Adoptees, You Are Not Your Abandonment and Rejection

I know the title of this article is so much easier said than felt, but man, I have to share a few things about the experiences and wounds that many of us carry that I describe as very deep-rooted abandonment & rejection wounds. When we think of these wounds, we tend to believe that they began after we were born, but I suggest they could have started before birth due to the research I have done over the last 10 years. Just what we need, more cards stacked up against us. But knowledge is power, and it also promotes healing. 

I have lived with this wound for 47 years in addition to my time in utero, so I understand how it can manifest in an adoptee’s life and how we can try to hide it and cover it up or act like it doesn’t exist. Sometimes many of us don’t understand this is even a thing. But no matter what we do, abandonment and rejection issues always seem to circle back around and rear their ugly heads. 

I am not sure if you have thought about this or not, but many of us experienced our very first feelings of rejection while we were still in the womb of our birth mothers. I share this because I have researched prenatal bonding and prenatal psychology to try to understand my wound better.  

We are all supposed to grow a strong bond with our biological mothers while still in the womb; however, that bond doesn’t always happen for adoptees. Research shows that biological mothers can and do bond with their babies while in utero, so it’s only safe to say that they can also disconnect and not connect with the baby during pregnancy. I learned we all have a critical process of development before birth, and it’s possible to be born with psychological issues due to a lack of bonding and connection with our biological mothers. This would only add to separation trauma, compacted by adoption trauma. 

To help me understand the bond I should have had with my birth mother during conception,  I read many books and articles that helped me understand how important this bond was because then I understood what I was missing if I didn’t have this bond with my biological mother. I also learned how this had impacted me throughout my life into adulthood. 

A few of the books I read are, Babies Remember Birth, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Pre-Parenting – Nurturing Your Child From Conception, and Windows to the Womb – Revealing the Conscious Baby from Conception to Birth

However, many times when an adoptee is going to be relinquished for adoption, our biological mothers purposely try not to bond with the baby growing inside their bellies for nine months. Why? Without a strong mother bond to us, it’s said to be easier to relinquish when the time comes. With this, sometimes, our biological mothers can purposefully try to block any emotions or feelings that come with bonding to the baby they are carrying for nine months. As a result, we feel this rejection back to the beginning for many of us before we were ever born. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to connect the dots and make sense of it all. And sometimes adoptees go to their grave, never really understanding that the abandonment and rejection we feel aren’t who we are; it’s something that happened to us. It’s sometimes next to impossible to weigh these dynamics out, let alone heal from them. 

It’s impossible to heal a wound by denying it’s there, so I wanted to write about this wound many of us carry that is no fault of our own. While researching conception and how babies can and do tune into their mother’s emotions during these nine months, even if our biological mothers aren’t purposely trying to not bond with us, their feelings of us are felt by us and can be carried in our subconscious memories. It’s no wonder many of us don’t understand the complexities of this wound because no one is teaching us or telling us that it exists. 

Once we know more, we can heal more. 

For me, my desire to HEAL was SO GREAT. I wanted to research the entire scope of pregnancy and pre-birth for myself, so I could try to get a better idea of my beginnings and how it all went down with my birth mother. Some of these discoveries I have learned were hard to grasp, but they have helped me understand from a more profound level, which helps me understand myself better. In return, I am learning to have empathy and compassion for myself and my birth mother. Every little clue to my beginnings has helped me heal, and I hope my fellow adoptees explore this dynamic so they can try to understand themselves better. 

While reading an article on the Integrative Psychiatry Institute website that is called “How Prenatal and Birth Imprints Set the Stage for Adult Behaviors HPP15,” I learned: 

“From a prenatal psychology perspective, the development in the womb and the birth process can have a huge impact on who we are as adults and the behaviors that we default to.” 

This alone inspires me to learn as much as possible about my prenatal life and to learn all the information that I can about my birth story. As adoptees, we’re usually always considered blank slates; when we enter into the contractual agreement, we don’t sigh; we call this adoption. 

While society and our adoptive parents at large spark our stories beginning with our adoptive parents, the adoptee community is circling around to let the world know that our stories didn’t start at adoption. They started long before then, and our stories before adoption matter, and they are essential to each of us. 

While I began to fight the world for my truth, I learned many things about my biological mother that helped me understand her decision to relinquish me for adoption. So I wanted to step into her shoes to learn more about her life as a child, her life growing up and her life when she conceived me, the days up to my delivery, and her life after. I wrote about this before in an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes.” In understanding her journey better, I understood my life better. 

