100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor the Truth of Adoption

You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best adoption quotes from the transracial adoptee’s perspective. This article shares 100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor’s the Truth of Adoption from the transracial adult adoptee perspective. As we end 2022, I decided to call my fellow adoptees to help collaborate and share quotes from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. So, 100 transracial adoptees came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences that transracial adoptees go through during their lifetimes.

While you read these quotes, 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 the rollercoaster journey that adoption brings. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As transracial adoptees grow up, they host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to their lives and stories.

By sharing 100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to transracial adoption than what society recognizes. Maybe 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 transracial adoptee who shared their heart here. While you read this article, you will receive validation that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.

We are stronger together.

100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes

  1. “My fundamental outlook on human relationships is: if the person who brought me into this world can abandon me, anyone can. I have inadvertently become an island, trusting no one, grounded by no significant human connections. The word ‘love’ is meaningless to me because it was conflated with abandonment and abuse. I should not know these feelings.”B. Birch
  1. “The way I see it, transracial adoption is human trafficking and the theft of children from the people the world sees as unworthy of raising their own children. I was not adopted, I was stolen.“Elli Mariyama Manneh 
  1. “As a transracial adoptee, your experiences with racism, self-identity, grief, etc., are all unique to yourself, which creates an immense sense of loneliness. Parents of transracial adoptees must know that their child will go through many obstacles they will NOT understand. But it is important to recognize this and always support the best you can!”Miguel Jones 
  1. “I used to pray every night that I’d wake up and be white so I looked like I belonged with the family I was with.”C.C.
  1. “As a TRA, it feels like I culturally appropriate my very own culture whenever I wear or use original clothes, jewelry, accessories, and products from my people. I feel like a total fraud, an imposter that doesn’t belong anywhere.”Jennifer Elise Teer, IG @PiecieLove
  1. “I am a Korean adoptee, brought to Oklahoma in 1982. Becoming a mother changed everything for me. I am convinced, now more than ever, that regardless of the circumstances surrounding my relinquishment, my birth mother still thinks of me from time to time after all these years. There’s no way she does not find herself wondering about the woman I’ve become.”Jennifer H-P
  1. “Dear Adopters, The only reason you were able to adopt me is because society failed my mother and forced her to make a decision she shouldn’t have had to make in the first place. Not yours truly.”Kris 
  1. “Being a transracial adoptee feels like I was set on fire, and everyone around me was ok with the fire because it kept them warm. They all got what they wanted while they watched me burn. The worst part is they expect me to be grateful for burning.”Amanda B.
  1. “I grew up thinking I was white.”Omaira Avila
  1. “Mirrors are a strange companion when no one else reflects you. People and family make it clear, so all you can do is look back at yourself.”Nikolay Arthur 
  1. “Learning in my late 40’s about my Peruvian ancestry, I have referred to myself as a ‘reluctant latina.’  I honestly have no idea what an ‘authentic Latina feels like, nor have I ever experienced the culture of my father’s people.”Lynn Grubb
  1. “Growing up, I wondered who my birth parents were for many reasons. I wanted to know where my physical features came from but also what kind of people they were. I believed if they were good, loving, and smart, that would mean I was. I didn’t believe I could identify who I was until I knew where I came from.” Jen Capeless 
  1. “Love is colorblind, or so they said! Adoption into a colour not your own is beautiful…on the surface for the White Saviour who rescues you. When you find your biology, you truly understand being Black on the outside yet white on the inside. As a transracial adoptee, it’s like straddling two cultures yet fitting wholly in neither.” blacksheep1969 
  1. “It’s illegal to change the identifiable information on your car. Individuals can be fined $10,000  or jailed for up to 5 years for changing the VIN, and nobody bats an eye when the name and date of birth is changed on a birth certificate for an adoptee.”
  • “For every highlighted war hero, there are a thousand more that suffer in silence with the traumas of war. PTSD is the hidden scars of war. Adoption is very similar to the military, where only the positive narratives are highlighted as many more suffer from guilt (being adopted as others are not), suffer from shame (unable to share their abuse), and fear (as they deal with separation anxiety).”
  •   “It’s incomprehensible to me how it’s illegal to sell human organs for profit, but the wholesale of the entire person through adoption is justified by our society.” 
  • “If adoption were a drug, then the evidence of its efficacy would have pulled it off the shelf many decades ago.”
  •   “Adoptions vary like the weather. For every sunny outcome, there is an equal negative, destructive tornado of an outcome that has destroyed either a child, biological mother and/or adoptive family. Therefore, we need to honor all adoption narratives, both positive and bad.”
  • “It’s estimated that nearly 60,000 intercountry adoptees reside in America without citizenship, and roughly 60-70% of domestic adoptions have open records. Adoption laws have made great strides in recent years but so much more needs to be done for every adoptee to have the same rights as a non-adoptee. Of the nearly Seven million adoptions in the United States, it affects almost 1/3 or 100 million Americans face adoption in their immediate family (includes adopting, placing a child for adoption or being adopted.”Jayme K. Hansen
  1. “As a transracial adoptee, I lost my first family, my first culture, my first language—all gone before I even knew I had it. The journey to reclaim them has been long and arduous, and I might never get the answers I want or need. But I will carry on, both for myself and this community.”Patrick Armstrong 
  1. “Having to justify my experiences and realities to the most familiar strangers, fighting to be seen and heard, to two different worlds that I seamlessly exist in, is the most exhausting experience to navigate.”Vanessa Pacheco 
  1. “My parents did an amazing job for the ’80s, and I was always connected with my bio family.  I had a healthy racial identity as black, but you still miss out on some aspects of your culture. However, you learn that no matter how aware your adoptive family is with transracial adoption, they simply can’t grasp living firsthand with racism. At times, they can even use microaggressions without being aware – being an overall positive experience doesn’t negate the challenges. When it comes to transracial adoption, you’re at the mercy of people around you. “Where’d you get them colored kids?” Being “othered” in a space that’s still your own family, it’s a weird complexity. Hair insecurity, trying to find a seat at a table, I’m tolerated but not actually included.”Silver
  1. “I grew up thinking that if I denied my culture and sounded white, people would accept me more.”Marta Aranda 
  1. Being nonwhite, raised by a white family in a white community, has given me a near pervasive feeling of triblessness.  It is communicated in various ways that you are not white but also that you are not of our racial background, especially if you are from a relatively segregated place.  Identity is a constant question.  One of the advantages though is that we get to create our own identities and stories, which is both a privilege and burden that few except us can know.” Andrew Glynn 
  1. “The truth of the matter is that my parents were told that my race was not a factor in how I was to be raised, but race does matter when you are one of the only people of color in your community. Race does matter when you get racially profiled at a store, when someone at work is micro-aggressive, and when kids at school tell you that your skin is ugly and dirty and that you matter less because of it. I struggle to claim my identity as a Latinx person to this day, and I never learned the tools of how to cope with my racially based hate from my family. I used unhealthy coping mechanisms to “stay alive” barely, but luckily, thanks to the online adoptee community, sobriety, and therapy, I am learning how to love myself, brown skin and all.”Joe Toolan 
  1. “Being adopted into a transracial family did not protect me from racism or micro-aggression or being fetishized. I’ve learned that Adoptees might get to experience their birth culture, but they will always experience people’s perceptions of their race and culture.”Cosette Eisenhauer 
  1. “It has taken me years to allow myself to feel angry about my experience as a transracial adoptee raised by a white parent. I want to tell my younger self that my feelings are valid and my circumstances are nuanced. I encourage them (my younger self) to seek those who will provide space to be your full self. You are not too much.”Anica Falcone – Juengert 
  1. “I never feel as invisible as when someone asks me “Do YOU experience racism here?” Hasina Helena, A transracial adoptee who is from India but resides in Sweden. 
  1. “As an International Adoptee, my journey is not exactly the same as that of Transracial Adoptees; however, there are a few intersections. It is from that perspective that I share this feedback. As an Afro-German child growing up in a family that was rife with racial microaggressions was difficult. Clearly, the only way for me to be comfortable in the midst of these conversations was to consistently deny my bio mom’s ethnicity and the European part of my own. There was absolutely no inclusion, exposure, or discussion of German culture.  There were 25 years between the year that I learned I was adopted and the year that I finally met relatives that looked just like me. Having no familial mirror was very difficult for me. I was expected to sink or swim prior to that moment. Upon my reunion with my first family, my adoptive parents admitted that they knew my biological family all along. WTF!?  It changed everything for me and my connection to them. However unconscionable, it was also the defining moment that made me choose to be the one to not spoon-feed generational trauma to my own children.”Jacquelin Taybron 
  1. “In my experience as a TRA, I was often shamed for wanting to know more about my birth family. When I did ask about them, I was told I was selfish, and I was dismissed about wanting to learn more about my culture. I was once told that I can be black but not too black.” IG @thespeckledadoptee 
  1. “Being a transracial adoptee, it’s living with the fear your physical features could condition the way others will treat you.”Maria Daozheng 
  1. “We, as the transracial, as the mixed, as the adopted, exist beyond the outer bounds of language, where your words have no meaning, where we laugh at your categories and borders and contradictions. Beyond the safety of your understanding, beyond the limits of your imagination. What power we must hold, then, as to exist beyond this imagination is to know that a better world beyond this one exists, not only in the future but here and now. And that what we create, becomes.”Yohanyy Torres | Andrew Drinkwater
  1. “Being a transracial adoptee makes us a double minority – both racially and biologically. The world is seen through a lens that is very different than most people. Patience, a sense of empathy, and listening from people who understand we think differently are essential to an adoptee’s ability to thrive. We need this to embrace that we matter; that different is good and that we deserve to be heard, even though we know most cannot and will not ever truly understand from our perspective.”Maria Gatz 
  1. “Adoptees don’t always know exactly what they’re going through. They not only need patience from others but also with themselves. If you are close with an adoptee, be patient with them and learn from them. You never know what is adoption-related trauma and what is part of being human.”Zoe Seymore
  1. “Adoption did give me a very different life for which I am extremely grateful.  In retrospect, there was still a good deal missing. Discovering the transracial element of my pre-adoption life has added immensely to the richness of my life. It’s really unfortunate in so many ways that it had to be kept secret. I just wish I had found out sooner.”Jack Rocco  
  1. “I’ve never felt as a TRA that there was a space for me since I knew my birth parents, but I felt so much of the distance from them that I might as well have not. Maybe there is so much vastness and space and language that is not yet created by us and for us as adoptees to claim for ourselves since so many decisions were made for us. After all, our experiences are our own.”Oumou Cisse 
  1. “My parents say that they just see me as ‘their kid’ while still letting friends of the family and/or relatives say some pretty racist stuff to me when I was growing up. I’m 26 now, and I just realize how not okay that all was.” Grace R. 
  1. “I constantly felt like I was sticking out among family & friends, I forgot how comforting it can be to have friends that look like you. Being a transracial adoptee is such a unique experience, so unique that at times it feels almost isolating.”Julie M. 
  1. “Growing up Asian in predominantly white communities, I didn’t understand the importance of representation until I saw myself being represented. With that comes questions, confusion, and pain surrounding racial and cultural belonging.” Phoebe M. 
  1. “I feel like I don’t fit. Anywhere. Not in my current family…they’re too white. Not in my first family…they’re a world away. I’ve accepted that I’ll never fit. Anywhere.”Sara G.
  1. “Alienation. Wherever I turned, I was constantly reminded that I did not fit the society around me. I am a Latina, but I have no connection to that culture. I grew up white, but I absolutely do not look like it. Alienation wherever I looked.”Carmen C.
  1. “For me, trans-racial adoption feels like a constant journey through an identity crisis- a never-ending cycle of grieving, shedding, discovering, losing, gaining, analyzing, & understanding.” Lauren Castillo
  1. “Being a transracial adoptee means living a life of being misunderstood while also being surrounded by assumptions made by others of your own life. It also means never fitting in anywhere, except for maybe the home you make yourself.” Alexis Bartlett
  1. “My white adoptive mom once told me that she believed in nurture over nature until I started exploring my black identity and “acting culturally black.” I still live with the fact that my mom adopted me with the belief that she could love the black out of me. It continues to break my heart, more than thirty years later.”Dr. Abby Hasberry
  1. “You are stronger than your shadows. Sure there has been major upheaval in our life. I was 26 when I was half told I was even trafficked or adopted. All a bit shady, but I know who I am because I spent my life being me and built myself up one day at a time. Hard days? Yes. Gamut of terrible feelings? Of course, racist attacks, obviously from within my family and not, BUT only if you allow externalities define you does it transform you. Do it yourself, you’ll be happier and less upset. Ciao. Iranian adoptee to an Italian family, raised in Canada.”Flavia Nasrin Testa
  1. “I grew up thinking I was a fraud. Not enough of anything, but always too much. I was told I was no different, so what I was feeling could not be true. There is a hollowness to my sense of self that will always be there.”I Used to Be Sam
  1. “As a transracial adoptee adult, who was raised with the “colorblind” worldview, I was dangerously unprepared for college, city life, and the world. Leaving for college, I vividly remember being convinced racism was not real. As an adult, navigating Blackness, Whiteness, racism, and discrimination for the first time without the “cloak of (white) privilege” life was devastating and demoralizing for me. I felt bamboozled in college, after college, and in many instances in life still to this day.”Molly E. McLaurin
  1. “I felt Swedish, I breathed Swedish, and I lived Swedish – everything I did growing up other white Swedes did as well – but of course, as soon as anything negative happened in school as a kid or teen, it was all blamed on me, and my sister – the psychiatry got involved as is the practice here and only the two adopted kids got labeled, after which we got our rights removed as young adults – the practice is such that whenever an adopted kid/teen is involved in any trouble the psychiatry will label you, we’re sacrificed as scapegoats by the psychiatry and they don’t give a fuck about context, we’re treated like foreigners – not like citizens by them – the statistics tell of adopted kids being four times more common in the psychiatry, and in the suicides for a reason.”Victor Fernando Nygren 
  1. “Growing up, my white adoptive parents forced me to believe they were my only family. Because of this, I’m unable to connect with my Indian culture. To the point where I don’t feel Indian. Sometimes it even feels like an Indian woman didn’t give birth to me.”Winnie 
  1. “I always felt as though I wasn’t “Latina enough” or fitted in anywhere being a Transracial Adoptee. And being torn from my ethnic culture was not my choice as a child. However, reclaiming my roots and my power as an adult on my terms has been my choice, and I am grateful for it because now I realize that HOME has been inside of me all this time.”Sarita Buer, Latina TRA – @saritawellness 
  1.  “Being a TRA has wreaked havoc on my mental and emotional health. Referring to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, my sense of security, belonging, and esteem was neglected when I had no racial mirrors during the formative first 19 years of my life. At the age of 55, I still have no sense of belonging, my self-esteem is in the trash, and I struggle forming lasting intimate relationships.  I wouldn’t wish this internal battle on anyone.”Karen Elliott 
  1. “I think people often think that being adopted is a glamorous experience and a fairytale ending, and I’m here to say that yes, it was an experience I had, but the fairytale ending does not exist.  I have been navigating the intersections of my identity as a transracial international adoptee from South America, growing up in a predominantly white community, along with several other adopted siblings.  These experiences, while unique to my story, are very common, and I have realized how much of my mental health has been impacted by these many layers of my identity.  I hope people understand that being an adoptee is complicated and not as easy or wonderful as some people may think.”Ana Felicia, Colombian Transracial International Adoptee 
  1. “This is what no one told me about being adopted…No one told me that I would find out that I was out of the loop when the most crucial moments in my life were set in motion. No one told me how misplaced I would feel — how I would grow up knowing that I am different, with my origins erased. That I would struggle with buried trauma, racial identity as never-ending grief, because I’ve lost something that I can neither recover nor just “get over.” – Eun Kyung Chee 
  1. “Biological connection means nothing and everything at the same time. You’re told blood doesn’t make a family, and love is a choice. But if love is a choice, then why is it so hard to choose to love yourself? Not knowing your true roots and being reminded of that harsh reality every time you look in the mirror, at your adoptive family’s faces, or at everyone around you who doesn’t resemble you at all makes self-love difficult. And being adopted, being biologically different certainly wasn’t my choice.”Kelly Hrank 
  1. “Growing up, my experiences as a transracial transnational adoptee had been narrated and carefully curated by my white adoptive parents. As a child, the only feelings I was allowed to access were gratitude and happiness, and my own adoption story didn’t even belong to me. Coming out of the Fog freed me to embrace the anger, loss, and grief I had also been feeling my entire life. And to eventually meet a worldwide community of adoptees and witness others who felt exactly or similarly to me was validating and necessary for my adoption trauma healing.”Maze Felix (They/Them)
  1. “Being a multiracial transracial adoptee is a constant search for identity. It is a constant navigation between belonging and not. I feel roots that I don’t know how to access and, at times, explore without feeling like an imposter. It is a constant practice of coming back to myself in acknowledgment that I am enough by just existing.”Tisa A.
  1. “For me, my adoption is the “fairy tale” version, the one people think they’d be getting out of the whole experience. But just because the princess is happy now doesn’t mean her trauma is gone or no longer hurts her. She’s stuck in an endless loop of ‘what if it didn’t happen’ or ‘who was I supposed to be’ and feeling like an imposter at all times because she’s been playing a part she didn’t ask for. Yet, she wouldn’t change a thing because she loves herself for her strength and understanding adoption has given her.”Supposed to be Selena
  1. “My closed transracial adoption was full of lies and deception regarding my ethnicity. This led to a lifetime of confusion, searching for clues to my racial identity. I never fit in and had no “tribe” or culture to claim as my own.”Signed, T. Adams
  1. “Here’s an inside scoop to understanding an Adoptee’s Grief: No matter the explanation for why they were given away, babies do not understand logic and babies do not understand politics, but instead, all they know is that they were abandoned. Babies, instead, should feel safe, secure, wanted, and loved, but that is all lost in the process of relinquishment and adoption. Their baby self has learned the message that they are unwanted and unloved, and so the only way for Adoptees to heal is through self-love.”Haley Hudler, Chinese American Adoptee, adopted in 1997.
  1. “Who I was before the fog was a version of me wearing a mask which was chosen for me. An identity handpicked. Now, here I am after the fog. Maskless. Identity reclaimed anew.” Harley Place, Indian Adoptee 
  1. “I know what it feels like to hold a piece of myself that will never have a true sense of belonging to one culture or family, and that piece of me will always feel lost and stranded. I know what it feels like to grow up being racially isolated and wishing I were white, wishing I looked like my parents. I know what it feels like to be loved by my parents and to have the knowledge that their first preference was to have a biological child.”Amanda Fallon, Korean American Adoptee, Adopted in 1982.
  1. “I may have been adopted from India by white people, but that doesn’t give me white privilege. Ever since 9/11, I receive far more uncomfortable looks from people at the airport.”Nandeeta Ramsey
  1. “Adoption is my roaring broken heart beneath the expectations of love-starved strangers. It is the daring, lonely, and unending pursuit of finding doors and the skeletons they hide. The idea itself of embracing arms, of belonging, is the only home I’ll ever know.”“Amanda” Wild
  1. “Like many transracial adoptees, I’ve always felt like a part of many worlds but more like a visiting tourist. My twist is that my adoptive mom was Mexican, and I’m white, so I grew up around relatives speaking Spanish and eating tamales at holidays, but since my mom didn’t make an effort to raise me as bilingual, I’m unable to access her/our full community. Now I send my little white kids to Spanish immersion school to [re]connect with our Mexican roots (that don’t actually feel rooted to my whole identity), which also gives me cultural appropriation vibes, but it truly was and is a big chunk of my multi-layered culture. So I’m in yet another space where I feel like I don’t belong- transracial adoptee communities that are seemingly all people of color.” Mari Triplett
  1. “My proximity to Whiteness as a result of being raised in a White household didn’t shield me from experiencing racism. It deprived me of learning how to exist as a POC and instead taught me how to erase my sense of identity, culture, and self.”Dong Mee
  1. “As a Chinese transracial adoptee who was raised by my Jewish mother in a predominantly white area, I experienced a lot of confusion surrounding my cultural, ethnic, and racial identity. I spent a lot of time feeling like I wasn’t Asian enough or Jewish enough, no matter how much I tried to fit into those two labels. Since finding the adoptee community, I finally feel like I’ve found a place where I truly belong and can just be my authentic self.”Shelley Rottenberg | IG: @shelleyrottenberg
  1. “I feel impostor syndrome follows me throughout all of the cultures I’ve grown to be a part of, especially my own. I feel an openness to other races that is not reciprocated by anyone I know, as I don’t know any other trans-racially adopted people. I feel proud to be celebrating my culture as I learn it, whereas others who have grown up with this culture may leave it behind or take it for granted.”Soni
  1. “I feel blessed that a family wanted me because upon finding my birth mother, she didn’t want anything to do with me after our first initial meet-up. When I think of transracial adoption. I realize the blessing lies in being able to identify with more than one ethnicity, and this trait allows my future work as a social worker to be impacted positively when it comes to the skill of tuning into the client, intellectually and effectively!”IG @stay_driven05
  1. “I never know which culture I belong to. My Bulgarian Romani or my American that I was adopted into. I feel like I don’t belong in either, and when I do, I feel like an imposter.”Maria
  1. “I never felt like I fit in, I lost my roots and my culture. I remember never knowing what I was ethnically when I was asked and telling my white friends they should be in my family photos instead because they looked more like everyone else.”Chelle Cook
  1. “In grade school, I was one of the only Asian people in my predominantly white community and was heavily bullied for it. I didn’t even understand that I was being bullied at the time, so I never told anyone about the constant racist comments from my classmates. This, combined with having a white adoptive family, ultimately led to a big identity crisis, and it’s taken me a long time to start healing. Surrounding myself with people who accept me and exploring the adoptee community has helped me so much in my healing journey, and I hope other adoptees struggling can find loving communities just as I have!”Kaeli Walker
  1. “The system of adoption has hurt both my biological parents and me and simultaneously makes it impossible for us to heal together. It has pitted us against each other, but we are not adversaries. We share collective pain.”Julie Emra
  1. “Anytime I experienced racism or someone questioning my race or ethnicity my adoptive mom would always answer, “but you’re Italian too. Did you tell them that? I found out later I’m not even Italian.”Rhiannon
  1. “Transracial adoption feels like having a house but never a home. Knowing that something/someone is missing, but not knowing how to fill that void. Perpetually isolated even when surrounded by your circle of love.”  – B
  1. “Strangers constantly pointed at me, asking my parents, “Is THAT your daughter?” My parents tried to pass me off as some exotic European, so I learned my true ethnicity by way of a schoolmate’s racial slur. My mom said I looked like a racially derogatory term when I braided my hair. I stood no chance of forming a healthy sense of self and will forever feel alien and disconnected.”L. Calder IG: @ragged.wild.lines
  1. “My mental picture of myself was so whitewashed that I couldn’t even recognize my own reflection. How do I reconcile my brownness with a culture that was taken from me?”A. Kumari
  1. “I wasn’t adopted to take a pill. When I act out, I’m heartbroken, not mentally ill.”River Riika
  1. “My birth mother did not write that my father was Puerto Rican on the birth certificate, fearing I would be adopted by a Spanish family. I spent my whole life thinking I was Irish and English. My adoptive family was in total disbelief that I am half Hispanic.”Terri
  1. “As a transracial adoptee in a white country: “Family-seems to always end up being something I have to prove myself belonging to and worthy of”Hasina
  1. “As a community, we often connect over our trauma and pain. What would it mean to build radical joy, love, and abundance? I have found that joy outside of the adoptee community by connecting with other movements where I can share new perspectives as an adopted person. What would it mean for our adoptee community to join broader movements for social change and add our voices to them?”m. Seol 
  1. “I am a queer, trans, non-binary, neurodivergent, autistic, ADHD, PTSD, Asian-Chinese transracial + transnational (self-estranged) adoptee, survivor, artist, and human. I feel like I was just an object that was purchased and sold overseas as a ‘simple’ solution to a privileged white, cis, het couple’s infertility struggles, to fulfill their dream of having a baby and raising a family, except that each time that I strayed further from their idea of who I should be/who they wanted me to be for them, I got into trouble and made things worse for myself by exploring and expressing who I was. The greatest disservice of my transracial/transnational adoption experience was growing up and being treated like just another white member of the white family I was sold to because there were never conversations about race, I had to figure out on my own how to deal with racism and racist remarks directed towards me or in media, I never developed any early sense of comfortability with being Asian-Chinese, and they never allowed me to go outside of the child they wanted me to be, even when me trying to meet their unrealistic expectations almost killed me and lead me to several mental health struggles and life-long trauma. I AM NOT A SOLUTION, I AM A HUMAN/AN INDIVIDUAL, AND IT IS A DISSERVICE TO TRANSRACIAL ADOPTEES for adoptive parents to NOT embrace the child(ren)’s culture, language, food, history, and everything there is to know for the rest of their lives because THIS IS ABOUT SUPPORTING THE ADOPTEE AND THEIR LIFE; ADOPTION IS TRAUMA.”IG: @ohheyyits_aj (they/them)
  1. “Adoption has brought me the most pain, privilege, loss, and love I could have ever imagined. I want people to know that the act of adoption is traumatic; losing your biological family, heritage, culture, language, and much more is trauma. I want people to know that I don’t think all adoption is bad, but I DO think people who consider adoption should heavily do their research. And lastly, I want people to know that I am enough, I am Asian enough, and I belong in both Asian and American spaces.”  – Lori Scoby
  1. “There has been a great struggle in my life to fit in. Like trying to make a square peg fit a round hole. So, it felt like being forced to whittle pieces of myself away even though I could never truly be like everyone around me. White.”Hanna Lee
  1. “Being a transracial adoptee has always made me feel alone, unworthy and unwanted because I was “different.” “Didn’t have real parents who loved me” and never fit in with the ‘cool kids.’ Recently though, I learned that family is not always blood and true friends never judge you and love you for who you truly are. Being labeled as ‘adopted’ can be challenging to accept, but I’m learning to be proud of my label instead of embarrassed or ashamed. Because I’m adopted, I’ve found a loving and supportive community online and in real life, and I’m extremely grateful for my growth and who I’m becoming.”Allyson Ware
  1. “I have had to fight my entire life to get back a fraction of what was taken from me, my language, my people, my country, my culture, my roots. I have fought so hard only to feel at times like it’s still not enough. I should never have had to fight for something that was my birthright.”Marcella Moslow
  1. “There’s a difference between having a home and feeling at home. As a transracial adoptee, I’ve never experienced the latter, even though I grew up in a supportive, loving home. I currently live in a home and have built a life that’s overflowing with love, support, and empathy. Yet there remains a deep, innate void that permeates my soul, and I believe it will only be fulfilled when I return home to Korea.”Tory Bae
  1. “My parents raised me with the “color blind” mentality that I was no different to anyone in the sea of white people I grew up around while simultaneously using my Asianness as a virtue signal in their saviorist narrative for adopting me. Since I was the first Asian person many people met, I was treated like I was the purveyor of all Asian culture & knowledge even though I was a child. I wish more people become aware of how patronizing it is to live with the belief that white people/the West are deemed better suited to adopt than the people of the same race/ethnicity of the children.”Katie L. 
  1. “Abused, neglected, orphan adopted changes for families and nations to their delight, yet then is 4x more likely to suicide. Thank you for shifting the way you think and act about adoption to change that STAT.”Kristina Lisa 
  1. “As a transcultural adoptee, I struggled for a long time to define my identity and what true belonging means to me—Until I discovered the concept of the third space. Here, I can liberate myself from external expectations and labels and be firm yet fluid in my self-understanding. I am Korean, I am German, and I am everything in between and beyond—I am simply Sun Mee.”SUN MEE MARTIN
  1. “While my feelings about being adopted and being Korean-American are complicated, and they change often, I’m beyond thankful for adoption and the family it’s given me – my family is one of the clearest pictures of God’s goodness in my life. But it’s also really hard – being adopted is hard, and being Korean-American is hard, so having both of those experiences intersect can be confusing and painful at times. For me, having the safe space to process both my grief and gratitude has been so sweet. I’m thankful for the friends and family I have who have shown me Jesus through asking questions, listening to me ramble and reflect, and just being present for me in my pain and doubts this year.”Kim G Instagram/Twitter – @kg_hyunmee
  1. “Quantum Leap Living, where life situations suddenly move me from one continent or situation to another- shedding and acquiring cultures, language, and even my own new/old names, has left me struggling my entire life with realizing I deserve a choice and say in my life. I’ve had to learn this through many emotionally and physically abusive relationships- I simply did not realize I had a choice. I thought “things” and people just happened to me, and I learned to endure.”IG – @lalasunmi
  1. “My recent journey has been to recover/reclaim my Colombian culture and to reconnect it to my identity. All this with the hopes of integrating these aspects of myself that were lost to adoption. It’s also about remembering who we are behind all the social programming of family and society expects of us”Elena Di Giovanna Serrato
  1. “Just because an adoptee is a certain race or was adopted from another country does not mean they have an obligation to learn the language, be interested in the culture, etc., of their birthplace. While there are many who wish for this, there are many who do not. This is part of an adoptee story. It shows the range and depth of our interpretations of personal experiences and should be validated.”Emily IG – @languagetraveladoptee
  1. “Sometimes there’s a small feeling of envy for seeing others and families where the kids look like their parents. It’s not necessarily skin color but specific features. As a transracial adoptee, we sometimes feel more connected to others who are from the country we are born in and, as an extension of the culture. But really, we are culturally never going to be them, and our features will remain uniquely ours in families that brought us here, and that’s one thing not to envy.”Tara S.
  1. “Being an adoptee is like being an elephant in a family of lambs. The environment that the elephant grows up in will affect its mind and heart. Don’t think it won’t, you’d be lying to yourself.”Megha
  1. “Being a Chinese adoptee in America has had its ups and downs. I have struggled with feeling like I don’t always fit in and like I’m not good enough. Growing up, it was a constant battle trying to figure out and accept my identity. But even through the struggles I’ve faced, being a transracial adoptee has made me the strong woman I am today, and now I can proudly say I am a Chinese Adoptee.”Olivia L.
  1. “Though I am a Haitian raised by a non-BIPOC mother, I am not “transracial.” Trans means to erase, transition or transfer. There was nothing left behind, nor did I forget any part of myself. I only had to awaken to this truth: Nothing was left behind, and even my ancestors came with me.”Lanise Antoine Shelley
  1. “Adoption took not only my identity but my existence itself. Rootless, I felt the string that tied me to this world was broken. Faceless. Bodyless. Like if I didn’t exist until I found where I come from and who I am. How could I exist if there was no beginning? Now, I know.” Andrea Maldonado
  1. “Culture that runs through the blood but doesn’t reach past the tongue.”Savannah Quinn
  1. “Parents of transracial adoptees need to step in and advocate for them when they experience racism. It’s hard to self-advocate as a kid when you barely understand you’re a target of racism. The love of family is not a force field for racism-you need to be a vocal activist too.”Sara W. 
  1. “The lines you created were an illusion. I know this because I crossed every one of them. When I didn’t fit into your box, you got scared. I got abandoned.”Shaka Firefly IG – @shakafirefly 
  1. “My biological mother didn’t know or didn’t care to identify my biological father. She went so far as to have the wrong man sign away parental rights to me. I later learned she did know who my true father was and hid a huge part of my identity in the process. I was raised my whole life to believe I was white until I found and reunited with my Puerto Rican biological father.”Luna Ashley IG: @thelunaashley
  1. “I have always known I was adopted and that I was Chinese. My adoptive mom made sure of that. That piece of my identity is why I am here, at the University of Minnesota, studying social work with dreams of working with transracial adoptees like me. I was privileged to grow up being proud of my race and ethnicity. I’m here because I want others to have the experience I did and not live in shame or sadness for not being White.”Ariana Meidan
  1. “Hearing a deep sense of calling from your unconscious ancestral  being within but unable to unlock the secrets or hear its song.”Jade
  1. “I’m so curious how come adoption has yet to solve the historic – current problem of leaving behind young – elder person, place, thing blamed, shamed, scapegoated, trashed that I began seeking and sharing solutions.”Tina B. 

