My Experience with Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

I  wrote an article not long ago titled “RIP RECOVERY” I recently was triggered by previous traumatic events in a current way. Gah! This has created some mixed emotions, many based in anger and sadness. I credit ADOPTION: The gift that keeps on giving! I’ve created a bench, a safe space to welcome these “episodes” as I call them to come and sit down with me. I allow myself the space to sit with them, and welcome them. Then the work begins. No more running. Here I am, writing about it.

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What is ART?

Accelerated Resolution Therapy works to directly reprogram the way in which distressing memories and images are stored in the brain so that they no longer trigger strong emotional and physical reactions. The word accelerated means that sometimes people can see significant results in 1-4 sessions. I liked this idea a lot, and I am not digging these episodes so I’m willing to try ANYTHING.

A few weeks ago, I had a total meltdown. Without going into all the details of what triggered it, I will say that I know it was linked to some specific terror & traumatic episodes I experienced in my childhood, although I wasn’t thinking anything about them at the time at all.  However, I did not need to be. They were stored in my brain and body and they caused my body to react even when the current situation had absolutely nothing to do with them. I truly had no control over it and although I was able to make the connections between the two, I could not bring myself out of the meltdown. It lasted almost the whole weekend.

What feelings were I having? I would describe it as an impending doom, a terror feeling that literally took over my entire body which paralyzed me. I could not function properly, like the “normal me.” I was in bed all weekend long and I felt horrible. My body was riddled with fear, I was overwhelmed and sad because as soon as I feel like I am 10 steps ahead of the game, something like this happens which I consider to be somewhat of a setback.

Is adoption ever not going to impact me in a negative way? Even 10+ years into SELF WORK, I am still dealing with this bs. It brought on a lot of emotions for me that were difficult to navigate through, on top of the traumatic memories being triggered. I have not felt this type of feeling in a long while. But here I was, back at what seemed to be square one. FML was all I could think. All I was thinking was that I would rather die than feel this way.

One of the best parts about this situation was the fact that I did not react to it. I have come far enough in my journey to learn a few things. One is that I was able to make the connections to the way I was feeling, to the way I felt as a little girl and a newborn baby being relinquished by my birth mother. I was also able to distinguish that the reaction I was having was something from the past, because the current situation that triggered the response was not “that big of a deal.”   The other is that I did not allow myself to react. I also knew that I had to move through this situation, until my brain was able to shake it off.  I just did my best to sleep it off until that happened, because that is the only way I can shut my brain off, and I did a little self-care in the middle. I will not lie; the self-care was not easy. The only thing I could force myself to do was to get out of bed, put clothes on, and drive to get one of my favorite salads on Sunday. Then I went and got a large blizzard from Dairy Queen.

As soon as I was done, I came back home and got right back in the bed. Slept until Monday morning. Work was the pushing factor that snapped me out of this deep, dark hole I was in. I had to get up and go to work.

One of the things I believe escalated this meltdown was that I did not have any weekend plans. It was supposed to rain Sunday, so I did not make any plans. The rain came for a short while, the rest of the day was sunny and beautiful. I do not do well with idol time, and it is not healthy for me. So here I was feeling worthless like I wasted my whole Saturday and Sunday away, which is time I can never get back on top of the emotional traumatic episode being triggered.

Over the years, I have learned of several therapy types that have been extremely effective for adoptees. One is EMDR therapy, and the other is Brainspotting. I had never tried either, but I have heard that they are wonderful for adoptees, if you have an adoptee competent therapist.

I knew I needed to get to the bottom of this, because as stated above – I would rather die than feel this way. It is the worst feeling in the whole world. Monday morning I started reaching out to some local therapists, on top of Brooke Randolph who I consider a friend. She is an adoptive mom, and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and she specializes in many areas, but one is brainspotting. We have had the chance to meet at several conferences over the years, and I respect her greatly. She lives in Indiana, and I am in Kentucky. She was able to offer some suggestions and guide me in the right direction on the next steps. I appreciate her kindness in taking the time to assist me during what I feel like was a crisis in my life.

I ended up finding a local therapist here in Lexington, KY. I read over her website and I was impressed by it. I reached out to her and we set up a consult appointment. I explained my issues, what triggered them and set up a plan to move forward. On Friday I had my first appointment with her, and I can share with you it was one of the most enlightening and amazing experiences of my lifetime!

I will not lie; I was nervous at first because I did not know what to expect. She has listed on her website many areas that she is experienced in regarding types of therapy she uses like brainspotting, EMDR, Daring Way, etc.  The key factor was that she will not use just one technique on me, she will use a combination of techniques, depending on what works best for me. I liked that idea because what works for someone else, might not work for me and each person is different.

