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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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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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!

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.

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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I’m Not Co-Signing For Online Bullying & Harassment

As we wrap up our first month of 2018 a few things have come to my attention. It’s so easy to get sucked into situations where we’re co-signing for online bullying and harassment, I thought a blog post about it might not be a bad idea.

I’ve noticed how one simple “tag” into a conversation or an innocent response to a post can be the door way to open-up an online episode of bullying or harassment. This can spiral out of control and it usually happens quickly.

I have seen from experience the damage this type of activity can do to others, and if I’m being honest when I’ve engaged in this type of activity I don’t feel better when it happens. I only feel worse.

My reason for writing this is because I’ve seen an increased amount of division created by online attacks within the adoptee community and it’s not okay. Witnessing these attacks, and even being pulled into a few I’ve found it to be very divisive among our community. We don’t need division. We need unity to move forward.

I can only speak for myself, but I have a life outside of “Adoptee City”. I love my online community of adoptees, but I have so many other things going on in life. Adoptee City is just a small piece of my life, but it does take up a lot of my time and I pour my heart and soul into the areas I participate in.

What does this mean?

I don’t have time for online drama.

NONE.

If you are an online bully you will be silenced from my personal space. I can’t say you will be silenced online in other peoples spaces, but you will be silenced in mine.

Your either for me or you’re against me. If you are against me that’s okay, but be an adult and either come to me in a private message and talk to me or keep it moving. Whatever you decide to do, I can assure you I’m not losing any sleep either way.

If I get pulled into a situation online, I’m very careful how I navigate things moving forward. Much of the time if it’s a negative dynamic of unproductive communication between one or more people coming off in an attacking way, I don’t take the bait. I make the choice to “opt-out”. I don’t respond to that person directly. If someone lashes out at me in a nasty way, without hesitating I block them.

Let me say I’m not talking about a discussion where we are asked to share our experiences, peaceful or even not so peaceful debating that happens online. I’m talking about attacks that happen among online communities. Most of the time the person perpetrating the attacks is someone who has a history of being an online bully and has problems in various online communities for this behavior. More than likely they are blocked a lot and cause strife in many different areas.

Understand there is a dramatic difference in “Sharing Your Voice” and “Online Bullying & Harrassing”.

When we make the choice to talk about a person, place or business via social media or in an online forum. website, blog, etc. are we asking ourselves what our motive is first?

Is it to speak the truth as we see it? Is it because we have a point to prove and we want to do our best to get our point across? Is it to try to change other’s opinions and we share our truth as a guiding force for this to happen?

There are endless reasons why people share things online but before I share I try to ask myself is, am I trying to help someone or hurt them? Am I presenting my information in a way that others will receive it, or a way that is respectful to those who might read it? Am I coming from a  mean, hostile, controlling or aggressive place?

I’ve failed many MANY times, and I’m the first to admit this and I’m a work in progress as we all are. An example for me is communication online between adoptive parents and birth parents and adoptees. I feel most of the time they run over how adoptees feel with what they think they know, and it only adds pain to our issues. Of course I can’t speak for all of them, which would be wrong of me to do but the majority I have come across online and in person this is my experience. It makes me angry, so I stay away from these types of situations where I don’t necessarily have the grace I need to have a healthy dialog with them.  One day maybe this will change, but its just how it is right now.

When I see discord online, many times I see others jump on in and start in on the bashing of someone else because the bully aka the ring leader has sparked up some drama and there you go. An entire thread on the internet bashing and smashing others, while they aren’t given the time of day to defend themselves in an appropriate healthy dialog. They aren’t even asked who, what, when where and why BEFORE the perpetrator starts to lash out at the projected target. This is straight toxic foolery to be spun by GROWN  ADULTS on the internet. I see kids behave better than this. It’s terribly disturbing.

Sadly, when we see this negative type of interaction going on we sometimes turn the other way, we don’t get involved to save our selves from being drug into the “drama”. I’m so guilty of doing this because I hate drama. I feel like I’ve worked my entire life to move away, change my life, grow up, and be a better person and a productive light to society that the last thing I want to get involved with is “INTERNET DRAMA”. It doesn’t excite me at all, many times I turn the other way and keep it moving.

What has come to my attention lately, is that by me turning the other cheek and walking away I am just as guilty as the person perpetrating the mean, hostile, controlling and aggressive behavior in the online communities. I don’t feel good about just wearing blinders and pretending I don’t see certain things.

What I have done is tread very carefully where I am present in online communities and I’m extremely cautious of who I let inside my personal space because anyone in my personal space has a potential to impact my life in a positive or a negative way.

We all must be careful in this way.

When we are a witness to cyber bullying and/or harassment we have choices we can make regarding how we respond. If it was someone close to us who was being attacked online, a family member or a friend you better believe most of us would jump right in to their defense.

If it’s someone we aren’t close to or we only know through the online world we can make a choice. We could ignore it and act like we don’t see it. We can confront the perpetrator in public or private or comfort the target in public or private. We could also document the behavior and report it as cyber-bullying and/or harassment.

There are many options, but we must realize is that someone is always watching somewhere, and our actions online could very well have some consequences in real life. Screen shots are forever and a lot of time can be used in court. I’ve learned that most people who are cyber bullies and/or cyber harassers are not someone you can even have a healthy dialog with, let alone a conversation where two people can discuss their views in a healthy way. They are so consumed with control, anger and rage they want to be the only one to be heard. There is no communication because their desire is to dominate at all costs, they will always “win” because they use the loudest voice in the online communities. They scare others and use this as a way to control people.

I will say my chances to insert myself into confronting this type of individual online is extremely slim. Why? Because in my lifetime I’ve learned that talking to someone like this is like talking to a wall. There is no point. They don’t have the willingness to listen and learn from others, and they desire to dominate and control. They are always right so what would be the point in confronting them? A lot of times narcissism is a possibility for these types of individuals. It’s all about them, what they want to scream from the roof tops in online platforms, they want to be the loudest and the voice that is never shut down AKA silenced.

I can assure you, most of the time these are the very same people who are blocked and banned from multiple online communities, and by other online people who simply have no time to deal with this type of drama. It’s usually not an isolated incident, but a reoccurring one. That said, for me confronting the person is probably out of the question but if I did feel lead to confront them it would be in a private message letting them know I see them and I’m not okay with their behavior online.

To not turn a blind eye to situations online that I might witness, it’s in my nature to reach out to the target in private and offer a word of encouragement and support. I would also encourage them to ban and block this person who is perpetrating these things onto them. With this kind of personality, most of the time a response will only add fuel to the fire. More than likely the perpetrator has online drama all over the place. Trust me, some people live to complain, and some people are mad at the world no matter what you say to them. Some people are negative from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. I’ve seen it, it’s true! These kind of people will suck the life right out of you!

I’ve learned that sometimes people live in fear or intimidation of those online who are bullying or harassing others therefor they “CO-SIGN” for them instead of blocking/banning them from their online safe space and they shiver at the thought of confronting them. I’m guilty, I’ve been there before but times have changed and I’m not co-signing for inappropriate behavior online anymore.

Confronting someone online who is a bully and/or harasser is something that I wouldn’t recommend. Usually that will unleash the beast that is already showing its true colors. Co-signing for this type of person can be as simple as liking a status they post that is attacking another person, place or business or commenting on something agreeing with them. It can be agreeing with them to keep “Sharing their voice!” without taking into consideration how they are doing it. How are they treating other people online, even the ones they don’t agree with or they have different views with?

Are they attacking a person, a place or a business? Are they being angry, mean, harassing, bullying or acting aggressive?

As the saying goes, “When people show you who they really are, believe them!” – Maya Angelou

 

Remember, it’s not what you say but how you say it. We are all in control of who or what we let inside our safe spaces. If I see someone else’s safe space is being violated I have a moral obligation to do something, and in most cases for me it’s report the bullying harassing behavior and/or blocking that person as well as encouraging the target to block that person.

No one, I mean NO ONE on earth deserves to get bullied in real life or online. It shouldn’t be tolerated online just like it shouldn’t be tolerated in real life.

Again, there is a HUGE difference in trying to teach and educate others about your mission and passion in life, weather it be adoption, nutrition, marriage, or whatever and coming off in an arrogant, rude, disrespectful, in a mean way.

Anger is a natural response to so many things in life. It’s okay to be ANGRY but It’s when we use that anger for good, doing positive things in positive ways is when it’s a healthy type of anger. When we get stuck in the anger, and our anger spills out into other people’s “Safe Spaces” is when it becomes a big problem.

What I’m seeing frequently online is ANGER used in unhealthy ways and sometimes it’s being put on a pedestal for “SHARING ONES VOICE”. It’s not healthy if it’s a mean spirited, aggressive, intimidating way which is impacting others safe spaces in a negative way. This is not okay. This is another way we can co-sign for someone’s unruly behavior and it’s just as bad as if you were the perpetrator.

I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I am going to make a pledge to do my best to stay away from these type of online interactions and not put myself in vulnerable positions online where such chaos can and does occur. When it does happen I will reach out to the target, and block and ban the perpetrator.

I’ve noticed many times the perpetrators of this type of negative bullying is coming from someone who represents themselves using a fake name they hide behind, and they automatically think they have more power online because they can freely say what they want without anyone knowing who they truly are.

I would like to encourage anyone using fake names like this to be real, be the true you and stop hiding behind fake names just to be able to use it as a tool to cause strife and division in online communities. Stop faking who you are. If you want to be such a bad ass online, be the real you. What are you hiding from?

