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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wanted my mom.

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

Is it a sign of healing?

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

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

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

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

Robert Winston and Rebecca Chicot explain –

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

David Chaimberlain, Ph.D. says –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I Die Tomorrow, What I Want You To Know Today

Let me first say this is in NO WAY a suicide letter or anything of that nature. I promise you and give you my word. I’m a Christian and I value my life and look forward to any days I have on earth to spend with my amazing children, and one day grandchildren.
It’s REALLY been on my mind and in my heart lately so I wanted to write about it. Maybe it will give me some comfort in sharing my feelings.  I wake up daily, with the weight of the adoptee emotions at the front of my brain. It sometimes seems impossible to get through a single day. Some of those following my blog know my journey. For those who don’t, basically I ran from processing any abandonment and rejection issues from my adoptee situation and drank alcohol to cope my entire life because the pain was so deep; I didn’t know what to do with it. My adoptive parents denied that I should feel any kind of way about my first family, or have any adoption related issues. From the time I was 12 I was drinking and at 37 years old I decided I didn’t want to live that life anymore and I started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery. It’s been a life changing journey for sure! I’m 39 now, and I have been living a sober lifestyle for a year and a half TODAY. This has definitely been a tough year and a half. I have made the choice to dig deep and pull out all my skeletons from my past and put them out on the table and work on them. I’ve asked God to come in and help me heal from these hurts, habits & hang ups.  I’ve came so far in this little bit of time. I no longer have the desire to drink, he’s taken it. That’s a huge victory in itself.
Image Courtesy of Master Isolated
FreeDigitalPhotos.Net
Let me just tell you a little about my life. I have 3 amazing kids. They are my world. They are the reason I wake up every day and push past the feelings of abandonment and rejection and all the emotional issues being adopted has brought me. They are the reason I’m alive today, because without them I have no reason to be here.  I truly mean that. I have a wonderful career, caring for the elderly. I make handmade soap and get great joy from coming up with new creations, and sharing them with others. I have a WONDERFUL church home, and an amazing church family. I’m very active at my church; I am there 2-3 times a week trying to fill my life with positive, happy things. I spend my days trying to give back because so much has been given to me. Having 3 healthy amazing children is HUGE in my eyes. They are all great kids too.  I live in a fairly nice home. I’ve been blessed with a new car recently, and to the outside world life would appear to be picture perfect.  I don’t have a man in my life, and quite frankly I’m not sure if I ever will again. I find it very difficult to explain my deep rooted emotional adoptee issues to people that don’t understand what we go through, and it’s just easier to keep things simple and be alone in that area. I get more frustration or grief from sharing my feelings with someone and they just look at me like I’m crazy, or assume I’m just stuck on the past and I need to just “LET IT GO”. Trust me, if it was that easy, I would have just LET IT GO a long time ago. Let me mention, that when an adoptee is sharing their feelings most of the time we just want someone to listen. You can’t fix us, only we can fix us and this traumatic situation we have been put into. SO please just listen! I stay very busy so I can keep my mind off my adoptee reality. When I sit, I think. Writing has been a way for me to process my emotions and feelings in a healthy way. I may not be the best writer in the world, but these feelings and this place is all mine and I feel I finally have a place to share with no interruptions. Do you know how many times in my life I’ve tried to speak about my adoption feelings and someone interrupts me, or they say something ridiculous like “Aren’t you glad you weren’t aborted? Or “You were a gift, God planned you before you were born” Just about every single time in my life I have had someone interrupt me, or say something very insensitive about how I feel so I learned I had to hide my feelings until recently. I’ve broke out of my hidden shell in the adoptee world. I speak out, and I’m not scared to share how I feel. Do I have to hide it from my adoptive family or my biological family? YES I DO. Although some of them try to understand, in no way do I want to hurt their feelings by speaking how I feel. It’s created an awkward situation because I feel I have to live a double life, and that everything is still so much of a secret.  But at least I’m sharing my feelings with the rest of the world, and it does bring me comfort.
Enough about me and back to the topic of me sharing my feelings for this blog post.
