. For over a decade now, I’ve witnessed some very significant walls that are in place between individuals in the adoption constellation that have blocked the truth from coming to light.
My new column is dedicated to breaking these walls (barriers) down so everyone in the adoption constellation has a more well-rounded perspective on how it feels to be adopted from the adult adoptee’s perspective.
After spending over a decade in adoptee spaces, I’ve been able to gain valuable insight from healing in my own personal journey but also walking with my fellow adoptees out of the darkness into the light when it comes to our experiences being adopted.
My new Substack Newsletter “The Real Adoptea Moxie” recently launched. I’m opening my “Ask Me Anything” Column to answer questions from anyone who would like more insight into the adoptee experience. Maybe you are married to an adoptee or an adoptive parent seeking clarity or suggestions? Maybe you are an adoptee dealing with a significant struggle? Maybe your best friend is an adoptee?
I genuinely feel adult adoptees hold the keys to wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that are essential for understanding when it comes to adoption. Because of this, I’m incredibly excited to launch “ASK ME ANYTHING” on my platform for all subscribers.
My “Ask Me Anything” newsletter — will answer adoptee-related questions from subscribers.
Think: What adoptee healing tools have been the most valuable to you? How have you navigated the grief and loss process? What made you want to search for your biological family? How was your reunion once you searched? Do you regret searching? How do I talk to my adoptive parents? Why is my adopted daughter so angry with me?
If you are reading this, I invite you to be a part. You can ask anonymously or use your first name.
To submit a “Ask Me Anything” question, please email it to: email@example.com
The Real Adoptea Moxie is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider subscribing by clicking the link below! Thanks for your support!
Together, we’re bringing the truth to light one article at a time.
I genuinely believe the topic of newborn bonding isn’t brought to light enough in the adoption arena, so I decided to share my adoptee feelings about it based on my lived experience.
Just because someone adopts a child doesn’t mean the adoptee will bond or attach to the adoptive mother or father. It’s also essential to note that not all adoptive parents can form an attachment or bond with their adopted child. This is not guaranteed, yet it’s almost always dismissed as if it isn’t a real possibility.
When we assume the newborn infant will bond with the adopters, it has damaging impacts that can affect the adoptee for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this is real and has issues that will cause severe anguish throughout the adoptee’s life, at no fault of their own. The difference between adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents are that adoptees didn’t make this choice; it was made for us. Expectations to bond with a foreigner were placed upon us at no agreement of our own.
Let’s also put on the table that we know that anytime a biological mother and a child are separated for whatever reason, a trauma occurs. We know that the separation from our biological mothers can leave a broken bond that sets the tone for all the future relationships we will have. We know that our relationship to maternal attachment impacts how we parent our children and practically every area of our lives.
If we research bonding and attachment theory, we know that the maternal bond with our biological mothers is the most critical bond we will ever have. Attachment to our biological mothers is the cornerstone of infant development and is the sounding board on how we bond and connect with the world around us.
When we know this, we have to assume that when the maternal bond is disrupted for whatever reason, it can harm the child. If you do the research, you will find that neurology, psychiatry, biology, genetics, and psychology hold valuable scientific findings to infant prenatal and perinatal development.
“Human babies are born very dependent on their parents. They undergo huge brain development, growth, and neuron pruning in the first two years of life. The brain development of infants (as well as their social, emotional, and cognitive development) depends on a loving bond or attachment relationship with a primary caregiver, usually a parent. Infancy is a crucial time for brain development. It is vital that babies and their parents are supported during this time to promote attachment. Without a good initial bond, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent, and resilient adults.” – Robert Winston & Rebecca Chicot.
Let’s also recognize that contrary to popular opinion, mothers aren’t interchangeable. Not one woman on this planet could replicate the connection and bond I should have had with my biological mother, but they can try, but it will never be the same.
But, often, substitute maternal figures can benefit an individual, provide love, and sometimes form a long-lasting bond and connection with a child. However, we can’t assume that all adopted people form a bond with their adopters, particularly their maternal figure, the adoptive mother. Sadly, the ability to not bond with our adopters is valid for many adoptees.
Let’s focus on the adoptees who don’t bond with their maternal figure since it’s presumed that most adoptees automatically bond with their primary caregiver, whether it’s their biological mother or not. No one is talking about the side of the coin on what it might feel like from an adoptee’s lens to be forced to bond with foreigners you are incapable of bonding with. DNA matters, and our maternal bond with our biological mother matters.
“Not everyone bonds with their biological parents, adopted or not!” – says the non-adoptee community.
You are correct; however, here in this article, we are talking about adoptees! Of course, bonding isn’t guaranteed, and I am entirely aware that not all individuals form everlasting and substantial bonds with their biological mothers or parents.
Nevertheless, let’s spotlight that being born to and raised with your biological mother compared to an essential stranger carries a tremendous difference. One is a foreigner, and one we share DNA with.
I am an adoptee who didn’t form a bond with my adoptive mother.
I am also an adoptee who was forced to TRY.
It felt like I was put in a room with a stranger, and she started hugging me, touching me, and being obsessed with me, but she never left. She was always around, dominating and controlling every aspect of my life. It was traumatic, and it made my skin crawl. I still feel fragments of it when I think about it.
To add to this complexity, I was coerced to live an illusion, a fantasy, to appease my adoptive parents’ wants, needs, and desires. Adoption is rooted in a delusion that was agreed upon by my adoptive parents and my biological mother as co-conspirators in a legalized plan to hijack my true identity, better known as Adoption.
I was coerced to accept my new identity as truth, while my Authentic identity was kept captive, secretly hidden away, never to be discovered. I was lied to, told I should be grateful, and love is the reason my biological passed me over to genetically foreign strangers.
I was stalled from finding my biological father by being told he was dead, which was an absolute untruth. I said, “I want to stand over his grave then, and until I do that, I will never believe he’s dead!” And guess what? My tenacity persisted, and I found, met, and laid eyes on my birth father. He was very much alive, and they lied.
While everyone in the transaction gets what they want, I am the one left to sift through the rubble once the entire orchestration blows up and the pieces are shattered all over the ground. One by one, I have fought the world to find my truth year after year. They got what they wanted in some regard, but I have never been the compliant and grateful adoptee they signed up for.
Instead, I’ve conducted my life as quite the opposite. I was pissing people off the minute I entered the world, and I have no plans on stopping now.
How do you think this assumed UNNATURAL bonding has negatively impacted my life? Or the lifetime of lies my entire existence was built on? I don’t like it when people fucking touch me or look at me. I don’t trust people and struggle significantly with allowing them to get close to me. The forced pretending has carried over to my adult life. I constantly have to correct myself and work on operating from a place of TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY, even when everyone in the adoption industry (even my adopters) pushed secrecy, lies, and half-truths.
Being pushed or coerced to bond with a foreigner is a special kind of mental mind f*ck. So let’s bring the real deal to the table. It’s brutal, and it isn’t pleasant. It gives me the creeps. It’s caused me C-PTSD, extreme grief, sadness, and a loss that can not be measured. A counterfeit mother figure couldn’t substitute my real biological mother, but because of Adoption, she tried and failed miserably. Kudos to her for trying at my expense!
I remember from a very young age being repulsed by her. From around four to five years old, I remember her forcing me to do things I didn’t want to, like massaging her entire body with lotion. She made me put on makeup on her and brush her hair. I had to run her bathwater, keep her room clean and take care of her when she was manic, depressive, sick, and suicidal. I was forced to do other awful things no child should have to do, but I cannot convey them currently.
For some wild reason, I have this intuitive sense that she tried to breastfeed me when I was a newborn, which is unnatural to me when it’s not from my biological mother. When she touched me, I would become nauseated from a very early age. This notion completely repulses me, and I am 100% against any adoptive mothers breastfeeding their adopted children. This is a whole article by itself; stay tuned.
While I have no experience of what it feels like to have a healthy connection or a bond with any mother, I can share without a shadow of a doubt that the experience of NOT having this has been heartbreaking, grievous, and painful. Therefore, to be coerced into conformation with the notion of love being enough to suffice all lost because of Adoption is corrupt, offensive, and heartless!
It’s tough to describe how being forced to bond with someone I cannot bond with has felt my whole life. For starters, I am positive that “the way my adoptive mother was” had a profound impact on the capabilities of forming a bond with her. But, of course, not all adoptive moms are like her. I will never get another chance in the mother department; quite frankly, striking it out three times in this area is enough for me. So, we have my biological mother, adoptive mother, and stepmother, and I feel no bond or connection with any of them.
I wonder if my biological mother knew this would be a reality if she would still choose Adoption.
Giving a baby up for Adoption or adopting a baby and assuming they will form a bond with their adoptive maternal figure is like playing Russian roulette and taking a chance that could have life or death consequences. When adoptive parents don’t form the bonds they expect when they adopt a child, they sometimes rehome the child, passing them over to someone else to raise. Once again, they decided to take this chance, and at no fault, the adoptee is the one who never made this choice, yet we have to pay for the consequences for life.
Not only is the adoptee severed from the biological mother, but this automatic notion that they will permanently, automatically, or in time, assuming that they will bond with the adoptive parents, must be put to rest.
SOMETIMES IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR AN ADOPTEE TO ATTACH OR BOND TO ANYONE WHEN THE ORIGINAL BOND TO OUR BIOLOGICAL MOTHERS IS BROKEN! THIS IS OUR REALITY.
We need everyone in the adoption constellation to acknowledge that this is a reality for many adoptees. When this expectation is placed on us, and we don’t have the capabilities to meet the expected requirements, it can and will impact every area of our lives. Not just our lives but the lives of anyone that knows and loves the adoptee. It will impact our children and their children.
I can’t speak for all adoptees, but I have always struggled to bond and connect with people. I have carried this deep internal dialog with myself that is one of defeat, where I feel defective and broken. In my healing journey, mapping out all areas of my life, I have recognized that because the original bond with my birth mother was broken, it has impacted me negatively my entire life. It takes me a supplementary amount of work to experience what most people take for granted, and that’s bonding with anyone. All the time, I have worked to “fix myself” because what Adoption has broken has robbed me of a meaningful life. For 48 years, I am still attempting to fix what Adoption stole, broke, and robbed me of, and I often think about what I would have made of myself and become if I had an everyday life. One where I wasn’t dying on the inside every day just because I needed to see the face of the woman that gave me life only to be rejected by her once I found her.
So much for “she loved you so much!” The biggest lie ever told in Adoption.
This struggle is rooted in the broken and missing bond from the loss of our biological mothers. This is one more expectation that’s been placed upon me and so many adoptees that reflects a decision others made for us.
“How do you think your adoptive mom felt when you didn’t bond with her? Do you think this was her choice? How do you think she felt not bonding with you? I’m sure it wrecked her, and she felt it too!” – Says the world.
To be completely honest, I don’t care. She autographed the paperwork and signed up for this; I did not. But, let me be evident in defense of all the adoptive parents and birth parents out there who are considering Adoption; the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and advocates are not going to tell you the depth and layers of this reality! They might touch on it, but they will devise coercive ways to convince you that there are “so many ways” to bond with your adoptive baby. No one can guarantee this maternal bond to be acquired with an artificial mother, just like they can’t guarantee a “better life” in Adoption, only a different one.
This is why it’s essential to listen to adult adoptees!
Well, BONDING WITH YOUR ADOPTIVE BABY IS NOT GUARANTEED! So better yet, maybe ask yourself before you choose Adoption for your baby or to start a family, “How would I navigate an adopted child who couldn’t bond with me? Or “What if I couldn’t bond with them? Would I try to force it? Should I choose not to parent instead of playing Russian roulette with a child’s life?”
If you get on YouTube and find “Soft White Underbelly” and hear the stories of all the individuals interviewed on this show, the majority of them express early wounds of the missing mother and the mother wound that go back to their childhoods. Of course, some were abandoned, and family or other people took some in; however, the common theme in many stories is the broken bonds and relationships with the maternal mother figures in their lives.
Considering adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted people, and they are over-represented in prisons, jails, treatment, and mental health facilities, I think its time the adoption constellation steps out of denial and acknowledges that we have a real problem here.
For my fellow adoptees, how well did you bond or not bond with your adoptive parents?
Have you been able to connect the dots on this impacting other area of your lives?
If so, how do you feel it’s impacted you the most?
Don’t forget this article, along with all my other articles, are available in audio for your convenience; look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes, and Spotify. And Amazon Music. Interested in treating me to a coffee to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
*The views and opinions expressed in this article and podcast 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
Life was about to take a whole new turn. I graduated from high school and got my diploma, and I also enrolled in some courses at the local community college.
On May 21, 1998, I gave birth to twins as 29-week preemies. Damia weighed 2lb 5oz, and Damond, who weighed 3lb 1oz. While I welcomed two beautiful babies into the world, Keila was four years old at the time. I was a struggling but strong-willed single mother. There was nothing that was going to come between my kids and me.
Once again, I was forced to depend on Patricia because I had no family in Kentucky, but I also depended on public assistance to help with the bare minimum and keep the lights on. Because the twins were so small, I had to keep them home and out of daycare for the first year. This made it impossible for me to work, so I had no choice but to get food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. We didn’t have a car, but we managed. My deep-rooted skills of taking the city bus as a young kid would learn to pay off.
I did everything I could to keep my babies, all three of them, even when they didn’t have an active father in the picture; I made it happen to the best of my abilities. Finally, I saved up enough money to move out of Patricia’s and got a 3-bedroom apartment, and Patricia was furious when she found out I was approved for based on your income housing.
She didn’t want me to be independent because I wouldn’t need her as much. Instead, she thrived on me depending on her. I had no idea what co-dependency was at that stage of my life, but unraveling the mess all these years, I now know we had a co-dependent relationship that was highly toxic. I felt thoroughly trapped in my relationship with her, especially now that I had three children as a single mother in a state where she was my only family. But, once again, I felt like this was her plan.
When we would get into arguments, she would always say, “Your life is my life, and anything that’s your business is my business!” As a 24-year-old mom of three, I had no idea if this was everyday parenting; however, it felt utterly intrusive and overwhelming.
However, the twins came home from the hospital sharing their bedroom, Keila had her room, and I had my room. We lived in a decent apartment, and we had everything we needed. The first year after bringing the twins home from the hospital, we’re some challenging times in my life. They had off-scheduled sleeping patterns, ear infections, breathing inhaler machines, and seemed to have constant doctor appointments. But we made it work, and we made it through it.
If I can raise a four-year-old and a set of newborn twins as a young single mother, anyone can do it. Of course, nothing was easy about it, but my motto has always been, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” My kids had me, but sadly I was still a very broken person, raising three children.
I made mistakes and, at times, was clueless about how to raise kids when I had the experience I had with my adoptive mother and biological mother. But unfortunately, I didn’t have any examples of a happy and healthy mom or a normal mother-and-daughter relationship.
I was still a partier, most evenings drinking boxed wine. Alcohol seemed to tame my misery regarding the emotional and mental torment I experienced from losing my birth family. Not to mention my experience in my adoptive homes and with Mark, Giovanni, Diego, and Patricia.
Patricia seemed to become an enormous responsibility for me as time passed. Her home was always filthy, just like it was when I was a kid. Even after moving out, it was my responsibility to help her keep her place clean in exchange for helping me with the kids. She seemed to move a lot, and it was my job to pack all her things up, gather my friends to load the truck, and help her get settled in the new place. Let me not forget that it was always my job to go to the old places and clean them to get them up to par to be re-rented so she could get her deposits back.
This was Patricia’s living conditions the last time I saw her in 2015.
My job was to come to the rescue when she found her dead old-English sheepdog dog on her basement floor from neglect. Any random task she needed to be done was always my job. It was all on me if something broke or needed to be put together.
When she had hip replacement surgery, it was my job to caretake her back to health. I bathed her and ensured she got where she needed because she couldn’t drive her car. Patricia was almost more of a responsibility than my three kids. She continued with her habit of staying up all night and sleeping half the day, and her pill addiction increased significantly after she had a hip replacement.
The doctors gave her endless pain pills, and she was completely wrapped up in the treatments of the doctors and the medical industry. Anytime she was in the hospital or ER, I was the sole one for being in charge of caretaking for her before, during, and after she went and was discharged.
While she graduated to get her RN, Nursing degree, she had issues at every job she worked. She was written up for falling asleep while working the night shift. She was fired more times than I can count from various nursing positions, which created a substantial emotional fallout that somehow I was responsible for managing.
One of the many memorable events was when I received a call from her supervisor. They let me know that they had “let Patricia go” as a staff member, and she was currently on the floor crying hysterically in the nursing director’s office. They wanted to contact me because I was her only emergency contact. Little did they know, this wasn’t the first shit show.
At the time, I was exhausted with Patricia, and there was NOTHING I could do about getting her up off the floor of her boss’s office, especially when she was hysterical in the middle of a meltdown. I instructed them to call 911 so the ER could deal with her. This was one of the first times I set a boundary for myself; I didn’t even know what boundaries were at the time. I felt obligated to go to the ER to check on her, but I only stayed a few minutes and left to be with my kids.
Buy this time, I am annoyed and exhausted with my responsibilities to caretake Patricia, which was exhausting. But I owed her for helping me with my kids, and I couldn’t survive raising them without her, and she made sure she let me know continually. So it was a total “You help me, I help you” relationship, but not by my choosing. There was no one in Kentucky helping me take care of Patricia, and at the end of every day, I was entirely indebted for taking care of her and all her wants and needs.
So really, I had four kids, but Patricia was an adult who couldn’t take care of herself. Nothing had changed from my childhood aside from me being the lone ranger and target of 100% of Patricia’s emotional, mental, and physical outbursts and needs.
I was angry, but I had no way out. No one in my life understood how these dynamics made me feel, but I kept pushing forward. But now, I had something to live for; even when I didn’t want to live for myself, I knew that my kids needed me, and I needed them. So, I wanted to live for them. But unfortunately, I was in an unhealthy relationship with the twin’s father, and all of a sudden, things turned another twist when the twins were seven months old.
In June of 1999, Patricia decided she was moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, to be closer to Melanie, who had moved to SLC from Iowa in 1997. I hadn’t had much of a relationship with Melanie since leaving Iowa, but sharing the responsibility of Patricia after all these years didn’t sound like a bad idea. Finally, someone could help me with these responsibilities of caretaking for Patricia.
Melanie and Patricia convinced me that I would have much more help with my kids, and I took the bait. Two family members are better than one? Right? However, it was either that or be in Kentucky alone with no family and three kids as a single mother. I lacked the confidence or strength to believe I could stay in Kentucky and care for my kids as three small children with no family at the time. That was a scary thought, so we started to pack up our things and I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I think Patricia again tried to lure me away from the twin’s father, who lived in Kentucky just like she did with Diego when we left Iowa.
In April of 2000, we packed up a 22FT U-Haul and began a journey across the country. I couldn’t help but hope things would be different than our childhood. Little did I know, the same shit show was present from when I was a kid, but it just relocated to a new destination, and now I had three kids to think about.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast 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
Even when the signs were right before me, I was still the naive adoptee. Putting myself “out there,” never dreaming for a million years that things could end up a different way than I had imagined. A lifetime of fantasizing about Eileen and being told she “loved me so much” couldn’t possibly prepare me for the reality that would unfold over the next 15 years of my life.
A few weeks after returning to Kentucky from visiting Eileen for the first time, I called her to say, “Hello.” The phone rang, and rang, and rang. No one answered. I left a voicemail, “Hi Eileen; I was calling to say hello and see how you were. Call me when you can. I hope you are well. – Pam.”
I didn’t hear back from her, so I tried calling her several times over many months, but that turned into years. Finally, I mailed a few cards and letters to let her know I was thinking about her. She never responded to me, but I couldn’t give up or give in.
The little girl in me couldn’t acknowledge nor accept what was happening. Alcohol helped me escape. I never did come to grips with the reality that she didn’t want to hear from me and never wanted to meet me.
Looking back, I think Joanna was “twisting her arm,” so to speak, when it came to our meeting, and she did it to be a good sport. But, the open wound from the rejection and abandonment that I felt from Eileen are wounds that have impacted me at every step of my journey and life in every way.
The abandonment is separate from the rejection, but they are intertwined thoroughly. I feel abandoned because she left me with strangers and never came back. I felt rejected because once I found her and tried to rekindle a relationship, she didn’t want a relationship with me.