I used a “pen name” that I wrote under for about 3 years, but this wasn’t to stir shit online. It was because I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to be true to who I really was and share my real true feelings from my real true self. I didn’t want to hurt those close to me so I hid how I felt. I was hiding from anyone ever knowing how I truly felt. Then one day I woke up and decided I no longer needed to apologize for my feelings and I had ever right to have them. The pen name worked for awhile and as I gained my confidence and as I shared in online communities I got stronger and I was able to heal in ways I didn’t think I could. Then I got rid of the pen name.

There is a difference in using a pen name to share feelings and using a pen name or a fake name to lash out at others online to hide from the consequences of what this type of behavior sparks. The term most people would use these days is “Trolling”. I’m not going to support this type of activity in my online spaces at all.

I like to call it spreading hate and this type of interaction only sucks the life out of others, and somehow this makes the perpetrator feel strong, big and mighty.

I ask myself, is what I’m typing online something I could stay to someone’s face in real life? Or am I just talking smack behind the keyboard? Am I spreading hate? Am I putting someone down?

I feel like we should all be able to have an educated discussion without putting others down, even when our opinions differ than the other. There’s always going to be someone who supports the opposite of what you support and people with visions that counteract with your visions.

It’s part of life and how we navigate these types of situations has a critical role in our message being received by another person. How about none of us are 100% right, and other opinions are valuable. Are we leading our cause in love? Or are we leading our cause in hate? Are we lifting others up or are we tearing them down? If we are spreading hate and tearing others down we are missing the mark and missing it greatly. Every time we come across this way online , every sentence we share that is filled with hate or tearing someone down because we don’t like their idea is a chance we had to express ourselves in a way that others receive what we have to say that is lost forever. If you come off abrasive be prepared to be blocked. People are turned off by this way of communication. Not only online, but real life as well.

I believe wholeheartedly there are ways to educate about our cause in a healthy way that doesn’t come off unethical, self-serving, mean spirited and intimidating to others. We can educate by being kind and considerate while taking into consideration that each person is entitled to their own opinions. Once we can come to this place of understanding is when we will be validated, listened too and our opinions will be valued and even appreciated online and in real life.

There was a time in my life where I was angry and mad at the world. A few years ago online, I came across a fellow adoptee who was selling a service to her fellow adoptees and it appalled me because the service she was selling is something we shouldn’t have to pay for- the information we should have never been denied to begin with. I will admit, I didn’t like her because of her vision and what she was doing in the adoptee arena. I called her out on Twitter, and it created WW3 online. What I realized was, WHO THE HELL AM I TO SAY ANYTHING TO THIS WOMAN about what she is doing in her life? I had to check myself and simmer down because I am no one special and my opinion is just that, an opinion.  I was so convicted that I felt terrible and I ended up apologizing to her and telling her I was sorry for being an asshole online.

What I should have done, was sent her a private message asking her what her vision was, gotten some details to see where her mind is with what she is doing and then and only then in a private safe space express my feelings regarding this topic. I didn’t do that, but I had wished I did.

Thankfully she accepted my apology and we went on our merry way. I learned from this situation that certain times I might feel a certain way about things but it’s not my job to go roaring in like CUJO yelling it to the entire world I disagree with someone. How juvenile and pitiful was that of me anyway? I learned so much from that situation and there are several others that I have learned from along the way.

Thank God for learning experiences!

For anyone reading, I would like to challenge you to ask yourself before posting things online “Am I helping someone or am I trying to hurt them?”  or “Am I co-signing for someone else’s online bullying and harassment or am I eliminating this kind of interaction from my life?”

Sadly, the perpetrator is only alienating themselves from perfect opportunities to teach others about their cause or passion but coming off as a bully and/or a harasser and this is only going to create division, cause strife and create negative interactions online.

I’m controlling my safe space these days and these types of people must go. I refuse to deal with any nonsense in real life and the same goes for the online world. When it’s all said and done we have to realize the words we choose to use online can have consequences and they can get us in trouble.

If you can come at me privately with an attempt to discuss things in a healthy dialog and I will be happy to converse but if you come at me sideways mobbing me in a public setting be prepared for the consequences. Just because you are online behind a keyboard doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences. If you can’t respect me even if you don’t agree with me I ask you to keep it moving.

If I see bullying happening online I have a moral obligation to reach out to the target and make sure they are okay, as well as encourage them to block the perpetrator. Sometimes we aren’t strong to make these decision on our own and someone else’s opinion or suggestion is all we need to put an end to a chaotic situation online. I encourage you to do the same.

If you are reading this and if the shoe fits, I would like to extend empathy to you and your situation. I know why people come off as bullies and have mean characteristics. My hope for you is, that healing can happen in your life, so you can take your anger and use it in positive ways. One day I hope you can say without a doubt you have changed so many lives for the good by spreading good vibes while using your voice and sharing your truth because it is possible. I hope you get to that space sooner than later. You deserve to be happy and healthy and you have purpose!

We all deserve healthy interactions and healthy dialog and we can agree to disagree.

Anything less is something I refuse to be a part of in real life or online.  I’m the boss of my life and I choose who I allow in it, and who I refuse to let enter my safe space.

Thanks for reading.

XOXO

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Adoptee City

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Adoptee City is my online community of adult adoptees who I have come into contact with over the years. Some live in the USA, and some across the world. Adoptee City filled with all different versions of adoptees, who all come from so many different experiences, yet line up with a common denominator of being ADOPTED.

We’re ALIVE.

We Survived.

We have a story to tell.

Adoptees ONLY.

I entered ADOPTEE CITY online in 2011. It was a whole new world to me. Finally, others who could understand me. If you’re not adopted, you are the outsider looking in of ADOPTEE CITY, finally we are in control of something. We have a bond, we have a heart for one another’s pain, experiences and visions. We can FEEL what one another is going through when we go through things. We know how critical listening is, because for many of us we’ve waited our entire lives for someone to listen. We know how important listening is!

I have learned over the years, I have my fellow Adoptees back, at all costs because I know what it feels like to be them. To be silenced by a world that glorifies adoption.  I’ve always given them favor, because it’s about time someone be on our side, right? I’ve spent years encouraging them, lifting them up and letting them know they aren’t alone. So many of them have returned this same love to me when I have been down and out. I will be forever grateful.

What would we do without one another, really?

I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without you all, THANK YOU! I love you!

My heart has never been set on educating adoptive parents, or birth parents and I haven’t made it a mission in my life to do so. I simply do not have this gift. You can see by the thread I was tied into yesterday I don’t have this gift. HAHA. If I’m honest I don’t appreciate the burden that’s been placed on my shoulders, OUR shoulders that it’s our job to teach them how it feels to be adopted like it’s expected of us.  It’s not that I don’t’ want to help them, it’s because my focus and heart has always been on reaching the hurting Adoptees who are in really sad and dark places. I was once that Adoptee, and still have moments like this. If I’m honest, I have them frequently. I am learning that sometimes God puts us in positions where we are going to be uncomfortable, and in this uncomfortableness is when we grow.

I believe God gives us each gifts and it’s up to each of us to tap into those gifts, and use them in a way that helps other people. For me, my gift was relating to and making safe spaces for Adult Adoptees to share their stories. How have I done this? I’ve created numerous platforms online where adoptees feel safe in sharing their stories and I’ve founded an adult adoptee support group that is being planted all over the USA soon to be in another country. I’ve done this by sharing my story via my blog, and being interviewed by podcasts and having my story featured in other online safe spaces. Not saying because I want any credit, just saying because THIS IS MY CALLING. I’m walking it out and sometimes I still feel alone, even when I have an amazing supportive ADOPTEE CITY behind me cheering me on. I believe it might be because my vision isn’t anyone else’s vision and they don’t see what I see?

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created for”- Esther 4:14

I remember about 2 years ago, I felt like God was telling me that YES, I’m going to continue my online Adoptee City work, but I’m also going to do something IN REAL LIFE, IN MY COMMUNITY which I will call my real-life Adoptee City. I had no idea what this would look like, but it’s been in the back of my mind for years, festering but God always reveals his plans for us.

Sadly, the world can discourage us and even some of those who are in our ADOPTEE CITY can discourage us. I’ve encountered backlash because Adoptees Connect is adoptee only and not open to adoptive parents and birth parents. I’ve received a very small amount of backlash for creating Adoptee Merch. as well and I’ve learned it’s okay, as I already said my vision isn’t everyone’s vision. We will always have critics but navigating this a few things have come to my attention.

Most of the time when an adoptee from Adoptee City comes out of the woodwork and tries to shut down other Adoptees ideas, it’s for 2 reasons. 1.) They have a vision of something they want to create themselves, and they are seeing another adoptee create this vision, but not exactly like the vision they have. In other words, they have an idea in mind, but instead of pursuing it they are shooting down other adoptees for doing something similar because it’s not exactly like the idea they have in mind. 2.) Lack of support in sharing their own ideas and fear of the unknown sets it, so they lash out at others who do have support and ideas that are prospering in the online adoptee city movement, and even reaching outside the online Adoptee City movement into the real adoptee cities in our communities in real life.

Fear is crippling. Fear of those who are in the same adoptee city as you is even more crippling and it paralyzes us from pursuing the calling God has on our lives. If you don’t believe in GOD, it still paralyzes you from the calling that has been placed on our lives. I believe each and every adoptee in this world has come equipped with a special gift and ability that will not separate or divide our community but bring us closer together. Does that mean we will all agree with those visions or gifts? Absolutely not, but this is a question I have for you.

Are you dividing Adoptee City or bringing it closer together? Whatever it is on your heart to pursue to advance Adoptee City, is that bringing us closer together or dividing us from one another? Do the words you use in online Adoptee city forums when communicating with your fellow Adoptees do you come from a place of compassion for those Adoptees who don’t think exactly like you, or are the coming from a place of anger and rage tearing one another down?

We’re all on the same team, and nothing saddens me more than seeing Adoptees fight with one another.

