Disseminating my Deconstruction with Religion, Christianity, Church and Adoption

I’ve recently come to a empowering place in my recovery journey where I’m starting to share my deconstruction experiences with Christianity, Church, Religion and Adoption. They are so similar in so many ways. I’m writing as a healing tool for myself, but for others who might be on a similar path so they know they aren’t alone.

Below are a few posts that I’ve recently shared on my Facebook page – Pamela Karanova

Trust me when I tell you, this is only the beginning.


June 16, 2021 Hello Friends, It’s been awhile since I put any personal thoughts and feelings into this page. However, I’m back and ready to roar! I have a lot to share as I’m continuing to evolve, grow and reach destinations in my personal journey I never thought I would reach. Some of the experiences, views and opinions I carry are quite controversial to most. But here, I’m going to try to share them not only to free myself, but to hopefully be a light to other adoptees who might feel similar ways.

While we live in a society that celebrates adoption, do they realize they are celebrating mother’s and babies being separated?

Do they understand when they support adoption, they are supporting secrecy, lies and half truths?

Do they understand that adoptees are dying every day not knowing their truth?

Do other adoptees feel that coming out of the fog about religion is parallel to coming out of the fog about adoption? If so, have you been lonely in this journey? I see you, because I have felt this way too…

In adoption and religion, I see so much damage being done to innocent people, including myself & my family. I can not stay quiet.

While adoptions continue to happen, adoptees are stepping up to share insights on how this has impacted us, and also share areas we feel need highlighted and improved, sometimes even abolished.

As I share my story of coming to terms with the parallels of coming out of the fog about adoption and religion, I will focus on the purpose of healing and allowing others to know they aren’t alone if they might be going through similar experiences.

It’s been a long and lonely journey to get to this space, but I have arrived.

Thank you for following along, and embracing me as I share my journey with the world. – P.K.

June 16. 2021 For me, coming out of the fog about religion has been comparable to coming out of the fog about adoption. It’s been a long and lonely journey for me, but I have arrived at a space of freedom and strength where I am pushing myself to share my story. I am continuously taken back on how similar my experience has been coming out of the fog with adoption, as it’s been coming out of the fog about religion.

It’s eerily similar!

Just like adoption, I can no longer sit in silence as I continue to experience the unjust practices of religious beliefs, Christianity, Church (or adoption/relinquishment trauma), and how they damage, hurt and impact people I know and love and myself… & even people I don’t know and love.

My moral compass will no longer allow me to stay silent, especially when so many people are in agony and pain over these religious beliefs, practices, and circles. Let me point out adoption and relinquishment trauma have a million of the same parallels.

I’m calling out the contradictions, inconsistencies, and appalling discoveries I have made, and I am not backing down or hiding or censoring my feelings! Much of what I share will likely cause some buttons to be pushed, however it doesn’t change my truth (experiences) and how I feel about these topics. – P. Karanova

June 18, 2021 This is my brain when I try to process religious, adoption and relinquishment trauma.

A big majority of it is fear based, and more is trauma based. For the last 10+ years I’ve been on a journey of healing, evolving and self discovery. The larger part of this time I’ve been raising my kids to adulthood as a single parent.

Life has been busy… and hard.

When I think of all the dynamics of my deconstruction journey, and coming out of the fog about adoption and relinquishment trauma and even embracing a new recovery journey living alcohol free after 27 years of dependence, my brain goes into instant overload.

I’ve been trying to process it all as they have happened at separate stages of my life. But when I try to compare them or put the experiences together it’s almost like my brain shuts down. That’s the trauma.

It’s obvious it’s too much.

But I’m still going to try to try to do my best to push forward and share these layers of my experiences in hopes to not only help myself heal, but others who might be suffering alone. I would like to ask for understanding while I share. My words my be off, I might not share in the right order, and sometimes what I share won’t make sense to you.

Lastly, when someone is sharing areas that they feel have been traumatic for them, they don’t need you to swoop in and protest by standing up for the exact thing that has traumatized them. Please STOP before you even start and think before you comment.

Would you tell someone sharing about their heartbreaking divorce how wonderful your marriage is?

Would you tell someone who just lost their child to a horrible illness that your child survived that illness and is thriving well and that wasn’t your experience?

No, no you wouldn’t so don’t please don’t do it to me. It’s not helpful even if you don’t agree with me, and have a different experience I ask you to keep it moving! I appreciate it in advance.

