Lying Lips and DNA Kits

It’s not enough that many times the information that is relayed over to the adoptee/relinquishee is shadowy at best. Still, often we are presented with information based on inaccurate data that is usually restricted and modified to stall the adoptee/relinqishee or throw them off entirely from ever learning who they are and where they come from.

One of the many challenging lessons I’ve learned over the last 10+ years of coming out of the fog regarding my adoption journey is that no matter what we find or how we find it, we should ALWAYS back our stories and conclusions up by doing DNA testing, preferably Ancestry DNA. Ancestry has the most extensive database with nearly 20 million people.

Here’s why I make this suggestion.

People lie when it comes to adoption and relinquishment stories. While we learn from childhood that lying is never okay and even receive punishment as a child for such activities, our society accepts this rule in adoption and relinquishment; our culture makes an exception to this rule. Sometimes I believe that people believe their lies, and sometimes we don’t want to accept them. We feel a shadowed conclusion that doesn’t sit well with our internal dialogue.

Let me give you an example of this. I was told back in 1998 from an individual in my birth mother’s family that my birth father was dead and that he had gotten shot. I sat with that for a minute, and it never sat well with my spirit. But, my intuition is on point, so I said to the world. “If he’s dead, let me confirm he’s my father via DNA testing FIRST, and let me stand of that man’s grave and see his death certificate so I can see it for myself.” Unfortunately, I know countless adoptees who have been sold a lie.

I was never able to receive either of them, and in 2010 I decided to drive 11+ hours from Kentucky to Leon, Iowa, and I showed up at his doorstep and introduced myself. That man wasn’t dead, and he was very much alive. So they lied to me, and chances are if you are adopted, you have been lied to also. I learned from a close family friend that I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He knew nothing of the pregnancy, and he never consented that I was given up for adoption.  

Sometimes as adoptees, we want something to be confirmed with every fiber in our being, so we ignore the signs or subtle hints that a find might not be true, accurate, or correct. Instead, we jump in head over heels, going by what we were told or what we hope to be true. I hope this article puts a pause in play for anyone that reads it. Please tread carefully and always, always, get DNA testing done BEFORE you build relationships with someone you suspect might be your biological family.

Adoptees/relinquishes are vulnerable individuals. When searching, we often open our hearts and lives as wide as they can go to receive whatever it is we have been fantasizing about our entire lives. We assume the best yet frequently are left feeling misled, robbed, or even taken advantage of. Sometimes this can feel like the biggest disappointment of our lives.

Growing up, our life is filled with fantasies about what we will find. Where is the mother that “loved us so much?” But often, we’re faced with the complete opposite, a cold, disconnected woman that shows no signs towards us that feel like anything close to “love.”

People say, “Expect the worst and hope for the best.” Yet, I am here to tell you there is no natural way to prepare for such conflicting and unimaginable feelings and emotions that come with our discoveries, no matter what they turn out like. It’s like opening a pandora’s box, and what we find can be shattering combined with fulfilling. It’s complex at best, but not learning the solid truth can be devastating beyond repair, so DNA testing is exceedingly essential.

My life story backs this conclusion up because, in 2010, I learned I had a half-sibling out there in the world. After a year of searching, I finally found him. We compared notes, and he ended up being the absolute best part of my reunion story. We spent time together from states away, planned visits and trips together. We accepted one another and our children and spent five years building a relationship. I always said he was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and he was and is to this day the only happy and positive part of my whole adoption experience and story.

Until January 2016, everything was flipped upside down. We ended up doing DNA testing to send the results that my brother and I were connected via DNA to my birth father. He has always expressed a deep-rooted feeling of disbelief that either of us was his biological adult children. To be completely transparent, I haven’t blamed him. He didn’t know anything about me, and he said he had reason to doubt my newfound brother was his biological son. This was why I wanted to complete DNA testing with my brother, so we could present the truth in hopes that it might change something with my biological father because initially, he rejected us, not knowing if we were his or not.