Please don’t mistake my above paragraph as if we don’t have a right to have anger and rage. WE ALL DO! We’ve all heard “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it”.

A few years ago when I was filled with anger and rage, it came out in every way possible. I had NO GRACE. I wrote out of anger and rage, I told people my feelings that were based in anger and rage, I was flat out ANGRY! I still am ANGRY. But the difference is, I had someone take me aside and say, “You know Pam, I understand your pain, I understand your hurt and broken heart, just remember whatever message you are trying to get across is going to be better received by those who you want to receive it if you can shape your message in a way that doesn’t scare people off and turn away from you all together. When you come off angry or rage filled it turns people away, and I know you have a powerful story to tell”

What did I do? I got mad, and angry. What CRAP THIS IS! Someone telling me I need to NOT BE ANGRY! I got an attitude, and didn’t really like what she said.

But then in time I began to really think about it and realize that she was correct. If I wanted to share my message, I needed Grace. I began to pray for GRACE. It took me YEARS and I still fall short daily. Adoptive parents and birth parents are in a category where it’s harder for me to show them grace, I can’t lie. I’m a work in progress.

But my fellow Adoptees that are in MY ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY…

Every day I wake up, and I want to show them grace. I want to show them grace even when I don’t agree with them. Even when we come from totally different spectrum’s in the Adoptee arena. I know the place of pain they speak from, so even when they are angry and rage filled shouting it all over ADOPTEE CITY, I get it. I understand because that was once me and some days it’s still me!

My question is, ARE YOU DIVIDING ADOPTEE CITY OR BRINGING IT CLOSER TOGETHER?

Do you respect the views of your fellow adoptees who are in the same Adoptee City as you or do you spit on them because their views aren’t the same as yours? Do you respond to posts in online Adoptee city with the stance of BEING RIGHT, or BEING UNDERSTOOD? What are your motives in sharing your voice in Adoptee City?

Is it possible we take away the mentality of “I’M RIGHT VS THEY ARE WRONG” and just show compassion and love for one another right where we are at?

Sadly, so much of ADOPTEE CITY is divided because we lack understanding for our fellow adoptees calling and visions to move ADOPTEE CITY forward. We are sometimes our own oppressors, and judge one another by being very harsh critics of one another.

ADOPTEE CITY…

Can we agree to disagree without being mean spirited to one another?

The last few months I have had my share of experiences with those who don’t support or agree with my visions and that’s totally okay. I love them anyway but I also refuse to allow those same people in my life who want to slander my name, talk about me behind my back and NEVER ONCE contact me to talk about my visions or to even see where they come from. Thankfully I have a HUGE following of adoptees and even some birth parents who support me, and they have outweighed any of those who want to slander me behind my back. If you have an issue with me, or what I’m doing, CALL ME!. Let’s talk about it in an adult manner where we can share our views and come to a common place of understanding. If you have never talked to me about my visions, you really have no place talking negative about my visions all over Adoptee City when you only know what you see, and not the truth. I’m willing to discuss anything I’m doing with anyone. LET’S TALK! But let me be clear, I don’t do drama! Talking negative about one another, shooting one another’s ideas down is only counterproductive to ADOPTEE CITY ever moving forward.

If you want to shoot me and my ideas down, let me ask you…

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR ADOPTEE CITY? WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS, VISIONS AND GOALS TO MOVE OUR CITY FORWARD AND OUT OF A PLACE OF OPPRESSION? Is your gift legislation? Or helping hurting Adoptees? Or running an online safe space for adoptees? Starting a all adoptee support group? WHAT IS YOUR GIFT?

A lot of times when we can sit and focus on the negative aspects of what someone else is doing that WE DON’T LIKE we are lacking vision of our own. What are you doing to advance ADOPTEE CITY? I know you have a purpose here, what is it? I would love to hear about it! I challenge those who have this train of thought to RE-SHIFT their thinking and ask themselves, “WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? HOW AM I GOING TO BE USED TO ADVANCE ADOPTEE CITY?”

I think part of the reason people are like this online is because that’s just it, it’s ONLINE. Someone can lash out at you and shut the computer down, or x out of an APP and go about their merry way, never having to take accountability for the actions they spill out against their fellow adoptees online. Some people don’t have a gift of understanding, or empathy. They just don’t. They are right at all times and this mentality only hurts our community. Let’s be honest none of us are right at all times. NONE OF US.

My experience in being a voice in ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY for approx. 7 years is that there are good parts and not so good parts about adoptee city. It’s up to each of us to navigate our own lives, dictate who we allow in our lives and who we don’t. Today I am not dealing with those who want to shoot my ideas down in a negative way, talk about me behind my back instead of come to me and talk like an adult. I don’t have time for it. I have way too many positive things going on than to focus on who has a problem with what I’m doing. I’m not saying I’m not going to talk to anyone that doesn’t agree with me or support me. I’m saying I will not talk to those who attack me. As I said, CALL ME IF YOU WANT TO TALK. We will always have those who don’t agree with us, and that’s part of life. I accept it and I’m okay with it. I know my visions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I won’t deal with vicious attacks from anyone. You will be shut down and you won’t get a response from me. My visions will continue to move forward to BETTER ADOPTEE CITY in ways that bring us closer together. I have no time for those who want to divide.

Dedicating 7 years of my life to ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY, it’s been a whirlwind as it has for most of us. Some days I want to run and hide, and I do. I’m sure we all do!  Other days, I want to share my voice no matter where it comes from, a place of pain, a place of purpose or even a place of victory! What I have decided is that for 2018 I’m at a place where God is doing MORE in my life than ever before. Not for me, but for my REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY community. I feel a shift coming on and that’s one that is going to navigate how to incorporate REAL LIFE ADOPTEE CITY into ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY. I feel spread thin, and like I have a ton of doors open all at once, and that’s probably because I do. I feel that in the near future I will need to think about handing over some of my online adoptee city responsibilities that are a great resource to the online adoptee city world and release certain things to adoptees I know, love and trust to do a good job because I can only do so much. In the coming days, weeks I will have to make a decision to minimize my load in ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY which will free up my time for my REAL LIFE ADOPTEE CITY. Stay tuned.

My focus now is Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY, and Adoptees Connect support groups that are so desperately needed in every city in every state in the USA and even around the world. This is very time consuming, lots of networking and sharing information, etc. Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY is REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY to me, and it’s a place I want to build relationships, stories, experiences, to empower one another. I have made the decision to make this priority in my life because the feeling of aloneness, so many adoptees feel needs to be a thing of the past. Online Adoptee City is wonderful, but REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY is a much deeper connection with your fellow adoptees and I feel we all need that as well as online adoptee city. In a perfect would I could handle both full fledged and never have any issues navigating them all together. That’s not the world I live in, we live in.

I want to say I hope and pray that 2018 is the year of ADOPTEE CITY coming together to support one another, lift one another up and encourage each other no matter what visions we have in life regarding Adoptee City.  You don’t have to necessarily agree with someones vision in order to offer them a blessing of support as they navigate new territories. If you are adopted I will do whatever I can to support you in your visions!

If you are an adoptee reading this, and you’ve been in fear of starting something to bring us closer together I encourage you to step outside of that fear and put your visions, dreams and goals into action. Adoptees will either support you or they won’t. I’ve learned from my own experience those who support me are FAR MORE than those who don’t.

We MUST Keep pushing, keep moving forward.

My purpose of writing this article is to share my experience and let all my fellow Adoptees know who have been along this ride with me that I love you all, I appreciate you all and you mean the world to me. We’ve been through some crazy things together. Your support means so much!

Bottom line is we’re STRONGER TOGETHER and I’m calling 2018 to be the year we come together like never before. Online and offline. It’s the year we support one another so we can all use the gifts that have been instilled in us, based on our very personal stories in ways that will grow Adoptee City. In return we will be a light to help other Adoptees who can relate and in return they will be able to use their gifts, and grow, etc.

For 2018 Let’s bring visions to life!

Thanks for reading, XOXO

P.K.

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A Whirlwind But Coming Out On Top

What does “On Top” mean?

Well for me it means I’ve decided in my mind I’m working on moving forward from this previous season of my life.

My whirlwind has been more like a tornado.

It’s been a difficult season, but life is difficult right? What I’m finding out that yes, life is difficult but having things happen in life that are difficult are HARD for many people but this adoptee “thing” is also hard. So for me being in recovery and dealing with this adoptee “thing” and the “life in general” thing it’s extremely difficult and the last few months it’s been extra heavy.

I found myself slipping into a depression after I came back from Iowa from meeting biological family for the first time on my birth fathers side. My amazing cousin was so welcoming and it’s honestly the first time anyone on my birth fathers side welcomed me. I was overwhelmed with emotions not so much during the 2 trips to Iowa, but after I returned and settled back from the trip.

It’s strange to me that my entire life I have dreamed of being welcomed by them, someone, anyone and when that dream happens I’m overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t expect… The journey has been pain for me all the way back to being a 5 year old child learning of my “adoption status”. Confusion and mental torment took over and essentially, it’s never left.

So finally I’m embraced by my cousin, her father and his wife, (my aunt and uncle). On the flip side my birth father still refuses to acknowledge me and has disregarded I’m his daughter. Mixed emotions about this. I’m so thankful for my new found cousin, but reality is I still have to process what was lost.

This is easier said than done.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

I’ve shared in a previous blog post Being Born a Burden my experience on my trip so I won’t share all the dynamics.

Basically a few months ago, when I returned from these trips depression began to set in. No motivation, and other life issues just took me down. I didn’t drink, thank God but at times I felt like I wanted too. Not for the alcohol, just to not feel all the pain I was feeling. The surrealness of seeing my grandmothers house she lived in when I was a child was an overwhelming emotional experience for me. Something felt like I had never been there physically but my spirit had been there. It was almost like an out of body experience, hard to describe.