How could I be so naive in believing my whole life that “her loving me so much” would mean she would want a relationship with me one day? At 47 years old, I think I can answer that question through the fantasies that plagued my mind. My fantasies ultimately began because of deception from my beginnings, being altered, and being severed from my biological roots and truth. My story was a secret from me, which should be against the law.
I couldn’t fathom that the woman I had put on a pedestal for so many years didn’t want to know me or have a relationship with me. The little bit that could tap into that reality was overcome by the hope that one day she would change her mind. I was never going to stop wishing she would change her mind. This kept an open wound that only another adoptee could understand.
The emotional and mental torment I felt resulted from the biggest disappointment of my life: a failed reunion and relationship with my birth mother. I felt utterly alone during this time, creating a split in my internal dialogue and life. On one side, I had my adoptive family and my life experiences with them.
On the other side was my biological family. Keeping them separate was challenging, but it also came naturally because I was doing this from a young age in silence. But these were big experiences and big feelings to keep silent; however, I had no choice.
My adoptive parents had no clue what I was going through because they never discussed adoption or the implications of a failed adoption experience. They also never talked about my birth family, ever. It was like an elephant-in-the-room-type topic.
The one chance at a face-to-face meeting with Eileen turned out to be the only time I was ever allowed to meet her and get to know her in my lifetime. Unfortunately, after that one meeting in 1995, she shut the door and put about 100 locks on it, and I never saw or heard from her again. No matter how hard I tried, she would rather die alone than allow me to be in her life: no goodbye, no reason, no note or letter to explain why she made this choice. I heard nothing from her after our one meeting in 1995. Sadly, my reunion with Joanna soured not long after and I was completely broken hearted about both failed reunions. Joanna and I also lost touch for over a decade but not at my choosing. I reached out to her many times, only to get crickets in return.
Am I such an awful person that I deserved this? What did I do or say wrong? Sadly, it would be many more years later that I would make sense of it all, but until that time in my life, I was a complete trainwreck. I internalized all my feelings. As a result, I didn’t understand it all, nor did I know how to heal from the pain I was feeling. Therapists had failed me miserably, and I had also failed myself.
I never gave up searching for my birth father. I knew that one day I would come face to face with him but I didn’t know how. I always wondered if I had more siblings and if finding him would be a better experience than what I had with my failed reunions with Eileen and Joanna. Alcohol again stepped in and allowed me not to feel or heal, so I rode the waves of the party life. I knew at the end of the day, even if I wanted to heal, there were no healing tools for me, the naive adoptee.
Through it all, in 1997, at 24 years old, I would receive some of the best news of my life, and everything shifted, at least for a while. I stuffed my adoptee reality deep down, and new and meaningful things would arise to take front and center.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast 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
This will likely be one of the most challenging chapters I will write for my audible memoir. Some of the experiences I had from 12 to 17 years old are hard to digest, talk about and share with close friends, let alone share publicly. This is a whole new ballgame for me. Yet, I feel they are necessary to share because they directly link to my being adopted and why my mentality was the way it was in my pre-teen and teenage years.
Unfortunately, then, the world labeled me as a troubled teen who acted out as a typical rebellion, only increasing my feelings of badness. Adoption was never acknowledged or talked about as a contributing factor. In return, like most adoptees, I was failed and failed miserably.
Melanie packed up all her belongings and moved to Thomas and Laura’s, and I was left behind to stay with Patricia. Soon after she left, Patricia became obsessed with me and everything about me. She didn’t have a life of her own, friends, or hobbies other than sleeping and watching television. I had no other mother and daughter relationships to compare this one too, so I thought her behavior was normal and would frequently ask myself, “Is this how other mothers are with their daughters?”
At 12 years old, Patricia approached me one afternoon and asked me to sit down and talk to her. She had two printed forms she wanted me to sign. One was a Christian Covenant that I had to sign where I agreed not to drink alcohol or do drugs. The other was a Christian Covenant that I would have to sign that I would not have sex until I was married. Me signing the covenants was a promise to her and God that I wouldn’t do these things. In a nutshell, Patricia’s conversation with me was her letting me know that if I choose to do these things, I would be sinning, and God would be very upset with me. Ultimately, he would also send me to hell.
I went to Franklin Middle School, but I despised every minute. Nevertheless, I skated by and soon made it out of 8th grade. I never liked school, but soon I would be expected to go to 9th grade at Washington High School, only to drop out the same day. I refused to go back because I felt terribly out of place. There were too many people I didn’t know, and I experienced intense anxiety in the social setting of public high school.
While never going back to school again would have been a dream come true for me at that time, Patricia didn’t have it. She nagged me to death that I had to do something, and at 13 years old, she had the idea that I attend Metro High School, which was considered an alternative high school for dropouts kids and the kids who didn’t fit into regular school settings. I gave it a whirl, and I felt like I fit in more than the traditional high school; however, there was one problem.
Attending Metro was a better fit for me, but any of the kids who attended Metro were labeled as “bad,” and my feelings of badness were already planted in the core of my being due to being abandoned by my birth mother. This only magnified it, but I began to embrace being viewed as a bad kid, which influenced my decision to own up to the label! But, unfortunately, they hadn’t seen bad yet!
The best part for me about going to Metro for high school is that no one monitored if I went or not. I could show up once or twice a week, and no one would hound me. It gave me the freedom I wanted and got nagging Patricia off my back. I also could go at my own pace with no specific curriculum. If you showed up sometimes and even did a little work, everyone seemed okay with it. Of course, I would rather run the streets than get an education! I was free. That was my jam.
When I got arrested for the first time, I had to get a job to pay the restitution back for the burglary charge. So I started working at the Cedar Rapids Reds ballpark, but it was across town. I would hop on the city bus and arrive during game nights. This was my first job, and it was so much fun! By then, I was 13 years old, soon to be 14.
I made new friends that I worked with, and my circle got wider. Tosha was my age, a girl with who I immediately connected too. Tosha lived in Springville, Iowa, and was a school dropout. Not long after meeting, we became thicker than thieves and ventured out together outside of work. She was the first close friend I had outside of school acquaintances, and she had an untamed spirit about her, which I loved! We became close, and we’re constantly planning our next adventure!
Soon we met two Hispanic sisters at the ballpark named Isabella and Elena Rodriguez. Isabella was 17, and Elena was 21, so they were several years older than us, but they were the big sister type I was attracted to. They had a nurturing spirit about them, which felt safe. Soon they would invite Tosha and me to come to hang out with them at their house.
We would enter the home of the Rodriguez family on a Friday evening, and Mrs. Rodriguez would be at the stove cooking a wonderful meal for her family. Usually, homemade tamales or quesadillas. Hip-hop music played in the background, and the house smelled of a delicious dinner that I wasn’t used to. Everyone could get as much as they wanted when the food was ready, which was a rare treat.
Isabella and Elena had three other siblings, all older brothers named Diego, Mateo, and Andres. Andres was the oldest, and he wasn’t home much. Diego was 19, and Mateo was 17, and I would soon become acquainted with them and was profoundly drawn to them. Elena had her own apartment, so we would visit her also. In addition, each of the Rodriguez kids had friends who came over, which always felt like a considerable celebration.
The Rodriguez family lived together, hung out together, and seemed close. They seemed to take me under their wing. I don’t think they knew why I was so attracted to being at their house. I was drawn in because this is something I didn’t experience at home. My heart was filled knowing I was welcomed into this home, and I wanted to be there as much as possible. At 14 years old, I finally knew what a family felt like. This kept me going back.
The more I hung out with Isabella and Elena, the less I wanted to be home at Patricia’s or at school. Diego and I spent so much time together we started to develop a relationship, and soon he would become my first boyfriend. Finally, someone that loved me. This was even more reason to keep going back to the Rodriguez home. I felt like I finally had a surrogate family of my own. Patricia had no idea where I was, and I only went home every few days to shower and change my clothes long enough to leave again.
I would have been classified a run-a-way, but by then, Patricia was working the night shift, and with me popping in and out, even with me being on probation, she had no grounds to stand on. Patricia working the night shift with a teenager was one of the worst parenting decisions she could have ever made. She kept no tabs on me whatsoever. I know she didn’t think I would stay home like the compliant adoptee. That was not me. I learned to raise hell on earth from others in my life and from my experiences in the streets.
Little did I know, the Friday and Saturday evening “get-togethers” at the Rodriguez home were the beginning of a downward spiral and one I was not prepared to experience at 14 years old. Alcohol was introduced into the evening atmosphere, and I found myself at weekend parties filled with others who were much older than I was. Mrs. Rodriguez would retire to her bedroom for the evening, not to be seen until the following day.
Drinking alcohol would impair my judgment, and so would my adoption story because I desperately wanted to belong somewhere, and the Rodriguez family made me feel like I was a part of them. I had no filter on what crossed over to be an unsafe and harmful environment, and I had no one advocating in my corner to help me see signs of things that shouldn’t be happening.
Soon I would be hooked up with a family who had normalized terrorizing the city of Cedar Rapids. Before I knew it, I was an accomplice and interrogator to some troubling interactions. Diego and Mateo would load up in their decked-out Chevy Nova and hit the streets of Cedar Rapids, but they weren’t looking for fun, only trouble!
I learned what “ganking” was through them, and they labeled themselves “The C.R. Clique!” They had clothes and hats that had their name on them. This was when they had two Chevy Nova’s full of friends and family, myself included, and they cruse the strip on First Avenue, which was the popular thing to do on Friday and Saturday nights in Cedar Rapids.
They would catch a car at a stop light and block them in with both Novas so they couldn’t drive. Then, the Rodriguez family would get out of the Nova and storm the cars, beating everyone who was inside up and stealing their belongings. Then, they would pull off and find another car a few minutes later and repeat these same encounters for hours until they eventually retired home.
I remember being so influenced by this family I jumped right in to partake in the criminal activities; however, I never received a dime of the benefits if they got belongings or money. Instead, I was being used as an accomplice, and I was naïve enough to participate. I am not proud of my participation and have always been remorseful as I grew up and have come to grips with my part. At the time, Bad welcomed BADDER, and I crossed over into stepping into the shoes of being a part of the The C.R. Clique, and at 14 years old, I embraced my new life proudly. Finally, I belonged.
I would start fighting random people out on the street for no legitimate reason at all, and this deep rage was always brewing that my birth mother never came back for me like I dreamed she would my entire childhood. As a result, I was arrested more times than I can count and on probation repeatedly. As soon as I got off, literally within days, I would get arrested again for fighting or stealing and taken to jail, which resulted in six more months of probation.
You might ask yourself how my mentality and soul could participate in these activities? It was much deeper than that. Due to the root trauma and abandonment from my birth mother, I had a deep enate desire to be a part of a family, to be loved and belong, which was something I didn’t feel with my adoptive parents, Patricia or Thomas. In the Rodriguez family, I would be accepted and do whatever I had to do to FEEL like I belonged, even if horrendous things were happening.
A few short weeks into our relationship, Diego became controlling and abusive. At 14 years old, he would encourage me to drink more and more alcohol, and when I didn’t want to, he pressured me, eventually forcing me by holding me down and pouring it into my mouth. If I closed my mouth, it would spill all over my face. Eventually, he would tie me down on the gravel driveway by sitting on me and slapping my face until I agreed to drink it. If that didn’t work, he would pull my hair and insist, and in some time, it was evident that the only way this was going to go well was if I complied with drinking alcohol when he wanted me to, so I gave in to his demands. Little did I know, this wonderful family I was dying to be a part of had more dark parts that would ultimately impact me for the rest of my life.
One morning after a night of a late-night house party, I woke up foggy and uncertain where I was. Everything was dark and somber, and I didn’t have any clothes on. Then, I saw a glimmer of daylight coming through a crack in the wall, which allowed me a chance to scatter around to try to find my clothes. I was lying on a mattress on the floor in the attic of the Rodriguez home all alone. How the fuck did I get here, I asked myself? Why was I here? What happened up here? I had a sick feeling that something traumatic had happened, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what. The feelings of panic came over me. I needed to get out of here.
I found my way to the steps and went downstairs. On Sunday, it was early in the morning, and everyone was still asleep. Tasha was on the couch, and I quietly woke her up. I said, “What happened last night? I woke up in the attic, and I have no memories of getting there?”
Tasha said, “They had a house party, don’t you remember? Diego got you wasted and took you up to the attic and let some of his friends come? Do you remember that happening? Everyone was talking about it, but you passed out.”
“No, I don’t remember it. Who were his friends? I can’t believe he would do that to me,” I expressed to Tosha. She said she wasn’t sure who was up in the attic, but she expressed sympathy for what happened. We all knew what had happened. Not a single person stepped up to help me or protect me. Once again, I was no better than a piece of trash thrown away, just like when my birth mother passed me over to strangers and walked away. I was completely traumatized.
I remember going to the bathroom to take a little alone time to myself, and I will never forget having that moment to look at myself in the mirror and disliking what was looking back at me. I despised that girl. I was traumatized at the thought of what happened last night. I felt disconnected from my body and like I wasn’t a real person, yet only a shell of one, hallow and empty inside—a walking dead girl.
Who was I? Where the fuck did I come from? I have two mothers and two fathers in the world, and none of them were there for me to console me through this time of my life. So as a result, I began to hate myself, and the feelings of badness only multiplied.
I never acknowledged that I was raped by several people that night. It didn’t matter to me that I was in a house with almost all adults older than me, and at 14 years old, I had no business being there. Patricia had no clue where I was, and she damn sure couldn’t keep up with me. Coming to terms with what happened was a struggle because I only blamed myself for drinking too much. For years I told myself that it was all my fault.
I went home, showered and changed, and went right back to Diego’s house the same night. Why would I go back after this happened? THIS IS WHY I AM SHARING THIS PART OF MY STORY!
Do you see how significant this is to my adoptee journey? Do you understand my reasoning for sharing this piece of my story? Do you understand that when your biological mother tosses you to be raised by strangers, it creates a profound wound that impacts your self-esteem and how you view the world? I wanted to belong and be loved so deeply that I allowed these people to violate me again and again. Sadly, this wasn’t a one-time thing.
I had a friend named Johnson, who was 22 years old and frequented the Rodriguez home, and he even stayed there on occasion. He came home on a break in the middle of the day and walked into the Rodriguez brothers, holding me down on the kitchen floor, completely naked. After getting me intoxicated, I tried to fight them off while they raped me. I blacked out because Johnson told me what happened, and only after he told me did bits and pieces started to come back to me.
Johnson yelled at them and broke everything up. He then helped me up and helped me find my clothes. He was kind enough to take me home, and he was the first person in my life that went completely off on how they did not love me or care about me for them to be doing those things to me. He stood up for me when I couldn’t stand up for myself.
He went in the whole ride home on them not being my friends and that I should never go back there again. He also let me know that I wasn’t the only young female they did this to. They did it all the time, and I was just one of the victims who was lured in. In my case, because I had never experienced what a loving family was in my life, my desire to experience that was bigger than anything, even being raped and abused.
After Johnson saw what they did to me, knowing they were doing this to other girls, he stopped going to the Rodriguez house, and finally, after a good year of being heavily involved with the Rodriguez family, I was done too. But the damage was done, and there wasn’t one single adult in my life I could share these things with, especially my adoptive parents.
What would Patricia think? I violated both Christian covenants, and that was it. No doubt in my mind I was going to hell now. This whole Christian dynamic of my journey did not help me. On the contrary, it caused me great harm to know that I was disappointing God and upsetting him because of what happened to me. It would be a cold day in hell before I ever confided in Patricia about being raped, and still, to this day, she knows nothing about what happened at the Rodriguez house. Nor does Thomas or Laura. But everyone around wonders why little Pammy has completely lost her shit and rebelled to the most significant extreme.
I still have vivid memories like flashbacks of being involved with the Rodriguez family. I have had to make amends for my actions and deeply struggled with not blaming myself. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I acknowledged that this house was a house of horrors, and this family was filled with criminals.
For so much of my teen life, I just wanted to die. If my birth mother wasn’t coming back to get me, I didn’t want to be here. I left the Rodriguez house still not understanding that they were terrible people and I was just a kid. I internalized the trauma and blamed myself, and even after all these horrors, I still missed the pieces of this family that felt like family to me.
But one thing is for sure; alcohol was my new best friend. It stepped in the gap and helped me not feel the abandonment by my birth mother and the abuse in my adoptive homes. It also helped me not think about the rapes and how I was treated in the Rodriguez home. So I clung to the bottle every chance I could, and soon at 15 years old, I would be introduced to drugs and a whole new boyfriend. A new life was right around the corner.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast 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
In 2014, I decided to call on my fellow adoptees on the How Does it Feel to Be Adopted? Page to help collaborate and share thoughts from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. Over 8 years of collecting these submissions, this article collaborates with over 100 Adoptees who share heartfelt feelings on why they are angry from the adult adoptee’s perspective. So, 100 of us came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences adoptees go through during their lifetimes and why we are angry.
The reasons an adopted person might be angry are endless and no two adoptee experiences are the same. We experience healing by sharing our feelings and anger is a natural, normal feeling to the adoptee experience. It can add great fuel to our fire to raise awareness, and bring some light to the dark side of adoption that can and does help promote change.
While you read these submissions, we ask you to remain with an open heart and mind and enter the possibility that we all have a lot to learn from one another. We must recognize that adopted children grow up, reach adulthood, and consume adoption’s rollercoaster journey. We are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As we grow up, we host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to our lives and stories. The adoptees submitted their quotes anonymously to protect their privacy for this collaboration. Some submissions are short and quaint, and some are longer filled with highs and lows of the adoptee experience. Remember, it’s taken me 8 years to complete this article, and every submission holds immeasurable value to the adoptee experience.
By sharing why adoptees are angry with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to adoption than what society recognizes. Perhaps love isn’t enough, or a house full of stuff? Perhaps we should start talking about relinquishment trauma as soon as possible? Maybe adoption hurts more than we would ever know?
Again, we ask for open hearts and open minds.
Thank you to each adoptee who shared their heart here many moons ago and the new submissions I received in the last 8 years to add to this article. While reading this article, you will validate that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.
We are stronger together.
I asked a straightforward question, “ADOPTEES, WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?”
Over 100 adoptees chimed in.
Here are their responses.
