Chapter 14. The Struggle – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 14.

The Struggle

Life was about to take a whole new turn. I graduated from high school and got my diploma, and I also enrolled in some courses at the local community college.

On May 21, 1998, I gave birth to twins as 29-week preemies. Damia weighed 2lb 5oz, and Damond, who weighed 3lb 1oz. While I welcomed two beautiful babies into the world, Keila was four years old at the time. I was a struggling but strong-willed single mother. There was nothing that was going to come between my kids and me.

Once again, I was forced to depend on Patricia because I had no family in Kentucky, but I also depended on public assistance to help with the bare minimum and keep the lights on. Because the twins were so small, I had to keep them home and out of daycare for the first year. This made it impossible for me to work, so I had no choice but to get food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. We didn’t have a car, but we managed. My deep-rooted skills of taking the city bus as a young kid would learn to pay off.

I did everything I could to keep my babies, all three of them, even when they didn’t have an active father in the picture; I made it happen to the best of my abilities. Finally, I saved up enough money to move out of Patricia’s and got a 3-bedroom apartment, and Patricia was furious when she found out I was approved for based on your income housing.

She didn’t want me to be independent because I wouldn’t need her as much. Instead, she thrived on me depending on her. I had no idea what co-dependency was at that stage of my life, but unraveling the mess all these years, I now know we had a co-dependent relationship that was highly toxic. I felt thoroughly trapped in my relationship with her, especially now that I had three children as a single mother in a state where she was my only family. But, once again, I felt like this was her plan.

When we would get into arguments, she would always say, “Your life is my life, and anything that’s your business is my business!” As a 24-year-old mom of three, I had no idea if this was everyday parenting; however, it felt utterly intrusive and overwhelming.

However, the twins came home from the hospital sharing their bedroom, Keila had her room, and I had my room. We lived in a decent apartment, and we had everything we needed. The first year after bringing the twins home from the hospital, we’re some challenging times in my life. They had off-scheduled sleeping patterns, ear infections, breathing inhaler machines, and seemed to have constant doctor appointments. But we made it work, and we made it through it.

If I can raise a four-year-old and a set of newborn twins as a young single mother, anyone can do it. Of course, nothing was easy about it, but my motto has always been, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” My kids had me, but sadly I was still a very broken person, raising three children.

I made mistakes and, at times, was clueless about how to raise kids when I had the experience I had with my adoptive mother and biological mother. But unfortunately, I didn’t have any examples of a happy and healthy mom or a normal mother-and-daughter relationship.

I was still a partier, most evenings drinking boxed wine. Alcohol seemed to tame my misery regarding the emotional and mental torment I experienced from losing my birth family. Not to mention my experience in my adoptive homes and with Mark, Giovanni, Diego, and Patricia.

Patricia seemed to become an enormous responsibility for me as time passed. Her home was always filthy, just like it was when I was a kid. Even after moving out, it was my responsibility to help her keep her place clean in exchange for helping me with the kids. She seemed to move a lot, and it was my job to pack all her things up, gather my friends to load the truck, and help her get settled in the new place. Let me not forget that it was always my job to go to the old places and clean them to get them up to par to be re-rented so she could get her deposits back.

This was Patricia’s living conditions the last time I saw her in 2015.

My job was to come to the rescue when she found her dead old-English sheepdog dog on her basement floor from neglect. Any random task she needed to be done was always my job. It was all on me if something broke or needed to be put together.

When she had hip replacement surgery, it was my job to caretake her back to health. I bathed her and ensured she got where she needed because she couldn’t drive her car. Patricia was almost more of a responsibility than my three kids. She continued with her habit of staying up all night and sleeping half the day, and her pill addiction increased significantly after she had a hip replacement.

The doctors gave her endless pain pills, and she was completely wrapped up in the treatments of the doctors and the medical industry. Anytime she was in the hospital or ER, I was the sole one for being in charge of caretaking for her before, during, and after she went and was discharged.

While she graduated to get her RN, Nursing degree, she had issues at every job she worked. She was written up for falling asleep while working the night shift. She was fired more times than I can count from various nursing positions, which created a substantial emotional fallout that somehow I was responsible for managing.

One of the many memorable events was when I received a call from her supervisor. They let me know that they had “let Patricia go” as a staff member, and she was currently on the floor crying hysterically in the nursing director’s office. They wanted to contact me because I was her only emergency contact. Little did they know, this wasn’t the first shit show.

At the time, I was exhausted with Patricia, and there was NOTHING I could do about getting her up off the floor of her boss’s office, especially when she was hysterical in the middle of a meltdown. I instructed them to call 911 so the ER could deal with her. This was one of the first times I set a boundary for myself; I didn’t even know what boundaries were at the time. I felt obligated to go to the ER to check on her, but I only stayed a few minutes and left to be with my kids.

Buy this time, I am annoyed and exhausted with my responsibilities to caretake Patricia, which was exhausting. But I owed her for helping me with my kids, and I couldn’t survive raising them without her, and she made sure she let me know continually. So it was a total “You help me, I help you” relationship, but not by my choosing. There was no one in Kentucky helping me take care of Patricia, and at the end of every day, I was entirely indebted for taking care of her and all her wants and needs.

So really, I had four kids, but Patricia was an adult who couldn’t take care of herself. Nothing had changed from my childhood aside from me being the lone ranger and target of 100% of Patricia’s emotional, mental, and physical outbursts and needs.

I was angry, but I had no way out. No one in my life understood how these dynamics made me feel, but I kept pushing forward. But now, I had something to live for; even when I didn’t want to live for myself, I knew that my kids needed me, and I needed them. So, I wanted to live for them. But unfortunately, I was in an unhealthy relationship with the twin’s father, and all of a sudden, things turned another twist when the twins were seven months old.

In June of 1999, Patricia decided she was moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, to be closer to Melanie, who had moved to SLC from Iowa in 1997. I hadn’t had much of a relationship with Melanie since leaving Iowa, but sharing the responsibility of Patricia after all these years didn’t sound like a bad idea. Finally, someone could help me with these responsibilities of caretaking for Patricia.

Melanie and Patricia convinced me that I would have much more help with my kids, and I took the bait. Two family members are better than one? Right? However, it was either that or be in Kentucky alone with no family and three kids as a single mother. I lacked the confidence or strength to believe I could stay in Kentucky and care for my kids as three small children with no family at the time. That was a scary thought, so we started to pack up our things and I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I think Patricia again tried to lure me away from the twin’s father, who lived in Kentucky just like she did with Diego when we left Iowa.

In April of 2000, we packed up a 22FT U-Haul and began a journey across the country. I couldn’t help but hope things would be different than our childhood. Little did I know, the same shit show was present from when I was a kid, but it just relocated to a new destination, and now I had three kids to think about.

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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

Chapter 12. Illusions – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 12.

Illusions

Joanna picked me up from the airport in Waterloo, Iowa, the town I was born in, where Eileen lived. It was a cool crisp morning in September of 1995. The leaves started falling and stirring on the ground, adding beautiful colors to the landscapes.

The drive to Eileen’s was only about 10 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity. Then, finally, we pulled up in her driveway, and I was anxious but on cloud nine simultaneously. I had no idea what to expect, but I know I had fantasized about this day my entire life. I was hoping for an immediate connection, a long motherly embrace to compensate for the lost 21 years together. I silently wished for a reunion as we see on all the television shows, you know, the warm fuzzy ones full of emotion and warmth.

We pulled up Eileen’s driveway, and I got out of the car with Joanna. My heart was racing. We both walked to the side door of Eileen’s house on Wilson Avenue. Joanna knocked, and the door opened a few short moments later. A thin, frail woman appeared before me who looked nothing like I had fantasized about my whole life. I didn’t feel the connection I had always thought I would.

Eileen had a short haircut curled back with sandy blonde hair. She wore blue jeans and a red sweatshirt that had mickey on it. She looked slim and slender, not over 100lbs. She stood about 5’10 and met me with a grin as she opened the door. However, she wasn’t warm, she didn’t hug me, and she wasn’t emotional in the slightest regard, more like standoffish.

“Come on in,” Eileen said with a half-grin as she held the screen door open for Joanna and me. We walked up the stairs, and I followed Joanna into the dining room. We met Nan, Eileen’s sister, and Barb, who was Eileen’s best friend. They were already sitting at the table waiting on Joanna and me.

We all sat down, but first, Eileen asked if I wanted a drink as she had already prepared hers ahead of time. I said, “Sure, I will take whatever you are drinking.” Joanna settled with some water.

She came back from the kitchen with a “Rum and Coke.” I thanked her. At the time, this was a dream come true. Finally, I was sitting face to face with the woman who gave me life, and we were having a drink together too! My prayers were answered, and my dreams finally came true.

Aside from giving birth to my daughter, this was undoubtedly the best day of my life. We all got settled, and Eileen lit a cigarette, took a drag, and said, “So, how was your life?”

All eyes were on me. Later I would learn this was a “make it or break it” moment. Everything was on the line.

I had no idea that this experience and conversation would forever change the trajectory of our interactions with one another. If I knew then what I know now, I likely would have shared a lighter version of how my life was up until that moment.

However, I am a genuine, raw, and honest person, so I only prepared ahead of time to share the truth about how my life had been up until that point. No one expressed the implications of sugarcoating the truth with Eileen, so I went all in sharing my life as I experienced it up until that moment we came face to face.

“Well, my adoptive parents divorced when I was one year old, and I was raised in a single-parent home, on welfare with my adoptive mom, who was addicted to pills and had untreated mental health issues. We have never had a good relationship, and I have never bonded with her as a mother and daughter should. She was emotionally and mentally abusive and tried to commit suicide in front of us many times, and used this as a weapon to control us. She also tied us to chairs and wouldn’t let us go outside to play,” I said.

I also expressed, “I have an adopted sister that was adopted a year before me, and my adopted dad remarried, moved over an hour away, and I gained a step mom and three step brothers. He took us for summer vacations and saw us every other weekend. Until I decided I no longer wanted to go in my early teens because the oldest step-brothers molested me repeatedly when I was young. I haven’t seen them in a long time. My adoptive mom got a job in Kentucky, so we moved when I was 17. “

On a lighter note, I shared some things about my daughter, Keila, Eileen’s biological granddaughter, who was genuinely the happiest part of my story. I also shared that I went back to school to graduate, and I had plans to go to college one day. However, I felt like I was on the spot and didn’t have many warm fuzzy pieces to tell her.

So instead, I told her I dreamed of her every day of my life and that she was the only thing missing. Everyone got quiet as if they didn’t expect to hear these things. I am confident that my birth mother and others had hoped to hear a wonderful and happy life story, but my story was quite the opposite of the picture-perfect adoption story.

I asked Eileen if she could share a little about herself and her life, and she did. However, she kept her sharing at the bare minimum, giving me tiny pieces of who she was and what she liked to do, almost as if it was enough to satisfy my curiosity, but nothing more.

The rum and coke were needed to calm my nerves after sharing these personal details of my life with four essential strangers. It was tense, but somehow I got through it. Eventually, I got up enough nerve to ask my birth mother about my birth father again.

She said the same thing she told me on the phone, “He didn’t know anything about you, and he wouldn’t want to know.” One thing was for sure; she wouldn’t tell me who my birth father was if her life depended on it. She was taking that secret to her grave with her.

Joanna shared a personal piece of her life on this day that she, too, was a birth mother, and she had a full-blood brother to her five-year-old son and gave him up for adoption. I found that this news took me back a bit. I always hear stories of our kids following in our footsteps, but this took it to a new level.

Joanna said she wasn’t aware that Eileen had me and had given me up for adoption because she was only four years old. However, she had her baby and gave it up for adoption also. It was almost a celebratory vibe behind them both giving their babies up for adoption. I wasn’t sure what to think, but I was taking notes in my mind and trying to retain all the details I had learned about my newfound family.