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read quotes from 100 transracial adoptees. 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 quotes spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow transracial adoptee’s quotes?

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 transracial adoptee who has a quote to share, please drop them in the comment section below.

If you are not an adoptee, but you have been impacted by this article in some way, we would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Once again, a special thank you to all 100 transracial adoptees who took the time to share your quote with me, and in return collaborated with one of the most important articles we can share. 100 transracial adoptees coming TOGETHER to share your truth is a powerful initiative.

XOXO P.K.

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova and 100 Transracial Adoptees around the world. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova. Please do NOT COPY any parts of the content in this article, but sharing the entire article, linking to the original source is acceptable.

Chapter 16. Five Years in Salt Lake City – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

I remember several life-altering experiences during our five years in Salt Lake City. I was drinking my life away, partying while working, and being a single mom. I was in one relationship in the five years I was there. I think my relationships with men always filled the void in my life from relinquishment from my birth mother. Alcohol also filled the void and got me in a heap of trouble on many occasions.

I was invited to a party, desperate to make friends and be social in a city much more extensive than Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Lexington, Kentucky. I drove across the valley to the party and remember leaving entirely intoxicated to find my way home. I ended up at a gas station in Ogden, Utah, about 30 minutes from Salt Lake City. I was going the wrong way; however, I was so trashed I had no idea how to find my way home.

Anything could have happened to me that night. I could have killed myself or killed someone else. I am not proud of any time of my life I chose to get behind the wheel of a car intoxicated. I have only blamed myself and felt deeply regretful for my choices in life. I am sharing these pieces, so you have a glimpse of my relationship with alcohol for 27 years of my life.

I stopped at a gas station and asked some guys getting gas which way is Salt Lake City. They told me to follow them, but when I turned around, I backed into a gas pump that I didn’t see. So I pulled off as if it didn’t happen. I followed the guys to get back on the highway, and then I had no memory of the rest of the night or how I got home. I woke up in bed the following day and was shaken. I acknowledged to myself that I had a drinking problem. There was no denying I made awful choices when drinking alcohol, which also made me very selfish. Alcohol and drug abuse do that to a person.

However, deep down, this experience scared the shit out of me. I am sure I resonated with myself and switched from drinking liquor to beer only on the weekends. I seemed to find ways to try to tame my drinking, yet it never stuck. Finally, the weekend would roll around, and I was back to the old me, forgetting about the changes I had made.

In 2004, I had a few friends over to play cards and have some drinks. The kids were tucked in bed, sleeping soundly. Naturally, I usually drank more than everyone and was the party’s life until the sun rose; however, this night was different. Somehow, suddenly after one drink, I lay my head down on the table, which was entirely out of my character. That was the last of my memories that night.

I remember waking up groggy the following day around 7 am with the guy I invited over sitting on the edge of my bed, he was fully clothed, and I was not. He tried to wake me up and tell me it was time to get my kids up for school. I remember feeling such a heaviness in my eyes, mind, body, and the entirety of my being that I had never experienced before. I could barely open my eyes or function.

I thought to myself, “What the hell happened last night?” But with me having no clothes on, it was obvious what happened, but I didn’t have a single memory of it. I could barely communicate with this guy. Finally, he said he was leaving and knew I had to get my kids up for school. I managed to wake them, get them dressed and send them out to get to school.

I remember going back to sleep, and it had appeared that I overslept, sleeping all day and missing meeting my kids at the bus stop to pick them up after school at 3 pm. This was so out of my character; I still had no clue what had happened to me at that time. I just knew something was deeply wrong with me. I had never felt so out of it, and all over one drink? It wasn’t a hangover, it was much more, but I didn’t understand it.

Trying to understand, I called my girlfriend, because I was playing cards with her boyfriend and the guy I knew, asking her what had happened. She said we were playing cards, and all of a sudden, I laid my head on the table, and they all got me to my bed, put the cards away, and all three of them, even the guy I knew, left together.

She said they locked the doors up, and that was it. When I told her he was there and he woke me up this morning, and that I had no clothes on, and how groggy I was, that is when we put two and two together that he had to have slipped a roofie in my drink. He also unlocked my patio door, which he reentered when my friend and her boyfriend left. I was completely shaken up.

To top things off, I slept for the next 24 hours without feeling like myself again, and I was so traumatized by this situation that it truly changed me. Sadly, my conclusions were validated by the guy gaining access to my banking information and stealing money by draining my bank account. An innocent card game and socialization with friends turned into this reality. And one of the pieces that I have never been able to forgive myself for is that my kids were all home tucked in asleep. I felt awful.

How many times in my life would something like this happen before I finally accept that I have a problem with alcohol and making bad choices? Instead, I internalized this whole experience, and I blamed myself. I should have never invited that guy over, and I should have never drank at all. I never even considered pressing charges because I see what women go through when things like this happen to them.

They get dragged and humiliated, and it wouldn’t even be worth it for me. It would be my word against his, and I locked this secret up and moved on with my life, but it greatly impacted me, and I hadn’t felt so awful and degraded in years. It was clear that I didn’t make very good choices at times, and even when I wanted my kids to have the world, that empty void in my life was prominent and gigantic.

As long as alcohol was in my life, I took the risk of these events happening repeatedly. Sadly, I still couldn’t sit with myself sober. And most days, I couldn’t sit with myself at all. I still had deep-rooted hate for myself. I felt defeated and broken, and it set in the most when I was alone.

One of my greatest fears was always that if something happened to me, what would happen to my kids? Patricia would get them, especially when I had no other family around. This terrified me, and I had dreams about her trying to take my kids from me. As my kids got older, things started to stir inside that I wanted and needed to do better and be better, but how?

Patricia continued to be a deep-rooted trigger to me from all my memories and experiences with her during my life and childhood. She was a big responsibility for me besides being a mother to my three kids. She was still heavily consumed with taking prescription pain pills, and she slept a lot. At this point, Patricia had convinced herself she could no longer work due to health issues.

I don’t think she had a job at all the five years we lived in Salt Lake City, and she was only 54 years old at the time. At this stage of her life, I helped her as much as I could, and she got a lot of attention for being sick and reeled innocent people into her life to “help her” manage everyday tasks. She was always excellent at manipulating churches into feeling sorry for her, so they would donate money to her and help her pay her bills. She also sued two companies to get settlements for various reasons.

She would constantly talk about her health issues, overtake prescription pills, drink back-to-back Pepsis, watch television until late at night, and sleep half the day away. Finally, she convinced everyone around her that her health was deteriorating and that she needed to walk with a cane.

However, I saw through her windows one day, stopping by for a visit, that she was walking around fine without a cane. Yet, when I rang the doorbell to alert her of my presence, she went to grab the cane and started limping on her way to answer the door. I had constant conversations that she should stop drinking so much Pepsi she consumed morning, noon, and night. It was all she drank, and she wondered why her bones were failing her and her health.

It was 2005, and I knew I had to make a significant change for myself and my kids. While I had allowed Patricia to babysit when I needed help, I had no choice. When I visited her with the kids, I began to have flashbacks of my childhood and started seeing my kids treated like I was growing up.

Wherever she lived was messy, and my kids were responsible for all the chores to clean her home. And, of course, I was also. So they started sharing how she had them massage her body, brush her hair, and clean for nickles, dimes, and quarters. But once it was time for them to cash in on their hard-earned chore money, she needed it for bills, and they never got what was owed to them.

It was clear to me that for me to ever be free, I had to get away from Patricia. I wanted to find myself, and being in a toxic co-dependent relationship with her was standing in the way of this happening. She was a huge responsibility, and she had been since I was caretaking for her as a small child. But unfortunately, she never nurtured me or cared about how huge of a burden she was for me to deal with my entire life.

I had never been away from her for even 24 hours, and she had never acknowledged or accepted that MY LIFE IS NOT HER LIFE. She did not own me and could no longer attempt to control and manipulate me. She had no friends of her own, and there was no doubt that my kids and I were feeding her toxic narcissistic supply.

Due to her convincing herself that she was sick with every ailment known to man in her early 50s, she started pressuring me to be her power of attorney. I became increasingly infuriated at the thought of taking on this responsibility of being Patricia’s POA my entire life. I had three kids to take care of, my hands were full, and she kept pressing about this topic. I think in her mind, this would be her way of controlling me because then, I would be in charge legally of many of her health issues and medical decisions eventually.

Considering I have already spent 31 years of my life being the sole caretaker for Patricia, the thought of being her POA almost made me have a heart attack and the idea that anyone would expect me to sign up for this blew me away. I was only 31, and she was just 54. Why was she pressuring me for this? Oh, that’s right. I will never forget all her conversations with me about not wanting to go to a nursing home. That’s really what this was all about, which is why she adopted two daughters, to begin with. I knew there was always an ulterior motive.

Melanie seemed to keep her distance from Patricia’s toxicity and popped in and out on occasion. I rarely saw Melanie when we lived in Salt Lake City, but she did help in ways when I had the fire, which I appreciated. But she threw every bit of help in my face, accusing me of being a user and an awful person. It was no secret we were like night and day. We didn’t have anything in common, and we still had some deep-rooted tension from unresolved childhood wounds. However, I was always more responsible for caretaking for Patricia because she helped me with the kids, so I owed her.

Patricia constantly played Melanie and me against one another, just like pawns from our childhood. She would tell Melanie things about me to turn her against me, and she would tell me things about Melanie to turn me against her. Once again, it was apparent we never stood a chance at being sisters because Patricia’s triangulation tactics constantly stirred the trouble and drama pot. These realities took me to a breaking point in my life and my relationship with Patricia. Yet, when I confronted her, she would deny anything was wrong. Finally, one day I decided that if I didn’t leave and move away with my kids, my likely future would be that of a grave one. It was life and death for me.

I had a small hope that one day Patricia would get better and be a healthy, happy mom and grandma to my kids. But it was clear that no one was getting better when we lived in the same city and had a co-dependent connection. Maybe being at a distance, we might have a chance at a normal mother and daughter relationship? I could only hope.

I sincerely wanted my kids to have a happy, healthy mom, which I never had. I could never achieve this being in such close quarters with Patricia. I was not in a good mental headspace and could not continue my life in this toxic negativity. She was the most significant trigger I had, based on my 31 years with her, and it was time to part ways.

Like everywhere else, Salt Lake City had no resources for adult adoptees. I spent about a year contemplating the idea of moving away, but how would I survive without Patricia? How would I live with three small kids with no family support? Where would we go?

Finally, in January of 2005, I decided that moving back to Kentucky would be the best option for my kids and me. Iowa was out of the question, so I started planning the move. Little did I know that no one in Salt Lake City besides my best friend, Kelli, supported my decision.

I thought long and hard about how this decision would impact my three kids. I knew that they would be impacted due to leaving Patricia and Melanie, but I also knew that I had to save myself. I was never going to prosper in life or find myself as long as I was close to them.

While I acknowledge they each have their own feelings about it, I also feel wholehearted that I made the best decision for us all. I am thankful they will never know the depths of what I have had to carry my whole life due to being adopted into this dynamic, and I never want them to feel what I feel and at the depts that I feel it. Because of this, I know they will never fully understand the layers and complexities of making this decision, not only for me but for them. It was either stay, and I likely end up dead or in prison, or leave and try to find myself and be a better mom for them than I had.

We weren’t saying goodbye forever. I had high hopes that my relationships with Melanie and Patricia would strengthen after some time, and we could visit one another on different terms. I hoped we could all separate and get healthy and reconnect later; maybe things would be different. I needed to grow up and stop depending on Patricia. Patricia needed to find herself and get healthy. In the meantime, Melanie can spend some time catering to Patricia like I have for the last 31 years of my life, all by myself.

Melanie accused me of playing the “Kentucky Card,” and while she set her own boundaries with Patricia, now that I was ready to set my own boundaries for my kids and myself, I was treated like the worst human in the world. But one thing about me. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. I’m not a talker; I’m a doer. So Patricia and Melanie thought I was full of it and that I wasn’t serious about moving back to Kentucky in 2005. The more they assumed I wasn’t serious, the more I packed what felt like an escape in private planning.

Moving back to Kentucky without family was the hardest decision ever made. But, once again, I knew I was on my own. So I saved up every dime and carefully planned my escape from Patricia. Ultimately, this decision saved my life, and it wasn’t one I made lightly. At times I was physically ill thinking about moving away with my kids all alone, and at other times I was overjoyed at the thought of what life would be like without this enormous weight of caretaking for Patricia hanging over my head. I had never lived one day without feeling like she was my responsibility, but that was about to change.

I longed for a day to focus on myself and my kids without the co-dependent relationship with Patricia that I felt trapped in. I looked forward to the day when I could wake up daily, experience each day in freedom, and in return, find myself. Each day closer to the move across the country felt like another day closer to my great escape.

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*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

Why Do Adoptees Search? An Adoptee Collaboration

I feel adoptees have the most powerful voice in the adoption constellation and we hold the keys to understanding and healing not only for ourselves, but the world around us. The key is that non-adoptees have the willingness to listen and learn. I would like to compile an article about why adoptees make the choice to search with an emphasis on it not wavering how much we loved or didn’t love our adoptive families.

Over and over I hear adoptive family members or non-adoptees discourage adoptees from searching because we should “Just be happy with the family we got” and “We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into” by searching. I would love input from my fellow adoptees to include in this article.

Here are the questions over 20 adoptees chimed in on. 

1.) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families?

2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching?

3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching?

4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search?

Here are their voices

Adoptee Voice 1

  • Search is not about replacing your family, but about finding out who/where you came from and how you got to be who you are. While I always wanted to know more about my birth family, when I was pregnant with my first child the “want to know” became a “need to know”. While my birth family was not everything I hoped to find, I am so glad that I search. Not only was I able to have a 35 year relationship with my birth mother, but having all the facts of my adoption actually improved my relationship with my adoptive family. I was finally able to integrate my two family legacies.

Adoptee Voice 2

  • From the time I was little I knew I wanted to search when I got old enough. I waited until I was 28 to begin searching because I was busy w/ college, getting married, & having a family. It took over 20 years to find my bio. Family, & by that time my mother & both sisters had passed away. I have a half-brother still living & have had some contact w/ him, but he’s incarcerated in a federal prison, which complicates matters. I did get to meet my stepfather & my only living aunt, as well as talk to one of my uncles on the phone. We were planning to meet a few months later, but he died unexpectedly. I don’t regret searching. I only regret that I wasn’t able to find them until it was too late to meet my mother & sisters. My adoptive family was very supportive of me, but for adoptees whose adoptive families discourage them, I’d tell them that it isn’t about them. It’s about needing to know who you are, who you look like, where you get your quirks, etc. The best advice I can give those who are considering searching is to find a search angel. Don’t waste money on a private investigator when a search angel can do the same thing for free, & usually a lot faster.

Adoptee Voice 3

  • My need to search was about me as I needed to know who I was and where I came from. My parents knew this, and they totally supported my decision. 2. I have no regrets that I searched, because I found myself. 3. My biggest pieces of advice would be to have low expectations and a good support system. You’ll be disappointed if you expect too much, and it falls through, and you might run the other person off like I did with my brother. I wanted the relationship with him to undo the past, and there’s no way that was going to happen. I’d also say to do your own work before you even think of searching as reunion is filled with so many unknowns, and it’s good to have a therapist to process all that stuff with. Reunion is a roller-coaster, and you never know what’s going to happen, so it’s vital to have people that support you. 4. I’d respectfully say until you’ve walked in my shoes, you have no right to judge what I’m doing. This isn’t about replacing adoptive parents but about finding your identity. If people don’t understand that, then that’s their problem. Don’t let them stop you.