I learned I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He was a close friend of the family, ten years older than my biological mother. The pregnancy with me was hidden from him and everyone around. It was a secret, and no one was supposed to know at all costs. I can only imagine how my birth mother felt during that time. Maybe she didn’t feel at all because I learned she drank every day through the entire pregnancy with me. I genuinely believe she rejected the pregnancy while she was pregnant with me, and even when I could have bonded with her because I was connected to her, she was not bonded with me and even likely fought this connection off. By learning about her alcohol abuse, I am left to speculate. I learned she worked up until the day she had me and went back to work the very next day. She checked into the hospital under an alias.

 I think she felt “bad” for being pregnant by a married man, and one of the feelings I have carried my whole life is the feeling of being BAD. Read, “She’s Bad.” The feelings of secrecy and shame likely consumed her, which makes it no secret I have had to work hard to remove the way she felt from my life because it has always felt like I was born with that shame, secrecy, and badness. I have felt sad and lonely for most of my life, and I believe this was also the feelings my birth mother felt during her pregnancy and the days leading up to my birth. In many ways, for many years, it defined who I am because that is all I have known. However, I am not those things, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt like them for most of my life. Learning to separate them has helped me tremendously.  

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“A bad birth can be like a thorn in the flesh, which keeps getting inflamed.” 

We can all guarantee that any child relinquished for adoption can be equated with an inhumane and bad birth/experience. It’s one of the most significant traumas we will ever experience, yet society continues to turn a blind eye and act as if it doesn’t exist. 

In Babies Remember Birth, if you skip to page 134, you will find chapter 10, titled PITFALLS. If you decide to read on, you will learn of many individuals who experienced separation trauma and what that felt like as they participated in hypnosis in therapy and tap into their preverbal consciousness. 

One person even said, “It was like a funeral at birth.” 

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. also states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“Things said during pregnancy can leave harmful imprints, “birthmarks” that are psychological rather than physical. But, even inside the womb, babies can learn to cope with unhappy parents.” 

I am sharing these dynamics in this article because I hope all my fellow adoptees understand that the wounds of abandonment and rejection they carry are valid, legit, and so very real. They can and do go back to our preverbal and prenatal lives. For each of our individual lives, it helps by investigating further by asking more questions and not giving up or taking “no” for an answer. 

The argument can be raised from the adoptee’s perspective that we need our truth to gain this reality of our beginnings, and they are correct. This is why I will always side with my fellow adoptees learning their truth because everyone deserves to know who they are and where they come from. I fought the moment I came out of the womb and likely while in the womb. I even wrote about it one time in an article titled “The Fight of My Life – Revised.” I have fought like so many of my fellow adoptees have to learn our truth when it seems like the whole world is up against us. 

I was never giving up, but I almost died trying many times over. 

One of the many discoveries I have learned is that although I feel abandoned and rejected by my birth mother, she didn’t know me to reject me. Instead, she rejected the unresolved wounds that she had never processed due to her alcohol dependency. She rejected her decision, the outcome of my adoptive parents divorcing when I was one, and that her decision didn’t create a better life for me, only a different one. I acknowledged her alcohol abuse was a focus of her life way before I was born. She had a hard life and a challenging childhood. I heard many stories, and every little clue helped me understand better and begin healing in return. 

Separation trauma can impact adoptees significantly, and everyone reacts differently to trauma. However, one of the most significant dynamics for adoptees is that we often suffer in silence because our adoptive parents and the world celebrate adoption. In return, they celebrate our trauma. They leave no room for our sorrow or sadness. Our conception and preconception stories, and birth stories are a part of our history. Even when we’re considered blank slates, what happens during these times matters to adoptees. 

While abandonment and rejection from our adoption experiences can and does impact each of us significantly, and sometimes the wounds last a lifetime, the more we learn about our [His]-Story and [Her]-Story, the more we learn about ourselves. So it’s essential to separate the differences between the things we have control over and the things we don’t. We had no control over what happened to us as babies, but we can fight like hell for our truth. I always try to remember I am not how abandonment and rejection from adoption has made me feel. I am not the pain and heartbreak. Yes, it’s been a part of my life and always will be, but we are all so much more than how adoption has made us feel. We have a purpose, and we all have many countless reasons that the universe brought us together. 

Being adopted, it’s sometimes hard to feel like anyone cares about you. But I am here to share that you won’t feel others care about you until you put yourself first and learn to care about yourself FIRST. For me, that meant letting go of the feelings of being misunderstood. My fellow adoptees get me, and that’s good enough for me. But, unfortunately, other people can’t get me because they aren’t walking in my shoes. 