Now to the good juice.

Between our consult and our first meeting I was able to trace back in my early days of 4 different experiences that I feel created terror and traumatic memories that have been stored in my memory, some of it subconsciously.

Here they are.

  1. Relinquishment Trauma – Being separated from my birth mother at the beginning of life. I have always had haunting visions of what the delivery room was like that day, and all the sorrow and sadness that was present. No one was welcoming me, no one was happy. I know I cried in terror, learning to self soothe as soon as I came out of the womb. How long did I cry? Likely until my spirit broke and I had no more energy to cry. I have visualized this over the years because I have no birth story. Most adoptees do not so we are left to create our own images.
  2. A Reoccurring Dream – Around 5 years old I learned I was adopted, and from that moment on I started having a reoccurring dream that lasted at least 21 years of my life. They stopped after I found my birth mother but are still very vivid memories. I was on the labor and delivery unit at St. Frances hospital where I was born. This was the last place I knew my birth mother was before I lost her. I was a 5-year-old little girl, in a small white hospital gown. I remember vividly there were no people in sight, but I was searching for her. I saw a long hallway; everything was cold and white. I remember running down the hallway barefoot, jerking every single curtain back searching for her. I saw a clock, and time was running out. I was hysterical, and the hallway went on forever. I never found her, and I never stopped running trying to find her. The terror I felt in this dream, being lost looking for her is like the terror I felt during my meltdown. It’s the same terror that frequents my life. I feel it when I get lost.
  3. Adoptive Mom Laying in the Street – My adoptive mom was manic depressive and suicidal most of my life. One episode of a lifetime of episodes, is something that I have never been able to remove from my brain. She had a manic-depressive episode where she went and laid in the street to try to kill herself while we watched from our 3rd floor apartment window. The terror and trauma this inflicted on me as an 8-9-year-old child is something I will never forget. The visions and memories are clear, and they have always haunted me. I specifically remember how I felt during this episode, and
  4. Adoptive Mom Locking Her Bedroom Door, Telling Us She’s Killing Herself – Another terror and traumatic situation as a child was the repeated actions of my adoptive mom taking her whole “box” of prescription pain pills to her bedroom, locking us out and telling her she’s going to kill herself. I WILL NEVER FORGET BEING HYSTERICAL OUTSIDE HER BEDROOM DOOR BEGGING HER TO NOT KILL HERSELF. This created lifelong traumatic memories I have never been able to shake. I remember being so tired from crying and begging that I could not cry anymore. I just slumped down by the door, fell asleep and eventually after some hours, she would open the door like everything was perfect. This happened many times.

So here we are, trying to piece things together and figure out which of these traumatic experiences still has a tight grip on my emotional and mental health. Which one is triggering an emotional response in my present life?

That is a good question, and the only way to figure out is to go through each one step by step. It could be a combination of them all. It could be related to preverbal and previsual trauma I experienced before birth.  I know that the only way out is through, so here I was getting a new therapist, making a commitment to get to the bottom of this so I could hopefully heal these wounds that seem to creep up at different times of my life. I knew I was the only one that could do this as no one else can fix our junk for us but us.

I decided to start with #1 because it goes back to the beginning. Although I feel the true beginning was being in my birth mother’s womb, but I don’t have any visual memories of that. It might be something I have to circle back around and work on later. For now, we are starting with the first memories which I describe in #1 and the second session I worked on #2.

This is what I remember of the first ART session, but I am fairly sure I might mix my words up, and maybe not describe things perfectly, but I will do the best I can from what I remember.

Traumatic memory #1.

As already shared, I was a little nervous because I did not know what to expect. However, Jessica made things amazingly comfortable. We set up our first video zoom call and got the ball rolling. Jessica, had me hook my two thumbs together, and hold them at the top of my chest and I tapped on my chest with my fingers. Kind of like a butterfly. I closed my eyes and I started to rock as I did this which came natural for me. We had a brief discussion on my needing to rock, and we were able to trace this back to the original separation from my birth mother and an adaption tool I automatically picked up as a newborn baby as a way to self soothe. She wanted me to go back to the very first vision which I concluded would be visions of the delivery room where I lost my birth mother.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

As I closed my eyes, my visuals of the deliver room were front and center. I was crying in terror for my birth mother to come back, but she never came.  It was like a scene from a movie. I was able to focus on 3 different clips (visions) for this one scene and drew out as many details as possible. As Jessica guided me through the process, I started to erase each clip one by one. After I erased the first clip, I picked a color and painted over it by a paint brush or spray paint. I picked yellow like the sun for the first clip, blue like the sky for the second and grassy green for the third.