We sat together for approximately two hours, getting to know one another. Once our visit seemed to wrap up, we all took pictures together. I had more hopes that we would see one another again and keep our lines of communication open. The naive adoptee in me believed this would be the beginning of the relationship I always dreamed of. Little did I know, I created more adoptee illusions in my mind, and the hardcore reality would soon set in.

Most adoptees form fantasies and illusions in their minds about their biological families, especially our birth mothers. What does anyone expect us to do? When our reality is hidden from us, we have no choice.

The illusion that my birth mother was some beautiful woman from Hollywood, California, was shattered. Sadly, I didn’t feel like she was pretty like I always dreamed she would be. Instead, she looked like alcohol and cigarettes had taken a toll on her life. She looked far beyond her age of 50, more like her upper 60’s. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly built up a fantasy in my mind of the magical, mystical, flawless, and embracing birth mother. I was greatly disappointed to have the reality be a stark contrast to my fantasy.

It’s similar to when a family has a child snatched up off the street, and they are frantic searching for them, but they have been abducted, nowhere to be found. That feeling they have searching for them everywhere they go, never giving up or giving in, plagues them and creates a never-ending internal torment until they are found. But they can outwardly express their grief, loss, and sadness. Adoptees can not. We keep it all locked inside for an entire lifetime, but most of us never stop wondering or searching.

Her face tells it all…

While I was over the moon to finally have my dreams come true and see the woman who gave me life, I will always wish I would have kept my sharing to a bare minimum regarding my heartache and heartbreak. I will always regret that I didn’t ask more questions, take more notes and stay longer.

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

Chapter 10. Paperwork Promises – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 10.

Paperwork Promises

I will never forget Patricia’s following words, “When we were going to sign the adoption paperwork, the attorney gave us the wrong paperwork. Thomas saw your birth mother’s name. If you call him, he might remember it.”

The emotions that came over my body at that moment are so complex and deep that I don’t think I’ve felt such mixed emotions all at once before. Part of me filled with rage because she lied to me my whole life. Even knowing I was in extreme agony, she told the stale lie repeatedly, even knowing the truth? I will never trust her or forgive her for this, ever.

The other part was elated at the hope of Thomas remembering my birth mother’s name. Within minutes I picked up the phone and called Thomas.

“Hi Daddy, Mom said that when you were adopting me, the attorney gave you the wrong paperwork to sign, and you saw my birth mother’s name? Do you remember her name?”

Thomas said, “Yes, her name was Eileen Ward., and she lived at 512 Rhey Street in Waterloo.”

I said, “Thank you!” and quickly hung up the phone.

Now, what was I going to do with this information? At the time, it was 1994, and cell phones and the internet were non-existent. So I called the library in Waterloo, the city I was born in. I asked the receptionist, who answered if she could help me because I was out of state, calling from Kentucky.

She was kind enough to help and gathered the 1974 Waterloo directory phone book. I asked her if she could look up Eileen Ward on Rhey Street. She found her, along with another person with a different address but the same last name, Josie Ward.

Then I asked her to pull up the 1995 directory phone book and look for the same names on the same street as the 1974 directory. She could still see Josie Ward, but Eileen Ward was no longer listed. I asked her to give me Josie Ward’s phone number, and I thanked her for her time.

I called Josie Ward immediately and explained that I was in search of Eileen Ward and wondered if she could help me. She said, “Eileen was married to my brother, John Ward, but they have since divorced, and they are no longer together. So how can I help you?”

I explained that I was searching for Eileen because I had recently learned she was my biological mother.

Josie said, “Wow, what year were you born?”

I said, “1974.”

She said, “We all knew something was going on because Eileen wasn’t coming around for a while, and when we saw her, she was wearing baggy overall bibs, which confirms our suspicions that she was hiding; a pregnancy. I think she must have worked up until the day she had you and went back to work the next day. She and John divorced in 1972.”

“Can you tell me anything else about her? Do you have her phone number?” I asked.

“Well, I can tell you that you have an older sister named Joanna, and she was an only child. You were born four years after her. I haven’t talked to Eileen in several years; she’s remarried to Keith, but her phone number is 1-319-555-1212. Good luck, honey.” Josie said.

I thanked her for her help and the information, and we hung up the phone. My mind and heart were racing at that moment, and I was gathering what I wanted to say to Eileen. But unfortunately, I didn’t have any guidance, assistance, or support. This was 1995, and adoptees had no resources, so I was winging it. I was on my own, as usual.

This was undoubtedly the absolute best day of my life, aside from giving birth to my daughter just nine months ago. I could hardly fathom I was minutes away from my dreams coming true and hearing the voice of the woman that gave me life! I waited 21 years for this. I had high hopes we would reconnect and compensate for the lost time. I knew she would be so excited to hear from me, especially when she “loved me so much!”

That Friday afternoon, I sat quietly, jotting down thoughts of what I wanted to say. Then, finally, I dialed the phone number, and it started to ring.

One ring, two rings, three rings seemed like an eternity.

I hear a soft “Hello” at the other end of the line.

I said, “Hi, Eileen, my name is Pamela, and I was born on August 13th, 1974, at St. Frances Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. Does this date mean anything to you?”

The phone got quiet, and the next thing I hear is a “click.” The dial tone was ringing in my ear.

My heart dropped.

I said to myself, “This must be an accident, the woman that “loved me so much” would never just hang up on me.”

I immediately pushed redial and heard the same “Hello” at the other end of the line again.

This time I said, “Eileen, I want you to know I don’t want anything from you. I only wish to get to know you and learn more about you. I have some questions for you. I mean no harm. Can we please talk for a few minutes?”

She said, “I am the woman you are looking for.”

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

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

Acknowledgements By Pamela A. Karanova

“Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” – Khalil gibran

My story isn’t only my own; it’s the story of my children, future grandchildren, and the legacy that comes long after I am gone from this earth. I owe the most significant gratitude to my three exceptional adult children, Keila, Damia, and Damond. I am so sorry you have a mom that’s been so significantly impacted by adoption, and in return it has impacted each of you greatly. My heart will always hurt because of this. Without you all, I would have taken myself out of my misery long ago. So many times, I have wanted to give up, but you gave me the courage to keep going because of my love for each of you. You have been my biggest supporters and the core reason I have wanted to be the happy, healthy mom you all deserve. Thank you for cheering me on and not giving up on me!

Four women in my life have stepped into the gap and have been mother figures to me, and without them, I am sure I would not be where I am today. Patsy B., Sharon H., Jan H., and Linda W. – Thank you for the unwavering level of love, encouragement, and support you have provided me. The space you have created to allow me to share my feelings has made me feel safe. You have listened to my story without judging me, and you have offered me guidance and advice when no one else was anywhere in sight. But, thank you isn’t enough!

To Marjorie J. Allen, thank you for teaching me that life is a gift and to be thankful for the little things we take for granted everyday like getting out of bed, and putting our clothes on. Thank you for bringing purpose to my life and for being one of the biggest inspirations I have ever met.

Rebecca Hawkes, Jessenia Arias Parmer, and Deanna Doss Shrodes, the original adoptee tribe who led me out of the adoptee fog over a decade ago; thank you! You will never know how your stories impacted me, and in return, my cacoon days have been replaced by the beautiful butterfly flying high!

To my day ones and ride or dies, Sarah Furnish, Kelly McFall, Lisa & Jamie Kemper, Lynn Grubb, Stephani Harris, Haley Radke, Shantu Ellis, Maria Gatz, Jennifer Fredrickson, Harris Coltrain, and Christina Keifer, because you have held my hand all these years and wiped my tears until they began to dry up; I know the meaning of true, genuine lifelong friendships. I am sure you have all saved me many times with your endless love and support. THANK YOU!

To my fellow adoptee tribe and those I have come to know and love in the adoptee and adoption community, I don’t even know where to start. I have had the honor of getting to know so many of you over the last decade. Each of you holds a special place in my heart. R. Colton Lee, Remember back in 2012 us watching “I’m Having Their Baby” on Oxygen? We both went nuts and talked one another off the ledge? I will never forget it!

Adoptees, when you cry, I cry. When you hurt, I hurt. When you smile, I smile. We are connected in a synchronistic way, yet each of our stories is so different at the same time. This memoir is for you. Thank you for holding my hand and walking me out of the darkness. Every word of encouragement and inspiration has brought me back to life more than you will ever know. Thank you to every one of you. I was going to list each of you, but that would be a whole book. You know who you are.

Lastly, I want to share a special message of hope for all the adoptees who have been done wrong by adoption. That would be every single adoptee on the planet. Never give up hope on finding your truth and your people. You give me the spark to keep sharing. I hope in sharing my story that you learn you are not alone in your thoughts, feelings, and struggles when it comes to being adopted. It’s been the most real shit show on the planet, but healing happens when we share untold feelings and our stories. Not just for ourselves but for those who know and love us, not to mention the generations behind us. We all have so much to learn from one another. So keep sharing and seeking more of your truth because everyone deserves to know who they are and where they come from.

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! 👇🏼

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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

My Friend Has an Adopted Child, and They Don’t Have Any Issues With Being Adopted

“Well, Joan is a close friend of mine from church, and she adopted two daughters from overseas in the 1980s, and they don’t seem to have any of the issues you are speaking about. On the contrary, they seem pretty thankful and happy that they are adopted.”

I can’t even express how many times I’ve heard this in my life from people who likely mean well. But, unfortunately, it’s usually when I share something that is not in alignment with the popular narrative of how adoption is viewed, and/or I share some of the heartache and pain many adoptees (including myself) experience in their journey.

Before every adoption takes place, the separation from one’s biological mother is a traumatic experience, and it goes unrecognized most of the time. But, unfortunately, this is sometimes the most significant trauma of the adopted person’s life, and it can and does impact us for our entire lifetimes. So, how can an adoptee heal when our trauma is celebrated worldwide?

 Once adopted, those layers only add to the layer of trauma from maternal separation from our biological mothers. I feel confident in sharing that I genuinely think most people have no idea about the impacts of maternal separation and how the complexities can echo in the adopted individual’s life for years to come. It not only impacts the adoptee’s life for years to come, but it impacts future generations as well. But once you know the truth, you can’t unknow the truth. Of course, you can choose to ignore it, but that has long-term consequences for the adopted individuals in your life.

When someone knows of a “well-rounded” adoptee, they feel the need to speak up and share that they know ONE adoptee who doesn’t have any issues with being adopted. I look at this type of comment as a silencer statement. In other words, when someone says this to an adoptee or about an adoptee, they know I feel their knowledge sharing is meant to trump whatever painful piece to the adoptee experience I am sharing.

I will be candid. I can’t speak for all adoptees, but I can say that by building relationships with hundreds, if not thousands of adoptees worldwide for 10+ years, I have yet to meet an adopted adult who has ZERO issues with being adopted. They are why I keep writing and why I keep sharing, it’s for them.

Most of the time, when I communicate with adoptees, they share that they have never let their adoptive parents or family know how they truly feel because the risk is too consequential. However, we also have to consider that if the adopted person is a child or someone who’s not “out of the fog,” the information shared on their behalf isn’t necessarily accurate. Children can’t tap into sharing feelings about separation trauma, and they don’t know how to articulate feelings they are having that are so complex. They need the adults in their life to help them, but that is an impossible feat as long as all the adults in their life are convinced “Little Johnny and Jane are fine, just fine with being adopted.”