“Lack of identity. Lack of origin. Adoption being about our adoptive parent’s pain which eclipses our own, feeling like an outsider. Feeling helpless. Bullying. Discrimination. Systematic discrimination. Legal discrimination. Being forced to lead someone else’s life and not my own. Searching for an identity in all we know. Having to identify with painful backstories of pop culture icons whose worlds have been destroyed (superman, Mr. Spock, Starlord, the punisher, the list goes on). Feeling like your life is a movie because we’ve been introduced as a supplemental characters in our own story with no history. Having to grow up too fast. Being told we’re lucky. Being asked about our ‘real’ parents, being looked at like an alien. Being told, there’s a reason for our suffering without being told the reason. Feeling worthless because nobody values OUR needs. Feeling like there’s no end in sight. An inability to believe in ourselves because we believe there is something intrinsically wrong with us. Having to constantly wonder if the people you may know on Facebook are somehow related. Feeling the same feeling when walking down the street—having to wonder when starting a new relationship whether or not they’re your sibling or cousin—never being able to feel 100% comfortable in the said relationship because of that. Feeling like love is someone leaving you. Never finishing anything because of a lack of closure.” – Adult Adoptee
“My own FAMILY gave me a way to strangers. My grandmother lied to and coerced my mother to feel she had no other choice because my grandmother cared more about what the neighbors thought than my mother or me. The government conspired with my grandmother to ensure that my mother wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone unsupervised by my grandmother, so she had no opportunity to discuss or truly discover what SHE wanted. Even though the government KNEW full well that my father wanted to raise me even if my mother didn’t, they told him he had no rights to me and gave me to strangers when they COULD EASILY have allowed me to be kept within my own family.” – Adult Adoptee
“Some members of my adoptive family always treated me like an outsider. I never fit into my adoptive family. I’m not like the rest of them – even those who have been nice to me. All the other kids at school knew I was adopted and would tell me that their parents had said that my real mother didn’t love me and didn’t want me.” – Adult Adoptee
“Other people have always acted like THEY know better and have told me how I should feel and what I should or should not do. Other people gave me search advice that I wish I hadn’t taken because my mother DIED before I found her, and if I’d just called around, I’d have found her before that. Other people told me what to call my natural family, and I wish I hadn’t felt obligated to listen because it’s NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.” – Adult Adoptee
“People do not allow us to grieve. Try telling someone your mother died and hearing, “It’s just as well.” or “You’re overreacting. You didn’t even know her.” I’m angry because my right to grieve was stolen along with my history. If I had been allowed to grieve and share my feelings as a child, I might not be as angry as an adult. Unfortunately, I’m just now grieving my losses. And yes, ANGER is a stage of that grief.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I was told a lie most of my life by my adoptive parents. Why are we raised to tell the truth and not lie, but adoption lies are okay? Lying is not okay. I would rather know my hardcore history [My truth] than being lied to my entire life by those who are supposed to love me the most.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I was not told I was adopted until I was in my 30s, and it’s very disempowering, plus quite a shock to find out at that age.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I grew up feeling completely out of place and ALWAYS have wondered about where I came from, and here I am- a grown adult who is STILL being denied that knowledge by other people. I am angry because I have had to put myself (and private information) out there for the world to see for only a tiny CHANCE of finding my biological identity. I am angry because I have feelings that get poo-pooed by other people who have never been in my shoes. I am angry because I am being treated like a perpetual child. Like I’m not “allowed” to want to know and that I don’t deserve to know, and most of the people with those thoughts get to know exactly where THEY came from!” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I’m in my 50s and still not allowed access to my birth certificate – even though I found all of my family member’s years ago. I’m angry that there is still a lack of support for family preservation in favor of adoption. I’m angry that having more money allows certain adopters to pull wanted children away from their families. I’m angry that so many childless people claiming to care about children only want to get themselves a baby and not help older children in foster care or even vulnerable families in their community. I’m angry that whenever adoptees attempt to speak their truth and call for changes in the system, they are silenced, called “ungrateful” and “angry,” and told they just had a “bad experience.” I’m angry that the industry is pulling in thousands of dollars at the expense of vulnerable children. I will continue to be “angry” to try to affect change for today’s children and those yet unborn.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because everyone expected me to forget my first family & expected me to be thankful for the biggest loss of my life—an entire family. I’m angry because of my adoptive parent’s gain; I lost a lifetime of memories that can’t be replaced with my biological family members.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I was taken away from my country, culture, and native language. Not only that but I was lied to, which was pretty stupid as I was transracially adopted! My name was taken away from me. I was taken away from me, and I was renamed. If they had used my Chinese name as a middle name, that would have been fine but I wasn’t even afforded that option. What makes me even angrier is that I see 21st-century white adoptive parents making exactly the same “mistakes” or decisions as my unenlightened 60’s adoptive parents did. At least they had an excuse; ideas about culture and identity had yet to be formed, etc. But today, what’s the excuse? There is none.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m not angry. I’m hurt. I’m hurt that my birth Mother thinks the system failed her. I’m hurt that my natural citizenship from Canada was taken away from me. I’m hurt that I was taken away from my birth father. I’m hurt that I was discarded both as a baby and an adult after the reunion. I’m hurt that my birth mother cares more about what others think than how I feel. I’m not angry; please don’t mistake hurt for anger.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because if we feel any negativity towards being taken from our roots, heritage, and FAMILIES, it’s seen as anger and dismissed. Why can’t we just be sad that we have lost so much? I am mostly sad, but I am furious that the government decided I would be better off with a married couple without any other support than my loving single mother. The latter could raise me herself and had a HUGE extended family. I’m angry that no checks were done other than to check their marriage certificate. That certificate didn’t take away the dysfunction and abuse in the marriage.” – Adult Adoptee
“It gets me angry that I fucking don’t know the beginning of my own life! How am I supposed to live a life when I don’t know how it started?” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry that we are made to feel ashamed if we express anger because we should be grateful. That our anger is seen as unjustified and that we must have some mental health problem if we are so angry; rather than a normal reaction to a tragedy.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am an angry adoptee because not only was I given up for adoption, but so were my four siblings. Thankfully, I did find them all.” – Adult Adoptee
“Well, I have struggled with anger my entire life. I am a 48-year-old adoptee, and my Adoptive Father was also an adoptee. We BOTH had/have anger issues. It stems from fear of abandonment, I believe. Anger can creep up in the strangest places. I call these “triggers.” Because we have experienced abandonment at birth, we may not remember it, but it is imprinted on our psyche, and we carry that with us our entire lives. Our brains are also hard-wired around this event. I also believe that we intuitively know that we do not want to be abandoned again. So, we will do everything humanly possible to avoid anything we perceive as abandonment. I have read tons of books on adoption and its effects on the adoptee, which is the conclusion I have come to for today. Our brains are not fully developed at birth. When babies are taken away from our birth mother, we immediately go into fight or flight mode. Our brains at this age cannot regulate and handle all the stress that we are experiencing and our systems become overloaded with cortisol which changes how the pathways in our brand-new brains are wired. As a result, I also believe that experiencing this at birth tells us that we are not worthy, capable, or entitled to basic necessities and comforts in life. Anger is also a mask for other emotions that we “believe” we cannot or are not allowed to feel for fear of abandonment. I can ” become angry whenever I feel sadness, fear, loneliness, STRESS, being left out (This is a HUGE, HUGE trigger for me), or many other feelings. If I stop and think, “What is the underlying emotion that I am feeling right now” or “What is causing me to feel anger right now?” I can often avert the anger and deal with what I am really feeling – not always, though. Asking for help is another HUGE trigger for me simply because I have three teenage children who do not always want to help out at home. If I am having a low energy day and cannot follow through with asking for what I NEED help with, I often become angry. I become angry when I am overwhelmed. The thoughts in my head also tell me incorrect ideas that lead me to believe that I cannot ask for help – for fear of abandonment. Thankfully, I am learning to overcome this after many years of hard work. My thoughts also tell me that I cannot do nice things for myself because 1. I cannot afford it, 2. I do not have time, 3. My chores are not done. Etc., Etc., Etc. I also have a terrible habit of reading into the thoughts and feelings of others. If these people do not read my mind and act the way I “Need” them to, I become angry.” – Adult Adoptee
“I have been married for 25 years to a wonderful man who is patient and kind. I STILL, to this day, become outraged over silly little things – all because I do not communicate my needs, feelings, or wants (in a healthy way), AND I can provide myself adequate “Downtime” consistently due to fear of abandonment. Here is one example. My husband is a hunter, and he plans two hunting trips every year. Every year we talk and put the trips on the calendar. Every year I become angry at him during this time for several reasons: 1. He is preoccupied with planning for and packing for the trip. (I feel left out) 2. I have not planned a “Getaway” for myself in YEARS! (This makes me feel guilty and sad and worn out etc., etc.).” – Adult Adoptee
“In a nutshell, I think we adult adoptees have hidden triggers that creep up in several predictable and sometimes unpredictable places in our lives. These triggers cause us to feel anger because we are covering up emotions that we do not feel we should feel for fear of abandonment.” – Adult Adoptee
“The bottom line is that we had no voice & no choice. It left most of us feeling disenfranchised. It affects every aspect of our lives & our sense of self-worth. It’s as though we were just thrown away to be bought & sold to fulfill someone else’s needs rather than ours. Even as adults, we have to fight to gain any knowledge of our own personal health & family history, nationality & religious backgrounds, much less to know if we have biological relatives, & to claim our birth certificates. To get anywhere on our searches costs money & we have to face the potential for rejection from both our adoptive & biological families for doing it. People who were raised in their own family of origin get to take all of that for granted.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I don’t have the basic right to be who I am, and I have a law that prevents me most of my life from talking to my own mother and father, while strangers who were married took me because they wanted to and because adoption is a form of slavery and child trafficking.” – Adult Adoptee
“Ambiguous grief. Why can’t you be grateful? Most adoptees are. Coercion. No one offered to help my first mother raise me. So much for helping “widows and orphans” Hijacking holy writ for personal or financial gain. Interesting that “orphans and widows” are often mentioned together in the sacred texts, implying vulnerable mothers and children. I remember one important man turning over some tables or something with the money changers. Hijacked identity. Give me my OBC.” – Adult Adoptee
“Decades lost with my siblings that wouldn’t have been without closed adoption.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry that the state feels I’m incapable of knowing who my biological parents are, that the adoption industry is profiting by human trafficking and that so many adoptive parents are so insecure that they are threatened by us wanting to know our truths.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because most adoptive parents don’t have the willingness to read something like this to help understand adoptees better. They label us and say, “we just had a bad adoption experience.” Adoption in itself is a bad experience, yet they refuse to listen to us! The world refuses to listen to us! Well, someone better be angry because of all the voiceless adoptees who haven’t made it on this earth. Who’s going to stand up for them? Adoptees who attempt suicide are 4x more likely than non-adoptees. When are you people going to start listening to adult adoptees? Do we have to make lists like this so you won’t shut us down? WAKE UP. I will continue to be angry until you WAKE UP! Someone has to be angry for change to happen! #ihaveavoice I will use it!” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because, for 57 years, I wasted my time thinking I had to fit in with my adopted family. I am angry because I was treated as an outsider no matter what my adoptive parents said when they had their own kids. I am angry that the government made it almost impossible for me to connect with my biological mother. I am angry when I think back to incidents where I desperately needed my adoptive mother to hug me, and she never did. When I needed my adoptive parents to listen, they never did. I am angry that they always treated me differently, and then they totally rejected me when I was a teen. But mostly, I am angry that it took me this long to realize that these people are not worth my time or effort.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am not angry; I am hurt. I grew up in complete filth. I was abandoned at the hospital when I was born. My adoptive mother was in and out of psych wards my whole life, and my adoptive father was Satan in disguise. I had no upbringing. I searched for my health. My adoptive mother told me I would not be able to walk when I hit my thirties, and at 34, I lost some vision and live with extreme muscle pain. I am angry because I sound desperate. I almost feel like a person begging for food. Am I wrong because I want to know where I come from? Am I wrong because, for once, I want to feel like I belong? I am more desperate now than ever. I wonder all the time looking at my 17 and 14 years old. Are they okay? I cry secretly because I wish I could be a better mom like I used to be without these health issues.” – Adult Adoptee
“Anger is a part of the grief & loss process. No one told me I could grieve my losses growing up, so I’m doing it now. I’m 62. Every day is a struggle. I just want to know. I will not burden my birth mother. I would never blame or yell. I want answers, and I have a right to know.” – Adult Adoptee
“Because anger gives me the energy to handle all the hurts; if I were just to feel my sadness, I would fall into a depression. A bit of anger helps me keep my head above water to fight for adoption laws to change for adoptions to be open, ethical, and more support services. I work in adoptions because I am angry with people not doing adoptions correctly, and I want to be a part of the solution and help change and influence those around me. I am angry because I did not get a say. My loss was and still is not validated. I still don’t get a say. My reunion was 24 years ago. My adoptive parents died 20 years ago, yet I cannot unadopt myself. I cannot legally be my mother’s daughter or my father’s daughter. This makes me angry that I do not have the same self-determination as non-adoptees.” – Adult Adoptee
“Sometimes I have no idea why I am angry; self-worth and abandonment seem to be at the center of the feelings that do not always make sense. Angry because we are told how we should feel, but our feelings are not validated, even in our own families.” – Adult Adoptee
“What causes me anger as an adoptee was having to hold back my feelings as a child, and of course still now as an adult, with my adoptive parents to protect their feelings, as if theirs were the only ones that mattered. They certainly made it loud and clear that theirs mattered more than mine when it came to wanting to search for my birth mom and asking too many questions about her because they made it very clear from the get-go that they would be very hurt if I searched for her. I did it anyway in secret and found her as an adult. I am also angry that the adoptee’s voice counts for nothing.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because the government says I have no right to know who I am or where I came from….that the 14th amendment doesn’t apply to me.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I’m expected to be grateful for losing my mother. Non-adoptees take so much for granted and are unwilling to understand our loss and grief. If one more fucking person tells me I’m lucky, I’m ready to give them an earful. I had to disguise my grief so as not to upset my adopters. I’m angry that I was given to people old enough to be my grandparents who thought a shed was an appropriate home. They didn’t legally adopt me till I was 16, and they kept that a secret, although all my ‘friends’ knew. I’m angry that I don’t belong with either my adoptive or birth families. They’re aliens to me. I didn’t search till it was too late. My mother was dead. I delayed because I didn’t want to hurt my adopters! My male adopter (I wouldn’t dignify him with the title father) was an abusive drunk. They were insensitive to my feelings. They never talked about my adoption. Well, there wasn’t one when I was growing up. They were clueless that I was seriously depressed. I hate them, and I hate my birth relatives. They, too, are insensitive. My cousin showed me a ring from my mother’s, never thinking that I’m her daughter and it should be mine. Why am I angry? Sheesh!” – Adult Adoptee
“I think frustrated is a better descriptor than angry. Frustrated and over being silenced, lied to, and treated like wayward children.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I’ve never seen my own birth certificate. I’m angry because I was lied to for 34 years. I didn’t discover I was adopted until I was an adult, when my birth mother found me. The “better” family I went to was emotionally and physically abusive. I’m angry that I missed knowing my biological family for so long. My birth mom searched for ten years before finding me. Numerous relatives, including my birth father, died during that time. Health history would have been treasured (thus avoiding several tests I “needed” based on adoptive family history). I’m angry because no one supported my mother in raising me instead of making me out to be a shameful secret. I’m angry that my adoptive family denied my mental health issues when they would have been addressed openly in my bio family (all my siblings have some kind of issue that the family deals with openly and honestly). I’m angry that my birth mom didn’t make the cake at my wedding. I’m angry that we have missed so many important days together.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m not angry as much as I’m hurt. I believe I was discarded and sold (the way adoption agencies work). I was raised in a VERY dysfunctional family, and as a result, I feel like I can’t speak the truth to my biological family about how I was raised. I don’t think anyone has ever loved me, wanted me or cared about me without an ulterior motive. I’ve been alone my whole life. I’m hurt because people use words like “we know what’s best for you,” and that’s a lie. They know what’s best for them or what they want. And now, I lie to my adopted family that it’s okay that a mother raised me with mental health issues, and I lie to my bio-family that I had a happy childhood (I’m trying to protect them). The truth is, I was born alone and will probably die alone, and everybody will say they did their best. As a 9-year-old, when my ‘adoption issues’ first presented, I was told that adoption had nothing to do with any of my issues. After that, a lockstep of denial that adoption had any ill effects was the party line in my AP’s house. My adoptive mother abused and neglected me, and my adoptive father did nothing to stop it. Yes, I have anger at the adoption industry that continues to profit off my pain.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I’m in-between two females being my mother, yet when I met one’s family, they all say I look like them. I can’t have my OBC, and my adoptive parents know who my birth mother is and her last name but will not tell me. I’ve been lied to and abused, and I’m downright sick of the lies.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because my birth father’s rights were stripped. In the 1970s, things were much different, but it’s still happening today! This makes me angry. I missed out on a lifetime with him and my sibling. This can’t be undone or replaced.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because the government does not deem me worthy of having my original birth certificate. Even my dogs have their original birth certificates; I, however, am not allowed to have mine. I would NOT change anything about my life insofar as being adopted, my adopted parents – who were the best parents anyone could have ever had — the only thing I ask for is being treated with respect as a human being – I have the right to know who I am, where I come from and who I come from and my ancestry – I don’t think that’s asking too much.” – Adult Adoptee
“My parents adopted me and then treated me like shit. People always ask me, “Why did they adopt you?” It’s the million-dollar question. The closest I could come to was that I was a lemon for them, and they had buyer’s remorse. For some reason, I still hung on from the fringes, and it wasn’t until I read this page that it occurred to me that I could simply let go and just walk away from the pain of being an outcast in my immediate adoptive family. I haven’t yet let go, and maybe I won’t, but it sucks to feel like you were rejected twice and still feel a connection to people who, for all insensitive purposes, don’t want me. It does give me some measure of comfort that at some point, should I choose to, I can decide to divorce my family and just be me, not defined by them and all that I endured as their “Mistake.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry that my adopted mother was so desperate for a child that she ignored the wishes of my natural Mother. I know she knew. I’m angry that my natural Grandmother was a coward who sent the Doctor in to pull me away. I’m angry at my natural Grandfather, who said he’d throw my mom out on the street if she kept me. I’m angry that there was no advocate for her and me and that it wasn’t anyone in her family. I’m angry at the pain she went through, enough to experience the feeling of not wanting to be because I love her.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I was robbed of my culture and heritage, and I’m not a transracial adoptee. I was adopted by a couple who were not good parents – they were extreme narcissists who demanded a culture of denial. I figured out early that it was my job to meet their needs (not the other way around). They allowed a grandfather to abuse me sexually, and although they knew it was going on, they kept that man as a member of the family. Just another indignity an 8-year-old had to endure to keep the peace. I was verbally ridiculed and minimized and physically abused. I kept quiet until I was in my 50s. Now old family friends don’t want to believe it and want to cast me as an ungrateful adoptee. Ungrateful for what? I’d like to add that I don’t thank my biological mother for giving me life. I don’t know why this is part of the social myth of adoption. Either have us and keep us or don’t have us, but don’t have us and give us away, and try to claim some moral high ground. Being abandoned and left to strangers creates deep wounds that last a lifetime and are passed to the next generation. Many times I considered suicide. After all, my history, culture, and identity were killed, what part of me is left?” – Adult Adoptee
“This is the anger talking, which comes from the deep well of hurt we carry. We may be fortunate enough to find our strength and self-esteem, but we often don’t feel valued by the world, so our self-worth sucks. I am angry that we must work hard to overcome adoption to survive and thrive. I’m angry that many of us can’t.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because a social worker shut down my search when I was fifteen by telling me that my biological mother probably wasn’t as interested in me as I was in her. Forty years later, I searched again, only to find both parents dead.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because the loneliness and genetic confusion of adoption are passed down to the next generation when our kids don’t know who their true ancestors are unless we undertake a financially and emotionally costly search that is fraught with obstacles, rejection, and ignorant “experts.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because the non-adoption community is bloody ignorant yet full of self-righteous opinions. I’m angry because adoption is child trafficking pure and simple, and has become glamorized by Hollywood and the powerful – so that adoptees don’t have a voice.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m now in my 50s. I am still angry (that’s not the right word – I’m furious, enraged, deeply saddened, distraught) about being given away. My adoption was miserable. I felt disconnected, filled with self-loathing, and inferior. I was told I was special, but how could I be special when I felt dirty and bad inside. My adoptive mother was abusive and completely dominated my adoptive father. I think she was probably a narcissistic personality – she wanted children because it was part of her perfect package but couldn’t accept my sister and me for the people we were. I wasn’t their child. I wasn’t what they wanted. I was their last resort. The other week, I suddenly burst into tears in public at the thought that my birth mother had abandoned me in a children’s home at four weeks old. I’ve never done that before. I suppose that was grief showing itself – and I’m scared that so much grief is still inside me. Unlike many adoptees, I found my birth parents. And for me, this was the twist in the tail. Both my birth parents are self-absorbed and irresponsible. Much to my disbelief, I discovered that my birth mother had the choice to keep me – a former boyfriend who still cared about her and wanted to marry her and raise me as his own child. But she chose not to, telling me it wouldn’t have been right because she didn’t love him. A year later, she went ahead and married him anyway. And on top of that, when I met her, she used me to try to re-establish contact with my birth father. I understand that losing a child to adoption caused her irreparable pain. But I have no words to describe what I’ve lived with throughout my life and what that discovery did to me – the self-doubt, the hatred, the isolation blew up almost out of control. Adoption is destruction. The ties are broken and can’t be fixed. A baby’s development, emotional and mental, is radically altered by the adoption experience. Why, when so many ‘minority’ groups can have a voice in society, are the voices of adoptees still smothered? I detest the hypocrisy that human life is sacred – if we truly believed that, adoption, as it is now, would no longer exist. Don’t have a child and give it away. Keep it, or don’t go through with the pregnancy.” – Adult Adoptee
“I have said I choose who my family is. The thing about that is that they don’t feel the same about you. People always treat their blood differently. They care about them more. They will do more for them. On top of that, I ended up in a family I don’t mesh with. I struggle to socialize with them. I don’t know-how. My parents love me as their own, and the extended family doesn’t. I also feel I have a right to know who I am. I am stuck in this never-ending identity crisis.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry that the court, which symbolizes justice, approved and arranged for me to live out my life as a secret (it was a closed adoption) even from myself. I am angry that I normalized being a secret to the point that I was willing to participate in other relationships where I was required to be a secret. I couldn’t see the selfishness and the lack of respect these people were showing me. Like a child, I still believed I was still being protected by being kept a secret! I am also angry about being a receptacle for the shame, resentment, and disappointment both my mothers feel about their actions. Lastly, I am angry about how non-adopted people responded when I searched. Eventually, I experienced a secondary rejection from my birth mother. People asked about the well-being of both sets of parents at this time. Some expressed sorrow and compassion for my birth mother, who rejected me. Others praised my adoptive parents for their patience and support. No one asked me how I was doing or felt about being rejected again. When I tried to voice my feelings, someone said, “Hey, this isn’t a competition, you know.” – Adult Adoptee
“Angry; since my older sister turned seventeen and decided to seek out our biological mom, my adopted mother believes she is a victim. In some cases, she may be, but that didn’t give her the right to treat me any differently because I wanted to know where I came from. It is years later, and I do NOT even talk to my biological family, none of them. In my adopted family’s eyes, I am now an adult and on my own, which I agree with, but please, let the past go. No matter what decision I made, It was “MY” decision. Some information for anyone thinking about adopting; NOT everyone will want to meet their biological families, but if they do, don’t hold it against them; or think they do not love you.”- Adult Adoptee