Next, I moved on to create new visions for each clip. The first clip I painted a picture of one of my favorite waterfalls. The second I painted a picture of the sun. the third clip I painted a picture of the forest. All 3 of my favorite things on earth, that bring be great joy and comfort. I made sure I did not leave anything behind regarding the old clip. As the new “Conductor Scene” was created by me, I was not sharing all the details with Jessica. She asked a few little questions like what color did I pick and what new vision did I place over the old one. But I did not have to RELIVE each traumatic memory in her presence, which I really liked. That is the part I was most nervous about because I have been reliving those scenes my whole life in my head, I did not want to relive them again, especially in front of someone else.

Once I had the conductor scene created, it now took the front seat to any of the delivery room memories. It was a refreshing scene that made me happy just thinking about it. Not only that, but it is my real life. Most people that know me know my love for Mother Nature, waterfalls, and the sunshine.

Now what? We had to seal the deal. Eyes closed, still tapping – I was instructed to take any painful memories or pieces of the beginning of my life regarding my birth mother and I put them in a box. One by one, I tossed them in the box. Next, I created a bridge that took me to the new conductor scene, but my kids, pets, close friends, and family all walked with me to the other side of the bridge.

I got to decide what to do with the other side of the bridge that I was leaving behind. At first, I visualized setting it on fire, but then I decided I wanted to blow that bitch up. (sorry for the cursing) Up in flames it went, with an atomic bomb style boom…

Forward I walk, into my new destiny with all those I love. Waterfalls, sunshine, and the forest that is forever my sacred space.

Ending this exercise, I had a new spark about myself. I was incredibly pleased with the experience.

Fast forward to the next week and my ART therapy session.

Traumatic memory #2.

I applied the same concept that ART guides, with my eyes closed. Thumbs hooked like a butterfly on my chest while I tapped my fingers, and I rocked back, and forth which comes naturally to me.  I focused on two clips that I visually saw pertaining to this specific traumatic experience that I saw in a reoccurring dream. (please read #2 above for details) I erased them and covered them with pastel pink and yellow as the colors. Then I created the “Conductor Scene” that replaced this traumatic memory #2. I decided to apply a field of butterflies to the first one, and a rainbow on the other. I took all my feelings and memories that I thought about regarding this time in my life and piled them up in a box. Then I got to do what I wanted with the box. I decided to push the box off a cliff at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Never to be seen again.

In the middle of this exercise as I searched for my birth mother in the dream, Jessica encouraged me to go to the Parent Store and pick out new parents. I decided I did not want to pick out a father, because the mother wound has always been much bigger to me, especially with it being compacted by two mothers! The father wound and mother wound/s do not even compare to me.

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I was on the hunt. I looked for the perfect mother in the parent store. She had all the things I needed as a little girl, she was beautiful and affirming. She was happy and healthy. She was encouraging, supportive and complimenting. She was 100% on my side. She loved me unconditionally, without any ulterior motive. After I found her, I got to name her.

The name WILLOW came to my mind, because Weeping Willow is my favorite tree because I feel like they are so welcoming and beautiful. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD A HEART TIE TO THESE TREES. I named my mother Willow after the tree, and after my love for nature.

I expressed to Jessica something I have shared many times. I feel Mother Nature has been much kinder and more compassionate to me than any of my appointed mothers on this earth. They also do not compare at all. I was also able to make a shift from Willow being an actual person to entertaining the thought that Willow could be all the trees in nature, specifically Weeping Willows. If I am honest, I feel a connection to all trees. However, I needed to put something specific to Willow, because she is my new mother figure, I have missed my whole life. I can vividly see her, but you cannot. The closest thing I can tell you is that she is a lot like mother nature or mother earth, with a possible twist of mixing an earthly mother with mother earth. She is designed specific for me, by me so she is not something many others will understand or comprehend.

I was able to create a scene where Willow gets to meet my kids and she shares some uplifting and encouraging words about my parenting these 3 amazing human beings.

img_1388At first, I was skeptical of these exercises because I am a person of TRUTH, especially being an adoptee. But adoptees are also professionals at fantasizing things because we have been left to do this our entire lives. In a small regard, I was thinking I am not down with these shenanigans of playing “make believe” and “pretend.” However, I am also a firm believer that we can all rewrite our lives and our stories. I feel if I have one chance to write it the way I WANT IT TO BE WRITTEN – I would like to have the chance to be creative and do it. I know I am writing the future, but this allowed me a chance to rewrite the past.