Adults in contact with the adopted child are responsible for researching separation trauma and coming to a space of acceptance that it exists. This is the ONLY way the adopted child will express feelings of grief, loss, and sadness. I have said for many years that every adoptive parent should become a specialist in how to help children process grief, and I recommend the grief recovery method. Why? Because the sooner we start to process the grief from all of the loss of our biological connections and history, the sooner we begin to heal. The only way this will happen is if every adoptive parent chooses to step out of denial that maybe “Johnny and Jane aren’t fine, just fine.” I completely recognize how difficult this might be as a parent; however, if you want to save your adopted child’s life, you will start to learn more about helping them grieve before it’s too late. Trust me when I tell you, I know so many adoptees who have spent their lives just wanting to DIE because they don’t have a way to process the pain; the world won’t listen. They think dying would be easier than living with the neverending doom of sadness that separation trauma, compacted by adoption trauma, brings.

One of the first things I recommend is that all parties do extensive research on how important the bond is between a biological mother and her child. Then, read, read and read more. Look up attachment disruption and learn as much as you can. This has helped me understand what I lost and what has always been missing from my life.

Without this knowledge, I would have never known. One of the books that helped me understand how impactful the bond between a mother and a baby is Babies Remember Birth by David Chamberlain.

Searching the internet, you can find many articles about attachment disruption and the consequences that follow that have lifelong implications. For example, read The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier.

But, let me also share, you cannot guarantee that a child will attach and bond with the adoptive mother. I know hundreds of adoptees who have never bonded with their adoptive mothers, and the mother wound x2 causes immeasurable damage to the adopted person and lasts a lifetime.

We must recognize that the separation trauma exists, whether the adopted person “seems like they are fine, just fine” or not. Unfortunately, one of the most horrendous things that the adoption agencies and adoption officials have done is normalize maternal separation as if the trauma of this life-altering event doesn’t even exist. Not only are they ignoring it exists, but they aren’t providing the adoptive parents with resources on how to navigate the waters. It’s honestly offensive and monstrous because these agencies and adoption officials are often familiar with these dynamics. Still, they choose to turn a blind eye because they profit from separating mothers and babies.

For all those who continue to share the narrative that “My Friend Has an Adopted Child, and They Don’t Have Any Issues With Being Adopted,” I ask you to please get to know more adult adoptees. (not adopted children)

Please attempt to sit down with them and listen to their stories. Consider that your friend’s adopted child likely wouldn’t tell their adoptive parents how they feel. Ponder that a child can’t usually find the complex language that aligns with the multi-faceted layers of the adoptee experience. Think about the very nature of them being adopted and how it is celebrated worldwide. How could they tap into real feelings when they have been conditioned to be grateful they were adopted?

And how many adoptees do you know that seem to have no issues with it? One or two, you say? Well, I suggest you try to hear the stories from anywhere from five to ten adoptees, and then let’s see if you have the same opinions. As I already shared, I’ve gotten to know adoptees personally all over the world, and not one of them has said they are “fine, just fine” with being adopted.

It’s not even as much about the one adoptee who’s “fine just fine” with being adopted as society at large does not know how to acknowledge and accept the fact that they have been sold an award-winning LIE when it comes to adoption. That’s where people get uncomfortable.  

Well, let me make a declaration for 2022 and share that we’re tired of hearing you say, “your friend adopted a child, and they are fine, just fine.” It minimizes the real adoptee experience, and let’s be completely honest. You have no idea what that adoptee feels, so please stop saying these things to adoptees you meet in life. It’s harmful, and it’s hurtful. If you insist on speaking for adoptees, at least consider putting in the work and sitting down and having a real heart to heart and hearing the absolute truth from an adult adoptee and not just one or two. Talk to many. Learn to be comfortable with difficult conversations. Then and maybe then will you have a truthful opinion that might be valid to share?

Thank you for reading.

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

*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

Twenty Seven Years of Wishful Drinking Died Nine Years Ago, So Did I

AUGUST 13, 2012 – MY WHOLE LIFE CHANGED!

“NEW BEGINNINGS ARE OFTEN DESCRIBED AS PAINFUL ENDINGS” – LAO TZU

August 13th – This was not only my earthly birthday, but it’s my re-birthday.

What’s my re-birthday? It’s the day I decided to live alcohol-free.

I have double reason to celebrate, so I shall.

I can hardly believe I’ve made it to this milestone of nine years alcohol-free. I remember nine years ago on that day, I was utterly lost, frightened, and all alone and had no idea what the next 24 hours had in store, let alone the next nine years. While I continue to walk forward towards a new season, it’s clear parts of the old me are dead and gone.

A little back story, I started drinking at twelve years old. I grew up in a small town in Iowa and was introduced to alcohol very young. Twenty-seven years after that introduction, on August 13, 2012, I was finally at a place where I decided alcohol was no longer for me.

Twenty-seven years is a long time.

I would be confronted with many life-altering situations; however, the need to keep alcohol close by was constant. I remember the days where I didn’t think I could survive without alcohol. And in my mind, I couldn’t, so I didn’t. It was my best friend and my confidant. It was always there for me and created a bridge I happily crossed every time I consumed alcohol. My reality was too much and too hard to process.

Alcohol created many fun memories and vibes, and it also made a lot of traumatic ones. The traumatic ones caused lifelong altercations on how I view the world and also myself. 

When I walked away from alcohol

August 13, 2012 – I had no idea it would cost me damn near all my friends, but it did. I walked anyway. I went from an extensive group of people I hung out with to literally less than five. 

What was I going to do with my time now? 

What person would I become? 

What hobbies did I have that didn’t involve alcohol? 

WHO WAS I? 

The truth is, I had no effing clue. Alcohol was the center of my life for my entire life. I stepped into a new space and a scary one. They say when you drop addictions, you have to replace them with other healthy things. I started going to church regularly, and the next thing you know, church friends, church activities, and church serving took up all the space I used to use partying. Then, Although I have different views on the church now, it did step in and create a bridge I needed to get to where I am today, and because of that, I am thankful. 

When you remove the center of your world, the walls come crashing in and you have to pick yourself back up and rebuild yourself and your life. It was like I died that day when I stopped drinking alcohol, and every day for the last 9 years I’ve been rediscovering who I am without alcohol, slowly coming back to life again. It’s like a brand new baby being born but for me I was re-born. Not the giving my life to Christ reborn, as that ship has already sailed and sank. I’m talking about every fiber of my being being transformed into a new me, not what other people told me to be or what my environment influenced me to be. Between beliefs, conditioning, and experiences I had to break out of the old and step into the new.

“You don’t know this new me; I put back my pieces, differently.” – unknown

This quote fits perfectly.

Over the last nine years, my life has progressed to great lengths and many times I’ve had to look myself in the mirror and I’m finally at peace with what’s looking back at me but not without a lot of blood. sweat and tears FIRST. I’ve had to get alone with myself to find myself. I’ve been single the majority of the last nine years, and even when I have been in brief relationships or been in the dating world, I continue to find myself learning more about the new person I have become. Hardships help us grow, and so do those we have around us inside our inner circles. Even with heartbreak, I’ve learned lessons that are of great value to me. 

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli

I’ve loved, and I’ve lost, and I’ve been betrayed and hurt. The kicker is that now I’ve learned that processing difficult emotions and feelings isn’t something I need to run from. Drinking alcohol every day for 27 years, I was clearly running from processing pain. I couldn’t sit with my sober self and alcohol was the great escape. This is one of the most significant dynamics of my career with drinking alcohol. I didn’t know how or want to feel those feelings of abandonment from my birth parents and the trauma I experienced in my adoptive homes. When I stopped drinking, all my adoptee problems showed up at my front door, and I was forced to sit with them, and I’ve been sitting with them for nine years now. It’s been painful but humbling at the same time. Crying and showing emotions is like the dried up well is living again. Finally, I can look at myself in the mirror and know I am not going to die like my birth parents, and I have done the work on myself to turn the page to live a happier and healthier life. 

Not just for myself, but my kids and future grandkids and my legacy. 

I have always had a tough time with my birthday, but this year was different.  Things seemed lighter and happier. I decided I wouldn’t wait for anyone to celebrate me because I had enough reasons to celebrate me. Waiting on others leads to disappointment. I have learned that I need to put my happiness into my own hands. I had a brief moment of sadness, which I feel was part of my processing the realities of the day I was born. My birth mother left me at the hospital, and I lost everything that day. Being adopted is always a hard pill to swallow. I had challenged myself in recent years to allow space for those feelings and process them and save room to enjoy my day because even when my biological mother abandoned me that day, one badass woman was born. 

Here’s an article on How Adoptees Feel About Birthdays if anyone is interested. It’s not just me; it’s many adoptees who struggle with our birthdays. 

I’ve been stuck in the dark sadness long enough. I’ve paid the price and done the time. I’ve put in the work to overcome the damage adoption has caused and lived a sober life doing it. THIS IS A MIRACLE! I will be working towards healing for the rest of my life; however, it’s critically important that we equally carve out space to enjoy our lives. We must find the balance not to let our adoption journeys dominate our lives. I’m guilty of doing this for the last 11 years, but today is a new day. 

This year, my gift to myself is to step away from almost all things adoption-related and step into a new life that I should have been living many years ago before the adoption trauma and alcohol tornado took over and consumed every fiber of my being. I think as adopted people; we owe that to ourselves. When we remove something unhealthy from our lives, we have to replace it with something healthy. My career with alcohol was unhealthy for me, not to mention what 27 years of consuming alcohol has done to my body. Adoptionland hasn’t been a healthy place for me either, for the majority of my time being present in the adoptee community. I stepped away from most of it long ago, however I still have areas I’m stepping away from in attempts to make my load lighter and my life happier.

This year, I had my birthday month all planned out for myself to bypass the familiar disappointment I get from outside sources. I also had a sweet friend tell me that I needed to celebrate my birthday month, not just the day. So while I didn’t exactly celebrate the whole month, I did celebrate a few weeks. 

The weekend before my birthday, I met with one of my forever friends, Christi. I took her on an adventure to Pine Island Double Falls, located in London, KY. We had a blast and enjoyed spending the day running wild, as we youngins love to do. 

The following week before my birthday, my youngest daughter accompanied me on a mini-photo shoot at one of my favorite parks in Lexington, not far from my house. The purpose was to celebrate my 9-year milestone of living alcohol-free with my MOTHER, AKA Mother Nature. I had a nine balloon, and my daughter took some lovely photos to capture this celebration beautifully.  

August 13, my actual birthday and re-birthday, I decided to take a mini road trip with my kids to Joe’s Crabshack to get some Dungeness Crab BBQ, one of my favorites! All I wanted was a little time in the presence of those I adore the most and who mean the most to me. My kids! It was a surreal experience because as I walked into Joe’s Crabshack with my kids, I realized the last time we had been there together was nine years earlier, TO THE DAY. The last day I drank alcohol on August 13, 2012. I wanted my birthday dinner to be at Joe’s Crabshack in Louisville. While this fact dawned on me, I couldn’t help but reminisce about where I was nine years ago and where I am today. WOW, at the difference nine years makes. We ate a lovely meal, went outside to take some pictures of the sunset of the river, and had a precious time together. Then, we drove back to Lexington to have cake together, my favorite pistachio from Martine’s Bakery here in Lexington. It was a perfect day to remember, with those who make my world go around. 

The following day, I decided to run off into the wild on a self-care solo trip to Tennessee to Cummins Falls State Park. This was an adventure to remember, and I must do it again and stay a weekend to explore the area more. There were two waterfalls I made it to, Cummins Falls and Waterloo Falls. Being able to be solo and hike this gorge was an excellent experience. But, sometimes, we have to take off and go live life. 

The following week on August 20, I flew to Salt Lake City to visit my best friend. It was the first time seeing her in almost three years. You can learn more about that visit by reading my article “Learning to Live and Hike with Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)”  We had a super time together, and it was fantastic to have my first hot springs visit with her, despite the SVT. It was also exciting catching up with another friend, seeing my best friends cute little family, and spending time with them. 

Here are some photos I would love to share with you! 

