The Perplexity of Forced Bonding in Adoption – An Adoptees Perspective

I genuinely believe the topic of newborn bonding isn’t brought to light enough in the adoption arena, so I decided to share my adoptee feelings about it based on my lived experience.

Just because someone adopts a child doesn’t mean the adoptee will bond or attach to the adoptive mother or father. It’s also essential to note that not all adoptive parents can form an attachment or bond with their adopted child. This is not guaranteed, yet it’s almost always dismissed as if it isn’t a real possibility.

When we assume the newborn infant will bond with the adopters, it has damaging impacts that can affect the adoptee for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this is real and has issues that will cause severe anguish throughout the adoptee’s life, at no fault of their own. The difference between adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents are that adoptees didn’t make this choice; it was made for us. Expectations to bond with a foreigner were placed upon us at no agreement of our own.

Let’s also put on the table that we know that anytime a biological mother and a child are separated for whatever reason, a trauma occurs. We know that the separation from our biological mothers can leave a broken bond that sets the tone for all the future relationships we will have. We know that our relationship to maternal attachment impacts how we parent our children and practically every area of our lives.

If we research bonding and attachment theory, we know that the maternal bond with our biological mothers is the most critical bond we will ever have. Attachment to our biological mothers is the cornerstone of infant development and is the sounding board on how we bond and connect with the world around us.

When we know this, we have to assume that when the maternal bond is disrupted for whatever reason, it can harm the child. If you do the research, you will find that neurology, psychiatry, biology, genetics, and psychology hold valuable scientific findings to infant prenatal and perinatal development.

The Importance of Early Bonding:

“Human babies are born very dependent on their parents. They undergo huge brain development, growth, and neuron pruning in the first two years of life. The brain development of infants (as well as their social, emotional, and cognitive development) depends on a loving bond or attachment relationship with a primary caregiver, usually a parent. Infancy is a crucial time for brain development. It is vital that babies and their parents are supported during this time to promote attachment. Without a good initial bond, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent, and resilient adults.” – Robert Winston & Rebecca Chicot.

Let’s also recognize that contrary to popular opinion, mothers aren’t interchangeable. Not one woman on this planet could replicate the connection and bond I should have had with my biological mother, but they can try, but it will never be the same. 

But, often, substitute maternal figures can benefit an individual, provide love, and sometimes form a long-lasting bond and connection with a child. However, we can’t assume that all adopted people form a bond with their adopters, particularly their maternal figure, the adoptive mother. Sadly, the ability to not bond with our adopters is valid for many adoptees.

Let’s focus on the adoptees who don’t bond with their maternal figure since it’s presumed that most adoptees automatically bond with their primary caregiver, whether it’s their biological mother or not. No one is talking about the side of the coin on what it might feel like from an adoptee’s lens to be forced to bond with foreigners you are incapable of bonding with. DNA matters, and our maternal bond with our biological mother matters.

“Not everyone bonds with their biological parents, adopted or not!” – says the non-adoptee community.

You are correct; however, here in this article, we are talking about adoptees! Of course, bonding isn’t guaranteed, and I am entirely aware that not all individuals form everlasting and substantial bonds with their biological mothers or parents.

Nevertheless, let’s spotlight that being born to and raised with your biological mother compared to an essential stranger carries a tremendous difference. One is a foreigner, and one we share DNA with.

I am an adoptee who didn’t form a bond with my adoptive mother.

I am also an adoptee who was forced to TRY

It felt like I was put in a room with a stranger, and she started hugging me, touching me, and being obsessed with me, but she never left. She was always around, dominating and controlling every aspect of my life. It was traumatic, and it made my skin crawl. I still feel fragments of it when I think about it. 

To add to this complexity, I was coerced to live an illusion, a fantasy, to appease my adoptive parents’ wants, needs, and desires. Adoption is rooted in a delusion that was agreed upon by my adoptive parents and my biological mother as co-conspirators in a legalized plan to hijack my true identity, better known as Adoption.  

I was coerced to accept my new identity as truth, while my Authentic identity was kept captive, secretly hidden away, never to be discovered. I was lied to, told I should be grateful, and love is the reason my biological passed me over to genetically foreign strangers. 

I was stalled from finding my biological father by being told he was dead, which was an absolute untruth. I said, “I want to stand over his grave then, and until I do that, I will never believe he’s dead!” And guess what? My tenacity persisted, and I found, met, and laid eyes on my birth father. He was very much alive, and they lied. 

While everyone in the transaction gets what they want, I am the one left to sift through the rubble once the entire orchestration blows up and the pieces are shattered all over the ground. One by one, I have fought the world to find my truth year after year. They got what they wanted in some regard, but I have never been the compliant and grateful adoptee they signed up for.  

Instead, I’ve conducted my life as quite the opposite. I was pissing people off the minute I entered the world, and I have no plans on stopping now.

How do you think this assumed UNNATURAL bonding has negatively impacted my life? Or the lifetime of lies my entire existence was built on? I don’t like it when people fucking touch me or look at me. I don’t trust people and struggle significantly with allowing them to get close to me. The forced pretending has carried over to my adult life. I constantly have to correct myself and work on operating from a place of TRUTH AND TRANSPARENCY, even when everyone in the adoption industry (even my adopters) pushed secrecy, lies, and half-truths. 

Being pushed or coerced to bond with a foreigner is a special kind of mental mind f*ck. So let’s bring the real deal to the table. It’s brutal, and it isn’t pleasant. It gives me the creeps. It’s caused me C-PTSD, extreme grief, sadness, and a loss that can not be measured. A counterfeit mother figure couldn’t substitute my real biological mother, but because of Adoption, she tried and failed miserably. Kudos to her for trying at my expense!

I remember from a very young age being repulsed by her. From around four to five years old, I remember her forcing me to do things I didn’t want to, like massaging her entire body with lotion. She made me put on makeup on her and brush her hair. I had to run her bathwater, keep her room clean and take care of her when she was manic, depressive, sick, and suicidal. I was forced to do other awful things no child should have to do, but I cannot convey them currently.

For some wild reason, I have this intuitive sense that she tried to breastfeed me when I was a newborn, which is unnatural to me when it’s not from my biological mother. When she touched me, I would become nauseated from a very early age. This notion completely repulses me, and I am 100% against any adoptive mothers breastfeeding their adopted children. This is a whole article by itself; stay tuned.

While I have no experience of what it feels like to have a healthy connection or a bond with any mother, I can share without a shadow of a doubt that the experience of NOT having this has been heartbreaking, grievous, and painful. Therefore, to be coerced into conformation with the notion of love being enough to suffice all lost because of Adoption is corrupt, offensive, and heartless! 

It’s tough to describe how being forced to bond with someone I cannot bond with has felt my whole life. For starters, I am positive that “the way my adoptive mother was” had a profound impact on the capabilities of forming a bond with her. But, of course, not all adoptive moms are like her. I will never get another chance in the mother department; quite frankly, striking it out three times in this area is enough for me. So, we have my biological mother, adoptive mother, and stepmother, and I feel no bond or connection with any of them.

I wonder if my biological mother knew this would be a reality if she would still choose Adoption.

Giving a baby up for Adoption or adopting a baby and assuming they will form a bond with their adoptive maternal figure is like playing Russian roulette and taking a chance that could have life or death consequences. When adoptive parents don’t form the bonds they expect when they adopt a child, they sometimes rehome the child, passing them over to someone else to raise. Once again, they decided to take this chance, and at no fault, the adoptee is the one who never made this choice, yet we have to pay for the consequences for life.

Not only is the adoptee severed from the biological mother, but this automatic notion that they will permanently, automatically, or in time, assuming that they will bond with the adoptive parents, must be put to rest.

SOMETIMES IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR AN ADOPTEE TO ATTACH OR BOND TO ANYONE WHEN THE ORIGINAL BOND TO OUR BIOLOGICAL MOTHERS IS BROKEN! THIS IS OUR REALITY.

We need everyone in the adoption constellation to acknowledge that this is a reality for many adoptees. When this expectation is placed on us, and we don’t have the capabilities to meet the expected requirements, it can and will impact every area of our lives. Not just our lives but the lives of anyone that knows and loves the adoptee. It will impact our children and their children.

I can’t speak for all adoptees, but I have always struggled to bond and connect with people. I have carried this deep internal dialog with myself that is one of defeat, where I feel defective and broken. In my healing journey, mapping out all areas of my life, I have recognized that because the original bond with my birth mother was broken, it has impacted me negatively my entire life. It takes me a supplementary amount of work to experience what most people take for granted, and that’s bonding with anyone. All the time, I have worked to “fix myself” because what Adoption has broken has robbed me of a meaningful life. For 48 years, I am still attempting to fix what Adoption stole, broke, and robbed me of, and I often think about what I would have made of myself and become if I had an everyday life. One where I wasn’t dying on the inside every day just because I needed to see the face of the woman that gave me life only to be rejected by her once I found her. 

So much for “she loved you so much!” The biggest lie ever told in Adoption. 

This struggle is rooted in the broken and missing bond from the loss of our biological mothers. This is one more expectation that’s been placed upon me and so many adoptees that reflects a decision others made for us.

“How do you think your adoptive mom felt when you didn’t bond with her? Do you think this was her choice? How do you think she felt not bonding with you? I’m sure it wrecked her, and she felt it too!” – Says the world.

To be completely honest, I don’t care. She autographed the paperwork and signed up for this; I did not. But, let me be evident in defense of all the adoptive parents and birth parents out there who are considering Adoption; the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and advocates are not going to tell you the depth and layers of this reality! They might touch on it, but they will devise coercive ways to convince you that there are “so many ways” to bond with your adoptive baby. No one can guarantee this maternal bond to be acquired with an artificial mother, just like they can’t guarantee a “better life” in Adoption, only a different one.

This is why it’s essential to listen to adult adoptees!

Well, BONDING WITH YOUR ADOPTIVE BABY IS NOT GUARANTEED! So better yet, maybe ask yourself before you choose Adoption for your baby or to start a family, “How would I navigate an adopted child who couldn’t bond with me? Or “What if I couldn’t bond with them? Would I try to force it? Should I choose not to parent instead of playing Russian roulette with a child’s life?”

If you get on YouTube and find “Soft White Underbelly” and hear the stories of all the individuals interviewed on this show, the majority of them express early wounds of the missing mother and the mother wound that go back to their childhoods. Of course, some were abandoned, and family or other people took some in; however, the common theme in many stories is the broken bonds and relationships with the maternal mother figures in their lives.

Considering adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted people, and they are over-represented in prisons, jails, treatment, and mental health facilities, I think its time the adoption constellation steps out of denial and acknowledges that we have a real problem here.

For my fellow adoptees, how well did you bond or not bond with your adoptive parents?

Have you been able to connect the dots on this impacting other area of your lives?

If so, how do you feel it’s impacted you the most?

How have you healed from it?

Have you accepted it’s here to stay?

I’ve created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for adult adoptees and adoption advocates!

Thank you for reading,

Love, Love

Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget this article, along with all my other articles, are available in audio for your convenience; look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google PodcastsiTunesand Spotify. And Amazon Music. Interested in treating me to a coffee to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

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

A Living, Breathing Inconvenience: The War Within – An Adoptees Perspective

Trigger Warning: This article contains content about suicidal ideation. 

This website has saved me so many times from releasing my burdensome thoughts to those I am close to. Over the last decade, being able to share my big adoptee sentiments here on my website has likely saved my life many times over!

Thank you for being here and allowing me to communicate my inner adoptee thoughts and struggles. We all need a space like this, and if you are an adoptee and don’t have it, I inspire you to get it! 

While 2022 is winding up, the year will soon be behind us. But, as we step into 2023, I can’t help but acknowledge all the changes and growth that’s transpired in 2022 in my personal life. So much greatness has happened that I will be eternally grateful for. 

Yet, I’ve also experienced many significant things that have created a layer of sadness that I’m unsure what to do with. Holidays are challenging in general and even more so for adoptees. While everyone is arranging holiday get-togethers with family and celebrating life and the marvelous things it brings, I am drowning in my sadness.

Welcome to adoption. 

Anytime I’m feeling “some type of way” in my journey, I try to get with myself and self-reflect because I know I am the only one who can figure out what’s going on. So I look inward and identify the areas that might bother me so I can work on them. Sometimes, I can identify what’s happening and make some changes. But right now, I feel stuck, so I am attempting to see if writing about it helps me.  One of the realities in being adopted is that I was denied a voice. This is why writing has always been easier for me to share feelings because I seem to be able to write about my thoughts, but allowing them to come out of my mouth is another story.

Lately, I am struggling with constantly feeling like I am an inconvenience to those around me, so I spend every waking moment trying to ensure I am not that! Unfortunately, I do it a lot of the time automatically, not even realizing I’m doing it. 

This battle has been a lifetime; however, it’s highlighted more now than before. Sharing it here in this safe space may help since I cannot share it with anyone close to me because of the burden factor. 

I wrote about this topic years ago in an article titled “Being Born A Burden.”

“Many adoptees spend their 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 childhood 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.”

I have promised myself that I will always be true to myself, but sometimes my adoptee feelings are so big they scare me. I am 100% confident that if I share them with anyone close to me, they will scare them also. At least, this is my fear anyway. 

Unfortunately, this is the only place I can share them. Still, I am baring my soul for the world to help myself by releasing them and opening the possibility that my transparency might help another adoptee out there. There is a lot of power in “letting things out” and sharing them with at least one other person. Sometimes that all by itself helps me, and I can regroup, recenter and move forward. 

Of course, sharing such personal pieces of my life publicly doesn’t come without a risk of those who love me finding out about my struggles and kicking me to the curb. This would be the easiest solution, and I wouldn’t blame them. Hell, a lot of the time, I want to kick myself to the curb, too. 

But, if they knew I was only trying to spare them from my BIG ADOPTEE FEELINGS, maybe they would understand better. The truth is, I have always been a deep thinker and a deep processor, which is a blessing and a curse. So what I write about here isn’t always rainbows and unicorns but real-life struggles from an adult adoptee’s perspective. Adoption always has been and always will be the gift that keeps giving. 

It seems that no matter how much healing I do or how hard I work towards feeling “good,” my adoptee reality will always knock me back down. That’s a significant struggle all by itself. I’ve been riding the waves for 48 years now. Sometimes it’s hard to get back up. Sometimes I can’t see the light. Sometimes it takes my breath away. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. Sometimes it’s so much that I want to die. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, and sometimes days and weeks. Sometimes the highs are high, and the lows are low. As I write this article, I am sitting knee-deep in one of the lows that I am having difficulty shaking. 

I’m an expert at smiling for the world, always putting my best foot forward to make others feel good, cheerful, or loved, which takes the focus off me and what I might be genuinely dealing with underneath it all. Us adoptees are great at being chameleons and pretending. It’s survival, and we learned it very young! 

I genuinely feel this adaption is rooted in adoption and the reality of being placed in a situation where everyone’s feelings matter more than mine. To my adoptive parents, my feelings have never mattered. I was the prize (a gift, if you will) that was paid for with a hefty cash price, and in return, they became parents. The misplaced link is that I would be expected to be forever praising and indebted to a lifetime of caring for them while sacrificing my wants and needs. 

Sadly, I had to walk away from everyone to choose myself. I would do it again if I had to; however, I struggle with being put into a situation at no fault of my own that made me feel like I had to choose between my adoptive family and biological family and MYSELF. I struggle HARD to navigate the tightrope of being somewhere between all these families. So walking away from them ALL is the only solution I have. 

I don’t have the tools to manage all the emotions that come between existing between two worlds, never belonging to either of them. THIS IS PAINFUL AND HARD FOR ME, AND IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN. I don’t have a shared history with my biological family, which makes things incredibly uncomfortable and challenging. I don’t share DNA with my adoptive family, who are genetic strangers to me! I do not feel connected to them and never bonded with my adoptive mom, but I was forced to TRY. 

Somehow I am expected to keep everything between them separated. It fucking hurts to be placed into a situation where I constantly have to leave pieces of my life separate. I didn’t sign up for this bullshit, so I am not playing the game. 

One of the significant healing dynamics I came to years ago is accepting that the pain from adoption was here to stay and that some of the wounds caused by relinquishment trauma and adoption trauma can’t heal! Fuck Adoption!

This was a KEY DYNAMIC to accepting what has been done and sabotaged, at no choice of my own. It might sound depressing to some, but please understand I didn’t come to this conclusion without spending a lifetime trying to heal the wounds that cannot be fully healed! God couldn’t fully heal my wounds; praying couldn’t fully heal my wounds; nothing has fully healed these wounds. The sooner I could accept they were here to stay and learned to sit with them, the sooner I started to heal! 