Gradually as I did these exercises, the entire process allowed me to rewire my brain replacing the traumatic memories with ones that are inspiring, beautiful, and designed by me specifically.

I still have 2 of the traumatic memories related to the mother wounds to work on, but I am hopeful they will go like the first two.

I want to draw the pictures I see in my head about #1 & #2 being replaced because I would love for others to see. I am fairly sure I will start working on this soon. I cannot wait to draw the conductor scenes, and I cannot wait to draw WILLOW.

If you have made it this far, I commend you. I know this has been a long-winded article. I wanted to share as much details as possible so my fellow adoptees can possibly gain a spark of HOPE in the traumatic memories they might deal with in their lives. This has given me hope like I never had before.

It might be EMDR or Brainspotting work for you, and when and if I try them, they might work for me too. Right now, I was 100% satisfied with my experiences with Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) I am excited to see how this exercise helps me in my daily life moving forward.

For my fellow adoptees, I am curious how you have been able to get healing from traumatic memories and what’s worked for you? As always, I love learning from others because I feel we can all learn so much from one another. Can you relate to this article in any way?  I would love to hear from you.

Sending Sunshine, Love & Light

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A Plea to Pregnant Moms Considering Adoption, From A Single Mom & Adoptee

img_0551I have no idea your circumstances, or what has led you to this place in your life, or this article but I have some information to share with you before you make your final decision that could possibly impact you and your unborn baby for the rest of your life. I know it might be a scary time, and you have no idea what your next steps are. You are not alone. Times are changing and there are much more resources for you to make an informed decision. That’s what this article is written for.

I would love to take a moment to share a little about my personal journey, which has given me the perspective that has inspired me to write this article. First, I want to say THANK YOU for even taking the time to read this article and open your heart to new possibilities regarding what you have been told about adoption. I commend you.

A little of my story, I was surrendered for adoption by my biological mother, with my biological father never knowing of my existence. I was conceived out of an affair as my biological father was married at the time of my conception. I was adopted in a closed adoption and I was never supposed to learn of my beginnings.

I ended up being adopted by a couple who could not have kids of their own, however the marriage crumbled after a year and they divorced not long after. I was sexually abused in this home, and my adoptive mom was mentally ill, and she was unable to parent me. Somehow, I remained in this house, under very toxic, abusive, and harmful conditions. Although it was all I knew, I was raised on public housing, food stamps and welfare.

This was not the “better life” that was promised to my birth mother.

As I grew up, I learned of my adoption status, and my confusion and feelings of isolation and loneliness set in. Instead of being a kid like everyone else, I was set on finding my birth mother and I was obsessed with finding her. My teen years approached and my anger and rage set in. I started using substances at 12 years old and was in drug & alcohol treatment by 15. I was also pregnant at 15. I lost the baby due to an abusive relationship, and I was devastated. I was in and out of jail constantly, and most days I wished I would be taken out of this world. My pain was so great and all I needed and was missing was her. I tried to commit suicide at 17 but failed and no one ever noticed. I wanted the pain to go away, and I had no tools, resources or help in aiding in this process.

I was in and out of abusive relationships because I was lacking self-love, and in my mind, love was pain. If a mother loves her child so much, she passes them over to strangers then love must be pain because nothing feels good about being abandoned by your biological mother. It does not matter how the adoption industry paints the picture or dresses it up, it is abandonment and adoptees can be riddled with the aftermath of this for our entire lives. The agencies, or adoption attorneys are not going to tell you this. They are not going to tell you the lifelong trauma you and your baby will experience due to the separation from one another.

I have suffered from abandonment, trauma, rejection, C-PTSD, grief, loss of connectedness, feelings of aloneness, loss, anger, rage, and emotional, physical, and psychological damage due to being relinquished for adoption, compacted by adoption trauma. I was addicted to substances for 27 years due to these issues; I could not feel the pain because it was too much to bear. For most of my life on earth, I wanted to die because I knew that was the only way the pain would go away. It was like a hole in my heart, with a dark cloud following me around for 43 years of my life.

6f99137b-e869-4d35-a150-bae3774cd43aI am 45 now, and it has taken me 45 years to come to a place of peace regarding my adoption. You will never know the depts of the self-work I have had to do in the lifetime I have lived to get to this place. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to undo the lifelong damage and trauma relinquishment and adoption has done. It has been 45 years of fighting to get here and I truly feel like I have never lived my life until now because it was so consumed with relinquishment and adoption related trauma. It has taken me all these years to recover, and I know I will have implications regarding being adopted for the rest of my life. The wounds are too deep to disappear, and I have accepted certain areas of painful experiences and feelings are here to stay. They come and go like waves, grief and loss is going to be something I process for the rest of my life.