While I had taken the position to clear up this bed of lies that my life was rooted in, I had no idea what the DNA test would soon reveal. In January 2017, the DNA test returned and said WE SHARED NO DNA. I will never forget how this made me feel. I was sick and so distraught that I honestly didn’t believe it. The first person I reached out to was the amazing and gracious Priscilla Stone-Sharp, and I asked her if she could double-check this for me. She concluded that my newfound brother and I shared no DNA. However, we could pinpoint that my birth father was my birth father. His mother’s maiden name is all over in my highest DNA matches. However, my new brother is the one that showed NO DNA with my birth father, which means his biological mother gave him the incorrect information on who his biological father was.

Now that I had opened that whole can of worms, I had to reveal this to my brother, which was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But, unfortunately, he flat out didn’t believe the DNA results and ended up tragically passing away a few months later in a motorcycle crash. This experience sent me into a profound depression and sadness I could not process at all. I was living alcohol-free, but I could not feel these feelings, and I had no idea the level of grief and sadness that would soon take over my life.

It was such a complex situation that no one could help me, and I couldn’t even find the right words to use to describe this situation. I kept referring to my brother as “My brother who turned out not to be my brother” because I didn’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t believe that one ONLY GOOD PART OF MY STORY wasn’t genuine, I was duped once again, and the devastation left me in horrible shape. I couldn’t stand the thought of therapying another therapist, and this is when I put my vision of Adoptees Connect, Inc. into action, which saved my life.

It’s taken me all these years to begin to recover, and I still have a lot of sadness about it. I wanted to share this dynamic because I want non-adoptees to see what adopted people have to go through when we are searching for our truth. All these hoops and hurdles can and do exhaust us, they destroy us, and they can and do take us down. It’s inhumane that the adults in our lives signed us up to go through this. Literally, every adult who took part in signing any adoption documents signed over that they would be okay letting me suffer and damn near die in my pain from all the secrecy, lies, and deception from adoption and the adults that co-signed for this traumatic event to happen to me.

Today, I have annulled my adoption in my mind, body, and spirit, and I sometimes remind myself that I didn’t’ sign any adoption paperwork. Yet, I have survived this nightmare, moved across the country, changed my name, and started my life over.

For my fellow adoptees who might have made it this far, I beg you to please get DNA testing before you build relationships or get too excited about a possible discovery you believe is a biological family member. The pain of the alternative I have shared here is something I do not want anyone to go through because it’s unbearable when we already feel so alone; we get our hopes up and put ourselves out there. Ancestry DNA has sales around major holidays, and the DNA kits are $59.00.

Not getting DNA testing FIRST can add a new level of trauma that you do not deserve. Please learn from my experience. Trust me; you do not want to risk it.

For those who might be wondering, this changed nothing with my birth father. I sent him confirmation I am his daughter, and he tossed it in the trash, and went on his merry way.

*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

10 thoughts on “Lying Lips and DNA Kits

  1. Well Said Pamela. There are so many variables for us adoptees, the people who perpetuated the lies, the people in the records offices who keep the truth from us, and our own feelings.
    I’m sure many went through or are going through a time where they don’t even know how they feel. I didn’t. It took a very long time for me to process all the information that I was learning about my personal “roots”. Thanks to my God He lead me through my journey every step of the way. I was hesitant – was afraid that I may find out things I didn’t want to know. I did find unfortunate circumstances (rejection from my birth mother) but I was prepared for it and I’m ok with it. There have been many blessings as well. I found 4 living siblings, a brother and 3 sisters who have become a very important part of my life.
    My advice to adoptees who are searching or considering searching is like you said, get a DNA test. It comes with a caveat. Be prepared for what you may find. If you’re not ready to face any type of rejection or disappointment, Leave It Alone. It’s ok either way depending on what YOU are comfortable with.