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

Healing from Years of Abandonment & Rejection

Healing from Years of Abandonment & Rejection

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When I was a little girl, I found out I was adopted about 5 years old. Although I am thankful for the truth, this moment would change my life forever.  I always had a deep natural desire to find out the simple questions so many take for granted; who am I and where did I come from?

If you were to ask me what it was like growing up adopted I would say it was like having an empty heart with a mind filled with sadness and despair. These feelings were hidden from the world because there was nowhere to share my pain.  I felt isolated and alone. There were never-ending missing pieces to my story and it was impossible to feel whole without having the answers my heart desired.  I was plagued with feelings of insecurities from being abandoned at birth.  I had no voice and no choice resulting in disenfranchised grief, loss and trauma.   At a young age all alone, I set out to find my birth parents searching for them everywhere I went. I was never going to give up in finding them.

At the age of 21, I was given some information that was kept hidden from me. This was a dream come true for me because soon I would come face to face with my biological parents.  I could make up for lost time, or so I thought. I had high hopes for the reunion I always dreamed of. When my birth mother loved me “So Much” why would I think otherwise?  I don’t believe an adoptee can fully prepare for rejection from their biological parents. Soon I was faced with double rejection from both birth parents.  I had nowhere to turn experiencing more grief, loss & sadness. I was in denial and I didn’t want to accept the truth.  I discovered I was the product of an affair with a married man. My existence was a secret from everyone around.  My biological father knew nothing about me. Every clue to my history was extremely valuable to me in my healing process.

Every Birthday, Holidays, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day are constant reminders of the loss of 2 entire familirs, which has left me deeply saddened for many years  No memories to remember, no good bye and no forever. The grief and loss were unbearable at times. The world didn’t understand this thing called “Adoption” that was glorified worldwide was the very source of my deepest pain.

I was completely heartbroken.

I started to research “Adoptee Support” and found nothing. This left me feeling hopeless, depressed and even suicidal at times.

I began drinking alcohol at a very early age to numb my pain. I was in and out of drug and alcohol rehab, juvenile jail and many group homes. This would lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits as well as anger and rage issues.  When I found both my birth parents they were both alcoholics. This scared me because of my history but finding this truth is what potentially saved my life. It prompted me to make the choice to make changes in my life. This is a choice only I could make, no one else could make it for me.  I started a ministry called Celebrate Recovery and threw in the towel on my drinking habit. I’ve been living a sober life since August 13, 2012. During this time I have worked on healing by discovering my root issues come from abandonment & rejection from my adoption experience.  Facing the pain head on is what I was focused on for the next 4 years. During this time I learned adoptees have no safe place to share their deep rooted feelings regarding being adopted. This is when How Does it Feel to be Adopted? was created for all the adoptees out there. I started sharing my journey at Adoptee in Recovery which turned into a great healing through writing tool not only for me, but for other adoptees as well. I’m a firm believer in order to heal it we must feel it. I started to grow in my relationship with God and this is when things started to change for me. I gave my life to Christ in 2009 and in time my heart became filled with His love. This is love I never experienced before. God shining His light on me and learning the truth about my history has been my way to healing and freedom.

A bible verse I hold close to my heart is “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” – John 8:32

I felt it was impossible to “give it to God” when I don’t have the truth to give. What am I giving? As I began to share my deepest hurts with God, he began to help me see things from another perspective. I grew in a way I never had before. I had a deep desire to reach out to other adoptees all over the world and hear their stories. I wanted to let them know they aren’t alone and the way the feel is normal for a not normal situation. I learned that adoptee attempt suicide at a rate that is 4xs more likely than non-adoptees, and prisons and treatment facilities are overflowing with adoptees.  I knew because of these statistics and my own experience with attempting suicide as a teenager, battling addictions and suffering from abandonment & rejection I needed to share my story. My hope is to make a difference among the adoptee community.  In sharing my journey I have adoptees from all over the world connecting with me and they begin to share their journey and feel validated.  Sharing untold feelings & having someone who understands is healing. I let them know God loves them so much and “You can’t heal a wound by denying it’s there!” – Jeremiah 6:14 is another favorite verse I stand on for adoptees all over the world. I encourage them to share their stories and their feelings. I’m extremely thankful God helped me find my truth and he’s pushed me to help other adoptees do the same.  It’s impossible to know where your headed if you don’t know where you come from.