You might have heard that an open adoption is better because many of these issues will not be present. I would like to encourage you to read Is Open Adoption The Answer? This article is a collaboration of 22 adult adoptees sharing their insights on how they feel regarding open adoption being better or worse than closed adoption. This is a great resource and tool to help you gain a better understanding of the lifelong trauma caused by relinquishment.

You might think you are in no shape to take care of a baby, possibly for financial reasons or you just are not ready yet. You might feel like a two-parent household would be the selfless choice for your baby, because two parents are always better than one, right? I’m not sure where exactly you are in your life and your situation, but what I do know is that giving your baby up for adoption is a decision that will impact you for the rest of your life and I truly feel you are likely not prepared for the aftermath of a decision like this will have on you and your unborn baby.

You might think giving your baby life is the best thing you have to offer your baby. I am here to share with you that yes, giving your baby life is important but you are the next very most important thing that your baby will ever need. You do not have to have a fancy house, or a nice car for your baby. You do not have to have two parents to feel qualified to parent your baby. You do not have to have a lot of money. Your baby just needs you!

Let me share another piece of my story with you. I became pregnant again at 20 years old. I had my daughter out of wedlock and raised her as a single parent all on my own. Although I had a little support from my adoptive mom at the time, the dynamics of that relationship always have been toxic. Not long after when I was 24 years old, I got pregnant with twins. I was still an unwed pregnant woman, and I already had a 4-year-old as a single parent.

My twins were born 29-week preemies at 2.5oz and 3.1oz and they were in the NICU for 6 weeks before they came home. I brought them home and had a 4-year-old to take care of. I can share with you those times were some of the hardest of my life. I did not have any sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents to help me. I was truly alone but I did it and you can do it too.

It would take me all day to tell you about all the struggles I had raising these 3 kids alone, as a single parent. However, every struggle made us stronger as a family and my kids are truly the reason, I am alive today. They gave me a reason to live when I did not want to live for myself.

I did not have a car most of their lives as younger children, but I learned how to take the bus. I did not have much money, but I was able to get public housing assistance, food stamps and WIC. I could not work because I could not have the twins in daycare. I received state assistance temporarily, but they only gave me $328 a month that had to last the whole month to take care of these kids. I never got child support, although my kid’s fathers have always been ordered to pay.

Thankfully, my kids will never know what it feels like to have their mom abandon them and hand them over to strangers. I know that the loss of my mother, that I am all they ever needed, and they will never know the alternative. I had no clue how to be a mother, because mine we terrible examples but I did the best I could with the resources and tools I had. I would not change a thing about the last 27 years, but I wish adoption did not take so much of my life, so I could have been fully present with my kids. I always felt like a train wreck and I feel they deserved more.

When a pregnant woman learns of her pregnancy, they are usually led to believe they have 3 options. Parent, Abortion or Adoption. However, I do not rally for any of those aside from parenting. Is parenting easy? No way, but our children are so worth it and nothing in life is easy.

If I present Adoption and Abortion as options or choices that would mean I support them, and I support keeping mothers and babies together at all costs. We need more people encouraging mothers to KEEP THEIR BABIES, by offering them support than offering or encouraging Abortion or Adoption as options. I do not fit into the debate of the PRO-CHOICE vs PRO-LIFE. Why? Because my beliefs do not line up to fit in those boxes. I am a family preservationist all the way, so keeping mothers and babies together is my #1 choice and what I wholeheartedly support.

Most people might be judgmental towards my feelings about this, which is perfectly okay, but I feel abortion is much more compassionate than having a baby in the world unwanted and abandoning that baby. Why do I say this? Because I have experienced both. 45 years of deep-rooted relinquishment trauma is a long time to serve filled with unspeakable pain, all for giving my adoptive parents the beautiful baby they wanted. I had to do the time. I have had to pay the price! Please keep in mind I have also been in touch with hundreds of adoptees who feel the same way. Talk to adoptees! We carry the keys to the truth.

If I had to choose, abortion would be my #2 option over adoption any day! I am not interested in arguing with you, or hearing the PRO LIFE propaganda. These are my personal views, and this is my personal space to share them. I know countless adoptees who feel the same way. I can say this because I have lived being adopted and I know firsthand the pain it is caused and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  I live with it every day. It stole my quality of life for 43 years out of 45 and I am just now coming to a place of peace and fulfillment in my own personal life. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. We can defiantly agree to disagree.  Likely, if you haven’t been abandoned by your mother and passed over to strangers, you can’t grasp the magnitude. If you’re an adoptee that doesn’t agree, that’s fine too. Please understand that your pain isn’t everyone else’s pain. If you haven’t experienced the pain so deep that dying seemed like your only way out, consider yourself fortunate.