“I was having a bad day, and finally I journaled and what I am most angry about and hurt about adoption is why I could not be loved? What was so difficult about loving a child? I was never told. I, too, am angry that the government or anyone else who helped keep me a “secret.” I do love my adoptive parents and always will. (They both passed three years ago). In saying that, it’s also because I have had to forgive them for finally letting go. I now understand all my feelings growing up, and how I was mistreated finally made sense. I don’t know what it’s like to have that “unconditional” love. I was always looking to be a part of another family. I asked if I was adopted several times growing up, and I was told “NO.” I have no contact with my siblings. Everything was always in my “head.” I was also raised in the military. My biological father was KIA before I was born. So many lies & secrets. I always used to feel like I wasn’t good enough. “It’s my fault what happened to me.” I make excuses for their behavior. I have had to learn to let go of people finally. I have P.T.S.D, and there are lots of triggers. I need to start talking about how adoption hurt me and how many times I have been wounded. How the hell am I going to make it through this?” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry that my birth and my history are still huge questions on my mind, although I’ve been in a reunion for 20 years. I’m angry that people feel the need to keep secrets about MY past and birth. Most of all, I’m angry because I’ve doubted myself and questioned what’s wrong with me my entire life; why can’t somebody answer these questions? Sometimes it’s life or death.” – Adult Adoptee
“I wasn’t even adopted. I think I was stolen from my mother, dying from hunger and depression. Loneliness, stigma, trauma, abuse, PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, sleep hyper-vigilance, distrust from others, nature, nurture, and the environment, and being rejected by everyone, mocked at, and humiliated for being different. People around either neglect or despise the facts, call me boring and are totally insensitive, and never listen to an adoptee’s reasons. The Primal wound, that is, the separation from mother, is a disintegration of the self, and no one cares about us. We are faced with terror and abuse, and no one cares because usually, It’s a life of lies and lots of repressed rages which we are forbidden to express. Adding to this, I was hated by my adoptive family. It’s tough to survive after all that. Nothing seems credible, long-lasting, or possible. It’s torture and only through an immense amount of self-sacrifices (tragic sacrifices, self-victimization, etc.) did I survive.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry that so many people think we as adoptees should be grateful because our adoptive parents saved us, so we should shut our mouths to any gripes we have about them and be eternally thankful towards them. I am angry that I never felt like I fit in and that I had a huge identity crisis my entire life until I found my birth parents to confirm what I did internally know about myself so that I felt explained and I felt like I understood why I was the way I am so I didn’t feel so out of place, I finally feel accepted and finally know why I was drawn to all I was drawn to, why I react to things as I do and where my talents and interests and values and quirks come from.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry that I have to live a double life as a 37-year-old to hide from my adoptive parents that I have found my birth mom to protect their feelings because it’s all about them, which as a parent of my own biological child, it should never be that way, IMHO. When I say these things, I’m angry that I get told I just had a bad adoption experience. I’m angry that adoption truth is hidden along with my identity and family. The most sacred bond of family is destroyed by adoption, cruel and barbaric, extreme, insanity; imagine preventing family association, absolutely disgusting!” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I am 52 years old and have been brainwashed all of my life to believe that I was “chosen” while the fact that I was torn away from my natural mother was swept under the rug like it didn’t matter or wouldn’t have an impact on me for the rest of my life. I am angry because if my 15-year-old mother had received the support she needed to keep me, I might have known what it’s like to feel whole instead of being judged, shamed, and beaten down. I am angry because my adoptive parents weren’t educated on the problems I would have due to being torn away from my natural mother. I did not receive the validation, recognition, or support I needed to deal with that trauma. I am angry that even though I have met and connected with my natural family for 34 years, I still don’t fit or feel whole. I am angry that these things are still happening in 2018 to other innocent babies and children who are expected to fulfill everyone else’s needs while being ‘trained’ to ignore and bury their own needs. Needs that go unrecognized, unacknowledged, and unsupported by the vast majority of society, medical and mental health professionals, religious institutions, child welfare agencies, and discriminatory laws.” – Adult Adoptee
“Why do we have to be labeled as Angry? That makes me Angry. I’m lost in pain. I should be; I was rejected in the womb and ripped away from the womb, and placed in unfamiliar surroundings as a baby. It’s haunting. I’m tired of all the labels placed on me, mental, angry, angry adopted child. I’m not mental, and I’m not angry. I’m hurt. It hurts me that they give so much attention to the parents and not the baby or child. I get it that it’s got to be hard giving your baby away, but it’s 100 times harder on the baby. We all know what it takes to make a baby, and if you don’t want to deal with the pain of giving a baby away, don’t make one. If I want to be hurt or angry, I have that right, and it doesn’t make me bad.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because my mother never believed that her family (cousins) said racist things to me. “She’s not really our cousin; look how dirty her skin is.” (5 years old) She made blood more important. I’m angry because she made me compete with a child who never existed. “You’re the only fat family member.” I am angry because the parent that understood me and loved me as me died, and I am left with a dependent abusive alcoholic narcissist who can hide her true self from everyone else. Everyone allows her to drink, and when she’s at the point where she’s no longer fun, they dump her onto me, and I hear about how I am a “disappointing alien child. To find your real parents cause you’re a selfish, ungrateful thing I regret.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I have no idea who I am or where I come from. I’ve met my biological mother, with absolutely no connection there. I asked her who my father was; she told me she didn’t remember. I call bullshit! When I tell my wife about things like this, she says,” Did you consider how she feels?” I say it’s not about her, remember? She had a choice. My biological mother has never made any attempts to tell her story, so again I don’t know. I remember growing up and people telling me how ” lucky ” I was because I was chosen? Oh, yea? Give it some time, and tell yourself how lucky you are. I’m 48 years old and still feel at odds with everything around me. I feel like I’m either ten years ahead or ten years behind. I have serious trust issues, even with friends. I wonder if I will ever have peace in my life.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am justifiably angry that adoptive parents and society put so much effort into being saviors, meeting their own needs and not ours, and expecting us to be eternally grateful. Why not have placed more effort in helping my family stay together and keep me as a part of it. For that, I would not only have been grateful, but I would also be functional with none of the burden of the primal wound I carry today from not only being separated from my parents but from being sexually and emotionally abused for eight years by the family I was given to. Better off, I beg to differ.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry that my birth and my history are still a huge question on my mind although I’ve been in reunion for 20 years. I’m angry that people feel the need to keep secrets about MY past and birth. Most of all, I’m angry because I’ve doubted myself and questioned what’s wrong with me my entire life. Why can’t somebody answer these questions? Sometimes it’s life or death.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I was two years old when my mother fainted from hunger and exhaustion, and I was sort of kidnapped to awake in the arms of strangers. The aftermath was that I was bullied, made fun of by everyone in the village, and stalked, put down because I was the unworthy, dirty, shitty blood of a miserable beggar, and I would never make it through in life. I’m angry because I was denied grief. After all, the extended adoptive family rejected me. I couldn’t contact my family of origin because shit is contagious. I tried to run away from home, I tried suicide with Valium at thirteen, and no one cared about my inhuman suffering. I suffered from hypervigilance so much, so limited, and had to put a false front on being well, and I became thinner and thinner. Although my parents knew, they were ashamed and denied the disease (my torture) until I was near death at 21.” – Adult Adoptee
“I applied for my adoption information from children’s aid, and they knew who my birth mother was, but they never told me even tho legally they should have. It didn’t stop me. I found her anyway. Now I know my medical history, but the doctors are not taking me seriously or believing what I found. If I wasn’t adopted, I could say any medical history and just be believed. I grieve for my family and my sisters and brothers, and since there is no place for that grief, it turns to hardened anger over time.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because the adoptive family was extremely abusive to me. They had a biological son who could do no wrong. I, however, was blamed for everything! My adoptive mother told everyone not to believe anything I said because I was a “Chronic Liar.” It hurt horribly. Later, I realized it was because she didn’t want anyone to know that her husband was an abusive alcoholic and her son was sexually assaulting me and beating me regularly. She was afraid I would tell someone, and they would believe me. She told everyone how bad I was and would pit her son against me with flashcards to show how smarter he was. She would punish me if I got the math problems wrong. The three of them called me horrible names. Her husband was a racist and told me one day that he would kill me if I ever dated a black man! Their son saw me talking to a black male friend at school. He came home and told them I had a black boyfriend. My adoptive mom took me to the doctor to determine if I were still a virgin! I was accused of being a slut! When I found my bio family, my aunt told me that my adoptive father had visited them and told them he would bring me by to meet them. He was drunk and could barely stand up. He never returned. He never told me they lived a few short miles from me. I never knew they even existed. I found them after I married, years later! There are many more reasons why I’m so angry; however, it would take me years to write them all!” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry on behalf of that defenseless baby boy who had no say in the matter and is still, at 50 (me), has no say in the matter. Like all other relinquishees/adoptees, I have suffered undiagnosed complex PTSD from the moment my mother relinquished me until now. I have been expected to function as well as ‘normal’ people; needless to say, I have been handicapped in competing, but no one acknowledged that handicap. I was relinquished by my mother, then again by a foster mother, and again by a second foster mother to finally be adopted, all within six months of my birth. Unsurprisingly, I have been unable to cognitively function all my life, suffering very frequent inexplicable ‘mental blocks’ resulting in minimal productivity. Although I am educated to an MA level, I am inevitably regarded as ‘slow’ in the workplace. After ‘failing’ in no less than 30 of the most menial jobs, I have finally given up as unemployable (you can only bang your head against the wall so many times before continuing to do so becomes a silly idea), intending to confront head-on the reason for this tragic pattern. I need therapy but can’t afford it. Only other adoptees who have escaped their own denial mechanisms can acknowledge invisible internal injury. Since no one has pleaded the cause of this baby boy (me), rather actually or implicitly, all have told me to “let it go!” (how ironic); until now, I am simply going to have to do it myself. I am LIVID with humanity that no one could be bothered, not even myself, until now: it’s taken 50 years for someone to speak up for him and that someone is himself: truly sickening! 1968 Mosley, Birmingham, UK, ‘closed reinquishee/adoptee.’ SPEAK OUT FOR ALL SUCH INNOCENT VICTIMS OF WHOM THERE ARE MILLIONS!” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I was secreted away into an illegal adoption and lived all my life feeling like a dirty secret. My biological Mom checked into the hospital under my adoptive Mother’s name, so on paper, it looks like I ‘belong’ to her and my adoptive Father. There’s no original birth certificate to try to petition for; there’s no non-identifying information to peruse. From the very beginning, my entire life has been a fraud, a complete fraud that I was supposed to be ‘thankful’ for. I was lucky enough to find my bio Mom and try to get to know her for a year and five months before she died. We were both so guarded that we never let our walls down to get to know each other truly. I protected her feelings as many of us adoptees do and never told her of the hell she put me in by giving me to my adoptive family. They didn’t know how to love me. They were abusive physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. I went without basic needs for most of my childhood and was told to be thankful because ‘No one wanted me.’ I should feel lucky because I could have been aborted or thrown in the trash, but they saved me like a stray fucking dog, and I should just be thankful. I wasn’t given ‘up’; I was certainly handed down to the depths of hell and told to be thankful. Finding my biological Mom and family showed me that they were a pretty functional tight-knit family that had each other’s back no matter what, but I didn’t have that growing up. I felt so sad and hurt that I couldn’t be a part of that then and not now either. My Mom is dead, and the connection to the rest of the family died when she did. We’re all just strangers, and our link has been gone now for 14 years. Recently, 21 days ago, I found my biological father. All the info my bio Mom gave me was completely false. I think the truth lies that she didn’t know who my father was, and she didn’t trust me enough not to hate her if she told me that, so she just made up a story and a name to go with it. My Father had no idea that my Mom was even pregnant, let alone that he had a 42-year-old daughter out, lost in the world wondering who the fuck she was all this time. He has embraced me with open arms and tells me that I’m the light of his life. Finally, I have the love and acceptance I have craved since I came out of the womb, but I don’t know how to take it. I don’t know how to accept goodness and truly feel it without conflict. I feel I’m betraying everyone in my adoptive family, although betrayal is what they deserve and more. I’m just so fucking mad that I’ve had to stuff these emotions my entire life to make everyone else comfortable with their lie. The lie that they based my life on and then called me crazy and mentally ill. What the fuck would they do if the tables were turned? I doubt they would persevere the way I have. I am an angry, fucked up complete badass, and I will conquer this. I WILL right this lie one step at a time with my truth. I’m no longer living in the shadows of what they think I should be, what they think I should think, and what they think I should feel. Fuck them!! And I’m done being ‘thankful’ for the pure hell and torture they put me through. Done!” – Adult Adoptee
“I am a 58-year-old international adoptee. Yesterday, I asked four adoptive family members why they voted for Trump because I was so upset at seeing innocent children separated from their parents at the Mexico-California border. None of them asked why I needed to know, and I thought I was out of line for asking them. They told me I was rude and didn’t want to know why I wanted to know. They were uninterested in finding out that I felt betrayed by them for lifelong callousness to brown immigrants when I am also one. It doesn’t matter to them to understand how the plight of these children, who will be traumatized for life by the cruelty of Trump, could possibly relate to my situation as a 58-year-old adoptee to their Christian family. They refused to acknowledge that the death of my original mother and separation from my original father, sister, and brother, all in one day, and soon after separation from my original country, culture, language, and empowerment is a valid loss that deserved to be acknowledged. Instead, I was dismissed by my adoptive family as a whining selfish ingrate. I was adopted at age four and told that I was their fifth choice of a child after four fruitless searches for a white baby in Illinois. My adoptive Christian family frequently told me that I was selfish and ungrateful because I cried every day for 18 months. My adoptive mother told me to be silent or she would give me something to cry about. Every day for 18 months, I hid in the closet and cried/screamed into a pillow, trying to keep quiet so I wouldn’t be hit for making noise. No one to this day, 54 years later, has even figured out that I lost four blood family members in such a short time. One adoptive cousin, age 60, was surprised that I had ever had any blood relatives to speak of as if I had just somehow appeared at their family place at age 4. No one has ever asked me to describe any memories of my original family, which I have, or how I felt at seeing my original mother die and the resulting devastation to my original father and brother. My sister was a baby, and I remember her crying and my father being desperate to find someone to nurse her. My adoptive family has not been interested that my original father carried my baby sister and had my brother and me follow behind him and hold hands to stay together. They do not care that I remember the echo of footsteps as my father left with my baby sister, telling us that he would return for us. They did not want to hear that; after two days of waiting, my brother attacked another homeless child to get food for me. I remember him attacking several other children so that I could eat over the next few days, but he ate very little. We never saw our father and sister again. When the police found us, we were separated and did not see each other again. When I wrote about this experience, my adoptive family barely read it. When I tried to describe it ten years ago, they told each other (as if I were still invisible in the room) that I had made it up and just shook their heads, rolling their collective eyes. They never asked how or why I could remember or how I felt about the loss. They have never deemed me intelligent enough to understand them, although I am more educated than they are. It has never dawned on them that passing items down in the family through their bloodline and letting me have one table, which was rejected by six others first, might be hurtful. It never occurred to them that leaving me out of their wills might be inconsiderate. Although they claim to be Christian, my adoptive mother, 2 of my adoptive uncles, both ministers, one adoptive aunt, and three adoptive cousins have told me that they agree with each other that I am spoiled and do not appreciate how lucky I was to have them as a family. Since they certainly know how to appreciate each other. They do not realize how many times they left me in the kitchen to clean up for them while the real Christian family enjoyed time together in the dining room. They don’t remember asking me to serve them coffee and tea as if I didn’t deserve to join them at the table. When children, and even two teachers, bullied me at school and church, my adoptive mother told me I had imagined it and that it had not happened. No one believes that my adoptive parents hit me on my first day in the USA for not understanding their instructions to follow them down the grocery store aisle. My first memory of life in the USA was off running down the store aisle, screaming in fear and wondering what I had done that these two big people were chasing me and trying to hit me. That’s when the 18 months of crying started. They have frequently told me directly and in more insidious ways that they feel I am going to hell for being so ungrateful to them for all they did for me. The extended family clarifies that they love my adoptive mother, and her two Christian brothers/ministers and nieces and nephews all think it is okay to phone and email me with orders of things they want to be done for their beloved sister/aunt. Her friends insist that I have an obligation to care for her forever since she took care of me. Is that balanced since she took care of me for only 14 years? Do I really owe her and them forever, or should I just go to hell as they tell me I am going to for not fulfilling their expectations? As recently as a few days ago, the same cousin who didn’t realize that I had blood relatives that I could remember was also telling me that I was going to hell for wishing that the person responsible for hurting innocent children at the border deserved to stand judgment for crimes against humanity. Yesterday, my adoptive mother told me that I had no right to judge this administration for anything they were doing, and I realized that she was the fifth adoptive family member to vote for him. Today, I notified five adoptive family members by phone that I never wanted them to contact me again. Why am I angry? Perhaps, it should be obvious to any decent person.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry, hurt, bitter, and sad. My adoptive parents gave me some of my paperwork. I was placed in Foster care at 11 weeks old. My biological mother had a chance to get me back, and she didn’t give up. They didn’t even care to look for my Dad. I Have abandonment issues that always surface no matter what is going on. I’m angry that no one is looking for me. I’m not allowed to know my beginning life story because the state has decided that I can’t handle it. It makes me so angry that everyone gets to hold on to my life story and not share it with me. I’m 52, and I have so many trust issues. My adoptive parents loved me. But it was simply not enough. Sometimes I just want to scream aloud to non-adoptees that they have all the privileges. I have to beg for information about myself. I’m angry because I was told at 52 that I may have a twin and nobody can help me. Both my adoptive parents are deceased. I always feel that I’m on the outside, not even able to look in the window. Some days I feel like a lost 5-year-old.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m in my 40s and was adopted at birth. I am angry because my entire life has been a scam. I wish that my birth mother would’ve had an abortion rather than leave me with abusive strangers. My life has been a nightmare, and I wish it would end. I recently found my bio father through DNA testing and found that he is successful, wealthy, and has a great life. It seems like everyone has had a great life except for me. I have had non-stop abuse, loss, and harm come my way. It feels like a curse. Everyone treats me like an object. No one has ever sympathized with my loss. I’ve never had a family or love. I’ve never had anyone who cared about me, my life, or my future. I’ve only been surrounded by narcissists who only cared about me concerning what I could do for them or how I could make their lives appear to others. Women need to stop giving their children up for adoption and just get an abortion. I think that my bio mother made big money from selling me, so I guess that the cash incentive is too great for people to do the right thing.”- Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because my adoptive parents didn’t have enough decency to try to integrate my culture into my life once they adopted me from China. They always said, “love sees no color,” which was exceptionally damaging when you are a colored person growing up in America, not resembling anyone. Not only did they rob me of my roots and culture, but they raised me to be white like them. The damage can’t be undone, and I will be spending the rest of my life trying to unravel the layers of pain.” – Adult Adoptee
“Anything rooted in secrecy and lies, co-signed by all the people who say they love you, is a complete mental mind fuck for adoptees. I’m angry because of the subtle hints of brainwashing I experienced that started in my childhood, like, “You were my greatest gift!” and “You were chosen!” After all, my adoptive parent’s biggest dreams came true to be parents. I was groomed to be grateful, so how could I possibly feel sad for the loss I feel? I’m angry because no one would allow me the space to feel the grief and loss at a younger age, and now it’s boiling over. I have had such significant anger issues; it’s a miracle I’m not in prison for murder. Thankfully, I have finally identified the root of my anger: abandonment and rejection from my adoption experience. It’s too bad I have wasted so much time with no tools or resources, and my life is almost over. I am 68 years old. My adoptive parents and biological parents are dead and gone. I have been unraveling the damage adoption has done my entire life now. If only I had known sooner that my anger was valid and a part of the healing process and learned how to process the pain, I wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone. I would have found internal peace long ago. ” – Adult Adoptee
” I have spent most of my life completely numb from all my feelings associated with being adopted. The feelings were so gigantic that they scared me. I did everything not to feel because I didn’t know how to handle such emotions, especially when adoptees have never had tools, and therapists can hardly scratch the surface of the layers of the adoptee experience. After two failed marriages, I finally concluded that anger is a legitimate feeling regarding the magnitude of the adoptee’s experience. Being ripped from my mother at birth and lied to my whole life by my adoptive parents and gaslit when I share feelings, it’s no wonder my anger didn’t kill me. Today, I’m thankful I know my anger is valid and legit, and if you are an adoptee, so is yours. It’s what we do with that anger is the key. It can eat us alive, or we can take it and use it for good.” – Adult Adoptee
“Anger is one of three responses created by loss of the primal mother. Shame and grief are the other two. Chronic anger is a serious problem that needs to be resolved. We have to avoid reinforcing anger in support groups. We validate it, but if it goes on, it will cause serious problems.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I never felt unconditional love. I was promiscuous because I was seeking love and validation. I am angry that everyone dismisses my pain. I’m angry because I don’t know who I am, where I come from, or who I look like. I’m angry because my children are the only biological relation I know. I’m angry my records are sealed, and even though I found my biological mom, I can’t get any info on my biological dad. I’m angry I am a secret that only two people know about in the family. Every time I go to the doctor, I’m angry that I have to write “ADOPTED – UNKNOWN” on my medical history. I’m angry that I demand loyalty and cut people off if I feel slighted, so they don’t have the chance to abandon me. I’m angry because I’ve been sad my entire life.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am 52 and angry. I was adopted by people almost as old as my grandparents. They adopted my brother and me because people would think they were “weird” being childless. They were already planning for retirement and were cheap, which turned me to thievery to have what other kids had. It was sad getting a used bike for your birthday. I was left with babysitters so the parents could go on vacations. I blame this for my lack of perspective, not even knowing what was out there. By default, I was a poor rich kid, things were expected, but nothing was there that other kids around me had. I knew from an early age I was less than, so I watched my life from a distance expecting less. I was always alone, with nobody to comfort me. I can remember being sad, wanting to run away. There was nowhere to go. I thought about hurting myself and did in many ways. I was a boy who needed a real man for a father, not just a provider. In 2009, many years after my parents died, I felt worried about my birth mother. I was told she was probably a drug addict or alcoholic. Was this a way to explain the Primal Wound? Even though counseling as a child, being adopted was never mentioned as a source of the ills. When I finally found out who my birth family was, I realized it was my grandmother who had passed in 2009, AND my grandparents AND the rest of my family never knew I was born. I was literally born into darkness. A fate I tried to ignore, I put on a brave face, a smile, and laughter. Secretly I wondered what kind of people would make their daughter give up her child, but then I found out they never had a chance. I was born a lie! For this, I am angry. After a year and a half, my birth aunt, who I messaged, and was ignored, told me to go away in so many words. The lie was essential to keep. My birth mother is married to the same man and has two children and grandchildren. I will not ruin her family, but I will forever wonder why I was given the name I used here if there was no hope. Why name a kid if you give them away? When my adopted parents died, I found the name on legal paperwork. I hate who I am, and I hate all who shunned me. I hate that my adopted mother had a miracle baby and further withdrew. One of my earliest memories is being dropped off at a youth center and told by my mom there was a bus going to a park. It was for teenagers, and I was left alone. My mom drove off without talking to anyone. This experience opened the door to my abandonment, an awareness of being alone. Because of this, I did not have children. I like kids, they are a joy, but I did not want to ruin anyone’s life. At 52, I question these decisions and more.
