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

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

  1. Pam, I love this path you’ve taken to be able to express your feelings and share your story! Miss you and would love to catch up. ❤️
    -Leinati

  2. Congratulations on being YOU Pamela and to finally be able to live your amazing life with peace love and respect that you soooo deserve!❤🙏😘🤗

    1. Thank you Ofir,

      It’s truly a miracle I have made it this far! I so appreciate you, and your encouraging words! Much love to you! XOXO P

  3. Pam,
    I see hope for so many adoptees when I see what you have overcome and what you have fought for. But I am so angry that you had to go through so much. There should have been people to defend you. As part of the Narcissistic Adopted Moms Club, I feel much of what you have endured and what you still go through. I had at least a few people recognize what my life was like as a child and they stepped in when they could and it helped. And here you are just standing up for yourself and being honest and awesome and truthful, and amazing. But you deserved more.

    We were raised by these women who expected us to fulfill all the f-ed up holes in their lives and gave so very little back while they blamed us for failing to worship them. And it is nearly impossible to have a real conversation about this with anyone who isn’t adopted because we immediately get gaslighted. So I just don’t explain it. These moms are f*ing crazy. I was 29 years old when someone finally said to me [someone who was currently experiencing the brunt of my mother’s crazy] “at least you never have to turn into your mother unless you chose to.” It’s the one good thing I have regarding my mother- that it would take a ton of effort for me to become the horrible person she is, because I am nothing like her. That concept, for the first time in my life, opened up to me the idea that I could truly become whatever and WHOEVER I wanted. I have no blueprint so I can decide entirely who I am.

    When I was 7 my mom forced me to get a haircut that was severely short and looked exactly like hers. My mother found me crying in the bathroom because of course I hated the short haircut. (Even my hair was something I was not allowed any control over.) My mom then started screaming at me that I was supposed to think that SHE was the prettiest mother and I should want to look like HER, and that I obviously hated her and that made me a horrible daughter SHE didn’t deserve- you know, because of everything she had done for me. My dad later told me I needed to try harder with my mom and not upset her. I was 7.

    My 8th grade teacher was the first person who just came out and told me that my parents were “pieces of shit” and only cared about themselves. That teacher had to go through a list of my parents’ transgressions and explain the list to me in terms of what parents SHOULD do, for that to even sink in for me. (Because it’s a mindf*ck to be constantly told how wonderful you are being treated by people who are literally treating you like shit.) This near exact phrase of “pieces of shit” was repeated to me by several of my teachers throughout high school concerning my parents. I found that other people often “parented” me because mine were usually not capable or not interested. In this regard, I was very fortunate.

    My adopted mother waited until I was 40 years old to finally explain why I never went to church when I was a child. And no surprise- the reason was my fault. I was a baby born to Protestant parents then baptized Catholic before I was placed so that I could be adopted through Catholic Charities. My Catholic adopted mother decided that did not make me “Catholic enough” and I therefore didn’t go to church regularly- because I didn’t belong there. I never read a bible until I was 18 years old. We did not have one in our house. But when I didn’t know all the stories about Jesus or Abraham, and when I ate a hamburger on Good Friday, I was going to hell.

    The idea persists that no matter what our adopted parents do- short of “real” abuse- should simply be endured because we were “lucky” to have “been given” a family at all. (And also, maybe we should try harder to get along.) It is just such utter crap. There are people who had a great adoption experience, and that’s great. But most adoptees that I have encountered have been traumatized in some or multiple ways.

    I think adopted parents should really be considered more like step-parents. No one realistically expects a step-child to “bond” with a step-parent. It’s not really a thing. (And fairy tales have made a whole industry of evil step-mothers.) But adoptees must bond with complete strangers who are literally looking to assimilate them. I have step-children and I expect nothing from them but basic respect and I should be respectful to them. I don’t own them, don’t want to control them, and I don’t keep a tally of everything I have done on their behalf to pull out as collateral at their first transgression. I am not a thing that showed up in their lives and all of sudden, their lives should be whole and perfect because I exist. That would be insane for me to think that. So why are adopted children expected to live like that every single day of their lives? What we want and need simply doesn’t matter in the system and it’s infuriating.

    Pam, just kudos for getting to a place in your life where you can start to experience YOU for you. You are worth every moment of that. And no one handed that to you.

    1. Hi Amy,

      WOW, just WOW! I read your reply early this am, and had to read it a few times.

      So much truth here, and so much to unpack! I couldn’t agree more on so many areas you touched on here.

      I really think the idea of adoptive parents taking on the role like a step parent is a great idea. ANYTHING TO REMOVE THE SECRECY AND LIES!