Let me also share, if anyone reading this is promoting adoption over abortion these two really have NOTHING to do with one another! On behalf of the adoptee community, we would like you to stop using us as your poster children for your PRO-LIFE motives. On a personal note, you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF for promoting the separation of mothers and babies over 100% keeping them together. Adoption should NEVER be an option, unless abuse or neglect are involved, and even then TRUTH & TRANSPARENCY is the ONLY way to go.

I do not support adoption or consider it an option because I have had to live being adopted and I can tell you the pain is a pain that is lifelong, even with the most amazing and loving adoptive parents. I will never support adoption and I never present it as a choice of any kind when I speak to any pregnant women. It is NOT A CHOICE in my world. If that topic is brought up, I do everything in my power to educate the person if they are willing to receive the message.

Please understand…

 LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH OR A HOUSE FULL OF STUFF.

Please do not let anyone convince you that it is. Please read Considering Adoption? What Adoptees Want You to Know… and understand it is not just me that feels this way. This article is a plea from over 30 adult adoptees to their first mothers before they make the choice to surrender them for adoption.

There is not any amount of love or material things that will ever replace YOU. It will not take the pain away, no matter how hard our adoptive parents TRY. Maybe the father is not involved, and you are scared? Maybe you do not feel qualified to parent? Please understand that circumstances change, and a lot of the time financial situations are temporary. There are resources out there to help women in these situations.

Adoption is forever.

Please also be encouraged, I remember not having money for food, and a sick baby with no car to the doctors. I remember our electric getting cut off several times. I did what I had to do to survive.

27 YEARS LATER, WE MADE IT!

My twins just turned 22 years old, and my oldest daughter just turned 26. My oldest daughter graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2018 and my twins are both doing great.  Raising them into amazing and incredible human beings has been the biggest gift of my life. The struggles have been real, and it has never been easy, but the rewards have totally exceeded far beyond all our hard times. I always say, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Please do not let anyone separate you from the most amazing part of your life, and that is your baby. You might be considering an open adoption but I am here to tell you that working in the adoption community over 10 years open adoptions seem to close more than they stay open leaving the birth parents in absolute heartbreak. I have learned of countless stories where the adoptive parents come up with many reasons to close the adoptions, and there is NOTHING legally binding to keep the adoptions open. Imaging being in the shoes of this happening. It seems they all want to sell a dream in the beginning, to get your baby but things change at the drop of the dime and that door slams shut and there is NOTHING you can do about it. It is too late. Do you really want to risk this? It is so not worth it when it comes to your baby.

The mother wound is one of the deepest wounds anyone on earth will ever experience. Many adoptees have this wound not once, but twice due to lack of connection and bonding with our adoptive mothers. It can take a lifetime to unravel and healing is not always possible.  Please do not inflict this wound onto your unborn baby along with the trauma that comes with relinquishment. Please research pre-natal and peri-natal bonding and what happens when this bond is interrupted. Did they tell you that it can cause lifelong damage in your baby? Did they tell you that your baby will cry for you until his/her spirit breaks? Did they tell you adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted individuals and that our prisons, jails, and mental health facilities are overpopulated with adoptees?

If dire circumstances are present, drugs, homelessness, etc. then the next option should be keeping the child with a family member. At all costs, this child’s identity should not be erased, ever! No name changing, or altering birth certificates, no hiding ethnicity, medical history or removing children from their cultures. Adoption of the world today is legalized human trafficking and it needs to be abolished! If you do not believe me read the book “The Child Catchers” and see for yourself. And please understand I know that some adoptions must happen, but I still stand strong that adoption of the world today needs abolished as we know it and we need to focus on guardianship. It needs rebuilt where there are no secrets and lies, and identities are kept intact. Until this happens, I will never support adoption because morally I can not support secrecy and lies, and I know too many adoptees who struggle with everything in them. This was me and my story for 43 years, remember?

Let me also share there is no guarantee your baby is going to go to a home that is loving and can provide more than you can. They want to sell you a dream, but I can assure you adoptive parents divorce, and adopted kids are raised in poverty and on welfare, food stamps, & housing assistance like I was. I was also adopted into a home with a pedophile who has hurt countless innocent children, which is part of the reason I am estranged from this family I was sexually abused in. Do you think my birth mother planned this? No, she was sold the dream I would have two loving parents, and a “better life.” Let us also not forget the number of adoptees being murdered and killed in their adoptive homes is not declining. Please do the research on this.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOUR BABY WILL HAVE A BETTER LIFE.