I feel like a living, breathing inconvenience and a burden. I can acknowledge and recognize this feeling is rooted in my beginnings (being born a burden), which has nothing to do with NOW; however, it has dramatically shaped how I feel and live my life. 

I can grasp a lousy day or a bad few days, but what do I do when the heaviness doesn’t leave and I can’t shake it? I’ve been wrestling with this for a while now, and I haven’t told anyone I’m on the struggle bus. 

Why? 

Because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, and I don’t want to be a burden. Of course, it’s easy for someone to say, “You aren’t a burden!” but no matter how much they say it, that’s not how I feel. So I beat myself up for feeling that way, as if feeling like a burden and inconvenience isn’t enough all by itself. 

So what is my effing problem as of late? 

I am genuinely struggling because my being adopted by no choice of my own directly harms my kids in many ways. The thought of them feeling even a little of how I feel is enough to take my breath away. I feel this tremendous feeling of GUILT that is suffocating me! It makes me feel defective, and I carry a huge burden that I can’t put into words. 

How can I ever forgive myself for bringing my kids into a world where they have to pay the price for their mom being adopted and all the heavy layers that come with it? They deserve more, much more. I wish I could take this pain and direct it to something positive; however, I am not there yet. I don’t know what to do with it, especially when it’s impacted my kids the way it has. 

There I said it.

Well, half of it. 

I am also struggling with the reality that I would likely DIE before I burden anyone with my feelings, problems, or issues about all of this or situations that arise in my life that isn’t optimistic, positive, or uplifting. I always want to show up with a smile and cheer for everyone around me. I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to this, so when I go through some things that I can’t bring myself to share, I become overcome with complex emotions and feel like I’m drowning. Most of the time I can’t even put my feelings into words.

I feel inadequate on top of feeling flawed. It’s no one’s problem but my own for feeling this way, and I am the only person who can put it on the table and work on it. I don’t think many non-adoptees will ever comprehend the layers of the adoptee experience and how it runs so deep and lasts a lifetime. However, I can’t believe I am the only adoptee struggling with this. 

Recently, I had a scary SVT episode that was awful. My resting heart rate was stuck at 154 BPM for several hours. I should have gone to the ER, but I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. The only way I can describe this is to imagine Mike Tyson hitting his punching bag as fast as he could for several hours, nonstop. Put my heart in the place of the punching bag. It’s a really dreadful feeling that has a recovery process of days for me. 

It’s invisible, just like I want it to be most of the time. I was super thankful to have two friends who drove me home and were very compassionate. However, I didn’t contact one person in my immediate life to notify them this was happening, and I crawled into my bed after taking a heart pill and slept for the next 13 hours, which is entirely out of my nature. But, again, I didn’t want to inconvenience or burden anyone.

I am at fault for being groomed this way because of adoption, always putting other people’s feelings, wants, and needs ahead of my own. I have been alone with my kids and me for a long time, moving across the country away from everyone to find ME and be FREE, finally. Being a single parent of 3 kids makes for a strong woman. I had no one to depend on, but myself and the family dynamic was nonexistent, so there hasn’t been a family cushion to fall back on for a long time. 

A variety of these things makes me feel stuck in a paradox between wanting to be true to myself yet never wanting to depend on anyone for anything; even if I needed a little help that could be lifesaving, I would never ask! I will die first! This is an expansive war I struggle with within myself. 

Well, the reality is that this impacts those I love who also love me. This can cause problems, so my first step is acknowledging it’s a thing for me. Have any of my fellow adoptees struggled with this dynamic? 

It was a stretch to ask my friends to help me get home because I sat there pondering how to ask or get home without inconveniencing anyone. I was considering taking a Uber or a Lyft. Once they offered, I accepted, but I felt terrible the whole way for upsetting our plans and inconveniencing anyone, on top of having a significant heart issue. They were so kind and understanding, but I felt like I was about to have a heart attack and was also feeling guilty for getting a ride home. Then once I got home, I quietly went to my room, not to come back out for 13 hours, suffering all alone without anyone knowing what was happening. I did end up telling my significant other and my oldest daughter, after the fact for the sake of them knowing for health reasons. They wished I would have told them at the time, but I let them know I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

The moral of the story is, why be a burden? I was born a burden; I don’t want to die one. I even planned my funeral because it’s important to me to die better than I came into the world. These are some fucked up thoughts, and it’s a lot to carry at times. One thing I can share is that I already feel a release by reaching this paragraph in my writing about these issues. Some of my heaviness has lifted. I want to get to a place in life where I don’t have to “do anything” but process through my adoptee struggles all on my own, but I am not there yet. Quite frankly, I am not sure I will ever be. Keeping things bottled up inside isn’t always effective.

I gave up on therapy because, being adopted, I have always had to therapy the therapist. I’m dead ass tired of therapy. I am in charge of healing myself. I genuinely feel all the tools I need are already inside of me. Writing has been exceptionally cathartic and therapeutic. When I can’t find the courage to talk about things, I can usually write about them.

Adoptees, Do you write?

How does it help you navigate your healing journey?

What helps you when you can’t see the light?

Today, I remind myself, and I can share without a shadow of a doubt, that even when I feel defective, like a burden and a total inconvenience, I know deep down that ADOPTION IS WHAT’S F*CKED UP. I am not f*cked up. Adoption is. Adoption has caused these issues, which are a constant, lifelong struggle. No matter what I do, this sh!t keeps resurfacing, and it’s here to stay. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can learn to sit with it when it comes and walk through it. We have to feel it to heal it. Sharing it helps too! 

I know I’m not alone in feeling the way I do, and I remind myself sometimes daily that the way I feel is normal for a not-normal situation. Nothing is normal about being separated from your biological families at the beginning of life and having your very existence built on a bed of lies. 

While I conclude this article, one thing I would like to highlight that’s a positive spin is that today is Winter Solstice – 2022! I get comfort in knowing a shift is on the horizon and our days will start getting longer.

If you are an adoptee struggling, please know you are not alone!

I have created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for you! 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

Why Love Isn’t Enough or A House Full of Stuff – An Adoptees Perspective

Why Love Isn’t Enough or A House Full of Stuff – An Adoptees Perspective By Pamela A. Karanova

We’ve heard it for centuries, as early as 1967 when the Beatles released a number-one hit song, “All you need is love.” The lyrics have echoed throughout time, wildly reverberating throughout adoption communities. However, adoptive parents shine bright when it comes to wanting to offer Love to the child they hope to gain through adoption, placing it at the forefront of their motives to adopt. While they might have pure intentions, there are some layers to the adoptee experience they should consider.

What if love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff?

What if the wound from separation trauma is too big to heal?

What if they adopt a child that doesn’t bond with them?

What if the adoption agencies and advocates haven’t been honest and forthcoming about the other side of the narrative that’s almost always ignored, the feelings of an adopted child once they grow up?

What if they have been sold a lie regarding adoption, and they don’t know what they don’t know?

What if they know it, yet they have chosen to ignore it?

I’ve written about this topic in 2015 in an article titled – Love is Not All We Need. Love can’t replace knowing our medical history. Love can’t replace us knowing our ethnicity or our culture. Love can’t allow us to see the invisible ghost faces of our biological parents. Love can’t replace all the memories lost forever. Love can’t make up for a life beginning on a bed of lies. Love can’t cure a lifetime of the grief and loss we feel. Love can’t forge a bond with our adoptive parents. Love can’t fix the broken bond with our biological mothers. Love can’t form my identity that’s split between two worlds. Love can’t heal my broken heart that is shattered from my adoption experience. Love can’t make me trust when those who say they love me most lied to me. All that was lost in the name of LOVE can never be fully fixed or repaired. Love does not compare to a lifetime of pain that an adoptee carries. Love is not enough.

No amount of Love in the world can refurbish the maternal bond that’s been broken when an adoptee loses their biological mother. In writing this article, I hope that this reality is acknowledged and recognized by society because the wound created by the separation from our biological mothers is a wound we carry our entire lives. But unfortunately, the reality for many of us is that the wound is too deep to heal and can impact every area of our lives. It doesn’t stop there. The damage also echoes through generations to our children and their children.

The Secret Life of the UNBORN CHILD by Thomas Verny, M.D. says, “Your unborn baby is sensitive to his parent’s feelings about him, capable of responding to love – We know now that the unborn child thinks, feels, and hears. Smoking, drinking, drugs, food, sounds, and emotions of the mother all affect the health and well-being of the unborn child. The mother and child share experiences, stress, anxiety, peace, harmony, and joy. Her physiological by-products of those experiences are communicated across the placental barrier.”

Suppose we know this to be true while the baby is in utero. In that case, it must be confirmed after the baby is born and relinquished for adoption; separation from our biological mothers forever has lifelong impacts. What does this mean when a mother has decided to give her baby up for adoption?

She likely rejects the growing baby inside her and ultimately rejects being a mother to this baby after it’s born. We would be naive if we didn’t acknowledge this has negative impacts on the unborn baby and the baby after it’s born. Do the research and learn for yourself how critically important the bond between a biological mother and her biological child is. It’s the most important bond the child will have and when it’s broken, repair is a lost cause. It will impact the adoptee deeply.

One minute we have the whole world (our biological mothers), and the next minute she’s gone – forever. Our spirit breaks when we lose our biological mothers.

How can society, evangelicals, churches, and those who support adoption believe that Love and a house full of stuff could replace my entire world that’s gone missing?

I’ve said it before, and I will repeat it, mothers aren’t interchangeable. For me, love couldn’t forge the maternal bond a biological mother has with her child, but it can create an illusion and a counterfeit bond to a woman who desperately wanted a child of her own but couldn’t have any. Being forced to bond with someone, I felt repulsed by was an extraordinarily toxic and damaging expectation forced upon me. It is something I will never “get over.”

I didn’t care what my birth mother was or wasn’t – she was still my whole world. The loss of HER has impacted me significantly my entire life. The original bond that should have been infinite was broken before I was even born while she was pregnant with me.

She drank alcohol the entire pregnancy, rejected me in utero, and after I was born and left the hospital as if I never existed. After I found her, she rejected me again, leaving me brokenhearted, shattered, and unable to grasp or process such a harrowing experience. Especially when I was told, “She loved you so much!” my entire life growing up. How can an adoptee make sense of love when this is our first encounter?

How could she “love me so much” yet reject a relationship with me once I found her? Understanding the complexities behind this reality would take me many years of a healing journey to unravel. It was painful and still is. This is my reality.

My biological mother was in her 30’s when she had me. I was conceived out of an affair with a married man. She wasn’t an unwed young mother who had no choice. My birth father was a close family friend, and he was ten years older than her. Unfortunately, he was married, and my entire existence was kept from him, and I was given up for adoption without his consent.

Knowing this TRUTH has helped me acknowledge, accept, and move forward with healing. However, I want to make a firm statement that no adoptive parents’ love, money, or material possessions in this lifetime could repair the wound of separation from my biological mother or the lifelong journey of fighting the world for my truth. No amount of therapy or religious scriptures could take these wounds away or make them disappear. No God has been able to heal the relinquishment trauma I carry or my life being rooted in secrecy, lies, and deception, and no amount of praying or fasting has made it any better.

No amount of love from my adoptive parents or material possessions will make up for my truth being kept captive for most of my life, which has been the key to my healing. With the truth missing, my grief, loss, anger, rage, identity, and sense of self were enormously affected, impacting every area of my life from the beginning until now. Not just who I am but how I respond to life situations, parent my kids, build relationships, etc.

Somewhere along these lines, society has swept the reality under the rug that when an adoption occurs, the adoptee has to experience the traumatic experience of being separated from their biological mothers FIRST.

Of course, the reason for separation can vary by the story. Still, in the end, no matter the reason for separation, losing our biological mothers hurts us profoundly, and it is a traumatic experience.

Until the world acknowledges this reality, adoptees will continue to die by suicide because they can’t see past their pain. They will continue overflowing prisons, jails, mental health, and treatment facilities. They will continue to struggle, dying on the inside but smiling on the outside.

So, I hope this article lays the realities out in front of the world and that those reading would consider recognizing that in adoption, love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff, and it never will be.

I’ve created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for my fellow adoptees and anyone involved in the adoption constellation. Please use it as you see fit and share it widely.

Much love,

Pamela A. Karanova

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor the Truth of Adoption

You have come to the right place if you are looking for the best adoption quotes from the transracial adoptee’s perspective. This article shares 100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor’s the Truth of Adoption from the transracial adult adoptee perspective.

As we end 2022, I decided to call my fellow adoptees to help collaborate and share quotes from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. So, 100 transracial adoptees came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences that transracial adoptees go through during their lifetimes.

While you read these quotes, we ask you to remain with an open heart and mind and enter the possibility that we all have a lot to learn from one another. We must recognize that adopted children grow up, reach adulthood, and consume the rollercoaster journey that adoption brings. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As transracial adoptees grow up, they host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to their lives and stories.

By sharing 100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to transracial adoption than what society recognizes. Maybe perhaps love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff? Perhaps we should start talking about relinquishment trauma as soon as possible? Maybe adoption hurts more than we would ever know?

Again, we ask for open hearts and open minds.

Thank you to each transracial adoptee who shared their heart here. While you read this article, you will receive validation that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.

We are stronger together.

100 Transracial Adoptee Quotes

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

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read quotes from 100 transracial adoptees. Please share this article in your online communities. Our hope is that we raise a brighter light around adoptee voices and bring the truth to light, one story, quote, and click at a time.

If you are an adoptee, what quotes spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow transracial adoptee’s quotes?

Maybe you are an adoptee and missed the call to be included in this 100, we still want to hear from you! If you are an transracial adoptee who has a quote to share, please drop them in the comment section below.

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

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

XOXO P.K.

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Chapter 17. New Beginnings – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 17.

New Beginnings

While I had no biological or adoptive family in Kentucky, my twin’s grandmother lived there. She was always supportive and involved in the twin’s life as much as she could be states away and before we moved to Utah.

On one occasion, she came to Salt Lake City to visit us through Greyhound Bus and spent several days. When contemplating my great escape to move back to Kentucky, she would be a critical lifeline in making this decision. If it weren’t for her, we never would have made it. She agreed to let us stay with her until we got on our feet which was an extension of her kindness and care for my kids and me.

I had to plan expenses on what it would cost to move across the country. I had to rent a 22 Foot U-Haul truck for five days, calculate paying for gas and food along the way, purchase six airplane tickets and come up with a plan on how the move would happen. My best friend volunteered to help me drive the U-Haul across the country, and she also was the only person who showed up with her little brother to help us pack the truck.

In March of 2005, I started conversing with Keila, Damia, and Damond about moving back to Kentucky, so they knew what would happen in the coming months. I broke the news to Patricia and Melanie, who were not supportive of my move or decision. I experienced the opposite from them: discouragement and lack of support. I decided I wouldn’t talk to them anymore about the move details until I had to.

The move date was July 2nd, 2005. I packed, reserved the U-Haul, and purchased six one-way airplane tickets for this move. First, Kelli and I would need two plane tickets to fly back to Salt Lake City after driving all of our belongings across the country to Kentucky. Then, I would need four more airplane tickets for the kids and me to fly back to Kentucky. It was a lot of money and a lot to plan to be all by myself, but I knew I had to get away from Patricia in my heart of hearts.

Because of my fear that Patricia would try to take my kids from me, I printed up a document and made her sign it before I started my trip to Kentucky. It went something like this,

“I, Pamela, am writing this letter to verify that I am temporarily leaving my kids with Patricia until July 6th, 2005, when I will return to pick them up. This is a temporary arrangement, and Patricia is fully aware of this.”

So Patricia signed this form, but she wasn’t happy about it. So I kept it tucked away because I didn’t trust her not to do something to interfere with me moving and taking my three kids. I hoped she would keep her word on it, but I had a lot of fears about this.

Once I started spending large amounts of money on plane tickets, it all started to get real. As the days got closer to July 2nd, my anxiety was through the roof, but my desire to want to get away from Patricia and her unhealthy ways was more significant. Not just for me but for my kids. Don’t get me wrong, I was unhealthy also and had my own issues clearly. However, I would never get better as long as I was in close contact with Patricia, so moving away from her was the first step.

It was possible to have a relationship with Patricia from a distance because I saw other people do it. I contemplated the hope that after some time, this decision to move away would shift a dynamic change in my relationship with Patricia. I hoped she would also want to make some changes for herself in her own life. Maybe she would want to get healthy also? I could only hope.