The changes I’ve made in the last few months have resulted in a lighter feeling with life in general, and I’m optimistic about the future and the path I have set for myself. 

Little by little, letting go of the unnecessary things makes room for the things that matter. I don’t want to waste more time on things that set me back and keep me stuck. I will write about that more soon. 

Special thank you to everyone who made my birthday special and to those who donated to my birthday fundraiser, sent me texts, called me, mailed gifts, and made my day one to remember. Special shout out to my close friends, family, and supporters near and far. I appreciate you all! Thank you! I love you!

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

Taking My Adoptees Connect Hat Off

Photo: by Joshua Coleman / Unsplash

For now, but not forever.

Disclosure: This article does not mean I’m quitting Adoptees Connect, Inc. It means I’m taking the Adoptees Connect hat off when I share certain things about my journey, as well as when I write here in my blog.

One of my biggest struggles over the last few years of my life is the Adoptees Connect hat I wear. It seems the role I have taken on with Adoptees Connect is such a significant role, sometimes I’m wearing that hat more than my own personal hat. This is one of the reasons I’ve been working hard at setting some very consistent boundaries for myself.

When Adoptees Connect launched in January 2018, I truly had no idea what a commitment I was taking on, or how this would impact me personally or professionally. All I knew was that adoptees were dying, and they needed an in-person space to call their own. The internet was great for some things, but when an adoptee is at ends rope, ready to leave the world it’s unrealistic to expect them to have enough energy to get online and ask for help.

I set out on creating in person communities of others who understand their pain. I didn’t want this for ONLY my community, I wanted it for every adoptee community. I knew it was life or death for adoptees everywhere. Whatever I was taking on I knew it was worth it, because I finally found purpose in all the pain I had experienced in my life. It brought glimmer hope and healing to myself, as well as my fellow adoptees.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

I’ve learned that even setting personal boundaries, and having an in person adoptee community that sadness can still set in, as well as complex adoptee issues. One of the many hard parts for me is having to wear the “Adoptees Connect” hat and represent Adoptees Connect, Inc. which has sometimes shadowed over my own thoughts and feelings. I’ve had to put Adoptees Connect first along with the vision and mission. In many situations that has caused discord with people for the simple fact I’ve felt like I’ve had to protect my vision, especially when I feel it’s been threatened. I absolutely hate this part of my role in Adoptees Connect. It’s been the worst part for me because I don’t like or enjoy discord. I do realize it’s a part of life but I will never like it.

I’ve learned that different people love what Adoptees Connect is about, and they want to be a part, and make commitments but when it comes down to doing the work they aren’t committed. I’ve learned that different people love what Adoptees Connect is about, but they have their own agenda which doesn’t necessarily align with the vision and mission of Adoptees Connect, Inc. They attempt to apply their vision to the Adoptees Connect vision and when it’s not in alignment, it creates discord, disconnect, and hurt feelings. It’s been very draining to say the least.

At the end of the day I’ve felt more times than I can count how many times I’ve had to confront people that due to our visions not being in alignment, and the outcome is it’s best we disconnect from partnership. This isn’t an easy thing for anyone to do, but to keep the commitment to the AC vision, it’s had to be done.

In my own personal life, this load has taken a toll emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Never once have I wanted to throw in the towel on Adoptees Connect, but sometimes I want to take the Adoptees Connect hat off when I share my feelings. Especially here on my own website when I share my feelings on my own personal journey.

I’ve always felt like my dedication and Adoptees Connect “Hat” has taken the forefront, even before my own personal life. I’ve kept a lot quiet because of fear of how others will respond to my struggles, and the role I play within Adoptees Connect, Inc. I can no longer do this for my mental health. One of my fears is, “What will others think of me?” “How will they respond that I’m feeling the way I am?”

This article is sharing that moving forward, at least on my website I’m having to take the Adoptees Connect “Hat” off so I can share my own personal struggles and experiences. I have promised myself I would be true to me, and in that I want to be able to help other adoptees with different struggles they might be having as things are so significantly changing for so many of us in our lives.

I hope my articles moving forward will help someone, and I hope others will give me grace in understanding that I’m human too like the rest of you. We’re all experiencing things differently than we ever have and allowing space for the different hats and changes we all wear is important. We should never have to hide pieces of ourselves to make others comfortable or out of fear. Thank you for understanding that making these changes for myself is a part of my self-care and personal boundaries.

Thank you for reading and I hope you are making changes in your life to accommodate your emotional and mental wellness at this current stage of your life.

Be easy on yourself.

You aren’t alone.

R.I.P. RECOVERY

img_0181Never in a million years would I think I would be at a place where I would be writing about this topic, let alone feel like it is a piece of fabric intertwined into my journey.

So much has changed in my life in the last 6 months, like it has for most of us. For me, the good seems to outweigh the bad but that does not mean there was not a lot of pain to get here. I think if we are all honest Covid-19 has rocked our worlds to the core, followed by the racial injustices and racism we continue to see that is dominated the news and our worlds in the recent weeks. Let us be honest, it has always been there, we are just now seeing it at this magnitude.

I have been thinking recently about everything I have learned along my recovery journey all the way back to my childhood being in treatment at 15 years old. I have heard many times that once you consider yourself in recovery, you will always be in recovery. Like the saying, once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. I have heard that one too. I remember that one of the significant steps towards recovery was accepting that my recovery journey was a way of life, forever.

Ball and chain, ride or die recovery for life! 

One of the most wonderful things about growth is the ability to see ourselves differently from the person we used to be. For me, everything has changed in the last 8 years. On August 13, 2020 I will celebrate 8 years sobriety and let me tell you – It is a day I celebrate. It also happens to be my birthday. The day I came into this world and the same day I was separated form my birth mother forever, is the same day I celebrate my sobriety birthday. It might not be for the reasons you think, so let me share a little bit.

The last day I drank alcohol was the day I truly started living. That is when the shit got real, and adoptee issues smacked me straight in the face. They had always been with me, but alcohol numbed the pain at least temporarily. The last drink I ever had, was the end of the old me and I was welcomed by being an Adoptee in Recovery. It was a rebirth, a new life, and it has taken me 8 years of blood, sweat and tears to get to the space of arrival to where I am today. I could write for days at all the work I have put in to get here, but I don’t have time to write it and I’m sure you don’t have time to read it.

The reason I am celebrating that day is not because I was born that day. That is a very painful piece of my story, as it is for most adoptees. I gifted my kids a new mom that day, and I gifted myself a new life. That is why I celebrate that day. I also celebrate it as a reminder of all the heartache I had to go through to get to the place of sobriety for 8 years. I think I will always celebrate this day, and it means something different to me than almost everyone else. It is accomplishment, freedom, joy, and pain. I cried years of tears and sat with a lifetime of adoptee pain to finally get to a place where I can finally say “I’m Okay.”

That does not mean I do not have bad days or bad hours. It just means that I have accepted I am adopted and there is not anything I can do about it. I have accepted both my birth parents rejected me and my adoptive family was abusive and there is nothing I can do about it. I have walked through good days and bad days, and still process this pain daily. I have accepted that the pain is here to stay, and although it might get easier on occasion, I know it will always come back around because I will always be adopted. The layers of pain are just too great to disappear, so I have learned to welcome it and learn to sit with the pain.

Let me be clear, I will ALWAYS be recovering from the damage adoption has done! I will always share that damage, and my journey so other adoptees are inspired, and so they don’t feel alone. 

I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE.  

I think recovery is something we move through. Some of us attach it to us for the rest of our lives, and some of us can move through it and let go of the label when and if the time is right. Whatever works for each of us individually is all that matters. It’s not a life sentence and I refuse to accept it is any longer.

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I no longer have a desire to drink, and quitting the alcohol was the easiest part for me. I have been asking myself lately why I must attach the label “RECOVERY” to my life forever? Because they said so? Those in the recovery realm have told me that is what I need to do to stay in sobriety? Yes, that is part of it. I have learned for years that the minute I no longer consider myself in recovery, is a pathway to relapse to my old life. This has truly been embedded into my mind and I have always been ride or die recovery because of it. The THOUGHT of removing that label has never entered my mind until now.

I learned in the recovery world, that working the 12 steps was an ongoing process. I remember working them back to back for years. One day it was like a light switch went off and I realized years had passed me by and I was on this merry-go-round ride going around and around on the recovery wagon nonstop. Countless time invested that I can never get back, however I would not change a thing. These experiences have brought me great understanding and wisdom not only about myself, but the world we live in.  In this flip I switched, I made more changes in my life. I withdrew from Celebrate Recovery to “find myself” outside of the rules and regulations of this ministry and recovery program.

Most of you reading understand my love for nature but I will be clear, I did not reconnect with this love until after I left the church and the recovery ministry all together. They were two things that sucked my time bone dry, and I did not have time to do anything else. Fast forward to now and it is 2020 and all I want to do in my spare time is escape to nature and I have found it to be the greatest aspect to my healing journey yet to date.

What if I have worked so hard and so long at recovery, that I really feel okay with my life now? What if I have pulled out all my root issues and worked on them for years and I have moved forward with my life? What if I am no longer stuck? What if I have decided I want to write my own pages of my story and I have finally decided I no longer want to refer to myself as being in recovery? What if I am comfortable with this?

What if the recovery world does not support me or if they judge me or tell me I am making a bad choice? What about Adoptees in Recovery? How will I identify myself moving forward? What will people think? Can I still share my recovery journey with others? Can I still celebrate my sobriety?

The moral of the story is, I genuinely do not care what anyone thinks. These fears have been on my mind off an on over the last few months, and I am finally ready to let them go while I make a public declaration that I am saying RIP to RECOVERY. Being an outsider looking in, although this is a piece of my story, I have noticed this label has hindered me in many areas of life.

I am determined to not let this change the fact that I am always growing and moving forward. I am always striving for greatness and continuing to improve my life in all areas, mind, body, and spirit. I truly feel all I am doing is dropping the label because I have put in all the work and effort that if I want to drop it, I can. I don’t like how this can be a life sentence. It’s up to us to write the pages of our story, not one is going to do it for us. No one has the right to try to confine us to commit to any label for the rest of our lives.

I want to just live my life.

I want to be happy and free from all the rules and regulations that go along with recovery and what that even looks like depending on what recovery program I am a part of. Yes, things still hurt sometimes, and they always will but I’m no longer interested in continuing with the ride or die, ball and chain link to the recovery world that I’ve invested so much time in for the last 8 years. Recovery has been such a huge part of my life for so long, it is going to take me some time to stop using the terminology but if I am being honest that is all it really was. Nothing is going to change aside from removing the lifelong life sentence of the label. I hate labels, all labels. They can and do cause a lot of damage, so one by one I am removing them.

Can’t I just be someone who doesn’t drink alcohol?

Sure I can!

I don’t have to cling tight to a label for the rest of my life to do this. 

I am writing my own story, and today I am Pam and I am happy internally. I’m healing daily, I am moving forward and growing. Instead of saying “I’m Pam and I am in recovery from LIFE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE” I am going to start sharing that “I’m Pam and  I have finally found a LOVE FOR LIFE!”

With this, I must go live it!

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Until I did the 8 years of time recovering, this would not be possible. I do not regret a thing. I just want to enjoy life; do the things I love and spend time with those I am close too. That is, it.

RIP RECOVERY

TODAY I’M FREE

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

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Is Open Adoption The Answer?

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Time to seek input from those of us who have the most expertise in the adoption constellation- The Adult Adoptees!⚡️

The topic of OPEN ADOPTION keeps being brought up as a solution to closed adoption, and I’m seeking wisdom from the adoptees here to share your input on open adoption vs closed adoption. Of course none of us have been able to live both, but we do feel adoptees still have the best advice based on living adopted. They certainly have more experience than the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys and adoptive parents. As well as the birth mothers who make this choice thinking it’s the better option.