So much of what adoptees experience and endure along our journeys aren’t our fault. The feelings of abandonment and rejection aren’t our faults either. I hope you know that you are so much more than how adoption makes you feel wherever you are in your healing journey. You are NOT how abandonment and rejection make you feel. Trauma doesn’t have a healing time frame, so be easy on yourself and allow yourself to feel the feelings when they surface. Then, allow yourself the space to seek healing and guidance by adoptee-competent trauma specialists.

Research all of the dynamics of the wounds you carry as an adoptee and, if possible, go back to previous generations. You can bet that your biological mother’s decision didn’t start with her. Consider reading the book “It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.” 

It’s not your fault, and you didn’t deserve the pain adoption has caused you. You are not your abandonment and rejection. You are more valuable, and your story is of utmost importance, back to the very beginning. 

Never stop fighting for your truth; you deserve it. Never stop researching and learning about the wounds we carry. Understand, most of society won’t acknowledge them, so it’s up to YOU to do the work. But, acknowledging these realities is the first step.

I hope this article helps one of my fellow adoptees out there.

 For those who have made it this far, have you been able to gain any information on your biological mother to help form a conclusion of what your preverbal and prenatal lives might have been like? 

Have you made the connection that the way she felt during pregnancy could very well be impacting you to this day? 

Love, Love PK 

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova

Why I Have A Blazing Passion to Share My Story and What It Cost Me to Tell It

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” – Janis Joplin.

When an adoptee is adopted, we are immediately put in a position where we are expected to forget our former selves and carry on with life as if our pre-adoption life never existed. 

When we grow up and start to develop internal feelings about this, these feelings often manifest outside ourselves in many different ways. Some of us use unhealthy coping mechanisms like using substances or alcohol. Some of us are perfectionists and overachievers. Some of us are workaholics. Some are addicted to food and spending money. Some of us are rage-filled and angry as hell. Some have healthy coping mechanisms like working out, exercising, hiking, running, bike riding, jogging, volunteering, writing, etc. 

But it’s no secret that when we start to tap into our real feelings and begin to express them verbally, we are walking a thin line here, and we feel every bit of it. I could possibly describe it as modern-day blackmail.  

Blackmail-  “To cheat, deceive or defraud someone for personal gain. A fraudulent scheme or ruse.”

What does this even mean? Many of us have a lot to lose, and we live in fear and intimidation that if we upset our adoptive families, we could have terrifying outcomes. Many of us have similar feelings regarding our biological families, so we remain silent because the risk we take sharing our emotions is too consequential. 

If our adoptive parents love us and take care of us when our biological parents didn’t want us, we must be thankful, grateful and we damn sure aren’t supposed to share any feelings that don’t line up with this narrative. It feels like blackmail, and it constantly hangs over our heads. 

We give you love if you pretend everything is perfect. 

Thoughts like, “If they knew how I feel, would they still love me?” or “If I share my feelings publicly, I will be disowned?” So much of the time, the adoptee can’t share their feelings, even if they want to. Our biological and adoptive families don’t have to say anything; we just know it! We feel it in our souls. Our compliance in keeping quiet is usually in exchange for being included in the family dynamics and receiving the love that’s conditional from the beginning. Trust me, the adopted children that grow up are the first to be left out of wills and shunned or excluded in the family dynamics. If we speak privately or publicly, we take the chance of losing it all!  

So most of the time, adoptees might have online roles or share pieces of their story. Still, they often use pen names to write.  I don’t see many adoptees sharing particular details about their birth parents and adoptive parents publicly because of these reasons. I’m not saying they don’t write about the adoptee experience; I’m saying they are sometimes afraid to share anything that doesn’t line up with the fairytale narrative.

I also see adoptees write or share about their adoption experience, and they feel as if they ALWAYS have to include, “My adoptive family was wonderful or I am thankful my parents chose me.” They don’t feel they can be real and raw without saying these things before, or after they say the truth that adoption has impacted them negatively.

As a result, I sometimes describe our experiences in a way that others can understand, and I call it the “Adoptee Whammy Effect.” 

This is based on having four parents: one adoptive mom, one adoptive dad, one biological mother, and one biological father. In addition, of course, many of us have step-parents or parental roles, which would add layers to this example. 

Let’s also not forget to recognize that some adoptees adopted internationally have not had the opportunity to find biological families, and some adoptees adopted domestically haven’t searched for various reasons. 