Finding out I have a sister out there, and my new Ancestry DNA sample and test didn’t bring any good hits on making a connection. This was another major disappointment for me that mixed with my emotions of finding I have a sister to begin with who knows nothing about me, and I have no information on her.

I called my birth father to see if he would tell me any information on this long lost sister. He said he didn’t know her name, her mothers name and he didn’t remember my mothers name! He said “She doesn’t bother me like you do!” and the conversation quickly fizzled. More disappointment and hurt of losing more from adoption.

Why the world things adoption doesn’t impact adoptees for a lifetime is beyond me.

It’s heartbreaking. 

NAAM17 Has been triggering! I literally had multiple adoptees lash out at me on social media!!! This is tragic! Hard to grasp and understand!

So emotions have been swirling, I’ve been taking sleeping pills to just sleep things off and obviously that’s not going to work for very long. Sleeping pills slowly turned into a cocktail of pills, anti depressant, muscle relaxer, and an anxiety medication all non-narcotic because my doctor knows I’m in recovery and I have a very addictive personality. Yet I slowly started to take more pills and more of these same pills just to be able to go to sleep and not feel things. I’ve been stuck in this depressive cycle for a few months now. I thankfully learned this was an unhealthy pattern I was experiencing and I needed to do something about it. Emotionally eating has taken hold. Seasonal Depression has set in, and holidays are EXTREMELY hard for many adoptees, including me.

There is no help for adoptees, not yet anyway.

Soon Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY will connect and a support system will be built in my area.

I woke up a few days ago and decided if I was being honest with myself, and those close to me I needed to talk to my doctor about this issue I was having and tell her I wanted to discontinue all medications. I did just that.

Now, I’m weaning myself off a anti-depressant and stopped the other medications with no desire to take anymore.

Now I will be feeling again.

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This is daunting for a person who internalizes everything and a very deep thinker. All I can do is take one day at a time. I decided to share THIS because I know some people have missed me, missed my Facebook posts but I tend to isolate when I’m going through things but I’m always with God. He’s my sidekick working things out behind the scenes. I don’t want to burden people with my pain, sorrow or tormenting thoughts.

In recovery we learn we are only as sick as our secrets. My secrets are in this blog and this is why I write. I have to release these things somewhere, especially when there are very few adoptees in my local area I can talk too. I do have fellow adoptees far away and they have been lifesaving! But again, I don’t want to seem like a Debbie Downer, yet this is what my life feels like much of the time.

To be quiet honest, I’m tired of the struggle. I believe I could handle life issues better, if all the adoptee “STUFF” wasn’t also overflowing on my plate. This is why I always will say adoptees are STRONG, yet much of the time we don’t feel like it.

Today, I’m excited to stop taking these medications and hopefully have my life back a little bit. Adoption triggers so many emotions for adoptees, and when multiple things hit all at once it can be paralyzing.

This is all for now, but I wanted to share where I’ve been and what’s been going on. I know many of you can relate. Have you experienced anything like this before?

Blessings,

Pamela K.

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People Leave. They Walk Away. Pictures Stay.

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A photo is more than just a photo to me.

It’s proof…

Captured proof that something actually existed in my life.

Something happened.

It’s a reflection of a time and a moment in my life. It’s remembrance of a moment that no one can take from me.

For adoptees, there are so many memories that aren’t memories at all.

They simply don’t exist.

LOST IN ADOPTION…

Not just one family but two families.

When your birth parents abandon and reject you it’s hard to believe people wills stay. Most of the time I’ve found they don’t so capturing the moments is essential to me.

Abandonment.

Rejection.

Grief.

Loss.

Birthdays, Holidays, Births, School Days, Growing Up, Faces, & Smiles.

Moments in pictures last a lifetime.

Pictures are free.

I have plastic bins filled with photos from my life. I take pictures of as much as possible, as many people as possible and of as many things as possible.

My experience with losing so much has given me a unique perspective of the value of a memory because so many special and symbolic memories for me in my life simply don’t exist. As for most adoptees.

I always tell people the things I need in life are free.

Time & Memories.

I can never duplicate any memory exactly like it was the original time the memory took place. This is where a PICTURE comes in. It’s the closest thing I will ever have of the proof I can pull out at anytime and reminisce on old times I hold close to my heart.

So much LOST in ADOPTION…

Never to return.

I don’t want to lose any more.

People leave.

They walk away.

Pictures Stay.

This is very important to me.

Pictures are very important to me.

They are ties to my heart.

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Can any of my fellow adoptees relate to being obsessed with taking photos? Have you ever contributed it in with being adopted?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Pamela Karanova

 

 

Being Born a Burden

The Weight

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Some days I can float through life, and carry it like a light weight backpack.

Other days, I can’t even crawl with the weight from this burden.

It’s heavy.

It hurts.

It’s hard for non-adoptees to perceive.

They will never understand.

The weight of being a burden just from being born is a hard pill to swallow. It’s hard to fathom that just being born into this world has caused so many people so much pain.

Including myself.

Some days I’m fine.

I’m a professional at stuffing my feelings, putting my mask on so everyone around me doesn’t see the real pain. After all, they should stay comfortable because I want to do everything in my power to not be a burden.

I wouldn’t want to burden anyone with my problems.

Some days I’m not fine.

The pain.

It’s unbearable at times.

My heart gets heavy.

It’s hard to breathe.

I wish I could flip the switch and turn my brain off.

If anyone knew what was going on in my brain they would not want to be bothered with me. They would leave me and I wouldn’t blame them.

I have God in my life, yet some days I still feel empty. I know he understands this pain, the lifelong grief and loss many adoptees experience. All I can do when it comes so heavy is cry and sleep and cry and sleep. I just woke up from sleeping for 12+ hours and all I want to do is go back to sleep. I don’t want to think.

Don’t forget hiding it from everyone possible.  This is exhausting in itself therefor the less people I’m around the better.

I went to Iowa over the weekend. I had an amazing experience meeting some biological family for the first time. My heart is so grateful for them opening their homes and lives up to me. Seems like it should be a dream come true, and it is.

The emotions that have gone along with this, and knowing my birth father has STILL rejected me has brought on loads of grief for me. I really wasn’t expecting it to be this heavy. I see why so many adoptees never search for their people. It’s painful and not many can even go there.

I was sitting at the dining room table of my aunt and uncles house looking at old photo albums. Photo albums I should be in, but I’m not. I began looking around while everyone is eating the amazing home cooked meal my aunt made. I was thinking about my birth fathers house being within a visible distance of where my uncle lived. He didn’t even know I was there, and trust me- he wouldn’t want to know I was there. How is it his family can embrace me, yet he can’t? It was a surreal experience and I was elated to finally be welcomed by part of my biological family on my birth fathers side. This is something I always dreamed of, but it’s still been extremely painful for many reasons.

While I was leaving my aunt and uncles house, I decided to ask my uncle if he knew of more children my birth father had that I didn’t know about?

He said, “There’s a half negro daughter out there somewhere”.

My mouth dropped, I said “Wow, do you know anything about her or where she is?”

He said, “No, I don’t know anything”

In shock I said, “Well thank you for sharing that with me. Hopefully I can find her”.

That was it.

The mixture of emotions I began to feel was overwhelming. I got silent. My cousins who was wonderful seemed like she was just as shocked as I was.

My mind began racing.

It’s never stopped.

SEARCHING AGAIN…

MENTAL TORMENT AGAIN…

I created a flyer and shared it all over social media in hopes to find my sister. All the emotions I’ve been feeling about searching again has literally caused me to emotionally break down on top of all the other dynamics of this trip. I was not expecting THIS.

I want to disappear. I want to run away. I don’t want to cause anyone else more pain. I want to take my pain and leave. My kids deserve more. Anyone close to me deserves more. I’m tired of hiding it. I’m tired of feeling like a burden. I’m just tired.

I’m tired of therapists that can’t help me. I’ve seen them my entire life and they haven’t done any good. Most of them don’t even understand the complexities of adoption, and most times make it worse. I give up on that.

I will keep writing. It’s the only healing tool I can depend on, aside from my fellow adoptees who can relate.

Many adoptees spend our entire lives searching. It’s exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically. I never thought I would have to experience this again. For me, searching is extreme mental anguish. I don’t even know how to describe it. It triggers me back to my child hood and earlier life searching for my birth mother. Now I’m searching for a sister. Before the sister it was my birth father, and another brother and another sister.

It’s the unknown and that’s not a good place for me.

HALF-TRUTH

SECRETS

LIES

ADOPTION

 

Trying to find out the truth or someone elses secrets and lies is something I’ve done my entire life. If it wasn’t my birth mother, now it’s my birth father.

When I was leaving Iowa, I decided to call my birth father’s house, who is a raging alcoholic by the way. His wife answered, and she confirmed there was another daughter. She also let me know anytime I call there, my birth father is upset for MONTHS! Great to know.

I asked her if she knew she was half African-American and she said, “Jimmie is an extreme racist, I don’t think that’s possible!”. I told her I was given information she is half black and I told her I needed any information she had so I could search for her and find her. I told her I was going to go public with this search if I needed to find her, but I was hoping I didn’t need to go that route. We hung up the phone and she called me back within the hour.

She said she asked my birth father if the mother of the other daughter was black or white, and he became enraged and threw the remote control at her, got up and pushed her across the table. He started screaming at her saying, “I would never sleep with a black woman, her mother is white!”. He did confirm she was in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

His wife and I believe that because of his actions and the way he became enraged the mother was black. Period.

So now the search begins.