Only a different one.

If you have made it this far, I commend you. I am honored you would have the willingness to read this article and take in all I have shared here. If you take away anything here, please remember that YOU are all your baby needs. Just you. If you would like assistance from an organization that is set up to guide you and help you through the process of KEEPING YOUR BABY, I wholeheartedly recommend Saving Our Sisters. This organization is founded by a personal friend of mine, Renee Gilin who I admire and love greatly. She has poured her heart and soul into creating this organization out of her own grief, loss, and trauma in losing her son to adoption. Please check her website out and reach out to her if you are still unsure about what you are going to do.

Suggested Resources

Please seek out adult adoptees FIRST before you do anything. We’re the experts in the adoption constellation and we’ve lived being adopted.

Please research adoptee blogs by visiting my Adoptee Blog Roll and also read adoptee centric memoirs and books at Adoptee Reading.

A platform that was created for you is called Ask an Adoptee. This platform has hundreds of adult adoptees on stand by to answer your questions regarding the adoption experience. They want to shed light on the side of things that the adoption agencies and adoption attorneys will not tell you. Please take advantage of this platform and use it as much as you can.

Visit How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? And read and learn from the hundreds of adoptees who have been brave enough to pour their heart and soul out in sharing their experiences on how it feels to be adopted.

Reach out to The Broken Birth Mom on Facebook and connect with her regarding her story of relinquishment.

Tune into Adoptees On and listed to this podcast filled with adoptee stories where you can get a true glimpse of the realities your baby might face if surrendered for adoption.

Connect with Adoption & Birth Mother Support by Musings of the Lame by visiting their website.

Another great resource is First Mother Forum by a friend, Lorraine Dusky who is a birth mother.

Read adoptee stories at Dear Adoption, who is founded by a great friend of mine, Reshma McClintock.

I hope you realize that no matter what story you are sold by the adoption industry, you are truly the best thing for your baby. Every human being has issues, and we are all a work in progress but never let anyone convince you that you aren’t capable of taking care of your baby and that the selfless thing to do is to hand it over to strangers to raise. The majority of adoptees I have been in contact with over the years do NOT feel their mother’s decision was selfless, yet they feel completely abandoned and traumatized by these actions. The adoption industry uses significant coercive tactics to convince you that you are not worthy.

YOU ARE WORTHY AND YOU CAN DO IT.

If you need someone talk too, please email me at: pamelakaranova@gmail.com 

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Learning to Just Be…

img_0319I’ve been working really hard at being okay with doing nothing, learning to JUST BE. I must be honest, It’s a new place for me. One more silver lining I give to Covid-19, but if I’m transparent,  it hasn’t been easy.

For 45 years of my life, I have been busy. Busy raising kids, busy finding my truth, busy working, busy with friends or family. I’ve been busy pouring my heart and soul into other things, a lot of the time being left empty. I’ve been busy with recovery and working on a million root issues. I’ve been busy over committing myself and over extending myself. I’ve been busy finding myself by learning who I am and what I like and don’t like. I’ve been busy creating resources and tools for the adult adoptee population and being an advocate for the community I hold very close to my heart.

Almost all of my commitments and life I’ve been taking care of other people. All the way to being born, and adopted into a family where my adoptive mom couldn’t care for me due to her own mental illness. She showed me that being still or resting was unhealthy, and I don’t want to be anything like her. I remember catering to her wants and needs from a very early age, (5ish). I took care of her, she didn’t take care of me. I was her caretaker.

At 21 I had my first child, and then I had twins at 24. They are all 3 the best part of me. I took care of and raised my 3 children 100% solo with no child support, and no help at all from their fathers. My kids are all adults now, and have turned out wonderfully considering they have come this far without their dads in their life. Not only was I their caretaker, I was mom and dad. I wouldn’t change a thing because they have been worth every bit of the struggle but I will never be able to make up for their dads being missing.

In 2005 I started taking care of a stroke patient for a living. This October I will be with her for 15 years. We’ve rode it out all these years, and she’s been the biggest inspiration of my life. The position I have is a Team Leader position where I’m on call 24/7, which is a significant responsibility. It’s kept me busy and has given me more rewards than you could ever imagine.