But finally, at 31 years old, for the first time in my life, I made myself and my happiness a priority. I put myself first and could no longer worry about Patricia or make her my responsibility. She was in charge of her happiness, and I was in charge of mine. It was time for this toxic co-dependent relationship to end and for me to grow up.

July 1st arrived, and it was the day to start loading the 22-Foot-U-Haul. We spent all day July 1st packing all of our belongings up. Keila, Damia, and Damond would stay with Patricia until we returned to Utah after delivering our belongings to the twin’s granny’s house. Kelli and I would fly back to Salt Lake City on July 6th. The kids and I would fly back to Kentucky, all of us together, on July 8th.

Once the truck was filled to the brim, on July 2nd, around 8 am, we drove by Patricia’s so I could explain to my kids one last time how everything was planned. I wanted them to know I promised I would call to talk to them every day, and I promised I would be back to get them in less than one week! I wanted to make sure they knew I was coming back, so I emphasized many times that Kelli and I would be back on July 6th, and we would fly back to Kentucky together. Finally, they understood, and I gave each of them big hugs telling them I loved them, and we parted ways.

This was when shit got real, real. I will never forget driving off in the U-Haul and making our way to Park City, Utah, coming around the mountain and leaving my kids behind. I had so many emotions that came over me it is hard to put into words. I was worried about them thinking I wouldn’t come back for them, and it made me feel conflicted, but I knew I was coming back. But what if Patricia tried to take them from me? That was my biggest worry.

But then, we looked at the map and realized that Lexington, Kentucky was 1655 miles away, and I think reality set in for Kelli also. We had a long, long trip ahead of us. We also had Pookie Brown, Keila’s cat, with us.

When she agreed to help, Kelli had no idea Kentucky was so far away, and as a wonderful best friend, she agreed to help me regardless of the distance! I will always be eternally grateful for her help and friendship all these years. Without her, I would never have been able to make this great escape away from Patricia. We kept one another laughing, and hour by hour, we were closer to Kentucky.

After twelve hours of driving, I called Patricia’s landline phone to speak to the kids. I wanted to talk to each of them to see how they were, give them an update and let them know how the drive was going. I also wanted to remind them that I would be back to get them on July 6th, and we would fly to Kentucky together. I never wanted them to feel for even a second that I was abandoning them or not coming back to get them!

However, Patricia had games to play. So she decided to turn her ringer off so I couldn’t reach her or my kids. I called and called and called. Once I couldn’t reach my kids and knew she turned her ringer off on purpose, I lost my shit. Finally, the sun started to set, and we had made our way to North Platte, Nebraska.

The drive across this state was just awful, but my anxiety about not being able to reach my kids set in, and I had a full-blown panic attack. I started to hyperventilate, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t seem to calm myself down and didn’t know what was happening. I had never experienced this range of emotions before. But, it was true; Patricia was trying to take my kids from me and her not answering my calls was only the beginning.

We were literally in the middle of nowhere, and Kelli found an exit and took me to the emergency room in North Platte. I remember feeling an overwhelming amount of feelings. I kept calling Patricia only to get no answer every single time. If I could have talked to my kids like I promised them I would, none of this would have happened.

Now they would feel abandoned, and now they would wonder why I didn’t keep my promise. I became infuriated at Patricia. The ER gave me some meds to calm me down and an albuterol treatment to help my breathing. Even calling from the emergency room in Nebraska, Patricia still wouldn’t answer her phone. This wasn’t a new thing. She was notorious for turning her ringer off and making Melanie and I worry about her. But this was different. She did this out of spite because she knew I was moving away with my kids, and she saw it was me calling.

Slowly, I started to calm down and was discharged from the ER. We found a cheap motel room in North Platte to stay all night, and I had an idea. I asked Kelli to call Patricia’s landline phone from her cell phone. But, of course, Patricia answered her call on the first ring because it wasn’t my cell number calling. So Kelli handed me the phone, and I went in on Patricia. I was so triggered by her doing this to my kids and me that I went completely off on her! It’s a good thing I was at a distance, or I would have likely ended up in jail, and I don’t say that lightly.

She didn’t have to support me or this move, but she was NOT going to come between my kids and me, and I let her know if she doesn’t answer my calls moving forward so I could speak to my kids EVERY SINGLE DAY, she would be sorry. I was not playing either. This situation made me hate Patricia, and I still have not forgiven her. This only added to the list of reasons I was moving away from her and confirmed I had made the right choice. I was fed up with her emotional and mental mind games and manipulation.

I spoke to my kids several more times during the trip, and this eased my mind that they knew I was coming back for them, and that was always the plan. As we continued our journey across the country, we stayed another night in Kansas City, Missouri. Kelli had a friend there who said we could stay with them, which would save us a night at a hotel. It was a fantastic time to hang out for the evening after we finally arrived. It was blazing hot in the middle of the summer, so there were lots of outdoor happenings going on. We were exhausted, but now things seemed like more of an adventure.

The following day at the crack of dawn, we woke up and had one final day to drive from KC, MO, to Lexington, KY, which was 582 miles until we reached our final destination, the twin’s grandmother’s house. That last eight hours seemed like an eternity, but on The 4th of July 2005, we pulled up in the 22 Foot U-Haul, and after a three-day drive, we had to unpack all of our belongings and store them in the twin’s grannies garage, which took hours.

Thankfully the twin’s dad was present to help, as well as their uncle. So after three days of driving, we took the help. I could see the bedroom that my three kids and I would soon occupy, and while it was going to be a tight fit, we were going to make it work. So I called the kids and spoke to each of them to let them know we made it, and on the 6th, just two short days away, I would be on my way back to Utah with Kelli, and we would be flying back to Kentucky TOGETHER.

Part of me could hardly believe that I had finally come to this place of independence for myself and my kids. It was surreal, but I wouldn’t be able to truly celebrate until I was back on Kentucky soil with all three of my kids, far away from Patricia.

If you might wonder why I would call this move my “great escape,” it’s easy. The burden I carried my whole life as Patricia’s caretaker was a heavy weight to carry. The cards stacked up against me being adopted into an abusive adoptive home was a life of grief, loss, heartache, and heartbreak. In addition, having little self-love at the time or the ability to stand up for myself created a very long and drawn-out process of me being independent that no one in my family supported. So it felt like a great escape in all regards.

Melanie talked trash about me always depending on Patricia, but when I finally decided I wanted to cut the cord and be independent, she didn’t support that either. Same with Patricia. I felt like my life was sucked dry trying to make everyone else happy, but finally, the day had come when I decided I wanted to be happy. So it was time for me to pass the 31-year baton I carried as Patricia’s caretaker over to Melanie. It was her turn.

Moving away from everyone was the hardest thing I ever did in my entire life because I knew I didn’t have any cushion to fall back on in the “family” area. I knew it was just the kids and me, which was a scary thought at times. But one thing is sure about me, I’m a doer, and I was going to do whatever I had to do so that my kids would have a better life than I did.

Kelli and I rested on July 5th and headed to the airport on July 6th as planned. We arrived in Salt Lake City, and I returned to Patricia’s house. We would spend a little over 24-Hours before we made our final destination to the airport on July 8th to ascend to Lexington, Kentucky.

It couldn’t get here quick enough, and I was ready to start a new life. But, to be completely transparent, I was exhausted. The emotional and mental anxiety I felt about the whole move took a toll, and I couldn’t wait to get back to Lexington to our final destination of the twin’s granny’s house.

On July 8th, 2005, we said our final “goodbyes” to Patricia and Melanie and boarded our airplane Kentucky bound. I had all my three kids with me, and we were together. As our airplane lifted in the air and the kids got settled for the fight across the country, the weight I had carried my whole life from caretaking for Patricia started to lift off me. The closer we got to Kentucky, the freer I felt and the lighter life became. The burden of Patricia disappeared into nothingness. I had never felt so free in my entire life.

After 31 years on earth, I could finally work on myself, find myself, and be a better version of myself for my kids and future grandkids. But unfortunately, I could never do this with Patricia in my life.

We landed in Lexington, KY, on July 8th, 2005, and we got a ride from the airport to the twin’s granny’s house. We settled in a small bedroom with twin bunk beds and one twin bed. I slept on the floor in the middle of the beds in a small space just for me. We slowly got used to our new surroundings.

I didn’t have a bank account, a car, keys to anything, our own home, or a job. I only had about $300.00 to my name and some food stamps, but we had each other, and my kids had me. Welcome to Kentucky, where new beginnings are born, and a new chapter is about to begin. I had no idea what was in store, but I knew the next 31 years of my life would be better than the first 31 years.

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Chapter 6. Twisted Love – Finding Purpose in The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 6.

Twisted Love

Trigger Warning // Physical Assault // Violence // Suicide

Now that I was no longer visiting the Rodriguez’s house, I had more free time on my hands most days. At this stage of my life, Patricia was still working the night shift, and when she was home, she slept all day. We rarely saw one another, but when we did, we fought consistently. My feelings of annoyance and unhappiness around her only increased. I was repulsed by her. I continued to ask her when I could find my birth mother, only to get the same response, “We don’t have enough money for an attorney, but when we do, we will try to get the closed records opened.” The less I had to be in Patricia’s presence, the better.

With Patricia working the night shift, I occasionally had friends over to party when she was at work. I would kick everyone out before she was supposed to get off, and sometimes I would leave myself. I was clearly out of control, and at 15 years old, I only had a few things on my mind, finding my birth mother, living up to the expectations of being bad, and partying hard.

I would make copies of Patricia’s car keys, hide them, and when I needed to get somewhere or wanted to joy ride, I would steal her car, sometimes even stealing it from her job in the middle of the night. She would get off work at 7 AM, and her car would be gone from the hospital parking lot. I taught myself how to drive and had endless keys made so I could escape by wheels when I wanted to. I acquired several grand theft auto charges along the way and only added these charges to the wall of shame, adding to the list of reasons for my badness. I definitely won the heathen of the year award every single year.

I was also a liar and a thief, and I didn’t care who I hurt. Did these traits come from my experiences being groomed by the Rodriguez family? Or did they come from the profound reality that my life was built on a bed of lies, normalizing the very concept of lying? Were they rooted in me acting out from separation trauma, compacted by the trauma I witnessed in my adoptive homes? Was I really just an awful and bad person? Could it be a combination of them all? The good adoptee was nowhere in sight; she was dead and gone, never to return.

I was invincible and entirely out of touch with my body, mind, and soul. It’s almost as if I was hollow inside, soulless. Feeling feelings were out of the question. But, on the other hand, I was a runner and always kept it moving. 99.9% of the time, no adult in my life knew where I was or could keep up with me. I wholeheartedly believe that not having a birth story, or roots planted anywhere made me feel like I wasn’t alive, which flipped a switch on the reality that dying was no big deal. It’s impossible to feel alive, when you feel like you were never born.

No birth story can impact adoptees significantly, but the world never listens to us. There were times in my teenage years that I just wanted to die. I wanted someone to kill me, and I would instigate fights in hopes that my heartache and pain would all be gone. Rage continued to build up, and I hated the world and damn near everyone in it.

I remember walking down the street on the S.E. side of town in Cedar Rapids, and at 15 years old, I found the boy’s home, where teenage boys lived who had been removed from their own homes for various reasons. Some broke the law, and some were abandoned by their parents. They would sneak other girls in and out the windows and me occasionally. I always felt connected to them, even if it was just friends. We shared some of the same wounds, specifically the mother wound. It could have been a trauma bond, but we never talked about it. We just knew we were kindred spirits of sorts.

I would also hang out with my friend Shante’, who lived on 5th Avenue on the S.E. Side. She had a fully present and welcoming mom, two sisters, and five brothers who felt like the closest thing to a family I would ever experience. I was drawn to them, especially now I wasn’t going to the Rodriguez home. We could sit on Shante’s front porch and be smack dab in the middle of all drama and the happenings on the S.E. side of Cedar Rapids.

One particular day, I was approached by a girl named Renee, who physically attacked me because she heard Johnson gave me a ride home from the Rodriguez home back when I was being physically attacked. She obviously didn’t understand he helped me and thought it was more. We started fighting, throwing blows tumbling on the ground, and a few minutes into it, she got up and walked away while blood was everywhere.

Where was the blood coming from? I didn’t feel anything, and that’s because she had a razor blade in her hand. She sliced my face, forehead, and my neck. To say blood was gushing everywhere would be an understatement. I didn’t feel anything, but I knew I needed to get to the hospital ASAP. One of the many razor cuts was within a few centimeters from my carotid artery. Shante went with me to the hospital and stayed with me until Patricia arrived. I had over 100 stitches and lacerations everywhere and still have hidden scars to this day. The doctor said I was lucky to be alive.

Unfortunately, the South East side was the wrong side of town, but it was the side of town Metro High School was on, so I would take the city bus, get dropped off, and make an appearance at Metro so I could say I went. Typically, I never stayed for an hour, no one noticed, and I never did a damn bit of work. Instead, I walked through like some celebrity, said “Hi” to my friends, and walked out the back door. After, I would walk the streets until I found someone I knew to hang out with. It didn’t matter what time it was or what day; at 15 years old, I felt like I was born to get the party started.

Soon I would run into a guy named Giovanni Rockwell, aka Big Rocky. Giovanni was just released from Juvenile Jail because he had reached 18 years of age, legally an adult at the time, and he aged out of the system. I had no idea what he did to get locked up in the first place, but I did know we had a spark between us that I had never experienced before. We took a liking to one another and started to spend time together.

After learning more about Big Rocky, I learned his nickname came from his last name, but it was also after the Movie Rocky because, in Cedar Rapids, Big Rocky was well known for never losing a fight. Instead, he was unforgettably known for knocking anyone out who crossed him in any way. No one wanted to be on the wrong side of Big Rocky.

I was young and naïve, and when Big Rocky took an interest in me, I bit on to the attention he gave me, and before long, we were in a relationship. We would meet at his friend’s houses and sneak into our homes, frequent parks, or Lyndale Mall. The more time we spent together, I learned about the jealous streak he had, but at the time, I didn’t recognize it as jealousy. Instead, the 15-year-old me recognized it as LOVE.

The first time Giovonni appeared to be jealous was when we were at the mall, and some other guy looked at me, and Giovanni thought I was looking at him. He insisted we knew each other, and I had no clue who the guy was. It was a random glance because we happened to be in the same place—nothing more, nothing less. He took me outside, pushed me up against a brick wall, pulled my hair, and tried to force me to admit I knew the guy. I promised him I didn’t know him! He let go of my hair and threatened that if I ever looked at another guy again, I was going to get it.

I had no idea what would come of my relationship with Giovanni, but sadly I didn’t need to look at another guy to “get it.” But unfortunately, that was only the beginning of years of emotional, mental, and sexual abuse. Giovanni had anger issues, and I was among the many receivers of his anger and rage. Nevertheless, I was willing to overlook all the usual “red flags” to be loyal to him for loving me.

We spent a lot of time together, and even when we weren’t 21, which was the legal age for drinking alcohol, we could get alcohol and weed, which were always available. So we got tipsy regularly, and the more time I spent in the streets with Giovanni, the more Patricia would stir, wondering where I was. Finally, she couldn’t control me anymore and couldn’t find me even if she tried. I would only go home long enough to shower, change clothes, and leave again.

At times, I had the police or detectives searching for me for fighting or breaking the law, which added a whole new layer to being a runner. I would hide in different friends’ attics and homes until, eventually, the law caught up with me. I woke up in Juvenile Jail more times than I could count, and it never stopped me from being a menace.

Spending so much time with Giovanni, my love and loyalty to him were intense. He was mine, and I was his, and at all costs, we weren’t going to let anyone break us up, but as soon as Patricia caught on that I had a boyfriend, she did everything in her power to try. Her famous words were, “Is he black?” which seemed to be all she cared about. When I expressed that “yes, he’s black,” she would go into the bible saying we aren’t supposed to date outside our race, and if we do, we are going to hell!

This only damaged my inner being more than it was already damaged because now that I knew I was going to hell for dating someone who was a different race than me, my feelings of badness only increased. She made me feel less than, lower than the low. Then, as if my feelings of low self-esteem and self-hate couldn’t get any worse, Patricia repeatedly threw scriptures at me and damned me to hell. I guess I was going to hell then because I wasn’t leaving Giovanni alone for anything.

Sadly, being an adoptee, I have discovered more profound thoughts about this topic. How was I dating someone outside my race when I didn’t even know what my race was? Being adopted, I always had this deep-rooted fear that I would date a biological brother or a cousin, which is something non-adoptees can’t comprehend. This taught me to tap into something that I couldn’t ignore.