I’m hurt like hell. And I’ve finally come to a place where I can admit I’m angry. Anger is something you’re not allowed to feel. It’s a negative emotion. And we should be grateful. We should look on the bright side. We should love people unconditionally. We should accept people’s limitations. They do the best they can. It’s our expectations of others that cause us to hurt. But I call bullshit. We were kids. Defenseless babies. Wounded children. Broken adults. It was not their best. I was taken away from my birth mother. She didn’t fight for me. She let it be. I’m angry at my extended family for not stepping in. And consequently, for the abuse, I suffered. The neglect. The lack of affection. For watching my foster families treat their children differently. For still feeling like an outsider. For still being excluded. For being treated as less than. For treating my children as less than. I’m tired too. Tired of trying to prove my worth. Of trying to win their affection. Of pretending to be someone, I’m not. A shadow of who I am. I’m like a kid saying, pick me, pick me. And this pattern is prevalent in many of my relationships. We should be grateful, you know. We’re lucky, remember. You must never forget that they took us in when nobody wanted us. It’s probably all in our heads. It’s our own insecurities. So don’t say anything. Nobody loves a negative Nancy. You’re one of the lucky ones. I’ve come a long way. But honestly, some parts of me are so broken. The damage is done. And I can’t fix it. I can only live with it the best I can.
I have been angry for most of my 52 years, and I never truly understood why. I recently left a crappy, abusive marriage. I used it as a catalyst to understand how I could have ever let myself, an honest, hardworking, loving, caring person, accept so little from what was supposed to be my primary relationship. I finally understand that fear of rejection (again) has affected so much in my life and made me feel unable to express myself adequately and fight for myself properly and try and please everyone around me in the end, leaving me exhausted and drained and desperately unhappy. All the feelings of anger and rage were stuffed down until I didn’t really feel anything anymore. I’m still unpacking it day by day and hope that one day I can just learn to feel I am worthwhile without having to prove it to myself endlessly. I still struggle with getting angry when I shouldn’t and not getting angry when I should. But anger just seems to be my factory setting.” – Adult Adoptee
“Why would an adoptee be angry? The separation of a child from its mother increases the risk of various deep-rooted forms of psychopathology based on attachment theory. These problems may manifest themselves in adolescence and continue through to adulthood. Every adopted child has feelings they can’t fully comprehend, including grief, denial, abandonment, low self-esteem, and anger. There are a thousand reasons why adoption puts them in an irritable and irascible mood. Knowing that they were rejected by their parents and discarded by family torments them, and no amount of external love can overcome this internal torture and humiliation. It’s almost impossible to emerge unscathed from any situation that makes a child available for adoption, and every adopted child has experienced loss, or they wouldn’t be available for adoption. Their lives are complicated by painful backstories and gaps in their life’s story that causes emotional suffering. Traumatized by the experience, many of them need help learning to understand their emotions and how to deal with them. They are hurt by the adoption experience and confused by the lack of an authentic self-identity. They sense that something is intrinsically wrong without always knowing why. They are grieved by the difficulties they are forced to endure without ever understanding the reasons for the lifelong banishment they have received. Conscious awareness that their life’s journey has been coldly interrupted leaves many adoptees feeling overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, annoyance, and displeasure.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because it was never my burden to be the balm to my adoptive mother’s own wounds. If anyone had cared even a smidgen to allow me to be authentically me, I’d not be just shy of 50 and still trying to figure out who I am.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I am treated worse than an illegal immigrant as an adoptee. My adoptive parents have been fabulous, but because I am adopted, neither the British nor German governments are prepared to give me citizenship – the reason being “you are adopted” claim through your biological parents. I was given up at birth anonymously. I do not know who my biological parents are! Are these governments saying my parents are not my parents!?” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I’ve had issues with self-esteem issues, clinical depression, anxiety, and trust issues all my life, and I’ve never been able to connect with my adoptive family no matter how hard I try. I’m angry because when I go out with family, I know I don’t look like my parents, and it’s evident to everyone that I got ABANDONED by my own mother and sold to a different family as plan B (my parents tried to have a baby and couldn’t). I’m angry because I’ve had issues with so many health issues, and I don’t know my history or genetic background and what I could be at risk of when I’m older. I’m angry because I’m treated like a second-class citizen at school and sometimes in public. But, most of all, I’m angry because I lost my entire family. I lost my mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and cousins, replacing them with new ones. I know I should be grateful because a loving family adopted me. If I weren’t adopted, I would never have had the extraordinary life and opportunities I have now, but I can’t shake the feeling of abandonment. I know that I will never feel like I belong anywhere. Transracial adoption, I had to grow up as the only AA kid in the community and school. The anger talks, and so does the grief. I do not belong in any sort of society, so I live in a tiny town to be left alone.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because my adoptive mother (my adoptive father died when I was two) only got me because it was the done thing in wealthy families to have children, and at 40, she didn’t want anyone thinking she was sterile. She was a real bitch, always saying I was a no-good idiot at school, and she made me thank her every day for what she had done (saved me from the gutter, or my mother was no doubt a prostitute). Her favorites slapped me across the face or banged my head against the wall for any minor fault (spilling soup from the spoon onto the tablecloth) and constantly humiliated me in front of anybody. I hated her and left for another country at eighteen and had minimal contact since. The day I heard she had died was the best day of my life.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because I have zero answers. I’m angry because I am rejected. I’m angry because I will always be different. I’m angry about the PTSD that I was traumatized with as a young kid. I’m angry about the anxiety I was given. I’m angry for always feeling like a burden or unwanted. I’m angry that I will never meet my siblings that THEY KEPT! They kept two of the four. Am I not good enough for them? I love both families because they are both dear to me. That doesn’t mean I’m not EXTREMELY hurt or angry or disappointed.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because I feel so hurt and lost. I am angry at the consulate of my birth country, who didn’t understand why I wanted to find information about my biological family. I am angry that my biological mother passed away before I could meet her. I am angry I was separated from my half-sister and haven’t been able to find her. I am angry because I “look and act white ” but am fiercely proud of being Latina but don’t fit into the Latino community either. I am hurt because I have fears of being abandoned. I am hurt that I will likely never know any of my immediate biological family. I am hurt my adoptive mother didn’t think to take a photo of my birth mother when she met her. I am angry my biological dad abandoned my biological mom and never sought me out.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am a foster care and adoption survivor. Why am I angry? I’m angry because authorities, who insisted and still insist, they know what’s best for babies, for me, acted as if true ancestry and heritage and mother didn’t matter nor had value to a baby, to me, to any child that comes biologically from a particular ancestry, heritage, mother. But we ARE from whom we come. We are not blank slate programmable dollies. I’m angry because who I ended up with could pretend the part on the rare occasion of barely any official scrutiny, and because it wasn’t the bonkers they saw with my mom, it was not just good enough; it was great. I am angry because authorities interpreted my tenacity, intelligence, and resilience as sole evidence of a safe home and adequate caregiving. I am angry because I saw babies, and kids, come and go in that foster home, but I was the prize to the lonely old widow wanted, so she’d tell me how others wanted me, but she wouldn’t let them and told me how loved and special I was to her, but continuously neglected me, used me. I am angry that the widow brainwashed me into believing her mental illness was love and that not being hers was not better, that her alcoholic adult biological son could dislocate my arm at age 4, then show up in court at age 6 to be her advocate and her crutch to the judge, saying I didn’t need a father because I had her glorious son that was like a father. I am angry because I was smarter and more conscientious than they were as a small child but was held captive, deluded, and poorly formed from the lies, ignorance, the gaslighting. I am angry because I was molested by a neighbor, physically and emotionally abused by the foster family, then the court said they were worthy of adopting me. I am angry because the only one that could have saved me was me, but I was so scrambled, and no child should be responsible for saving themselves! I am angry because I was supposed to be her partner, her spite child, the replacement for her husband, her three biological sons, and her two biological grandkids who just weren’t good enough for her. I am angry because she was in borderline poverty but allowed to adopt me, and we lived on food stamps for a while. I am angry because everyone on the outside called her an angel, but her actual family stayed as far away as they could or got good and drunk to be around her. I am angry because she didn’t like or love who I was. I am angry because I was only good when I made her feel good and when she could brag about me when I was her minion. I am angry that I was fetishized and objectified from the start. I am angry that I am nothing like her family, and I was expected to act and think to look different so that I could show up and pretend for their sake. I am angry I had to call her mother and allow her to call me daughter and that I didn’t realize how wrong and damaging that dynamic is/was until I was over 30 years old. I am angry my mother was molested and grew up in an orphanage. I am angry that her trauma and illness were demonized, and no one gave me context. I am angry that I heard I was lucky, chosen, blessed, and special every step of the way. I am angry that foster turned adoptive mother could tell everyone, “she was #28 of 49 foster kids. We kept her because she was special”. I’m grateful that she’s dead and that I cut contact with her family, and that for the last five years, I have finally begun to heal. I think I will get a small holocaust-style tattoo on my arm someday that says “28:49″ because I don’t want to lose sight of how righteous my indignation truly is or forget that children still, yet, today, need people like me to fight and speak for them. I’m angry people think adoption, as it stands, is acceptable, and trauma is a rare, worthwhile trade. I am angry people won’t stop lying to kids, making them pretend to be children of theirs when they aren’t, and I am angry birth certificates are still changing to reflect lies while kids are being gaslit to believe where they come from doesn’t matter. I am angry that I could write more pages for this post. I will stop here, though.” – Adult Adoptee
“Why am I angry? No one asked me what I wanted. Of course, I was an infant and couldn’t communicate, but this sense of powerlessness prevails in my life. I was removed from my birthmother’s womb, handed to foster care, and adopted three months later. My birthmother SOLD me in a gray adoption to STRANGERS, then when we met 34 years later said she loved me so much she wanted a better life for me. I’m not sure my life was better when I spent so much time feeling abandoned, rejected, powerless, voiceless, and not knowing WHO I am. I’m angry that my birth mother sold me, then 14 months later had my sister, and then quickly became pregnant again and had my brother. She kept them but sold me away. I’m angry that I didn’t have a brother or sister in my life, yet I DID – no one told me. I’m angry that even legal documents are fraudulent, and we have to pretend that these adoptive parents are Mommy and Daddy, but they ARENT. My birth certificate is SEALED, and the public document lists the adoptive parents as “mother” and “father.” it’s all a lie. And NO one can access their own information? Information on health history, heritage, siblings, EVERYTHING is a secret. Maybe adoption empowers a woman to continue her life as before the adoption, not burdened with a child, but adoption does NOT empower a child. We are pawns, without a voice in our own lives.” – Adult Adoptee
“I hate being adopted, and I hate not being allowed to have a birth family even though the non-adoptees are allowed a birth family at any age but adopted people like me are never allowed a birth family. I hate when non-adoptees are very mean and unkind to adopted people like me. I wish I could smack them in the face and deny them everything they have denied me. I can’t stand how the non-adoptees always support each other and are nice but mean to me because I am adopted. Plus, they like to say they don’t mistreat me when they do.” – Adult Adoptee
“ANGRY?? The word doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. Oh YES, I’m quite angry. Why? I never fit with my “family” physically, mentally, or emotionally. I was severely abused physically by my “father” and my “mother,” who, instead of protecting me, had a mental breakdown. My entire childhood was nothing but fear and abuse with “don’t upset your mother” being a common occurrence. Being asked “what was wrong with me” anytime I had a different way of thinking than them!! Seriously even a 10 yr old have their feelings and thoughts!! I was told repeatedly I wasn’t wanted and thrown away like garbage. Should I be your slave and punching bag? I am NOT anyone’s property. I was a child!! My adoptive family was looked on and still is in the community as great people??? WHAT??? THEY are not good people!! They are abusive, child molesting, and trash that only cared about themselves and their family name and appearance. My brother (who was also adopted) and I are looked upon as wild and the black sheep because once of age, we left and never looked back. I’m beyond angry, and I’m pissed off! The government took me from my real family because my mom was a minor and my dad was of age, but my mother’s father didn’t approve in 1976 OR believe they could properly care for my well-being. THE GOVERNMENT WAS WRONG!! My mom and dad married and had four more children. They were not wealthy, but my sisters and brother were LOVED, and now today 2020, my mom and dad are still married. I AM VERY ANGRY. I was robbed of LOVE, acceptance, and well-being. I’m 43 and from Ohio, so I now have my once, and I can proudly say my REAL name is Stephanie L. I WILL ALWAYS BE ANGRY BECAUSE I WAS STRIPPED OF WHO I AM.” – Adult Adoptee
“I was never angry about being adopted until I started dealing with the government when seeking medical history and my original birth certificate. Things that I believed to be my immediate right to have, such as my OBC and family medical history, have slowly trickled through with changes. But this all took time, and the worst-case scenario may have had significant health implications if the information was not released due to ridiculous vetoes. The Veto system that has since been abolished (but historical ones remain) implies that we are the criminals without any wrongdoing apart from being born. Like putting a restraining order on someone you never met and then us not being allowed to use one in return. Anything else? Not at this stage, but let me think it over some more.” – Adult Adoptee
“As a 46-year-old adult who was adopted in 1975, I’m angry at the system which failed to perform thorough psychological evaluations on my prospective adoptive parents. One is a narcissist, and the other has Asperger’s syndrome. Quite the one-two punch for a child growing up in an unfamiliar genetic environment. I believe the prevailing wisdom of the day was, “adopted kids are a blank canvas and will grow up to be however you make them be, ” Like I was some mini-Mr. Potato Head or something. The couple who adopted me were nice enough people to the rest of the world, but they constantly treated me like a malfunctioning machine. I demonstrated high intelligence and musical talent from an early age, yet was told pursuing my life as a musician was out of the question. They steered me instead of towards their interests (religion & science), neither of which I cared for. All I ever heard was, “we know what’s best for you,” even as the loneliness, ostracizing, and lack of personal identity drove me into crime, heavy drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts. Nobody appeared to care about ME. They only cared about how I measured up to their expectations – which I failed at basically every time. I’m a grown adult now, lonely as hell. I was looking back on a childhood of regrets. I don’t speak with them anymore and likely never will. After an exhaustive search, I finally managed to uncover the identity of my birth mother – she died almost 30 years ago.” – Adult Adoptee
“I am angry because the State of California put the ‘wrong medical information’ on my non-identifying information report. I know. I hired a Private Investigator, and I have found my birth family with DNA. The State of California was reckless with my birth information, and I am sure I am not alone. There were typos throughout the report. They didn’t think we would ever find out in 1957. The jig is up to California, and I am thinking about contacting an attorney about this.” – Adult Adoptee
The fundamental reason many adoptees are angry is that our human rights have been violated. ” – Adult Adoptee
“Why am I angry? Socially engineered into “perfect” families based on decisions made by the grandmothers to be and social workers, also mothers and grandmothers, to convince a young unmarried woman to ignore her high school sweetheart who was prepared to marry her and raise his family, so all these already mothers could find a permanent solution to a temporary crisis that embarrassed the pregnant 19 year old’s mother and grandmother. I’m angry because, in the Baby Snatch Era, healthy white infants like myself were a commodity to be bought and sold and then asked to accept delusional thinking. ” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because adoption is so widely pushed at the pulpit and by the evangelicals worldwide, but they refuse to acknowledge the grief, abandonment, loss, and trauma that every adopted person experiences before they are adopted. Not only that, but I’m angry the pro-life movement continues to use adoption as an alternative to abortion, but the alternative to abortion isn’t adoption. It’s parenting! I’m angry that so many evangelicals are still stuck in the dark ages of secrecy, shame, and covering up by supporting untruths which are a part of almost every adoption story today. Secrets, lies, and half-truths destroy, and this is from God? Disgusting! Anger is an understatement.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because so many adoptive parents continue to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the adoptee experience and the pain we all carry. As if the adoptee doesn’t speak about their feelings, they must not have any, and everything must be okay! WRONG! Kids don’t know how to articulate grief and loss, and they need their adoptive parents to facilitate these conversations at a young age. We can quickly adapt to living self-destructive lives and using coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling, addiction to toxic relationships, etc. Stop pretending adoption and relinquishment don’t hurt, and everything is perfect. It’s not. Adoptees are hurting and dying, and we need the world to wake up!” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry because closed adoption is a form of torment and an inhumane way to expect anyone to live. So the faces and identities of my biological mother, biological father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are supposed to be a secret from me? Yeah, well fuck you, adoption, and everyone who supports it. My anger stems from the lies I’ve been fed my entire life by those who should love me the most! It’s valid and legit. And just think, they (adoptive parents and birth parents) signed the dotted line so I would have this life! I didn’t sign any paperwork! Until I reached my 40s and learned that I could positively use this anger and create CHANGE, it almost killed me!” – Adult Adoptee
“Anger is a natural part of the grief and loss process and a natural emotion to have when you have been deceived your whole life to appease our adoptive parent’s wants and needs. Do you want to know why it’s so EXTRA BIG for adoptees? Because we’re brainwashed from an early age to be grateful, when those feelings of sadness come in, and they always do, they show up as anger as rage for many of us. We are left in the dark on how to process it all. No one helps us because this idiotic notion that we’re only supposed to be thankful creates a huge mental mind fuck, and it’s sometimes impossible for us to be able to share our feelings how we feel because of this conditioning. I didn’t say the word “birthmother” until I was in my 50s because I was groomed not to talk about it and be thankful and grateful. My feelings weren’t welcome because they went against my adoptive parent’s biggest dream coming true, and that was my birth mother choosing to hand me over to strangers. By the way, those strangers were abusive emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually. I am spending a lifetime recovering from adoption trauma, but I’m spending a lifetime recovering from relinquishment trauma as well.” – Adult Adoptee
“I asked my adoptive parents over and over who my birth parents were, and they lied to me my whole life. Until one day, the truth came out. They knew who my birth mother was, and they just lied because they thought I would one day shut up about finding this lady that I was searching for in my fantasies and dreams, at parks, festivals, and walking down the street. Because they lied, I have every reason to be angry. I also have every reason to never speak to them again.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’m angry that even when I found my biological family in 1990, the government won’t allow me to have my very own original birth certificate. This is based on outdated laws that were put into play to deceive the adopted person from ever finding their truth. I am sick and tired of everyone thinking that I am still an infant and child with no thoughts, feelings, or say-so. I am 62, and I still am denied this basic human right. Damn right I am angry, and much more.” – Adult Adoptee
“I’ve struggled with anger my entire life due to my adoption experience. I have learned that the more I share my feelings, the more the pain chips away, and I eventually feel more at peace with things. The problem is that no one wants to hear it. We are labeled as “just having a bad adoption experience,” and we are told to “Just get over it already!” by those around us who know and say they love us. The reality is, I have learned that society doesn’t leave room for the heartbreak in adoption, only the sunny side, which always reflects the needs and wants of our adoptive parents. People are starting to listen little by little, but it’s still such a stretch to feel safe sharing feelings being adopted. I wonder if people knew how many adoptees commit suicide and how our jails, prisons, treatment, and mental health facilities are overpopulated with adoptees if they would open their hearts and minds to the realities that adoption isn’t what they have always thought it was? It is much more, and if we want the wants and needs of the CHILD to be put first, we need to acknowledge that that adopted child grows up. We have voices, and we need the world to start to listen and even become an ally and advocate for truth and transparency in all adoptions today. Remember – secrecy and lies destroy, so you are a huge part of the problem if you support this. Adoptees have every right to be angry. You would understand this if you only knew what we had to go through to find our truth. One simple response to an adopted person like, “I see you, I am sorry you are in pain, I am here to listen to you without judgment always,” could save an adoptee’s life. The willingness to listen, kindness, and compassion go a long way.” – Adult Adoptee
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read why 100 adoptees might be angry. Please share this article in your online communities. Our hope is that we raise a brighter light around adoptee voices and bring the truth to light, one story, quote, and click at a time.
