet he can’t? It was a surreal experience and I was elated to finally be welcomed by part of my biological family on my birth fathers side. This is something I always dreamed of, but it’s still been extremely painful for many reasons.

While I was leaving my aunt and uncles house, I decided to ask my uncle if he knew of more children my birth father had that I didn’t know about?

He said, “There’s a half negro daughter out there somewhere”.

My mouth dropped, I said “Wow, do you know anything about her or where she is?”

He said, “No, I don’t know anything”

In shock I said, “Well thank you for sharing that with me. Hopefully I can find her”.

That was it.

The mixture of emotions I began to feel was overwhelming. I got silent. My cousins who was wonderful seemed like she was just as shocked as I was.

My mind began racing.

It’s never stopped.



I created a flyer and shared it all over social media in hopes to find my sister. All the emotions I’ve been feeling about searching again has literally caused me to emotionally break down on top of all the other dynamics of this trip. I was not expecting THIS.

I want to disappear. I want to run away. I don’t want to cause anyone else more pain. I want to take my pain and leave. My kids deserve more. Anyone close to me deserves more. I’m tired of hiding it. I’m tired of feeling like a burden. I’m just tired.

I’m tired of therapists that can’t help me. I’ve seen them my entire life and they haven’t done any good. Most of them don’t even understand the complexities of adoption, and most times make it worse. I give up on that.

I will keep writing. It’s the only healing tool I can depend on, aside from my fellow adoptees who can relate.

Many adoptees spend our entire lives searching. It’s exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically. I never thought I would have to experience this again. For me, searching is extreme mental anguish. I don’t even know how to describe it. It triggers me back to my child hood and earlier life searching for my birth mother. Now I’m searching for a sister. Before the sister it was my birth father, and another brother and another sister.

It’s the unknown and that’s not a good place for me.






Trying to find out the truth or someone elses secrets and lies is something I’ve done my entire life. If it wasn’t my birth mother, now it’s my birth father.

When I was leaving Iowa, I decided to call my birth father’s house, who is a raging alcoholic by the way. His wife answered, and she confirmed there was another daughter. She also let me know anytime I call there, my birth father is upset for MONTHS! Great to know.

I asked her if she knew she was half African-American and she said, “Jimmie is an extreme racist, I don’t think that’s possible!”. I told her I was given information she is half black and I told her I needed any information she had so I could search for her and find her. I told her I was going to go public with this search if I needed to find her, but I was hoping I didn’t need to go that route. We hung up the phone and she called me back within the hour.

She said she asked my birth father if the mother of the other daughter was black or white, and he became enraged and threw the remote control at her, got up and pushed her across the table. He started screaming at her saying, “I would never sleep with a black woman, her mother is white!”. He did confirm she was in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

His wife and I believe that because of his actions and the way he became enraged the mother was black. Period.

So now the search begins.

Please Save This Flyer & Share on Your Social Media ❤

I want to know my sister. I want to know everything about her. I will never stop looking for her. I want her to know she’s not alone in this world.

Leaving Iowa things hadn’t hit me yet. I was more consumed with thinking of this new possible sister. Then over the last 48 hours everything else has hit me.

I saw where my grandparents lived and my aunts, uncles and cousins all grew up there. We pulled up and got out of the car, and she told me all about the area. It was in the country, and she told me stories about my grandma and all her flowers and her gardens. She showed me the water well that was used because they had no running water. They made molasses, and she told me my grandmother walked for hours in the fields every day. She was hardly ever inside and loved being outdoors. I saw old photos and it was almost as if I felt my spirit was tied to this place as if I had been there before. These were my people. This was my tribe, yet I was separated from them for my entire lifetime, until now. I wished I could have stayed longer. And walked around in the footsteps my grandparents once walked. I wished I could have sat on an old tree stump and just gazed around for hours or even days just to get a feel of what it was like to be there. Instead I was happy with the short few minute stop because that’s more than some adoptees will ever get.

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My cousin was amazing, so were her parents. She said she had a gift for me. She handed me her quilt our grandmother made her and said, “I want you to have this because I have all the memories with grandma and you don’t have any”. I hugged her as tight as I could. No amount of words can even explain how grateful I am for that blanket, and for her acknowledging the loss of a lifetime of memories I have experienced. I was elated.

I asked my cousin what our grandparents house was like, she said “Heaven”.

The sadness I feel because I missed that is something no one else aside from my fellow adoptees will understand.

I’m pretty sure the adoption agencies never mention all the grief, loss and trauma adoptees can and do experience when they are making a living off our pain. It’s a hard pill to swallow but I have accepted this pain will be here until I leave this earth.

I’ve already been a burden being born. The least I can do is spare others from the burden of seeing my pain. I will be happy when it’s all over, but for now I will process it by writing, sharing my feelings and keeping to myself. Everyone wants to hear happy stories, but with adoption comes a lot of pain.

That’s all I know to do.

Deep inside my heart there is a shattered space from adoption, a space that no one can fix and no one can heal. I’m learning to adapt to this thing called adoption but it’s caused me the most pain of my lifetime.

That’s my truth.

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google PodcastsiTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!


11 thoughts on “Being Born a Burden

  1. Going through the same emotional rollercoaster you are. Very thankful for some of the new found family and yet others I could have done without ever knowing. Thank you for sharing your story so those of us out here struggling through some of the same know we are not alone. Hugs!!

    1. Hi Sweetpea,

      I appreciate your message. It’s always humbling to know you aren’t alone and other adoptees “Get me” as I “Get them”. So many years of not having that it’s hard to fathom sometimes that other adoptees understand. its healing and validating for us all.