Adoptee Voice 4

  • I first felt the desire to search when I was in my early 20s, just a few years after I found out I was adopted. The decision to search was about finding my own history and filling in the holes in my life story and had nothing to do with my feelings for my wonderful adoptive family or their love for me. It always strikes me as strange that anyone would question why an adoptee searches when genealogy is such a popular hobby in this country. Isn’t a search for your birth parents really just the ultimate genealogy research? (Further complicated by closed records, of course!) 2. I will never regret searching. I ended up being found instead of finding and my birth mom and I are five months into a storybook reunion. But even if the outcome had been different, searching was something I needed to do for myself, to know my truth and my story. And now that I have it, I find it’s as priceless as I always imagined it would be. 3. To everyone searching, I would say, post your information everywhere, and, more importantly: never, never give up! You might be just one step away from finding what you’re looking for. 4. Non-adoptees or adoptive families who discourage an adoptee from searching are speaking from their own place of insecurity and fear. While adoptees who search need to be aware that things don’t always work out the way they might hope, they also need to remember that non-adoptees don’t have the same experience of life as they do and cannot understand. As Gertrude Stein said, “Let me listen to me and not to them.”

Adoptee Voice 5

  • 1). As a twice-adopted person, by two separate families, I grew up with ideas of searching for my biological mother. She was the woman I often dreamed about; the woman without a face. My decision to embark on my search occurred as a 20-year-old young man. I did not have the experience of growing up in good families as an adoptee. In both, the abuse of me took precedence, although, in the second family, it was intermingled with positive responses. So, by ultimately looking for my adoptive mother, it served as an attempt to create the loving family for which I never had as a child.2). While I ultimately found both biological parents, exactly 20 years apart, there were problems. Yet, I absolutely do not regret searching for doing so filled in the blanks for which I had wondered about for decades. In the end, my biological mother abandoned me for a second time, as an adult, and I would only meet my biological father as he was dying of stage 4 cancer.3). Advice? Be prepared for the unexpected. It doesn’t always work out and yet, it may just work out. It can be the best time in your life, and the worst. It all depends upon the reception by the other side.4). A potential search is not about about wanting to abandon the family of your adoption. It is only about finding those missing puzzle pieces that can create the entire picture of a life still unfulfilled. Most people know their families, their parents, siblings and grandparents. Knowing of your origins is, in my opinion, one of the basic needs of being human. The adoptive family may feel threatened and yet, they should understand this is not about wanting to replace them by returning to the family of origin, but more, a gift they can offer by lending support, and clues, to their son or daughter’s early history. It is selflessness on the part of the adoptive family.

Adoptee Voice 6

  • I was found because I was too terrified of rejection to search myself. Thankfully my birth mom searched for me. From there, with her help, we found my birth father. I truly believe that it’s imperative to make the journey for the sake of self and descendants. The only advice I can give is to keep your eyes wide open, don’t expect good or bad outcomes as every situation is unique, and be brave. When you have a better grasp of who you are by way of your genetic links then you will understand fully why it’s so important.

Adoptee Voice 7

  • I’ll start with the last question first because that situation annoys me. It’s not anyone’s place to get in someone else’s business about why they are doing something. We don’t owe anyone an explanation. We don’t have to defend ourselves to the clueless or earn their blessing. Most people who question our search already have their minds made up anyway. I would just say I’m sorry you don’t understand. You could always bring up the general interest in genealogy as evidence of how many people are interested in their roots, but it’s not necessary. Also, there’s my own example – my sister told me my mother finally had peace for the first time in her life now that she knew what happened to me and that I was ok. So searching can actually be a kindness to our families, not just self-serving. And I would say to my fellow adoptees who are searching not to get discouraged or give up. I didn’t find my family until I was in my mid-50s.

Adoptee Voice 8

  • I was just getting out of an abusive relationship and I needed a distraction so I wouldn’t go back to him. Plus I was always curious about where I came from.
    No regrets.
    3. Don’t give up. But check your expectations at the door.
    4. In end, whatever you decide to do, it’s your story.

Adoptee Voice 9

  • My dad died and I just thought that life is short and better to search sooner than later. Also I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings in any way. Zero to do with how much I loved my family!
    I don’t regret it even when some biological family rejected me.
    Just do it-it’s better to know the truth.
    It has nothing to do with you. You can’t fully understand the feelings of an adoptee unless you are one.

Adoptee Voice 10

  • I decided to search because I wanted answers, pure and simple. I didn’t need anything, didn’t expect anything beyond gaining knowledge. I gained so much more but I actually went into it prepared for the worst. My adoptive family had nothing to do with it except for the fact that my experience with them – and particularly with my a-mother – was so bad that it put me off searching for years. I just did not want a repeat experience. I had a real negative association with the word “mother.”  I do not regret searching. My search had a wonderful outcome but, even if that had not been the case, I had been so plagued with questions for so long it was just nice to have that settled and over and done with. Not that finding didn’t bring up a new set of questions but at least I learned the basic facts of my personal history.

Adoptee Voice 11

  • The first time I was aware that I wanted to search for my birth mom was when an adoptee friend told me she thought my b mom loved me and didn’t want to give me up. I remember feeling excited at the thought of finding my mommy that loved me. I was terrified to search because I knew it would mean being shut out of my adoptive mom’s life. She would stop talking to me if I did anything she didn’t like and that was absolute hell. When my adoptive mom handed over my non identifying information when I was in my early 30’s (I have NO idea why she chose to give this to me) I think I felt that was her permission to search. The journey to finding my b mom was a long one. I had lots of help from people who volunteered to find records on my behalf and that made the process so much easier and bore fruit much sooner!! I could write a book filled with the joys and pain of meeting my b mom. Without support from my husband I don’t think I could have done it, but I am NOT sorry I searched. My advice to fellow adoptees is making sure you have supportive people surrounding you when you search. Please DO NOT wait until your adoptive parents pass away to start this journey….you deserve to find YOU and that doesn’t just happen by being adopted into a new family. Finding out where I came from gave me such a sense of belonging. Did it heal all my wounds? No, only some. But I didn’t spend emotional energy wondering anymore.

For the adoptive families I would say find support for your own fears about this. I believe our fears keep us in a place of denying what is needed for healing. If you truly love your adopted child be the ADULT they need you to be. Remember no matter how much you wish they were your own, they are not. They belong to you AND another family. Consider this an opportunity to bring healing to your child’s life at the expense of it being painful and scary to you. I do not believe we can have an authentic relationship without looking at truth. Take their hand, and remind them you are not going anywhere!

Adoptee Voice 12

  • ) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families? I chose to find my natural family because it is my right to seek answers and know my heritage. I want the opportunity to bond with siblings, grandparents, cousins, and other family. I find it infinitely frustrating that adoptees are pressured into disregarding their own feelings about their first family because of the feelings of adoptive family and non-adoptees. Why do our feelings matter less? The love we feel for our adoptive family has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it.2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching? Not at all. I kept searching for 20 years until I found every single living relative.3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching? Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings are less than. Keep an open mind, without expectations. Remember that your natural mother also suffered trauma because of the adoption, so she may have just as much of a hard time with reunion as you.4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search? Consider this: to an adoptee, our adoption feels like our entire family died in one day, and we are expected to be grateful for the situation we were forced into. We have the human right to mourn the loss of our first family just as if they had died. We are neither blank slates nor eternal children. We are forced to deal with the stress of living three entangled lives – the person we were born to be but never were the person whose life we assume but never fit into, and the person we create for ourselves as adult adoptees. It’s a very stressful and difficult to navigate life, regardless of how wonderful our adoptive families may be. We need your support! Denying our feelings will only push us away from you.

Adoptee Voice 13

  • I needed to know who I was and where I came from plus I was biracial I did actually find out my race from DNA testing before I searched or whilst I was searching but had not found. I am glad for the prep work or healing I did before searching because I did uncover a lot of trauma and drama. I was also lied to by my adoptive family, social services and members of my natural family so I was misled a lot while searching but I had a great search angel that helped me. The info I received was almost like working through grief bit by bit and also the letters I wrote to natural mom were very hard to write but each time I posted one it got a bit easier, she never actually got any of them. I was sad to find so many traumas in my natural mom’s life stemming from the fact she herself was abandoned at nine years old and went from one abusive relationship to another after my dad left her to marry someone of his own race. My dad took my bro and she kept my sister…. she lost my sister and my half bro 7 years later trying to escape the abusive jerk that she left me for…she got with another abusive jerk after that who told her she could not keep my sister either but they reunited when my sister was 16… My mum tells me that I am lucky and should be grateful she didn’t keep me and I didn’t endure what my sister did , but none of them asked how my life was growing up with and abusive manipulative lying my adoptive family… My reunion is not going that great there is too much pain all around. My mum doesn’t answer my calls or phone when she says she will which triggers me into a three day meltdown mode. My sister is overflowing with love but for all the wrong reasons and I just keep walking my healing path because truly that’s what it’s all about reunion or no reunion we have to heal from the loss and reunion just shoves that loss right in your face so now you are face to face with all the years lost whether it’s with mum or siblings or whatever adoption is based on deception and loss and healing is possible but it takes years of work…reunions do not fix the pain of the loss …

Adoptee Voice 14

  • ) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families? What made me decide? hmm sad occasion of someone showed me the realization that it’s time to do what I needed todo for years that I was ready for it
    2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching? Not at all. It’s important to do
    3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching? Don’t expect miracles and acceptance from that moment on it’s not up to you alone
    4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search? I can only say this: it’s not about you and with all the respect you need to support or walk away

Adoptee Voice 15

  • 1) Curiosity. Who am I? And no, my family was amazing which made it even harder to talk about wanting to search because I felt like I was betraying them or something. 2) I do not regret searching. 3) I was actually found on fb by my birth mother. I had all the information that I thought could be helpful, full birthday and my full name (Irish + Romanian) 4) Helping someone get through something is easier than helping someone get through the unknown. In my opinion you can’t get closure until you know everything.

Adoptee Voice 16

  • I searched because when my oldest had a hidden medical condition. They tested me and I had it also! So I wondered what else might be hiding. #3) Don’t expect a Hollywood happy filled reunion. You were given up for a reason. You may or may not find that “missing piece of the puzzle”. Keep expectations very low and search for the right reasons

Adoptee Voice 17

  • My search began a month before my wedding day. I found out my birth name at the bank. My papers were in a vault along with my Savings Bond. I asked who is Linda Marie? Mom would not give me a straight answer. 2. I did not regret searching for the truth even though I ended up asking mom again for my truth 2 years later and mom’s reluctance to give me information. 3. If your mom has information continue to badger her and keep on asking.

Adoptee Voice 18

  • ) I decided to search because it’s a natural human instinct to want to know who we are and where we come from. It’s impossible to know where your headed if you don’t know where you come from. It was tearing me apart inside to not know. My wanting to search was natural for a not natural situation. My pain of the unknown was SO GREAT I was addicted to alcohol most of my life because I couldn’t handle adoptee grief, loss & trauma and not knowing my answers. With the world celebrating adoption they make no room for our pain so I NEEDED TO KNOW MY ANSWERS. Trust me if I didn’t have the deep desire to know I would have much rather chose that route but that’s not how it works for many of us. My decision had nothing to do with my adoptive family and them loving me or not loving me. Love has NOTHING to do with us wanting to search and everything to do with needing the TRUTH. Without the truth we can’t move forward with acceptance and healing. Give it to God? Let me ask… If I don’t search and have the answers and beginnings of how I came about how do I know what to give to God? Am I going to hand him a question mark? Don’t think so….2.) I faced double rejection from both birth parents. It gets no more painful than that yet I still would rather know than live in the unknown because that was pure inhuman torture in my mind living wondering who my mother was and who my people were. Don’t regret it for a minute.3.) Think about your desire to search and pray about it and ask yourself if your pain outweighs the peace in your life regarding not knowing. If you’re at total peace not knowing great for you. But if you are bothered by it or it torments you then search and really try not to think of everyone else’s feelings. You deserve your answers and you deserve your truth! Everyone else can put on their big boy and girl panties and deal with it. I know it’s hard because when we make the decision to search we are going up against the grain and most people who aren’t adopted can’t comprehend our NEED and how deep it is and why we need answers. It’s important to stop trying to get them to understand. Trust me, the very few non adoptees who WANT TO LEARN will listen. They are worth talking to. Those who try to shut you down are ones you should leave alone. Most non adoptees will never understand us so I choose to stick with those who do understand me, my fellow adoptees. There is an army of us out here so you are never alone. Do what is best for you and don’t wait. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.4.) Please understand this isn’t about you and it had nothing to do with you. You could have been the best most amazing parents in the world but we still need our answers and truth. You can either support us and help us or we will do it around you. It’s much nicer when we have adoptive parents who aren’t manipulative who make it all about them every time we open our mouths. For once please know this isn’t about you. I can’t say it enough. And for you to say “Can’t you be happy with the family you got?” I would like to respond by saying until you are stripped of your basic human rights of wanting to know who you are and where you come from you really should keep your comments to yourself. If you can’t support me please leave me be. And when I find less than what I dreamed please don’t be quick to rub it in my face that I should have listened to you. The trauma of being an adoptee and living in the unknown is horrific in itself so please don’t make it worse on us with your unsupportive comments.

Adoptee Voice 19

  • Keep looking and do not give up.

Adoptee Voice 20

  • My decision to search was my own, and had no bearing on the opinions of others. I knew I was adopted before understanding what adoption was, and my desire to know/search was formed at the same time. The only considerations regarding my AP’s was around informing them about my actions, both in searching and reunion. Again, the decision was completely my own, even forgoing the concern of my then fiancé. This was MINE, something I wanted my entire life, and nothing was going to dissuade me. I waited until I met the age of independence to start, because I had to. There was no specific trigger that set me on the path toward finding; it was ALWAYS something I knew I had to do. I have regrets associated with my search/reunion, but none about searching. Again, the need to know was like breathing. I simply had to do it; there was no consideration or hesitation. As soon as I legally could search, I did. My birth mother received me well enough. In hindsight, she, like so many birth mom’s, was damaged from the experience. Had I been more informed, or more mature, more whatever, I may have been better prepared. Over the course of 20 years, I found & lost her 3 times. I don’t regret this, it is what it is. My only regret was waiting 10 years to find/contact my birth father, because my birth mother requested she make first contact with him. I felt I was being loyal, but in truth I was acting in fear. Fear that I would rock the boat, and damage relations with b-mom. A relation that never existed, and never formed. Even if it had, I was wrong to let someone hold me captive. Advice to those beginning a search… invest in your own search efforts. Searching may seem difficult, but the journey will build strength and knowledge. Both will be needed in reunion. I’m not suggesting the final goal of reunion is bad, but like any relationship, it requires work. Perhaps more work than another relation, as there is commonly much emotional and psychological baggage associated with adoption. The birth mother and the adoptee are damaged. And depending on their own journey, each may be in a different place of readiness for such a relation. And quite often, the adoptee must become the parent. By this I mean they must come to reunion prepared, offering both understanding and the voice of reason. It’s so very complicated; I’m not sure how to address it for the purpose of this project. In short, the adoptee should be an active part of the search. The adoptee should educate themselves on their legal rights to information, and reunion related issues. Understanding why they or the birth parent are acting as they are will help them navigate next steps. Final points related to searching; be honest in communications with birth parents, be honest with yourself, start a journal to help organize search efforts and log events/emotions after reunion, be kind to those who don’t have to help you and gently push those who do. Lastly, take action, do not wait, people die. Time is NOT on the side of us adoptees, so don’t let discomfort or indecision keep you from taking next steps. One of the hardest things is to find a grave at the end of your search.To the discouraging voices, they can all suck it. They don’t know, will never know, and so can’t advise. Some may be heartfelt, and with your best interests in mind, but only YOU can decide. And only another adoptee can truly understand. We had no voice in what happened to us. We don’t owe anyone anything as it relates to being adopted. Do what you need to. If that is to search, than do so unequivocally. Naysayers and alarmists be damned.

Adoptee Voice 21

  • My answers to the 4 questions… #1 – I have known I was adopted since around the age of 10. I always had letters written from my birth mother to my Mom. In those letters there was mention of two boys. I always felt a disconnect with my family even though they were always good to me and I was always more curious about the brothers more than anything. My love for my family always made me feel guilty for wanting to find them, but I was also very afraid of rejection. I have a very uncommon birth name, so actually finding my brothers was the easy part thanks to Facebook, getting the courage to contact them, not so easy. I just decided I was about to turn 50 and I needed to do this and I did not tell my family until after it was done. #2- I do not regret it at all. But only because I was not rejected. #3 – We had about 3 days AND nights worth of texting before we met in person. You just have to be careful of letting a complete stranger in your life. #4- you have no way of knowing how they feel if you aren’t adopted yourself. Let them do what their heart is leading them to do. In my case it literally filled my heart with joy and made me a happier person for my family to be around…not that I was that bad before, lol, but when it works out, it’s a feeling I just can’t describe.

This blog post was compiled for all those in the world who just can’t understand why adoptees put ourselves “out there” to search in the first place, what our thoughts are regarding this search and how difficult it is for many of us.

No adoptee “Story” is the same and we each have a unique story and desire to be heard. So many in society want to speak for us, but you will never ever fully understand adoptees unless you seek our voices and ask us how it feels to be adopted.

Thank you to all my fellow adoptees who chimed in and made this article post possible. You matter and your voices matter. Keep sharing your voices!  If you are reading this and you would like to answer the questions please reply to this article. Your replies will stay with the history of the page.

If you aren’t adopted and you made it this far THANK YOU for your willingness to learn from the experts in the adoption constellation! We appreciate you taking the time to read this post. You have made an attempt to try to understand how adoptees feel. Keep reading and keep sharing the voices that’s almost always ignored, the Adoptees!

Pamela A. Karanova

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About Your Happy Adoption Story 

Something that continuously feels like a kick in the teeth is the need for anyone to proclaim how their adoption story was a wonderful one, in the midst of an adopted adult sharing how our experiences have surfaced grief, loss, trauma, abuse, abandonment, and rejection. 

Why does anyone feel the need to do this? 

Do they know it’s harmful and hurtful to the validation of your experience and the pain you carry within that experience? I can’t help but try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but this topic is noteworthy of an article because I deal with it all the time. And this means many of my fellow adoptees likely do as well!

It usually goes something like this – 

Adopted Adult: “I’m having a hard time processing the rejection of my birth mother, and my birth father passed away before I could ever meet him. I would have given anything to meet them both at least one time. I am really sad about it all. My adoption story has caused me separation trauma and adoption trauma that impacts me in every way. I will be working towards healing from these wounds for the rest of my life.” 

Responses we get a lot of the time – 

Birth Mother: “Sorry, your adoption experience has been such a painful one. I wish everybody had an adoption story like mine because it’s a beautiful one. Most adoptions aren’t like yours.” 

Adoptive Parent: “You are basing your option on your experience, but not everyone has your experience. Our adoption has been the biggest blessing of our family, not just for us but our adopted son. God has a plan, and he never makes mistakes!” 

Friend of the Family: “I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Can you imagine how your life would have been if you weren’t adopted? You must be so thankful that someone wanted you when your own biological family didn’t. Aren’t you grateful for the better life?” 

NEWSFLASH PEOPLE – When someone shares heartache and pain, it is not okay to swoop in and share that your experience is so much better. Unfortunately, the adoptee is the one singled out, being labeled as someone who “just has a bad adoption story and experience!”

NEWSFLASH NUMBER TWO: Every single adoption begins with TRAUMA FIRST which constitutes a bad experience for every single adopted person. The loss of our biological mother is nothing to be celebrated, and if we are all being truthful and transparent, that very important piece must never be left out when speaking about adoption. To gloss over this piece is pretending as if it doesn’t exist.

I have also seen adoptees (who are usually in the fog) do this to fellow adoptees. It’s not okay, and it’s never going to be okay.

Let’s change things up a bit so people realize how fucking awful they sound. 

Rape Victim: “I have been traumatized by my experience with John Doe. He forced himself on me, and even after I said “NO,” he took what he wanted to take and forced me to have sex with him, and I did not give consent!” 

If someone responded to the rape victim like they do when adopted adults share their feelings, it might go something like this  – 

Friend of the Rapist “I’m sorry John Doe violated you in some way, but I need to share that I have been his friend for 15 years, and he has never once violated me in that way. I think you just had a bad experience with him. Not everyone has that experience who knows and loves John!” 

Family Member of the Rapist “I have known John since birth, and he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s well-loved and supported in our family. You are the only person with a negative experience with John. I feel bad that you had a bad experience with John, and I hope one day you can move past it and move on with your life. and always remember, God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle!” 

Friend of Person Raped “I am mortified that John raped you! Are you sure you remember things correctly? Because this is a serious crime and John D. has never been accused of hurting someone like this before? Can you try to think positively about this? Of all the years I have known you, you are strong, and I know you will overcome this! One day, you will choose to move on!”

One more example – 

Victim of Racial Discrimination: “Mr. Wilson called me out at work, in front of everyone, and he really embarrassed me and made me feel discriminated against. I was the only person of color, and he asked me to share the history of slavery in America and details about my history with racism. It made me really uncomfortable, and even when he could see I was uncomfortable, I told him I was uncomfortable, he pressed on and made me share anyway.” 

White Co-Worker of Victim“I’m sorry Mr. Wilson made you uncomfortable, but if anyone is supposed to teach us the realities of Slavery in America, don’t you think it should be you? You have the most knowledge!” 

White Friend of Victim“I hate this happened to you, but you are strong. If anyone can handle it, you can! I always want chances to learn about race, and if African Americans can’t teach us, who can?” 

White HR Department Manager of Victim“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We will look into this, and hopefully, it won’t happen again. For the record, Mr. Wilson is well-loved around here, and we support him to the fullest. He’s been around 32 years and will be retiring soon!” 

One last example – 

Victim of Religious Trauma Syndrom“I am down in a dark space because all the things I was taught as a child about God go against how I am feeling. My experience with God and church has caused me damage, and I need to find a therapist experienced in religious trauma to help navigate things. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like reaching out to my Christian friends. They will just tell me I am backsliding and the devil is controlling me!” 

Friend of Victim – “ This isn’t my experience. You need to pray and ask God to clarify things for you. Then, get alone, and keep praying. Maybe even fast for a few days. God will reveal the truth and if you don’t hear him, try harder!” 

Family Member of Victim“I think you are confused, and you are focusing more on the negative instead of giving it to God and trusting him with your life! The enemy is trying to take control of your thoughts, and I will pray for you! We all need to pray! You are not praying enough! PROVERBS 18:21!”

ATTENTION: These are hypothetical but sadly at times can ring true for these victims of abuse and these things happen like this all the time. In no way am I minimizing the experiences of those who have been treated this way, yet I am shining light on the ignorance that surrounds statements like this.

Do you see how awful these responses are and invalidating? Well, you wouldn’t say these idiotic statements to the victims of Rape, the victims of racial discrimination, or victims of Religious Trauma Syndrome, would you?

So I am asking you to stop saying these things to adopted adults. Anytime someone is sharing from a space of heartache and pain, they do NOT need you to glorify your amazing happy adoption story at the same time! So please consider stopping this as you are causing harm if you don’t. 

Also, remember while you might be a birth mother or an adoptive parent, you can’t speak for the feelings of an adoptee! Please do not speak for us.

While you glorify your experience with adoption as being wonderful, they have possibly not reached adulthood yet, so they can enter a space of developing their own feelings. And no harm intended but they likely wouldn’t share their feelings with you! My adoptive parents are the last people on earth I have ever shared my real true feelings with!

This goes for anything in life. People need to be heard, validated, and supported when sharing pain, and that is IT! Just because YOU have a happy and positive adoption story, it doesn’t negate my sad, traumatic and hurtful one! When someone has to put a positive spin on someone else sharing their pain, it’s a dynamic of toxic positivity that is so invalidating to so many. Maybe after reading this article, people will see how they sound and make changes. We can only hope.