If you are an adoptee, what piece of this article spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow adoptee’s thoughts, feelings and experiences?
Maybe you are an adoptee and missed the call to be included in this 100; we still want to hear from you! If you are an adoptee who what’s to share why you are angry, please drop your thoughts in the comment section below.
If you are not an adoptee but have somehow been impacted by this article, we would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for your willingness to learn that there is much more to adoption than a beautiful bouncing baby to complete your family.
Once again, a special thank you to all 100 adoptees who took the time to share your feelings with me over the last 8 years and, in return, collaborated with one of the most important articles we can share. 100 of us coming TOGETHER to share our truth is a powerful initiative. THANK YOU!
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Pamela A. Karanova
Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience!
To my friends, David Bohl and GRH – Thank you for giving me the courage to write about this!
As I continue on my recovery and healing journey, so many things are coming to the light about different areas I’ve navigated over the years. One of those areas is the topic of forgiveness. This is going to be lengthy, so get a cup of coffee and be prepared.
The world says “If you let go, by forgiving others you don’t have to hold onto resentment and anger” It’s said that forgiveness is necessary for personal growth. I can see this might be true in some circumstances and for minor hurts, but my thoughts shared here are relating to forgiveness towards traumatic events and situations because of someone else’s harmful actions.
What is considered traumatic? That’s for each person to decide. What’s traumatic to me, might not be traumatic to you. My role in sharing this information is to shine a light about a topic that’s significantly complex, with many layers from the perspective of an adult adoptee in recovery. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what forgiveness is, or isn’t and this is usually in alignment with the experiences that person has gained over their lifetime.
I’ve heard about forgiveness over the years, but I was never in a position to apply it to my life, nor did I see a need for it when I was young. It wasn’t a topic of conversation but I also wasn’t on a healing journey as a child either. In 2012 I started my healing journey and things changed. This sparked a significant experience with forgiveness as I got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and I started working the 12 Steps. Not long after I learned of Celebrate Recovery, and forgiveness was talked about even more but it was in a religious setting because Celebrate Recovery is a ministry.
Although I have an appreciation for both of these programs and the concept of forgiveness, I’m now an outsider looking in because I no longer attend either of these programs and I’ve been reflecting on my experiences with both.
Let me back things up to give you a little history.
When I was 15 years old, I was lost, alone, broken, rage filled and I had no hope in life. Not only was I experiencing abuse in my adoptive home, but my fantasy of my birth mother coming back to get me was shattered, and reality was beginning to set in.
SHE WAS NEVER COMING BACK.
SHE was constantly on my mind, but where was she? Who was she? I acted out in every way possible and began using substances daily at 12 years old. My struggles were 100% adoption related, but adoption was never talked about and never mentioned so I turned to substances, because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to feel. Most days I wanted to die, but somehow I found myself committed to drug and alcohol rehab in a locked facility at 15 years old.
I will never forget being locked in an all white room, and a nurse came in and handed me the big book. I had no clue what the big book was, but for those who don’t know it’s the story of Bill W. who’s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he shares how to recover from alcoholism. It’s focused on the 12 Steps and 8 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I asked myself, “did I hit rock bottom at 15 years old?” I hadn’t even begun to live my life yet. I had barely made it out of Jr. High, and I found myself locked in rehab, with a big book in my hand. I will never forget reading the first few pages, and the first few chapters. So let me get this straight, finding GOD was the cure all to this recovery thing? The only way I was going to graduate this drug and alcohol treatment program, and get out was finding GOD? And working these 12 steps. Today, I ask myself, ‘what were my other options?”
I had none.
So this huge gigantic responsibility was placed on me, TO FIGURE IT OUT. The entire treatment program and my recovery depended on it because the effectiveness of the entire AA program will depend on this decision to “turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood Him.”
Let’s break that down a little more, “AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM.” I had no clue what this even meant, but I was either going with the punches, working these 12 steps or never graduate this program. Let me be honest. I didn’t care about any of it, because I just wanted to go drink and use again. I had no choice in this and I was forced to play along. I asked a few of the inmates (it was like jail so that’s what I will call them) what god they turned their wills and life over to in hopes to gain a better understanding. They expressed the God that created the earth, the bible was the word, and that was the only way this thing was going to work.
I remember having experiences with that same God when I was growing up. My adoptive mom had us read devotionals, we went to church, performed in church plays, and she made us say prayers before meals.
But now, my entire life depended on turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him. What did this even mean? To be honest, I didn’t understand him but I did what I had to do to get out. I finally worked all the 12 steps, and after about 8 weeks I graduated the program. During my time in this locked treatment facility, I never once worked on or talked about any of my root adoptee related issues, like relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, abandonment, the primal wound, etc. I got out, went and got high and drunk again as soon as I was free.
I did NOT want to feel adoption, and at all costs and I didn’t.
Of course, if the tools were present and I had help, I’m sure I would have been able to process but that’s not how things worked for me. I had no tools, no one opening up conversations about my adoptee reality, it was a taboo topic. The less we talked about it, the better for everyone else. I felt truly alone in the world, but it wasn’t a happy alone. It was a deep, dark sad alone. I spent the next 27 years drinking alcohol, and using as many drugs as I could get my hands on as a way to numb my reality. So many times in my life, I just wanted to die because my adoptee pain has been that great. Reality, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore and I had no tools to work on my issues. In my mind, the only way to get rid of it is to go to sleep and never wake up again. Two times as a teenager I was unseccessful at trying to commit suicide, taking a hand full of pills each time, only waking up later regretful that the pills didn’t work. My adoptive parents never knew, and they still don’t. I just wanted out. The next 27 years was a roller coaster of a ride.
As 2012 hit, so did my next attempt at recovery and the 12 steps once again smacked me straight in my face. Here we go again. What other options were presented to me or available?
Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.
The only way to get healing is turning my life and will over to God, and making sure I forgive all those who have harmed me, even if they aren’t sorry, and even if I hadn’t even worked on the issues at all. I also had to forgive God, and forgive myself, which was the hardest part. As I set out on my recovery journey, I learned the rules to forgiveness in the religious realm are, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14
I remember my time heavily in the church, surrounding myself with Christian’s and church people the advice and information I was getting was solely from them and I also researched forgiveness. As they shared, and the bible shared, I knew that forgiveness was such an important part of healing, and the 12 steps so I worked on figuring out the true meaning of forgiveness and what it meant to me. I knew it was something for me, not the other person. The more I learned, I applied this to my life, but I also shared it with others on many occasions, especially during the 4 years I served in leadership for the women’s chemical dependency group in Celebrate Recovery. I remember internally struggling with the fact that I had forgiven someone like I was told to do by the 12 steps, but I still had major issues with the situation or the person I had forgiven. This only made me feel more defective than I already felt. It made me feel worse, because I must not be doing something right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head, combined with my heart torn into shreds. It was a horrible life for many of my years on earth.
I learned that in order for us to be forgiven by God, we had to forgive others who had harmed us. It’s said this “deal” could potentially send us to hell, and it would always keep us in bondage if we didn’t make the choice to forgive others, God and ourselves. I learned that once we make the choice to forgive others for them harming us and when we forgive ourselves, we then had to consciously decide to never bring it up again, and never discuss it or tell others about it, otherwise it wasn’t true forgiveness. Even when we thought about it again, we weren’t to speak about it, at all.
In my mind, this is more like coerced and mandatory forgiveness, (forged) but not true from the heart and it’s also ABUSIVE. Writing this today, I’ve come to the realization of how I personally feel this can be extremely damaging and even fatal for some people. I know in the AA Big Book, it says to find “God as I understood Him” and the forgiveness rules are possibly a little different than in the religious settings. But both of these ideas of forgiveness ignited the fact that I had to forgive others in order to make it out alive and complete these 12 steps. And what about there truly being no other choice towards healing, aside from working these 12 steps?
Why wasn’t I given anymore options?
Let me make this clear, I wholeheartedly believe that the 12 steps in AA and Celebrate Recovery have worked wonders and saved the lives of many individuals, and for that I’m very thankful. However, this topic is a critical thing, and it’s important it’s shared, especially with Adoptees in general, but specifically my fellow Adoptees in Recovery.
I’m not addressing forgiveness for minor or petty offenses. I’m not talking about when someone TRULY makes a mistake, and they are sorry they did something and us forgiving them and giving second chances. I’m not talking about those that don’t intentionally hurt us. We can easily say, “That person didn’t know what they were doing” but many times forgiveness is extended to people who knew what they were doing. Improper forgiveness can keep us in bondage, and it can set the forgiver up to be victimized again, and again, and again with the offender never being truly sorry or remorseful. This is ABUSIVE. THIS IS BONDAGE.
Do you ever feel like forgiveness defends the abusers? I do. Do you ever feel like forgiveness feels like giving our abusers a free pass? I do. When someone has root issues that are trauma based, the whole idea of forgiveness can be very damaging, and oftentimes deadly. I can share this, because this is how forgiveness has impacted me, when it’s been presented in a way it has throughout my lifetime. Forced upon me by scriptures backing it up, and through programs I had to complete to LIVE, it’s clearly had me backed in a corner with nowhere to turn. It manipulated me to the core of my being.
I realize that there are more resources today than there were when I was 15 years old, and even when I started my recovery journey in 2012. Today I’m thinking for myself, and I’m not being backed into a corner with no options. I realize that I possibly didn’t have all the tools for recovery in my recovery tool box and there are more possibilities today than there was before. The more I learn about forgiveness, and all the different dynamics of it, the more I’m informed if it works for me or if it doesn’t work for me.
I resent the fact that from the biblical concept of forgiveness and the world’s standards, I’ve felt 100% manipulated and duped into forgiving others, God and myself. What I wonder is, if I’m supposed to forgive all those who hurt me, myself and God and if I don’t God won’t forgive me, but he sends so many people to hell, so where is his forgiveness for others? Isn’t this quite the double standard and mental mind manipulation? It’s lead me to question God all together, and rethink my entire approach on what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’m going to save that for another article, but it’s coming.
I don’t know about you, but the idea that a person that has been victimized has a responsibility placed on them to forgive their perpetrator/s is pretty disgusting and a topic I’ve found to be very disheartening. Anyone who is pushing forgiveness onto others is doing it for their own gain, and their own agenda, not yours. A lot of the wounds people care are inner child wounds, and being forced or coerced to forgive others is extremely toxic and damaging!
For me, where I am today, what if I personally don’t believe in forgiveness based on my experience with it, but I believe in holding people accountable for their shitty actions? What if I make the choice if I want to allow them in my life or not without being manipulated into forgiving them? What if MY WAY isn’t the WORLDS WAY but who gives a shit, because it’s what works for me? Would you believe me if I told you that I’m at peace with things, but I haven’t forgiven anyone by the world’s standards? That doesn’t mean I still don’t have traumatic memories, or have trauma work to do. What if I take forgiveness and everything about it and toss it in the trash? Shouldn’t we want to consciously and organically in our hearts want to give people second chances, be better people or come to peace with things on our own time without an entire belief system manipulating us into doing so? This manipulation with forgiveness has actually hindered me, kept me in bondage, and held me back from true authentic and organic healing. This is life or death for many of us.
Forced and Forged Forgiveness can add layers of shame onto victims, for not “getting over something” or for “sharing their trauma.” Once you forgive someone, you’re supposed to get over it, and move on with your life. What if you don’t get over it or move on? “Here you are talking about it again” … Shame comes in after we’ve said to forgive someone, when you are simply having natural and very legitimate feelings associated with a very real situation for you. This isn’t helping people, only hurting them worse. I’ve had people silence me with scriptures, when I share very real feelings with them. “You’ve already forgiven yourself for that, the devil is only bringing it up again because he wants you to live in condemnation.” Talk about BONDAGE and MENTAL MIND F&^KS. It’s becoming apparent to me that this belief system can cause great amounts of harm, and even become fatal to some. (I plan on writing about that later)
Let’s touch on the our society’s “positive culture” that surrounds our lives today. Positive vibes, clearing any and all negative energies from our sacred spaces, and much of the time we’re denying our own feelings, stuffing them down and bypassing processing them just to fit into the mold of the world and the preaching of positive vibes. You see motivational speakers kicking into high drive, and spiritual circles silencing you with scriptures all to keep the positive vibes going. Have you learned what Spiritual Bypassing is? I suggest you research it, and it’s a real thing. Also research Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your life will never be the same.
As adoptees, it’s so important we understand that anger, and feelings of grief, loss and sadness are perfectly legitimate feelings, and they come in waves for many of us. Are you leaving room for these feelings within your friends and family and within your circle? If not, please reconsider because it’s life and death. I don’t have time to preach positivity when adoptees are dying! Once we are in a position to process these feelings, in natural ways we then start healing. When positive culture is shoved down our throats, like it is in churches, spiritual settings, and in society as a whole it leaves no room for us to share our pain. Just like forged forgiveness, this can be fatal. We really need to rethink our approach, and stop forcing this culture on everyone. We have to do better.
Anger can be a very positive thing when used the right way. Anger can be used to fuel change, create visions, and put action behind them. We have to stop silencing people when they share it, and stop trying to dish out feel good juice, and learn to sit with people in their pain. I’m not talking about ANGER that abuses and hurts other people which is HUGE as well. This is when anger is toxic to others and it isn’t productive. We can each set our own boundaries if this type of anger influences our lives, or the lives of others. But before we get to the other side of healing starting, we have to process the anger FIRST.
If you step out of the box filled with influences from your lifetime, please know It is entirely possible for someone to get to a place of acceptance, and peace about a situation and forgiveness has never been extended. Please know forgiveness culture can be very damaging when it’s forged and forced in anyway.
What if I have been on a healing journey, and I’ve decided on my own that my goal is to come to peace with things in my life, and for me that process happens by accepting things are the way they are and there is nothing I can do to change them? What if forged forgiveness does more harm than good? What if expecting others to FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED US actually retraumatised us and damages us more than the actual offense itself? What if we’re placing an unrealistic and damaging burden on those who we expect to forgive who are perpetrators and those who hurt us and it only adds to our pain and trauma?
“Forgiveness is for you, and no one else and it should never be forced on anyone” – Says the world.
Yes, this is true yet the world is set up as the opposite, especially in religious circles. The 12 steps are focused around forgiveness, and for me I was giving FREE PASSES TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSED AND TRAUMATIZED ME. Is anyone manipulating me into “coming to a place of peace?” No, no they aren’t. It’s something I do on my time, through healing (whatever that looks like to me), and trauma therapy, and TONS OF TRAUMA work. Not because GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES SAY SO.
For me, forged forgiveness (a huge burden and responsibility) to forgive those who have traumatized and hurt me, was actually BONDAGE. Not the other way around. Forged Forgiveness feels like gaslighting to me, and that’s only adding trauma on top of trauma. It’s up to each of us to decide on our own, without any influences if we want to forgive someone or not. It should be from our hearts, not because of manipulation or to complete a program. If forgiveness has worked for you, that’s wonderful but we must understand what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Have you spent as much time sitting with someone, listening to them in their grief and pain like you have encouraged them to forgive their perpetrator/s?
Today, I’ve decided I’m withdrawing my forgiveness claims, and reevaluating each and every situation on my own terms, in my own time. Right now, I have a clean slate and I have forgiven no one. From this day forward, as situations arise and thoughts come to my mind, I will process them organically either alone or with someone I trust and I will REMOVE any forged and forced idea of forgiveness from my mind. This is freedom to me.
If the idea of forgiveness comes naturally, then I will apply it to that situation. If it doesn’t, and I can come to a place of peace, then wonderful. Maybe I’m not at a place of peace yet about certain things, which means I still have trauma work to do. Maybe I will never get to that place, because trauma impacts us all in different ways. It can change our brain wiring, it can change our memory and our mobility. Trauma can change everything and not all trauma just goes away. Sometimes acceptance that the trauma and it’s symptoms are here to stay is what’s needed to be able to cope.
No two stories are the same, and we all need and want different things in life. This article is long, and it’s filled with a lot of thoughts. I’m sharing because this is a HUGE topic, and recently having someone tell me “MAYBE YOU SHOULD FORGIVE THEM” even after I shared many traumatic situations with that person, really rubbed me the wrong way. It made me reevaluate forgiveness all together, and made me really think how abusive it can be. It also made me realize how forged forgiveness has impacted my life, and how I’m the only one who can change things for my future.
After reading ALL THIS, I’m not here to tell you forgiveness isn’t productive and it’s not for you. I’m here to share my truth, as my experiences back it up. I’m here to share there is a damaging side to forgiveness and I hope each person reading is given more tools than what I was given. I hope for each of you, forgiveness is a CHOICE that you choose.