This example assumes that the adopted person has two adoptive parents and two biological parents they have attempted to reunite with over their lifetimes. Let’s also accept and acknowledge that before every person is adopted, they experience separation trauma from being removed from their biological mother. This should never be viewed as a positive experience; it’s traumatic. I have learned from other adoptees that even when they have the “Assumed Picture Perfect Adoption Experience” and they have ZERO WHAMMYS, they still have separation trauma that haunts them, and it impacts them in every way throughout life. That alone is enough for an adoptee to feel completely wrecked by adoption. Adding the whammy’s to it, only magnifies the grief, loss, pain and, trauma. Research separation trauma and the primal wound and learn so you can see for yourself.

When I share “Ideal and Fulfilling” relationships with our parents, I mean the adoptee’s relationships with the specific parent (bio mom, bio dad, adoptive mom & adoptive dad) have been generally a loving and healthy one. 

What’s Assumed in Adoption – Every adoptee has an ideal and fulfilling relationship with both adoptive parents. After searching for their biological family, both biological parents receive, love, and accept the adoptee. But, unfortunately, this is the fairytale narrative that most people believe happens in most adoptions. 

What Really Happens to Multiply Our Grief, Loss, Separation Trauma & Adoption Trauma:

A Single Whammy – This is when we don’t have good experiences with one of the two adoptive parents OR one of two of the biological parents 

A Double Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with two of our parents. It could be one adoptive parent and one biological parent, OR both adoptive parents OR both biological parents. 

A Triple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with three of our four parents. It could be one adoptive parent and both biological parents, OR both adoptive parents and one biological parent. 

A Quadruple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with all four of our parents, both adoptive parents and both biological parents. 

I try to leave it up to the adoptees to describe what they consider a “Good Experience” when it comes to each of our individual maternal and paternal parents and each of our adoptive parents because no one else should define that for us. 

In my case, I am hands down A Quadruple Whammy and some EXTRA ISH! 

I am not going into all the grimy details on WHY I have a quadruple whammy, but I will share briefly that I was estranged from my adoptive mom before her passing and have no relationship with my adoptive dad. In addition, both biological parents rejected a relationship with me after meeting them each one time. Finally, I have an adoptive step-monster who essentially doesn’t exist in my life for various reasons I’m not going to make public. 

As a result, I don’t feel connected to or a part of any family except the three adult kids I birthed myself. I have accepted this, and I’m at peace with it at this stage of my life, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t lost so much in the process. It still impacts me (and my kids) until this day, and grief and loss are something I will be processing for the rest of my life. This doesn’t mean I am not thankful for what I have, because I am. My kids are the reason I keep living.

What does it cost for me to share my story? I can’t list everything, but I will highlight the main areas that come to mind. 

