Pamela Karanova, an adult adoptee, living in Lexington, Kentucky, was born in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1974. Although Pamela’s roots are scattered all over Iowa, she considers Kentucky to be her home.
As a young girl, Pamela learned she was adopted, and she was told her biological Mother loved her “so much” she gifted her to another woman to care for her. Becoming a mother was this other woman’s dream come true, so there was no room left for Pamela’s sadness regarding this news. Pamela always dreamed about her biological Mother, pondering who she was, and she searched her entire life trying to find her.
Pamela’s adoptive parents divorced when she was a year old, and her childhood was filled with highs and lows, as most are. At the high points, she was able to run free in nature, escaping her childhood’s devastating realities. Her love for nature is true love, and she’s not found in many other places. The low points caused her to focus on finding her first family, making it a priority from a very early age. After a childhood filled with unforgettable abuse, her high hopes of finding her biological family came to an unexpected turn. She finally found her birth parents, but there was one catch.
They didn’t want to be found.
Pamela learned the truth of her existence, discovering she was a product of an affair when her biological Mother slept with a married man. She was born into a world of shame, secrecy, and lies as her biological Mother kept her pregnancy a secret. She made a choice to surrender her for adoption without Pamela’s biological father’s consent. For the next 47 years, Pamela has been impacted by this decision in measurable ways.
The circle of life and persistence in discovering her roots have brought Pamela back around to find her truth. Pamela believes it’s a natural yearning to know who you are and where your roots originate. She feels learning this truth, as traumatic and devastating as it’s been, has been the only way towards healing & freedom.
Pamela believes when adoptees don’t have their truth, healing is unachievable.
A significant piece of Pamela’s journey is her using alcohol for 27 years to avoid dealing with reality. She also found out both her biological parents were alcoholics, and she didn’t want to die like them. On August 13, 2012 Pamela put the alcohol back on the shelf, and decided it was time to get real with herself. The last 9.5 years have been filled with highs and lows, but she’s found happiness without alcohol, and she’s walking in her truth without running from the pain of her past. Pamela tried to heal, but alcohol and trauma work do not mix well. She knew in order to gain healing and wholeness, she had to leave alcohol alone. Soon she will celebrate 10 years alcohol-free.
Over the last twelve years, Pamela has dedicated much of her life to not only work towards healing regarding her adoptee journey but also pouring into the adoptee community. She’s created resources for adult adoptees and built relationships with adoptees all over the world. In an attempt to be true to her authenticity by sharing her story from a candid viewpoint, Pamela has learned to share her lived experiences in a way that reaches other adoptees who have sometimes felt hopeless. She also reaches adoptees around the world who’ve found life to be unattainable.
Through Pamela’s website, she shares her enlightenment journey on what it’s like to be an adult adoptee. While inspiring and encouraging her fellow adoptees by bringing awareness to the complexities of what it feels like to be adopted. She believes that we can embrace life, find our passions and happiness in the process of a complicated situation. She believes freedom is rooted in finding our truth and purpose in life as we navigate our painful experiences together. Pamela feels adoptees need to be validated and heard, and she encourages those who aren’t adopted to listen more and talk less.
Pamela believes in order to heal it, we must feel it. For Adoptees to have a safe place to share feelings with those who understand, she decided to create Connect Groups specifically for Adoptees.
Pamela is the President of a National Nonprofit called Adoptees Connect. Adoptees Connect is focused on putting adoptee voices first, creating irreplaceable adoptee-centric spaces where adoptee voices meet. The original connect group was planted in Lexington, KY, in January 2018. In just three short years, 50 connect groups have been planted in different locations around the USA, with two being in Canada. Pamela’s vision for Adoptees Connect didn’t stop in her community. She desires all adoptees to have an adoptee community to fall back on, so these groups are growing and expanding globally. They are designed to take online relationships offline and get to know the person behind the profile. In April 2019, Pamela won the “Angel In Adoption” award on behalf of the National Association for Adoptees and Parents for her role in the adoption community. Pamela is the creator and founder of Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th.
Every Story Has a Struggle. The Key Is Finding Purpose in the Pain
By sharing her journey and experiences, Pamela is hopeful her fellow adoptees will be enlightened and encouraged. Pamela believes relinquishment is rooted in complex- PTSD, abandonment, rejection, grief, loss & trauma, but CAN experience beauty in life. She believes adoption only compacts this trauma.
In January 2022, Pamela started an alcohol-free movement called, “Authenticity Over Alcohol.” Her goal is to share recommended resources with the alcohol-free movement and let the world know that you can still have fun, and party in life without alcohol. She also wants to share resources with those who struggle with quitting alcohol, because she remembers all too well what life was like with no resources. She believes options save lives. While this movement is new, she believes it will take off like wildfire in 2022!
Pamela believes adoptees have the most valuable expertise in the adoption platform. She’s focused on finding everyday purpose by using a lifetime of painful experiences as a launching pad in walking her calling out. Although Pamela has been disenchanted with adoption, over time, through the healing process, she’s been able to find happiness within herself that’s otherwise been nonexistent.
Please follow her on her Facebook page – Pamela Karanova.
Pamela on Who Am I Really? Podcast
Pamela on Overcoming Odds Podcast
Pamela on NAAP Happy Hour
Pamela on This Adoptee Life
Article on Light of Day Stories about Adoptees Connect, Inc.
Pamela’s platform that’s been around for over a decade – How Does it Feel to Be Adopted?