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Please Save This Flyer & Share on Your Social Media ❤

I want to know my sister. I want to know everything about her. I will never stop looking for her. I want her to know she’s not alone in this world.

Leaving Iowa things hadn’t hit me yet. I was more consumed with thinking of this new possible sister. Then over the last 48 hours everything else has hit me.

I saw where my grandparents lived and my aunts, uncles and cousins all grew up there. We pulled up and got out of the car, and she told me all about the area. It was in the country, and she told me stories about my grandma and all her flowers and her gardens. She showed me the water well that was used because they had no running water. They made molasses, and she told me my grandmother walked for hours in the fields every day. She was hardly ever inside and loved being outdoors. I saw old photos and it was almost as if I felt my spirit was tied to this place as if I had been there before. These were my people. This was my tribe, yet I was separated from them for my entire lifetime, until now. I wished I could have stayed longer. And walked around in the footsteps my grandparents once walked. I wished I could have sat on an old tree stump and just gazed around for hours or even days just to get a feel of what it was like to be there. Instead I was happy with the short few minute stop because that’s more than some adoptees will ever get.

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My cousin was amazing, so were her parents. She said she had a gift for me. She handed me her quilt our grandmother made her and said, “I want you to have this because I have all the memories with grandma and you don’t have any”. I hugged her as tight as I could. No amount of words can even explain how grateful I am for that blanket, and for her acknowledging the loss of a lifetime of memories I have experienced. I was elated.

I asked my cousin what our grandparents house was like, she said “Heaven”.

The sadness I feel because I missed that is something no one else aside from my fellow adoptees will understand.

I’m pretty sure the adoption agencies never mention all the grief, loss and trauma adoptees can and do experience when they are making a living off our pain. It’s a hard pill to swallow but I have accepted this pain will be here until I leave this earth.

I’ve already been a burden being born. The least I can do is spare others from the burden of seeing my pain. I will be happy when it’s all over, but for now I will process it by writing, sharing my feelings and keeping to myself. Everyone wants to hear happy stories, but with adoption comes a lot of pain.

That’s all I know to do.

Deep inside my heart there is a shattered space from adoption, a space that no one can fix and no one can heal. I’m learning to adapt to this thing called adoption but it’s caused me the most pain of my lifetime.

That’s my truth.

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!

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You Don’t Own Me Just Because I’m Adopted

Adoptees are different and we come with special needs.

I can’t speak for every single adoptee, but I feel safe saying I know MANY adoptees all over the world and I know for certain many of us are offended and hurt when adoptive parents refer to us as “MINE“.

“She was placed in our home and raised by us and we are her REAL PARENTS! We might not share her DNA but she is OURS!” – Adoptive Parent.

Where does this attitude come from? It sends chills all through my body to hear this type of language from adoptive parents, not to mention having my own experience with it.

Let me share a little of my experience with this possessiveness from my adoptive mother.  I didn’t understand the dynamics as a child but as an adult I see how controlling and manipulative it was and how it impacted me. My adoptive mom would say things like “You’re MY daughter!” but put emphasis on the MY.  She said over and over “Your life is MY LIFE because I’m your mother!”

First of all, we are NOT a piece of property and many of us take offense to this because of the dynamics of adoption and how we came to be in our adoptive families to begin with. Let’s be honest, most of the time THERE WAS A CASH TRANSACTION. We were PAID FOR! Someone made some money off us being adopted. When adoptive parents use terms that refer to them having “Ownership” over us honestly it makes me feel totally disrespected, almost as if I am some form of modern day slavery.  I feel like I’m not even a live person. It’s disgusting and I honestly needed to share my feelings about it because it needs to STOP. I’m not saying all adoptive parents are meaning to come off this way, I am saying this is how many adoptees interpret it.

Please take note and consider changing the language you use towards us and while referring to us regarding adoption.

We are no more YOUR CHILD than we are our birth parents. Our birth parents will always be a part of us no matter what the circumstances, and no words of ownership can put any different spin on this. These are the facts. Take it or leave it. For whatever reason they are not raising us and we are adopted doesn’t change the fact that we have 2 mothers and 2 fathers.

NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE TRUTH.

Please stop using words of ownership regarding adoptees, it hurts us. We are our own person and we are tired of being treated like perpetual children. If you adopted us,  we know who you are. We know you took us in when our own families didn’t want us but you don’t own us.

Please stop acting like you do.

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!

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Beauty from Ashes

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The scripture says, “God will give you beauty for ashes.” Ashes represent our broken dreams, our failures, our disappointments and our hurts. Here’s the key: you have to let go of the ashes before you can receive the beauty. If you won’t let go of the old, you can’t receive the new.

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It was 5 years ago today I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My adoptee issues were hitting me left and right and for 26 years alcohol numbed my pain. I ran from the painful reality of my beginnings and the trauma inflicted on me which I had no choice over.

I was an innocent baby torn from my mother.

ALL ADOPTIONS BEGIN WITH TRAUMA

I’ve lived a hard life.

Who’s hasn’t, right?

My adoptive parents divorced when I was a year old, my adoptive dad moved far away to raise his new family. I was left with my adoptive mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive. She tied us to chairs with dish towels, tried to commit suicide in front of us, and suffered from severe manic-depressive episodes. She was also addicted to prescription pain pills. You could say my upbringing was everything but “Normal”.

I grew up angry and started to act out as a teenager. I wasn’t the “Good Adoptee” that they had bargained for. I was the “BAD ADOPTEE”. I wished I was sent back home to my real family. I wanted to be anywhere than where I was. I dropped out of high school, got in fights A LOT. I ran away and was in the streets. I experienced more in the first 15 years of my life than most people do in their entire life on earth. I was in juvenile jail, detention, group homes and in therapy most of my childhood. I was sexually abused in my adoptive father’s home by an older step brother. I experienced a lot of traumatic situations out in the streets, rape, violence, breaking the law, etc.  At 12 years old running the streets was the beginning of my journey to find my way back home. I had no clue it would take me 26 years of searching, depending on alcohol to take the pain away, multiple abusive relationships to finally reach my destination. A lifetime of trauma, grief, pain and loss followed me everywhere I went. I never fit in anywhere and I was searching for my tribe, my people, my family.

I never stopped and it never left my mind.

I was broken & hurting.

Adoption was never talked about growing up but as a 43-year-old adoptee in recovery I am here to tell you ADOPTION IS THE ROOT of my issues and it always has been.

The pain of abandonment and rejection was impossible for me to tap into at an early age but as I grew up reality began to set in, and the fog began to lift. No one asked how it felt to be adopted.  I learned my greatest hurt in life, losing both of my birth mother and birth father and their families, and so much more was my adoptive families greatest gift. My greatest hurt was celebrated by society because adoption is such a beautiful thing, right?

How could I let anyone know I was brokenhearted inside and disappoint them?

My feelings didn’t matter.

I didn’t matter.

Anger and rage was simmering at the roots of my being. I began to hate who I was and looking in the mirror I hated what I saw. I was an ugly girl that nobody wanted. Every time I looked in the mirror I hated what was looking back. Year after year passed, and my hate for myself grew stronger and stronger. MY FACE WAS UGLY! The abusive relationships in my life just beat me down more and more.

WHO AM I?

WHERE THE HELL DID I COME FROM?

Was I even born or did I drop out of the sky like an alien?

Did I have a beginning?

WHO WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHERE WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHO ARE MY SIBLINGS?

WERE THEY LOOKING FOR ME?

WHO DO I LOOK LIKE?

 

My entire life, I wanted and NEEDED to know the TRUTH about these simple questions so many adoptees have that most of the world takes for granted. My mind was tortured every single day, wondering, fantasizing, dreaming, wishing, sad, hurt, angry, depressed, alone, isolated.  It’s impossible to know where we’re headed if we don’t know where we come from. The aching pain of the “UNKNOWN” plagued my life. It was all I could feel and all I wanted to know.

I never had any peace in my heart, because I was too busy searching for clues and information. I must have dug in my adoptive mother’s filing cabinet 100,000x searching for a clue growing up! Over and over, I searched through her papers as far back as I could remember.  If only I could find a clue, maybe I could find my birth mother and see this was all a big mistake and go back HOME.

I mean who gives their baby away and really means it?

ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE LOVES ME “SO MUCH?”

This must be some big mistake, right?

Fast forward to my adoptive mother coming “Clean” when I was 21 years old. She had the information I needed and wanted my entire life, she lied to me saying she didn’t know ANYTHING! Another devastating blow that the person I should trust the most. SHE LIED TO ME MY ENTIRE LIFE for her own personal gain. We’re raised to tell the truth, but somehow the truth is rarely brought to light regarding adoption.

Can someone explain that to me?

Am I nothing more than a piece of property?

Do my feelings not matter at all?

Over the next 16 years I meet both my birth parents. My high hopes in happy reunions turned into double rejection from both.

I waited my entire life for this?

I was crushed.

The aftermath was devastating.

It took me years to come to a place of acceptance of what was really happening. The pain was so great, I was running from the realities that the two people that created me and who I shared the same DNA with wanted nothing to do with me. This was and has been the biggest loss & heartache of my life.

Alcohol eased the pain.

If I take the original trauma or abandonment and add it to the trauma I experienced in my adoptive home and in the streets, with double rejection from my birth parents and failed reunions it equals a mixed bag of  ____________!!  < Fill in the blank.

My boxed wine was my best friend for 26 years but it was also standing in the way of me being who God created me to be…

ADOPTEE IN RECOVERY

But here we are August 13, 2017

It’s my “BIRTH”-DAY

I’m alive.

I’m physically well.

I have 3 amazing kids.

I have a wonderful career I love.

I have a place to live & a car to drive.

I’m generally extremely happy!