I had to mentally look at everyone who looked a little like me as a biological family member because I didn’t know they weren’t! However, to bypass this, I learned that dating someone who looked NOTHING like I did was a safe zone to be in. Dealing with a lifetime beginning with secrecy and lies is much deeper than anyone thinks. It impacts every area of our lives and the choices we make all the way back to the beginning!

The flip side is that Patricia repeatedly pointed the finger at me and told me I was going to hell for dating outside my race, but she forgot she signed on the dotted line that cosigned me, never knowing my ethnicity or race! Talk about a mental mind fuck. It was apparent I was on the opposite side of the tracks from this God character, and no matter what I did, I was not going to be good enough! Ever! This wasn’t the least helpful to me; actually highly damaging. So I might as well pull up my bad bitch shoes even higher, and I decided to wear them proudly and didn’t care who I pissed off or hurt. Sadly, I didn’t even care about myself.

One afternoon in 1989, I decided to go home to take a shower and change clothes. However, Patricia insisted I go to turn myself into Drug and Alcohol Rehab at Mercy Hospital. So, at 15 years old, I went but resisted the entire way. I didn’t need drug or alcohol rehab or help, nor did I want the help, but just like Melanie being removed by the tough love people, now it was my turn. Patricia never once took accountability that her actions could have impacted Melanie and me in a traumatic way, nor did she ever acknowledge her part or the adoption component to my behavior.

I spent 30 days of strict routine by waking up at 5 AM daily, walking across the street to the track at McKinley School to start some laps to get the morning going. Then, for the rest of my time in rehab, I was in a locked facility and couldn’t get out if I wanted to. However, there was a warmness about the structure in rehab. A hot meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, no Patricia or her emotional outbursts, and no Mark to torment me and molest me. I made friends and embraced the 30 days. It was much more peaceful than being around Patricia or her outbursts or being sexually abused by Mark.

Not long after I arrived, I remember them handing me the Alcoholics Anonymous big book, and to get out in 30 days, I had to start reading and applying the 12 Steps to my life. In a nutshell, I had to find God.

“Oh, you mean I had to find the same God who was already sending me to hell for various reasons?” I said to myself. Ah, gotcha. Not one person or trained professional asked about my childhood, adoption, or how it felt to be adopted. No one talked about the childhood trauma of growing up in abusive homes. No one wanted to hear about the childhood sexual abuse I had repressed from Mark. Or the suicide attempts from Patricia. No one asked what it feels like to be lost, searching for clues to your beginnings. No one cared why I used drugs and alcohol; they just wanted me to stop using them, and, like this God character, they shamed me for using them.

The responsibility to “find God” was placed on me, along with forgiving all the people who had hurt me. This told me that my heartache and pain were irrelevant, and it didn’t matter. It told me I didn’t matter. It told me my traumatic experiences weren’t real, and my feelings about being adopted were insignificant.

No options, no choices, Just find God.

My experience with God goes much deeper and more profound than “Just having a bad church experience.” God was responsible for shame, punishment, belittlement, and religious trauma, which began in my childhood before I ever stepped foot inside the doors of a church. And my adoption experience goes much deeper than, “She just had a bad adoption experience.”

Where was God when I was being sexually abused by Mark? Where was God when I was watching Patricia lay in the street to try to kill herself and lock herself in her room trying to kill herself? Where was God when my birth mother decided to hand me over to strangers? Where was God when he knew the agony I felt searching for my birth mother every day of my life? Where was God when I was being physically and sexually abused by Diego and Giovanni?

He must have been sitting back watching the whole thing, which let me know God wasn’t looking out for me, but now I had to put everything I had into him to get out of this shit hole? Fake it till you make it was my new motto, especially if my freedom was involved. Finally, I found God all right, long enough to get out of drug and alcohol rehab to freedom.

I pretended I found God, graduated from the program, was released, and was drinking alcohol and using drugs again within the hour. I reached out to Giovanni, and we got together and made up for lost time from being separated for 30 days. Giovanni showed me love that I didn’t feel anywhere else; sometimes, it was because he showed up consistently. The other part was that he told me he loved me and spent time with me.

When I was growing up, loyalty was everything. I remember thinking, “If my birth mother LOVED ME SO MUCH she handed me to strangers, and leaving was considered LOVE, then Giovanni must love me because he stayed.” This thinking also sparked me to prove my love to him because if love was leaving, I wanted to show Giovanni I loved him by staying.

It didn’t matter how abusive he became; he kept showing up. That was more than I got from my birth mother, who abandoned me and never showed up. Trying to make sense of my biological mother giving me away to strangers because she loved me will forever taint my view of love. This was twisted love at its finest and completely wrecked my ability to view what real true love is. It’s taken a lifetime to unravel the roots of my adoptee experience. Even today, at 47 years old, I’ve accepted love as a topic that isn’t for me.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

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

Chapter 1. Sneak Life – Finding Purpose in The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 1.

Sneak Life By Pamela A. Karanova

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott.

I grew up in a small town in Iowa called Cedar Rapids otherwise known as “The City of Five Smells.” Burnt corn, stale, rotten garbage, and overcooked oatmeal are combined to make a nasty stench that covers the city. I will never forget that smell! It’s the home of the largest cereal plants in the world, General Mills and Quaker Oats. Cedar Rapids is also known for being the largest corn producing city in the world. I remember wonderful parks where I spent a lot of my childhood.

In the summer of 1979, on a hot and humid morning, my five-year-old self moped down the creaky wooden stairs somberly to the living room in the big grey house on 13th street. My hair was a sandy blonde, messy from just waking up. It was 7 AM on a Saturday, and everyone was still asleep. It was quite and peaceful for a change.

I always went to bed at night before everyone else and seemed to get sleepy earlier than your average kid. This allowed me to get up earlier most of the time while everyone else was sleeping soundly. This was a magnificent thing because I could watch a few minutes of Saturday morning cartoons, which was rare. If I was lucky, I could also sneak outside for a little bit of freedom.  

The living-room coffee table overflowed with papers, pill containers, magazines, and old and half-filled empty Pepsi cola bottles. Old newspapers, mail, coupons that needed cut, and magazines took up half the couch, and clutter surrounded the area allowing for a tiny sitting space—a full cigarette ashtray sat waiting to be emptied. Boston ferns hung in front of the windows, in desperate need of watering.

I walked into the kitchen to find the usual clutter, dirty dishes piled up and old food, and junk covering the countertops. The garbage was overflowing with a stinky odor filtrating the morning air coming through the windows. Full eight packs of Pepsi bottles lined the baseboard along one wall for my mom’s pleasure. On the other side of the wall sat the empty bottles of Pepsi that I would walk up to the 7-11 gas station to trade with a note from my mom. The gas station would return .10 cents for each empty bottle taken back. The note would say, “Please allow my daughter to trade two eight packs of empty Pepsi bottles for one pack of Marlboro Light 100s. Thank you!”  

I will never forget my five-year-old self walking up 13th street carrying two eight-backs of empty Pepsi bottles. They were heavy, and I was alone, but I was brave and didn’t scare easily. I would stop and take breaks when I needed to. It was about a five-block walk. I would get Patricia her pack of cigarettes with the note and walk back home. We didn’t have enough money for a car, so walking or taking the city bus was a regular event. 

To enjoy the rare luxury of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I managed to jump up on the counter to grab a bowl to enjoy some cereal before everyone else woke up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the good kind with sugar; it was plain cheerios or wheat crisps. But, of course, I had no problems finding the sugar and pouring as much as I wanted into the bowl. 

The big grey house was where some of my first childhood memories were. I lived here with my mom, Patricia, and my sister, Melanie, until approximately 9. Both Patricia and Melanie were night owls, and I was the opposite. I was known as the sleepy head of the family and didn’t appreciate late nights and sleeping half the day away. It was a regular occurrence that dinner not be served until 9 or 10 PM if it was served at all. I got sleepy most of the time and wandered off to bed without eating dinner because it never seemed to be ready at the usual dinner time. It wasn’t odd to me because it was all I knew. This was just the way it was. 

I don’t have any memories of my parents being together, but I believe that’s because they divorced when I was one year old. My sister, Melanie, was 11 months older than me, so we were almost like having twins. I do have one photo of my parents being together before the divorce. When I look at the photo, it’s hard for me to believe that they would divorce less than a year after the photo was taken, and that was the end of their marriage. Why would a marriage only last a year or two?

After the divorce, my dad, Thomas, moved over an hour away to Dunkerton, Iowa. He remarried my stepmom, Laura. Laura had three sons of her own, named Mark, Max, and Mike. We saw them every other weekend, on some holidays, and for a summer vacation. My sister, Melanie, and I stayed with Patricia full time between the visits with our dad. 

Patricia was 33 years old, and she had brown hair and she stood about 5’1 tall. She was going to school to be a Registered Nurse and this was a lifelong dream of hers. She loved soap operas, watching figure skating, and lavender smells, and her favorite color was blue. She enjoyed baking holiday treats and having her family over for festivities. She also loved plants and flowers. She was single as long as I knew her. She would read us bible devotionals and take us to church on occasion. Patricia wanted to be the center of everything, and in all conversations she had with people, she was the dominator so she could be the center of attention. 

She didn’t work the earlier part of my life, but instead, we received public assistance, food stamps, welfare, and child support from my dad to make it by. Things were always tight, and we never had extra money for anything other than the basic needs. 

The house on 13th street was rented to us with Title-19, a program for families to receive assistance with their rent. I’m confident that’s the only way we could afford to live at this house because it was gigantic and it had to be expensive, especially for someone not working. However, even as big as the house was, it only had two bedrooms, so Melanie and I shared a room. 

The Big Grey House on 13th Street, The Porch Roof I Jumped Off Of at 5 years old.

Polk Elementary School was two blocks away. So if we came out of or front or side door and turned left, we walked straight down the alley two blocks and ran into the school playground. I was not too fond of school, and I never did well in it.   

If we came out of our front door and turned right, made another right at the stop sign, and walked about five blocks down, we ran into Helen and Leo’s house. Helen was an 81-year-old lady who used to babysit us while Patricia was in school to get her nursing degree. Leo was 92, and he was Helen’s husband. So we spent a lot of time at Helen and Leo’s. 

Their house was old, musty, and dark. However, the backyard did have a swing set, and we were on it as much as possible. The basement was better known as the “Dog house!” and we spent much time there. What would get us thrown in the dog house? Being rowdy, rambunctious, not listening, or misbehaving in some way. And sometimes, nothing would get us sent to the dog house; we were just ordered to go! 

The doghouse was filled with old books, unfinished rooms, and an old school laundry room, and it felt like doom. The floor was concrete and cold. Leo made a habit of seeing me and kicking me in my ass and shouting, “little bastard!” This was followed by a mumble of “get out of my way!” It was no secret that Leo was grumpy, and we needed to stay out of his way. He would send me straight to the dog house if I didn’t move quick enough or if I crossed his path. Thankfully he was just a mean old man and not a dirty, mean old man. 

Helen was about her business. She wasn’t warm or grandma-like, as you would think. Sometimes she would forget we were down in the dog house, so we would stay for a long time. We better not come out of the dog house without being excused first. And sometimes, Patricia would leave us at Leo and Helen’s overnight or for several days at a time. So Helen would put blankets on the living room floor, where we would sleep until Patricia eventually made the call for Helen to send us to walk home. Patricia was supposed to pay Helen for babysitting us, but she rarely gave her the money she was owed, and she still kept sending us anyway. 

We passed several houses with Dobermann Pinschers chained to the front porch as we walked back and forth. That was the primary way to secure your home and belongings when I was coming up. I will never forget walking the five blocks back home from Helen’s, and one particular day a man called us to his car window. We walked over, and he was sitting naked, masturbating himself. I was with a cousin at the time, and we both screamed and took off running all the way home to the big grey house on 13th street. We told Patricia and the cops were called to the car where the gross man was.

Patricia slept a lot, and she was always taking naps. I didn’t know what depression or mental illness was as a child, but I do now. She was severely depressed due to the divorce, and she felt like a failure as a parent. She would sleep late in the day most days because she stayed up late at night. During school days, I remember waking myself up and getting myself ready for school most days while she slept half of the day away. Anytime she took naps in the day or evening, it was a perfect opportunity for me to sneak off and run wild; it was my way of life!

My Saturday morning cereal and cartoons were an unusual treat in the big grey house. Sometimes I would put clothes on and sneak outside to play until I heard the dreaded yell. Being outside was a great escape for me, and I would try to sneak out as much as possible. I would do wild and crazy things because I was a daredevil. I would climb trees to the top and climb on the rooftops to hang out. I was a tomboy and grew up feeling invincible. 

I have memories of all the neighborhood kids daring me to jump off the roof of the big porch of the grey house and jump down to the ground when Patricia was gone one day. But, of course, I wasn’t scared, and I did it with great pride. I almost felt like I should have won an award for being so brave, but several claps followed by hemming and hawing from all my friends would do. 

Of course, I was not supposed to be outside when Patricia was gone; however, sneaking outside was a full-time job for me from a very early age. I was the queen of sneak. But it was all over as soon as she came back home, and I would hear her shout out the front door, “Pammy, get back in this house!” I knew I would get in trouble, but I didn’t care, so I pretended I didn’t hear her. I continued to sneak anyway, proudly. 

I would hear her yell again a short time later, but I would ride every second of freedom out to the fullest. I didn’t want to go back inside because I knew I would never be allowed to come back outside again. Sneaking was the only option for me. Finally, after hearing Patricia yell for me a second and sometimes a third time, I would mope back inside with a sorrowful aura about myself. The escape to freedom was over. But make no mistakes, I was already planning my next escape adventure!

But for now, onto the constant and never-ending task of catering to and caring for Patricia. “You know better than to go outside without permission!” yelled Patricia. The reality was that I could never go outside, even with permission. This is why I made a run for it any chance I could! Getting in trouble was worth it to get out of the house for a short time. 

I remember walking up to First Avenue to fetch Patricia’s medications from the pharmacy many times as a little girl. As young as six years old, I would cross the busiest street in the city. I guess Patricia’s medications were that important, and it was my job to make sure she didn’t run out of them. One particular day, I was walking home, and my classmate Manuel Gonzales came up to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained that I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s medication. He asked me to give him one of the pills, and I did. 

He wandered off, and I was stopped by a police car within a few minutes. The officer got out and asked me my name and where I lived. I told him my name was Pamela, and I pointed down the street, and he proceeded to ask me to get in his car so he could take me home. I didn’t understand why; however, Manual ran straight over to the fire department a block down the road and let them know I had given him a pill and that I was walking home with them now. 

We pulled up at the big grey house, and I knew I would get into trouble giving Manual one of Patricia’s pills. The police officer called Patricia to the door and handed her the medication bag. He scolded her for allowing me to cross the busiest street in the city at my age, and he strongly disagreed with her having me pick up her medications at that age. He also said I was carrying the narcotic diazepam, otherwise known as Valiums. The cops gave her a warning, and my ass was grass once they left. That was the last time I ever walked to pick up Patricia’s medications. 

When I didn’t have school, as soon as Patricia was awake for the day, it was time for me to get busy. She created a chore chart the size of a 22×28-inch poster board. Each entry of a chore was a 1/4 of an inch, and the poster board was full of chores. From top to bottom! A few of the tasks were everyday chores most kids can relate to doing, like taking the trash out and making your bed up. Others were strange things like rubbing and massaging Patricia’s back, feet, and legs using lotion, running her bathwater, brushing her hair, and making her bed up. She made me give her enemas while she lay on the bathroom floor, and she would also make me pop all her pimples. Talk about disgusting. Were other kids doing this, I wondered?

In addition, she wanted us to cut coupons for days, file papers in her filing cabinet, and handle other miscellaneous tasks most kids don’t do. We were always in charge of helping her clean piles of clothes and trash off her bedroom floor, changing her bedding, and dusting her bedroom and the whole house. Cleaning and caretaking were embedded in me from a very young age.

The reward was the star sticker system. Each chore was a one-star sticker, and if we got 25 stars, we got a popsicle or a nickel or a dime. The chores were never done, and as soon as we thought we would be close to getting them done, it was a new week and time to start them all over again. Once it was time to give us the little bit of change that was owed to us, we never had the money and bills being due was the reason.

Patricia was a professional at getting people to feel sorry for her, especially churches. As far back as I could remember, we had churches helping us pay our bills and donating us food when we had little to eat. She knew how to turn on the tears at a second’s notice and did a great job telling the story of her husband leaving her for another woman, and she’s a single mother raising two kids with no help or assistance.