  • I have lost three shots at having a nurturing, loving, and caring mother. Three chances and I struck out all three times. I will never know what a loving relationship looks like from a mother other than seeing it in other people and their mothers. I have no mother to call, and I never really have. With this, I have never felt a mother’s unconditional love and support. There is no wound on earth quite like the mother wound. When you have it x3 as I do, it only magnifies it. 
  • I have lost the chance to know and grow up with and have relationships with my biological siblings. This is unforgivable, and the pain will echo for a lifetime. I have a lost/missing sister somewhere out there, and I have a half biological sister who resents me because I was adopted, and she wasn’t. She, too, bought into the fairy tale narrative that adoption is rainbows and unicorns, and it’s always a better life. She relinquished her baby for adoption just like my birth mother did. Giving your baby away runs in the family!  She thinks I should be grateful, and I am NOT. She knows nothing about the trauma I experienced in my life, nor has she tried to understand that I might have had a different life than her, but it damn sure hasn’t been a better one. Because of our differences on the issue, we have no relationship today. 
  • I have lost a sense of self because I have had severe identity struggles from childhood to adulthood. Only until I fought like hell for my truth have I been able to come to a place of internal peace in the last five years. That’s a lot of time lost!
  • I have lost a normal childhood; while most kids are frolicking in the fields, I was obsessed with finding my birth mother. It never left my mind. Read “The Sky and I.” I was also consumed with being the caretaker for my sick adoptive mom. I was traumatized over and over again by her manic depressive episodes.
  • I can’t connect with celebrating or even embracing a culture. I didn’t find out my ethnicity until I was 40 years old, and now I don’t even know how to tap into something that has been null and void my whole life.    
  • The dream I had of how much my birth parents “Loved Me So Much” was nothing more than a pacifier statement and a myth to stall my healing, and it stood in the way of me knowing the truth. No truth = no healing. The truth is, not all birth mothers love their children, and not all of them want to be found. My birth mother is one of them. Being told she loved me so much shattered me once I saw her, and she rejected a relationship. Please stop saying this to adoptees! 
  • I have lost the ability to understand what love even is. Your mother is supposed to be your ride or die and the one who fights until the end of the earth for you. So when your mother “Loves you so much” she gives you away to strangers, it’s a significant mental mind fuck. I am still making sense of it, and I am not sure I will ever understand why I was told this in this way? Did they know this would forever manipulate my view of what love is? This “lesson” has caused catastrophic consequences in my lifetime. 
  • I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a real family, aside from my own three adult kids.  Being adopted to me feels like I’m still an orphan because I never felt like I fit in with my adoptive family. I always knew I was the second choice.  But, I am FOREVER grateful for MY FAMILY WITH MY KIDS. Without them, I would not be here. 
  • I have taken on an impending sense of deep-rooted sadness that will be with me until I leave this earth, for the fact that me being adopted IMPACTS MY KIDS, in every way! The trauma from relinquishment and adoption is generational, and I see my kids experiencing some of the things I did because of my adoption story. I will always hate adoption because of this. I can handle how it makes ME feel, but because it impacts my innocent children in such a profound way, I will never be able to forgive adoption. It will also impact my future grandkids, and their kids. Fuck adoption. 
  • I have lost the ability to trust because I learned early on from my adoptive mother that life and love are based on conditions. I have lived my life feeling like everyone wants something from me. Love is like a carrot, dangling over my head my whole life. The love will be snatched away if I say or do the wrong thing. Well, I’m an adult now, and I don’t want that conditional love anymore. I am learning to trust a few people, and I appreciate small circles.   
  • It’s taken me 47 years on earth to feel complete within myself, finally. The hell I had to go through to get here has consumed every part of my life. Because of this, I feel like I missed out on many moments of my kids being younger and the ability to find beauty in everyday life because most of my 47 years have been spent recovering from separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma. I resent this, and this is one of the reasons I don’t want to waste any more time and I am very selective on what I use my time on. 
  • I have lost every chance at having a father in my life. My biological father didn’t know of my existence, and he didn’t sign any adoption paperwork. However, once found, he still doesn’t want a relationship. My adoptive dad divorced my adoptive mom a year after adopting two daughters; (even when he knew she couldn’t care for us, he left anyway!); he moved over an hour away and remarried. He raised three stepsons as his own, and I honestly feel I don’t even know him. He’s always been far away, and he’s only visited Kentucky 3 times that I can remember,  in over 30 years of me being here. On the other hand, I have been back to Iowa at least 20+ times. No father/daughter dance or date, ever. No one-on-one time, not even an hour. Ever. 
  • Trust –  I have lost the ability to trust the people who are supposed to love me the most. They kept my truth from me for their gain. They paid a cash price for me. They said whatever they had to say to soothe my deep-rooted desire to find my biological family. I don’t just give trust away; people have to earn it in time. 
  • Missing Memories – I have lost all memories I should have made with my biological family’s maternal and paternal sides. This has been one of the most complex parts for me to fathom. I will never know any grandparents or aunts and uncles. I have met a few biological cousins, but we have no shared history. It’s hard building relationships from scratch. To much time is missing. The grief has knocked me down so many times over in my life. It’s consumed me so profoundly; some days and seasons in my life, I didn’t even want to go on with living. The sadness has been that great. 
  • Judgment – When people learn of me, maybe in a professional setting or even in the dating world, I am always putting myself at risk for pre-judgment because people can read my whole life story on my website before they get to know me real life. This impacts me significantly in life, and I am still sharing my story with my fellow adoptees, but it doesn’t come without a considerable cost! It’s a HUGE PRICE TO PAY!
  • People assume I am stuck – When I am still writing about adoption, many people think I am stuck in the places I am writing about. However, the truth is that I am not stuck. I have been stuck in the past; however, I have moved on in my life, I have accepted adoption for what it is, I have healed and continue to heal. It has always been the most significant thing in my life that has hurt me the most. I am sharing my feelings with the world, specifically my fellow adoptees because people need to know they have been sold a lie when it comes to adoption. I share so my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone and aren’t crazy about their feelings. I am also sharing because it helps me heal, and non-adopted individuals can learn from an adoptee’s lens. They are why I keep writing, but I have happiness and wholeness in my personal life, and I am no longer stuck. However, that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. The great thing is, I could care less what people think. 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. 