After finding both birth parents, I learned they were both alcoholics and it rocked me to my core.

HOW COULD I BE LIKE THEM BUT THEY DIDN’T EVEN RAISE ME?

WHAT IF I NEVER FOUND MY TRUTH, WOULD I STILL BE DRINKING?

Alcohol only made my problems worse. 5 years ago, today I had enough of myself and the way my life was going and I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking habit but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

My kids were my #1 motivation. They deserved a happy healthy mom, even if I didn’t feel I deserved to be happy and healthy myself.

I no longer wanted to run from the pain of my past abandonment, or the realities of rejection from my birth parents. I wanted to learn to process my pain in healthy ways.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD THIS WAS GOING TO BE!

No longer drinking was the easy part, it was processing the adoptee pain I carried my entire life that was the hardest part. Feelings I had run from for an entire lifetime came flooding in and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Where was the manual on how to process this pain?

The FOG began to lift.

FEELINGS BECAME REAL

I started to view things in life from a distinct perspective. I cried a lot, I felt feelings like I had never felt them before, I isolated myself in many aspects because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my sadness. That’s been a huge struggle for me, GUILT for feeling the way I do so I do my best to hide it from the world and do a pretty good job most days.

Adoptees, we’re good at hiding our pain because we are expected to be thankful and if we’re not thankful we’re labeled ungrateful.

I realized that my running from processing my adoptee pain, drinking alcohol to cope not only hurt me, but it impacted my kids in many ways as well. If anything, I knew at that moment I not only needed recovery for myself, but for my kids. They deserved a happy healthy mom so I set out on a long journey of recovery to become happier, mind, body & spirit. I wanted to make amends with anyone I had hurt and those who hurt me.

This was not easy.

I put my faith in God, and God alone.

I knew he had been with me the entire way on my journey. People, not so much. Being an adoptee, disappointments come and many of us seem to be hypervidilant when they do. I don’t handle disappointments well, so at all costs I try to avoid being set up to get disappointed. I built a wall higher than the one that was already built. I became extremely selective as to who I let in, and I also let go of most of my old relationships and friendships.

Over the last 5 years I’ve set out on a pursuit to find myself.

You have heard the saying; “You have to change your playground & your playmates”. There were many people, places & things I let go of and I gave no explanations as to why I walked away in many cases. I don’t have to explain myself. That’s the thing I’ve learned is I am taking full responsibility as to who I allow in my life, and so much was always controlled for me regarding my adoption journey, it’s now time I take some of the control back.

I’m in charge.

I make the choices regarding my life.

I walk away from people, places & things that don’t serve a purpose.

I walked away from my church that was extremly controlling.

This control I have gained is healthy in my eyes.

FREE AT LAST!

So many aspects of being an adoptee between the C-PTSD, trauma, complicated grief & loss, abandonment, rejection and a lost sense of self. I could go on all day about the issues I have because of adoption, but the ones that impact me the most today seem to be that everyone is going to leave, so DON’T let them get too close! Always in my mind I’m waiting on the shoe to drop, and when people want to get too close to me I panic, and have anxiety. All of this is rooted and grounded in abandonment and fear. This is one example of many issues I’m working on but during my recovery I’ve could identify the triggers, such as ALL HOLIDAYS, the word “MOTHER” and seeing other people with their mother’s, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, I can acknowledge my pain, share it in my blog and use different techniques to make it through the episode. EMDR has been a good help. If you only knew how I process things and the triggers I experience every single day you would be in awe. They never end, but the sooner I accepted they were here to stay the sooner I started working on my responses to the triggers and how to process them. Connecting with my fellow adoptees has been my saving grace so many times! I love you all and wouldn’t be here where I am without you!

You know who you are!

 On a side note, for the life of me I can’t figure out how I can spend a lifetime in and out of therapy and not one therapist acknowledge ADOPTION as being a root issue, a trauma, and a huge part of my pain. This is one of the many reasons I keep sharing my journey because I know for certain adoptees all over this world are being let down, and no one truly seems to get the pain we carry unless it’s a fellow adoptee.

For anyone that is not an adoptee who might be reading, I would like to ask you to open your heart to the fact that not all adoptees are happy with being adopted, and to consider how you might feel if you were to lose 2 entire families, your ancestry, medical history, relationships with your siblings, the roots to WHO YOU ARE. It’s time people wake up and step out of denial about the damage adoption inflicts on adoptees, and address the very real trauma of the primal wound. With the adoptee attempted suicide rate 4x more likely than non-adoptees, we can’t afford to keep quiet.

TODAY I LIVE

After searching for an entire lifetime I’m still learning who I am. I know I operate best independently because I have control issues regarding my life because others controlled so much of it. I’m working on allowing others in, even if it’s just a little bit so I can attempt to have meaningful close relationships with a few people but I won’t lie, it’s a daily struggle for me. I run from needy & clingy people. I think growing up processing LIFE & ADOPTION all alone, I got used to it. No one was there for me, so I’ve learned how to adapt to being alone and I receive great solitude from it. Whatever I’m doing in life, I will always need my alone time.

FREEDOM

I’ve learned that I’m the happiest when I’m out in the woods, in nature. This is the closest thing I’ve found that feels like HOME. I remember being at my adoptive dads growing up and the woods being a safe place for me. I would run wild and free, pretend and fantasize I was a super hero and dream about my birth mother. I climbed trees, built forts, played in creeks, played hide and seek in the corn fields of Iowa and it was safe. Safer than any of the homes I grew up in. And a lot of the time I was alone. I love being alone.

BUCKET LIST

Naturally when I created my bucket list the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to visit all the waterfalls in Kentucky. I must admit, the last 6 months of my life have been the best and happiest 6 months of my life. My mind is moving forward ready to explore NEW THINGS. My adoptee journey has played itself out and although so much of it has been extremely painful I would not change knowing my truth for the world. Knowing my truth has allowed me to accept it, and be able to move forward towards healing. Therefore, all adoptees need our TRUTH so we can heal. 43 years of carrying that pain and being weighed down with alcohol dependency has been nothing short of a bad dream in many aspects. Many days I feel guilty for feeling defective with attachments and feeling like people care about me or love me. I feel like I’m alone on an island most of the time, and I know people say they love me but I never feel it. I think this has to do with the primal wound and the bond with my birth mother being broken. It saddens me, but at my age I have come to terms with the fact that it’s just how I am hardwired and I’ve learned to adapt to this part of me. I had someone tell me once, “Well I think that makes you more genuine of a person because you aren’t doing things for love, you’re doing them out of the goodness of your own heart”. This might be a gift in many ways but the cost to have it is a high price to pay.

I feel something is still missing and the adoption trauma will always impact me in this way. I feel like I have a hole in my heart, and the sooner I came to a place of acceptance that IT JUST IS, the sooner I could move forward with healing. Not accepting this only stalled my healing.

I’VE LEARNED A LOT

Adoptees are some of the strongest people I know. To experience what we have and to be silenced by the world regarding our trauma- WE ARE SURVIVORS!

Every single one of us!

I believe I’m someone who will always hold a unique value of time and memories because so much was lost in adoption I’m able to cling tight to time and memories with those I’m close too. Objects of material gain mean nothing to me unless they have some symbolic aspect to them, and being adoptees usually we’re left out of receiving anything of meaning from our birth families, at least I have been anyway. I’ve learned to love people in a way that they hopefully always remember the person I was and how I treated them. I’ve always tried to treat people with the love and acceptance I always wished I received.

SOBRIETY & RECOVERY

I will always be in recovery because the moment I’m not I could very easily slip back into old patterns that I have broken free from and that won’t be good. My kids have been my number one fans on my journey and my biggest motivation. They inspire me to be better, to love others more, and to think outside the box. They keep me young and they are, and always will be the biggest joys of my life. They are the reason I’m still alive today and I’m certain if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be here. Recovery isn’t easy at all, but it’s so worth it.

I don’t have a desire to drink anymore and don’t even think about it. It’s no longer a part of my life. Today is 5 years since I’ve drank my last drink of alcohol and that’s something to be proud of. While my “BIRTH” day brings pain, I am working on celebrating my life from a new perspective. Regardless of the trauma that happened the day I came into the world, I’m something to celebrate. It’s taken me 43 years to get to a place where I’m thankful for being alive but healing from knowing my TRUTH is the only thing that has gotten me this far.

I pray for the same truth and healing to be revealed to all my fellow adoptees. We all deserve to be able to heal from whatever we find, and we all deserve our truth.

Today I have a zest for life, I have someone special in my life who I have a lot in common with. We are enjoying getting to know one another and you never know what God has in store. My mind is crystal clear and I’m freed by the truth.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.

Today I celebrate 43 years ALIVE on this planet, I celebrate 5 years sobriety, I celebrate being a MOM to 3 amazing kids, I celebrate my TRUTH no matter how painful it has been.  I celebrate all those who have supported me near and far. I celebrate all my fellow adoptees who I have built relationships with that I love very much! I celebrate the future. I celebrate having my voice among the adoptee community and the GRACE God has given me to share the TRUTH on how it feels to be adopted. I celebrate nature and all the healing it has brought my way. I celebrate all the waterfalls I’m going to see and all the ones I’ve already seen. I celebrate the future hikes and working out at the gym. I celebrate once being an angry, bitter, rage filled person to someone with compassion, love, understanding and forgiveness.

So today and the days to come I’m working on making new memories, with new & old friends, moving forward and resting in the fact that I’ve made it.

I’m alive.

I survived.

The beginning of MY STORY isn’t a happy one, but that doesn’t mean the rest of my days can’t be the best of my days.

To God be the GLORY.

Thanks for reading my adoptee in recovery story.