How many of you have experienced this type of treatment for my fellow adoptees? Has it been in public, online, or in your relationships? I would love to hear about your experiences! How do you handle them?

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Thanks for reading.

Love, Love

100 Heartfelt Adoptee Quotes that Honor the Truth of Adoption

You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best adoption quotes from the adoptee’s perspective. This article shares 100 Heartfelt Adoptee Quotes that Honor’s the Truth of Adoption from the adult adoptee perspective. As we enter 2022, I decided to call my fellow adoptees to help collaborate and share quotes from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. So, 100 of us came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences adoptees go through during their lifetimes.

While you read these quotes, 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 the rollercoaster journey that adoption brings. 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.

By sharing 100 Adoptee Quotes 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. Maybe 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. While you read this article, you will receive validation that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.

We are stronger together.

100 Adoptee Quotes

1. “Adoption very well might have kept me alive, but it taught me to hate and despise my authentic self, until the age of 64 when I learned my truth.” – Mary Constance Mansfield

2. “Adoption changed who I was and made me who I didn’t want to be. Then, I was forced to change who I became in order to love who I am! Adoption Sucks!” – Ofir Alzate

3. “I used to think it was delightful to hear my birth story until one day; I realized that my story sounded quite different than that of my biologically born siblings. Mine had holes, missing pictures, and name stories and included zero features traced back to mom, dad, aunties, or grandparents. The story of adoptees, as told by those outside the triad, is never quite on the mark and often rings like a fairy tale. That’s why today I tell my own story using all the bits I’ve gathered along the way through writing and art in a way that is authentic, and in a way that says my story matters too.” – Lynne Rachell

4. “I miss my home, my culture, my country. I miss my mom.” – Margit

5. “Once I gathered my thoughts and suffered the pain from the betrayal and no family support after discovering late that I was adopted, things started to become clear. The healing process began, and I realized how lucky I was because all of the abuse and trauma came from a family I was nothing like. It all made sense to me, and I started to embrace my uniqueness, and I’m glad I wasn’t their blood after all.” – AnnMarie Serpe

6. “My adoptive parents didn’t know how to meet my needs. I never felt “enough.” Even though I was loved and raised in a better situation, I still grieved for the family I lost. One had nothing to do with the other.” – Andrea Burke

7. “I was never the true person I was supposed to be. I was born into being someone else’s fantasy. I never fit in and never belonged anywhere. My life adopted was a struggle to just be the real me. Even though it’s touch and go, until I met my biological family, I felt out of touch with me. At least now I have landed somewhere, right? – Ellen Ular-Olson

8. “Through all the emotional abuse, I never fit your puzzle in a family. I don’t belong. I can stay in a broken adoption cycle full of shame, pain, and blame, or I can rise and be the best I can be while removing the toxicity and pain; that is what my family brought me.” – S.M.

9. “Adoption may have given me a better lifestyle, but it destroyed my self-worth.” – Kate Kendall

10. “Society needs to stop using the term “adopted” when referencing to animals. It’s dismissive to humans who are adopted. Instead, use the term “rescue.” Unlike us, these animals are actually chosen, whereas we adoptees are merely the next available. Please stop equating our adopted experiences to those of shelter animals. – Cindy Olson McQuay

11. “My “adoption trauma” is the government denying me access to my own records.” – Marci Purcell

12. “Even if your adoption reunion goes well, adoptees often feel like they are on the outside looking in at their birth/first families.” – Daryn Watson

13. “My conception MADE ME; it didn’t make ME. I am not my conception.” – Jeannette Mantilla

14. “I was adopted. But I was not raised in adoption. I was raised in deception.” – Kris Rao

15. “As an adoptee, I am the bridge between two worlds, hanging on by my fingertips!” – Daryl Fuller

16. “Trauma hides who we are like a cloud blocking out the sun. It doesn’t diminish our radiant brilliance.” – Simon Benn

17. “For 50 years, I pretended to be “your” child. You always told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up until I told you I wanted to be who I was “born” to be.” – Virginia Miller

18. “It’s clear to me I’m an unwanted intrusion into her healed existence. My letter was not welcomed and was rebuffed firmly with kind words. An iron fist in a velvet glove that has punched me so hard I can’t breathe for a while.” – Nick Mabey

19. “Being adopted is like being stuck in some sort of senseless protective custody from your truth and DNA: Forever hostage in the trap of a triangle that no one else sees. I’m surrounded by constant reminders of how much pain was felt by the two families I am caught between in order to exist in the life I have. How could I not feel that being born was the crime I am paying for?” – Kristen Steinhilber

20. “What I’ve learned from deconstructing my thoughts and feelings on my Adoption story is that the grief I hold for my family that I never had the chance to be – for the biological siblings I never go to know or meet – that the longing for my roots doesn’t undermine the family I was raised in. Humans have a great capacity for love. I can hold space for both my first and adoptive family. I can now finally do that without feeling guilty.” – Allison H.

21. “Part of the lived experience for intercountry adoptees in the USA is being told by all of society, as children, that we can never be the president of the United States. This is an aspect of intercountry adoption to the US that is seldom talked about but has weighed on my mind for as long as I can remember.” – Meggin Nam Holtz

22. “Finding my voice as an adoptee has been a lifelong pursuit & finally, I am at a place where I welcome connection with others who have gone down this road as well. Together we stand strong and invite others to join us on this journey of self-identity.” – Abby Jacobson

23. “Your Mother is the one person in this world who is supposed to love you, no matter what. Mine didn’t.” – Stephenie King

24. “And where is the adoption trauma you speak of? It is the expression of an infant’s rage at being torn from its Mother. This is experienced as a life and death moment by the infant/child. We are dealing with the normal and expected response to a premature infant/maternal separation. This pre-verbal trauma is stored within the body and, when recalled (not remembered), is experienced as an emotional flashback. This is the biological base upon which the child’s infancy and childhood is precariously placed.” – Michael Grenfell

25. “Voice of the Adoptee Child – Please, do not love me “as if” I was your own. Love me because it is inevitable to love a child. Take my hand and come to know my heart – my Mother and father’s share with me. They are part of my fabric. Do not try to rip them away, just because their pattern does not fit your décor.” – Copyright, Shirley MacKenzie

26. “Sending heaven-bound love to the mother who gave birth to me, loved me and was brave enough to let me go to a better life than she could provide; and to the mother who raised me as her own and who gave me a true mother’s love and guidance.” – Judi Euritt

27. “The hardest parts of being adopted: Society celebrating your adoption without acknowledging what you have lost!” – Maria Roach

28. “I was a foundling, discovered naked in a beer box, adopted shortly after. I was told to feel grateful and to live as if it never happened as if my story started in that box. The fact that I was there and yet can never remember how my life began haunts me as I carry that weight of pre-verbal trauma every day. I want to rip the flesh from my bones and dig down to see if the truth is buried there.” – Baby Lilac

29. “My adoptive parents want to pretend I wasn’t a baby taken; my biological parents want to pretend I wasn’t a baby given. Imagine your very existence being uncomfortable for everyone.” – Jennifer Harris

30. “I am one of the lucky ones. I speak to my first Mother on my birthday, the adoptee’s eternal day of dread. She sends me a card, thoughtful gifts, and we chat about life. Still, this “birth” day consumes me with unrelenting sadness that lingers in for weeks and takes hold of my very soul. It weakens my spirit and my bones. I suppose it always will.” – Susan London

31. “Being an adoptee is living in a world of unknowns while simultaneously trying to create a world you have control over.” – Jullian Drzewoszewski

32. “An adoptee experiences their first death, at birth, let the grieving begin.” – Robbin Lee

33. “Always on the outside looking through frosted windows.” – K. Henson

34. “I want the world to know that Adoption = a lifetime of fighting to learn my truth that I deserved from day one.” – Cynthia Dort

35. “Living with strangers, confused and detached. Not fitting their script, hearts felt split.” – J.Q.

36. “When I had my own child, it was the first time I saw myself. As she grew, I knew her. I realized I have been in survival mode since birth. And it is okay to be me so that she can be herself.” – K.B.

37. “I may have been “chosen” by one family (if you even subscribe to that “chosen adoptee” bullshit to begin with), but in order to be chosen by one family, I had to be rejected/abandoned by the family/lies that brought me into this world. Rejection is real. It hurts.” – Laureen Pittman

38. “Space is a difficult concept for Adoptees who are often clingy and want to solve any conflict right then and there. We are afraid that whoever needs space from us will never come back.” – Kirk Andrews

39. “It doesn’t matter to me” feels like “you don’t matter to me.” – K.B.

40. “Being an adoptee doesn’t solely define me. However, being an adoptee is a lifelong experience!” – Jane A.

41. “Adoption isn’t a better life. It’s a different life that started with loss and grief. Reunion is often seen as a Hallmark moment and thought to heal everything, but it only showed me all that I had lost. Being an adoptee is a life of overcoming obstacles that normally wouldn’t be there.” – Lorah Gerald @theadoptedchameleon

42. “Adoption has affected every aspect of my life.” – Tonya Jean Nunnally

43. “Perfectly in order with God’s plan. Blessed with the full spectrum of emotion. Particularly gratitude. To see how much He’s cared for me and blessed me in a myriad of ways.” – Christopher Thomas Wilson

44. “Ripped from our Mother’s womb. No bonding time. Who are we? We are the ones who create ourselves. Lost, but hopefully, found.” – Willetta Hill Calvin

45. “In any context other than adoption, the expectation of instant love, trust, attachment, loyalty, and gratitude to a complete stranger would be seen for what it is: evidence of a personality disorder. Society needs to stop pathologizing adoptees for reacting normally to narcissistic abuse and put the blame where it belongs: on the adults who expect traumatized children to adjust to their world being altered in every imaginable way, including a new identity forced on them by new caregivers.” – Jodi Moore

46. “As an adoptee, so many pieces of my identity were a mystery. I’ve spent so much time trying to figure out who I am and what my purpose is. Going through the reunification process shifted all of my identity work. Now I live my life balancing two deeply conflicting feelings: infinite gratitude for who I am as part of my Adoptive family and an infinite longing for who I would’ve been as a part of my Biological family.” – Ellie Rosen

47. “As an infant closed adoption adoptee, I have had not just an overwhelming sense of loss my whole life but fear and dread of it. For most of my life, I was pro-life. Partially because of being adopted. In just the past few years, I now wish I was aborted because of the lifelong pain in my soul that seems to get worse and not better. Many of us decide we no longer want to live with it and put an end to it ourselves.” – Tony Sanderell

48. “My parents always made me feel special, so I grew up proud to be adopted. I am still very proud. I just wanted to let my biological parents know that I had a wonderful life, and I was very loved. When I found my biological father, I told him he could not have hand-picked better parents to raise his son. He was very happy to hear my life was as wonderful as he hoped.” – Joseph M. Zinni Jr.

49. “Adoptees share the unique experience of carrying the rejection of relinquishment while also trying to balance the natural human need to be loved and known for who we are. Very little people and spaces can feel safe for us. I have done an immense amount of healing through the building of relationships with other adoptees who understand this experience innately.” – Laura Summers @lauraisalot

50. “I cried for her as if crying for God to be with me, to know someone who can never be known, someone who is known by their absolute absence.” – Kevin Barhydt

51. “I was robbed of the person I was supposed to be. I don’t fit in anywhere – Not with my adoptive family, not with my biological family. I’m like a puzzle piece that was cut apart to fit into a puzzle it didn’t belong to. You can put it in the new puzzle, but it doesn’t look right. It no longer works in the original puzzle because it’s been altered. It will fit in the space, but the picture will never look as intended. The damage was done. That’s what adoption has done to me.” – Jewel Kingsley

52. “Growing up as an adoptee, I was always jealous of my friends that could look in the mirror every day and know where their genetic makeup came from. For me, all I ever saw was a person that I didn’t really know where he came from or where he fits in.” – Robert Knotts

53. “Thru the eyes of an adoptee… We were born as ourselves. Then our identity was taken away, and tried to be made as someone else. We are neither; we are both, plus the person we have become. This is who we are.” – H. Carter

54. “Two moms are not easy to have. Both assumed I would be A-OK with the “adoption plan.” I guess in the end, they both lose out on my true self – which is tragically sad for all three of us. In order for me to be free, I had to grieve them both, even though they are both alive. It’s the toughest thing I ever had to do to be me.” – Jennifer Vroon

55. “Adoption made me a stranger to myself.” – Jessica R.

56. “Adoption robbed me of my living my heritage. I don’t fit in anywhere, and not one “immediate” really knows or cares how I feel, even if I try and express my hurt, pain, and loss.” – Julie Blanchard

57. “My whole life, I have mourned the loss of my original Mother. I don’t know anything different. Yet, I search for beauty and love in the present. Sometimes I find it.” – Paul Kimball

58. “I wish I was aborted all those years ago.” – Dawna Unsell

59. “Adopted people are some of the most incredible humans I’ve ever known. My hope is that adoptees, who have worked on healing and have the fortitude necessary, will start to tell their whole truth about adoption. Let’s not perpetuate the adoption tropes we see in popular culture and media. Let’s be the ones who say the truth: family separation is traumatic and lifelong.” – Haley Radke

60. “Adoption is the beginning of a never-ending search for oneself. We live in the land of loss. We are lost. Maybe forever?” – Sara G.

61. “I’m a stranger that everyone knows, but I don’t know how to explain my reality.” – Lawrence P.

62. “Warning – I’m Adopted.” – Fiona Georgie Myles

63. “Adoption is a form of human trafficking. It’s critical to see it as part of the fastest-growing multi-billion dollar criminal industry in the world. Adoption trafficking has led to generational trauma, suicide, and murder of human lives. In order to bring about the necessary paradigm shift based on the need to save lives, we all have to take responsibility in understanding and accepting this truth. ” – Moses Farrow, LMFT

64. “I have found myself reflecting more about my adoption as an adult. I am grateful that I have had the chance to connect with my roots and learn about the life that I would have had in a very culturally different community. I love to learn more about my birth identity, but I also have such an appreciation for my life now.” – Yael Adler @fromgypsytojersey

65. “I am a cultural Frankenstein caught between two distinct cultures neither one wanted to take me in. I have learnt to accept that I am stuck in no man’s land, neither British nor East Asian, just me.’ – Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen

66. “The joy and tragedy coexist for me as a multi-ethnic adoptee. It is a complex existence to wake up and begin again every day at ground zero, not knowing where I come from because it’s being hidden from me, despite asking for years on repeat kindly and urgently, by the birth mother (her Mother and birth counselor) and the ones who chose to adopt me. Adoptees are not replacements for the voids within adoptive or birth parents, nor are we supposed to be the embodiment of the dream that our adopters pressure us to be. This high level of feigned ignorance mixed with an extreme level of master-manipulation of not only my reality but also my ancestry (past) and my human narrative, which informs my present/future is selfish and unbecoming of any human being looking to live truthfully and love in truth.” – Doux

67. “Adoption feels like a very long rocky road of sadness and rejection but can end up in a smooth and beautiful journey of self-love and acceptance with the right support.” – Michelle @babybebrave_

68. “We’ve heard it all for centuries in the adoption community, “Love is all you need!” I’m here to tell you that love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff. I needed my truth because there is no healing from secrecy, lies, and half-truths. And even after I have the truth, the trauma, grief, and loss will remain lifelong visitors. I feel robbed of what normal people have like I’m marked. Acceptance is key, and acknowledging adoption has stolen 47 years from me. I’m doing a life sentence for a crime I didn’t commit but I moved across the country and abandoned them all. No more tug-of-war split between many families, never really belonging to any .” – Pamela A. Karanova

69. “Starting an adoptee’s story with adoption is like picking up a book and jumping straight to chapter 4. You’ll figure out some things somewhat, but never fully like having those first three chapters.” – Lee McLamb

70. “My true identity will never be. It was thoughtlessly taken away from me. Leaving me longing for answers no one else understood to see. My life as an adoptee has been both complicated and lonely.” – Pamela Lovell Guerin

71. “Adoption is like having an aerial view of a stagnant labyrinth, you can see the twists and turns, but there is no flow from one section to the next. Following the path with constant and unforgiving dead ends, you are left alone and starving. This labyrinth becomes your home where you are forced to exist lost and forgotten, even by yourself.” – Maura Nicholson

72. “Adoption caused me to be stripped of my biological origins and live in an emotionally abusive, alternative reality. I felt like a mistake, with no right to be born. I needed to know how I got here, who and where I came from. It took 50 years to find my answers and enjoy living authentically me.” Barb R.

73. “Being adopted means searching for yourself in the faces and names of strangers and wishing everyone would just take a DNA test so you could get back to your tribe. It also means even after you search and find biological family, you will still probably feel like you don’t belong to anyone.” – Sophi Hamovitz-Richman Fletcher

74. “I came into the world alone; a discarded, relinquished, innocent baby. I had waited 9 long months to meet a woman who I would not actually meet until 32 years after my birth. It wasn’t until I met her face-to-face that I realized how deep this primal wound really is, and finally, I began to come out of the fog. The memory of being one with my Mother is frozen in the year 1981.” – Kimberly R. Weeks, LCSW, CADC I

75. “Now that I have my entire adoption file and original birth certificate, I am still left wondering who I really am. I have been listed as No Name K, Mother’s Name’s Baby, Baby Girl K, Sharon Louise K, and Wendy Kay J, all in the span of 6 weeks. It’s no wonder adoptees struggle with their identity.” – WKJ

76. “I am not a toaster, so why can I readily access more about my toaster than I can about my time as a sentient being?” – Anonymous Adoptee

77. “The best thing adoptive parents can do for their children is allowing them to be different. They will have physical differences, different talents and skills, and different weaknesses. Don’t attempt to mold them in your image, and celebrate the things that make them unique. Be careful not to allow their differences to make them feel ostracized.” – @amamelmarr / Reddit

78. “Please don’t ask why I’m adopted because it will end the conversation faster than saying I’m friends with Prince Andrew.” – @oranges_and_lemmings / Reddit

79. “RELINQUISHED; It’s not that you couldn’t hold on. It’s the fact that you let go.” – Anonymous Adoptee

80. “I think the biggest struggle is finding where I fit into my own world, not anyone else’s. I can be whoever anyone needs me to be, but when it comes to myself, I still feel like the child waiting for that one person I depended on to lead me to success, but my arm is left extended.” – Lexie

81. “I always knew I was adopted. My parents never sat me down and had a formal conversation with me. That wasn’t necessary because mine was an “open adoption.” I was in contact with my biological parents and siblings from the beginning. My parents felt it was important for me to be close to my oldest sister, and she spent nearly every weekend at our house and would even go on vacation with us. I loved spending time with her. It was very painful when she eventually moved away the summer after fifth grade. It had a really negative effect on me, and I felt lost and became withdrawn from my peers. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been less confusing and painful if I didn’t meet my biological family until I was an adult.” – Tia

82. “Embrace culture and change; never be ashamed of your roots. I was adopted at 1 year old from Vietnam and brought to the U.S. My adoptive parents never embraced my culture, and I was put into a predominantly white school until I was 18. I always felt ashamed for being Asian and looking different. It took me years to appreciate my ethnic background, but I am so glad my perspective has changed.” – @Rough-Philosopher-34 / Reddit

83. “All adoptees experience trauma and deserve someone taking the time to address that trauma and help them heal. Also, there is nothing like getting to know your heritage when you never knew where you came from. Finally, to adoptive parents – please let them get to know their biological brothers and sisters if that’s an option because it means so much to know your biological siblings and you find out you have so much in common; every adoptee should experience it if possible.” – Louis

84. “Just because I was raised in a good family doesn’t mean I don’t deserve and yearn to know my beginning story.” – Gina Durham

85. “I am a 60+-year-old woman where I just found out my birth mother lives in The Villages, Florida. The most Trump-centric place on earth. I had search angels guiding me through DNA, etc. All of them say I should contact them, as I have known I was adopted since I was 3. But although this is what I always wanted, I do not think at this stage of my life I want to get involved with a Trump person. Is it horrible that I don’t want to get involved? Btw, I found my bio dad. His family has been wonderful.” – Randi C.  

86. “I see you, I hear you, I feel you, said no one.” – Rebecca Leqve

87. “Only adopted people know the experience of your loving ‘family’ and community expecting you to forget your Mother and father, ignore who you are and where you’re from. Requiring a state of voluntary permanent amnesia in which you’re criticized for wanting to recover.” – Kimberly S. Worden-Poledna

88. “Adoptees never experience unconditional love. They are taught that love must be earned again every day. They must demonstrate gratitude every day. It’s a horrible existence.” – Rebecca C.

89. “When I first admitted to being adopted, it started to feel normal to me for the first time. When I internalized that I have more than one root, I realized my strength. Now my adoption is a part of me that makes me who I am. If I hadn’t been adopted, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” – Gamze Bilir-Seyhan @birevlatedinilmehikayesi

90. “Relinquishment severed my soul and my spirit. Adoption and religion didn’t save me. It fractured me.” – Xiomara R.

91. “When I was on the inside, I was one with you. When I was born, you disappeared. Ever since then, I have been stuck in survival mode. And nothing, I mean nothing, numbs the pain. The purchased baby spends their lifetime paying the price.” – Veronica Collins

92. “My adoption story is the fuel that drives everything in my life. I am bigger than the box that holds my story. My voice will NOT be silenced, and if I can get up, I will show up.” – Ms. Ereka Howard MS Certified Life Coach

93. “Not applicable; adopted; do not know my history. Just words filled out for decades onto doctor forms. Now that I know. I am giddy with the knowledge that everyone else takes for granted.” – Meg Cullum

94. “Adoptees were born to do hard things, starting from birth.” – Zinta K.

95. “At that age, she did not know how to miss them, and now she does not know how to remember them.” – Lori Mier

96. “Purchased to heal a wound that was not my responsibility to heal. Identity: stolen, hidden and refused.” – Michelle M.

97. “Dear adoptive parents, our lives didn’t start with you.” – Cam Lee Small, MS, LPCC

98. “The way adoption has impacted my life is that every relationship, every situation is filtered through the prism of the trauma. I have found healing through connection with other adoptees, but it is about living with being adopted and knowing we are like an alien species in this world. We are the voices of the primally dispossessed, and we are beginning to be heard, but it is slowly, slowly, drip by drip. I believe that change will come based on the lived experience of the adoptees who share their stories.” – Julia Richardson

99. “I don’t want to be an island. I crave community, belonging, and reciprocal love  – but fear that I’ll only ever be accessible by boat.” – Shantu

100. “Being pulled in every direction trying to keep everyone happy, which leads to self-neglect and poor mental health…and the never-ending cycle continues.” – Harley-Jade E.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read quotes from 100 adoptees. 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 quotes spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow adoptee’s quotes?

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 has a quote to share, please drop them in the comment section below.

If you are not an adoptee, but you have been impacted by this article in some way, we would love to hear your thoughts as well.

Once again, a special thank you to all 100 adoptees who took the time to share your quote with me, 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.

XOXO P.K.

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!

Lying Lips and DNA Kits

It’s not enough that many times the information that is relayed over to the adoptee/relinquishee is shadowy at best. Still, often we are presented with information based on inaccurate data that is usually restricted and modified to stall the adoptee/relinqishee or throw them off entirely from ever learning who they are and where they come from.

One of the many challenging lessons I’ve learned over the last 10+ years of coming out of the fog regarding my adoption journey is that no matter what we find or how we find it, we should ALWAYS back our stories and conclusions up by doing DNA testing, preferably Ancestry DNA. Ancestry has the most extensive database with nearly 20 million people.

Here’s why I make this suggestion.

People lie when it comes to adoption and relinquishment stories. While we learn from childhood that lying is never okay and even receive punishment as a child for such activities, our society accepts this rule in adoption and relinquishment; our culture makes an exception to this rule. Sometimes I believe that people believe their lies, and sometimes we don’t want to accept them. We feel a shadowed conclusion that doesn’t sit well with our internal dialogue.