To the adoptees here, Is one better than the other? Why or why not? Do you recommend open adoption? When someone asks you if it’s better than closed adoption, how do you respond? Share as little or as much as you like!

Comments will not be censored! Here are responses from 22 adoptees who had enough courage to chime in on this topic. Thank you to each of you!

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  • In some ways, yeah. But on the other, growing up, I just wanted to be “normal”, and “normal” wasn’t having 2 families. I still struggle with that idea and feel like I need to be “rid of” one of them. At the end of the day, I don’t think adoption is an answer at all because there’s no win situation for the adoptee. – Alexis
  • Phuck adoption. Adoption needs to be killed. Legal Guardianship. That’s the answer – Danny
  •  I don’t believe it is the answer. It is a band aid over a bigger situation. The only thing with open adoption is that the child has the opportunity to know where he/she comes from. But in the end there is still trauma for child. Confusion. And again it is not in the best interest of the child. – Elva
  • Guardianship is the answer. Whereby contact to parents is open where its safe to do so, where the child keeps his or her birth certificate & identity intact and where the child isn’t Gas Lighted into believing adopters are the birth parents. The Guardianship concept isn’t likely to happen anytime soon so where open adoption isn’t the answer , its better than nothing . But legislation needs to put in place so that adopters cannot close an open adoption. Legislation allowing the child to return to his or her mother and or father should be put in place to remove the permanency of closed or open adoption. And with open adoption, I believe it is in the child’s best interest to not only see their mother often & with regularity, but that mothers should be encouraged & welcomed into the child’s home environment too. Not keen on the idea of an adoptees mother being shut out of the child’s home. It must feel odd & strange that a mother or father is kept locked firmly out of the child’s home. If it is safe for the child to have contact to their mother then it is safe for the mother to be welcomed into the adopter home so to create a stronger working relationship between mothers & adopters which in turn would make a child feel much more at ease & therefore happier. – Gordie
  • No, it most definitely is not. Legal guardianship is. – Janice
  • I cannot imagine how heart wrenching it must be to see your mother periodically and then watch her go back to her life and family without you over and over again!
    I was in a closed adoption so cannot speak from experience, but, in my view it would be unsettling to say the least. Let’s just reform adoption to be a last hope Guardianship only when a child has been proven unable to live with any of their own family. And if possible should lead to help for parents and eventual return to family. Let’s make adoption work for adoptees instead of hopeful family builders. – Kimberly
  • I wish there was no adoption at all. I can understand that there will always be those who are unable or unwilling to parent their child and I would rather see the child with a family than an institution. What I have a HUGE problem with is stripping away a child’s identity. Furthermore, forcing a child to pretend that they are from the adopted family. Because of this, if there have to be adoptions at all, (and why cant there be legal guardianship instead of adoption?), I would rather see open than closed. I feel closed adoptions should be eradicated completely. I wish more than anything I would have been able to grow up knowing my siblings. That hurts me to my core. I am grateful to know them now, but I will never have that shared history with them, and it is very emotional and hard to see them interacting with each other and with my parents in a way that I can’t. Children deserve to know where they come from and who they come from. They are entitled to see what their parents look like and know how to get ahold of them. Adoptive parents should never be able to close an adoption or stop contact with the bio family. My two cents worth. – Denise
  • I’ve never understood how open adoption is the right choice for the child. Wouldn’t that cause more confusion and anger for the child? – Krystyna
  • No. Just no. No adoption until a child is old enough to choose. – Sammy
  • My adoption 60 years ago was Gray Market. Not totally legal baby selling ring people who made arrangements to traffic babies between Maryland, NY and NJ. I grew up in NY. The baby sellers often falsified much of the information (names, ethnicity, etc.) Found out in an argument when I was 15 that I had been adopted. They gave me the information, yet took away a great deal of trust + given the shock of the news shared in anger. Not to say these ring folks placed babies in bad homes, however, they got in serious trouble for their extensive role in the practice. Met the Lady that gave birth to me. Nice, open, vulnerable, kind, lost, and not ‘mother’ material, therefore open might not have mattered, plus my parents might have felt insecure given all of the dynamics. – Roxan
  • I don’t feel that open adoption is a solution to closed adoption. Adoption, in its entirety needs to be overhauled. Adoption should not be an “option” to “build a family”. Buying a womb wet infant is baby selling, plain and simple. Guardianship and kinship placements should be considered first if in fact there is a pregnant woman who really and truly cannot, shouldn’t or won’t parent. I believe in most instances, mothers do want to parent, but may be in a temporary situation that makes it impossible or impractical to parent. Help with the temporary hardship should be the goal of every social worker out there. A birth certificate should never be changed, parents should never be replaced with lies. An OBC and a court order if guardianship should be enough documentation to register for school, get a license, passport, SS card, etc. Why is a falsified piece of paper proof of your identity? Closed adoption is horrific because there are so many questions, so much missing information, that it can be hard for a child to feel “real”. Open adoptions are potentially more problematic in that the child is repeatedly ripped from their natural family and may wonder why they aren’t good enough to stay with them or a myriad of other feelings of otherness. There is no win-win for children in these scenarios. – Daphne
  • I can’t imagine how an open adoption would feel as a kid growing up. I was in a closed adoption so can only recount that experience and hazzard a guess about open adoption. Whilst I wondered and made up stories of my birth mother it wasn’t something that affected every waking hour. It wasn’t every moment I looked on a mirror or got told off for being naughty. Indeed it really was as I grew older into adulthood that I started to explore how I felt more deeply. I’m fortunate to have reunited with my birth mother so the circle was closed with no gaps. She was adorable. I never thought after meeting her that I’d wished she’d kept me for my life would not be what it is now if things had been different. I sat on an adoption panel for many years and to place some of the children in an open adoption would have been harmful to them. I like the idea of letterbox contact which we do in the uk. Exchanges of letters and pics maybe twice a year via the adoption agency. Both sets parents remain anonymous but the kids get to keep in touch with their history. I think open adoption would work too if both parties are open and caring enough not to let their egos fight over the child. I used to explain to my own kids that their are so many sorts of families and parents and that each had reasons for being as they are and that is how the world works. I am happy with both open and closed adoption as long as it’s the adoptees interests that are at the forefront of any decision. – JoJo
  • All adoption is abuse of a child’s human rights. There is never a need for adoption for a child who is genuinely in need of (frequently temporary) care. Kinship care (never adoption) should be sought in the child’s father and mother’s family/extended family so that a child can grow up within their own family, having mirroring and feeling grounded. Knowing who they are, their family, place and culture. Failing this, a Legal Guardianship is kindest to the child; puts the child’s welfare first and has regular checks. Adoption has become a multi billion dollar industry by supplying babies who belong to one family to infertile people who feel entitled to a child when they can’t have their own children naturally, or to saviour attention seeking types. That a person could even think like that, ie, that they are entitled to someone else’s child, is beyond me. Adoption involves child trafficking and skullduggery of every kind and lies and deceit. Infertile people go to great lengths, fundraising on facebook, having bake and garage sales to buy a baby. How disgusting. There is never ever a thought for what the baby would want, only what they want. Adoption: First, it severs a child from the mother the child already knows and is waiting to meet. A baby knows their own mother by scent. Second, it cuts a child off from all that is rightfully theirs by birth. Their name, their birth certificate (is replaced with a fake birth certificate naming strangers as their parents), their family, their neighbours, their place, their history and heritage, their culture and country. Third, it forces a child to live a pretend life. Pretend these strangers are your parents. Pretend you are their son or daughter. It forces a child to try to be what the owners/adopters want, as adoption promised them the child would be “just like them,” and they truly believe, delusionally, that if they cajole, manipulate and bully the child enough, it will be moulded into what they want. The child tries to cooperate because he or she fears further rejection from the owners. This child usually develops Stockholm Syndrome and is loyal to his or her captors and parrots all they tell her. “Adoption is beautiful”, oh yes, adoption is beautiful! For this child to look at the truth of what was done to them is too painful. When a child is just him or herself, this is unacceptable to the owners/adopters as it reminds them they are really NOT the child’s parents. The child is being true to his or her own inherited traits and it really upsets them and they feel they were conned and didn’t get value for their money. This child is the black sheep, the receptacle for the narcissists vile projections. So many adopted people tell of their lives being destroyed by adoption and by narcissistic adopters. Recent studies have shown that most female adopters are narcissists. The amount of adopted children worldwide who are being abused in every way but especially sexually, who are being beaten, starved, imprisoned and murdered by their loving adopters should be enough to get this barbaric practice stopped, but its not. Too much money is being made off the backs of innocent children and mothers. Adoption has no follow on checks so adopters can do what they like to the innocent children they got their hands on. The idea that someone else’s child can be legally owned by infertile or other types of people who ‘want children’ is beyond appalling and reprehensible. The child loses their mother/father and family and the life they should have had all because some strangers want a child? More regard is given to puppies and kittens than to human children. Its outrageous and it needs to be seen for the child abuse it is and outlawed. Legalized child abuse. Taking someone else’s child is NOT a cure for infertility. Acceptance is the cure for infertility. Surrogacy is another breach of children’s human rights and we are seeing many of those purposely created children now with broken hearts just like adopted people have…. longing for their fathers and mothers. The same people who shouted about children being separated from their parents at the border have no problem coveting and taking someone else’s child themselves. They disgust me. – Geraldine
  • I think it’s the best way to go. I wish mine had been! – Courtney
  • Open Adoption Well for a start in N.Z there is no such Legal Law. Its only on the word of the Adopting Parents which they can break at any given time. Then on the other hand the Birth Mother can also walk away, perhaps she has a new partner, so that new family is her main concern, or new partner says NO to contact with her first child. Its a very mixed bag. Its like everything some work most don’t. Again the Adopted child pays the price. – Josie
  • I don’t recommend any adoption but open is better than closed. I grew up with no real information about my parents. The non-identifying information did not answer any of my questions and only prompted more questions. I didn’t even have a photograph of my parents. I had nothing and that was horrible. I would have appreciated having access to my parents, siblings and grandparents. But since my APs were abusive what I really needed was to return to my real family. Adoption of any kind can really mess with your head but having access to information would have been better for me. – Lorene
  • No – Julia
  • I have already read and heard many stories about the so-called “open adoption”. Often the mother is persuaded to agree to an “open adoption”. She is presented with a fantasy. However, in 99% it is turned within 1 year so that a closed adoption is approved by the judge because the adoptive parents convince the judge “that the contact is very confusing and slaughter for THEIR child. !!! The mother has no right to speak, so all adoption is bad for mother and child. – Barbara
  • No adoption is the answer be accountable for your actions. – Elizabeth
  • ONLY if the CHILD wants to be. Why can’t you can’t adopt without changing their names? Without stripping them of their identity? Without taking away their relationships with their families? – Britney
  •  I think abortion is the answer. If a woman doesn’t want, or isn’t able to keep a child, she shouldn’t have it. – Kris
  • Open adoptions aren’t any better IMHO. Can you imagine being ripped away from your biological mother over and over again? Every single time that happens a trauma occurs. All relinquishment, open or closed is rooted and grounded in trauma. We have to stop co-signing for trauma. The only way to eliminate such trauma is abolish adoption as we know it. Only in abusive situations we need to focus on keeping the child in the family first, (kinship) and if all options have been exhausted in that area then guardianship should happen. In guardianship, no names are changed, histories aren’t sealed and our lives aren’t based on secrecy and lies. Our truth AND ALL OF IT must stay in tact! This idea of “protecting us” from the truth needs to be stopped because it’s killing adoptees! We can’t heal from secrecy, lies and half truths no matter if its closed or open adoption. I can never support adoption or open adoption until 100% of our truth is disclosed. We also need to be 100% for family preservation NOT adoption separation. Open adoption is not better than closed adoption. Abolish it, and stop keeping secrets. The truth needs to be mandated and the truth means nothing hidden. – Pamela

Are you an adoptee and have thoughts on this?