    1. Hi BonnieAnn,

      Thank you so much for sharing. So sorry to hear of the rejection from your birth mother, and all the painful twists and turns you have experienced. I have learned no 2 adoptee stories are the same, and we all have so many layers and experiences that have shaped and molded us. So glad you have found solace in a higher power and you have siblings who have become a important piece for you. I think that’s wonderful and we all deserve at least one positive piece to hang onto. I couldn’t agree more on adoptees ALWAYS getting DNA testing. So so important, I never want anyone to experience what I have. And YES at leave it alone if that’s the best thing for you. I can’t help but wonder now, what my life would have been like if I never had gotten that DNA test with my brother…. 😦 XOXO Thank you for sharing here, and letting me know I am not alone. ❤ Hugs for the New Year!

  2. Pamela, you are a fountain of information, both for adoptees and first mothers. The lengths you have gone through to find the truth is nothing short of amazing.

    Adoption is built on lies! First mothers who have mourned their whole lives about losing their babies are also fed a load of bull feces (there’s another word for it) regarding the identity and location of lost children.

    There are some first mothers who reject their “out-of-wedlock” children and some adopted persons who reject their first mothers. A birth father is often more accepting because a child’s conception occurred due to an act of pleasure for him. Then, he may forget the act even happened as he goes on his merry way and finds more girls to induce into an “act of pleasure” for him. In the past, men were expected to sow their wild oats; the women who did so were referred to as loose women (and worse). A woman who is raped is said to have “asked for it.” The man conveniently “forgets” he raped the woman. The woman never forgets and carries her baby for ten lunar months. Her pregnancy and labor are never forgotten. Callousness of those in her social circle (and some family members) is never forgotten. She has brought shame on herself and on her family. Important people in her life want her to forget about it. If she brings it up, there is dead silence. The message is this: Don’t ever bring that up. We don’t want to hear about your pain. It makes us uncomfortable!

    Yes, there are perhaps as many scenarios as there are “out-of-wedlock” children. A woman may become pregnant with a married man. Did he tell her he was married? Some of us are familiar with situations in which the man claimed to be single and unattached. In some cases, the woman fell in love with a man she knew was married and a pregnancy resulted. Lorraine Dusky was such a woman. The man went on his merry way. I have to admire Dusky, simply because she did not hide the truth. Her first book came out in 1979. Yes, the book exposed her “sin,” but it also explains the price she paid. Relinquishment of her child haunted her, and she set out to reconnect with her long-lost baby. Her willingness to bare her soul gave hope to other women, suffering in excruciating silence. Sandra Musser also released a book in 1979, speaking of the injustice of not knowing what became of her child. She and Dusky were pioneers and helped launch the beginning of adoption reform.

    As a first mother, I contacted Catholic Charities (also known as Catholic Social Services). A social worker told me there was a flood and some records were missing. (Others were told there was a fire.) One social worker said, “It is better to have loved and lost [my baby] than never to have loved at all.” When I had signed relinquishment papers, the social worker refused to put the name of the father on the document, even though I had requested that he be named. She said, “We don’t put that on there!” She was the “boss,” and she followed the rules of the agency. Years later, I learned that all babies surrendered to Catholic Charities had a father named “unknown.” LIES!

    1. Hi there my friend,

      It’s always wonderful to hear from you!

      So sorry for all your pain! <3<3 Oh my goodness, if Catholic Charites isn't the epitome of DISGUEST! I absolutely hate them. You are the second person who told me in the last 24 hours that even when the bio mom wanted the bio dads information to be listed, they refused. This is CRIMINAL. Its all criminal! It just makes my blood boil.

      It's interesting you mention the flood and fire. I have a list or topics I want to write about in 2022 and guess what one of them is? "Adoption Files, Fires, Floods & Water Damage" Go figure! Such BS! Uggh.

      Thank you for your kind words. It really is so awful at what adoption has done, and all that adoptees and first mothers have to experience in the process. I was actually conceived out of an affair and my birth father was never told I existed, nor did he consent to me being adopted.

      I am friends with Lorraine Dusky, and also Sandy Musser. I love them both and admire all the work they have done. I had the honor of meeting Lorraine at a conference one year, and have had many phone conversations and chats with Sandy over the years. They are wonderful warriors and I look up to them both.

      I think my birth mother rejected me, because it was easier to face her choices, and her pain was too great. She was an alcoholic and drank herself to death. She was also very upset my a parents divorced when I was 1, and my life was a difficult one growing up. I was honest with her, and apparently it was too much. I learned at her funeral it crushed her I was raised in a single parent home, because she would have kept me if she knew that was going to happen. That's what her closest friends told me. Accepting the promise of a "better life" was a lie, was just too much for her. It was easier to shut me out. And I get it. She was a hurting woman too. I just wish I knew more stories about her and her life. ❤

      Hugs to you and let's keep writing! I hope your 2022 is wonderful!

      1. Pamela wrote: “I think my birth mother rejected me, because it was easier to face her choices, and her pain was too great. She was an alcoholic and drank herself to death. She was also very upset my a parents divorced when I was 1, and my life was a difficult one growing up. I was honest with her, and apparently it was too much. I learned at her funeral it crushed her I was raised in a single parent home, because she would have kept me if she knew that was going to happen. That’s what her closest friends told me. Accepting the promise of a “better life” was a lie, was just too much for her. It was easier to shut me out. And I get it. She was a hurting woman too. I just wish I knew more stories about her and her life. ”

        Pamela, I am repeating what you wrote because it held great importance to me. Along with extensive knowledge of and experience with adoption, you exemplify e m p a t h y. Some experts believe there is a genetic component to alcoholism. Some individuals become alcoholics in a short amount of time, while others do not. For one thing, an individual’s liver may process alcohol (or other substances) in a way that speeds up alcoholism. (Surely, the brain is involved, too.) A genetic history plus traumatic life events is a recipe for finding comfort in a bottle. I am not trying to minimize the extreme hurt you experienced when your first mom rejected her own flesh and blood. Clearly, she was not capable of giving you the empathy that you now have in your heart. Showing some forgiveness does not mean you should forget, nor could you even if you wanted to. Your writing about all the ways adoption has kicked you in the teeth is therapeutic for you and for those who read your articles and identify with your experiences. Rejection by a first mother is a kick in the teeth and must be very difficult to process.

        When I found my son, he was wary. For me, post-reunion was filled with some hurtful responses. I won’t go into all the emotions but there was a time when I had suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, I was able to dismiss them. I can now accept my son’s wariness during the first couple years of reunion. Cautiousness can be a good thing, if one is to protect oneself.
        Keep on keepin’ on. Hugs returned!

      2. Hi there, thank you so much. One of the main healing dynamics for me was to put myself in my birth mothers shoes, and my birth fathers shoes. How could I hate her? I loved her, and I wanted to know what her life was like, what the 1970s were like for pregnant unwed mothers, so I set out out to not only collect every clue possible from her life, but also learn as much as possible form other biological mothers and their experiences because I knew I was never going to get that from my biological mother. I also studied “The Girls Who Went Away” and made it a point to learn more from the bio moms perspective, in hopes to understand my birth mother more, and the decisions she made. It def took empathy to do this, and I am so thankful I had it to do. Some adoptees don’t. It’s helped me with compassion for her, her life, her story and her situation. But the kicker is, adoptees need the truth to be able to do this, so this is why I share a lot on NO TRUTH=NO HEALING!

        I am so sorry about the hurtful responses from your son, and all the places that pain took you. I know it;s no cakewalk for biological mothers at all. It’s a travesty for anyone to think otherwise. Do you all have a relationship now? How long has it been since you reunited?

    1. I have not seen this! I am going to read it now! I see the caption! I am so glad to hear this!!!!!!!!!!!! Ty for sharing! ❤

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