Let me give you an example of this. I was told back in 1998 from an individual in my birth mother’s family that my birth father was dead and that he had gotten shot. I sat with that for a minute, and it never sat well with my spirit. But, my intuition is on point, so I said to the world. “If he’s dead, let me confirm he’s my father via DNA testing FIRST, and let me stand of that man’s grave and see his death certificate so I can see it for myself.” Unfortunately, I know countless adoptees who have been sold a lie.

I was never able to receive either of them, and in 2010 I decided to drive 11+ hours from Kentucky to Leon, Iowa, and I showed up at his doorstep and introduced myself. That man wasn’t dead, and he was very much alive. So they lied to me, and chances are if you are adopted, you have been lied to also. I learned from a close family friend that I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He knew nothing of the pregnancy, and he never consented that I was given up for adoption.  

Sometimes as adoptees, we want something to be confirmed with every fiber in our being, so we ignore the signs or subtle hints that a find might not be true, accurate, or correct. Instead, we jump in head over heels, going by what we were told or what we hope to be true. I hope this article puts a pause in play for anyone that reads it. Please tread carefully and always, always, get DNA testing done BEFORE you build relationships with someone you suspect might be your biological family.

Adoptees/relinquishes are vulnerable individuals. When searching, we often open our hearts and lives as wide as they can go to receive whatever it is we have been fantasizing about our entire lives. We assume the best yet frequently are left feeling misled, robbed, or even taken advantage of. Sometimes this can feel like the biggest disappointment of our lives.

Growing up, our life is filled with fantasies about what we will find. Where is the mother that “loved us so much?” But often, we’re faced with the complete opposite, a cold, disconnected woman that shows no signs towards us that feel like anything close to “love.”

People say, “Expect the worst and hope for the best.” Yet, I am here to tell you there is no natural way to prepare for such conflicting and unimaginable feelings and emotions that come with our discoveries, no matter what they turn out like. It’s like opening a pandora’s box, and what we find can be shattering combined with fulfilling. It’s complex at best, but not learning the solid truth can be devastating beyond repair, so DNA testing is exceedingly essential.

My life story backs this conclusion up because, in 2010, I learned I had a half-sibling out there in the world. After a year of searching, I finally found him. We compared notes, and he ended up being the absolute best part of my reunion story. We spent time together from states away, planned visits and trips together. We accepted one another and our children and spent five years building a relationship. I always said he was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and he was and is to this day the only happy and positive part of my whole adoption experience and story.

Until January 2016, everything was flipped upside down. We ended up doing DNA testing to send the results that my brother and I were connected via DNA to my birth father. He has always expressed a deep-rooted feeling of disbelief that either of us was his biological adult children. To be completely transparent, I haven’t blamed him. He didn’t know anything about me, and he said he had reason to doubt my newfound brother was his biological son. This was why I wanted to complete DNA testing with my brother, so we could present the truth in hopes that it might change something with my biological father because initially, he rejected us, not knowing if we were his or not.

While I had taken the position to clear up this bed of lies that my life was rooted in, I had no idea what the DNA test would soon reveal. In January 2017, the DNA test returned and said WE SHARED NO DNA. I will never forget how this made me feel. I was sick and so distraught that I honestly didn’t believe it. The first person I reached out to was the amazing and gracious Priscilla Stone-Sharp, and I asked her if she could double-check this for me. She concluded that my newfound brother and I shared no DNA. However, we could pinpoint that my birth father was my birth father. His mother’s maiden name is all over in my highest DNA matches. However, my new brother is the one that showed NO DNA with my birth father, which means his biological mother gave him the incorrect information on who his biological father was.

Now that I had opened that whole can of worms, I had to reveal this to my brother, which was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But, unfortunately, he flat out didn’t believe the DNA results and ended up tragically passing away a few months later in a motorcycle crash. This experience sent me into a profound depression and sadness I could not process at all. I was living alcohol-free, but I could not feel these feelings, and I had no idea the level of grief and sadness that would soon take over my life.

It was such a complex situation that no one could help me, and I couldn’t even find the right words to use to describe this situation. I kept referring to my brother as “My brother who turned out not to be my brother” because I didn’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t believe that one ONLY GOOD PART OF MY STORY wasn’t genuine, I was duped once again, and the devastation left me in horrible shape. I couldn’t stand the thought of therapying another therapist, and this is when I put my vision of Adoptees Connect, Inc. into action, which saved my life.

It’s taken me all these years to begin to recover, and I still have a lot of sadness about it. I wanted to share this dynamic because I want non-adoptees to see what adopted people have to go through when we are searching for our truth. All these hoops and hurdles can and do exhaust us, they destroy us, and they can and do take us down. It’s inhumane that the adults in our lives signed us up to go through this. Literally, every adult who took part in signing any adoption documents signed over that they would be okay letting me suffer and damn near die in my pain from all the secrecy, lies, and deception from adoption and the adults that co-signed for this traumatic event to happen to me.

Today, I have annulled my adoption in my mind, body, and spirit, and I sometimes remind myself that I didn’t’ sign any adoption paperwork. Yet, I have survived this nightmare, moved across the country, changed my name, and started my life over.

For my fellow adoptees who might have made it this far, I beg you to please get DNA testing before you build relationships or get too excited about a possible discovery you believe is a biological family member. The pain of the alternative I have shared here is something I do not want anyone to go through because it’s unbearable when we already feel so alone; we get our hopes up and put ourselves out there. Ancestry DNA has sales around major holidays, and the DNA kits are $59.00.

Not getting DNA testing FIRST can add a new level of trauma that you do not deserve. Please learn from my experience. Trust me; you do not want to risk it.

For those who might be wondering, this changed nothing with my birth father. I sent him confirmation I am his daughter, and he tossed it in the trash, and went on his merry way.

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!

Thanks for reading,

Love, Love

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova

Do not assume when an adoptee finds their biological family, all their problems will be solved, and the case will be closed.

 

They say to prepare, but there is no real way to prepare for what some adoptees find when they make the choice to search for biological family.

Searching for and finding biological family as an adoptee is opening up Pandora’s box repeatedly. It is the beginning of a new era of uncovering the secrets that so many think they have protected us from. Even under the best of reunion stories, it is still the beginning of a new painful path that adoptees experience.

If we’re lucky, one door closes, and another door opens. And that’s just it if we’re lucky. Society says at least you have found your truth when so many other adoptees would die to find theirs. Even when the truth has been excruciatingly painful, society thinks we should still feel LUCKY. Even our fellow adoptees suggest this at times, and I understand why they feel this way, mainly when they haven’t found their biological families yet.

I think our friends, families and loved ones sense us in agony before we search and find and in all honestly they hope we will feel “better” after we find out truth. However, when they still see us in agony after we reunite, it hurts them to see us hurt. They want to take our pain away, and they have high hopes reunion will do that. Truth and reality is, it usually doesn’t. It brings on a new set of heartbreak, pain, grief and loss.

Searching and finding biological family, I like to describe it as trading one type of pain for another. Both types of pain are different but equally painful. The pain of the unknown for adopted individuals is like the feelings a parent might have who has a missing child somewhere out in the world. Imagine your 10-year-old child was abducted on the street, and they vanished with no trace ever to be found. The agony that parents must feel every waking moment of every day having their child missing.

Adoptees think similar to this, but it is not just one family member. It’s their very own mother, father, grandparents on both sides, siblings on both sides, and cousins on both sides. We’re on an island all alone, searching in our minds from the moment we find out we are adopted for our biological connections. This is painful from the very beginning. If you don’t think so, I would like to ask you how many adopted individuals you have gotten to know and listened to their stories over the years? I have gotten to know hundreds, if not over a thousand, and not one of them has said adoption has been 100% wonderful. It’s complex, emotional, and painful at best.

Can you imagine what it feels like to not know what your mother looks like?

Or her name?

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable.

The big difference is, parents of missing children are expected to feel the feelings they feel having a missing child. Society saves space for them, their grief and loss. They have some memories to hang onto, and they have their child’s names and they know who they are. My heart goes out to these parents, because I know it’s a nightmare on every level but I wanted to describe the difference in what adopted individuals experience.

At all costs, we are just supposed to be grateful. If we aren’t, we are labeled as ungrateful, angry, and many other hurtful words.

This is not helpful to the adoptee experience.

To feel whole, complete, and like I was an actual living human being, I had to find this woman that gave birth to me. I had to see her face and know who she was. I fought the closed adoption laws in Iowa like HELL to find her. If I didn’t, I would be dead right now. In my mind, this would solve all the pain I experienced and the heartache I lived with my whole life all the way back to coming home from the hospital with strangers at a few days old.

Living in the unknown is a different type of pain. It was for me anyway. I describe it as agony. Every waking moment of every day for me was painful. I was sad, filled with anxiety, and as I grew into my pre-teen self, it turned into self-sabotage and self-hate. All I needed was HER.

During this time, I had anticipation and high hopes that one day I would be reunited with the woman who gave me away, but things would be different this time. If she “loved me so much,” she had to want to know me and have me back in her life, right?

WRONG

She never wanted to be found, she never wanted to meet me, and she was nothing like what I dreamed about finding my whole life. She was quite the opposite. She was a disappointment on every level and I am still 20+ years later, upset by this disappointment. She considered herself doing me a favor meeting me one time, and we had a 2-hour visit together. After this visit, she shut me out and never spoke to me again. During the visit, she asked me about my life and how my childhood was. I have always been an honest person, even when it hurts. I expressed to her I never bonded with my adoptive mom, and my adoptive parents divorced when I was a year old. I was raised on welfare, food stamps and experienced significant emotional, mental, and even sexual abuse in my adoptive home.

It crushed her, and it was too much for her to handle. Twenty years passed, and she shut me out, not being able to face HER DECISION. She assumed I would have the better life promised to her. I received a message she had passed away, and I traveled to Iowa to her funeral.

I was told by some of her closest friends at her funeral that she was distraught that my adoptive parents divorced, and if she had known that was going to happen, she would have kept me. They said this REALLY BOTHERED HER.

Knowing this truly helped me understand why she shut me out, but it didn’t take away the pain or lessen it. The pain of being rejected by a biological parent is indescribable. The pain of being rejected by your mother, the woman who brought you into the world, is a pain that never goes away. Check out The Primal Wound to learn more.

I’m trying to relay that we should never assume that just because an adoptee finds their biological family that it’s going to be the key that turns the page for them. Or imagine that their life will finally be complete and that they can eventually MOVE ON. Sometimes what we find is so devastating, moving on isn’t an option for many of us. For those of us who can, somewhere along the lines we’ve come to a place of acceptance.

Telling adoptees to MOVE ON or GET OVER IT is never helpful.

It’s actually quite the opposite. High hopes are shattered to the ground, and the disappointment of what was found sets in and rips our hearts to shreds. The grief and loss process continues and will remain a significant component of our lives for the rest of our lives. Adoptees are the kings and queens of adaption, and we do our best to put on a smile for the world to see. It takes everything in our power to pretend that everything is okay deep inside. But it’s usually far from it.

We also must remember that this adaption behavior and pretending is instilled into many of us from a very early age. When we learn that our greatest heartbreak is our adoptive parents’ greatest blessing, we discover our feelings aren’t important. This makes us feel like we aren’t important. We must keep them hidden for fear of upsetting our adoptive parents. Our heartache and heartbreak for the mystery woman we fantasize and dream about are insignificant compared to our adoptive parents’ feelings of finally becoming parents.

The mental mind paradox that any adopted individual has to endure is enough to take us out of this world. It’s way too much for one person to bear. Non-adopted individuals can’t comprehend what the big fuss is all about. Accepting they never will understand because they don’t have the experience has been a critical component to my healing journey. Even when non-adoptees TRY to understand, they simply can’t. We do appreciate those who TRY.

Aside from the failed reunion with my biological mother and rejection from her, I experienced the same failed reunion and rejection from my biological father. Even after DNA confirmation that I am his daughter, he has no desire to know me or have a relationship with me. He said that he would have kept me if he would have known about me, but I was adopted without his consent, so he had no say so. In his eyes, it’s too late now. Double rejection and double heartbreak is a hard pill to swallow. It’s heavy to carry, and the pain surfaces in the grief and loss process for me, which I’ve accepted it will last a lifetime.

Aside from being rejected by my biological parents, I found a long-lost brother who was the best part of my search and reunion. We spent five years catching up for lost time, making new memories together, and being elated that we finally found one another after all these years apart. This reality turned into a shattered nightmare when DNA testing showed we shared no DNA. I can’t even put into words how this experience has made me feel. The heartbreak is accurate, and I have no words to describe it. Pain on top of pain.

After a lifetime of dreaming, I get to meet my biological grandmother at least one time, I succeeded. I can’t express how thankful I am that I had enough courage to drive across the country (even after being told by my biological father that I could not meet her) to meet her for one hour as she lived in a nursing home in Iowa. I stayed one hour, and was a dream come true. It opened the connection to my first cousin, who thought she was the only granddaughter. I was honored to be invited back to Iowa for a second visit to meet her and her family and see my biological grandmother a second time. She took me to the land where my grandparents lived, which she described her childhood memories as being like “heaven.” Even with this being a dream come true, when I returned home and the dust settled, this “reunion” became so emotional for me that it set me up for intense grieving I wasn’t prepared to experience. I became sad, depressed, and things spiraled out of control. My grief and sorrow for what was lost and what I missed out on being robbed of these relationships were all I could bear to handle. I was so sad. I just wanted my life to end because of all the pain, the grief, the loss I was feeling. Death seemed like the only way to escape the pain.

Learning to live with a broken heart has been a key component to my healing journey.

Even ten years post reunions with biological parents and all the pain I have experienced in that time from other dynamics to my adoption journey, I still wouldn’t change the fact that I chose to search and find my people. Even when they haven’t accepted me, knowing my truth has been healing in its own way. I don’t regret it, but handling the aftermath is something I will be navigating for the rest of my life.

Even when our loved ones might expect reunions and finding our TRUTH might be the answer for our healing and freedom, in some regards, it can be. Still, the other side is that we suffer in silence carrying the tremendous pain and sorrow of what should have been, what could have been, and all that was lost because of adoption. The difference for adoptees is that our world doesn’t acknowledge we should even be feeling this way; they do not leave space for us and don’t understand why.

Reunion is still just as messy as adoption, and it looks different for each of us. Even being embraced by one or both biological parents carries pain. It brings grief, and it brings loss. Instead of the outlook that when adopted individuals find their biological family, it will be the CURE ALL for the adoptee, let’s reframe things to help them embrace what they are about to experience. It could be happiness; it could be sadness; it could be a combination of both. It could be feelings that are so complex, they don’t even understand them themselves. It could be emotions so difficult that they withdraw; they use coping mechanisms to get through and become shut off.

There is no limits to what an adoptee might find when they search for their biological family. I think many of us are set up for the greatest disappointment of our lives when we assume our birth mother “loved us so much” but her actions of rejection show quite the opposite. Many of us find addicts, graves, happy homes without us, that our biological parents married and had more kids after us, or single women who never married or had more kids. Sometimes we find parents who are happy to be found, and others who want to slam us in jail for pursuing them. Sometimes we are received but only if we agree to remain a secret. Sometimes siblings embrace us, and sometimes they reject us. Some of us are told our biological parents are dead, but we later find that was a lie to discourage us for searching. This happened to me! (never believe what you have been told, until you prove it) I’ve heard it ALL over the years!

No matter how the adoptee responds, non-adopted individuals must meet them right where they are, and they should accept this is a lifelong journey for the adoptee. They should also accept that nothing they say or do, can take our pain away. Being adopted never goes away, so our feelings won’t go away either. The sooner non-adoptees can get this, the easier it will be on the adoptee.

We must remember that no matter how the adoptee feels, it’s normal for a not normal situation. There is nothing ordinary about being severed from your roots, abandoned by your biological mother, and fighting the world for your truth. To my fellow adoptees, I love you, I see you, I hear you. XOXO PK.

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!

Thanks for reading.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova

15 Significant Steps Towards Adoptee Healing

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I’ve had so many fundamental moments that have played key factors in my healing journey that I wanted to write an article about them in hopes to support my fellow adoptees on their healing journeys. Without these steps, I was stuck in agony and heartbreak. Most of these areas I had to figure out on my own, and reflecting back I WISH someone would have shared them with me. It might not have taken me 10+ years to get to this point of arrival into the next chapter of my life. That’s 10 years I can never get back.  I can only hope these things might help my fellow adoptees in some way. 

One aspect to keep in mind is that healing looks different for everyone. There is no cookie cutter design that is one size fits all. What works for me, might not work for you. What worked for you, might not work for me. I’ve made it this far by setting specific boundaries for myself and walking them out has allowed me the space I need to continue healing from the lifelong impacts of relinquishment and adoption trauma. 

Let me get straight to it because time lost, is time we can never get back! 