I’m a proud mom of  3 amazing kids and I strive to be a happy healthy mom because this is something I never had. I adore my career in private home health working with elderly. I attend  Bethel Harvest Church in Lexington, KY and consider my church family to be the family I never had. I’m on a healing journey and live my life in recovery. This will last a lifetime. I rally for truth and for all adoptees to be able to access their original birth certificates which are only accessible in a few states.  I assist with search and reunification for my fellow adoptees because everyone deserves to know where they come from. I’m working on starting an all adoptee support group in Lexington, KY.

We all deserve that safe place to share our deepest hurts.

The best part is God heals.

For any non-adoptees who are reading, please know that one of the main things you can do to help us is have the willingness to listen and learn.  This is when our healing begins.  Have the willingness to read adoptee stories and learn from us. No matter what the therapist say, no one knows how it feels to be adopted like we do. Our voices and views are the most valuable in the equation, yet the most ignored.

I would like to share a word of encouragement for my fellow adoptees. God knows your hearts desires and he knows all your tears and pain. Never give up hope in finding your family and seeking your truth. I have some Adoptee Healing Tools I would like to share with you all.  No matter what the truth is, it’s the way to healing, acceptance and freedom. It’s important to network with your fellow adoptees who understand what this journey is like. Please reach out to me. I would love to share your story at How Does it Feel to be Adopted? Please know you are not alone. You matter and your story matters.

Pamela A. Karanova

Lexington, KY

Adoptee Limelight Presenting Haley Radke

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Haley Radke is an adult adoptee experiencing a healthy reunion relationship with her biological father as well as secondary rejection from her biological mother. She desires to connect with fellow adoptees and share their stories. Haley believes that having deep and meaningful conversations with adoptees will help to spread the truth about the adoption experience.

I was born in 1983 and relinquished immediately. I was placed with my adoptive parents ten days after birth and grew up as an only child. My adoptive parents were elementary school teachers, and struggled with infertility. They adopted me at a later age in life and I became their sole focus. Everyone did their best, but my adoption wasn’t talked about frequently and I often fantasized about my birth mother coming back for me.

I struggled with many of the classic adoptee issues: rejection, abandonment, fear of intimacy, trust issues, struggling to understand my identity, becoming a chameleon as a way of being accepted, low self-esteem, compliance and people pleasing, depression, suicidal thoughts. Growing up, I never related these to being adopted, I just assumed I was broken and thought many times, “no wonder she didn’t want me”.

My desire to know where I came from was overwhelming all through my teen years, and once I turned 18 I applied for my non-identifying information. Not long after, the Alberta government opened up adoption records, allowing me to at last have the adoption documents and paperwork that revealed my given name at birth as Ashley Amber. I finally came to know who my mother and father were.

I found my birthmother when I was 22; we had a brief reunion that lasted about four months. She cut off contact with me. Our reunion brought up many painful memories for her and I’ve always thought it became overwhelming for her and that’s why she decided to end our relationship. I’ve had the full range of emotions with regards to this secondary rejection. Denial, anger, sorrow, and now I’ve come to a place of compassion for her, yet I still have an intense reluctance to let the possibility of this relationship go. I desperately want a connection with her, even after the pain of losing her a second time. We have so many similarities, I would love to get to know her deeply. I’ve reached out multiple times, sending flowers, letters, cards…I don’t know if she will ever allow me into her life again. I hold out hope for that day of reconnection.

I was 27 when on a whim I searched for my biological father on facebook. Reunion with my Dad has been one of the most rewarding and absolutely hardest things I’ve ever done. We have hit the highs and had some equally low points, including a time when I considered ending the relationship. There was quite a lot of pain to deal with and it was difficult. With the help of a skilled therapist (who had a great deal of experience with adoption), we worked hard to build a healthy relationship, which we still enjoy today.

My Dad’s wife is exceptional, and she has been an absolute treasure for me to build a relationship with. We share a deep faith in Jesus and that has helped solidify our unique relationship. She’s become a close friend and also holds a place in my heart as another mother figure. In reunion with my Dad, I also gained three siblings. A brother and two sisters. My (half-)siblings have gone from a place of complete shock, in discovering my existence, to a place of including me as their full sister. It’s been a beautiful gift, and though I cherish the time with them, I certainly mourn the loss of their first years-when I didn’t know they existed.

Reunion has been excruciating. Painful and healing and ugly and restorative. There’s no way to describe it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Now knowing the fragility of even a biological bond, I treasure it all the more.