      And thank you so much on the kind words. It’s been a 47 year ordeal trying to fight my way to find my authentic self, it’s hard to believe it’s taken my whole life to get here. I think often what my life would have been like if I wasn’t so consumed with adoption for 47 years. Who would I have become? What would I have wanted to be in life? I have never been able to even think about it, because I’ve been so obsessed with finding my truth.

      I am so damn glad there were some people in your life who spoke up for you, and helped you navigate things. And they were real with you! Such a hard journey either way, because you deserved so much more but I was so happy to see some people were cheering you on!

      I liked how you spoke about us “Failing to worship them” because that’s so fitting and describes it perfectly! Crazy! It’s so creepy she wanted your hair to match hers. O_o I remember one time someone said I looked like my a mom in front of her, she was so happy. Knowing I look nothing like her! WTF!

      I’m so thankful we’ve both made it and have our own families and lives and can embrace these were the cards we were dealt, but at least we made it! Big hugs to you my friend and thank you so much for sharing your heart here! You aren’t alone! ❤

  4. Wow Pam. Just really wow. That was a page Turner if it had pages. I don’t even know where to start but I knew there was something about you that was just like me. I am so glad I read this. I feel the same way about religion. I’m agnostic as well. Brought up catholic, catholic school too , even as a little kid I knew it was all weird bullshit. Thank you for sharing this, it’s really a gift to be so helpful and articulate about it. I love you Pam my friend 💙

  5. Dear Pamela
    My heart aches for you and so many others who were forced into families that were the opposite of what they should be. My Birth mother bore 6 children and threw away 5 of us. Even worse, we all went to separate homes. I fared the best and was blessed with 2 loving and supportive parents who provided everything I could ever want or need. I was released from the hospital when I was 1 week old so have no memories of my birth mother. At least none that I can put a finger on. There is the innate trauma of early separation that explains a lot now that I am learning about it. My siblings however, weren’t so lucky. My 2 oldest sisters were given up when they were 5 and 7 years old. They were left at an orphanage and told she would come back for them, then separated when one was adopted and the other had to watch her be taken away in her “new” family’s car. The other one was there alone for 6 months before she got adopted. There were 2 younger ones, a 3yr old boy and a 8mo old baby girl who went to foster homes because they were too young to be left at the orphanage. It brings me to tears every time I think of it. I won’t go in to the long, sad stories for each of them. I was born in 1950 (at the time my siblings were already given away) and like I said she left me at the hospital. There was another boy born 11 months after me and she kept him but he didn’t have it easy either. I found my siblings in 2017. Needless to say we (ALL adoptees) are damaged in one way or another. Even though I had an ideal home, I still felt “BAD” to quote Pam. Adoptees are looked down on or at least we perceive that we are. If it’s OK to be adopted, why do people joke about the oddball sibling? “Oh you must have been adopted because you sure don’t fit in here! Hahaha.” So early on, we hear that being adopted means we are different, don’t fit in, inferior in some way.
    I have come to realize that we are NOT inferior. We are merely a victim of our circumstances. What we do with our lives now IS OUR CHOICE.
    I know it has been harder – much harder- for some than others, however, what we all have in common is the fact that we were rejected through no fault of our own. My hope and prayer is that we all learn to cope and move on. We need to let the “bad” go and look forward to the good. Realistically, the part of our lives spent with our adoptive families was a very small part. Personally, I have spent 49 of my 71 years with my husband which is over 2/3 of my life. We have our “own” family including kids and grands. This is my reality. I have worked hard to let go of anger and frustration because it only eats you up inside. People can only hurt you now if you let them. I have no feelings for my birth mother – none. No love, no anger, no hurt, nothing. She was just a person I never knew so it is impossible for her to hurt me. When she died my husband asked if I was ok. I said why wouldn’t I be? She didn’t mean anything to me. It sounds callous but that’s how I feel – I DON’T feel anything for her. There is one exception to that, I do feel grateful that she gave me up and made the decision at birth so I was spared that added trauma that my 3 sisters and 2 brothers went through.
    I did have 2 phone conversations with her before she died 2 years ago. They were very odd conversations and I knew that not a word she was telling me was true. So, add on to being thrown away the fact that she felt she had to lie about the way things happened to protect her own “reputation” and there’s another reason for me not to be a worthy person. NO NO NO She wasn’t worth the time I spent listening to her.
    The bitterness has to go. The hurt has to go. The feeling unworthy has to go. I am me. I’m a good person. I am strong. I will NOT let these negative thoughts define me. I FORGIVE her because that way I can let it go

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s