The basement was problematic; it was continuously flooded with water, and water bugs were everywhere. We cleaned up all the rotten wood from a failed attempt to create a floor. The wooden floor was created so we could put our toys on it to stay safe from the water, but the water rotted the wood in no time. Our toys were mixed with the mess, so we bagged most of it, hauling them off to the trash. 

If I ever thought my chores were almost done so I could go outside and play, Patricia would insist I entertain her wants and needs. “Pammy, go get me a Pepsi,” and “Pammy, go run my bathwater.” “Pammy, come watch figure skating with me, and you can work on your workbook.” It was never-ending all about her. If getting paid to fetch her Pepsis and massaging her body was a job, I would be a millionaire. 

Spending time with her wasn’t my kind of fun if I had any “fun.” It was her kind of fun. We would watch Lawrence Welk, old-timer television shows, and play Kings Corners. I would help her get her flower beds ready and pull weeds out. She would talk non-stop sharing stories about her life, her family and her childhood. She also spent a lot of time bashing my dad, Thomas and his new wife, Laura. It was clear she held a lot of resentment about the divorce and him and Laura.

I longed to be a regular child who could go outside and play with friends without sneaking and getting in trouble. I would have given anything to be able to have friends over to stay all night, but that was always out of the question. I don’t think I ever had one friend stay all night in all my life, and I can count on one hand the times I stayed at a friend’s house all night. 

One evening when I was five years old, I watched television with Patricia, and we saw a woman giving birth to a baby. “Did I come out of your tummy like that, Mommy?” Her answer would forever change the trajectory of my life. 

She said, “No, honey. You were adopted. That means you came out of another woman’s tummy. She loved you so much, but she couldn’t care for you. She made my dreams come true to be a parent. I will always love her because of her selfless decision.” 

I remember the feelings of total confusion that came over my life. I said, “Who is she, and where is she?” Patricia said, “I don’t know who she is or where she is. The adoption was closed, so all of that information was kept private. I know your birth mother loved you so much, and she wanted you to have a better life.”

After this, I didn’t ask any more questions, but my brain would not stop thinking about my “birth mother.” My thoughts were, “So you mean you aren’t my real parents and my real siblings?” I was blown away at the news of being adopted. I stuffed my feelings out of respect for Patricia’s dreams coming true, but my life would never be the same.

I wish I could share that Melanie and I had a close relationship growing up, but we didn’t. It seemed like Patricia and Melanie were constantly fighting, and with no choice of my own, I was stuck in the middle, left to be the comforter to Patricia. She had constant outbursts that created a living hell in the big grey house. This created an automatic wedge between Melanie and me for as long as I can remember. Things were manageable during the peaceful times in the big grey house, but when all hell broke loose, all hell broke loose. 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

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

Introduction – Finding Purpose In The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Introduction By Pamela A. Karanova

“We have to walk through all the adoptee layers, to make it to the light, but it won’t come overnight or without a lifelong fight!” – Finding Purpose in the Pain – One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

This is the story of my beginnings of how I was born and grew up, discovered I was adopted, and went on to find my biological family going against the grain of the closed adoption system. This is a story of searching and finding in a time when there was no internet, cell phones, or adoptee-centric connect groups. It’s a story of acceptance, acknowledgment, processing grief, loss, abandonment, rejection, and ultimately healing. It’s a story of never giving up hope that I would find my people and essentially my truth one day.

It’s taken me close to 48 years to finally come to a place where I am ready to share my story via an audible memoir. I have been writing for over a decade on my website, and I have attempted to write my story off and on over the last ten years, but one thing was sure. It wasn’t time yet. Timing is everything.

While most non-adopted people likely can’t relate, the adoptee experience isn’t your typical life experience. While other people were the ones who made this decision for my life, I have been the one to unravel all of the truths and tales to get to the bottom of why I am here and who I am. Like most adoptees, my story is complex, trauma-filled, messy, and ugly at times. But, it’s also an equal combination of triumph, healing, surviving, and overcoming the odds. I’m excited to share my story with you.

It’s only been the last 4 to 5 years that I have arrived at the space of healing where I feel confident in sharing pieces of my story that I have always left in the dark. While I have demanded the universe tell me my truth, I have had to kick, scream, and fight every step of the way to get it. As a result, I have made some mistakes and pissed many people off, and I am confident this audible memoir will piss more people off.

While most stories might start with the typical “beginning of life” theme, that place for me was null and void because it was kept a secret from me due to being adopted in a closed adoption in 1974. The beginning of my life was the state of Iowa’s best-kept secret.

One of the biggest struggles in getting my story out is that I never knew where to start with my life beginning non-traditionally. I thank the unnatural act of adoption for that. Thinking about my life and its complexities, my thoughts would overwhelm me when I started to write my story, and I would shut down in frustration. I would start a chapter and then stop, start another chapter and then stop again.

It’s no secret when someone is adopted; their beginnings aren’t usually a cute story, even when the world tries to cover it up and celebrate adoption in all God’s glory. The truth is, I didn’t know my beginnings, and if I let the world have its way, I would never know who I was or where I came from.

We all have a beginning, but adoptees often don’t know their beginning until the middle of their lives and sometimes the end. Sometimes they don’t know their truth at all. Not that they didn’t want to know it, but there are a million roadblocks that stand in the way. I plan to share some with you as I share my story.

While I share my story with you, I need to share that some names, locations, and minor details have been fictionalized to protect the people’s privacy discussed in this audible memoir. Otherwise, this memoir is true based on experiences that I remember with a few specific areas where I fill in the gaps with creative nonfiction. Some of the things I share are stories and facts that I have heard from other people who were close to my adoptive families and birth families.

This audible memoir should be considered a trigger warning to all who read and listen to it. I discuss suicide, religious trauma, spiritual bypassing, deconstructing from religion, drug and alcohol abuse, recovery, failed therapy attempts, emotional, mental, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. I will share my chapters by uploading them to my platforms one by one and writing them one by one because I find this a more manageable and less stressful load due to having a full-time career and Adoptees Connect, Inc. to manage. Beware, I use curse words to express my feelings, and I consider this an essential part of my healing and recovery process. If you have sensitive ears, do not proceed.

I will also consider the nature of the content I will share as sensitive, and practicing self-care between the chapters will be essential to share my story. Sharing my story is a tremendous labor of love and one that I have to go back in time to revisit. I will be reliving traumatic events from the past and revisiting experiences that scare me slightly. Chapter by chapter, discovering clue by clue, I invite you to join me as I release one chapter at a time and take breaks in between to pause to reflect on all my life has been.

This is a story about breaking out of the boxes that society has built around me and discovering who I am and who I’m not, regardless of my adoption status. It’s a story of constantly evolving to grow, heal and overcome the obstacles I had no choice over that many adoptees face.

Thank you for being on this journey with me, being patient with me, and understanding that I am sure I will make mistakes along the way. This will not be your traditional memoir because I am telling my story in the way that works the best for me. I will do the best I can to articulate events of my life to the best of my abilities. My entire life, I would look in the mirror and ask myself, who am I, and where did I come from? Who’s fingers and toes do I have? Why am I so tall?

Finally, after 48 years, I can be true to myself and share with you what it costs me to discover my truth.

Meet Little Pammy.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

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

Being Rejected Before Being Born – An Adoptee’s Perspective

It’s no secret that adoption impacts every adopted person differently. When sharing my story, I describe my separation trauma and relinquishment experience before I was adopted as three separate layers of the primal wound and mother wound:

  1. The rejection from my birth mother before I was born.
  2. The abandonment and rejection I received from her at birth.
  3. The rejection and abandonment I experienced from her after I searched and found her. 

They all come with their own set of layered pain, and they all have impacted me immensely in every area of my life. We must distinguish the difference in all three, as they are different dynamics to the lived adoptee experience. 

I am so thankful I have arrived at a place of healing, and I have learned so many lifelong lessons along the way. While I believe all the articles I have written over the last decade are beneficial in many ways, it’s not until the last year that I feel my articles come from a more well-rounded space. My anger and rage have subsided. While I still feel those feelings and consider them natural feelings to the lifelong adoptee experience, my messages are better received and come across as more informative.

I’m not sure how much research you have done on the prenatal bonding experience that a mother and child experience before their baby is born? That was one of the many areas I wanted to dive into because I know this time in my pre-verbal and prenatal life didn’t go as planned. 

What do I mean? 

I was conceived out of an affair with a married man, and he was a close friend of the family, at least ten years older than my biological mother. Unfortunately, my biological mother chose to give me up for adoption. After spending a lifetime searching for clues to my story, I genuinely believe that she rejected the pregnancy, including me, before I ever entered the world. 

This is entirely different from being rejected and abandoned after entering the world. But, at the same time, they are all very significant dynamics to the adoptee experience. 

I wrote an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes,” and in this article, I had to dissect my birth mother’s life and get to the bottom of her story. Why? Because I wanted to take my anger, rage, and pain and bring some understanding and compassion into the picture. This is one of the most powerful steps to healing for adoptees. 

I wrote:

“I learned that my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even throughout her pregnancy with me. She was considered an alcoholic by those close to her, and they told me stories about her life that helped me better understand her. During the 20 years of silence from her, I was angry. I was hurt. I was rage-filled, and alcohol was the only thing that made a bit of a dent in navigating through this pain. It didn’t help me process anything, but it helped me not feel the truth.”

One of the worst parts for an adopted individual is that we’re dealing with roadblocks to receiving our truth every step of the way. Some of us never find it at all, and others gather fragments of clues over a 40-50-60 year span, and we barely arrive at a place of understanding after our life is well over half over. (if we’re lucky) Some of us have spent every bit of our lives feeling incomplete, lost, and filled with mental torment because living in the unknown is a tremendous burden.  

What does this have to do with being rejected before being born?

Once we can assess the truth of our stories BEFORE THE GRAND ENTRANCE into the world, it helps us form conclusions on why things are the way they are and why our biological mothers chose to give us up for adoption. It gives a glimpse of her era and how things were in her life.

This information is critical to the healing of the adoptee experience. 

Every tiny clue matters!

Once I knew that my biological mother drank alcohol the entire pregnancy with me, it was like the lights flipped on. I knew at that moment that she couldn’t possibly bond with the baby in her belly for nine months. So she actually likely and purposely emotionally and mentally blocked any bonding out, and alcohol was the primary way she was able to do this. 

She was a sick woman long before I ever came into the world or was conceived. I had empathy and compassion for her and learned that her biggest problem was her alcohol use which ultimately killed her in her 60s. 

While I have been able to acknowledge and accept that she didn’t bond with me in utero but likely discouraged such bonding before I was born, I can’t deny this hasn’t had a lifelong impact on my life. Did I bond with her even when she couldn’t bond with me? Perhaps, I would like to think so, but that doesn’t change the dynamic of me feeling, knowing, and instinctively realizing that she didn’t bond with me. It takes two to bond, so I can safely say I believe I just answered my question. 

 Many people aren’t aware that this is even a thing, but I tell you, it is. While trying to piece my journey together to assess this dynamic, I have purposely researched how vital prenatal bonding is with our biological mothers and the post-natal bonding experience. I wanted to dive into this so I could understand myself better. For my fellow adoptees reading, I encourage you to do the same. 

While we already know the bond that was broken when I was born and separated from my birth mother and how it impacts every area of the adoptee’s life. This is the same for anyone separated from their biological mothers because this is a traumatic experience for all. Therefore, I encourage you to research Attachment Theory and learn about the implications of being separated from your biological mothers at the beginning of life.

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory suggests: 

“Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis suggests that continual disruption of the attachment between infant and primary caregiver (i.e., mother) could result in long-term cognitive, social, and emotional difficulties for that infant. Bowlby originally believed the effects to be permanent and irreversible.”

What’s also shared: 

“John Bowlby, working alongside James Robertson (1952), observed that children experienced intense distress when separated from their mothers. Even when such children were fed by other caregivers, this did not diminish the child’s anxiety.”

They found three progressive stages of distress:

  • Protest: The child cries, screams and protests angrily when the parent leaves. They will try to cling on to the parent to stop them leaving.
  • Despair: The child’s protesting begins to stop, and they appear to be calmer although still upset. The child refuses others’ attempts for comfort and often seems withdrawn and uninterested in anything.
  • Detachment: If separation continues, the child will start to engage with other people again. They will reject the caregiver on their return and show strong signs of anger.

I believe in the reality that mothers aren’t interchangeable. I do believe, at times, a substitute mother can come into play, as in our adoptive mothers; however, the bond is nothing like that of the bond we are supposed to have with our biological mothers. I feel once the damage is done with the broken bond, nothing can repair it, and it can and does impact every area of our lives. 

Research foster youth, foster adults, and adopted youth and adopted adults and see how the prison system, jails, treatment, and mental health facilities are over-populated with these individuals. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the aftermath of the primal wound and separation trauma. I could do the research for you, but I already have, and I encourage you to do the same. 

But what happens when we are rejected before we are even born? 

The Evolution of a Theory of Prenatal Attachment: 

Rubin, a nurse specializing in maternity care doing doctoral work at the University of Chicago, perhaps laid the foundation for a theoretical construct of attachment that begins before birth states:

“She identified four specific tasks the women she observed navigated before childbirth: (1) Seeking safe passage for self and baby, (2) ensuring that the baby is accepted by significant others, (c) “binding-in” 3, and (4) giving of herself. These tasks formed a framework for her conceptualization of the psychological experience of pregnancy and, although she did not use the term “attachment,” Ruben states: “By the end of the second trimester, the pregnant woman becomes so aware of the child within her and attaches so much value to him that she possesses something very dear, very important to her, something that gives her considerable pleasure and pride.” 

We can all acknowledge that this process of prenatal bonding can likely be interrupted when it comes to the feelings our biological mothers have about us when they are pregnant due to the very nature of the pregnancy outcome, I think this is noteworthy to investigate each adoptee’s experience. 

I know that this dynamic in my journey has helped me understand myself. Yes, it was a hard pill to swallow that I believe my birth mother rejected the pregnancy and, in return, rejected me for the nine months she carried me. However, acknowledging this and accepting it as part of my story has brought me great healing and understanding of why I am the way I am. 

If I’m candid and transparent, I feel broken because of this severed bond. Not only did my birth mother reject the pregnancy, but she abandoned me and rejected me after she gave birth. So while they are two separate things, I have often tried to take myself back to the days when I was in the womb and to try to process the feelings of my preborn self, to get to the bottom of what I might be feeling; at that time? Any chance of repair with her was shattered, because once I found her she rejected a relationship with me. Unfortunately, in my case this only added insult to injury setting me up for the biggest disappointment of my life.

In utero, I could likely feel the warmth of her body, but her coldness towards me was also felt. I could feel her desire to “get it over with” regarding the delivery and pregnancy altogether. I could feel her disdain and shame for conceiving a baby out of wedlock in 1974 and becoming pregnant by a friend of the family who was older than her and was married at the time. 

I could taste the alcohol she drank daily as any attempt to dull the pain. What did that alcohol do to me every day of my life for the nine months she carried me? One can only speculate. She never sang to me; she never embraced my touch or the growth of her growing belly. Instead, her feelings of badness transferred into my tiny body, and I was born with the feelings of being bad that stayed with me most of my life. 

While this all seems like a lot for an adoptee to navigate, walk through, and process, I can share that even when learning these things has been excruciatingly painful, it’s helped me heal. 

I want to emphasize that it is critically important for every adopted person to know the whole truth about their beginnings and the story of conception. We need to know it, we deserve to know it, and it is life or death for us. Can you imagine not knowing who brought you into the world and not knowing your conception and birth stories? 

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable. But, it’s also inhumane to expect any human being to live through this painful and traumatic experience rooted in shame, secrecy, and lies. So, why are adopted adults still paying the price for others’ decisions and outdated laws from the baby scoop era? 

While I hope this article sheds some light on the different layers of the adoptee experience regarding separation trauma and prenatal bonding, I encourage you to do your research and dig as deep as possible to uncover your truth. The truth holds the keys to acceptance and, ultimately, healing. 

Let me also share that no one handed me this information. Therefore, it was up to me to fight the closed adoption laws and raise hell until I got my truth! Even when I was lied to my whole life, and I had people deliberately throw shade to discourage me from ever learning my truth, I kept pushing anyway. This is what I call THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE which is an article I wrote to describe what this struggle has been like. 

For my fellow adoptees, have you been able to learn the truth of your conception? Do you feel like you bonded with your birth mother before you were born, and do you think she rejected the pregnancy? How do you think this impacted you?