      HUGS TO YOU! ❤

  2. Seems like all relationships are hard.I can not feel emotional intimacy with any one person.If I gets to real I need to leave. Or push people away. I feel afraid all the time and I am 52 .Know my birth mom and not my birth father.I guess feeling a burden and undeserving is my life.

    1. Hi Maria,

      I’m so sorry for your pain! I agree all relationships seem hard and because of it it can be exhausting. I have attachment issues, and I desire to have emotional intimacy but its almost as if I WISH someone would fill that space my birth mother SHOULD have fit, but the reality of that happening is impossible but it leaves me feeling disappointed and constantly let down over and over again. It’s strange but I have made the connection and I KNOW that no one can fill that space. But it’s like my inner child or the primal/mother wound is screaming for my mother. Most people who aren’t adopted would read this and FREAK OUT because they simply can’t relate. I am just happy I’m finally figuring these dynamics out so I can work on them.

      It’s hard feeling like you were born a burden. I wish we could shake it off, but it’s one of those things that’s deep inside us. I don’t know how to get rid of it.

      We’re in this together. HUGS! ❤

  3. Pamela Karanova,
    As an adoptee I relate to every emotion,feeling & many of the same experiences you have shared in your story.It can be a lonely, tormenting existence.. day-by-day..never ending.One I have learned to adjust to & accept through frequent interaction with fellow adoptees.We are not alone in adoption but a “Tribe” by our existence.A Power of Healing comes through this association.One I’m grateful for.Thank you for sharing your story.
    Mel Leggett

    1. Thank you Paige! This is a great way to look at it. It’s always interesting to hear other perspectives! I don’t know if I will ever find her. I’m in all the DNA databases. That’s really the only hope I have. ❤

  4. Hello, Pamela.
    Please allow me to share my sister story as it is similar yet different to yours, but its consequences bring great longing to find her as I am sure it brings you as you search for your own sister.
    My sister, who is younger than I by 2 years and about 2 mos, and I were abandoned in 1948 by our parents, parents who kept our brother with them. We were left at a dog pound or animal shelter to be discovered by those I presume were employees paid to look after the animals held captive there. Almost as soon as we were found, we were separated and I have not seen my sister since, though I can still recall too vividly the burly male who wrested her from my arms, and, before that, watching the car in which my brother was put by my parents as they drove out of sight.
    My sister was adopted probably within six months of this incident, while I was not adopted until near the end of 1950-with much trauma in between the parents who abused me and the isolation I endured being hospitalized for evaluation of eyes that were legally blind at the time and because it was believed that I had contracted polio at some time in the past.
    I will segue past the court hearing and the final adoption decree -the latter during which I screamed in fury at the judge who dared to take my name, my heritage, and my sister from me. A huge bailiff removed me from the court…and I will skip past the multiple traumas of my bouts of horrible depression, self harm, abusive adopters, ptsd, forced to take valium to keep me quiet, chronic escapes by me to rid myself of adopters, and their children who were not my siblings, and so much more.
    I fought with the state until I was 18 years of age for retrieval of my records and my OBC-the latter they never had because neither I or my sister were born in that state. I did manage to find the OBC in another state, one which provided me with certified copies of it in 1982, and of those of my mother and brother.(the latter at a much later date..)
    In 2011 a paternal uncle and I reunited and he provided information and a few photos, including some of my siblings whose names and faces I did not remember because of the trauma suffered. My brother and I were born in the same state, but my sister was born in a state about 1500 miles from there. The state in which my sister was born, the one in which my uncle lived, agreed that I had proven my relationship to my sister and gave me her birth certificate.
    When we were adopted, it was customary not to tell the child of their adoptee status. As my sister was not yet walking when we were separated and she was adopted, She has no recall of any of the events which lead to her adoption, and after many DNA tests which produce no matches with her or any children or grandchildren she may have, Imagine bei8ng 72 and discovering that you have an older sister … who will tell you of the brother you also don’t know you had ,,,, not to mention the history she has no clue about. To this day, the state refuses to provide information on my sister’ claiming ‘confidentiality’ as the deterrent ‘reason’.
    Besides the many DNA data bases I am in, I am also in the adoption state’s sibling consent data base, but since she doesn’t know I exist, even if she contacted Vital Statistics they would be able to match her with me unless the remember me as the persistant and determined bane of their work space.
    If you have not done DNA analysis it may help you to find at least some cousin matches or even aunts and uncle. If any of these know you exist they may be able to help you find your sister. If good fortune has chosen to smile on you, you may be notified that you have a sibling match… but just as with parent-child matches, sibling matches are rare for adoptees. However it is worth a try.
    (Just remember that shades of skin are in relationship to the distance of skin to harsh UV rays…we all have the same genes which produce the melanin which gives us protection from the danger of skin cancer, as well as which gives us the colors of our eyes and hair. Genetically we are from 99.1 to 99.9 % the SAME. It is very sad that too many think in ‘black and white’ to discriminate against others. … worse that if in doing so one misses the fortune to meet a sibling, or a cousin or a grandparent, etc. )
    I pray you will find your sister, but know that you are amongst 2% of this world who has been separated from DNA family. Adoption si just a method fo transferring custody of a child from one entity to another, as is relinquishment of custody. It is not the simple procedures which causes trauma, but the people appointed to be your so-called parents, along with the society and the agents which allow this separation to perpetuate the trauma which follows. None of us asked to be born , to have our custody turned over from mother to state (or, like me to have parents leave their children in an alien place un\protected-felons never held accountable for the great done to their three children in consequence)
    Remember this: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Good luck!
    PS You might consider doing a family tree using only information about what you know or suspect about you DNA relatives. Put it on a public venue so that others who may be part of you family will see it-and help you add family… If you do DNA by any of the major companies they have methods to create a tree.

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