Being an advocate in the adoptee community has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime, however it’s been draining as hell! I am not lying and I have no way to sugar coat it. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I’m defiantly making changes for myself moving forward. I’m no longer always available like I always have been. I’m putting my mental health first and setting boundaries that work for me.

All of these caretaker roles all the way back to the beginning of my life have taken up5c223d79-ea3c-4e69-8089-92a20d21ba4f ALL MY LIFE. It’s safe to say care taking is in my DNA which is interesting because I don’t feel like anyone has ever taken care of me. Crazy how that works…

Part of finding myself and what I love to do has been such a wonderful and freeing experience. It’s been a lot of fun, and I plan to continue on this amazing journey. However, for some reason I’ve felt for the last few years that I’m running out of time. I plan on writing about “Time” soon, but it’s way too complex for this article. Running out of time makes me feel like every minute of my life I need to be DOING SOMETHING and BEING STILL has never been in my forecast. Being still makes me feel like I’m wasting my life away, and when time is running out that’s a NO GO.

I’ve always been a “Go Getter” and I’m a doer. I don’t just talk about things, I do them. I hate relying on others, because I always seem to get let down so I try to do EVERYTHING on my own, and normally I do a pretty good job at it. I’m all about integrity and I’m a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do something I do it. I hate being late, and I’m very proud that 99.9% of the time I’m always a little early or on time. I’m always going, taking advantage of every minute of time I’m given, because after all I’m running out of time.

Over the last 8 years of being in recovery, it’s been a shit ton of work. I’ve worked on more “Self Help” topics that I can even share here. 8 Whole years of my life I can’t ever get back, but all those things I worked on have helped me arrive at the destination I am today.

I’ve never been a napper, or someone that rests. The only time I will be still is if I’m sick or my busy life catches up to me and I wear myself out and I make myself sick. Cell phones don’t help this, but enable the havoc we experience in our everyday lives. Having hand held computers at our fingertips, along with social media our minds never stop running. Little by little I’m prying myself of all the ways of the world, finding what works best for me. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to experience is to learn to just be.

Be Still.

Be Quiet.

Just Be.

But how?

How do I do this when I’ve been running for 45 years? 

As you can see, learning to JUST BE hasn’t been easy for me! 

One of the biggest rewards Covid-19 has done for me, (among many) is allowed me the space to learn to JUST BE. What does “just be” look like to me? Doing nothing, reading a book, resting my body, relaxing, going to bed early, calling a friend, writing, unplugging, sitting in nature, watching something I want to watch, etc. To me, “Just Be” is being still for awhile.

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It’s a whole new thing for me but I can tell my body is enjoying a break, and I’m taking on the full time responsibility of whispering to myself that it’s okay to JUST BE. It’s okay to be still, it’s okay to rest. I truly feel the alternate of staying busy all the time, over committing, over booking, and over stimulating my mind, body and spirit was only taking a toll on my emotional, mental and physical health. If I didn’t make these changes, I’m sure I would end up in the hospital at some point, likely sooner than later.  I think a significant piece of this journey is learning to love yourself, by yourself. Embracing your own company.

I decided to share this because being an adoptee, staying busy was an escape for me. I didn’t have to think about my adoptee problems. I worked 3 jobs at one point last year, and also managed to pull of Adoptees Connect, Inc. I was always afraid to be by myself, for idol time and to be alone. But not anymore. I have so many things I like and love to do while I’m being STILL. Writing is one, and I’m doing a lot more of that lately. As well as making time to talk to my friends on the phone. I’m 100% certain if I didn’t get my truth regarding who I am, I wouldn’t even be alive right now let alone in the space of learning to enjoy to JUST BE.

Finding a healthy balance between all these things has been exceptionally challenging if not impossible. I have tried, but I still was way too over committed for it to make a difference. If you can prioritize your life, and then eliminate things that no longer serve you a purpose, then you can find the healthy balance between those things that you decide to keep.

Let me share that there is nothing on this planet worth your health. Nothing. If you feel like you are being spread thin, please reevaluate your commitments and put yourself first. Whatever you can discontinue in order to put your emotional, mental and physical health first please do it. It’s so easy to be that person who’s always there for everyone else, but become depleted because no ones pouring into you or your cup is bone dry empty. If you can no longer keep commitments you have made, communicate that to the reciprocating party/s. Sometimes we have to learn to slow our roll. Put yourself first.

Everything in my life has changed since Covid-19 and I hope you are taking this opportunity to make the changes you need to live a happier and healthier life. No one is going to do it for you.  It’s all on you!

**What changes have you made for yourself since Covid-19 hit? Have you been able to find any silver linings? Do you have trouble resting and being still? How does that impact your daily life?

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