I am unsure if these feelings I’m having are so strong because this is the first time in my life I have soberly processed all these emotions, or if I’m stuck with feeling this way until I get out of this hell on earth we live in. I knew this would be a difficult journey when I began, the day I quit drinking, August 12, 2012. I know God is with me, I know I have friends that fellow adoptees that support me. I thought by now it would get easier. It’s been a year and a half. Why am I not feeling some sense of peace with my adoption journey? I have peace with almost everything else, but not this. I’m at a limbo with coming to the conclusion that I very well may feel this way for the rest of my life here on earth. I guess I can describe it as an aching, deep sadness that never leaves. It’s always there; it hangs over my head, every minute of every day. It’s always there. I’ve learned to put on a smile for those around me, especially my kids. I never want them to be burdened with my issues like I always was growing up. My adoptive mother made it a point to cry daily, and express her unworthiness of being a mother as well as self-medicate with prescription pain pills. This made me want to keep as much of my emotional issues from my kids, because let’s face it. Why should our kids have to deal with our emotional issues? They shouldn’t. They do listen when I speak about certain things, but sometimes I sit and wonder. “I wonder what they would say if they knew how broken my heart really was?  I wonder if they really knew that they are the only reason I’m alive today.” Of course I never say a word about those feelings. I just keep it to myself and keep moving. I never want them to think they have anything to do with it. They bring me more joy in my life than words can even express and because of them, I have a reason to let my feet hit the floor every morning.
I guess I will wrap this up by saying what I wanted to say all along. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want everyone close to me to know that I am no longer suffering. I’m no longer in pain. I no longer have this deep dark sad wound deep in my soul from being separated from my first family. I no longer have to make hard decisions in the reunion process. Recently I’m being faced with the decision of going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time that’s 94 or not going, she lives 13 hours away. You might think that’s an easy decision to make. But for me, I am grieving daily about the loss of relationships with my first family. Do you know how hard it will be to see my biological grandmother for the first time in my life and know it will more than likely be the last and only time I ever get to see her? Words can’t even describe my thoughts on that. What may seem like something amazing to some and I feel is amazing as well, but that’s not all. Knowing that I missed so much with her, and it will never be replaced, and that the one and only visit will be the last is just flat out depressing for me to think about. And I think about it daily. I grieve the losses of my first family daily. I wish, I wish, I wish runs through my mind daily. If only things were different or maybe if I was different they would have accepted me. Yes, both my biological parents rejected me and this has caused me the most amount of grief you could ever imagine. I don’t think that pain will ever go away, but I do hope and pray it will get easier. Today I want the world to know, that when my time is up on earth, and when God takes me home to be with him this pain will all be gone. I look forward to that day and I’m extremely grateful that I believe in heaven and hell because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have that place of pure peacefulness to look forward too. I long for the day that my heart is whole, and peacefulness takes over my mind. Some may say, “Well you have a choice now what you do with your current situation”. You are so right, I sure do. I’m sorry that I can’t just wake up one day and make the pain all be gone. It’s feels like a knife slicing my heart or a constant loss and grieving feeling that is always there. I pray for God to make it easier for me and other adoptees that are going through the same emotions that I might be. During the rest of my time here on earth I will continue to work on healing, and grieve in healthy ways. I will continue to speak about my feelings. I will continue to reach out to adoptees. I will continue to wear the mask that I have had to wear my whole life, ever since the moment I found out I was adopted. Why wear the mask you ask? Well, because it’s simply easier than letting everyone know my heart is literally ripped into shreds and I struggle daily with my feelings of self-worth, abandonment & rejection. If I appear to have it all together at least I don’t have people thinking I’m some ungrateful, angry adoptee.
I believe God can definitely heal our broken hearts about so many things in life. But I have come to accept the fact that my root issues of abandonment & rejection are here to stay.  This has been a big thing for me to accept. I have always used alcohol to take the pain away, but today it’s as raw as it was the first day I stopped drinking. You would think that time would heal, but the truth is when a piece of your heart is missing, or shredded sometimes it never heals. It’s leaning on God in times of despair and trusting that he has a purpose and a plan for me and my life is my main focus in my life today. I realize all adoptees are different, and we are all at different places with our journeys. Some adoptees are at total peace with their journeys, and I would give anything to feel that way about mine.
But let me just say one more time, if I were to die tomorrow please know that my life is far better than the one I have lived here on earth because my broken heart will be healed. My abandonment & rejection issues will be gone. It will be sad for my kids to loose me, but at least they will have some amazing memories with me to remind them of our time together. Adoptees get absolutely none of that when it comes to our first families. I hope that one day if they will read this and know how much I loved them, and how I thank God for them every day. I do look forward to the future with my kids, and my future grandkids but I also look forward to the day where my heart is whole. They will be the beginning of my family tree and that brings joy to my heart.  I hope this letter would bring them peace to know that I’m in a better place where no suffering occurs. Every single day is a struggle and every single day I suffer mentally with my adoptee issues. I hate the thoughts I have, and look forward to the day they are all gone, the day I go to heaven.
For any adoptees that may be reading this, can you share some of the healthy ways you cope? Or some of the things you think of or remember in your mind that get you through another day? Do you share some of the same pain I do?
Pray for me and I’m going pray for you too!