Have you ever processed through this layer of the adoptee experience? If so, what did you uncover? If you haven’t, is it by choice, or are you lacking the information needed? 

Thank you for reading and listening! 

Love, Love, 

Pamela A. Karanova 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

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

She Just Had a Bad Adoption Experience

Wow, at how many times I’ve heard people whispering these sentiments as I walk on by with a giant-sized adoptee chip on my shoulder. I couldn’t even begin to count, but it’s a lot. Even when they don’t say it directly to me, I feel it.

But the truth of the matter is that if we’re being honest and transparent, a trauma occurs before every adoption occurs when we experience the separation from our biological mothers. Even when adoptees are removed from dire situations and taken into foster care to more safe environments, the trauma of separation is still present. Because of this trauma, every adoptee can equate separating from our biological mothers as a bad adoption experience.

Some of us have awful experiences after we are adopted, and some have wonderful ones. But, of course, no two adoption stories are alike. Still, one thing for certain is that before every adoption occurs, the trauma of separation from our biological mothers occurs first.

The world pretends that separation trauma doesn’t exist in adoption. They gloss over it and even celebrate it. But then, they sweep it under the rug, ignore it and act like it doesn’t exist. Yet, the separation trauma is genuine and the root of every adoptee’s experience.

Some adopted people don’t even understand or realize that this trauma can impact every area of their lives. Unfortunately, most of the world doesn’t acknowledge it or recognize it either. If they truly knew, would they still celebrate every adopted person’s trauma, not leaving room for the realities of the heartache every adoptee experiences before they are ever adopted?

When we know better, we do better. At least we hope that is the plan.

My reason for sharing this article is to highlight that we must acknowledge and recognize as a society that separation trauma is a real thing, and it hurts. Separation trauma always happens before the adoption takes place. When I write, I try to distinguish that the SEPARATION is TRAUMA. And while we can speak about adoption being trauma, for some of us, it can be. But separation trauma is a separate thing. It’s essential to identify them as separate events in our lives.

 No matter who my biological mother was, how she was, or what she wasn’t, she was my biological mother. And no matter what the reasons were for our separation, it caused me a lot of heartache to lose her. But unfortunately, the world and my adoptive parents swept it under the rug because that is what everyone is told to do. We’re blank slates. But let me share a part of how the separation trauma showed up in my life.

At 12, I started drinking alcohol, and I started to run away. I started breaking the law, and I was in and out of group homes, juvenile detention, and drug and alcohol treatment. I was in an abusive relationship and pregnant at 15. This was only the beginning of what the world can consider “acting out” as a teenager. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of a lifetime of troubles. I drank alcohol for 27 years to cope with the pain.  

But it was much more than that. I knew I was adopted, and to the very core of my being, I just wanted and needed to find my biological mother. But no one knew the internal agony I was going through. I didn’t even understand it. Read over some of my articles, specifically “She’s Bad,” and you can gain a glimpse of the feelings I have carried.

For those who want to apply the label to my life, “She just had a bad adoption experience,” let me share some advice with you. Instead of applying this label to me, my life, and my fellow adoptees, why not open your heart up to the possibility that there is much more to adoption than what you always knew?

You can continue to label me as the lady that just had a bad adoption experience, but I ask you to reconsider your thoughts. Maybe I share my pain because it brings healing to my life. Maybe I share it with my fellow adoptees to know they aren’t alone. Maybe writing is healing to me. Maybe it’s one of the only places I can share my feelings about being adopted, and non-adoptees can’t silence me, shut me down, and tell me how to feel? Maybe writing my thoughts about adoption-related topics has helped me more than the 100 therapists I have seen in my life? Maybe it’s a safe place for me, and the world is not when it comes to sharing adoptee thoughts and feelings?

Also, please understand that the sentiments of “she just had a bad adoption experience” come off as gaslighting and invalidating my trauma and pain resulting from separation trauma and my adoption experience. Please stop.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. Hopefully, this article helps non-adoptees understand that every adoption is rooted in separation trauma first. It’s so much deeper than me just having a bad adoption experience!

How many of my fellow adoptees have heard this at some point in your journey? How has it made you feel?

Thank you for reading,

Love,

Pamela A. Karanova  

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*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

Adoptees, You Are Not Your Abandonment and Rejection

I know the title of this article is so much easier said than felt, but man, I have to share a few things about the experiences and wounds that many of us carry that I describe as very deep-rooted abandonment & rejection wounds. When we think of these wounds, we tend to believe that they began after we were born, but I suggest they could have started before birth due to the research I have done over the last 10 years. Just what we need, more cards stacked up against us. But knowledge is power, and it also promotes healing. 

I have lived with this wound for 47 years in addition to my time in utero, so I understand how it can manifest in an adoptee’s life and how we can try to hide it and cover it up or act like it doesn’t exist. Sometimes many of us don’t understand this is even a thing. But no matter what we do, abandonment and rejection issues always seem to circle back around and rear their ugly heads. 

I am not sure if you have thought about this or not, but many of us experienced our very first feelings of rejection while we were still in the womb of our birth mothers. I share this because I have researched prenatal bonding and prenatal psychology to try to understand my wound better.  

We are all supposed to grow a strong bond with our biological mothers while still in the womb; however, that bond doesn’t always happen for adoptees. Research shows that biological mothers can and do bond with their babies while in utero, so it’s only safe to say that they can also disconnect and not connect with the baby during pregnancy. I learned we all have a critical process of development before birth, and it’s possible to be born with psychological issues due to a lack of bonding and connection with our biological mothers. This would only add to separation trauma, compacted by adoption trauma. 

To help me understand the bond I should have had with my birth mother during conception,  I read many books and articles that helped me understand how important this bond was because then I understood what I was missing if I didn’t have this bond with my biological mother. I also learned how this had impacted me throughout my life into adulthood. 

A few of the books I read are, Babies Remember Birth, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Pre-Parenting – Nurturing Your Child From Conception, and Windows to the Womb – Revealing the Conscious Baby from Conception to Birth

However, many times when an adoptee is going to be relinquished for adoption, our biological mothers purposely try not to bond with the baby growing inside their bellies for nine months. Why? Without a strong mother bond to us, it’s said to be easier to relinquish when the time comes. With this, sometimes, our biological mothers can purposefully try to block any emotions or feelings that come with bonding to the baby they are carrying for nine months. As a result, we feel this rejection back to the beginning for many of us before we were ever born. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to connect the dots and make sense of it all. And sometimes adoptees go to their grave, never really understanding that the abandonment and rejection we feel aren’t who we are; it’s something that happened to us. It’s sometimes next to impossible to weigh these dynamics out, let alone heal from them. 

It’s impossible to heal a wound by denying it’s there, so I wanted to write about this wound many of us carry that is no fault of our own. While researching conception and how babies can and do tune into their mother’s emotions during these nine months, even if our biological mothers aren’t purposely trying to not bond with us, their feelings of us are felt by us and can be carried in our subconscious memories. It’s no wonder many of us don’t understand the complexities of this wound because no one is teaching us or telling us that it exists. 

Once we know more, we can heal more. 

For me, my desire to HEAL was SO GREAT. I wanted to research the entire scope of pregnancy and pre-birth for myself, so I could try to get a better idea of my beginnings and how it all went down with my birth mother. Some of these discoveries I have learned were hard to grasp, but they have helped me understand from a more profound level, which helps me understand myself better. In return, I am learning to have empathy and compassion for myself and my birth mother. Every little clue to my beginnings has helped me heal, and I hope my fellow adoptees explore this dynamic so they can try to understand themselves better. 

While reading an article on the Integrative Psychiatry Institute website that is called “How Prenatal and Birth Imprints Set the Stage for Adult Behaviors HPP15,” I learned: 

“From a prenatal psychology perspective, the development in the womb and the birth process can have a huge impact on who we are as adults and the behaviors that we default to.” 

This alone inspires me to learn as much as possible about my prenatal life and to learn all the information that I can about my birth story. As adoptees, we’re usually always considered blank slates; when we enter into the contractual agreement, we don’t sigh; we call this adoption. 

While society and our adoptive parents at large spark our stories beginning with our adoptive parents, the adoptee community is circling around to let the world know that our stories didn’t start at adoption. They started long before then, and our stories before adoption matter, and they are essential to each of us. 

While I began to fight the world for my truth, I learned many things about my biological mother that helped me understand her decision to relinquish me for adoption. So I wanted to step into her shoes to learn more about her life as a child, her life growing up and her life when she conceived me, the days up to my delivery, and her life after. I wrote about this before in an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes.” In understanding her journey better, I understood my life better. 

I learned I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He was a close friend of the family, ten years older than my biological mother. The pregnancy with me was hidden from him and everyone around. It was a secret, and no one was supposed to know at all costs. I can only imagine how my birth mother felt during that time. Maybe she didn’t feel at all because I learned she drank every day through the entire pregnancy with me. I genuinely believe she rejected the pregnancy while she was pregnant with me, and even when I could have bonded with her because I was connected to her, she was not bonded with me and even likely fought this connection off. By learning about her alcohol abuse, I am left to speculate. I learned she worked up until the day she had me and went back to work the very next day. She checked into the hospital under an alias.

 I think she felt “bad” for being pregnant by a married man, and one of the feelings I have carried my whole life is the feeling of being BAD. Read, “She’s Bad.” The feelings of secrecy and shame likely consumed her, which makes it no secret I have had to work hard to remove the way she felt from my life because it has always felt like I was born with that shame, secrecy, and badness. I have felt sad and lonely for most of my life, and I believe this was also the feelings my birth mother felt during her pregnancy and the days leading up to my birth. In many ways, for many years, it defined who I am because that is all I have known. However, I am not those things, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt like them for most of my life. Learning to separate them has helped me tremendously.  

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“A bad birth can be like a thorn in the flesh, which keeps getting inflamed.” 

We can all guarantee that any child relinquished for adoption can be equated with an inhumane and bad birth/experience. It’s one of the most significant traumas we will ever experience, yet society continues to turn a blind eye and act as if it doesn’t exist. 

In Babies Remember Birth, if you skip to page 134, you will find chapter 10, titled PITFALLS. If you decide to read on, you will learn of many individuals who experienced separation trauma and what that felt like as they participated in hypnosis in therapy and tap into their preverbal consciousness. 

One person even said, “It was like a funeral at birth.” 

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. also states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“Things said during pregnancy can leave harmful imprints, “birthmarks” that are psychological rather than physical. But, even inside the womb, babies can learn to cope with unhappy parents.” 

I am sharing these dynamics in this article because I hope all my fellow adoptees understand that the wounds of abandonment and rejection they carry are valid, legit, and so very real. They can and do go back to our preverbal and prenatal lives. For each of our individual lives, it helps by investigating further by asking more questions and not giving up or taking “no” for an answer. 

The argument can be raised from the adoptee’s perspective that we need our truth to gain this reality of our beginnings, and they are correct. This is why I will always side with my fellow adoptees learning their truth because everyone deserves to know who they are and where they come from. I fought the moment I came out of the womb and likely while in the womb. I even wrote about it one time in an article titled “The Fight of My Life – Revised.” I have fought like so many of my fellow adoptees have to learn our truth when it seems like the whole world is up against us. 

I was never giving up, but I almost died trying many times over. 

One of the many discoveries I have learned is that although I feel abandoned and rejected by my birth mother, she didn’t know me to reject me. Instead, she rejected the unresolved wounds that she had never processed due to her alcohol dependency. She rejected her decision, the outcome of my adoptive parents divorcing when I was one, and that her decision didn’t create a better life for me, only a different one. I acknowledged her alcohol abuse was a focus of her life way before I was born. She had a hard life and a challenging childhood. I heard many stories, and every little clue helped me understand better and begin healing in return. 

Separation trauma can impact adoptees significantly, and everyone reacts differently to trauma. However, one of the most significant dynamics for adoptees is that we often suffer in silence because our adoptive parents and the world celebrate adoption. In return, they celebrate our trauma. They leave no room for our sorrow or sadness. Our conception and preconception stories, and birth stories are a part of our history. Even when we’re considered blank slates, what happens during these times matters to adoptees. 

While abandonment and rejection from our adoption experiences can and does impact each of us significantly, and sometimes the wounds last a lifetime, the more we learn about our [His]-Story and [Her]-Story, the more we learn about ourselves. So it’s essential to separate the differences between the things we have control over and the things we don’t. We had no control over what happened to us as babies, but we can fight like hell for our truth. I always try to remember I am not how abandonment and rejection from adoption has made me feel. I am not the pain and heartbreak. Yes, it’s been a part of my life and always will be, but we are all so much more than how adoption has made us feel. We have a purpose, and we all have many countless reasons that the universe brought us together. 

Being adopted, it’s sometimes hard to feel like anyone cares about you. But I am here to share that you won’t feel others care about you until you put yourself first and learn to care about yourself FIRST. For me, that meant letting go of the feelings of being misunderstood. My fellow adoptees get me, and that’s good enough for me. But, unfortunately, other people can’t get me because they aren’t walking in my shoes. 

So much of what adoptees experience and endure along our journeys aren’t our fault. The feelings of abandonment and rejection aren’t our faults either. I hope you know that you are so much more than how adoption makes you feel wherever you are in your healing journey. You are NOT how abandonment and rejection make you feel. Trauma doesn’t have a healing time frame, so be easy on yourself and allow yourself to feel the feelings when they surface. Then, allow yourself the space to seek healing and guidance by adoptee-competent trauma specialists.

Research all of the dynamics of the wounds you carry as an adoptee and, if possible, go back to previous generations. You can bet that your biological mother’s decision didn’t start with her. Consider reading the book “It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.” 

It’s not your fault, and you didn’t deserve the pain adoption has caused you. You are not your abandonment and rejection. You are more valuable, and your story is of utmost importance, back to the very beginning. 

Never stop fighting for your truth; you deserve it. Never stop researching and learning about the wounds we carry. Understand, most of society won’t acknowledge them, so it’s up to YOU to do the work. But, acknowledging these realities is the first step.

I hope this article helps one of my fellow adoptees out there.

 For those who have made it this far, have you been able to gain any information on your biological mother to help form a conclusion of what your preverbal and prenatal lives might have been like? 

Have you made the connection that the way she felt during pregnancy could very well be impacting you to this day? 

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Love, Love PK 

*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

Why I Have A Blazing Passion to Share My Story and What It Cost Me to Tell It

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” – Janis Joplin.

When an adoptee is adopted, we are immediately put in a position where we are expected to forget our former selves and carry on with life as if our pre-adoption life never existed. 

When we grow up and start to develop internal feelings about this, these feelings often manifest outside ourselves in many different ways. Some of us use unhealthy coping mechanisms like using substances or alcohol. Some of us are perfectionists and overachievers. Some of us are workaholics. Some are addicted to food and spending money. Some of us are rage-filled and angry as hell. Some have healthy coping mechanisms like working out, exercising, hiking, running, bike riding, jogging, volunteering, writing, etc. 

But it’s no secret that when we start to tap into our real feelings and begin to express them verbally, we are walking a thin line here, and we feel every bit of it. I could possibly describe it as modern-day blackmail.  

Blackmail-  “To cheat, deceive or defraud someone for personal gain. A fraudulent scheme or ruse.”

What does this even mean? Many of us have a lot to lose, and we live in fear and intimidation that if we upset our adoptive families, we could have terrifying outcomes. Many of us have similar feelings regarding our biological families, so we remain silent because the risk we take sharing our emotions is too consequential. 

If our adoptive parents love us and take care of us when our biological parents didn’t want us, we must be thankful, grateful and we damn sure aren’t supposed to share any feelings that don’t line up with this narrative. It feels like blackmail, and it constantly hangs over our heads. 

We give you love if you pretend everything is perfect. 

Thoughts like, “If they knew how I feel, would they still love me?” or “If I share my feelings publicly, I will be disowned?” So much of the time, the adoptee can’t share their feelings, even if they want to. Our biological and adoptive families don’t have to say anything; we just know it! We feel it in our souls. Our compliance in keeping quiet is usually in exchange for being included in the family dynamics and receiving the love that’s conditional from the beginning. Trust me, the adopted children that grow up are the first to be left out of wills and shunned or excluded in the family dynamics. If we speak privately or publicly, we take the chance of losing it all!  

So most of the time, adoptees might have online roles or share pieces of their story. Still, they often use pen names to write.  I don’t see many adoptees sharing particular details about their birth parents and adoptive parents publicly because of these reasons. I’m not saying they don’t write about the adoptee experience; I’m saying they are sometimes afraid to share anything that doesn’t line up with the fairytale narrative.

