That Moment I Wanted My Mom, Then I Remembered I Don’t Have One.

On February 19th, I had an accident where I slipped hard and fell on the ice, and I hurt myself badly. I was trying to get to work to take the lady I care for to get her Covid-19 Vaccine, and time was in a significant crunch. It was 6:30 AM on a Friday, and the sun hadn’t even started coming up yet.

As my feet slipped out from in front of me and my back and backside landed hard on my three front steps covered with ice. My left hand was mangled in the railing, my car key snapped off the keyring and flew in the snow. My right palm tried to help me land but ended up being bruised and hurt as well.

I tried to find my car key, but I was completely taken back, and now I didn’t even have a car key to get to work. I started to become frantic while my pinkie was bleeding, swelling, and causing me a lot of pain. My backside was doing the same.

I remembered I had a spare key inside, but I had to find a battery. Thankfully, I was on my way to work, pretty banged up. I arrived one minute early. Over the next few hours, a football-sized bruise appeared, and the color changed from dark purple to almost black. The swelling was out of this world. I still had to work, which was not easy.

As the days passed, my pain set in, and I was beside myself. After nine days, I hoped my pain would be better, but I was still in a significant amount of pain. While the bruise was getting lighter, the knot in the middle of the bruise was the same size, about 5in x 6in, and the pain was still about an 8. I decided this past Sunday I was going to the ER to check it out to make sure nothing else was going on. I also wanted to discuss some pain medication for nighttime which seemed to make sleeping impossible.  

All CT scans came back normal, which I figured they would, and they ended up sending me home with some pain meds, and they wanted the hematoma that was causing so much pain to absorb itself back into the skin. In the meantime, they gave me a shot in my arm of pain meds.

This shot was so painful; I had immediate tears stream down my face, and at that moment, it hit me. Something that never hits me.

I wanted my mom.

This wasn’t the familiar daily feeling of wishing I had a mom as an adult; it was much deeper than that. I want a mom every day, and I’m constantly reminded I don’t have one but this was a deep and sad longing, one that has rarely ever come out in my adult life.

Is it a sign of healing?

Is it a sign of saving space for my inner child to come out?

 It was a new experience for me because my story is a story that has unfortunately set me up to live a life MOTHERLESS. As the thoughts of wanting a mother came over me, this deep sadness came over me. I was in the ER hospital room alone, and I realized I didn’t have a mom.

It’s not that my moms are dead, and I had a lifetime of beautiful memories with them, and they just no longer existed because they passed away. Both my adoptive mother and biological mother have passed away. It was more so the sadness set in that the biological mother I wanted and needed didn’t want or need me. And the mother that wanted me couldn’t care for me; she wasn’t there for me. She was mentally ill, and she was emotionally and mentally abusive in a lot of ways. She caused me a lot of childhood trauma, and I never felt connected to her or bonded with her. I felt like I was forced to bond with her, which was traumatic in its own way.

This reality set in, and tears were nonstop. I let myself cry and sit in the sadness. I couldn’t help but think about the last time being connected to my biological mother in a hospital, which was 46 years ago, the day I lost her on 8.13.74. Did you know the maternal bond that’s formed with your biological mother is the core bond that sets the tone for the path of your life? There is lack of resources for adoptees on this topic that directly connects adopted individuals who are relinquished by their biological mothers but there are many studies and articles for adoptive parents, and non adopted individuals.

Robert Winston and Rebecca Chicot explain –

“Infancy is a crucial time for brain development. It is vital that babies and their parents are supported during this time to promote attachment. Without a good initial bond, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent and resilient adults.”The importance of early bonding on long term mental health and resilience in children.

David Chaimberlain, Ph.D. says –

“Separation of mothers and newborns is a physical deprivation and an emotional trail. Mothers know deep within themselves what scientists are just discovering – the relations between mothers and babies are mutual, reciprocal, even magical. A baby’s cry triggers release of the mother’s milk, the only perfect milk on earth for babies. In addition, there is a vital power in the baby’s look and touch to turn on feelings and skills necessary for successful mothering.”Babies Remember Birth.

Where does this leave relinquished newborns in regards to the prenatal and perinatal bonding and the traumatic separation at the beginning of life?

When I was a child, I used to have a reoccurring dream that I was about 4-5 years old, running down a maternity ward’s long hallway. Everything was white. I had a hospital gown on, no shoes, and the hallway went on forever and ever. I remember a clock being at the end of the hallway, and the time was disappearing minute by minute as I ran. I remember jerking all the curtains back, one by one in terror, as I searched for HER. It went on forever. I never did find her, but this dream was reoccurring through most of my life. Did this hospital visit connect me to that dream subconsciously? It’s hard to fathom I’m 46 years old, and discovering these connections and truths are still impacting me greatly.

I’ve recently started to become familiar with IFS – Internal Family Systems by recommended by a great friend, Stephani H. (TY STEPH!) Watching the video will explain what IFS is the best, but in a nutshell, you identify different parts of us that have been parts of us back to the beginning of our lives. It helps us learn our parts are all welcomed and a part of us.