“If it wasn’t for the struggle than I wouldn’t be me” – 2 chainz

XOXO

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August is here.. Now what?

The “birth” day month has arrived.

I want to make a video for you all regarding this time of the year and how it feels being an adoptee celebrating this day and how it feels when the month is here.

I’ll be sure to share it as soon as it’s ready.

I’m okay right now. But the word ” A U G U S T ” is a word I hate. Kind of like mother, but that’s a whole different blog post.  But I’m trying to embrace it. I’m working on it. It’s a constant thought that never leaves my mind.

I’m working on a new life, and discovering a new me. I want the rest of my days to be the best of my days, but somehow I have to process this pain attached to this month and this day. Writing is always a huge help and releasing my feelings to the world is the most validation I’ve received regarding my adoption experience.

It works for me.

For now, I’m already fighting off the dark cloud that’s trying to take over that follows me all the way up to that dreaded day- August 13th.  My plan is to write as much as possible, stay busy and try to process my pain in a healthy way. Sharing my feelings with those who get it. – My fellow adoptees. I do have some celebrating to do this year, and I want to share that as well!

I’ve decided to propose my fellow adoptees to share their experiences and feelings about how they feel about their birthdays and their birthday months. I will then compile a blog post about it and share it with the world. This way it’s not just me and my story, it’s OUR STORY about how our birthdays make us feel, how we survive them and what helps us get through them. This will be validating to us all and I can’t wait to complete this project.  Find the original question

If you are an adoptee and you would like to share how your birthday makes you feel please comment on this thread or feel free to email me at pamelakaranova@gmail.com

Many blessings from me to you! Remember, healing comes from sharing untold feelings to find someone you trust and SHARE YOUR FEELINGS! You matter and your feelings matter! ❤

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The Gift of a Grandmother

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears” – Mark Anthony

I wonder if anyone who has their grandmother in their life ever wonders what it’s like to never have one? Are they thankful for her? Same for a grandfather…

I’ve lived with many types of fear in my life, as we all have but I’ve also been working at freeing myself from fear so I can live a happier more prosperous life. Some people say FEAR stands for “FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL” but my reasons for FEAR are real.

There has been nothing false about them.

FEARan unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

I always had a dream of meeting my biological grandmother who resides in Leon, Iowa. I found out she was alive and well in 2010 and during that time my mind has been tormented on wishing I could go see her and meet her at least one time.

I have never met a biological grandparent and she is the only one who is still living. I made 2 attempts to go see her in the past and both failed at the hands of my biological father.  He made the choice for himself to reject me after 2 meetings. At one point he promised me he would take me to meet her in 2011. I drove all the way to Leon, Iowa from Kentucky and arrived only for Him to tell me he changed His mind. He said he thought it would “Kill Her”. I was crushed, and the words “Kill Her” stuck with me all these years which has kept me away from trying to meet her on my own accord. Reality is, he didn’t want his secret from 1974 of infidelity to his wife to get out. He was ashamed and it was easier for him to reject me than face His mistakes. He wasn’t letting the cat out of the bag. I was still a dirty little secret. After all I was conceived out of an affair while he was married.

After this huge disappointment in my life I had some years to think longer and harder about Him making this choice for my grandmother. It never settled well with my spirit, which is quite fierce by the way. People can make choices for themselves but I find it totally unfair when someone makes a choice for another person, only thinking of themselves. Does anyone who does this understand they are robbing other’s of memories that can never be replaced? This has caused me more grief & anger in my entire lifetime than you could imagine, not to mention the pain from THIS played a HUGE part in my addiction issues for 27 years of my life.

Perhaps this is why TIME is so important to me?

Time Spent is more valuable than anything.

Visiting my grandmother continued to nag at my spirit.

I have felt like all these years God was whispering, Just GO, Just GO“…

But FEAR.

Another attempt I was able to call my grandmother and speak to her about coming to visit her. She was okay with the idea, and I told her I would come around Easter 2014. I suspect my birth father stood in the way of that visit because she stopped answering my phone calls and the phone number ended up disconnected soon after. It’s hard to tell if he did it out of spite, or if it was when she had to move from independent living at her own apartment to assisted living. Either way my 2nd attempt had failed.

A few more years passed.

During this time I would check Google at least once a month, sometimes weekly to see if she was still alive all the while searching for her obituary. This is something many adoptees do, especially when we’ve been shut out.  My mind would wander about how I would respond if she had passed  away and I never got to meet her. I would visualize being really angry, filled with rage, crying and screaming, even falling into a deep depression.

CLOSED ADOPTION stood in the way of me knowing this woman who I shared DNA with. Not our choice, but the choice made for us by others.  I visualized myself having a complete mental and emotional breakdown if she had passed and I found her obituary on Google. My birth father didn’t even know I existed because of the lies my birth mother told- “FATHER UNKNOWN”. I was given up for adoption without my birth fathers consent and because of this my grandmother didn’t know I existed for most of my life.

Why should we be robbed of knowing one another because of other peoples actions?

LIES AND SECRETS ARE NEVER OKAY- EVEN IN ADOPTION

LIES HURT

THIS HURTING IS LIFELONG FOR ADOPTEES

I’m almost 43 and the pain continues.

See here- When a birthmother lies & keeps secrets.

Non-adoptees wouldn’t have a clue about understanding this.

Adoptees, I know you get it.

They always say the 3rd time is a charm, so here it is. After much praying, seeking advice and counsel from those close to me and from adoptees near and far I decided to make the trip to see and meet my grandmother for the first, and possibly last time. I knew if I didn’t just pick a date I would never do it so June 24, 2017 was the day I was driving to meet her and lay eyes on her.

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A Road Trip I Would Never Forget…

I must admit my fear was still so great. I need to share I work with elderly for a living and I have been working with them for 12+ years. I see how they sit and wait on their loved ones to come visit them. Most of them never get the visits they wait for, but they keep waiting. I knew in my heart of hearts I was going to bring nothing but love to my grandmother, but what if something more was waiting for me?

I drove to Iowa on June 23rd and was able to see and hang out with one of my favorite cousins from my adoptive family. She was definitely a light for me at this emotional time. She took me to her dads flower farm and he helped me hand pick a special bouquet of flowers to take to my grandmother the next morning. It was beautiful to be able to do this. As the evening of June 23rd hit and I was ready to go to sleep the racing increased and thoughts of “What if…” took over my mind. I actually ended up taking something to help me sleep because I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep at all. My mind was racing with thoughts like, “What if they have me on the block list and I can’t see her?” or “What if my birth father is there and he throws me out?”. The fear wasn’t from God. I know this but it took over and it was extremely difficult for me to move through the fear and do this anyway.

At 6:15AM on Saturday June 24th my alarm went off. 

Today was the day I had waited for for YEARS!

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I was all the way across the country and I was going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time. No, she didn’t know I was coming. I woke up and started to get ready. My anxiety was through the roof, and more fear was setting in. My stomach started to hurt and it felt like it was in knots.

The FEAR was so great at one point I almost said “Forget it”.  I almost didn’t go, even after I drove all the way to Iowa FOR THIS. This might sound crazy but it was like God was giving me the PUSH to just do it and push through my fear and go anyway. I seriously couldn’t have done it without God in my life.

My cousin said, “There is no way I would do what you are about to do!”.

“Her soul is fierce, her heart is brave, her mind is strong” – R.H. Sin

I continued on, packed up my car and left Iowa City, Iowa about 7:30AM. Leon, IA was 3 hours south of Iowa City< IA so I had another 3 hour drive to get to the nursing home my grandmother was at. That drive seemed like a 100 hour drive. My mind was racing on what I was going to do if my birth father was there, or another family member. Not one of them has been accepting to me. I’ve only received rejection from my birth fathers entire family so what would be different about my grandmother? Would she reject me too? Had my birth father ever talked to her about me? I actually talked to her on the phone 2x over the years and shared with her who I was but it’s hard to tell if she really understood what I was saying, but if I was to guess she received a pretty big clue I was her granddaughter.

The closer I got to Leon, Iowa the the more nervous I became. At one point I almost vomited when I stopped to use the restroom. The feeling I had is hard to describe but I was able to make a connection to this feeling is the same way I felt as a child when I was in and out of the hospital for stomach aches. SAME EXACT FEELING! I’ve heard lots of adoptees have had stomach issues! I was honestly taken back by this. The fear, anxiety and nervousness is the exact feeling I had growing up in my adoptive home which landed me in the hospital many times. I couldn’t believe that I was feeling this same way going to meet my grandmother. It was triggering to be feeling the feeling that took me back to my childhood but…

 I continued on.

I felt like God was saying “GO SEE HER! GO SEE HER!”

Lord knows I couldn’t do something like this on my own strength and will.

I was a HOT MESS!

I pulled up at the nursing home, I grabbed the items I was taking into her, hand picked

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Uncle Ed- Cardinal Flower Farm. Iowa City, IA

flowers, a card and a letter, a photo album with pictures of me all the way back to my baby years. I prepared these things because if I was turned away at least I would have something to leave her. I had been praying all morning, Jesus take the wheel of this dream of mine and guide my steps.

I walked to the doors which took me straight to the dining room. I was greeted by some nursing assistant aides as well as many of the residents. I asked politely if they could tell me which way Tenie James room was and they pointed down the hallway and off I went.

The closer I got to finding her room, the more anxious I felt.

What if my birth father was there? What if one of my uncles was there? What if they threw me out? What if she didn’t want to see me?

Mind Racing.

Nauseous.

Fear.