I also see adoptees write or share about their adoption experience, and they feel as if they ALWAYS have to include, “My adoptive family was wonderful or I am thankful my parents chose me.” They don’t feel they can be real and raw without saying these things before, or after they say the truth that adoption has impacted them negatively.

As a result, I sometimes describe our experiences in a way that others can understand, and I call it the “Adoptee Whammy Effect.” 

This is based on having four parents: one adoptive mom, one adoptive dad, one biological mother, and one biological father. In addition, of course, many of us have step-parents or parental roles, which would add layers to this example. 

Let’s also not forget to recognize that some adoptees adopted internationally have not had the opportunity to find biological families, and some adoptees adopted domestically haven’t searched for various reasons. 

This example assumes that the adopted person has two adoptive parents and two biological parents they have attempted to reunite with over their lifetimes. Let’s also accept and acknowledge that before every person is adopted, they experience separation trauma from being removed from their biological mother. This should never be viewed as a positive experience; it’s traumatic. I have learned from other adoptees that even when they have the “Assumed Picture Perfect Adoption Experience” and they have ZERO WHAMMYS, they still have separation trauma that haunts them, and it impacts them in every way throughout life. That alone is enough for an adoptee to feel completely wrecked by adoption. Adding the whammy’s to it, only magnifies the grief, loss, pain and, trauma. Research separation trauma and the primal wound and learn so you can see for yourself.

When I share “Ideal and Fulfilling” relationships with our parents, I mean the adoptee’s relationships with the specific parent (bio mom, bio dad, adoptive mom & adoptive dad) have been generally a loving and healthy one. 

What’s Assumed in Adoption – Every adoptee has an ideal and fulfilling relationship with both adoptive parents. After searching for their biological family, both biological parents receive, love, and accept the adoptee. But, unfortunately, this is the fairytale narrative that most people believe happens in most adoptions. 

What Really Happens to Multiply Our Grief, Loss, Separation Trauma & Adoption Trauma:

A Single Whammy – This is when we don’t have good experiences with one of the two adoptive parents OR one of two of the biological parents 

A Double Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with two of our parents. It could be one adoptive parent and one biological parent, OR both adoptive parents OR both biological parents. 

A Triple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with three of our four parents. It could be one adoptive parent and both biological parents, OR both adoptive parents and one biological parent. 

A Quadruple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with all four of our parents, both adoptive parents and both biological parents. 

I try to leave it up to the adoptees to describe what they consider a “Good Experience” when it comes to each of our individual maternal and paternal parents and each of our adoptive parents because no one else should define that for us. 

In my case, I am hands down A Quadruple Whammy and some EXTRA ISH! 

I am not going into all the grimy details on WHY I have a quadruple whammy, but I will share briefly that I was estranged from my adoptive mom before her passing and have no relationship with my adoptive dad. In addition, both biological parents rejected a relationship with me after meeting them each one time. Finally, I have an adoptive step-monster who essentially doesn’t exist in my life for various reasons I’m not going to make public. 

As a result, I don’t feel connected to or a part of any family except the three adult kids I birthed myself. I have accepted this, and I’m at peace with it at this stage of my life, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t lost so much in the process. It still impacts me (and my kids) until this day, and grief and loss are something I will be processing for the rest of my life. This doesn’t mean I am not thankful for what I have, because I am. My kids are the reason I keep living.

What does it cost for me to share my story? I can’t list everything, but I will highlight the main areas that come to mind. 

  • I have lost three shots at having a nurturing, loving, and caring mother. Three chances and I struck out all three times. I will never know what a loving relationship looks like from a mother other than seeing it in other people and their mothers. I have no mother to call, and I never really have. With this, I have never felt a mother’s unconditional love and support. There is no wound on earth quite like the mother wound. When you have it x3 as I do, it only magnifies it. 
  • I have lost the chance to know and grow up with and have relationships with my biological siblings. This is unforgivable, and the pain will echo for a lifetime. I have a lost/missing sister somewhere out there, and I have a half biological sister who resents me because I was adopted, and she wasn’t. She, too, bought into the fairy tale narrative that adoption is rainbows and unicorns, and it’s always a better life. She relinquished her baby for adoption just like my birth mother did. Giving your baby away runs in the family!  She thinks I should be grateful, and I am NOT. She knows nothing about the trauma I experienced in my life, nor has she tried to understand that I might have had a different life than her, but it damn sure hasn’t been a better one. Because of our differences on the issue, we have no relationship today. 
  • I have lost a sense of self because I have had severe identity struggles from childhood to adulthood. Only until I fought like hell for my truth have I been able to come to a place of internal peace in the last five years. That’s a lot of time lost!
  • I have lost a normal childhood; while most kids are frolicking in the fields, I was obsessed with finding my birth mother. It never left my mind. Read “The Sky and I.” I was also consumed with being the caretaker for my sick adoptive mom. I was traumatized over and over again by her manic depressive episodes.
  • I can’t connect with celebrating or even embracing a culture. I didn’t find out my ethnicity until I was 40 years old, and now I don’t even know how to tap into something that has been null and void my whole life.    
  • The dream I had of how much my birth parents “Loved Me So Much” was nothing more than a pacifier statement and a myth to stall my healing, and it stood in the way of me knowing the truth. No truth = no healing. The truth is, not all birth mothers love their children, and not all of them want to be found. My birth mother is one of them. Being told she loved me so much shattered me once I saw her, and she rejected a relationship. Please stop saying this to adoptees! 
  • I have lost the ability to understand what love even is. Your mother is supposed to be your ride or die and the one who fights until the end of the earth for you. So when your mother “Loves you so much” she gives you away to strangers, it’s a significant mental mind fuck. I am still making sense of it, and I am not sure I will ever understand why I was told this in this way? Did they know this would forever manipulate my view of what love is? This “lesson” has caused catastrophic consequences in my lifetime. 
  • I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a real family, aside from my own three adult kids.  Being adopted to me feels like I’m still an orphan because I never felt like I fit in with my adoptive family. I always knew I was the second choice.  But, I am FOREVER grateful for MY FAMILY WITH MY KIDS. Without them, I would not be here. 
  • I have taken on an impending sense of deep-rooted sadness that will be with me until I leave this earth, for the fact that me being adopted IMPACTS MY KIDS, in every way! The trauma from relinquishment and adoption is generational, and I see my kids experiencing some of the things I did because of my adoption story. I will always hate adoption because of this. I can handle how it makes ME feel, but because it impacts my innocent children in such a profound way, I will never be able to forgive adoption. It will also impact my future grandkids, and their kids. Fuck adoption. 
  • I have lost the ability to trust because I learned early on from my adoptive mother that life and love are based on conditions. I have lived my life feeling like everyone wants something from me. Love is like a carrot, dangling over my head my whole life. The love will be snatched away if I say or do the wrong thing. Well, I’m an adult now, and I don’t want that conditional love anymore. I am learning to trust a few people, and I appreciate small circles.   
  • It’s taken me 47 years on earth to feel complete within myself, finally. The hell I had to go through to get here has consumed every part of my life. Because of this, I feel like I missed out on many moments of my kids being younger and the ability to find beauty in everyday life because most of my 47 years have been spent recovering from separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma. I resent this, and this is one of the reasons I don’t want to waste any more time and I am very selective on what I use my time on. 
  • I have lost every chance at having a father in my life. My biological father didn’t know of my existence, and he didn’t sign any adoption paperwork. However, once found, he still doesn’t want a relationship. My adoptive dad divorced my adoptive mom a year after adopting two daughters; (even when he knew she couldn’t care for us, he left anyway!); he moved over an hour away and remarried. He raised three stepsons as his own, and I honestly feel I don’t even know him. He’s always been far away, and he’s only visited Kentucky 3 times that I can remember,  in over 30 years of me being here. On the other hand, I have been back to Iowa at least 20+ times. No father/daughter dance or date, ever. No one-on-one time, not even an hour. Ever. 
  • Trust –  I have lost the ability to trust the people who are supposed to love me the most. They kept my truth from me for their gain. They paid a cash price for me. They said whatever they had to say to soothe my deep-rooted desire to find my biological family. I don’t just give trust away; people have to earn it in time. 
  • Missing Memories – I have lost all memories I should have made with my biological family’s maternal and paternal sides. This has been one of the most complex parts for me to fathom. I will never know any grandparents or aunts and uncles. I have met a few biological cousins, but we have no shared history. It’s hard building relationships from scratch. To much time is missing. The grief has knocked me down so many times over in my life. It’s consumed me so profoundly; some days and seasons in my life, I didn’t even want to go on with living. The sadness has been that great. 
  • Judgment – When people learn of me, maybe in a professional setting or even in the dating world, I am always putting myself at risk for pre-judgment because people can read my whole life story on my website before they get to know me real life. This impacts me significantly in life, and I am still sharing my story with my fellow adoptees, but it doesn’t come without a considerable cost! It’s a HUGE PRICE TO PAY!
  • People assume I am stuck – When I am still writing about adoption, many people think I am stuck in the places I am writing about. However, the truth is that I am not stuck. I have been stuck in the past; however, I have moved on in my life, I have accepted adoption for what it is, I have healed and continue to heal. It has always been the most significant thing in my life that has hurt me the most. I am sharing my feelings with the world, specifically my fellow adoptees because people need to know they have been sold a lie when it comes to adoption. I share so my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone and aren’t crazy about their feelings. I am also sharing because it helps me heal, and non-adopted individuals can learn from an adoptee’s lens. They are why I keep writing, but I have happiness and wholeness in my personal life, and I am no longer stuck. However, that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. The great thing is, I could care less what people think. 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. 

As you can see, I have nothing to lose by sharing my story – I have already lost everything. When any adoptee shares their story, even if it’s in small pieces or micro-doses, please understand that sometimes that might be the very first time they ever let these feelings come to light. Sometimes it takes us an entire lifetime for adoptee feelings to come out of our mouths. So please listen without judgment and understand that to share our stories, especially publicly, we have A LOT TO LOSE! Be kind, be compassionate, and most of all, have the willingness to understand that there is much more to adoption than what society has been sold. 

In sharing my story and being a lifeline to my fellow adoptees, because I have nothing to lose, I can share from depths that many others can’t. When I share from these spaces, I heal a little more each and every time I release feelings that have been inside for 47 years. Because of these reasons, I keep sharing.

For my fellow adoptees, do you have the fairytale narrative that’s assumed by society? 

Or do you fit into the Single, Double, Triple, or Quadruple Whammy Effect?

How has this impacted your short term and long term?

What has helped you heal? 

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!

Thank you for reading, Love Love

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

She Said I Would See Her In Heaven One Day, So I Decided I Didn’t Want to Go.

Disclosure Statement: If you are someone who considers yourself a Christian, Jesus Follower, Church Goer, Religious Guru, Or if you believe your way of spirituality is the only way, I am asking you to save your comments, judgments, and opinions and share them on other platforms as there are many churches, online platforms and religious circles that would love to use the glory in your story to promote their church and religion. Please don’t come here to use your story to discredit mine. This page and article isn’t for you. We are all free to have our personal spiritual beliefs and journeys. My space’s boundary is not allowing others to use their personal stories to belittle mine.

Pieces of my childhood: bible stores, devotionals, prayers, using scripture to let me know I was going to hell from a very young age for dating outside my race. Being forced to sign covenants that I wouldn’t have sex before marriage or ever drink alcohol at 12 years old. Being cursed to hell for using the “lord’s name in vain.” I learned all gay people were going to hell. Being manipulated to believe like my adoptive mom, and scriptures being used as a way to control me starting at a very young age.

Back to the beginning, my whole life has been chosen for me, especially all the heartbreaking parts. The loss of my biological mother, the loss of my biological father. The loss of genetic connections and a sense of wholeness. I lost my medical history and learning what my ethnicity was. I was a secret up until the very moment of birth, swept away and forgotten about as if I never existed. But then, she walked away and went back to work the next day signing her rights over ever to see, hear or speak to me again as long as she lived. I never agreed to keep her secret.

 But none of us get to pick our beginnings, right? 

True, but most people’s beginnings don’t start with a traumatic experience on the first breath you take entering the world, and most people don’t start their first breath with their story being built on a bed of lies. 

In adoption, others make this decision for you because they want you to have a “better life.” However, this one decision can and does impact an adoptee’s life forever. 

 If people knew the depths of separation trauma, would they still make this choice for another human being? If they knew that basing one’s life on pretending, secrecy, and lies would destroy me from the inside out, would they still pick this choice? 

Probably. Because an infertile adoptive parent’s desire to have a child is more significant than their desire to give a flying fuck about the separation trauma that child will experience being separated from their biological mother and being forced to bond with strangers. 

Either way, for me and my story, the damage is done. We don’t get do-overs or a rewind button. 

So what’s the point? 

The point is, I get to choose now. I get to write my story. I didn’t get to choose back at the beginning, but I get to decide now.

If you have read my articles, you would know I was adopted by a woman who suffered from severe mental illness issues. While I have empathy that she had a side to her that was kind and loving, I rarely felt it or saw it, but others did. Some of her mental health issues were possibly being treated, and some weren’t. My entire childhood was filled with her emotional and mental outbursts. I tried to articulate this experience in an article I wrote called “The Narcissistic Adoptive Mom.”  

I do remember pills everywhere, all the time, but how would I know she’s addicted to prescription drugs?  I remember her sleeping all the time when “normal” parents would be up. Getting up for school, setting the alarm, and getting myself ready every morning was a pretty regular routine. As a child, I had no idea that this behavior was abnormal or her outbursts were signs of mania and depression. I was a child. I had no fucking clue I was knee-deep in disfunction. This disfunction was all I knew. 

As if my biological mother passing me over to strangers wasn’t enough, I never bonded with my adoptive mom, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t forced to try. That was traumatic in its way, and I have yet to be able to describe how that’s made me feel. I started to be repulsed by her presence when I was a child. This only increased as I grew up. 

Some of her emotional outbursts consisted of her threatening to overdose and commit suicide while running to her bedroom with all her pills in a shoebox, taking the phone, shutting us out, and locking her bedroom door, telling us she wanted to die. We would be left outside her bedroom door screaming, crying, hysterical because we thought she was going to die, sometimes for hours. This happened over and over again. She even had a manic episode and ran out of our 3rd store apartment and laid in the middle of the street while we watched, because she was going to kill herself in front of us.

Abuse comes in all forms. 

I feel these episodes caused me C-PTSD as a child.

I remember always saying, “I’m sorry, Mommy, I’m sorry” my entire childhood. At some point, during one of her millions of episodes, I took the blame that it was all my fault and at every attempt, I tried to console her but the endless manic episodes seemed to be inconsolable. But I never stopped trying. Somehow, as a child in elementary school, I did something “bad” to drive her over the edge continuously. While doing inner child work a few years ago, I named my 5-year-old self, I’m sorry. After doing much healing and self-work, I understand that was a trauma response. 

It’s no doubt that this woman who adopted me didn’t bring security into my life, but instead, she traumatized me; while she may have had some good and positive qualities, the trauma always comes to my mind when I think about her. I don’t have loving and caring memories of her. She might have loved me in her own way, but her real reason for adopting me is that she didn’t want to go to a nursing home, and she wanted a caretaker. I will be writing more about this soon. 

How do I know this? Because she never stopped talking about not wanting to go to a nursing home, and she started priming me for this when I was in elementary school. While my entire childhood was filled with caring for her as a mini servant, other kids were out playing with friends, having sleepovers, and running free in nature. Not me, I had a chore chart a mile long, and I was groomed to rub her back and body giving her massages all the time, and to do many other disgusting things I do not want to share. I was responsible for cleaning my room and cleaning her room also. I ran her bathwater, bathed her, scrubbed her back, put lotion all over her body. I brushed her hair, put her makeup on her. Weird fucking shit, right? Again, I can’t share some because it’s too disgusting. I was adopted to fulfill her needs. 

But, eventually, I grew up. 

When I had my kids, this new level of fear took over me that she would get custody of my kids if something ever happened to me. This haunted me! Thinking about this sometimes took my breath away. Then, as my kids got older, I started noticing some things she started doing with my kids, as she did me as a child. This was when I decided to pack up a 22-foot Uhaul and move across the country to Kentucky, far, far away.

This was what I call “The Great Escape.”  

She visited Kentucky on occasion, and it was always catastrophic drama when she showed up. Even after setting some very firm essential boundaries with her,  one time, she threatened to sleep in her car on the side of the road, so my kids felt bad for her. She would talk negatively about me, in my own home to my kids behind my back. I could go on forever at the drama she showed up with and the trouble she caused in my life. I started my alcohol-free journey on August 13, 2012, and she has always been the most significant trigger I have ever had. Putting my recovery and sobriety first, spending 30+ years tolerating her inappropriate behavior, finally, letting her know she’s never welcome to come to my home again. And she never came into my house after this. 