Adoptee issues are real, and they stem from a deep wound of rejection. Having my birthmother reject me from the moment she found out she was pregnant impacted my spirit with a deep wound. I believed I was unwanted, and therefore unworthy of love or acceptance. All of this deep-rooted self-hatred could not be made up for with love, attention, money, opportunities…any of the promises that the adoption machine has made.

I have been suicidal twice in my life, once when I was 12 and again when I was 19. I literally believed I was unlovable, and not worthy of living. If you believe those things about yourself, they are lies. Lies that have taken hold in a deep place, and that are extremely hard to break. I have had four or five different counselors, therapists and psychologists over the last dozen years of my life. However, I only discovered my deep woundedness (from adoption) in the last few years. There are many different healing tools offered to me, here are my most helpful suggestions for you.

 

  • Reading – You’re already doing this! Adoptee memoirs, books, and blogs alike have so much wisdom available to you. Read what others’ have gone through, are going through, and what they’ve found helpful. You’ll always be able to pick up tips and advice from these sources.

 

  1. Writing – Journalling has never been a good fit for me, but I have found much relief in writing letters to those in my adoption triad with my feelings of rejection (to my birthparents), or lack of understanding (to my adoptive parents) and admitting self-hatred (to myself). Write letters where you pour out your heart, and every deep feeling that you could never ever say out loud, all the ugliness and darkness that you’ve kept inside. Write it, get it out of yourself… and then shred or burn or destroy those letters. These are not meant to share, so don’t hold back.
  2. Sharing – Sharing our stories is immensely powerful. Find another adoptee to share your story with. Someone who understands the things you’re going through. I have had many deep conversations with friends over the years about my adoptee issues and no one can understand you quite like a fellow adoptee.
  3. Listening – Hearing other adoptees on this journey has helped me to say, “me too!”. Nothing can be more validating than knowing you aren’t alone. Do share your own story, but also listen for others’ stories. You will find great healing in listening. Don’t know any adoptees? (Insert shameless plug here!) Listen to my podcast, Adoptees On. You will hear some amazing stories and find some insight, I promise. Get online, get onto facebook, on twitter, and find an adoptee community and listen. It is imperative!
  4. Do. The. Work.  Make yourself a priority, and get into therapy. Find someone who understands adoptee issues (and if there’s no one in your area that does, you can be the first to educate them!) and get to work. You’ve got wounds and along with those come some bad habits. Nasty self-talk, self-sabotage, people-pleasing, perfectionism… you know what they are. Do the work to talk about these issues and deal with them. We may be wounded, but do not stay stuck! We’re adults now, and it’s time to do the hard things.
  5. Healing Prayer – (If you are a not a Christian, this may not be your cup of tea, just skip ahead!) I’ve done multiple sessions of healing prayer which has involved forgiving my biological parents for rejecting me, and having Jesus speak into particularly painful moments. I will never forget the vision I received during one of these sessions. I was asked, “where was Jesus when you were alone in the hospital, waiting to be adopted?”. I closed my eyes and began to weep. I saw myself as an infant in a cold, sterile bassinet. I’m tiny, helpless and I have no voice. But Jesus. Jesus is there, beside me. He’s standing beside me, with one hand on mine, gentle and loving. And He is calling the nurses, summoning them to me whenever He knows that I’m in need of their attention. At last, I knew that though I was unplanned, unwanted and subsequently rejected by my biological mother and father, I wasn’t alone. If you’d like more information about Healing Prayer, send me a message and I’d be pleased to direct you to where you can find this ministry.

I’ll admit I am completely in love with podcasts and have been an avid listener for many years. Earlier this year I was inspired to create my own podcast, featuring fellow adoptees. Podcasts are such an amazing platform to share our stories, because it’s such an intimate medium. As you listen, you can feel included in the discussion. Our adoptee voices are most often left out of the adoption conversation. Listening to another adoptee share their story, including their innermost pains, ups and downs in their search, reunion and sometimes secondary rejection…it’s an amazing opportunity to feel both understood and connected. I encourage you to listen and it’s also a great non-threatening way to share with the people in your life who may not understand your perspective as an adoptee.

As adoptees, we may be wounded, but we’re resilient. Stay strong, do the hard work, and find someone who understands your situation. You’re not alone, we’re in this together.

Find Haley Radke on twitter @haleyradke or listen to the Adoptees On podcast www.adopteeson.com or connect on twitter @adopteeson or instagram @adopteeson

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