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I quickly found her room with her name on the door. There was no turning back now. I knocked softly, then I turned the door knob and slowly opened the door. I peeked my head inside and saw the sweetest little lady who was relaxing in her automated recliner. I smiled big, and she smiled back. She saw the flowers and my smile and I’m pretty sure it was a comfort to her. Lord knows, all I wanted to do was bring her peace, love and comfort. As I opened the door further, I realized she was all alone and no one else was in the room with her. All the fear that has tormented me all these years and up until this moment lifted off me, and God’s presence was all over that place. I continued to walk slowly towards her.  I shut the door behind me so we could have some privacy and let her know I brought her some flowers and wanted to introduce myself.

“Be the light for all to see”- Matthew 5:16

I got down on the floor so I could be close to her, I held her hand and I said, “Hi there, I wanted to introduce myself, I’m Pam- Jimmie’s daughter. (Jimmie is her son) I’m your granddaughter. I have always wanted to come meet you. I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long but distance has kept me far away. (reality the secrets and lies in adoption have kept me away!)  I hope you don’t mind but seeing you has always been a dream of mine. I was in Iowa and wanted to swing by to visit on my way back to Kentucky.”

She had a smile on her face, almost as if she couldn’t believe it was anyone’s DREAM to meet HER. I pulled out a small photo album which had pictures of me when I was a baby, up until now. One by one she began to look at the pictures. She didn’t turn them fast, she was taking her time. She smiled at many of them and when she made it to the last page, she said “Where is this?”.  The photo was of me sitting by a waterfall in Kentucky and I let her know I had to hike many miles to reach it and that it was a hobby of mine. She said, “I love to hike too!”…

I smiled really big and I said, “It must be in our DNA” and she said “You’re right, it must”. I asked her a few questions and shared some about myself. She was a hard working woman and raised her family all while living off the land to survive. All my biological family on her side are gamers and hunters and loved nature. This makes total sense to me as to why I’ve always loved being outdoors more than anything in this world.

I held my grandmother’s hand and we compared our fingers. I began to take note of her condition, her characteristics and features. Her vision was so good, she is still reading small print books. She didn’t have any hearing aides and could hear all the words I shared because her responses were accurate most of the time. She was using a walker to walk, and seemed fairly independent. She will be 98 years old on August 10th, 2017. My birthday is 3 days after hers. She showed me a quilt she was in the process of making, bright squares of all different patterns and colors. Can you believe she’s still quilting at 97?

As I got down beside her in her chair I knew that this might be the only time I get to see her in this lifetime. After all 97 years erased off the map because of other peoples decision for my life, other peoples decisions for our relationship. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone in the adoption equation thinks about the long term impacts about adoption trauma, separation, loss, etc. Adoption impacts every area of the adoptees life, for their entire life. Some days the grief and loss has been so great I didn’t think I could continue on.

My grandmother received my visit, it was one of the most amazing happiest moments of this lifetime. She shared about her life, and I shared about mine. She was a bit tearful in parts of what she was sharing but I just held her hand and listened to her words.

Here I was, meeting my biological grandmother for the first and only time. I’m 43, and I can’t help but share that God has always known my deep desire to lay eyes on this woman at least one time. It’s always something that has nagged at my spirit and it’s never stopped. My greatest HOPE was also my greatest FEAR.

BUT GOD…

I would like to share with my fellow adoptees reading that God knows our hurts, he knows our hearts, and to never give up HOPE in finding your family. Be persistent and don’t give up in reaching the people and places you believe are so far away. The fact I was able to meet my grandmother is nothing short of a miracle and dream come true for me. I urge you to take your own steps and making your dreams come true because no matter how it turns out it’s up to me and you. Action must follow our desires, and God knows our hearts.

If he did it for me, he can do it for you…

Dreams really do come true…

WISH

DO

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Pamela A. Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Left Out of the Obituary- Again

Adoption is Messy.

MORE THAN MESSY!

Inconsolable Grief Consumed Me…

The feelings overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my face for hours. There was nothing that eased the pain I was feeling when I learned my brothers family left me out of His obituary.

His death was one thing.

Leaving me out of the obituary was another.

HEARTBROKEN

AGAIN, AGAIN, & AGAIN…

There are really no words to describe how this has felt to me. I experienced the same thing when my birth mother passed away. My birth sister asked me to come and said she needed me to be at the funeral so I went. Why did I have it in my mind that maybe, just maybe I would be listed in her obituary as her daughter? She rejected me. She didn’t want a relationship with me, yet I still had this HIDDEN HOPE that I would be in her obituary.

I guess adoptees are good at fantasizing & dreaming about who, what, when & where did I come from? From the moment we find out we’re adopted we start seeking and searching for our people. HIDDEN HOPE is something I always carried with me. Tucked away in my back pocket wishing and hoping things would change with my birth mother, that one day she would change her mind and want me in her life.

20 years passed and it never happened, yet I was supposed to be there for my birth sister to support her?

On November 7, 2010 I & experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I sat in the front row of my birth mothers funeral service, along side of my sister- you know where the “VIP Family” sits? Yet, I glanced at the funeral service, and looked at the obituary and I was no where to be found.

So who the hell am I?

Am I invisible?

Do I not count for shit?

Am I a human being who has no feelings at all?

Again, inconsolable grief that grew to be larger than the grief of the loss in itself. Just heart-wrenching & I still tear up thinking about it. The pain was and is overwhelming.

So here we have it May 20, 2017- I’ve been working on building a relationship with my img_5247new found brother which I found in 2011. We’ve actually been working together to build that relationship. I had visited Texas multiple times with my kids, and my brother had come to Kentucky multiple times. We both made an effort. We talked on the phone every few weeks, and we text one another pictures of the sunrises and sunsets on occasion. The last time I heard form Him was Mother’s Day…

Sadly, I will never hear from Him again but our last words were happy, cheerful, fun and full of LOVE.

He was my brother.

When I read the obituary and saw I was not included, my heart dropped. I was at the park doing laps for some exercise and it stopped me in my tracks. Tears rolled down my face as I began to weep. Weeping turned into sobbing and there was nothing I could to to ease this pain. The truth is the truth. This hurt like hell. More than anything. It hurt.

I sobbed for hours that night… a few close to me could feel my pain by the tone of my voice, my sadness, my tears and for once in my life I wasn’t hiding it. THEY SAW IT. I sat in the dark of my living room for what seemed like hours. My dogs gave me comfort and one of my daughters stopped by to lend me some support. She hugged me, and held my hand and told me how sorry she was that happened.

What now? I text my brother’s sister and asked her “WHY” I was left out of the obituary. Oh it was a mistake, blah blah blah… Right. I wonder how many adoptees in the world have heard that same crap? Millions I’m sure. All I know is it showed me their true colors on how they really feel about me, but I can tell you one thing my brother didn’t feel that way about me. We have 6 years of amazing memories that no one can take. We had a great relationship that can’t be erased. This was the last photo we took together & a photo of Him and my kids on our first trip to Texas.

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Perhaps I set myself up for this pain? One thing I’ve always done is try to see the best in everyone, to look at things in a positive light, to pull out something good in every situation. There has to be a lesson here right? I mean isn’t there a lesson in everything?

For me the only lesson I can pull from this heartache is to stop investing in so many relationships because in the end, it’s always pain. It’s happened my entire life. I know my fellow adoptees get it, especially those in reunion… Reunion is rocky at times, it’s hard and it takes a lot of work especially when so much time has been missed. It’s hard to build relationships with people from afar when you have no shared history. It’s awkward, its overwhelming sadness of what was missed, it’s joy and fun at times. I’ve learned as time passes in my life less is good. The less people, less commitments, less ties to people, places & things the better for me. I love to be by myself, and that’s where I’m the happiest because it’s just God and I.

I must connect with someone extremely well before I make the choice to let them in. I know many adoptees experience the same. I think it’s natural for a not natural situation. I’m very cautious who I allow to enter my life, and at this point I’m extremely happy with the small group of friends I have, my children & very few family members. I have a special man in my life, he knows who he is. I’m also happy with a fairly wide circle of fellow adoptees. If any of you should read this, please know you are a safety net for me and so many others. When I disappear from social media,  or the world I know I don’t even have to explain it. You guys are right there to pick up where we left off when things circle back around. And they always circle back around.

No matter what I do in life, I still find myself processing the pain from adoption.

Praise God for this safe space where no one can interrupt me or shut me down from sharing how I feel. Those days are over. I will not make any apologies for how I feel nor will I deny how I feel to make other’s feel comfortable. Healing from this journey will take an entire lifetime, because so much was lost and there are so many dynamics to it. Thankfully I live a happy life aside from my adoptee issues. I have amazing kids, a great job I love, I have found myself in nature and searching for waterfalls. I’m free from running in circles at churches, and recovery meetings. I’m seeking God in all things but the rules and regulations brought on by man are things I’m no longer interested in in my life. Life is good. I’m happy generally speaking.

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Somehow adoption always has a way of creeping its head back up trying to take more of my joy. Many adoptees feel the same way, its not just me! It’s always something. The greatest part about sharing these feelings when they come is once I share them it takes the load off my shoulders and I release it so it’s not weighing me down. We have to share our hurts! If you are an adoptee reading this, please find someone safe you can talk to who will listen without judgement. If you are not an adoptee who might be reading this, please JUST LISTEN when adoptees share. Please listen with the intent to LEARN, not the intent to REPLY. Please understand that not all adoptees “Have a bad experience” because their pain doesn’t line up with the worldly views of how wonderful adoption is. Just because we have pain because of adoption, doesn’t mean we aren’t happy people.

So today, I am moving forward. I’m not getting stuck in this pain but I’m processing it in healthy ways as it comes. Today I’m not drinking, I’m writing. I’m living my life the way I see fit. If you want to know why I always seem happy and bubbly, I get my joy from those I’m close to and from the Lord! I’m resting in God’s hand and I’m pretty comfortable there.

Until Next Time…

❤ P.Karanova

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