I’m glad I got to share this, and I feel even more free than when I started typing it. I’m thankful I’m at a place of freedom where I can recognize the abuse behind certain areas that are portrayed to be positive things. The healthier we get, the more BS we can recognize. I hope to continue to share what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me. My hope is, it helps someone out there, specifically my fellow adoptees. Please understand, if you can’t bring it in your life to FORGIVE others, for ANY REASON please don’t allow others to place that BURDEN on you. You don’t deserve it, and it’s not yours to carry. You don’t owe anyone, I MEAN IT!
No matter who it is.
Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
Love, love. P.K.
P.S. I know some might mean well, but if you feel the need to send me scriptures about forgiveness, please spare yourself the time. I’m not interested.
As we wrap up our first month of 2018 a few things have come to my attention. It’s so easy to get sucked into situations where we’re co-signing for online bullying and harassment, I thought a blog post about it might not be a bad idea.
I’ve noticed how one simple “tag” into a conversation or an innocent response to a post can be the door way to open-up an online episode of bullying or harassment. This can spiral out of control and it usually happens quickly.
I have seen from experience the damage this type of activity can do to others, and if I’m being honest when I’ve engaged in this type of activity I don’t feel better when it happens. I only feel worse.
My reason for writing this is because I’ve seen an increased amount of division created by online attacks within the adoptee community and it’s not okay. Witnessing these attacks, and even being pulled into a few I’ve found it to be very divisive among our community. We don’t need division. We need unity to move forward.
I can only speak for myself, but I have a life outside of “Adoptee City”. I love my online community of adoptees, but I have so many other things going on in life. Adoptee City is just a small piece of my life, but it does take up a lot of my time and I pour my heart and soul into the areas I participate in.
What does this mean?
I don’t have time for online drama.
If you are an online bully you will be silenced from my personal space. I can’t say you will be silenced online in other peoples spaces, but you will be silenced in mine.
Your either for me or you’re against me. If you are against me that’s okay, but be an adult and either come to me in a private message and talk to me or keep it moving. Whatever you decide to do, I can assure you I’m not losing any sleep either way.
If I get pulled into a situation online, I’m very careful how I navigate things moving forward. Much of the time if it’s a negative dynamic of unproductive communication between one or more people coming off in an attacking way, I don’t take the bait. I make the choice to “opt-out”. I don’t respond to that person directly. If someone lashes out at me in a nasty way, without hesitating I block them.
Let me say I’m not talking about a discussion where we are asked to share our experiences, peaceful or even not so peaceful debating that happens online. I’m talking about attacks that happen among online communities. Most of the time the person perpetrating the attacks is someone who has a history of being an online bully and has problems in various online communities for this behavior. More than likely they are blocked a lot and cause strife in many different areas.
Understand there is a dramatic difference in “Sharing Your Voice” and “Online Bullying & Harrassing”.
When we make the choice to talk about a person, place or business via social media or in an online forum. website, blog, etc. are we asking ourselves what our motive is first?
Is it to speak the truth as we see it? Is it because we have a point to prove and we want to do our best to get our point across? Is it to try to change other’s opinions and we share our truth as a guiding force for this to happen?
There are endless reasons why people share things online but before I share I try to ask myself is, am I trying to help someone or hurt them? Am I presenting my information in a way that others will receive it, or a way that is respectful to those who might read it? Am I coming from a mean, hostile, controlling or aggressive place?
I’ve failed many MANY times, and I’m the first to admit this and I’m a work in progress as we all are. An example for me is communication online between adoptive parents and birth parents and adoptees. I feel most of the time they run over how adoptees feel with what they think they know, and it only adds pain to our issues. Of course I can’t speak for all of them, which would be wrong of me to do but the majority I have come across online and in person this is my experience. It makes me angry, so I stay away from these types of situations where I don’t necessarily have the grace I need to have a healthy dialog with them. One day maybe this will change, but its just how it is right now.
When I see discord online, many times I see others jump on in and start in on the bashing of someone else because the bully aka the ring leader has sparked up some drama and there you go. An entire thread on the internet bashing and smashing others, while they aren’t given the time of day to defend themselves in an appropriate healthy dialog. They aren’t even asked who, what, when where and why BEFORE the perpetrator starts to lash out at the projected target. This is straight toxic foolery to be spun by GROWN ADULTS on the internet. I see kids behave better than this. It’s terribly disturbing.
Sadly, when we see this negative type of interaction going on we sometimes turn the other way, we don’t get involved to save our selves from being drug into the “drama”. I’m so guilty of doing this because I hate drama. I feel like I’ve worked my entire life to move away, change my life, grow up, and be a better person and a productive light to society that the last thing I want to get involved with is “INTERNET DRAMA”. It doesn’t excite me at all, many times I turn the other way and keep it moving.
What has come to my attention lately, is that by me turning the other cheek and walking away I am just as guilty as the person perpetrating the mean, hostile, controlling and aggressive behavior in the online communities. I don’t feel good about just wearing blinders and pretending I don’t see certain things.
What I have done is tread very carefully where I am present in online communities and I’m extremely cautious of who I let inside my personal space because anyone in my personal space has a potential to impact my life in a positive or a negative way.
We all must be careful in this way.
When we are a witness to cyber bullying and/or harassment we have choices we can make regarding how we respond. If it was someone close to us who was being attacked online, a family member or a friend you better believe most of us would jump right in to their defense.
If it’s someone we aren’t close to or we only know through the online world we can make a choice. We could ignore it and act like we don’t see it. We can confront the perpetrator in public or private or comfort the target in public or private. We could also document the behavior and report it as cyber-bullying and/or harassment.
There are many options, but we must realize is that someone is always watching somewhere, and our actions online could very well have some consequences in real life. Screen shots are forever and a lot of time can be used in court. I’ve learned that most people who are cyber bullies and/or cyber harassers are not someone you can even have a healthy dialog with, let alone a conversation where two people can discuss their views in a healthy way. They are so consumed with control, anger and rage they want to be the only one to be heard. There is no communication because their desire is to dominate at all costs, they will always “win” because they use the loudest voice in the online communities. They scare others and use this as a way to control people.
I will say my chances to insert myself into confronting this type of individual online is extremely slim. Why? Because in my lifetime I’ve learned that talking to someone like this is like talking to a wall. There is no point. They don’t have the willingness to listen and learn from others, and they desire to dominate and control. They are always right so what would be the point in confronting them? A lot of times narcissism is a possibility for these types of individuals. It’s all about them, what they want to scream from the roof tops in online platforms, they want to be the loudest and the voice that is never shut down AKA silenced.
I can assure you, most of the time these are the very same people who are blocked and banned from multiple online communities, and by other online people who simply have no time to deal with this type of drama. It’s usually not an isolated incident, but a reoccurring one. That said, for me confronting the person is probably out of the question but if I did feel lead to confront them it would be in a private message letting them know I see them and I’m not okay with their behavior online.
To not turn a blind eye to situations online that I might witness, it’s in my nature to reach out to the target in private and offer a word of encouragement and support. I would also encourage them to ban and block this person who is perpetrating these things onto them. With this kind of personality, most of the time a response will only add fuel to the fire. More than likely the perpetrator has online drama all over the place. Trust me, some people live to complain, and some people are mad at the world no matter what you say to them. Some people are negative from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. I’ve seen it, it’s true! These kind of people will suck the life right out of you!
I’ve learned that sometimes people live in fear or intimidation of those online who are bullying or harassing others therefor they “CO-SIGN” for them instead of blocking/banning them from their online safe space and they shiver at the thought of confronting them. I’m guilty, I’ve been there before but times have changed and I’m not co-signing for inappropriate behavior online anymore.
Confronting someone online who is a bully and/or harasser is something that I wouldn’t recommend. Usually that will unleash the beast that is already showing its true colors. Co-signing for this type of person can be as simple as liking a status they post that is attacking another person, place or business or commenting on something agreeing with them. It can be agreeing with them to keep “Sharing their voice!” without taking into consideration how they are doing it. How are they treating other people online, even the ones they don’t agree with or they have different views with?
Are they attacking a person, a place or a business? Are they being angry, mean, harassing, bullying or acting aggressive?
As the saying goes, “When people show you who they really are, believe them!” – Maya Angelou
Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it. We are all in control of who or what we let inside our safe spaces. If I see someone else’s safe space is being violated I have a moral obligation to do something, and in most cases for me it’s report the bullying harassing behavior and/or blocking that person as well as encouraging the target to block that person.
No one, I mean NO ONE on earth deserves to get bullied in real life or online. It shouldn’t be tolerated online just like it shouldn’t be tolerated in real life.
Again, there is a HUGE difference in trying to teach and educate others about your mission and passion in life, weather it be adoption, nutrition, marriage, or whatever and coming off in an arrogant, rude, disrespectful, in a mean way.
Anger is a natural response to so many things in life. It’s okay to be ANGRY but It’s when we use that anger for good, doing positive things in positive ways is when it’s a healthy type of anger. When we get stuck in the anger, and our anger spills out into other people’s “Safe Spaces” is when it becomes a big problem.
What I’m seeing frequently online is ANGER used in unhealthy ways and sometimes it’s being put on a pedestal for “SHARING ONES VOICE”. It’s not healthy if it’s a mean spirited, aggressive, intimidating way which is impacting others safe spaces in a negative way. This is not okay. This is another way we can co-sign for someone’s unruly behavior and it’s just as bad as if you were the perpetrator.
I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I am going to make a pledge to do my best to stay away from these type of online interactions and not put myself in vulnerable positions online where such chaos can and does occur. When it does happen I will reach out to the target, and block and ban the perpetrator.
I’ve noticed many times the perpetrators of this type of negative bullying is coming from someone who represents themselves using a fake name they hide behind, and they automatically think they have more power online because they can freely say what they want without anyone knowing who they truly are.
I would like to encourage anyone using fake names like this to be real, be the true you and stop hiding behind fake names just to be able to use it as a tool to cause strife and division in online communities. Stop faking who you are. If you want to be such a bad ass online, be the real you. What are you hiding from?
I used a “pen name” that I wrote under for about 3 years, but this wasn’t to stir shit online. It was because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to be true to who I really was and share my real true feelings from my real true self. I didn’t want to hurt those close to me so I hid how I felt. I was hiding from anyone ever knowing how I truly felt. Then one day I woke up and decided I no longer needed to apologize for my feelings and I had ever right to have them. The pen name worked for awhile and as I gained my confidence and as I shared in online communities I got stronger and I was able to heal in ways I didn’t think I could. Then I got rid of the pen name.
There is a difference in using a pen name to share feelings and using a pen name or a fake name to lash out at others online to hide from the consequences of what this type of behavior sparks. The term most people would use these days is “Trolling”. I’m not going to support this type of activity in my online spaces at all.
I like to call it spreading hate and this type of interaction only sucks the life out of others, and somehow this makes the perpetrator feel strong, big and mighty.
I ask myself, is what I’m typing online something I could stay to someone’s face in real life? Or am I just talking smack behind the keyboard? Am I spreading hate? Am I putting someone down?
I feel like we should all be able to have an educated discussion without putting others down, even when our opinions differ than the other. There’s always going to be someone who supports the opposite of what you support and people with visions that counteract with your visions.
It’s part of life and how we navigate these types of situations has a critical role in our message being received by another person. How about none of us are 100% right, and other opinions are valuable. Are we leading our cause in love? Or are we leading our cause in hate? Are we lifting others up or are we tearing them down? If we are spreading hate and tearing others down we are missing the mark and missing it greatly. Every time we come across this way online , every sentence we share that is filled with hate or tearing someone down because we don’t like their idea is a chance we had to express ourselves in a way that others receive what we have to say that is lost forever. If you come off abrasive be prepared to be blocked. People are turned off by this way of communication. Not only online, but real life as well.
I believe wholeheartedly there are ways to educate about our cause in a healthy way that doesn’t come off unethical, self-serving, mean spirited and intimidating to others. We can educate by being kind and considerate while taking into consideration that each person is entitled to their own opinions. Once we can come to this place of understanding is when we will be validated, listened too and our opinions will be valued and even appreciated online and in real life.
There was a time in my life where I was angry and mad at the world. A few years ago online, I came across a fellow adoptee who was selling a service to her fellow adoptees and it appalled me because the service she was selling is something we shouldn’t have to pay for- the information we should have never been denied to begin with. I will admit, I didn’t like her because of her vision and what she was doing in the adoptee arena. I called her out on Twitter, and it created WW3 online. What I realized was, WHO THE HELL AM I TO SAY ANYTHING TO THIS WOMAN about what she is doing in her life? I had to check myself and simmer down because I am no one special and my opinion is just that, an opinion. I was so convicted that I felt terrible and I ended up apologizing to her and telling her I was sorry for being an asshole online.
What I should have done, was sent her a private message asking her what her vision was, gotten some details to see where her mind is with what she is doing and then and only then in a private safe space express my feelings regarding this topic. I didn’t do that, but I had wished I did.
Thankfully she accepted my apology and we went on our merry way. I learned from this situation that certain times I might feel a certain way about things but it’s not my job to go roaring in like CUJO yelling it to the entire world I disagree with someone. How juvenile and pitiful was that of me anyway? I learned so much from that situation and there are several others that I have learned from along the way.
Thank God for learning experiences!
For anyone reading, I would like to challenge you to ask yourself before posting things online “Am I helping someone or am I trying to hurt them?” or “Am I co-signing for someone else’s online bullying and harassment or am I eliminating this kind of interaction from my life?”
Sadly, the perpetrator is only alienating themselves from perfect opportunities to teach others about their cause or passion but coming off as a bully and/or a harasser and this is only going to create division, cause strife and create negative interactions online.
I’m controlling my safe space these days and these types of people must go. I refuse to deal with any nonsense in real life and the same goes for the online world. When it’s all said and done we have to realize the words we choose to use online can have consequences and they can get us in trouble.
If you can come at me privately with an attempt to discuss things in a healthy dialog and I will be happy to converse but if you come at me sideways mobbing me in a public setting be prepared for the consequences. Just because you are online behind a keyboard doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. If you can’t respect me even if you don’t agree with me I ask you to keep it moving.
If I see bullying happening online I have a moral obligation to reach out to the target and make sure they are okay, as well as encourage them to block the perpetrator. Sometimes we aren’t strong to make these decision on our own and someone else’s opinion or suggestion is all we need to put an end to a chaotic situation online. I encourage you to do the same.
If you are reading this and if the shoe fits, I would like to extend empathy to you and your situation. I know why people come off as bullies and have mean characteristics. My hope for you is, that healing can happen in your life, so you can take your anger and use it in positive ways. One day I hope you can say without a doubt you have changed so many lives for the good by spreading good vibes while using your voice and sharing your truth because it is possible. I hope you get to that space sooner than later. You deserve to be happy and healthy and you have purpose!
We all deserve healthy interactions and healthy dialog and we can agree to disagree.
Anything less is something I refuse to be a part of in real life or online. I’m the boss of my life and I choose who I allow in it, and who I refuse to let enter my safe space.
This blog post was inspired because I know first hand how hard birthday’s can be for adoptees. There is healing in sharing how we feel so I wanted to seek input from my fellow adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthdays.
I was blown away to see so many of us feel similar ways about this day and the days leading up to the “Birth” day. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well.
Some adoptees have no issues with this day.
No matter what experiences are shared here, I’m excited so share the feelings of so many of my fellow adoptees no matter how they feel. Each and every one of you matters, your story matters and your voice matters.
If you would like to add how you feel about your birthday please reply to this thread and I’ll add it to this blog post. Feel free to share with your online communities to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.
Adoptee Voice #1.
My birthday month is August. I wish the month could go away. My birthday is the 10th. I don’t ever recall looking forward to my birthday. It feels weird when people wish me happy birthday. I don’t even know what the normal feeling is supposed to be.
Adoptee Voice #2.
It’s not your birthday. It’s your cake day., eat cake.
Adoptee Voice #3.
August 21st is my birthday so in the back of my mind counting down to the day. Not sure what plans are. I usually try stay positive but by evening the mind tends to take over a bit. I used to think it was the one day she would be thinking of me but found out she never remembered my birth date.
Adoptee Voice #4.
My birthday is December 21. So I get the holiday blues wIthiBONUS birthday blues. My mom passed just over a year ago, my dad has had a super rough time (wrecked the tractor last fall, other medical problems, depression) and I’m already dreading this holiday season.I’m actually thinking about taking a road trip. I could use the solitude and the break and it just might be the perfect time and place for the crying jag I never seem to let myself have.
Last year I turned 50 and my aunt (my mom’s only sibling) surprised me at work with a big cake. It was nice of her, but it was also sort of surreal.
Adoptee Voice #5
It’s the time of the year I can’t “not think” of my birth parents. (BF is deceased) My birth mother lives less than 15 miles from me and a mile away from where I was raised. She pretends I don’t exist. If there is one day a year she thinks about me, that should be it, right? I do write her letters and send them, even though I never get anything back.
Adoptee Voice #6
I have an August birthday (the 28th). I HATE my birthday… As a child, it was never a happy occasion. Adoptive father was a violent drunk, and his drinking never took a vacation, no matter the day.. holidays, birthdays, weddings…. Adoptive monster was an enabler, and fed into his violence and never protect myself or adoptive brother. Birthdays were “family” parties until I was 10. Every year less and less people came, and I finally realized it was due to him. I always wondered what I did wrong.. But why in the world would you subject yourself to that disaster if you didn’t have to? And since I wasn’t blood to them, they just stopped coming. The final straw was at 16. Adoptive monster talked up a Sweet 16 party for years. Told me we would rent a hall, get a DJ, I could invite anyone I wanted… When it came down to it, it didn’t happen. It was downgraded to a house party in my garage. The day of ,I spent HOURS getting ready. Sat outside waiting and waiting. Hours after start time, I heard the adoptive monsters arguing. Adoptive father admitted the night before he called the entire guest list and told them it was cancelled…. NO JOKE. This is the deranged behavior I lived with my entire childhood. That was the last birthday I spent with them. Shortly after this, I fled in the middle of the night and was emancipated.
Adoptee Voice #7
My birthday is Nov 1 and I always got depressed and angry as it got closer. I’m 53. A few years ago I decided to start making it about others. I’d invite a couple of good friends to go out to a really nice dinner just to celebrate the friendships I have.
I have a loving husband and family who wanted to bless me so I quit being a stick in the mud & let them and chose to enjoy what I have now instead of what I don’t have. Gratitude and choosing to bless others changed how I anticipate my birthday now.
This was before I met my sister this past spring, and learned a lot about my birth parents who have passed. I am now looking forward to this year’s birthday.
It’s all in perspective – I am here, alive, and have many things to be thankful about.
Adoptee Voice #8
Birthdays are hard for me. I have spent more than one birthday listening to John Lennon’s song “Mother” on repeat…
Adoptee Voice #9
I know some adoptees hated this, but I loved it. It made me feel special. My Adoptive Mom celebrated my adoption Birthday by taking me out and often giving me a special gift.
Adoptee Voice #10
The older I got the more I dreaded it. I only want to hear it from my son who I know loves me. And my boyfriend who I know loves me also. Everyone else I still wonder what they really think of me. No matter their loyalty or not….I still question it. It took me awhile to believe my boyfriend really loved me.
Adoptee Voice #11
Birthday, the day of happiness from all… Ugh it’s just a dreaded day of wanting to be alone.
Adoptee Voice #12
My birthday is in May and I just think of it as the day I was given to the universe rather than the day I lost my whole family.
Adoptee Voice #13
I have hated every single birthday I can remember. Everyone always thought I should love them and celebrate them! It never felt like my day or my birthday. Long story short at the age of 38 I found my birth mother 1 week ago. The day I had always celebrated my birthday was not the day I was born! I have no idea how I will feel for the next one….Feb always thought, March actual!
Life literally changed overnight and upside down. I thought being adopted was hard, at this stage being reunited is even harder. My birth mother seems lovely and kinda “gets me” more than my adoptive mother. Huge journey/roller coaster ride about to begin.
Adoptee Voice #14
Growing up my birthdays were a mixed deal. The birthday party or events my parents had lined up were always fun things I really liked. But there is just something about the day I was born and always feeling like my biological mom did not even love me enough to keep me. Once I got into what my parents had planed it was always a fun day. But the lead up was bad for years. After I became an late teen and adult the day got worse. For years I would just ignore it, spending the whole day doing yard work, even mowing a relatives or a neighbors yard just things to keep my super busy and my mind off my birthday. The last few years have been better. I have dealt with my life much more working through it instead of burying it. I am beginning to feel I deserve to be happy or at least not sad on my day. Like others have sad feelings I have put in the work to earn my day. Wanting to show my biological mom this stubborn, loud, fussy baby turned out just fine!!!!