Please share below, we want to hear from you!

Please consider sharing this article the next time someone asks if open adoption is the solution to closed adoption.

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

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I Don’t Know My Mom

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The Voice of An Adoptee in Recovery from Relinquishment Trauma & The Mother Wound

I don’t know my mom, but I wish I did. I’ve dreamed of her everyday ever since I was a little kid.

Spending a lifetime of searching, I finally found her name but uncovering the truth has been a heartbreaking game. 

Adoptions don’t have beautiful beginnings, instead they’re grounded in loss but the world says we’re winning. 

How am I winning when I didn’t know her name? The woman that brought me into the world, our fingers, toes and DNA are the same?

I don’t know my mom, but I wish I did. I’ve dreamed of her everyday ever since I was a little kid.

I waited for her to come back, but she never showed up. Did she have a clue how her actions would keep me stuck? 

Wading knee deep in my grief, loss & sorrow, many times wanting to end my life. Struggling to find hope or find happiness in tomorrow. 

Do they even think about how an adoptee will feel?

What if our wounds are too deep to heal? 

Did they consult with the adult adoptees before they made this life sentencing deal?  

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

Did they care about the memories gone, or our grief or our loss? 

Did they know we would forever have a hole in our hearts, and what’s left is shattered in a million parts? 

Did they care that we would spend our lifetime picking up all the pieces?  

Using all our strength to find a glimmer of what deep down peace is? 

I don’t know my mom, but I wish I did. I’ve dreamed of her everyday ever since I was a little kid.

The beautiful bond, broken too soon. Did she know the sorrow she would feel after she walked out of the delivery room? 

How can the world celebrate such a deep rooted trauma? 

Oh, that’s right they have no clue what it’s like to never know or lay eyes on your momma.

Her smell, her smile, her laugh, her touch. No matter who or where she was, I loved her very much. 

I don’t know my mom, but I wish I did. I’ve dreamed of her everyday ever since I was a little kid.

Living life as my [ her ] – story unknown, created constant intense inner conflict and torment.

Parents unknown has been my greatest source of pain, case closed. 

I’m no adoption fairy,  I’m not into serving adoption feel good juice. I’m focused on dishing out 100% adoption truth. 

I don’t know my mom, but I wish I did. I’ve dreamed of her everyday ever since I was a little kid.

p.s. I’ll never get over it, so stop spinning that b.s. 💯

#healingthroughwriting

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

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Still Grieving Adoptee Losses, What My Adoptive Parents Could Have Done Differently

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I was born in Iowa in August of 1974. At that moment when I found out I was adopted back in 1979, I wish my adoptive mom would have sat down with me and opened the conversations about what adoption REALLY meant. I was around 5 years old.

Instead, I got something like this.

Me: Mommy, I grew in your tummy like the baby in the lady’s belly on television?

Adoptive Mom: No, you grew in another lady’s belly. She loved you so much, she gave you to me to raise because she wanted you to have a better life. It was a dream come true for me to become a mommy. I couldn’t have children of my own. I will always love her for that because she’s given me the greatest gift of my life.

Me: Who is she?

Adoptive Mom: I don’t know who she is. You were adopted. If you want to know who she is, we will have to wait until we get enough money for an attorney to get the sealed records opened. Right now, we don’t have enough money. I just know she loved you so much and wanted you to have a better life.

Me: Where is she?

Adoptive Mom: I don’t know where she is.

Me 1980: Who is She?

Me 1981: Where is She?

Me 1982: Who Is She?

Me 1983: Where is She?

Me 1984: Who is She?

Me 1985-1994: Every Single Year – Who is she? Where is She?

Every Single Year

Adoptive Mom: I don’t know who she is or where she is. You were adopted. If you want to know who she is, we will have to wait until we get enough money for an attorney to get the sealed records opened. Right now, we don’t have enough money.

At 21 Years Old in 1995 I said to my adoptive mom, “WHO IS MY BIRTH MOTHER? WHERE IS SHE?’ It was like a broken record. 

Adoptive Mom: Well, there’s something I want to tell you. When your dad and I signed the paperwork for you to be adopted, the doctors accidentally gave us the wrong paperwork. We saw your birth mothers name, and the street she lived on. If you call your dad, he might remember the information.

I remember this exact moment, because I immediately became enraged and the anger that took over, is something that’s hard for me to process. I’m just telling you THE TRUTH because once I found out she lied to me my entire life, I have never looked at her like a mother again. EVER! Yes, for the record I have forgiven her, but we had an estranged relationship until she died and I don’t regret it for a minute. I can’t have people in my life who lie to me, for any reason at all. Hopefully this will help adoptive parents understand, lying and deception under any circumstances is never okay.

What kind of mother lies to their child repeatedly? I have had to unpack this, and there are many layers and dynamics to it but this layer (along with all the layers of adoption) of the onion has impacted me greatly my entire life.

I was adopted in 1974 and things were different then. I’m certain my adoptive parents were told to not talk about it, to sweep it under the rug and act as if me being adopted didn’t exist. So many adoptive parents weren’t given the correct tools to use so they knew how to navigate these complex dynamics of the adoptee experience.

Looking back, how I wish things were handled? 

Today I believe in my heart of hearts, my adoptive parents didn’t have a CLUE of what they were doing. I don’t think adoption agencies or adoption attorneys are preparing adoptive parents for the TRUTH, and how to navigate it as making money trumps everything in that arena.

I think the deception regarding lying to me my whole life is a way my adoptive mom was able to stall me from finding my truth. But let me just tell you, there were consequences for that. I never trusted her again, and I’ve always felt like she adopted me for her needs, not mine. This has impacted every area of my life, still to this day!  I was a pawn to fulfill her void because she couldn’t have children of her own. I would like to encourage anyone dealing with infertility issues, please seek help on your own. Don’t make your adopted child fill your void. 

I wish more conversations were opened at that moment I found out I was adopted in 1979 and moving forward.

I wish our conversation would have went like this. 

Me: Mommy, Did I come out of your belly like the lady on the television?

Adoptive Mom: No honey, you came out of another lady’s belly. She was unable to take care of you, so she decided to have someone else parent you and that someone else was your dad and me. No, she loved you and gave you away. No, you were my biggest gift because I couldn’t parent or have kids of my own!

Me: Who is she? Where is she?

Adoptive Mom: Because you were adopted, when you are old enough, we will do everything in our power to help you try to find her. Helping your adopted child search and find their biological parents means everything! Support us!

Me: I want to find her now.

Adoptive Mom: We can’t find her until you are 18, but it’s okay to be sad you lost her. It’s okay to love her and want to find her. You lost the most important woman of your life, and it’s okay to feel sad for losing her. Would you like to talk about it? How are you feeling about this? Open these conversations and never stop!

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

No one has ever asked me how it feels to be adopted!

Me: Weeping, my grieving starts at 5 years old because I have every reason to be sad for losing the woman who carried me in her belly for 9 months and who brought me into the world. Regardless of whose dreams she made come true to be parents. Regardless of how much LOVE she thought I was going to have in this “BETTER LIFE” I was promised. Regardless of how happy my adoptive parents were to be parents, and their dreams coming true, I still deserved the right to grieve my losses as soon as I discovered them.

The catch is, I was 5 years old. I didn’t know how to do this. I needed my adoptive parents to step in and open the dialog and put ME AND MY LOSSES FIRST. I needed them to set their dream come true to be parents on the shelf and BE REAL WITH ME!

Yes, this is possible at 5 years old. At age appropriate times it is possible to share the TRUTH with adopted children. If you can’t do this, you have no business being an adoptive parent. Period!

I would give anything if someone in my life would have sat me down and said “It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be mad. it’s okay to feel hurt, and broken, and lost. If I was you, I would feel that way too after losing so much!

But that never happened so at 45 years old, I have been going through the grieving process for 7 years now, all alone.

What did I lose?

My Birth Mother.

My Birth Father.

Connection.

My maternal and paternal grandparents.

My siblings on both sides.

Memories from all the above.

My ancestry.

Genetic Mirroring

My identity

My medical history.

Maternal Bonding

My peace of mind, taken by always searching for clues to my family.

My childhood, taken because I was searching my entire life.

I lost how to regulate emotions, because these are the biggest emotions I’ve ever had, and I had to keep them secret so my adoptive parents wouldn’t get hurt. This was a HUGE internal war within me. It almost killed me. Not to mention, as a child I can’t articulate how I’m feeling, and I don’t have the words to describe it.

I needed help, and I didn’t get it although I’ve been in therapy my entire life since I was 5 years old, and the THERAPIST COULDN’T EVEN HELP ME! Adoption was never talked about, and it was the ROOT issue!

Abuse of substances for 27 years took away my pain, but only temporarily. A lot happened in 27 years.

Today, I’m doing for myself what my adoptive parents and Adoption Culture didn’t do for me. I’m allowing myself the space to grieve my adoptee losses, whatever that looks like for me. Usually I run off in nature, and I cry there because Mother Nature doesn’t have an ulterior motive behind her role in my life. She want’s nothing from me. I write here on my website. I share my feelings in my Adoptees Connect group. I have ways to process, but I’ve had to figure this out alone, after a lifetime of pain.

So, I seek Mother Nature the most, as no one in this world seems to understand that adoptee grief is something I will process for the rest of my life. It never goes away. Just like grief from someone loses their mom in childbirth, or someone losing both their parents in a car wreck.

The difference is, those people are given the gift and privilege of being able to grieve their losses as soon as they happen and usually throughout the duration of their lives, it’s normal to coach them through the grief process.

Not for adoptees.

We are stripped of that privledge but that doesn’ t mean we aren’t grieving on the inside. 

We must grieve in silence, and for many of us, it kills us. I’ve attempted suicide multiple times as a adopted teen, and have contemplated suicide many times as an adult due to my adoption trauma. Mix grief, loss, abandonment, rejection, C-PTSD and the internal confliction I experience daily, it’s a miracle I’m alive and I feel the same for all adoptees who make it out alive. We also live in an Adoption Culture society that celebrates our losses and tries to talk down upon us for feeling anything less than “thankful” or “happy” about our experiences.

I’m just telling you; adoptees are dying out here and there is something adoptive parents and Adoption Culture can do about it. If you know all of this, you can’t unknow it and you can’t say someone out there didn’t share it. If you have adopted a child, please understand that this child can and will have lifelong difficulties that will need ongoing care. Please know that we never outgrow being adopted. Yes, adoption is complicated and it’s messy. No one story fits all. We know this.

But please understand that being adopted is with us FOREVER. The sooner we can start grieving our losses, the sooner we start to heal. Please understand that NO AMOUNT OF LOVE IN THIS WORLD CAN REPLACE THE LOSS I have always felt by losing my biological parents, and all the losses that come with that. Please understand no ivy league college, a brand-new car at 16 years old, or a huge house on a hill can take away these losses. We should be allowed to grieve as early as possible, at age appropriate times and this is life or death for us.

If any adoptive parents might be reading, please allow these conversations to be opened at age appropriately times. Please seek therapy on how to do this. Please don’t ignore this. Please understand no matter how much of a blessing you feel adoption is, it doesn’t change the fact that we experienced a trauma the moment we lost our birth mothers, and that trauma is compacted by pretending it’s not there by adoption being celebrated. I’m sharing here what I wish was done differently based on my experience.

I will be grieving these losses for the rest of my life, but I can’t help but wonder how my life might have been different if I would have started grieving at the moment I found out I was adopted. Please don’t let Adoption Culture deceive you, because I’m here to tell you if you ignore the grief and loss process for your adopted child, you will be sorry you did.