As you can see, I have nothing to lose by sharing my story – I have already lost everything. When any adoptee shares their story, even if it’s in small pieces or micro-doses, please understand that sometimes that might be the very first time they ever let these feelings come to light. Sometimes it takes us an entire lifetime for adoptee feelings to come out of our mouths. So please listen without judgment and understand that to share our stories, especially publicly, we have A LOT TO LOSE! Be kind, be compassionate, and most of all, have the willingness to understand that there is much more to adoption than what society has been sold. 

In sharing my story and being a lifeline to my fellow adoptees, because I have nothing to lose, I can share from depths that many others can’t. When I share from these spaces, I heal a little more each and every time I release feelings that have been inside for 47 years. Because of these reasons, I keep sharing.

For my fellow adoptees, do you have the fairytale narrative that’s assumed by society? 

Or do you fit into the Single, Double, Triple, or Quadruple Whammy Effect?

How has this impacted your short term and long term?

What has helped you heal? 

Thank you for reading, Love Love

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova

She Said I Would See Her In Heaven One Day, So I Decided I Didn’t Want to Go.

Disclosure Statement: If you are someone who considers yourself a Christian, Jesus Follower, Church Goer, Religious Guru, Or if you believe your way of spirituality is the only way, I am asking you to save your comments, judgments, and opinions and share them on other platforms as there are many churches, online platforms and religious circles that would love to use the glory in your story to promote their church and religion. Please don’t come here to use your story to discredit mine. This page and article isn’t for you. We are all free to have our personal spiritual beliefs and journeys. My space’s boundary is not allowing others to use their personal stories to belittle mine.

Pieces of my childhood: bible stores, devotionals, prayers, using scripture to let me know I was going to hell from a very young age for dating outside my race. Being forced to sign covenants that I wouldn’t have sex before marriage or ever drink alcohol at 12 years old. Being cursed to hell for using the “lord’s name in vain.” I learned all gay people were going to hell. Being manipulated to believe like my adoptive mom, and scriptures being used as a way to control me starting at a very young age.

Back to the beginning, my whole life has been chosen for me, especially all the heartbreaking parts. The loss of my biological mother, the loss of my biological father. The loss of genetic connections and a sense of wholeness. I lost my medical history and learning what my ethnicity was. I was a secret up until the very moment of birth, swept away and forgotten about as if I never existed. But then, she walked away and went back to work the next day signing her rights over ever to see, hear or speak to me again as long as she lived. I never agreed to keep her secret.

 But none of us get to pick our beginnings, right? 

True, but most people’s beginnings don’t start with a traumatic experience on the first breath you take entering the world, and most people don’t start their first breath with their story being built on a bed of lies. 

In adoption, others make this decision for you because they want you to have a “better life.” However, this one decision can and does impact an adoptee’s life forever. 

 If people knew the depths of separation trauma, would they still make this choice for another human being? If they knew that basing one’s life on pretending, secrecy, and lies would destroy me from the inside out, would they still pick this choice? 

Probably. Because an infertile adoptive parent’s desire to have a child is more significant than their desire to give a flying fuck about the separation trauma that child will experience being separated from their biological mother and being forced to bond with strangers. 

Either way, for me and my story, the damage is done. We don’t get do-overs or a rewind button. 

So what’s the point? 

The point is, I get to choose now. I get to write my story. I didn’t get to choose back at the beginning, but I get to decide now.

If you have read my articles, you would know I was adopted by a woman who suffered from severe mental illness issues. While I have empathy that she had a side to her that was kind and loving, I rarely felt it or saw it, but others did. Some of her mental health issues were possibly being treated, and some weren’t. My entire childhood was filled with her emotional and mental outbursts. I tried to articulate this experience in an article I wrote called “The Narcissistic Adoptive Mom.”  

I do remember pills everywhere, all the time, but how would I know she’s addicted to prescription drugs?  I remember her sleeping all the time when “normal” parents would be up. Getting up for school, setting the alarm, and getting myself ready every morning was a pretty regular routine. As a child, I had no idea that this behavior was abnormal or her outbursts were signs of mania and depression. I was a child. I had no fucking clue I was knee-deep in disfunction. This disfunction was all I knew. 

As if my biological mother passing me over to strangers wasn’t enough, I never bonded with my adoptive mom, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t forced to try. That was traumatic in its way, and I have yet to be able to describe how that’s made me feel. I started to be repulsed by her presence when I was a child. This only increased as I grew up. 

Some of her emotional outbursts consisted of her threatening to overdose and commit suicide while running to her bedroom with all her pills in a shoebox, taking the phone, shutting us out, and locking her bedroom door, telling us she wanted to die. We would be left outside her bedroom door screaming, crying, hysterical because we thought she was going to die, sometimes for hours. This happened over and over again. She even had a manic episode and ran out of our 3rd store apartment and laid in the middle of the street while we watched, because she was going to kill herself in front of us.