Adoptee Voice #15
It didn’t really seem much different than any other non-adoptees birthday, until I found out last year that by birth mother and I share the same birthday. I must have been the worst birthday present ever.
Adoptee Voice #16
For me I used substances for 26 years, so I didn’t have to process the pain of the realities of adoption. Birthdays were always a dreaded day filled with pain, loss, unconscionable grief and having to celebrate it was possible but only with alcohol in my life. 8/13/12 I decided I wanted to live a sober lifestyle and all the REALITIES of adoption came flooded in. I truly wasn’t prepared for it all. When you run for so many years how can you prepare. In the last 5 years I’ve worked towards handling these emotions in a healthy way. I am not gonna lie, there were birthdays I just couldn’t even get out of bed and it goes the same for the weeks leading up to that day. It was a dreaded day for many years, but recently I’ve given myself permission (because no one else in the world has) to be sad on that day, cry and share my feelings in my blog. I’ve learned it’s perfectly normal to be sad on the day I was separated from my birth mother. I wanted to erase the entire day and erase myself in the process! Thank God it wasn’t possible but I would have done it 100x over if it was. Today after almost 5 years of recovery and sobriety, my sessions of the pain of my birthday is still there, but each year I process and share my feelings and others validate them (THIS IS CRITICAL FOR US!) things get easier. This year, I will wake up on my birthday (Aug 13) and prob play a song that reminds me of my birth mother (My Way- By Frank Sinatra) and cry awhile. Why? Because it’s okay to cry awhile. Once I get that out of the way I might write about what I’m feeling and share it with those who understand, and get on with the day. I plan to go hiking with my kids and go see a waterfall and enjoy the rest of the day. You see, it’s critical we are able to process the pain because leaving it inside only KILLS us inside! Adoptees grow up, and they don’t stay babies forever. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to be sad on this day. If you are an adoptee who struggles with your birthday please know you aren’t alone!
Adoptee Voice #17
Birthdays for me, are somewhat hollow. There is an entire person who has never been acknowledged, celebrating his birthday, but as a different person. There is sadness and pain in any holiday for me. I still enjoy it. Just is different for me.
Adoptee Voice #18
We didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or holidays while growing up. So, it’s still just that…not a big deal. A few people wish me happy birthday, but other than that it’s just another day.
Adoptee Voice #19
I always thought that the day I was born was the ultimate irony. I came into this world on Mother’s Day. I could never wrap my head around how that must have felt for my birth mother. My feelings towards my birthday fluctuate with the feelings I have for my biological parents. When I was younger, I had deep anger & spent my birthday wondering if they were thinking of me, hoping they were & hoping that it hurt like hell. My anger morphed into depression and my birthday has since caused me a deep sense of sadness & it is the time when I feel the greatest sense of abandonment.
Adoptee Voice #20
As a kid, I never thought twice about it. In the last 20 years it weighs on me, heavily. I’m now 42. My adopted father left as soon as the adoption was finalized leaving my mom and I. She passed away 4 years ago and I always think she loved me when no one else did. The date before the actual birthday is the toughest. Now that I have my own family I can remember every nuance of that day leading to their birth. Every year seems to be harder than the previous.
Adoptee Voice #21
I would never think twice about my birthday until I turned 16. I don’t know whether It’s because it’s an important milestone in our culture, or whether it’s because I was finally mature enough to understand the implications of adoption. From then on, a pattern began to develop. Each birthday would start off happy..until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing but out of nowhere I suddenly become overwhelmed with thoughts of my birth mother. Is she thinking about me? Does she get as sad as I do on this day? Has she been longing for me as much as I have been? Etc. Unfortunately, this feeling of loss has only continued to grow with each birthday.
Adoptee Voice #21
It’s my birthday, that’s all there is to it. I don’t have huge blowout gatherings or what have you, but I’ll do something to enjoy it. I feel blessed that people contact me in whatever manner they do to wish me well on that day!
Adoptee Voice #22
I remind people who love me it is an anniversary loss day, my body is grieving. I noticed a pattern likely in my childhood, usually crying on my birthday at the end of the day and not knowing why, had a full panic attach at age 19, and generally feeling sad for about 4-6 weeks around my birthday despite the happy celebrations. I love getting older but the loss does not seem to lessen with time, now almost 50, even after a happy reunion.
Adoptee Voice #23
It’s supposed to be such a happy day and every one wants you to be happy. But for me there’s always been something, something that spoils it. Something underlying that prevented me. It was only when I grew old enough to relate that it was the day “she” gave me away and chose never to see me again. To severe that 9 month bond and drastically change the course of my life without my consent.
Adoptee Voice #24
Like always, going through the motions, pretending to be happy because that is what everyone expects. Now, I am older, I choose to spend it alone with as little fuss as possible. This was a hard lesson for my natural siblings to learn on my first birthday post-reunion, they staged a birthday bash which I did not attend. It was always a painful period leading up to the actual day but it feels worse now, post-reunion. I was 5 years too late to meet my Mother and now, it just feels like the anniversary of when I lost her.
Adoptee Voice #25
My birthday doesn’t really bother me. I get really irritable around it, but on the day it’s always the best day. I try to make that day as happy as I can.
Adoptee Voice #26
I wonder if my ” mother ” thinks about me on my birthday.
Adoptee Voice #27
I can go into a full blown PTSD episode just because it’s that anniversary.
Adoptee Voice #28
It is simply the worst day of the year. Nothing fits.
Adoptee Voice #29
A yearly reminder that I was brought into this world to be given away, nothing more.
Adoptee Voice #30
I hate my birthday.
Adoptee Voice #31
It’s the saddest day of the year for me.
As you can see many adoptees share similar feelings regarding our birthdays. If you are an adoptee reading, please know you aren’t alone.
You matter and your feelings matter.
To all the adoptees who were brave in sharing their voices, THANK YOU for helping the world understand how it feels to be adopted. Keep sharing, keep using your voice!
If you are a non-adoptee reading this, thank you for making it this far. Your courage in having the willingness to want to learn how we feel is amazing alone. Please share this post in our online communities to help us raise awareness of how it feels to be adopted.
If you are an adoptee and would like to add how you feel about your birthday, please reply to this post and I’ll add it for you.
Blessings to all & thanks for reading.
Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
I was interviewed for Adoptees On Podcast by friend, fellow adoptee AND Sister in Christ Haley Radke. I was honored and humbled to be able to share my story with the world.
You might ask my reasoning?
God gives us ALL a testimony, a story. It’s up to US to share it with those around us. I took this opportunity for many reasons, but the main reason was to share with my fellow adoptees and the WORLD what GOD has done in my life. How he’s transformed me and healed my broken heart. I was so stuck and in such a deep dark hole and I know many of my fellow adoptees are still stuck! I was stuck for 41 years!
God has literally saved me from myself.
I wanted to share this message of HOPE!
Recovery is a huge part of my adoptee journey. I know there are tons of hurting adoptees who are either in recovery, or in addiction as a result of abandonment and rejection from their adoption experience. Grief, Loss & Trauma go along with this.
THERE ARE SO MANY HURTING ADOPTEES OUT THERE!
(i love you and you are NOT alone!)
God has given me a message of HOPE for them and this is why I decided to do the podcast. Less than 24 hours after the podcast aired I’ve received tons of positive feedback from many who were impacted by this. Many tears have been shared and I know crying is healing. I’m so glad those listening are healing by crying! That’s a good thing! 🙂
Thank you all for the love, support, prayers and encouragement!
I hope and pray anyone listening is inspired in some way.
Well… I truly believe He’s one of the only ones I can say 100% is walking along side of me. He knows my struggles and He knows my pain.
Lately, it’s taken everything in my to just get through day to day life, let alone be online engaging in any communication or conversation.
I had to withdraw. For many reasons.
Many of my blog followers and a few of my close friends knew about my journey to present my DNA connection to my biological father to once and for all prove I’m His daughter. You can read about it here Delivering the DNA results with grace.
I’m briefly catching everyone up with an update.
Well there really is no update.
After all Father Felix shared with me he has stopped responding to my emails and I haven’t heard one word from Him sense March 5th.
Just like that… The one and only Hope I had in my Birth Father changing his mind and maybe wanting to get to know me is OVER. Just like the snap of a finger.
Over the last few months my hope has diminished to nothing.
I can’t help but come to a place of acceptance in order to be able to move forward with my life but it has been the most sorrow I think I have yet to experience regarding my adoptee journey.
If everyone thinks the cute little baby you adopt won’t have lifelong grief, loss and trauma they are wrong. I am 4 1 years old and some days the pain is too much to get me out of bed in the am..
Because of God I am here.
I am alive.
Aside from other life’s mountains that have come my way the realization that Father Felix has also abandoned and rejected me is a lot for me to take in. In his words, “Your days of rejection are over. I am old enough to be your father, I would be happy to be your Father if J.J doesn’t!”
The part that is SO HARD for me is that PEOPLE are so QUICK to SPEAK WORDS and they don’t follow through. I DON’T NEED ANY MORE BULLSHITTERS and LIERS in my life!
I MEAN WHAT I SAY!
What has this done for me? Made me feel like everyone in the world is just full of it. Anytime someone says something I make a mental note that says, “Let’s see if their actions line up with their words!”.
So where am I at today?
Extremely hurt deep down and trying to pick up the pieces of what I find to be the last chance of ever meeting my biological grandmother. Of ever having one memory with her. Of ever hearing about her life. This is IT for me to ever be able to make any memories with any of my family on my biological fathers side. This is IT for ever being able to celebrate their lives with them and hear about their childhoods and what their life was like growing up. This is IT to ever feel that sense of belonging, the one only DNA connections can provide with any of my biological family.
I have felt extremely guilty for coming with a message that is filled with pain. I have felt I have to always bring a message of HOPE for my fellow adoptees. That is why I haven’t said much at all and that is part of the reason I got off Facebook. I just can’t handle the external weight that comes with being on Facebook right now.
I would write more.
But I won’t. It’s nothing anyone would understand unless they have gone through it.
Today, I am thankful I have my kids because without them I would not be here.
Plain and Simple.
Thank God for my relationship with Him, because although I feel like the world has failed me, He has not. He’s been along side of me helping me put one foot in front of the other.
Every. Single. Day.
I will be approaching my 42nd “Birth”day which is dooms day for me. Think about that day, and what happened that day! There is nothing to smile about for me. No not even LIFE! I have prayed and prayed for God to help me celebrate this day and I just can’t. But I will do my best to put on a smile for those I might see. My sobriety birthday of 4 years is also coming up. That’s def something to celebrate but the pain to go along with being a sober adoptee.. It’s been the hardest 4 years of my life!!!!
But I wouldn’t change my recovery journey for anything. My kids deserve a happy healthy mom and my future grandkids deserve a happy healthy grandmother!
Why is lying okay when it comes to adoption? In some cases adoption isn’t part of the equation, but children are constantly lied to about who their biological family is and people actually think that’s okay.
It’s NOT okay to LIE to a child period. It’s NOT okay to lie to them about who their biological family is. Lies destroy and they ruin relationships. How would you feel if you were lied to about something so important? You wouldn’t like it.
Unless this has happened to you, you can’t comprehend how it makes you feel but you know how it feels to be lied too right? It hurts, imagine someone lying to you about who your mother or father is, or withholding such personal information. I can only speak for my experience and how it made me feel. My adoptive mom lied to me my whole life about finding my birth family. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to find my birth mother. She lied over and over and said “Once we get enough money for an attorney we will get the sealed records opened and we will find her”. This gave me comfort in knowing that one day it might really happen. I might find my birth mother. When I was in my early 20’s that all changed. My adoptive mother told me she had been keeping something from me. She knew who my birth mother was, and my adoptive dad had her name. So all those years she lied to me and I would never trust her again. She put her insecurities about not wanting me to find my birth mother in front of my needs and wanting to know. She knew it tore me up deep down and she didn’t care. I know what you’re thinking. “You should be glad she told you at all!”. Yeah? Well I am glad she told me, but she didn’t need to tell me a LIE all those years! She could have just said the truth or just expressed that she understood my feelings and consoled me in some way. But no, she lied to me over and over. I have forgiven her, but I will never forget it. One more list to add to the things she took from me, along with my child hood. Thank God I can make up for it and be a better mom for my kids.
I know a lot of people who are keeping secrets from their kids so they can cover up their irresponsible actions, and people that are lying to their kids because they don’t want to tell the truth. Because they will have to face reality and it will be too hard on them. Let me just say, the truth is ALWAYS better than discovering that you are living a LIE. Lying destroys people. It tears them down and lies hurt people. When people keep secrets and they are ashamed of the truth it will always come out in the end. 9 X out of 10 it’s always so much harder to discover you are living a lie, than if someone would have told you to begin with.
If you are keeping a secret or lying to a child or a person about their identity, who they are, who their REAL parents are, or where they come from, I beg you to reconsider and tell the truth. I suggest some counseling so you can get some advice on how to make it right. Its never too late to make it right! No matter how painful, the truth is always better than pretending and living a lie. Everyone deserves to know where they come from, and their history.
One piece of advice I have for adoptees that have searched, and are about to be reunited with their biological parents or family is to TAKE NOTES. Everything they say and everything you see, take notes. Listen harder, and listen closer.
I say this because when I met both my biological parents, I didn’t expect for it to be the last time I saw them. I was sure in my mind that they wanted a relationship with me, because after all I dreamed about that my whole life. Why wouldn’t they want to get to know me? Or have me in their lives?
The first time I met my biological mother, we sat at her dining room table. She had her sister there, and her best friend. Her sister would be my biological aunt. My half biological sister was there, and she is the one who arranged the meeting. My birth mother didn’t really want to meet me, but my birth sister insisted. She knew how much it meant to me that I meet the woman that gave me life.
For those that don’t know. I found my birth mother in 1995 when I was 21 years old. My adoptive mom told me some information she had been keeping from me for a life time, so from that moment forward I had a name and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me from finding this woman. This was in my mind, but no way did I ever believe that she really never wanted to see me. After I found her, she hung up on me, and then I called back. The hang up hurt, but that wasn’t stopping me. I was very persistent in finding her, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. Not yet. After she answered again, I made sure she knew I didn’t want anything from her. I only wanted to get to know her. After this, she spoke up and said “I am the woman you’re looking for”. I was ecstatic. The search was finally over! Finally! It’s been a lifetime of dreaming, and searching for faces in a crowd, wondering if everyone that had similarities as me just might be my biological family. We talked for a few minutes, and she told me she would respond to a letter if I write her. She said she would send me some pictures of herself so I could see what she looked like. So I could finally see who I look like. Of course I hung up the phone with extremely high hopes that I would get some mail from her in the near future. I quickly started to write her, and got an envelope to send with some pictures of me in it. I sent it off, and waited, and waited, and waited. Weeks passed into months. Every single day I would rush to the mail box, looking for the letter she promised. This turned into a very hard time in my life. Why didn’t she want anything to do with me? Why didn’t she keep her word? Did she realize how bad this hurt my feelings? I was crushed.
Finally it was made clear to me that she wasn’t going to keep her word. I knew from the first time I talked to her I had a half biological sister, but she told me she didn’t know anything about me, and she would tell her and be in touch. Obviously that was not the truth, so after I waited months on her reply I decided to set out on a search for my birth sister. I didn’t have a number but I did have an address. I figured I had nothing to lose at this point. No one’s dirty little secret was going to stop me from finding my roots. Whoevers genes I have they are some very persistent ones. I wrote my birth sister a letter, and within a few days I received a call from her, and within a few days after that she flew to Kentucky with her husband so we could meet. It was the first time in my life I finally had someone that was a biological relative that looked like me; besides my precious daughter that was 1 at the time. It was an amazing experience. We have a lot of similarities and you can tell we are sisters. We do have different fathers. She spent a week in Kentucky, and it was wonderful getting to know her. She flew back to Iowa where her and my birth mother lived and she insisted that when I come to Iowa a visit, that we arrange a meeting so I can meet my birth mother. My birth mother agreed, even thoe we hadn’t had any more contact sense the original phone conversation. She never did write, or send pictures.
So the visit was arranged, and my life would never be the same. I just wish I would have absorbed more of what she was saying. I had no idea I would never be given that chance again. Never in a million years did I think I would never have a face to face conversation with her again. If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken notes on every detail she told me.
I must say I am VERY thankful that I was given the chance to sit down with her at her table that one and only time, because I know that so many don’t get that chance. I have spent so many years being angry at her for not giving me more, for not wanting me in her life, for shutting me out after this one visit. I have been angry for many years about many things to do with my adoption. I have to come to a point where I can get past the anger and I hope one day I will. Every single time I think of her and my birth father, I just whelp up and cry. It’s really hard for me to just act as if they don’t exist, or as if I’m not supposed to love them or have a bond with them.
If I could give one piece of advice to any adoptive parents that might be reading this it would be to give your adoptive child permission to grieve the family they had before you. And yes, no matter what way you want to look at it, they have a first family. If you try to cover this up, and ignore these facts you are only doing damage to your child. Please be realistic in this matter. Your child isn’t going to come to you and ask “Is it okay if I love my first mother?” or “Is it okay that I cry because I want to know my first family but I don’t know who they are? Please allow them permission to grieve this, because it is one of the biggest losses of their lifetime. It is over looked so much, and I’m positive that is why I am having such a hard time at this point in my life. Just now at 38 years old I am grieving what could have been, the lost relationships, my first family. This is not an easy journey. I beg for you to discuss these things with your adoptive child. It’s critical that you go to them and the words come out of your mouth as their adoptive parents. They will remember later in life that you expressed to them that it was OKAY to love their other mother, and their other family. Can you imagine living an entire lifetime having to keep such things “Secret”? This is why so many adult adoptees voice their journeys, because we can finally be heard.
With all that being said, yes I am going through the grieving process, yes I am still angry and I have every right to be. I will say that as I grieve, write, express myself and ask God for healing daily I am able to see things in a different light. But this can only happen if we are allowed to grieve the trauma, and events that have been so traumatic on us before we were adopted, and many of us after we were adopted. Acknowledging these traumas is the first step. I recommend any adoptive parents, or anyone touched by adoption to read “Primal Wound” by Nancy Newton Verrier. She explains the adopted child like no one ever has before.
I pray that in a year you will be able to read my blogs, and go back to the very beginning and see the change that has been made. God is working, and he isn’t through with me yet.
P.S. When and if you ever get the chance to meet your biological family, take notes. My biological mother passed in 2010 and the only face to face conversation I ever had with her was the original one in 1995. Take notes.
Don’t you understand.. If I could see my adoption experience as a wonderful thing, I WOULD!
If I could just let go of the pain it has caused me, I WOULD!
If I could just fill the empty hole deep inside me, I WOULD!
If I could just take back my “Adoptee Status”, I WOULD!
If I could learn to bond with other people in a more profound way, I WOULD!
If the fear of rejection would just leave my body, I WOULD BE HAPPIER!
If I could explain how I feel without getting interrupted just one time, I WOULD!
If I could shake you so you understand my pain, I WOULD!
This is not the choice I picked for me, and my life. This wasn’t my choice at all. But now I have a choice what I’m going to do with this mess!
I’m going to help other adoptees, BECAUSE I CAN!
I’m going to learn how to cope with my wounds that are so deep, BECAUSE I CAN!
I’m going to use my God given ADOPTEE VOICE, BECAUSE I CAN!
I’m going to pray EVERYDAY that God help me get through another test, trial, or tribulation!, BECAUSE I CAN!
I will share my view, and opinion on my experience growing up in a closed adoption with other adoptive parents, so maybe they have a little glimpse of what their adopted child is maybe going through, BECAUSE I CAN!
I can understand what other adoptees are feeling, and going through, BECAUSE I AM ONE OF THEM!
Please don’t judge me, or any other adoptee for that matter, if you are not one of us. If you didn’t get torn from your biological roots, which are the very roots that define you as a person then you have no idea what its like to be adopted.
Please don’t judge me as being negative because my adoption experience is not a wonderful one, think about the fact that maybe adoption isn’t as pretty as you have thought it was?? That is possible.
I will continue to share my adoption experience with the world,