Stephani mentioned that it was my inner child part that wanted my mom, and when she said that, it made total sense to me. It was the little girl in me that just really needed my mom with me, and the entire concept that she wasn’t there, and she has never been, and she never will be set in. It was a hard pill to swallow. I was in a significant amount of pain, and that didn’t help me any.

The best part is, I’m learning that my feelings of sadness are not feelings to run from; they are feelings to sit with. I didn’t realize that was my inner child feeling that way until after I was already home and Stephani mentioned it to me. I was blown away because it made total sense.

If I thought of that while I was at the hospital, IFS teaches us to talk to the parts, welcome them and give them what wasn’t given to me as a child. I didn’t realize it until I was already home, but my sadness consisted, and I got comfort in understanding the dynamics of my child part coming out while I was at the hospital.

I have recently decided to give IFS therapy a try, and in the last month of learning about it, it is a miraculous and fantastic tool. I don’t want to share much here, but I plan to write about my experience with IFS because I want other adoptees to consider using it as a healing tool.

At a very young age, I was disassociated from the entire concept of wanting and needing a mother to protect myself. When those feelings came, it caught me off guard. I’m usually a strong person, and tears are something in the past I have held inside. But this time, these feelings wouldn’t let me. Even when I tried to stop crying, the feelings of wanting my mom overwhelmed me. I’m 46 years old and still navigating the aftermath of adoption.

As I learn more about IFS, self & my parts, I want to share them with you! I’m also starting therapy with a new therapist who is an adoptee! I am excited about this process. It seems I’ve done a lot of self-work, but I have never done trauma work. I have work to do. I think acknowledging these parts is the first step, and making the choice to sit with them, and no run is the next step. What’s next? I hope to share with you what the process looks like by trauma informed therapy, IFS and other techniques I am using to navigate the healing process from an adoptees perspective who also lives a life sober of alcohol.

Adoptees, have you ever been in a situation where you wanted your mom on a deeper level? Did these feelings surprise you? I would love to know how you describe them? What helps you navigate them when they come?

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

The Difference in Today, Feeling the Feels

I’ve come to a recent discovery after doing some self-reflection that I am someone that takes longer than your average person to process feelings, especially ones that are considered heavy or disheartening. I’m naturally a BIG feeler and a deep thinker.

While discovering this, it has been said that this is a “hang-up” or a “bad thing.” As I ask myself, “am I defective for taking so long to process things?” or “is something wrong with me for taking so long to process things?” I’ve been trying to process why I am this way, and I had an epiphany this morning.

I take longer than the average person to process things, because I’m feeling the feelings and processing them. I’m not side stepping or avoiding truly feeling and processing feelings. I’m doing the work, I’m evaluating my part, and caring enough about myself to not rush the process. This is self-care. This is self-love. This is putting myself first, and in return I can show up for others in a more grounded way. I spent 27 years drinking alcohol to numb my reality, to escape.

While running, I didn’t have to put in the work to feel the feelings and process the pain. I jumped from one shit storm to another for 27 years. I didn’t show up but a shell of me did. Avoidance worked until I decided I wanted to get real with myself, and all the problems I had been running from for 27+ years showed up at my front doorstep. I could only run for so long… 27 years is ALONG TIME!

The difference in today…

Today, I’m no longer running home to drink so I don’t have to feel. A shell of me is no longer showing up, but all of me is, along with my imperfections. As I approach a 9-year milestone in my recovery and alcohol-free journey (8/13/12) I am taking note of the way things are for me now, verses the way things used to be. I’m no longer depending on alcohol to take the pain away; I’m depending on myself to put in the work to do that.

This takes a while.

I’m not a robot.

While others might say this is a negative thing, or something they can’t live with or tolerate, I can say I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come. It’s taken a lot of self-work, blood sweat and tears to learn how to process real and raw feelings after spending 27 years escaping them. No one has shown me how to do this, I have no mother, father, siblings, aunts, or uncles pouring into me. I have figured it out on my own.

Let me add, responding after a trauma response is triggered, is a whole new beast. Acknowledging the problem is half the battle. Admitting and committing to help is another piece of the battle. I’m a work in progress as we all are but I’m not sitting in denial. I have work to do.

It’s all a part of the growth process, I think. As we grow and move forward in life, we discover new things about ourselves. Some of them will make us pick our face up off the floor, and some we ease right on into depending on the circumstances. We’re all a work in progress, and we’ve all adapted to life’s circumstances using survival skills, some healthy and some unhealthy. It’s up to each of us to put in the time, work, and effort to figure out new ways to work things out, especially when the old ways don’t necessarily serve us a great purpose.

Sharing because if I’m ever late to the party, likely I’m over here processing and feeling the feels just so I can show up at all. But when I show up, I will show up with all of me. Not fragments or broken up pieces of me like I did for 27 years. I won’t show up avoiding my reality, masking my feelings with alcohol. I call it self-loyalty and being true to me. It’s not for everyone to accept and not everyone will understand this. That’s okay. I’ve accepted I’m not for everyone.