    1. Acceptance – Coming to a place of acceptance that these were the cards I were dealt has been one of the main key aspects to my adoptee healing journey but it was really hard to accept something, when I didn’t have my truth to accept! We can’t accept a question mark hanging over our head. This is why ALL ADOPTIONS SHOULD be TRUTHFUL. The truth means NOTHING HIDDEN.  Once I received my truth,  I realized there is nothing I can do to change the fact that I’m adopted. I can’t roll the dice at another shot at parents in the adoptive or biological area. I get no “do-overs” even when I wish I did. I sat for most of my life in so much pain, hating the fact that I was adopted. My feelings were 100% legit, because I still hate the fact that I’m adopted. However, I’m no longer using my sacred energy being rage filled and mad at the world regarding something I have no control over. Yes, I still get angry and mad because adoption is rooted in relinquishment trauma and the system needs abolished but it’s not controlling my life like it once did. I used to sit in it, and wallow and I was stuck.  Now, when it comes I sit in it, process it and move forward. Acceptance brought me to a new space of elevation because as soon as I reached this point, new doors opened up and a new attitude followed suit. I’ve accepted it, now what? 
    2. Accepting the Pain is Here to Stay – This was a HUGE key in my healing. I’ve written about it several times but for those who haven’t read those articles please check out Saying “Hello” to Adoptee Grief & Loss & Adoptee Pain. Our world is set up instilling in us that there are  ways we can avoid dealing with painful situations by avoiding the pain all together. Check out Spiritual Bypassing and learn as much as you can about it. We’re told that anything that isn’t “positive” is “negative” and negativity has no place in our positive culture world. One of the main aspects in the last 10 years of my healing is learning to welcome the pain, and accepting that no matter what anyone says, the pain is here to stay. OUCH. That’s painful to accept. Running the rat race of trying to “BE HEALED” only prolonged my healing. The truth is, every single adoption is rooted in relinquishment trauma and until we treat that trauma like we treat all the other traumas, healing can’t happen. The sooner we accept that this pain is here to stay, the sooner we learn to sit with this pain and begin processing this pain instead of avoiding it and running from it. We must remember, our feelings are perfectly normal for a not normal situation. Nothing is normal about being separated from our biological families at the beginning of life. Saving space for the pain, when it comes is KEY. Understanding that NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU is also KEY. You didn’t ask for this, nor did you deserve it. Your feelings are VALID and your experiences are LEGIT.  
    3. Accept Non-Adoptees Will Never Understand You – This was so hard for me in the beginning and caused me so much anger and rage! I was so upset at the stupidity of non-adoptees and their lack of understanding regarding the adoptee experience! I mean pure anger and rage! My anger and rage was completely legit however, I learned as soon as another person felt my anger and rage it completely turned them off and the possibility of a teachable moment was thrown in the trash! I also learned that unless someone was an adoptee themselves, they truly can’t understand how it feels to be adopted, and all the dynamics that go along with it. I had to allow them GRACE in advance and this is the only way I was able to get through these relationships and experiences. If someone isn’t adopted, they have no idea what we go through. They can be adoptive parents, birth parents or friends and family members. The sooner I accepted this the sooner my relationships with them became easier. Those that love you, will listen, learn and TRY to understand you but unless someone is adopted they will never truly know! Expecting this from non-adoptees is a unrealistic expectation. 
    4. Stop Trying To Teach Others How It Feels To Be Adopted, When They Don’t Want To Learn – This is so big. I spent the first 1-2 years in coming out of the fog regarding my adoptee journey trying to do my best to EDUCATE THE WORLD on how adoption and relinquishment trauma impacted me. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but what was wrong was that I inserted my experiences into conversations with others who had no desire to want to learn or listen. I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I wasted, ESPECIALLY ON THE INTERNET with idiotic fools who have no willingness to LEARN. I learned early on that I made the choice to save my energy and my message for those who wanted to learn. Pouring out into pointless conversations with people who don’t seek out the knowledge and understanding I have and who don’t want to learn only hurt me in the long run. It took away from my emotional and mental health, and it also took away my valuable time that I can never get back. I decided moving forward many years ago, I’m no longer inserting my views, experiences and comments where they won’t be received. I’m no longer wasting my time on pointless encounters with random strangers on the internet that mean nothing to me who only want to discredit and devalue my experiences. I truly encourage you to do the same. 
    5. Accept Healing is a Lifelong ProcessThe world is going to tell you to  “get over it” and “move on” and most non adoptee competent therapists won’t understand the layers of the adoptee experience. The truth is, every single adoption is rooted and grounded in TRAUMA and this constitutes as a very bad experience regarding ALL ADOPTIONS TODAY because for all adoptions to happen, the adoptee experiences TRAUMA FIRST. For many of us, our adoptive homes were NOT SAFE OR LOVING. Understanding that the damage relinquishment and adoption has done is undoubtedly what could possibly be the biggest heartbreak and most painful experience an adoptee will have in their entire lifetimes. There is no quick fix or magic pill to make it all better and go away. Getting over it and moving on isn’t so simple for many of us and if we had that choice, don’t you think we would flip that switch? The truth is, we can run but we can’t hide from the lifelong implications that come about due to our adoption experiences. Allowing ourselves the rest of our lives to save the space for our pain is really important. I spent so many years wishing I would wake up and it would all be gone, because that’s what I was told would happen in the christian belief system I was a part of. I was led to believe if my pain didn’t “go away” then I wasn’t praying enough, or fasting enough, or even that I was being punished that this PAIN wasn’t going away for not being good enough. I was even led to believe that I was choosing to hang onto the pain. Being told these things and believing this way are some of the most damaging to my personal journey I have yet to experience. It’s extremely critical to the adoptee experience that we STOP putting any stipulations on our healing times.  How about we say to ourselves, “Adoption has hurt me deeply, and this pain is here to stay. I will allow myself the space to process and heal from this damage for the rest of my life because there is no time frame on healing.” Grief & loss are two of the main components to the adoptee experience. The more we research and understand the grief and loss process, the more we should apply it to our adoptee journeys. When someone dies in a car wreck or unexpectedly for any reason, we don’t put stipulations on how long the loved ones can grieve these losses. We need to stop putting this on ourselves as adoptees and letting others put them on us. There is no time frame on healing and the sooner we can accept that the damage relinquishment does could very well take a lifetime to heal from, the sooner we save space to start the healing. Most people don’t want to hear this, but what if some of us have areas we will never heal from? What if relinquishment trauma is so deep, it will carry its implications with us forever? Accept it. Stop running from it. Share it. Tell the world the damage adoption relinquishment has done and never stop!  
    6. Walk Away from Those Who Won’t Save Space for Your Pain – You’re not going to heal with those people in your life and their mindset inflicted on you will stall your healing! We live in a world that’s got positive pumpers on every corner, everywhere we turn! Motivational Speakers & Life Coaches are everywhere and the culture we’re exposed too a lot of times doesn’t save space for life’s painful experiences. Adopted or not, when people won’t sit with you in your pain, they aren’t your people. Some people don’t know how to do this, but if we express to them that we just need them to listen and try to learn the Adoptee perspective and they still don’t listen, just walk. Find your people who will listen. You deserve more and you deserve to be heard and validated! 
    7. Continue to Search for Your Truth – There is no healing from secrets, lies and half truths. Every little clue brings healing and anything less than 100% TRUTH is stalling our healing.  I’ve heard a MILLION stories from my fellow adoptees over the last 10 years and you would not believe how many have been lied to, told BS stories about who they are and where they came from that were LIES. LIES. LIES. LIES. I encourage everyone reading this to not give up, and keep pressing for your answers. Just because someone has said your biological parents are dead, don’t believe it! If it’s possible, do DNA testing to make sure they are your biological parents FIRST (yes you can do this without their DNA) and then if they are, insist you be allowed to see their grave before you accept they are dead. DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT YOU ARE TOLD until you do significant investigating on your own! There are so many lies and secrets told to adoptees, we have to SEE FOR OURSELVES. Never give up and follow that aching desire to LEARN YOUR TRUTH. You deserve it, and all of it. Your siblings deserve to know you, and you deserve to know them. You are NOT A SECRET AND YOU DIDN’T SIGN ANY ADOPTION PAPERWORK. My friend & fellow adoptee Lynn Grubb created Genetic Genealogy for Adoptees. Join her group. There are a lot of adoptees on standby to assist you in finding your TRUTH.
    8. Trauma Work – RELINQUISHMENT TRAUMA IS REAL! ADOPTION TRAUMA IS REAL!  If you have yet to accept and understand that all adoptions are rooted and grounded in relinquishment trauma I suggest you do some digging to discover the truth. This reality compacted with adoption trauma is a real significant setback for the adoptee population. Most of the time we’re conditioned to believe all things adoption related are beautiful but the TRUTH IS, our beginnings are painful. Without the acceptance of this truth, healing isn’t possible! I suggest you research pre & perinatal trauma and maternal bonding, as well as what happens when this bonding is interrupted and relinquishment separation happens. We experience preverbal trauma that is stored in our subconscious memories, which comes out and surfaces at different stages of our lives. It has a psychological, mental and emotional impact on us that can radiate our entire lives. These areas are triggered by various reasons. Some can be by the minute, some by the hour, some by the week, month or year. Holidays are big triggers as well as turning on the television.  Maybe when we have children, or we need our medical history? It might surface in our relationships with our children, friends, family and significant others in our lives? It can even surface in our careers and personal lives. RESEARCH IS KEY. The Mother Wound is another significant area that needs work. I can promise you, as adoptees we deal with a significant dynamic to this wound because it’s a double wound for many of us. This wound will impact every area of our lives, unless we work on it. How do I work on the mother wound? I’ve recently found a resource that I want to share with you all in finding a beautiful lady named Michelle Dowell – Vest AKA Rev. Chelle who understands the different dynamics of the mother wound, and is very aware how complex this is for adoptees. Her bio is, “I help women heal their Mother Wound, breaking generational cycles of pain between moms & daughters.” I’m sure men can also apply this to their wounds, and they can even research and do their own work on the mother wound. EMDR therapy has been another HUGE hit in the adoptee community for trauma work. I have heard countless positive stories from adoptees. Finding an adoptee competent therapist is really important, and you can start that process by visiting Adoptee Therapist Directory – Beyond Words. Art therapy and Nature Therapy are also huge. My main source of recovery and healing from my adoption experience has been MOTHER NATURE. Wilderness Wellness is what I call it, and I’ve been able to find healing in Mother Nature like nothing else. What works for some might not work for others. This is why we must explore all avenues, and apply what works for us. Drop the labels our society tries to attach to us. You are more than a label, and you don’t have to be confined to them to heal. 
    9. Legally Change Your Name – Yes I said it. LEGALLY CHANGE YOUR NAME! This was one of the most liberating and freeing experiences of my adoptee journey yet to date.  I share this experience here – Pamela Karanova, Welcoming the Real True Me! The coolest part for my USA followers is that we live in America and we can! For me this symbolized so much, you can read it in the article but it was also taking some power back. I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork and I never felt like I fit in with either family. It was taking some of the control back, of what others choose for me. It was liberating but my only regret is wishing I would have changed my first and middle name as well. As adoptees, we create our own path that is like no one elses! We’re already dancing to the beat of our own drums, why not create a name that is significant to our journeys that we feel in our hearts fits us? Do it! You won’t regret that you did! 
    10. Finding Purpose in the Pain-  When we experience very painful things in life, no matter what they are they all deserve our undivided attention until we’re able to come to a place of finding purpose. In order to get to that point the previous 3 steps deserve attention. I was stuck in a dark black hole until I made it to this point of finding purpose in the painful experience of being adopted. What that looked like for me is creating Adoptees Connect, Inc. which was a resource that I needed that was nonexistent. I knew in my heart ALL ADOPTEES would benefit from this resource, because so many of us have spent our entire lives suffering in silence. It was life or death for me, because the alternative of finding purpose was being stuck which I truly believe would have killed me eventually. Taking the most painful experience of my life, double rejection from both birth parents and abusive estranged relationships with 99.9% of my adoptive family has left me alone in this world. Although I’m thankful for my 3 beautiful children, my family beyond them is nonexistent besides 3 amazing cousins I have relationships with. Finding purpose in creating Adoptees Connect, Inc. for the adoptee community has changed everything for me. It’s added purpose beyond existing for my children. It’s added value to my life that was nonexistent before. I’m not sure what your “thing is” regarding areas you are passionate about but I suggest you do some soul searching, get by yourself and ask yourself what area you are passionate about. What do you wish was there, that’s not there for you or the adoptee community? What areas do you want to get involved in that help the adoptee community? It might be planting an Adoptees Connect group in your area or it might be getting involved in another way. Follow your heart in this process but whatever you do, finding a KEY PURPOSE is a HUGE STEP in the adoptee healing process.
    11. Connect with Other Adoptees in Person- This is another huge dynamic step to the healing process for adoptees. I wish I could recommend online adoptee groups and spaces but sadly they have been taken over by paid trolls and cyber bullies that are only making the adoptee experience more traumatic than what it already is. Because of this I don’t recommend them. I recommend finding other adoptees in your community and meeting with them in person. One adoptee as a lifeline can change your life forever. To sit and talk for hours in person about your lives, and experiences is a connection that is one of the most valuable you will ever have. Look to see if we have an Adoptees Connect Group Locations – USA or Adoptees Connect Group Locations – International. If we don’t consider Starting an Affiliate. Connecting with adoptees in person will change your life! 
    12. Find Your Voice – As we connect with other adoptees in person, we collectively find our voices. What starts as a little whisper becomes louder and louder. Connecting with other adoptees in person is KEY! There are a lot of ways you can share your voice and experiences and I encourage you to find your area, and never stop sharing! Maybe start your own blog, or website or Adoptees Connect group. Maybe write a memoir, or share your story on a podcast. Maybe it’s getting involved with Adoptee Rights or Genealogy. You will be up against the world, because they still see us as little babies that never grow up but the more you start sharing your voice, the bigger your tribe will grow! Never stop! 
    13. Find YOURSELF,  Trust YOURSELF & Love YOURSELF – This is so hard being an adoptee, because our entire sense of self is shattered the minute we lose our birth mothers and the truth of our adoption can be rooted in secrecy and lies. We’re searching from the beginning. We might be searching for home, for our mothers, fathers, families, ethnicity, lost time, family history, and the list could go on. We spend so much time SEARCHING, that the entire process non-adoptees experience with discovering self, takes us 10x longer and many times adoptees never get there. They go to their graves never finding their truth. Screw everyone and everything standing in the way of us finding our truths! For those that are lucky enough to find our truth, once we find our truth, it’s so easy to spend an entire lifetime outsourcing our time and energy into other things. Might be belief systems, volunteering, advocating, and the list could go on. We put a heightened focus on everyone and everything outside of ourselves which can be beneficial at times, but it can also be depleting. I encourage you to get alone with yourself and learn what you like and love outside of adoption. Pull away from so many commitments and focus on YOU. Put yourself first for a change, and once you do this you will slowly learn to like and even love your own company. Adoption is such a HUGE dynamic to our lives, and something we have no control over. The root is based on trauma and loss, and our basic instincts to TRUST others, and ourselves is lost.  Others choose for us, but it’s time we take our power back and start living the life we deserved all along. Working through the pain (especially trauma work) is a key aspect to get to this point, so the other steps I have shared here are critical to this step. Understand that the person looking back at you in the mirror is a badass, and you are the one who survived this thing. You are the one who wakes up and makes the choice to not just survive daily, but to find joy in this lifetime. Look yourself in the mirror, and learn to like and love YOU. Only you can do this in this way, because you are the only person who knows you inside and out. Be true to you, follow your heart and don’t apologize when it’s not something others understand. They don’t need to understand because they aren’ in your shoes. 
    14. Understand All Adoptees Are At Different Spaces – Nothing has been more disturbing in the adoptee community than adoptees not saving space for their fellow adoptees because they are at different spaces than them. Recently one adoptee said to me about another adoptee, “I can’t stand how ______ Shares in the group, because I feel it’s attention seeking!” How is anyone supposed to heal from our experiences when this is the mindset of so many?  Another thing I have experienced a lot is adoptees who had wonderful experiences, who can see past their pain that are labeling their fellow adoptees as just angry, mad at the world and pointing out “Not all adoptees had that experiences, some of us are wonderfully adjusted adoptees and we’re thankful we’re adopted!” When did that help anyone? Kudos to you for being able to see past your pain, but know that not everyone has your story! Not everyone can see past their pain and not everyone has had the TOOLS to work on their pain! PLEASE STOP saying these things to adoptees! We all deserve to be in the space we are, without others telling us we’re wrong or bad for feeling the way we do. I expect more from adoptees! We’re the only ones who understand one another. We are killing one another, which leads me to the topic of tone policing and the abuse of this “excuse” in Adoptionland. I see continuously adoptees saying others are tone policing them, yet they are being ABUSIVE and have failed to realize that NO ONE HAS TO PUT UP WITH THEIR ABUSE! Almost all the adoptees in Adoptionland who are paid internet trolls and cyberbullies use this as their #1 defense to inflict abuse onto others and it’s not acceptable and will never be okay. Yes, anger and rage are NATURAL pieces to the adoptee experience, but when you take that anger and rage and hurt others with it, it’s not going to be tolerated. Just because I’m adopted and I have anger and rage, doesn’t mean I get to treat others like shit. We need to stop making excuses for this abuse! One adoptee has NO CLUE what another adoptee goes through and what it costs to be them. For some of us, it costs us EVERYTHING.
    15. Balance is KEY- I’ve noticed over the last 10 years that it’s so easy to get sucked into a million areas in the adoption arena that can consume our lives. For many adoptees, this would involve becoming active in Adoptionland in various areas, and our adoptee advocacy whatever that looks like to us. 10 years of my life has passed repairing the damage adoption relinquishment trauma has done and over the last 3 years I’ve been pulling away from a FULL TIME COMMITMENT and trying to set boundaries that work for me. Our mental health should come first, but so many times we’re in over our heads in commitments that it takes a toll on us, emotionally, mentally and then physically. I also notice as adoptees, we start things and a lot of the time we don’t finish them and we move along to the next project. I’m 100% guilty of this. I attribute it to an entire process of finding ME. What I’m good at, what areas I like and love and what areas aren’t going to work for me. I think it’s a natural process especially as we grow in our journeys. However, being so consumed that we aren’t seeing beyond adoption relinquishment and trauma is not healthy. Finding balance is KEY because even when adoption has been the most painful experience of our lives for many of us, we still deserve to find happiness in this lifetime. Hasn’t adoption taken enough? Wherever you are in your adoption journey right this minute, I would love to challenge you to step outside of this “hat” and explore other areas of your life that you enjoy. It’s up to each of us to find our own happiness. Yes, being adopted is a piece of who we are, but it isn’t all of who we are. We have to go find ourselves, and that process can and will be a magical yet painful experience. Our eyes will open up to things that no longer work for us, and we will walk away from a lot of people. Finding internal happiness only comes from within and we all deserve that happiness.

Thank you for reading 15 Significant Steps I’ve found that have helped me heal, and I hope they help you too! 

Adoptees, Have you used any of these areas to help you on your healing journey? Are there things that have been a significant piece of your healing journey that you are willing to share? We can all learn from one another. Please share if you are up for it.

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!

Sending you Sunshine, Love & Light. 

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I Keep Walking, Learning to Live for Myself, Love Myself, & Honor Myself

img_6311It’s interesting that I’ve been experiencing a new layer of an awakening process recently, even before Covid-19 came about. I’m so thankful for all things NEW, because that means I’m not sitting in the same spot for eternity. Many people are fretting about the isolation and aloneness they are feeling due to the new social distancing guidelines, but for me personally, this is something I’ve felt my entire life. It’s nothing new to me being adopted, and feeling isolated and alone. I’ve adapted to that feeling way back to my early childhood, but I sympathize for all those who are experiencing this for the the first time.

I’ve made the choice to set more boundaries in my life, which have allowed me to have more room for JOY. This hasn’t been an easy thing to do because no one has guided me, or encouraged me to do this. I’ve figured it out on my own.

As an adoptee, I’m used to giving all of my self for others wants and needs, all the way back to my childhood and juvenile years. I didn’t have a typical adoption story, I had a heartbreaking one. Every single side I look at has been nothing but heartbreak and pain. I know so many of my fellow adoptees have the same story, it’s heart-wrenching.

I’ve written before about this BADNESS I’ve always felt, being attached to me from the beginning, as I was conceived in my birth mothers womb. I was conceived out of an affair with a married man, who was also a close friend of the family. So not only did my birth mother feel shame and guilt, she kept her pregnancy a secret, but she rejected the pregnancy, and drank alcohol the entire time.

I felt this as a baby, in utero and if you do the research and study this topic, you will learn that babies feel what the mother feels while we are in the womb. We can sense our biological mothers emotions, feelings and surroundings before we’re ever born.

Scientist Say, say, “They found something interesting: what mattered to the babies was if the environment was consistent before and after birth. That is, the babies who did best were those who either had mothers who were healthy both before and after birth, and those whose mothers were depressed before birth and stayed depressed afterward. What slowed the babies’ development was changing conditions — a mother who went from depressed before birth to healthy after or healthy before birth to depressed after. “We must admit, the strength of this finding surprised us,” Sandman says.

So much to unpack here, but my motive in sharing this is the more we research the entire concept of perinatal bonding, and our pre-birth conditions, the more we understand our selves. This is one of the MANY reasons why adoptees receiving our TRUTH is so critically important. I will say it now, and I’ve said it a million times before, we (adoptees) can’t heal from secrecy, lies or half truths. The conditions of our conception is very important for us to learn, so we can gain a better understanding of WHY.

This is the ONLY way to acceptance & healing

While the topic of our experiences is very important, so is the topic of being born into a world to serve others wants and needs. I can share from my story, I felt like I was “the help” when it came to my experience in my adoptive moms home. I was her caretaker from the very beginning, and lived my entire life catering to her wants, needs and demands. Not just her physical needs, but her emotional and psychological ones as well.

She suffered from severe emotional and mental illness, and her issues impacted my life greatly. One reason was because she was never officially diagnosed, or treated although she was given several pain medications, and mood stabilizing medications and was addicted to them until she died in 2015. She was consistent in over medicating herself, which only added issues to her mental illness.

My life until I was 30 years old was centered and focused around HER. She had it planned out that she wanted to adopt 2 daughters, so she would have someone to take care of her in her old age, because her greatest fear of life was dying in a nursing home all alone. She adopted for us to take care of her, and that’s exactly what happened for 30 years of my life, until I broke free and escaped by moving across the country with my children. She created a very toxic and unhealthy codependent relationship, that was VERY hard for me to break away from, but I did it in 2005.

I’ve done a lot of research on codependency, and as complex as it is, it’s some real live issues that come with it. When I was a child, I had no way out and I had nothing to compare it too. What was a normal relationship with a mom, or a parent, and what did a healthy relationship look like? I have no idea.

Needless to say, when I spent 30 years catering to her wants and needs, it’s taken me the last 15 years to learn what taking care of myself looks like. When every waking moment of my childhood was to serve her, and the entire reasons for my existence was to take care of her, this hasn’t been an easy task to learn. As it turns out, I’ve been a private independent caregiver for a stroke patient for 15 years as my full time career.

It’s interesting how I leave a very toxic care taking and codependent relationship ends, but I once again pick up a career taking care of someone else, because it’s all I know. A big difference in the two situations is one is healthy, and a wonderful relationship as my career, and it’s something I enjoy with my whole heart. The other was something that was forced upon me I had no control over that was very toxic. I know for certain, that care taking responsibilities run deep in my veins, because of my childhood and my role in taking care of my adoptive mom all the way back to pre-verbal days.

Besides by life growing up in my toxic adoptive home, I’ve been a mom for 26 years, taking care of my kids. They have been my #1 motivation to keep going and taking care of them has been priority. Between being a mom, being a caregiver by career, and my history in the toxic adoptive home, how in the actual hell have I even learned how to take care of myself?

It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn to do. I didn’t start taking care of myself and actually enjoying MYSELF in the process until I walked away from the church. Walking away from the church, and religion is a whole different topic, article and discussion. I don’t care to share much here, but I will eventually. However, leaving the church has allowed me the time to serve, but instead of serve 4-5 days in the church, I’ve been serving 4-5 days a week at getting my life back, the one that was stolen from me.

I’ve learned that consistently, things come in our paths that will take our time and energy from us. Time is the most valuable thing any of us have, so the more commitments, the less time we have to use for ourselves. Just what if, we took all the energy we’ve been pouring out into systems, people, places and things outside of ourselves, and turned it back around and put it into ourselves? What would happen then?

I can tell you what will happen, because it’s my life, my story. I’ve spent a LIFETIME walking away, and escaping situations that don’t suite me well. At the end of the road, all I have left is myself, and my children. I say all the time I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork, so I’m not committed to anyone aside from MYSELF. I can no longer give all my time or energy to any family that doesn’t honor and respect the fact that I’m an adult and I can speak for myself. I can no longer pour my life into serving in a church, or slaving for my adoptive mother only to feel empty and depleted in the end. I have no more energy to put into relationships that have gone sour, for whatever reason. I have no time to explain myself, or try to “plead my case.”

I walk. And I keep walking. Those who are meant to stay will stay, and those who aren’t meant to stay will go along their way. Along the way, is the new path that I have chosen for myself. It’s a path that I CHOOSE, and it’s one I am learning to enjoy. The key has been, learning the TRUTH, and then REMOVING THINGS NO LONGER MEANT FOR ME. Doesn’t matter who or what it is, if it’s not healthy for me, it has to go.

This has left my life wide open for a choice. I can either sit around and feel sorry for myself, and live in misery or I can accept the truth, work toward healing for the rest of my life, and in the process get to know myself, which has allowed me the space to learn to love myself. In this, I’ve learned what I love, and what I don’t. I’ve learned what I stand for, and what I don’t. I’ve learned who I want in my life, who I should share my very valuable time with and who I shouldn’t.

I’ve learned out of all the experiences in life, and of all my attempts to fill the void and huge hole adoption has left, after I found my TRUTH, the very thing I was searching for was inside myself the entire time. And let me share, I’ve searched everywhere. Partying, drugs, alcohol, men, sweets, committing to serving and being present in the church FULL TIME. Nothing filled me up, nothing helped permanently.

I know, it’s hard to find ones self when we don’t have our truth, and if I’m completely honest, It’s impossible to do. This is why THE TRUTH is 110% critical for adoptees. But once I broke away from so many commitments, responsibilities, and systems, I found the time to look myself in the mirror, and find some time for myself. Little by little over the last few years, I’ve uncovered that life everyone talks about being beautiful, is something I can find beautiful too. But this isn’t easy to conclude. It’s hard work.

A few years ago, before Adoptees Connect, Inc. came about, I felt like I had no purpose, and I didn’t even want to be alive because I was in so much pain from my adoption experience. Finding PURPOSE in Adoptees Connect, has been a huge piece of my healing journey. Between finding purpose in the pain, and seeking outside fulfillment within myself, things have dramatically changed for me.

I still have bad days, and extreme days of sadness due to my adoption experience. The difference now is that I sit with it. It’s usually GRIEF that I’m feeling, and I allow myself to feel it and process it, whatever that looks like for me. It’s not even logical to say that I will be totally healed. That’s false, and not part of my reality. As soon as I accepted this, that’s actually when more healing began. Let me explain a little further.

As I continue my steps forward there is no doubt in my mind that I will never completely forget my past. No matter who says that’s possible, it’s not realistic for me to think like that. Adoption impacts so much, I deal with daily triggers, daily reminders of what was lost, sometimes hourly. One of the best things I did for myself is accepting that the pain from relinquishment and my adoption experience is here to stay. Once I accepted this, I learned to embrace my feelings, and I stopped trying to PRAY THEM AWAY or FILL THEM WITH OTHER THINGS. I sat with them, I cried with them and I learned to process them.

No one on this earth can do this for me. No one told me this is what was going to work. I’ve learned it because I’ve literally tried everything under the sun to BE HEALED, and nothing worked for me until I made the choice to STOP TRYING TO BE HEALED and sit with the pain. For me, my pain has looked more like GRIEF than anything. No one on earth is going to tell adoptees this, but grief for us will likely be a grieving process we experience for the rest of our lives. For me, to just expect it to be gone, IN JESUS NAME is something that didn’t work for me. It actually hindered my healing process, and made things worse. It bypassed the trauma I experienced from relinquishment, that was compacted by a traumatic adoption experience.

Fighting like hell for my truth was the first step. Accepting the pain was here to stay, was the beginning of my healing process. Today I can see brighter days ahead, and I can see joy in life like I have never seen before because my pain was just too great. So many adoptees can’t see past the pain, and they are stuck. I understand it and get it because it was me for years, 43 to be exact.

The whole entire concept of taking my energy, confidence, feelings, and time and reality, and turning it over to an outside source, system or person is something I’ve found to be extremely dangerous and counterproductive to my healing.  It’s no wonder I’ve always felt empty, alone, isolated, like a walking dead woman. It’s impossible to look at yourself as a source of strength, when we’re continuously told to look for it in other people, places and things.

I challenge everyone, not just adoptees to seek inside themselves, because your strength is there. Your wisdom is there. Your happiness is there. You have the total power and control to shift your energy from seeking sources outside yourself, to that of seeking strength, wisdom and understanding deep in your own heart.

For adoptees, if you don’t have your truth and all of it, fight like hell to get it. Never give up. You deserve healing, wholeness, and happiness. My story has been heartbreaking all the way around, with double rejection from BOTH my birth parents, and I have no relationship with 95% of my adoptive family for MANY reasons. I’ve had to make the choice to put myself, my recovery and my happiness FIRST. They put their happiness first, when I was conceived out of an affair, handed over to strangers to raise. My adoptive parents only cared about being parents, they didn’t have the capabilities of caring for me, an adoptee, like I needed to be cared for. No one helped me, I was 100% on my own finding my truth. Once I received the truth, that I fought like hell to get ON MY OWN, I realized that I CARRIED ME THROUGH THAT. I HAD THE STRENGTH TO MAKE IT. MY HEART IS THE ONE THAT WAS LEFT BROKEN. I USED SUBSTANCES FOR 27 YEARS TO NUMB MY PAIN. I’M THE ONE WHO DID THE WORK IN RECOVERY. I’M THE ONE PERSON I COULD COUNT ON. I HAD THE FIGHT TO WANT TO HEAL, BE HEARD AND NOT STOP. I WANTED TO BE A BETTER MOTHER TO MY KIDS THAN WHAT I HAD. I LIVE EVERYDAY IN RECOVERY AND MAKE DAILY, SOMETIMES HOURLY DECISIONS THAT TAKE WISDOM SO I STAY IN RECOVERY. NO SOURCE OR SYSTEM OUTSIDE MYSELF DID THAT.