Abuse comes in all forms. 

I feel these episodes caused me C-PTSD as a child.

I remember always saying, “I’m sorry, Mommy, I’m sorry” my entire childhood. At some point, during one of her millions of episodes, I took the blame that it was all my fault and at every attempt, I tried to console her but the endless manic episodes seemed to be inconsolable. But I never stopped trying. Somehow, as a child in elementary school, I did something “bad” to drive her over the edge continuously. While doing inner child work a few years ago, I named my 5-year-old self, I’m sorry. After doing much healing and self-work, I understand that was a trauma response. 

It’s no doubt that this woman who adopted me didn’t bring security into my life, but instead, she traumatized me; while she may have had some good and positive qualities, the trauma always comes to my mind when I think about her. I don’t have loving and caring memories of her. She might have loved me in her own way, but her real reason for adopting me is that she didn’t want to go to a nursing home, and she wanted a caretaker. I will be writing more about this soon. 

How do I know this? Because she never stopped talking about not wanting to go to a nursing home, and she started priming me for this when I was in elementary school. While my entire childhood was filled with caring for her as a mini servant, other kids were out playing with friends, having sleepovers, and running free in nature. Not me, I had a chore chart a mile long, and I was groomed to rub her back and body giving her massages all the time, and to do many other disgusting things I do not want to share. I was responsible for cleaning my room and cleaning her room also. I ran her bathwater, bathed her, scrubbed her back, put lotion all over her body. I brushed her hair, put her makeup on her. Weird fucking shit, right? Again, I can’t share some because it’s too disgusting. I was adopted to fulfill her needs. 

But, eventually, I grew up. 

When I had my kids, this new level of fear took over me that she would get custody of my kids if something ever happened to me. This haunted me! Thinking about this sometimes took my breath away. Then, as my kids got older, I started noticing some things she started doing with my kids, as she did me as a child. This was when I decided to pack up a 22-foot Uhaul and move across the country to Kentucky, far, far away.

This was what I call “The Great Escape.”  

She visited Kentucky on occasion, and it was always catastrophic drama when she showed up. Even after setting some very firm essential boundaries with her,  one time, she threatened to sleep in her car on the side of the road, so my kids felt bad for her. She would talk negatively about me, in my own home to my kids behind my back. I could go on forever at the drama she showed up with and the trouble she caused in my life. I started my alcohol-free journey on August 13, 2012, and she has always been the most significant trigger I have ever had. Putting my recovery and sobriety first, spending 30+ years tolerating her inappropriate behavior, finally, letting her know she’s never welcome to come to my home again. And she never came into my house after this. 

I always felt like she had her claws in my kids, and her motive was to put a wedge between us so that they would feel sorry for her, and then they would be the ones next in line to take care of her. My intuitions were correct because when my oldest daughter, 27, turned 18, my adoptive mom asked her to be her Power of Attorney. I had previously refused, and our relationship was non-existent, so my kids were the next best thing. I have had nightmares off and on since having my kids that she would take them from me, and in the dream, I felt the horror of how a mother feels when their children are removed from their care. But then, I would wake up, feeling like this was always her plan.  

However, I could always see right through her mind games and manipulation, and finally, I was able to set more firm boundaries and remove this toxic person from my life once and for all. 

Her plan didn’t work; it backfired on her. But, after setting a no-contact boundary, I will never forget one of the last conversations we had. 

She said, “You don’t have to talk to me here on earth, but you will be seeing me again in heaven one day!”

Did she threaten me with heaven?

It was like a punch in the gut. This is something I never thought about until she said it.  I will never forget how this made me feel. I was sick at the thought of having to see this woman in heaven one day. 

Would we be on excellent terms in heaven? 

Would she be a normal mom in heaven? 

Would I be pretending she didn’t traumatize me my whole life in heaven?

All these questions began to swim around in my brain. My conclusion is, if she was going to be in heaven, that’s damn sure a place I never want to go.

Hell to the no-no. 

And, I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork.

While coming out of the fog about adoption for 10+ years, I have also been coming out of the fog about religion. While adoption is celebrated worldwide, so is Christianity and religion. My views don’t stop with this one experience. They go far beyond and are endless on why I can no longer support Christianity and the Bible. But I respect you do! It’s been just as difficult as coming out of the fog about adoption, and I’ve found it to be a lonely and isolating journey. To conclude, everything you had always been told in life was a lie can be difficult to step into, especially when you enter this space many times in a lifetime. But, the flip side is that today I am walking in freedom, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

It has been exceptionally liberating to step into a space of making my mind up about what I believe and why I believe it without others cramming it down my throat. Also, the fact that the only way I will ever be forced to see my adoptive mom again in heaven is ONLY if I believe in the shenanigans, to begin with, which is refreshing.