Please don’t mistaken this article as I’m sitting in sadness, depressed, angry or mad at the world. I was in that space for most of my life, because I couldn’t grieve my losses. But today, becaue I’ve allowed myself the space to do this, I’m healing daily and I have actually been able to find love in my life. Love for myself, love for life itself, love for others, love for all things around me. It’s almost impossible to get to the space I am, without grieving my losses. Today I enjoy life. Today I welcome my sadness when it comes, I embrace it and I invite it to stay awhile. I sit with it, I talk with it, and I process it. Then I let it go, until it circles back around again. Procesing adoptee grief is a lifelong journey. The sooner we embrace it and stop running from it, the sooner we start to heal.

 If you’ve made it this far, I commend you.

Adopted Adults are the KEY to learning what should have been done, or what could be done differently. If you’re an adoptive parent, and you have any questions for the adult adoptee community, visit How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? on Facebook. This platform was designed for you in mind.

Adoptees, What are some ways you have been able to grieve your losses? What age did you start this process? Did anyone ever encourage you to do this growing up? Have you been alone in this process?

Adoptive Parents, where are you at with this topic? Did the agencies or attorneys give you information on how to proceed with this topic? Have you been able to open these conversations? If yes, what has that looked like for you? If no, what are you waiting for?

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

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Adoptee Pain

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.  I do not claim to, nor make an effort to speak for all adoptees. – p.k. 

 

“I want you to be healed in Jesus Name!”

“Will the pain every go away?”

“Will the pain get easier?”

“You have to let go, and let God!”

“Oh she just had a bad adoption experience!”

“Adoption is a gift from God, sorry you had a bad experience!”

“Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted? You got life!”

The list could go on and on of things I’ve heard people say, and even things I’ve said myself. Over the last 8 years of coming out of the fog, I have learned so much and God has shown me so much about my personal experience and journey. I felt I needed to share some of it with my followers.

ADOPTEE PAIN

2010 I started the healing process. Healing from what? A lifetime of brokenness, heartbreak, grief, loss and trauma some of which is from my adoption experience, some is from other things that have happened in my life. Back in 2010 I was still drinking to numb my pain. I was a functional drinker, I went to work everyday and loved my career. I raised 3 kids, paid my bills, had fun and enjoyed my life to the best of my abilities.

I quickly learned that alcohol and the healing process didn’t work well together, and actually it was pretty catastrophic if I’m being honest. Mixing alcohol with trauma?  I learned that alcohol had actually stalled my healing, it made me not process my pain. It was my great escape. I was a runner, alcohol was my magic carpet and for 27 years I rode it ducking and dodging anything remotely painful. One thing I wasn’t doing was FEELING ADOPTION GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA.

When August 13, 2012 came rolling around I had enough of myself. At this point I spent 27 years running from the pain from my past and my adoption experience. August 13, 2012 was also my birthday. The day I came into this world, and the day my birth mother abandoned me and left me. It doesn’t matter who else was around to substitute HER. No one ever has, nor will they ever replace HER. They tried, but didn’t succeed!

I soon started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery and spent the next 4 years working the 12 steps, mentoring other women, leading a women’s chemical dependency group and processing my pain! You read that right. Processing my pain. How do I do this? I never learned how to process my pain. Adoptee pain is ignored and denied to us by the entire WORLD!

Adoption is wonderful!

Adoption saved you!

Adoption gave you LIFE!

If I left it up to this world to help me, I would be dead right now. This world has never had any help for broken, hurting adult adoptees. We don’t fit the narrative of how adoption is perceived by society. Not only do many of us not fit in with our adoptive families, but many of us don’t fit in with our birth families. We don’t fit in with the world which leaves us more isolated and alone than you could ever imagine.

One by one, I started working on my adoptee issues. Triggers, memories, grief, loss, trauma, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, mother wound, father wound, sadness, depression, anxiety, aloneness, isolation, and the list could go on. ADOPTION IMPACTS EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES. As my drinking came to a screeching halt my adoptee reality came rolling in like a ton of bricks. Smacked me straight in the face. Knocked me dead in my tracks.

The fog began to lift, and things got real and fast. Celebrate Recovery was somewhat of a safe space for me, but no one understood me. They didn’t get what I was saying, and they too had the idea that adoption was all wonderful so I was some ungrateful little brat for not appreciating the fact I wasn’t aborted. I had a small handful of close friends who were always there to listen and support me, but they didn’t understand it because they aren’t adopted. I was still isolated and alone in many ways and because Celebrate Recovery was a ministry the goal was to BE HEALED IN JESUS NAME!

Well, I showed up and I did the work. Day after day, week after week and year after year I kept going back and guess what? I still have the pain I did when I walked through the doors. I still am broken. I still have a broken heart, and I still have MAJOR ADOPTEE ISSUES. I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong and like I had to hide like I really felt because this healing everyone was talking about just wasn’t working for me!

“You are choosing to hang onto the pain!”

“You aren’t praying enough!”

“I think you need to fast!”

“Stop thinking of the negative and think of the positive!”

All of these things only made me feel worse about my situation and myself. It made me feel like I was the exception. I was the one that was never going to get the healing. I was the one God was punishing because I’m one ungrateful little b**ch and I’m not thankful I’m adopted. I hate being adopted. I heard people say, “There are reasons people don’t get there healing!”

What in the actual F*CK does that even mean?

*pardon the curse words, but I’ve come to the realization from some close friends that cursing can be therapeutic and it’s not all that bad. It feels really good to say a curse word every now and then and as part of my unconditioning out of the church, I’m allowing myself to say a curse word when I want. 🙂 

Do the people who say these things know how damaging this can be to people? I found myself running a rat race trying to BE HEALED in Jesus name and it never worked! What did work is the moment I left out of the church and began to process my REAL PAIN away from all the HOOPLA that the church pushed on me, I became much more free than I had ever been! I found healing in that freedom more than I ever did inside the doors of the church or inside Celebrate Recovery.

Now that I’m an outsider looking in I’ve learned so much in gaining a better understanding in my truth, the truth and God’s truth. Let’s dissect that for a moment. What does that even look like?

The more I share my truth, the more uncomfortable it is for non-adoptees to hear, read and learn about the damage adoption causes an adoptee. They want me to be healed so I shut up. They want me to “get over it” so they stop hearing about it. They want me to move on with my life, because they are done hearing the truth. Reality is adoption is damage and some of the damage can never be undone.

I’ve learned many times the truth hurts, and it’s hard to swallow. Of all the adoptee activism I’ve done in my 8 years of coming out of the fog, I’ve heard HUNDREDS of adoptee stories! If not thousands. I have put in the time, energy and work to learn from so many adoptees from all over the world and guess what. The MAJORITY of them have heartbreaking stories where adoption has negatively impacted every area of their lives, for an entire lifetime. I wouldn’t make this stuff up! I can’t unknow what I know.

If God is the way, the truth and the life, then GOD IS TRUTH. Let’s be truthful for a moment. What about the broken, hurting and lost adoptees? Who is looking out for them? Who is speaking for them when they don’t feel strong enough to speak for themselves? Where are the resources for them?

Because being a broken, hurting and lost adoptee myself I have only found that for myself in creating it for not only myself, but other adoptees in Adoptees Connect.

Do you think my fire and passion for this Adoptee “thing” came from nothing? No, it came from a very dark and painful place where I have had no choice but to reside for most of my life because of no resources for adoptees.

What if I become “Healed in Jesus Name”?

What does that look like?

Will my spark die?

Will my purpose dissolve?

Will my fire die for Adoptee City?

Will I walk off into the sunset as a “Healed Adoptee” feeling WHOLE and leaving all the broken adoptees behind to figure it all out on their own? Will I finally be happy inside and outside and the dark cloud be gone? Will I forget all about being adopted and how much it’s impacted every area of my life? Will my triggers be dissolved into none at all? Will my mother wound go away? Will my trauma disappear? Will my grief and loss be non-existent? Will my heart finally be WHOLE? Will my truth disappear?

If I answer all these questions, and if I’m REAL about it and if I share the TRUTH, if I let all these things go, what will I have? What will my purpose be?

If God heals, and he wants us to be whole, what about those of us who try that, and we don’t get our healing? How do you know it’s not for a good purpose or a God purpose instead of a punishment? please be careful what you say to people!

What if I’m alive here today so I can share the pain of what it’s like growing up in an emotionally and mentally abusive adoptive home, so that hopefully other adoptees who have experience this won’t feel alone? What if I’m here to bring light (truth) to the reality of the damage that happens anytime a mother and a child is separated? How do we know that my story, my pain hasn’t gone away because God wants the world to know that adoption TODAY isn’t what he intended for it to be? How do we know if all the secrecy and lies in adoption that impacted me in negative ways, is something God wants brought to light because HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE?

Why is this so hard for some people to accept about ADOPTION? Adoption is rooted and grounded in grief, loss and division! Secrecy and lies follow suit. What if I’m not “Healed in Jesus Name” so I can share my truth that is the same TRUTH thousands and thousands of adoptees have all over the world?

What if my pain is here to stay because I have work to do?

Should I trade my pain for complicity?

Nope.

Not me.

I will continue to hold it, keep it tight so I can continue to share the truth about the jacked up adoption industry and how negatively adoption has and will continue to impact adoptees in a negative way all around the world.

What a hefty price to pay, to carry this burden that has been placed upon my shoulders. At least in the process I’m being true to me, who I am and my experience. I’m being true to my fellow adoptees who are all over the place hurting, some on the edge of suicide, isolated and all alone. At least I’m doing something positive with this pain. At least it won’t go in vein. At least I’m sharing my truth as I see it. I’m not drinking to numb my pain any longer. This is the reality of being an adult adoptee. This is my reality.

Another reason I’ve hung onto this pain so tight is because it’s all I have of my birth mother. That’s extremely hard to comprehend to some people but for me, meeting her once, and her slamming the door shut left me with a lifetime of questions, pain, hurt and more severe abandonment and rejection issues than anyone on this earth can imagine or comprehend.  I wrote about the pain associated with my birth mother one time, and you can read that here; Mother May I but even after this writing it’s been impossible for me to let go of the pain associated with HER, my birth mother.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because it’s all I have of her. I don’t have the memories, I don’t have the lessons learned, I don’t have the relationship other people have or had with their mother. I have nothing of her, but the pain. The balloon at the top of this photo is a symbol for me that if I let go of the pain I will be sitting in an empty chair. I’ll disappear into a world of nothingness, more alone than before.

How do I let the pain (her) go?

For me, this has been one of the hardest things to do, that’s easier said than done. Mother’s Day I’m reminded of her, everyday I look in the mirror I’m reminded of her.  I’m her daughter weather she wanted me or not. I have her fingers, her feet, her skin tone, her alcohol issues, her stubborn spirit. I am her. If I let her go, I let myself go.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Anyway, as the poem “Mother May I” says, “But if I let it go, what will I have? There are no memories to remember, no future, and no forever. I thought of saving a piece, folding it up and putting it away. Then I can take it out on a rainy day. Because then you will know I never forgot you. I never want you to think I forgot about you”

Who would have ever thought that out of the fog, into recovery being an adoptee this MOTHER WOUND would be so deep and a wound that is such a mixture of emotions filled with grief, loss and pain. Even if I try to let the pain go, and let her go the wound is still there.

MOTHER LESS is what I’ll always be.

That impacts every day of my life in it’s own way.

For me acceptance has been key, and that is acceptance of the pain as well. If I get on the bandwagon of “Being Healed” that will go against my acceptance of the pain and this journey and it will only hurt me more. Have I healed in some regards? Absolutely. I’ve grown and healed a lot over the years and I believe I will grow and heal some more. It’s taking out the expectation that one day I will be totally be healed is something that’s been extremely important in my journey. There is too much pain from all different angles to ever believe I will wake up healed one day. For me, learning how to navigate the triggers when they come and sharing my pain in my writings has been healing for me. Knowing I’m not alone by networking with my fellow adoptees has also been a important part of my journey.  Validation has been critical to my acceptance and healing as well.