My main focus is on being true to me. Then, I can show up genuinely for others in a more well rounded way. Wherever you are in your healing and processing journey, be easy on yourself. You are right where you need to be. 💛

Pamela A. Karanova

2021 – A New Year, A New Chapter

It’s time to turn the page

We’re winding up 2020, which could very well be the worst year of many of our lives. It’s been so weird, in so many ways, that most of the time, I don’t even have the right words to share how this year has made me feel. Today I will do my best to try.

It’s been a year of feeling for me. It’s been a year of independence, growth, and prioritizing commitments. It’s been a year of pruning relationships out that no longer serve a purpose. It’s been a year to focus on being true to myself. It’s been a year to set boundaries and to bring visions to life. It’s been a year of isolation and aloneness. This year has been so complicated and filled with a million layers. I’ve experienced highs and lows and just about every emotion in between, as I’m sure many of us have.

But if you’re reading this, you made it, and I made it. We’ve survived. But I never want to forget all the people who didn’t. So many people have lost so much, and my heart truly aches for them and their families.

One of the things I can share is that this year, personally, hasn’t been a year that was much different for me than most years when it comes to feeling alone and isolated. I’ve been feeling that way my entire life, from adoption. I’ve talked to many adoptees, and they feel the same way. We’re the kings and queens of adaption. We’ve handled it like a camp, just blending in, in the background. Other’s of us completely lost our sh*t. I’ve experienced a mixture of both.

While this new transition has rocked the world of many, it’s not new for many of my fellow adoptees and me. I’ve learned to adapt to this way of life from as far back as I can remember. My adoptee experience is described as being alone on an island, and it’s just the way it is because it’s the way it’s been for my entire life.

While 2021 is right around the corner, I have several new topics I plan to write about this year. I’ve been slacking on writing on my website, but only because I have so many other things going on with Adoptees Connect, Inc. It’s hard to find the time, but writing is one of the most therapeutic healing tools I have yet to find, so I am making a recommitment to myself to pick back up on writing as a healing tool for myself.  

Some topics I hope to write about:

  • Religious Trauma Syndrome
  • Open Adoptions being Closed by AP’S
  • Religion & Adoption
  • Relinquishee vs. Adoptee
  • Adoptee in Recovery/AA/NA/Celebrate Recovery
  • Dual Mother Wounds for Adoptees
  • Healing Tools for the Mother Wound
  • Adoptees & Mental Health
  • Deconversion & Religion
  • Articles to Birth Parents & Adoptive Parents
  • Mother Nature AKA Mother Earth & Healing Adoptee Pain
  • Adoptee Attachment vs. Adoptee Connection
  • Generational Relinquishment & Adoption Trauma
  • Being Brave – Sharing Your Adoptee Story

These are just a few things that come to my mind. I’ve never written about some of these topics, yet only shared my feelings with a small circle of close friends. It’s taken me years of self-reflection and processing to get to a space where I feel comfortable sharing some of my feelings associated with these topics.

Adoption isn’t the only thing in life we come out of the fog about.

When adoptees come to a place in their journeys where they embrace a journey of sharing their voices, it’s so important the adoption community come together to support them. Getting to this space can take a lifetime for many of us.

This year has been one of the most challenging years of many of our lives, and I hope we exit out of 2020 with a newfound hope that 2021 has to be better. I haven’t set myself up for the false hope that as soon as midnight hits on 12/31/20 like a magic wand, everything will be back to “normal.” I don’t think the normal as we once knew it will ever return.

However, hope is on the horizon that things will be better. At least that’s what I’m hanging onto, a sliver of hope I’ve found among the fear, heartache, and pain I’ve experienced this year.

What are you looking forward to this year?

For me, I’m hopeful that in the early spring, our Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY group will be back at meeting in person again.  I’m confident that I will have many more outdoor adventures, and my soul will be filled with the great outdoors, which brings me great joy. I’m hopeful love will continue to knock on my door, and be an experience that I’ve never had before. More memories with my kids will be made, and I feel I will cherish my health more, and I will continuously be consciously aware of what I consume, and put in my body. I will focus on my health, and happiness and not just what everyone sees on the outside either. I will continue to set hella boundaries, and I will stop explaining these boundaries to others, as well as stop explaining myself and my reasoning when most of the time, people could care less. I will take my time in responding, being on time and accurate because I can allow myself grace to make mistakes. I will tap the breaks when new people come into my life, so I can learn them before I make a decision to just let them in my life.

Not everyone deserves to be in our lives.

I feel the sorrow we’ve experienced in 2020 will linger on for a lifetime, however a new day will bring new joys. A new year will bring new goals. New people will bring new memories. Turning the page will allow us to embrace new challenges, new fears and new hopes for 2021. As you see, I’ve accepted that it might not be all rainbows and unicorns, and things won’t likely ever get back to “normal” however, I’ve also accepted that I have many things to look forward too and that’s where I hang my hat. Hope 2021 will be better than 2020.

I hope the same for you!

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you for taking the time to read my article. I wish you and your family a peaceful transition as we roll into 2021. A special THANK YOU to each of you who support my work, writings, and missions. Without you, I wouldn’t be here because your support means everything!