I DID THAT.

I walked and I’m still walking.

For the rest of my days on earth, I will not be confined to anyone or anything. I no loner believe in any belief systems or have any loyalty to any one person or families that have hurt me. I’m finally FREE, living for ME. I continue to set boundaries for myself, and I have many more I will be setting in the coming weeks, months, years. All the labels in the world can walk off into the sunset, because I no longer want to be a part of them either. They don’t define me, they don’t make me a better person, or different than anyone else. Just like adoption. It’s a piece of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am.

As I continue to walk, I’m making the choice to continue to put my happiness first, as this new stage of my life approaches I HAVE A LOT OF MAKING UP TO DO. Chances are you do too!. Adoption has stolen A LOT. I refuse to allow it to steal anymore of my beautiful life. I have a wonderful career, amazing kids, and things in life I want to do. I have hobbies, and I want to be a happy, healthy mom and individual. When the end of my life is near, I hope people remember my life, but I also hope they see I didn’t stay stuck until the end of my days. Adoption will snatch up all our time, memories and freedom as we slave away at trying to bring the truth to light, and help others. I will always have certain commitments to the adoption community, but other commitments are falling to the side, because I’ve missed enough of living life, I don’t want to miss anymore.

Every minute lost is a minute I can’t get back. I ask myself daily, as I look in the mirror, “If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want to do today, if it was your last time on earth?” What makes my heart happy and what makes me tick? Same to you… What creates your happiness, deep within your soul? Don’t let adoption suck your entire life away, weather it be getting unstuck, or serving your life away in the adoption community. Finding a happy balance is KEY.

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Today, I keep walking, learning to live for myself, love myself, & honor myself. I’m focused on seeking solace and serenity inside myself, because others just let me down. I’ve never been happier. No one is going to tell you to seek this route, you will be solo but for many adoptees, that’s nothing new.  I’ve always been alone, but I haven’t always been okay with being alone.

Today, I’m alone, but I’m finally okay with being alone.

 It’s actually the safest space for me, because it’s all I know. I’m my own safe space. 

I have my kids, my career, nature, sunrises, sunsets, trees, flowers, fresh air, books, writing, my animals, health, inner peace, hiking, waterfalls, road trips, exercise, bonfires, hot tea, coffee,  acceptance, sobriety, a small circle of friends, my story, and my continued recovery.

I have all I need.

I’ve let go of the rest. 

I’m a free bird. 

For my fellow adoptees, what have you found that makes you tick?

Where is your safe space?

What JOY have you been able to find in your life, despite your adoptee journey?

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Adoptee in Recovery – When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal 

1f6ae293-fe8e-4e1f-903b-0e9d69324cafTo 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? 

None.

Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.

NONE. 

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. 

Until Now…

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 people09be5a42-2952-4e14-810c-0c40893545c9 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! 

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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.

Finally, Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30, 2020

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You can find the original posting of this article at Adoptees Connect, Inc by clicking here.

What is Adoptee Remembrance Day? 

Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30, 2020 serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of crimes against adoptees by adoptive parents, an action that current media does not recognize. It also allows us to publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who we have lost who might otherwise be forgotten. It raises awareness about adoptee suicide, shining a light on a difficult topic. Through these actions, we express love and respect for the adoptee community. Adoptee Remembrance Day reminds others that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends, and lovers. Adoptee Remembrance Day gives our allies a chance to step forward with us, memorializing those who have died too soon, and it also recognizing the loss all adopted people experience, before they’re actually adopted.

While this topic remains sensitive in nature, adoptees who are murdered by their adoptive parents is increasing around the world. It is a time to honor their legacy by setting aside a day just for them. While those who have passed away before us, are no longer able to speak and share their stories or voices, there are many adoptees today who are paving the way for the voiceless to become strong enough to share their voices and stories. We are the voice of the voiceless.

We also recognize that there are international adoptees who are living without citizenship and/or have been deported due to mistakes by adoptive parents, adoption agencies, attorneys, and ultimately, the U.S. adoption system. Some international adoptees must survive abuse and neglect, including in regards to their citizenship, from their adoptive parents. We honor the adoptees who did not survive or are struggling to survive their deportations to countries they left as children where they have no support network and limited access to support services, including mental health care, clothing, food and shelter. Lack of citizenship is a tragic and often unacknowledged issue facing the adoptee community. Please visit Adoptees for Justice to learn more.

Adoptee Remembrance Day is starting in 2020 by Adoptees Connect founder, Pamela Karanova.

“Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day to recognize all of our brothers & sisters who are adopted, that didn’t survive adoption. It’s also a day that signifies an acknowledgement of loss for adoptees because before we’re ever adopted we experience the biggest loss of our lives that’s continuously ignored by our world today. Over the years, the adoptee community has had multiple conversations on creating a day set aside for adoptees, but we’re ready to bring this to life as a way to raise awareness and honor those adoptees who are no longer with us. It’s important that we don’t forget them and after all we’ve lost, adoptees deserve a day just for them.” – Pamela Karanova

This is what Adoptee Remembrance Day is all about.

You might be an adoptee, an adoptive parent, a biological parent, a friend, or a sibling of an adoptee? Whatever side of the constellation you are on, you are invited to participate in Adoptee Remembrance Day.

Let us also include this day is for the families and friends who have lost a loved one to adoption. Maybe you have been searching for them, but you cannot find them? Maybe you had an open adoption and it was suddenly closed? Maybe you are a birth parent who lost a child to adoption. We see you. This day is for you too.

We’re working our hardest at sharing our resources with others so we have more groups available all over the world. Adoptees Connect groups are changing the narrative of the adoptee experience from that of isolation and loneliness to one of community and validation. Adopted people are, in fact, four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees: Risk of Suicide Attempt in Adopted and Nonadopted Offspring Adoptees are over represented in prisons, jails, treatment facilities and mental health facilities. Adoptee Remembrance Day is for them. We haven’t forgotten about them. 

I shared an article many years ago titled, “Love is not all we need”, yet society as a whole continues to fall short at giving adoptees what they need. While adoptee advocacy and adoptee voices are raising up and sharing the truth in how adoption has made them feel, many people are still not listening. While we create a space dedicating October 30th to this much needed topic, we hope it will ignite conversations of awareness of the adoptee experience by those who have lived it, the adoptees. 

Remembering the voiceless and honoring those we’ve lost way too soon. 

Since the beginning of time, adoptees have never had a space to go to share their hearts, and conversations about the adoptee experience and these experiences have rarely been welcomed by society at large. Things are changing for the better and our hope is, as we highlight this very important day we will continue to bring light to the other side of adoption that almost always goes unrecognized by our world today. 

Things are changing but what about all that’s been lost in the meantime? 

What about the adoptees that didn’t make it? What about all the memories lost, never to be found? What about the adoptees that haven’t found a community of their own? What about those who haven’t made it to the other side of healing? What if healing isn’t possible? What if you lost an adoptee? You might be an adoptive parent, a biological parent, a friend or a sibling of an adoptee? 

While our aim is to lift up the legacy of those who are no longer with us, we’re also wanting to share the truth of how adoption has impacted each of us. We’re opening October 30th up to be our day of truth,  transparency and remembrance for adoptees all over the world. We’re also remembering the heartbreaking loss that all adoptees experience, which deserves to be acknowledged.

Let’s also include this day is for the families and friends who have lost a loved one to adoption. Maybe you’ve been searching for them, but you can’t find them? Maybe you had an open adoption and it was suddenly closed? Maybe your a birth parent who lost a child to adoption? This day is for adoptive parents, friends, family and loved ones who acknowledge an adoptees loss, before they gain. We see you. This day is for you too.

All adoptions begin with extremely complex multi layered loss FIRST.   

Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day where each person has a chance to share their hearts on this very difficult and sensitive topic. We hope you will consider joining us to honor and remember those who we love and  lost who didn’t survive adoption, as well as acknowledging the loss each adoptee experiences. 

Things you can do to for Adoptee Remembrance Day

Wear YELLOW – We’re dedicating the color YELLOW to this day as a way to honor those adoptees we’ve lost. Please consider wearing yellow to honor them. Spark conversationsimg_2132 why you are wearing yellow in your workplace, home and among friends & family. 

Use Hashtags – We’re using hashtag #adopteesconnect  #adopteeremembranceday and #adopteesweremember so please share all photos, articles, poems, online using this hashtag so we can share with our community. 

Read Adoptee Books – Read adoptee centric books, The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools, Parallel Universes: The Story of Rebirth, You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are: An Adoptee’s Journey Through The American Adoption Experience You can find a comprehensive list of adoptee centric books at Adoptee Reading. Share which book you are reading on October 30th. 

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A Moment of Silence – Pause for 4 minutes of silence to reflect, honor and remember our fellow adoptees who didn’t survive adoption at 12:00PM EST on October 30th.(Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted individuals)  

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Keep Memories Alive – Keep memories alive & e-mail a paragraph, poem, art or short story with a photo and tribute about the special adoptee you know that didn’t survive adoption, or an adoptee who’s incarcerated. Paint a memory rock, decorating it with your loved ones name, favorite thing or quote. We will share it on our Facebook October 30th in their honor. Email: adopteeremembranceday@gmail.com 

Wear A Yellow Flower – Wear a yellow flower and spark conversations of what the yellow flower represents in your work, home and with friends & family. 

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Share A Tribute – Email a paragraph with your photo if you’re an adoptee who would like to share a tribute to honor the lost adoptees, and/or all you have lost in adoption.  Email: adopteeremembranceday@gmail.com 

Have A Ceremonial Bonfire- Gather with others who support Adoptee Remembrance Day and at dusk light a bonfire in memory of the lost adoptees, and all that’s lost in adoption. Everyone can receive a piece of paper on which to write the message they would like to share. They can read them together, or keep them private. Then they can take turns placing their messages into the fire. As the notes burn, the rising flames and the sparks spiraling upward will offer the effects of sending the messages to the heavens.

Events – Schedule and dedicate an event on Facebook for a walk, hike,  dinner, lunch, sit in the park for October 30th in your community or with your Adoptees Connect group or others as a way to honor those who didn’t survive adoption and to recognize adoption loss. Do you have a special place or a reminder of someone you lost to adoption? Visit this place and set aside some time to remember your loved one. Be sure to tag our official Adoptee Remembrance Day – Oct 30th  page on Facebook, as well as add us to co-host your events. 

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Order A T-Shirt or Hoodie – Wear our exclusive T-Shirts or Hoodies dedicate to this significant day and take photos and share them with us. Wear them leading up to October 30th so you can be a walking billboard for this day. We’re the only ones that will get the word out about the significance of this day, so use this as an opportunity to spark conversations. You can find these items available at www.adopteemerch.com with 100% of the proceeds going directly towards our Adoptees Connect Scholarship Fund. This fund helps adoptees receive a scholarship to be able to receive the materials they need to plant an Adoptees Connect group in their area. We have a growing list of individuals who need scholarships and sponsors. The more groups we plant, the more adoptees will have a safe space to share their journeys.  Learn more: Sponsor Program.  If we see a need for youth & kid sizes, let us know! We will consider adding them to our website. If you can get the whole family involved, that will raise more awareness. 

Tribute Donations – Make a tribute donation or start a fundraiser to Adoptees Connect, Inc. to honor the memory of a loved one who didn’t survive adoption. The more groups we plant, the less isolation and loneliness adoptees will feel which are directly impacting adoptees all over the world. 

Make A Meme – Make a viral memorial meme in honor of any adoptees that didn’t survive adoption. Share it on October 30th in their memory. 

Write a Song – Write and record a song dedicated to the remembrance of the adoptees that didn’t survive adoption and the adoptee loss experience. 

Write an Article – Consider writing an article about adoptees who didn’t survive adoption or those who died at the hands of their adopters. How has this impacted you and the world of adoption?  Share the link with us, we will share it on our Facebook page on October 30th.

 Candle-lite Remembrance – Shine a light or a candle at 9:00PM EST on October 30th which we feel would be a powerful way to remember adoptees who didn’t surviveimg_2131 adoption and to recognize adoption begins with loss. When multiple people are involved in the lighting it can be a powerful recognition but being alone works just as well. 

Living Reminders – Create a living reminder like planting a flower, a tree or an entire garden in memory of adoptees who didn’t survive adoption and acknowledging loss in adoption. Pick up some yellow flowers from the store. 

Memorial Video – Create a memorial video dedicated to all of our lost brothers and sisters in adoption sharing your voice advocating for change in adoption policies and practices today. Tag us so we can share. 

Blow Bubbles – Instead of release balloons, blow bubbles. One person blowing bubbles is fun, but get a group together all blowing bubbles, and you can create a magical experience. For even more impact, add a few giant bubble wands to the mix.

Float flowers – Choose locally-grown flowers rather than imported ones. Friends & Family can drop the flowers into the water from the shore or from a boat in memory and remembrance of adoptee loss & suicide. Add an extra layer of meaning by writing notes to our loved ones, on quick- dissolve paper (such as rice paper) and releasing the notes into the water along with the flowers. They’ll float along for a bit before harmlessly dissolving. To be truly eco-friendly, you should use fully biodegradable ink, such as an ink made from algae, to write the messages.

Write in the Sand – Take a stick and write in the wet sand on the shore of a lake, river or ocean. This can be a prat of a larger remembrance service, or private. Anyone that attends can write their words of love to the departed and all that’s lost in adoption. The waves will wash them away, symbolically sending the message along.

Be Creative – Start a new tradition on October 30th for Adoptee Remembrance Day. Express how you have been advocating for change in adoption by sharing your voice on how adoption has impacted you. Share why this day is important to you. Encourage friends, family and loved ones to do the same. 

Alone Time – Have a moment of alone time which can signify for you a special moment of recognizing adoptee loss. img_2133

Family Friendly – Make it a family affair. Explain the importance of recognizing this day and honor it and remember it with your family. 

Spread the Word – Invite as many people as possible to follow our Facebook page and share our events inviting everyone you know. The more people that learn about this day, the more will begin to recognize the many layers of adoption that are unrecognized by society as a whole.

RSVP to our Facebook event if you plan on participating to Adoptee Remembrance Day. Don’t forget to invite your friends & family. 

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Please don’t release balloons into the environment. Click here to learn why this is terrible for our environment. We have plenty of eco-friendly options listed here. Please choose them over polluting the environment.  

There’s no rule that says you can only remember or memorialize someone or something in one way. Feel free to use multiple suggestions above as you see fit or create something new. 

A few things to remember: 

  • You don’t have to be adopted to recognize Adoptee Remembrance Day. We recognize that many people are impacted by adoption each year. We encourage you to get involved no matter which part of the adoption constellation you might or might not be a part of. Your support means everything to the adoptee community. 
  • We have a main Facebook page for this day, but we are not setting up Instagram or Twitter for this purpose. Our main Adoptee Remembrance Day page will be sharing all posts we are tagged in, so make sure to tag us on October 30th. We will also share as many posts that use hashtags #adopteeremembranceday and #adopteesweremember as well as share as many as possible on our Adoptees Connect, Inc. Instagram & Twitter. 
  • We will need some volunteers to help with our social media, emails, and correspondence about the Adoptee Remembrance Day. If you have some free time and are interested, please email us: adopteerememberanceday@gmail.com 
  • Please be patient with correspondence as we’re 100% volunteer ran and most of us have full time jobs. 
  • Please direct all correspondence regarding Adoptee Remembrance Day to email: adopteerememberanceday@gmail.com and NOT our Adoptees Connect, Inc. email. Separating the two causes will be critical to the productivity of Oct 30th. 

Thank you for your support and understanding in these matters. If you have any more ideas we can add to our list of things we can do on October 30th for Adoptee Remembrance Day, feel free to email them to us. We will take them into consideration and possibly add them to our list.

Adoptee Remembrance Day serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of  crimes against adoptees by adoptive parents, an action that current media doesn’t recognize. It also allows us to publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through these actions, we express love and respect for the adoptee community. Adoptee Remembrance day reminds others that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Adoptee Remembrance day gives our allies a chance to step forward with us, memorializing those who’ve died too soon, and it also recognizing the loss all adopted people experience, before they’re actually adopted.

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Adoptees Connect, Inc.   

Deep Inside I’ve Lived My Life with Secret Heart Wrenching Cries

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Baby cries, little girl cries, grown woman cries.

It’s always been a secret and it’s not safe with anyone.

It was always tucked so far down inside. I’m talking about the pain of adoption and how it festered and manifested in my life in ways that non-adoptees can’t even comprehend.

The realities for me have always been that my feelings weren’t welcomed growing up or for most of my adult life. My greatest heartbreak was a couples biggest blessing. In my advocacy and experience in networking with hundreds of adoptees all over the world, it’s not just me and my “bad adoption experience”. You can take it or leave it, but it’s been the majority of most of us who have felt this way. If you are one of the adoptees who doesn’t agree, I respect your views, but I would like to ask, “How many adult adoptees have you gotten to know one on one and how many stories have you listened to in your life?”

Can you imagine living your life with pain so big, yet there was no one to share it with? No one wanted to hear your heart. Imagine if your biggest pain was celebrated by the world… Can you even imagine that? Imagine that your pain was irrelevant, so your suffering became evident.  Imagine being born as an “Adopted Child” and being 44 years old still being treated as that same “Adopted Child”.

I’m not a child.

Imagine never being allowed to tap into the feelings hidden deep inside, because you don’t even have the language to express these cries. Our world glorifies the secrets and lies that are the root of my cries.

There has never been a place for me here on this earth. Those who promote, glorify and celebrate adoption haven’t given me that option.

January 2018 everything changed for me. Adoptees Connect was birthed out of a vision that God gave me and this vision to create a community of adult adoptees who gather together in real life to support one another, encourage one another and lift one another up RIGHT WHERE WE ARE AT IN LIFE.

It was evident to me that all adult adoptees needed a safe space and if we were going to have something like this we were going to have to be the one’s to create it.

This world has failed us miserably, so I ask if you are reading this have you looked in the mirror lately? What part have you played in this?

Silence? You have nothing to say? That’s exactly why adoption is corrupt even to this day. We all have a choice to pick and choose what we advocate for, but my days of being silent have gone out the door. I know too much, I’ve seen too much, and my experience weighs too much. I owe it to me, and my fellow adoptees to shine my light and shine it bright.

Adoption, I’m not a little girl anymore.

Do you hear me?

Once upon a time you kept me silent, you made a mess of me from the inside out but today I’m taking it all back without a doubt. Step by step, day by day someone is going to listen to what I have to say. You can tune me out but I’m not going anywhere, and I’ve committed to myself and my community and I’ll continue to share.

I’m not hiding my pain anymore because it has a place in this world. It’s my motivation behind the calling God has on my life.

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My prayer is that all my fellow adoptees who feel alone, defeated and isolated please remember you are never alone. Please believe that the way you feel is NORMAL for a not normal situation. ADOPTION IS NOT NORMAL. There is nothing wrong with you. What is wrong is the world that refuses to acknowledge your pain and meet you in the middle space of your heartache.

NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU!

NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU!

NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOU!

You are not bad, and you did nothing to deserve this. You have many reasons to be sad. I’ve made it my life’s mission to meet my fellow adoptees in their sadness, because giving a voice to our sadness, grief and loss is just as important as our happiness.

Yes, we all want happiness but until we uncover our sadness that’s deep down it will fester and manifest. Healing can happen, but we must meet people in the hurt and pain they carry. That’s a huge step of the healing process and without it happiness won’t be gained. So, when someone is sharing a painful experience please listen and learn from them. We all deserve the freedom that comes from being important enough that someone cares enough to listen to our hearts, especially the painful pieces.

Through Adoptees Connect, I’m committed to meeting adoptees in the places where the world rejects them.  We need one another and our stories matter. Or cries will be heard and hopefully you can be encouraged by this word. I have so many things on my heart to share but time is of the essence. I’ve finally found that this world has a place for me in finding purpose in my pain. My hidden tears will not go in vein.

I’m going to try to write more but always know I’m never very far. If you need a lifeline, REACH OUT TO ME! If you are thinking about planting an Adoptees Connect group in your city REACH OUT TO ME!

No More Hidden Tears!

I love you!

You are NOT Alone! 

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

p. karanova

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When Adoptive Parents Have the Willingness to Listen

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Let me explain my recent change of heart on this topic.

I’ve discovered over the last few months I’ve been selling myself short in speaking to adoptive parents. For those who know me, they know I’ve always said my passion and gifting is for adult adoptees. The ones who are broken, hurting, isolated, and alone. They need someone who understands them, and they are my motivation, my reason to keep sharing and keep writing.

On the other hand, I’ve also backed it up on many occasions that my gifting is NOT in speaking with Adoptive Parents. I’ve shouted this loud and clear and let the adoption/adoptee community know that it’s just not my strong suit. It’s not my area of expertise.

Why you might ask?

Because I find them to be triggering to the max on many fronts. A lot of crossing paths with them have been in online settings, and it’s hard to tell if I was inserting my option when it was asked for or if I was simply sharing my views. Most all times it’s been triggering is when they refuse to listen, learn and acknowledge my truth, even if they don’t understand it or agree with it.

Over the last 7 years of sharing my journey, I’ve found that more times than not Adoptive Parents don’t have the willingness to LISTEN & LEARN from Adult Adoptees which defeats the purpose of sharing all my knowledge based on lived experiences being an adoptee. This has caused me to put my wall up with them and retreat solely with networking and focusing on my fellow adoptees. The wall has been up for years!

Something amazing happened a few months ago. I will leave names out for privacy, but a long-time friend reached out to me and said she would love if we could meet so we could talk about some things. She’s now an adoptive mom. At first, I was a little reluctant because in my mind, I don’t have a gifting for speaking to Adoptive Parents. But there was something different about her. Not only did I know her and have known her for along time but she actually WANTED TO LEARN AND LISTEN.

What I had based my views on regarding not having gifting to speak to adoptive parents is because so much of my experience is them wanting to talk over me, shut me down, silence me, or better yet have no intention to LISTEN, but always wanting to be heard. Sadly, these experiences outweigh the good experiences in interacting with adoptive parents in my world. Unfortunately, this is the reason I have excluded Adoptive Parents from my inner circle. They have only caused more damage to me by the attitude they have, and I can no longer allow those type of people to be inside my very valuable space.

My views have shifted after meeting with my friend who is now an Adoptive Parent. I love her. She loves me. We have a mutual respect for one another and have known one another for at least 25 years. She genuinely wanted some advice, and I was honored and elated she would seek me out to receive it.

RECEIVE IT.

Let’s say it again…

RECEIVE IT…

That’s right. It’s been highlighted to me that my friend wanted to receive what I had to share, and this is exactly what the difference is between her and so many other Adoptive Parents I’ve come across. So many of them don’t want to receive what Adult Adoptees have to say even when we hold the most valuable experience in the adoption equation. There is no therapist, or counselor who understands this thing like we do, unless they are adoptees themselves. I promise you this is the TRUTH!

In my 7 years of being out of the fog, networking in the adoption/adoptee community I have only come across a small handful of Adoptive Parents who have reached out to me and supported me, who have had the willingness to listen and learn. A VERY SMALL HANDFUL. If you are one of them, I will share I appreciate you more than you know and thank you for having the willingness to listen and learn to help understand your adoptive child better.

I say to myself all the time, “If only ALL adoptive parents were that way, adoptees wouldn’t be 4x more likely to attempt suicide. Adoptees wouldn’t be over populated in the prisons, jails, treatment facilities and mental health facilities. If only more adoptive parents had the willingness to LISTEN AND LEARN from Adult Adoptees they could HELP US, adoptees all over the world wouldn’t be so broken” And yes, adoptees all over this world are broken, hurting and they have no where to turn. Some of them are in their 60’s and 70’s and they’ve lived their entire lives suffering in silence because our world won’t acknowledge the pain they have had to carry their entire lives.  I’ve seen too much, and I know too much. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen or unknow what I know.