Because I have adoptee pain, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to find some beauty in my life. I have a million things I’m thankful for, and there are things I love about my life. There are things that bring me great joy, and comfort. Please don’t mistake my blog post as I’m someone sitting around mad, angry and mean all the time. That’s farthest from the truth. This happens to be part of my therapy, and part of my healing space. This is where I share my adoptee pain. #healingthroughwriting

Sharing my views on Adoptee Pain from my experience is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. For the adoptees reading, how have you handled your pain? How have you processed it? What has worked for you and what has that process been like for you?

Many Blessings,

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Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

The Girl in the Grocery Store

I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to write about this but it’s been on my mind pretty heavy dd3b937b1788b74f542f5891f1128b73--drawings-of-eyes-crying-sad-face-drawing-sketchesso I decided to get it off my chest. I’m also curious if any of my fellow adoptees have experienced anything similar?

Let me share, I’m a 43 year old adult adoptee. I’ve been single for many years, I’ve raised my kids as a single mom. I’ve had a lot of alone time and I’ve embraced it and I actually love to be alone because it seems to be the safest space for me. After many years I recently ventured out into the dating world and I’m currently seeing someone. As we’ve gotten to know one another over the last few months, I have shared a little of my adoption experience with Him. He’s listened and taken in what I have shared, but he doesn’t seem to have much to say in response which seems to be the norm for most non-adoptees. I can dig it because what is there to say? Usually one has to be able to relate to an extent so a conversation dialog is created and there the conversation goes.

In all honesty I haven’t shared all the dynamics of what it’s like to date an adopted person, me specifically. I have only shared with him a few details and some of the things on my list of “Special Needs”. O_O

One of the main things is COMMUNICATION. I made sure in the beginning I let him know how important communication is to me because areas of UNKNOWN are a area of FEAR for me. Maybe I didn’t say “Communicate with me at all times because if you don’t I start to freak out inside and my mind goes haywire and I need you to communicate with me!”… But chances are I said similar, but in a nicer way that said “Hey, communication is important to me so please communicate with me as much as possible”.

Do you have any idea how daunting it is to explain to someone all your adoptee issues? The great thing about this handsome man is I haven’t even had to tell Him all of these issues and one by one they seem to play themselves out. I want to be honest with him, yet what is too much especially in the beginning of a dating relationship? Again, FEAR of sharing too much is always at the forefront and wondering if he will leave like everyone else has, is on my mind so not saying much at all until the situation arises seems safer?

I think in time things reveal themselves so the need for me to vomit all my adoptee issues all over his lap is not necessary. I must say I’m rather sad and somewhat depressed I can’t seem to just forget all about this adoptee crap and get on with my life. As soon as I feel like I’m on top of the world, boom I crash and fall. If you read my blog years back you will see I have done the work! I have tried EVERYTHING! The highs and lows from this adoption thing seem to follow me all over and chances are they will follow me for the rest of my life.

It’s sad and depressing to me.

When I get to this “Space” all I want to do is sleep. I lose my MOJO and go into what I call a “FUNK”.

I never know when the sadness is going to rear it’s ugly head. All I know is when it comes I have to embrace it and KNOW that my response to current situations that might happen are based on the little girl that was abandoned as a baby and child. A non-adoptee reading might have no clue what I’m taking about and might just think I need to check myself into a mental ward, which might not be a bad idea. BUT I promise you if you do the research like I have, and understand that many of our responses to current situations are based on unprocessed stored memories from the beginning of conception and on, you will see that my responses as well as many adoptees aren’t all that “OFF” for the situation at hand.

I know this is A LOT.

Being adopted is A LOT

I hate being adopted.

“Well why are you so negative and why can’t you find the good in being adopted?”

I will save that answer for a totally different blog post because I’m not trying to go off today.  Stay tuned.

Back to the girl in the grocery store…

I turned into a little girl in the grocery store!

Laugh while you can!

It was humiliating!

I went with my guy to the grocery and I had to use the rest room. He was just getting a few things and we walked to the back of the store and found the rest room. I said “I’ll be right back” and walked on in. A few minutes later I came back out and I didn’t see Him. Where did he go? I just knew he had to be right around the corner. I walked a few steps and didn’t see him. I walked a few more steps and didn’t see him.

WHERE WAS HE AND WHY DID HE LEAVE ME HERE?

I TOLD HIM I WOULD BE RIGHT BACK.

My heart starts to do some flips because now I know he’s gone. I didn’t see Him anywhere. My mind starts racing and I started to walk up and down the isles and as I passed each isle, my panic button was being triggered more and more. Every step I took where I couldn’t see Him my fear increased. I felt like I was split in two. The real me KNEW he had to be there somewhere, but the little girl in me knew I was lost. The FEAR from the little girl was much MUCH stronger than the reality of Him being there somewhere.  I was in a full blown panic episode at 43 years old in the damn grocery store!

I walked to the front of the store, and even looked out the front window and thought, “Maybe he went to the car and he’s waiting on me?” or “Maybe he’s hiding around one of these corners trying to play a trick on me?”.

Up and down the isles, faster and faster, searching… I was so upset that he left me. I got tears in my eyes, and I kept looking for Him. In my mind he left me. I continued to search, but I hated the way I was feeling. As I walked all the way to the opposite side of the store I got tears in my eyes. I kept searching. I was frantic.

After many minutes and a dissecting the store in search of HIM I finally laid eyes on Him. A sigh of relief came over me.

He’s here after all and he didn’t leave me…

By this time my mind was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I’m pretty sure I was pouting as I got closer to Him and my eyes were tearful. I’m pretty sure if I said what I was feeling he would have been totally taken back by my reality and considerably shook at my revelations.

I remember saying, “Why did you leave me?” He said, “I told you I was going to find the milk and chicken”. Obviously I didn’t hear that part.  I’m pretty sure he could tell I was visibly upset. I told him I didn’t hear him.  I’ve been beating myself up ever sense then and I am still upset about it because I feel like as far as I am on my healing journey I should have been able to flip the switch on that one.

He said, “Do you really think I would leave you?”. I just looked at Him. I couldn’t even say anything after that because me feeling what I felt at that moment I felt LEFT & LOST. Knowing he would never leave me in the grocery was at a parallel ends of the spectrum of how I was feeling at that moment.   I  had the feeling like I had been abandoned in the grocery at 43 years old by my BOO! WTF! At that time, I either wanted 1 of 2 things to happen. I wanted Him to hug me tight and tell me he’s never gonna abandon me or leave me in the grocery store or ever for that matter, OR I wanted to go crawl in my bed and pull the covers up and never come out again.

I couldn’t do either. I had to just pretend that this episode didn’t happen and I didn’t share with him my feelings about it because I thought it would be just too much for anyone to take in. I do love to communicate and I would like to share it with Him. This is one of the many “Special Needs” that many adoptees might face that our significant others need to know about so they know how to help us and handle us better.

REALITY= I was at the grocery store in the town where I live. I knew where I was. I wasn’t lost but that isn’t how I felt.  I felt abandoned and lost, like the little girl I always was searching for her birth mother.

My thing is who the hell wants to deal with this crap? Seriously? It’s something so small to so many but to me it was a huge deal. I’m disappointed and I’m sad in myself for responding this way, although I feel had no control over it. It was a much deeper psychological episode than I felt I could control. I’ve been working on triggers and how to respond when I have them which is ALL THE TIME but this one swooped up on me and I felt helpless in my response. It was almost like the feeling of coming down on a drug, terrible terrible feeling.

I would rather DIE than feel this way!

I’m not freaking kidding either!

 

THE DREAM

 I was about 5 years old around the time I found out I was adopted.

After this I had a reoccurring dream as a little girl and through much of my life. I was in a hospital around 5 years old wearing a hospital gown. I remember the long hallways going on forever and ever and I was running up and down the hallways looking for my birth mother. I could very vividly remember being frantic, running and pulling the curtains back on each hospital room searching for HER. It went on forever, and I never did find her in the dream. Again, I had this dream over and over through out my life.

This searching FEAR is the exact same way I felt in the grocery when I felt like I was LEFT & LOST.

I’ve always been triggered by feeling lost, and I definitely associate this to adoption. If I can’t find my car parked coming out of the grocery store and I have to walk all over looking for it, I feel lost and I start to panic inside and get tears in my eyes. Worst feeling ever.

The feeling of your mother abandoning you and never coming back, ever. A deep homesick feeling and nothing or no one can help it.

That’s how it feels.

Let’s turn the coin and talk about living real life searching for my biological mother everywhere I went my entire life. Most adoptees can relate 100%. This isn’t a dream. This is real life. I mean today, September 7, 2017 I know where my birth mother is.

She’s dead.

I no longer search for her  but these episodes sparked by FEAR of being abandoned and rejected, LEFT & LOST take me back to the unresolved emotional wounds that are under the surface from being an adoptee.

It’s scary!

It’s complicated.

Adoption is complicated.

All adoptees are different.

Not all adoptees can sympathize with this type of issue, yet some can.

It seriously messed me up and I still haven’t gotten myself back right yet.

I want to tell my guy, but I don’t want to burden him or anyone else with my issues so I have shared it here instead. Maybe one day I’ll get up enough courage to share this blog post with him, until then I will keep it to myself for fear of……

To me, this is one example of so many I could share how adoptees are tormented by emotional and psychological issues we carry regarding being adopted. It might seem small to some, but this type of thing happens daily for many adoptees, and sometimes hourly and more. It’s a constant mental struggle and it’s exhausting just to be alive most days.

Adoption is a permanent solution to what is most of the time a temporary problem and adoptees are the ones doing the life sentence. We pay the price for life, while the rest of the world glorifies how they think we should feel, gratefulness.

I’m sick of adoption. Because of all the real true dynamics, I know and feel and live regarding all the pain, grief, loss and trauma that happens when a child is adopted is why I am deeply saddened anytime a child is adopted and separated from their first families. I am me alone, yet I see and hear the pain and heartache from hundreds of adoptees all over the world that I’m acquainted with. Please believe I am not singing this tune all alone. We create our own army and support one another and validate one another.

If you are an adoptive parent and you have made it this far I commend you for reading. I appreciate it. It takes courage to make the choice to try to learn from adult adoptees. Please look up my tab that says “Adoptee Blogs” and save it as a favorite and you will have never ending knowledge based on real TRUE experience from those who know adoption the most- The Adoptee.

Adoptees, can you relate?

Have you ever had anything like this happen?

How did you diffuse out of it?

Thanks for reading,

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Pamela A Karanova

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The Gift of a Grandmother

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

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

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

There has been nothing false about them.

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

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

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

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

Perhaps this is why TIME is so important to me?

Time Spent is more valuable than anything.

Visiting my grandmother continued to nag at my spirit.

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

But FEAR.

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

A few more years passed.

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

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

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

LIES AND SECRETS ARE NEVER OKAY- EVEN IN ADOPTION

LIES HURT

THIS HURTING IS LIFELONG FOR ADOPTEES

I’m almost 43 and the pain continues.

See here- When a birthmother lies & keeps secrets.

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

Adoptees, I know you get it.

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

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A Road Trip I Would Never Forget…

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

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

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

Today was the day I had waited for for YEARS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 I continued on.

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

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

I was a HOT MESS!

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

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Uncle Ed- Cardinal Flower Farm. Iowa City, IA

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

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

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

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

Mind Racing.

Nauseous.

Fear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BUT GOD…

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

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

Dreams really do come true…

WISH

DO

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Pamela A. Karanova

Adult Adoptee