I always felt like she had her claws in my kids, and her motive was to put a wedge between us so that they would feel sorry for her, and then they would be the ones next in line to take care of her. My intuitions were correct because when my oldest daughter, 27, turned 18, my adoptive mom asked her to be her Power of Attorney. I had previously refused, and our relationship was non-existent, so my kids were the next best thing. I have had nightmares off and on since having my kids that she would take them from me, and in the dream, I felt the horror of how a mother feels when their children are removed from their care. But then, I would wake up, feeling like this was always her plan.  

However, I could always see right through her mind games and manipulation, and finally, I was able to set more firm boundaries and remove this toxic person from my life once and for all. 

Her plan didn’t work; it backfired on her. But, after setting a no-contact boundary, I will never forget one of the last conversations we had. 

She said, “You don’t have to talk to me here on earth, but you will be seeing me again in heaven one day!”

Did she threaten me with heaven?

It was like a punch in the gut. This is something I never thought about until she said it.  I will never forget how this made me feel. I was sick at the thought of having to see this woman in heaven one day. 

Would we be on excellent terms in heaven? 

Would she be a normal mom in heaven? 

Would I be pretending she didn’t traumatize me my whole life in heaven?

All these questions began to swim around in my brain. My conclusion is, if she was going to be in heaven, that’s damn sure a place I never want to go.

Hell to the no-no. 

And, I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork.

While coming out of the fog about adoption for 10+ years, I have also been coming out of the fog about religion. While adoption is celebrated worldwide, so is Christianity and religion. My views don’t stop with this one experience. They go far beyond and are endless on why I can no longer support Christianity and the Bible. But I respect you do! It’s been just as difficult as coming out of the fog about adoption, and I’ve found it to be a lonely and isolating journey. To conclude, everything you had always been told in life was a lie can be difficult to step into, especially when you enter this space many times in a lifetime. But, the flip side is that today I am walking in freedom, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

It has been exceptionally liberating to step into a space of making my mind up about what I believe and why I believe it without others cramming it down my throat. Also, the fact that the only way I will ever be forced to see my adoptive mom again in heaven is ONLY if I believe in the shenanigans, to begin with, which is refreshing.

Regardless of what I believe in or don’t believe in, hopefully, if you are someone that reads this, you can save space for others who believe nothing like you without trying to “prove them wrong” or “prove a point” on why your beliefs trump another’s beliefs.

I can say from a personal standpoint; I don’t care what you believe. I care what kind of person you are and how you treat people. I care about integrity, compassion, and empathy. I’ve seen people claim to believe in a higher power and be rotten to the core deep down and treat others like shit. I’m sure we’ve all seen different variations in our lives, but my goal is to learn from others and offer a judgment-free perspective if someone inquires about my input. At this point in my life, if I had to attach my beliefs to a label I would say my personal views align closest to Agnostic.

While I’ve been told I was going to hell from a very early age for dating outside of my race, the truth is – I didn’t even know what “race” I was until I was 40 fucking years old. Adoption prohibited me from knowing my ethnicity, so I never had a culture to celebrate, study or feel like I was a part of.  Did it ever occur to anyone that the possibility exists that I dated “outside of my race” because I knew that person wasn’t a blood cousin or blood brother? It is more profound than just wanting to be rebellious and a rotten teenager. Now that I am out of the fog about religion, I can confidently say that if this is what the bible is about, you can miss me with it. 

Many adoptees have this feeling of “badness” attached to them just for being born. I wrote an article to express my feelings about it one time called “She’s Bad.” Then you add that with my religious upbringing, being told I am going to hell, and constantly feeling “BAD” because I internalized this because of my adoptive mom’s mental illness and outbursts. It’s no wonder I started acting BAD my teen years and then got tossed in the school for the “BAD KIDS.” I didn’t do well in public school constantly because my childhood didn’t allow me the capabilities to be able to learn well with the life I was dealing with at home. Being in and out of detention, on probation, in group homes, a teen runaway (the list could go on), and you see why this feeling of badness has been so strong? Now, add religion to the mix. They convince you that you are born a sinner, and your flesh will steer you in the wrong direction every time if you listen to it, so you are conditioned to feel like you are BAD when you fail and follow your fleshly desires over God’s plan for your life. They teach you your flesh (intuition) can not be trusted, and in return, you can’t trust yourself. 

Talk about a big bag of trash!

That’s putting it as politely as I can. 

Do you not see the cards stacked against me as an adoptee and so many others? It’s taken me 47 years to see the light and to be able to call BULLSHIT on all of it. I tell myself daily; I am not bad; I wasn’t born bad, I wasn’t born a sinner, I am NOT going to heaven or hell because I don’t believe they exist. I want to organically be good and offer the world the genuine me because that’s who I am. Not because I’m trying to stay on God’s good side so I don’t go to hell. I’m so thankful the lights have come on so I can deconstruct in a more graceful and profound way. The only way I can genuinely save myself is to get REAL with myself. No more fucking pretending. That shit is for the birds. 

Let me be completely transparent, I want to live my life NOW. I don’t want to wait to live until I’m dead. I want to spend time with those I love while I’m here, alive and well on earth. We live every day, we only die ONCE. I’m determined to make it count.

 Have you ever known anyone to “threaten” another human being with seeing them in heaven? Have you ever had someone threaten that you were going to hell for your actions?

Dear Adoptive mom, I’m sorry, but you will not be seeing me in heaven, and even when you cursed me to go to hell, I won’t be showing up there either. Today I am finally able to look myself in the mirror and love who’s looking back at me without the profoundly ingrained feelings of badness adoption, you and your religion ingrained into me. 

The thoughts of heaven and hell are traumatic for me, so on top of deconstructing Christianity, I am deconstructing from the notion that I will never be good enough, and heaven and hell will NOT be the deciding factors on what happens to me after I’m dead. 

I’m good enough now, and I was good enough when I came out of the womb. The world’s conditioning and others’ beliefs made me feel otherwise, but I see the truth and the light today. I have joy in my heart that I’m following the path that seems real to me and not full of secrets, lies, and half-truths. Not to mention made-up stories, used against me to try to make me BE GOOD.

I am good all by my damn self.

Today I am free.

P.S. I am NOT Powerless, and I never have been!

I AM POWERFUL

Religious Trauma Syndrome is a real thing.

To learn more visit www.journeyfree.org

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!

Thank you for reading, Love Love

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

Lying Lips and DNA Kits

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

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

Here’s why I make this suggestion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Thanks for reading,

Love, Love

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

Adoptees Deserve Far More Than What They Get

*Disclosure Statement: I do NOT claim to speak for all adoptees in this article, nor do I claim ALL adoptive parents are abusive or fit the narrative of the topics brought to light in this article. CHILL #apfragility

And for the record, Jesus, his love, our adoptive parents love or a house full of stuff isn’t enough. 

I keep seeing individuals use Jesus as a reason to invalidate the reality and truth of the adoptee experience. 

This has to stop. 

Adoptees are DYING. 

PLEASE STOP! 

Listen to Adoptees before it’s too late. 

First things first, if we’re transparent, adoption is messy AF. Everything about it. It’s complicating, emotional, taxing, and exhausting. There is no one size fits all, and all stories are unique in their own way. 

I’ve not only navigated my adoptee journey and spent most of my life in agony over it, but I’ve listened to the stories of hundreds of my fellow adoptees. We all have in common that we experience painful pieces of our journeys that can impact many areas of our lives, if not every area. 

“So what’s the big deal? Everyone deals with pain in life!” 

The big deal is that we live in a world that promotes and celebrates adoption (just like religion)  but do they realize they promote relinquishment trauma on every child separated from their biological mother?  While they pray for another person’s child, they ignore entirely that every adoption is rooted in loss and trauma FIRST.

They are praying for TRAUMA TO HAPPEN!

 If you have ever prayed for a child to adopt, YOU ARE GUILTY! 

Thousands of adoptees have walked before me and navigated these muddy and messy waters of trying to navigate a life that’s rooted in relinquishment trauma. Thousands of adoptees are walking behind me that haven’t yet made the connection, and some are slowly emerging out of the adoptee fog, figuring out just how damaging relinquishment trauma is on every person separated from their biological mothers at the beginning of life. 

For some of us, we don’t make this connection until later in life. We become all too familiar with waking up every day trying to make sense of it all, trying to heal, and finding happiness when our very beginnings were severed from the woman who should love and want us the most, our biological mothers. 

Society has this conditioned belief that adoption can be an excellent and painless alternative to many scenarios in life. For example, maybe someone can’t have children of their own, or they want to save unwanted children, so they sign an adoption registry and start the process to adopt a child. Whatever the reason is, we need to get to the root of the problems, and there are many! 

Adoption is a supply and demand multi-billion-dollar unregulated industry. Check out The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce or The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Industry by Mirah Riben if you need to research for yourself.  

If adoption agencies would genuinely care for the child’s best interest, they wouldn’t be in the business of separating them from their biological mothers. Whether some women choose to parent or not, if we have more adoption agencies, we have more accessibility to provide services for a mother to pass her baby over to strangers. Just like the more adoptive parents who want to adopt, keep these businesses in the business.  

Unfortunately, these agencies are FOR-PROFIT.  Of course, that’s why an adoption costs so much, yet we fail to realize that adoption today is rooted in legalized human trafficking. If you haven’t figured this out by now, I encourage you to do some soul searching and researching. The adoption industry is selling babies and making a living off of doing it. When a price tag is being put on a human being’s head for any cost, it’s human trafficking. It shouldn’t matter that adoption is legalized, it doesn’t mean its right.

When many adopted children are adopted, they are legally assigned a new identity, and their history is essentially erased. However, even when our beginnings are painful or abusive, we are still connected to our past via DNA and our history. We all have a history, even when the system of adoption is set up to destroy, erase and abolish its existence. Even when it’s painful, we deserve to know our truth and all of it. 

Why are so many secrets kept in adoption? 

When someone signs up to adopt a child, they sign up to co-sign for secrecy, lies, and half-truths regarding the adoptive child. Do you know what secrecy, lies, and half-truths do to a human being? 

They destroy them and stall their healing. 

When biological mothers refuse to share the truth about the conception, birth, and biological father of the adoptee, they add many levels of shame and secrecy the adoptee later has to uncover. It’s AGONIZING to not know who you are or where you come from!

Why should adoptees have to experience deception at every turn? 

We deserve more than that. 

HONESTY

TRUTH

TRANSPARENCY

It’s no secret that we can’t heal from half-truths because we don’t know what we are healing from. So if you ever wondered why your adopted child or adopted adult in your life is angry, sad, depressed, addicted to substances or struggling, I would like to look no further. Relinquishment trauma compacted by adoption trauma is the culprit. I’m not saying other things might exacerbate these issues. However, the ROOT cause is abandonment, rejection, relinquishment trauma, and adoption trauma. 

For those unfamiliar with the statistics, adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide, and we’re overrepresented in jails, prisons, treatment, and mental health facilities. Why? Because adoption is rooted in secrecy and lies, anything embedded in secrecy and lies is bound to have significant repercussions. It’s also rooted in relinquishment trauma.

If you support adoption, you are a co-signer. 

Why should we have to spend our whole lives trying to fix what adoption has broken? 

Why should we have to fight the world for our truth? 

Why should we have to experience relinquishment trauma, to begin with? 

Why is our history, ethnicity, siblings, DNA connections, medical history, original birth certificates, and biological connections and relationships be kept from us? 

Why does the world rob us from acknowledging our grief, loss, and trauma?

Why have our adoptive parents co-signed for this pain? 

Why did our biological mothers give us away? 

Why should we have to look at doctors our whole lives and say, “I don’t know my medical history; I’m adopted?” 

Were they genuinely ignorant? Or did they choose to ignore these realities for the sake of their wants and needs? 

ADOPTEES DESERVE MORE! 

It’s no secret that there have never been resources for adoptees until recently. We didn’t sign any paperwork, yet we are sentenced to life for a crime we didn’t commit. 

For most of us, learning our TRUTH is the beginning KEY to accept that truth, acknowledge it, and make a choice to move towards healing. 

NO TRUTH = NO HEALING 

If our truth is kept secret from us, it will always have ways of impacting our lives and circling back around. It will keep surfacing. We often depend on substances to take our pain away because it’s so great we can’t process the feelings or address the trauma. 

Don’t read this and think for a minute that open adoption is any better. The secrecy part is usually not there; however, did you ever wonder what it’s like to be traumatized over and over again by being removed from your biological mother over and over again? You see her one day, and then you are ripped from her arms the next? How can anyone inflict this type of pain on a child they supposedly love? Open adoptions aren’t legally binding, and many times adoptive parents have no problems closing the adoptions. DOOR SLAM IN YOUR FACE, and there is nothing you can do about it. NOTHING!

Adoptees are met with adoptive parents who believe that Jesus, Love, and a nice home are enough to stand in the gap for what the adoptee has lost. This is manipulative and gaslighting behavior.  Let me be completely honest; you are fooling yourself if you think that any amount of love can replace the woman that gave us life! Jesus has never healed my adoptee wounds, and even if I believed he was real ( I did at one point in my life), I can and will never think he’s in the business of separating mothers and babies! If you believe this, you are delusional! That sick and twisted mentality is one of the many reasons I am no longer a believer.

A fancy house, a two-parent home, and all the material belongings in the world will never replace the loss an adoptee experiences. Adoptive parents get divorced, abuse their adoptive kids every day. Adoptees are sexually abused in their adoptive homes all the time. Many times adoptive kids are used as pawns to fill a void in the lives of their adoptive parents. Many of us are adopted solely to take care of our adoptive parents in their old age and even replace the relationship with a biological child that went south. Yet, time and time again, we’re expected to meet the expectations of our adopters, and no matter how hard we try, we always fall short. 

We are not their DNA, and we will never be. Yet, we notice being treated differently. We know when we are treated like the adopted child and adult in the family. We know when we don’t fit in or belong. Trust me; we feel it every day of our lives. As adoptees how it feels to be left out of the will, just because you are the adopted one in the family. Ask adoptees what it feels like to sit at the funeral of a biological mother or father, yet not be listed in the obituary as if they don’t even exist.

ADOPTEES DESERVE FAR MORE THAN WHAT THEY GET

The moral of the story is, get on the right side of wrong.

LISTEN TO ADOPTEES BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. 

 Understand that many of us aren’t grateful at all for all of this pain and trauma being inflicted on us at no fault of our own, nor should we be expected to be. Understand that many of us would have rather been aborted, and if you are withholding the truth from an adoptee, you need to share the truth NOW. Even when the truth hurts, we want it because it’s ours! If you see your adopted child or the child you adopted who is now an adult hurting, help them process pain, grief and loss. Try HARDER to understand your adoptees’ pain, and never diminish it or tell them they should be grateful or get over it and move on. NEVER use Jesus as a tool that intercedes in them processing pain. Research spiritual bypassing and don’t do it! Understand there is no time frame on grief and processing all that is lost and research and become great at helping an adoptee process grief and loss. Know that there is NOTHING you can do to fix us or take our pain away, and we would like to ask you politely to please stop trying.

The world might feel like we have a replacement family for our biological mothers and families, but we haven’t. That’s a fantasy, and the sooner everyone realizes this, the better. No one can sweep our DNA under the rug, but they keep trying. I can promise you that the truth always comes out, especially now more than ever, with the increasing ability to do DNA testing. 

There is no amount of money, fancy car, house or vacations that can make up for what was lost because of adoption. Nothing on this earth can replace the memories and relationships lost. NOTHING.

For my fellow adoptees, never give up hope in finding your truth. If anyone has told you your biological parents are deceased, DO NOT BELIEVE IT. I repeat, DO NOT BELIEVE IT unless you are standing over their grave AFTER you have done DNA testing to confirm you share DNA with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have learned that adoptees are told their biological parents are deceased, only for them to be very much alive. I am one of these adoptees who was told my birth father was deceased, and I refused to believe it and later found out he was very much alive!  

Please know you didn’t deserve the cards you were dealt. You deserved far more!  You are strong, and even in the dark moments, realize you aren’t alone. You are a survivor, surviving daily. Know that you don’t owe anyone anything outside of yourself. I challenge you to take back what was taken from you because you are the only person who can do it. Look deep within yourself, and you will find precisely what you need. 

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Love, Love

*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