Regardless of what I believe in or don’t believe in, hopefully, if you are someone that reads this, you can save space for others who believe nothing like you without trying to “prove them wrong” or “prove a point” on why your beliefs trump another’s beliefs.

I can say from a personal standpoint; I don’t care what you believe. I care what kind of person you are and how you treat people. I care about integrity, compassion, and empathy. I’ve seen people claim to believe in a higher power and be rotten to the core deep down and treat others like shit. I’m sure we’ve all seen different variations in our lives, but my goal is to learn from others and offer a judgment-free perspective if someone inquires about my input. At this point in my life, if I had to attach my beliefs to a label I would say my personal views align closest to Agnostic.

While I’ve been told I was going to hell from a very early age for dating outside of my race, the truth is – I didn’t even know what “race” I was until I was 40 fucking years old. Adoption prohibited me from knowing my ethnicity, so I never had a culture to celebrate, study or feel like I was a part of.  Did it ever occur to anyone that the possibility exists that I dated “outside of my race” because I knew that person wasn’t a blood cousin or blood brother? It is more profound than just wanting to be rebellious and a rotten teenager. Now that I am out of the fog about religion, I can confidently say that if this is what the bible is about, you can miss me with it. 

Many adoptees have this feeling of “badness” attached to them just for being born. I wrote an article to express my feelings about it one time called “She’s Bad.” Then you add that with my religious upbringing, being told I am going to hell, and constantly feeling “BAD” because I internalized this because of my adoptive mom’s mental illness and outbursts. It’s no wonder I started acting BAD my teen years and then got tossed in the school for the “BAD KIDS.” I didn’t do well in public school constantly because my childhood didn’t allow me the capabilities to be able to learn well with the life I was dealing with at home. Being in and out of detention, on probation, in group homes, a teen runaway (the list could go on), and you see why this feeling of badness has been so strong? Now, add religion to the mix. They convince you that you are born a sinner, and your flesh will steer you in the wrong direction every time if you listen to it, so you are conditioned to feel like you are BAD when you fail and follow your fleshly desires over God’s plan for your life. They teach you your flesh (intuition) can not be trusted, and in return, you can’t trust yourself. 

Talk about a big bag of trash!

That’s putting it as politely as I can. 

Do you not see the cards stacked against me as an adoptee and so many others? It’s taken me 47 years to see the light and to be able to call BULLSHIT on all of it. I tell myself daily; I am not bad; I wasn’t born bad, I wasn’t born a sinner, I am NOT going to heaven or hell because I don’t believe they exist. I want to organically be good and offer the world the genuine me because that’s who I am. Not because I’m trying to stay on God’s good side so I don’t go to hell. I’m so thankful the lights have come on so I can deconstruct in a more graceful and profound way. The only way I can genuinely save myself is to get REAL with myself. No more fucking pretending. That shit is for the birds. 

Let me be completely transparent, I want to live my life NOW. I don’t want to wait to live until I’m dead. I want to spend time with those I love while I’m here, alive and well on earth. We live every day, we only die ONCE. I’m determined to make it count.

 Have you ever known anyone to “threaten” another human being with seeing them in heaven? Have you ever had someone threaten that you were going to hell for your actions?

Dear Adoptive mom, I’m sorry, but you will not be seeing me in heaven, and even when you cursed me to go to hell, I won’t be showing up there either. Today I am finally able to look myself in the mirror and love who’s looking back at me without the profoundly ingrained feelings of badness adoption, you and your religion ingrained into me. 

The thoughts of heaven and hell are traumatic for me, so on top of deconstructing Christianity, I am deconstructing from the notion that I will never be good enough, and heaven and hell will NOT be the deciding factors on what happens to me after I’m dead. 

I’m good enough now, and I was good enough when I came out of the womb. The world’s conditioning and others’ beliefs made me feel otherwise, but I see the truth and the light today. I have joy in my heart that I’m following the path that seems real to me and not full of secrets, lies, and half-truths. Not to mention made-up stories, used against me to try to make me BE GOOD.

I am good all by my damn self.

Today I am free.

P.S. I am NOT Powerless, and I never have been!

I AM POWERFUL

Religious Trauma Syndrome is a real thing.

To learn more visit www.journeyfree.org

Thank you for reading, Love Love

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova