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