If you don’t believe me visit my Facebook pages Ask an Adoptee and How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? You could also visit the website I created for adoptees to share their stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? If you have networked with as many as adoptees as I have and heard their stories, listened to them and validated them you would see why the adoptee community is so important to me and my number one focus and cause in life. You would understand why we need Adoptive Parents to listen & learn.

Having many years of experience and my new turn of events in having the grace and willingness to share with my friend who is an adoptive parent, it’s helped me realize that I DO HAVE THE GIFT to talk to adoptive parents but there is a stipulation. It’s the adoptive parents who have the willingness to listen and learn.

I’ve found that it’s not my job to educate adoptive parents because I simply don’t owe anyone anything in that area. On the other hand, when an adoptive parent comes to me like my friend did, and they sincerely want to listen and learn I will do my best to share my experience with the utmost respect and truth and present it with the most understanding way possible. I appreciate my friend coming to me more than she will ever know, and she was so brave to have the willingness to listen and learn. I hope and pray the same for all Adoptive Parents all over the world. When the Adoptive Parents want to listen and learn, it helps their Adoptive Child because they begin to understand better.

In talking to my friend I learned she was very rare Adoptive Parent in wanting to listen and learn. Our time together was priceless, and we shared from our hearts our experiences and we both welcomed questions and had the willingness to speak gracefully about the unexpected situations that come from raising an adoptive child, especially the ones the Adoption Agencies don’t tell you about.

I’ve decided that I do have the grace and the gift, but each situation in me connecting with an adoptive parent will be unique in my choosing in who I want to engage with. Being an adoptee, I lost all choices for most of my life, and still losing some today so today I CHOOSE.

For the Adoptive Parents who don’t have the willingness to listen and learn, I have absolutely no time for them nor will I waste my time on trying to connect because they are EXTREMELY triggering to me. It’s simple.

In the future I have a vision of incorporating a discussion panel into our Adoptees Connect Small Groups (separate from our monthly meetings) where Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents would be able to come ask Adult Adoptees questions. The key is, they are coming to RECEIVE what we are willing to share. I feel this will be a game changer for the Adoption Communities all over the place. I hope to put this vision into action Spring 2019 and Adoptees Connect will have been planted for a little over a year. By then I will have some Adult Adoptees who are on board for being on the Discussion Panel. Lot’s in the works for Adoptees Connect!

I’ve had it on my heart to share this article for some time, but life has been crazy, but things are slowing down a bit.

My question is, if you are an Adoptive Parent do you have the willingness to listen and learn from Adult Adoptees? If you answered “YES” to that question I commend you.

Things are changing, and things are looking up, but we still have so much work to do!

If you answered “NO” to this question I would like to encourage you to seek deep in your heart and ask yourself “WHY?”. Is it fear? Fear of the truth? It will eventually come to surface as all truth does, and I would much rather you be prepared and ready for whatever is to come than to live in denial and your adoptive child live a life like I did and so many other adoptees. Isolated. Alone. Disconnected. Hurt. Traumatized. Many Adult Adoptees have the willingness to share our perspectives with you, but you must meet us half way and have the willingness to listen and learn.

For my fellow Adoptees, how do you feel about speaking to Adoptive Parents? As I shared, it’s not our responsibility but if you have chosen to navigate this into your adoption/adoptee advocacy, do the adoptive parents you are speaking to have the willingness to listen and learn? I would love to learn your experiences?

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

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She’s Bad

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If only we could see ourselves as other people see us.

My feelings of being “bad” began in utero at the very beginning, at the moment of conception. These feelings are stored in my subconscious memory at a preverbal stage of life.  I was  born out-of-wedlock and I’m a product of a drunken one night stand, an affair with a married man.

BAD

The pregnancy was no joyous time for my birth mother. She knew she was going to give me up for adoption. I was told she was never seen without a drink in her hand, and she drank the entire pregnancy. Knowing these things, I believe my birth mother rejected the pregnancy, and I felt every bit of it in utero and I’m sure every day that passed she was eager to just get it over with, and move on with her life.

BAD

I was kept a secret from the world, even my own birth father. I would guess being conceived while he was married, my birth mother didn’t want to create any situation for him, and she was ashamed of her own actions as well. The less people who knew about this shame filled secret, the better.

Did my birth mother feel bad?

In my heart of hearts, I believe she might have felt bad, but her alcoholism ran the show. She didn’t allow herself to “feel”… It was December, 1973 and she was pregnant by a married man, unwed with a 4-year-old daughter of her own. Abortion was legal, but I don’t believe it was an option for her. She had a younger sibling that survived a botched abortion, which was attempted by her natural mother, my grandmother.  Her sibling survived, but lived mentally and physically disabled in a nursing home her entire life. This could have impacted her decision in giving me life, where her experience with abortion was a horrific one? It’s hard to tell. (yes, I’m aware many people consider any experience with abortion as horrific, but that isn’t what this blog post is about.)

In 1974 unplanned pregnancies were shamed, and it would most certainly be frowned upon to be pregnant by a married man. This married man was also a “friend of the family”. This was even more reason to keep things quiet. There certainly was no celebrating or excitement going on during the pregnancy.  I’m sure as I grew in her belly so did my feelings of unwantedness and rejection from the woman who should love me the most.  What happens when you are tied in a primal way to your mother, yet she rejects the pregnancy, rejects you, and she wants to get rid of the problem all together?

It’s easier to hand this problem over to strangers, and pretend it never existed.

That’s the easy way out but in “Adoption Land” they tell the mothers they are BRAVE. That’s a whole different blog post!Bad baby, bad pregnancy, bad day being born.

For me, the day I was born was the worst day of my life. It was the day I lost everything, and the beginning of a lifetime of trauma, grief, loss and heartbreak. I always think about that day, with great sadness in mind. I obsess about wondering if my birth mother held me, did she name me?

Did she look at me?

Was she sad?

Was it the worst day of her life, like it was for me?

All the feelings associated with my life at the beginning, are “bad”. Then I get adopted into a home where it was never about me. It was about filling the needs of a infertile woman who was never capable of being a mother to me. My greatest pain and loss in life was her biggest blessing. How in the world could I ever share my sadness in this home? I didn’t but I internalized every bit and it came out in self sabotaging ways.

Growing up, I was busy tending to my narcissistic adoptive moms emotional needs, I was never cared for as a child. My adoptive dad divorced my adoptive mom, because she was manic-depressive, suicidal and he admitted she couldn’t take care of the first daughter they adopted a year earlier, but somehow I was adopted anyway. He knew she couldn’t take care of the first daughter, yet HE adopted another daughter with her, divorces her within a year and moved over an hour away. He remarried, and had a new family to raise.

He left us with her.

What was the result?

A BAD CHILDHOOD.

A TRAUMA FILLED CHILDHOOD.

Lots of people have a bad childhood, and bad experiences in their childhood. But what about the “better life” that was promised to my birth mother? What about the 2 parent household that was so much better than she could provide, that was promised to her by the adoption industry? That’s another blog post as well.

Growing up in this home, my adoptive mom cried more than she served hot meals on the table. Her crying and manic-depressive episodes had an impact on me in many ways. I was the child that would console her and comfort her, and be there for her. I remember sitting next to her wherever she was crying, rubbing her back and saying “Im sorry mommy. I’m sorry” I must have been a bad child because she was always crying. I must have been the reason she was crying all the time. As an adult, I’ve realized her crying was in part due to mental illness, as well as a failed marriage and not coming to terms with being able to conceive her own children because of her infertility issues. None of it was my fault, and my memories comforting her go back as far as I can remember. It was my responsibility to make her “feel better”.

When I was a child, I had no idea about mental illness. I had no clue the chaos and total dysfunction in this home wasn’t “normal”. I had nothing of “normalcy” to compare it too. I had this feeling of being “bad” because I somehow as a child felt responsible for her behaving the way she did. She laid in the street while we watched, in horror as we waited on the next car to drive by and kill her. We must have been HORRIBLE kids for our “mommy” to want to die so bad that she would lay in the middle of the street in front of us…

BAD

BADY BABY

BAD KID

Turned into a bad juvenile!

Arrested for the first time at 12 years old, burglary. Followed by multiple arrests for assaulting others, in drug and alcohol treatment at 15. I was in group homes, detention, and spent a lot of time in the streets. I was pregnant at 15, and miscarried due to being in a physically abusive relationship at the time. I went to an alternative high school, and it was for the “BAD KIDS”.

Then that juvenile grew up into a bad woman.

A VERY BAD WOMAN

I really can’t describe the feeling of “being bad” that has been attached to me my entire life. It’s there, it’s always been there. It’s an every day feeling that is attached to me as I rise out of bed. It have to CONSTANTLY remind myself, I AM NOT BAD.

As a child I was never able to fully apply myself in school because I was dealing with so much anxiety and trauma in the home I grew up in. I honestly feel like I missed so much, because I wasn’t able to concentrate and learn properly. No one was looking out for me, or my education. They didn’t know what I learned or didn’t learn and they had no clue about my learning issues. This feeling has been something I struggle with my entire life, even more reason to feel bad because I am BAD! 

So here we have it… It’s February 11, 2018. I’ve carried this feeling of “BEING BAD” around with me every day for 43 years. I have no idea what it’s like to wake up and not feel it. It’s imbedded so deep that it is part of who I am.

All the way back to the womb…

If you think our birth mothers handing us over to strangers to raise doesn’t impact us in an extremely negative way, I encourage you to do the research of what happens when a mother and child are separated. Do the adoption agencies tell you we can be impacted for the rest of our lives?

How do you make a way when you have carried this heavy burden of being BAD your entire life? The burden from being born, unwanted by the woman who should love me most, and robbed of a childhood, never having a mother? I didn’t blow it in the “mother area” once, but TWICE! I cry silent tears every day of my life, and the sadness never leaves that the mother God gave me, didn’t want me and the woman that wanted me couldn’t take care of me. I’ve accepted it’s here to stay, but I do my best to hide it from the world. I don’t want to be more of a burden than I already have been but it never leaves my mind. Tears of what never was.For me, I have to constantly remind myself that I am not my past or the mistakes I have made or the mistakes my birth parents or adoptive parents have made. Who I am isn’t determined by being conceived out of a drunken one night stand with a married man. I have to be honest. It’s a constant everyday mind struggle. Self love has been a critical point to my internal happiness. I don’t care how many adoption agencies GLORIFY THE HELL OUT OF ADOPTION – I will never feel like my birth mother loved me so much – EVER! She took the easy way out, and because of it I’m left to do the “time” of this life sentence called ADOPTION.

I try to remind myself that although my life experiences have made me feel like a bad person internally, but I am not a “bad” person.

( this   is   a   constant    torment    in    my    mind   and   an everyday    struggle )

Can any adoptees relate?

In my heart of hearts, I know I’m a loving person, a loyal person, an honest person. I’m selective, cautious, reluctant and observant of others, and who I let in my space. I’m an introvert because I’m tired of other people inflicting hurt on me and my life. I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin, alone because no one knows me, like me. I have my guard up at all times, and I’ve learned to live my life and adapt to my hyper sensitive flight response. I smell trouble, drama or discontent – I’m gone.

Most of us work our entire lives to improve ourselves, mind-body and spirit. At least I’ve been working on this anyway. It seems if we aren’t in a constant state of “improvement” we would go stagnant in life, and what would we have to work towards?

For me, I’m working on taming the voices that have always told me “I’m BAD and My life is BAD” and I’m trying to remind myself daily of WHO I REALLY AM. I’m making a list of what other people say I am, but my big struggle is believing it. The voices of negativity are stronger, louder and more prominent and they always have been. I have so much that I am thankful for, but adoption isn’t one of them.

Here are a few things of what other people say I am, and even a few of what I know I am.

  • Creative
  • Adventurous
  • Caring
  • Selfless
  • Dependable
  • A woman of my word
  • Fierce
  • Strong
  • Protective
  • A go getter
  • Jesus Follower
  • Survivor

I think I’ll leave it at that for now.

Recently, I created a shirt via Adoptee Merch. I titled “I AM” which is dedicated to all the27655437_163783274257710_4729780367594661546_n adoptees in the world who have always had these negative voices about themselves. I wanted to create something that was a reminder of who we really are, who I really am. I think we all need that reminder every now and then. Click Here if you would like to see the women’s shirt and here if you are interested in checking the men’s out.

I don’t wake up feeling these things, but deep in my heart I know them to be true. Why is it that all the “negative” feelings, visions, memories have a way of overshadowing all the positive ones? Either way, viewing myself in a positive light is a full-time job. As I think many adoptees can relate to this.

I would like to ask you if you can relate to this at all and if you were to create a list of the positive things you think about yourself and what others say about you, what would that list say? Would you share it with me? I think I’m going to print mine, and put it on my mirror in my bathroom as a daily reminder. I can read it each morning and repeat daily.

Creative
Adventurous
Caring
Selfless
Dependable
A woman of my word
Fierce
Strong
Protective
A go getter
Jesus Follower
Survivor

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

Thanks for reading

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Wishing I Was Aborted & Wanting to Die

I’m glad I was able to get your attention for a few moments…

Over the years, I have written a bit regarding certain times in my life where I wished my birth mother aborted me. I’ve also written other times about wishing I would die or wishing I was dead.

This doesn’t mean I promote abortion.

This doesn’t mean I promote suicide.

This means, this is how I have felt at certain times of my life and I have had enough courage to share my feelings with the world. Sometimes it might be in this blog or in online communities, or in real life.

It’s hard to have value for “life” when every day of my life has felt like I’m in a living nightmare in my mind regarding my adoption journey. How do you live everyday of your life with a broken heart? It’s hard to value LIFE when the woman that should love you the most not only abandons you but rejects you when you find her. It’s hard to value life when you feel like your entire existence on earth was to fill a void in someones life, but they never really cared about me. I was purchased for a price to the next adoptive parents in line. It was never about me. It’s hard to value life when no one on earth has ever given a shit about my feelings about the trauma, grief, loss and all the issues adoption has brought my way.

IT’S A EVERYDAY STRUGGLE FOR SOME OF US!

“Oh you just had a bad adoption experience!”

My views are, If we’re completely honest, every adoption experience is rooted as a bad experience because what any adoptee has to go through to get adopted is grounded in trauma and loss.  The fact we are severed from our roots, history, medical history, ethnicity, birth parents, siblings, etc. is enough reason for us to say it’s a bad experience.

If you can view adoption as “beautiful” you aren’t acknowledging the trauma that comes with it, and that is a problem. I’ll save that for my next blog post.

Trauma is not beautiful, it’s hard and complicating, and painful.

Do all adoptees feel like their adoption constitutes as a “Bad Experience?” Absolutely not. I can’t speak for all adoptees, I can only speak for myself and knowing hundreds of adoptees all over the world, I know MANY of us feel this way.

If I dig a little deeper and share why at times I’ve felt like I wanted to die I can assure you I was at a very dark place regarding my adoption journey. More than likely if I shared something like this online or in my blog it’s because I didn’t have any “safe space” in my real life to share these feelings. It’s because not only did I feel like I wanted to die, but I have always carried the burden for feeling this way on top of feeling how I felt.

As if feeling like I wanted to die wasn’t enough…

The feelings of wanting to die are usually triggered by different seasons of my adoptee experience. It comes in waves, and when feelings associated with abandonment, rejection, trauma, complicated grief & loss come flooding in it can easily take me out. What does take me out mean? I can slide into a depression, and during this time things are dark and grim. There has never been any help for me, (for many of us adoptees) so it can feel like a dark cloud is hanging over my head and there is nowhere to turn.

ALONE.

HELPLESS.

On occasion I’ve shared how I was angry at my birth mother for choosing life. It’s the truth and if you can’t understand it or grasp it consider yourself one of the fortunate ones. You also might be someone who doesn’t have the willingness to TRY to want to learn why I have felt this way or to try to learn why other adoptees might feel this way? Either way, I had to go through the emotions I was feeling. A few years back I worked on some areas of healing as I continue to do. One of the areas I was mad as hell about was wishing my birth mother aborted me.

THE PAIN HAS BEEN THAT GREAT!

Writing about it was one of the biggest healing tools I have yet to discover. Sharing it with others is also another healing tool. It takes it from a deep hidden secret of feeling this way,  to a release by sharing my feelings that are very real with others who can hopefully understand, validate and let me know I’m not alone. In no way sharing these feelings was I ever advocating for abortion and I don’t appreciate anyone saying otherwise.

Situations like this that happen it’s another layer of what adoptees have to go through. Not only do we feel the way we do which is hard enough in itself, but we’re shamed by society for feeling that way. Our words can be easily twisted by someone who has never thought twice about reaching out to us in a caring, humane and concerning way. To top it off, there is usually no help for us, or no safe spaces to share these feelings so a lot of time online is our only source to share. Thank God Adoptees Connect is popping up in many cities and other adoptee support groups as well. Things are changing for the good but it hasn’t always been this way.

There are those who don’t agree with with others say and they can’t just move along. They have to make sure they point out why they don’t feel that way and why it’s horrible we do. “My friend who’s adopted doesn’t feel that way at all!” or “My husband is adopted and he never has felt that way” – Or better yet, and the most damaging of all, a fellow adoptee saying, “I’m so sad and disappointed so many adoptees have no value for life, and talk about wishing they were aborted or dead. I have never felt that way and I have made the choice to make something of my life. I wish they would do the same”

Don’t you think if we could just turn the switch on to be one of the “Happy well-adjusted” adoptees, we would do it? Don’t you think we would rather feel happy all the time than deal with these emotions? I think most adoptees would rather not have these issues, but when we are dealing with so many complexities and layers of trauma it doesn’t happen that way for many of us.

TRAUMA TAKES TIME TO HEAL AND EVERYONE HEALS AT DIFFERENT STAGES

The fact of the matter is, when people share their feelings online or in real life, it’s really best to try to validate their feelings and listen to what they have to say. Just because you don’t feel this way and you never have doesn’t mean you need to point it out to someone and disregard how they are feeling because it doesn’t line up with how you feel.

When people process emotions about wishing they were aborted or having feelings of wanting to die, and you happen to be on the receiving end of hearing them share these words please consider yourself honored. If someone is actually sharing something like this they may have kept deep inside for what can be a very long time. Your response is critical!

Don’t silence them, and try to make them feel guilty for feeling this way. Shaming them and making them feel guilty because you have processed your adoption issues, and they haven’t isn’t going to help, only hurts them.

“It makes me so sad to see so many adoptees talk about wishing they were aborted and wishing they were dead!” – Well HELLO!

It seems to me this world we live in might want to take a wake up pill because if so many adoptees are saying these things IT’S FOR A REASON. Many reasons actually.

For me, I had to face the pain of the TRUTH of adoption, MY ADOPTION and come out of the FOG and acknowledge the realities of how my life played out. Some days the pain has been SO GREAT I would rather DIE than deal with another day of this pain. Does that mean I’m suicidal? NO, for me I wasn’t suicidal although I have been in the past when I was younger. It means that at that moment in my life, dying seems like a better plan than facing the pain of ADOPTION. That’s how great my pain was. I never had a suicide plan as an adult, but that doesn’t mean some adoptees don’t. For me, I have a ton of reason TO LIVE and there are so many areas in life I love, my kids mainly. But there is far more to it than me just saying I wanted to die.

Does that mean other adoptees aren’t suicidal when they say they want to die or they would rather die? I can’t comment on that but because adoptees attempt suicide 4x more than non adoptees.  I think it’s time society as a whole stop ignoring these staggering facts.

BE CAUTIOUS HOW YOU RESPOND TO HURTING ADOPTEES!

We really can’t afford to not listen to Adoptees.

If you are an adoptee and have been fortunate enough to move beyond your depression, and you’re wanting to die, and your issues with being adopted and you have come to a place of peace regarding your adoption journey that’s wonderful. But let me share, those adoptees who aren’t at that place yet don’t need YOU, their fellow adoptee telling them how sad and sorry you are they feel that way and minimize their feelings by sharing how you don’t feel that way at all. This only adds shame to how they already feel.

We don’t need it, especially from our fellow adoptees.

Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up. – Jesse Jackson

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I have a question for anyone reading, adopted or not.

If you learn of an adoptee or anyone for that matter share feelings in real life or online, about wishing they were aborted or wishing they would die have you reached out to them on a personal level? Have you said to them, “I’m so sorry you are feeling this way. My heart hurts for you. Can you tell me more about why you are feeling this way? How can I help you?” Do you have the willingness to reach out to these people and try to understand where they are coming from? Do you have the willingness to LISTEN without the intent to reply? Do you have the willingness to try to put yourself in this persons shoes, even when you can’t relate to what they are saying because “That wasn’t my experience!”

My reason for writing this blog post is to share I have had times in my life where I have felt anger towards my birth mother because she didn’t abort me, and I have felt like I wanted to die many times but this does not define who I am. It’s all been a part of my healing process. If I didn’t have so many deep-rooted adoptee issues, I honestly would be doing great in life. Just so happens, the pain from adoption has been the very same pain that has been my reason for starting Adoptees Connect and Adoptee Merch.

Are you meeting people where they are?

Pain and all?

Aside from adoption and the trauma it’s caused me I consider myself a survivor and I’m surviving daily. Adoption tried to kill me, but I’m here and alive. I have so many things to be thankful for. Some days I wonder why it’s so hard for me to be thankful for my life, which is something I feel guilty about daily. The best way I can describe it is that I’ve never until recently (out of the fog) ever felt like I was alive to begin with. I felt like the walking dead. I have no birth story. I have no roots grounded in anything. I don’t feel connected to anything other than my kids. I’ve spent my entire life grieving what should have been and what was lost. The same tears I cried in grief are the same tears the world celebrates because adoption is viewed as “beautiful”.

This adds more pain on pain on pain…

What has changed everything for me and given me a reason to live is my kids. They are the reason I’m thankful for my life because I’m thankful for them. They are the reason I get up daily because they are my motivation. They are the reason I’m still alive. It’s not for myself. If they weren’t here I wouldn’t be alive. I would have been dead many years ago. I would have no purpose and that’s MY TRUTH.

Now that I am processing through my pain, and I’m out of the fog, I’m at a place where I’ve learned my passion in life. Healing is happening, but it wouldn’t be happening if I could never share my feelings.

IN ORDER TO HEAL IT WE HAVE TO FEEL IT!

 Even those adoptees who are sharing online they want to die and wish they were aborted!

I have a purpose for my life to do what I’m doing in the adoptee community.

So my question is…

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ARE YOU LISTENING?

Because if you are inserting your opinion without ever asking a person why they feel the way they feel you really are out-of-order.

Do I still wish my birth mother aborted me? Sometimes those thoughts come over my mind, but they come and go like a vapor. Usually its the times when my pain is so great, I see no light and no way out. When I stay busy in life, the less time I have to think about the realities of adoption and the damage it has done in my life. Every day I can move forward towards healing is a new day I have to discover who I am and what I enjoy doing in life. There is more to me and my life than being an adoptee. I love being a mom. I love nature, hiking, chasing waterfalls. I enjoy the simple things in life-like sunrises, sunsets, bonfires, hot tea and coffee. I’m a caregiver by career and absolutely love what I do for a living. I have a small host of close friends and a few family members I am in touch with. Adoptee issues still surface and will always surface, for me it’s learning how to ride the waves.

So please, the next time you are around someone who is sharing their heart, no matter how your experience was or is, no matter who you know that was adopted who had a wonderful experience, know it doesn’t give you the right to tell us how we should feel. Also, please understand that just because you are at a peaceful place of your adoption, not all of us are. Let’s learn to embrace one another exactly as we are, not as you think we should be.

We’re already in a world that glorifies our trauma, we don’t need it from our fellow adoptees. Please, be kind and in that have compassion for others who are nothing like you. Try to understand them and put yourself in their shoes. Listen more.

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

Empathy goes along way.

Thanks for reading.

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