A Reflection About Christmas

Moving away so my kids and I could have a better life is something my kids, thankfully will never understand. If they understood this they would have to experience all the hell I went through growing up. I never wanted them to experience these things, so moving away to protect them was all I knew to do.

I am constantly hearing many people share experiences about their families, and the good and bad times. Many times I learn of dysfunction and toxic situations that people are in while they are grumbling and groaning about certain people. Many times they share situations about family members who have “crossed the line” or “got on their last nerve”.

This holiday season I was reminded on many occasions why I moved away. To me there are so many dynamics to this. There are pro’s and con’s. The sadness I feel from having to make this choice of moving away just to have some normalcy in my life, and my kids life really never leaves. Aside from all the other adoptee issues, this sadness is always in the background lurking, especially on the holidays.

All those around are sharing their holiday “CHEER”

I just can’t wait to get on with the new year!  

I never want to be a Grinch and spoil anyone’s holiday so I keep my opinions to myself. Holidays are painful! Triggers Triggers everywhere. Everyone is talking about their families, blah blah blah…

This year was different. I’ve found 2 of my 3 amazing kids are in relationships with significant others. This brought a new spin to our holiday season. 2 of my 3 kids were able to experience a “Family Setting” from other families and it brought them great joy and fun to experience this type of “Love & Welcoming” from other people, in other families.

It dawned on me that this is something I can’t give them and I never will be able to give this to them. 

There is little ole me.

I’m just mom.

I feel terrible about THIS but no one else would understand unless they were an estranged adoptee in a similar situation. I don’t have parents that are active in my life or my kids lives. They don’t have active grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. I could have stayed around all the toxicity and dysfunction and everyone would have been major damaged goods, just like I was. If I stayed in the situation I was in, I wouldn’t even be able to be “Mom” because I was so broken that drinking alcohol was all I knew to numb the pain.

Of all people to know how important a mother is, I know. I know because I have never had one so I know first hand the heartbreak and loss involved in this situation I have had no control over. My birth mother rejected a relationship and abandoned me twice. My adoptive “mother” should have never been given a chance to adopt. She was never a mother. My adoptive dad moved far away and LEFT US with the adoptive “Mother” who didn’t have the capabilities to be a “Mother” and my birth father has rejected a relationship with me. I’m trying to embrace family isn’t always blood, it’s who you make it and teach this to my kids.

How can an adoptee be adopted, yet be parentless in the parent area?

Back to CHRISTmas…

My 2 children were able to experience all the fun, love and excitement of being a part of another family. My heart was exceptionally excited for them to be able to experience something they should have never had to go without. I feel guilty as a parent, but I can’t change a thing about who our family is or isn’t. I have had no control over being adopted or the family I got in this deal.

One thing I know is that I pray daily for my kids to have significant others who have big wonderful families who love them, accept them and treat them with love and respect each of them deserves. I pray they gain a wonderful family in their significant others. I pray they are strong enough in life to be able to have healthy and happy relationships around them. I pray they are strong enough to let go of all things unhealthy and toxic no matter who inflicts this on them. I want them to find happiness in life. They deserve it.

It might have taken me many years to get my “stuff” together but one thing I am certain of is that my kids have me, adoptee in recovery. Holiday’s come and go and there are constant reminders of all that has been lost in my life because of adoption. Triggers come 100 X a day it seems. Adoption doesn’t only impact me, but it has greatly impacted my children. I know on many occasions they have expressed feeling alone like I do. It breaks my heart in another type of way.  I’m their mother and I’m not going anywhere but I never can or never will be able to give them the wonderful happy family they deserve. Not on Christmas, or any day of the year. It saddens me but at the end of the day…

We do have each other minus all the family drama!

That’s something HUGE to smile about! 

Thankfully we have each other.

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Withdraw & Retreat

I don’t consider it isolation. 

I consider it me getting alone with God. 

That’s a wonderful place to be IMHO. I’ve come to a cross roads in life. I feel like I’ve come to many cross roads over the last few years, but none quite like this one. I feel a total peace about the place I am, and this is why I know it’s from God. 

I’ve learned over time it’s so easy to become co-dependent on people, places and things. I am striving to be free of codependency of people, places and things. The more I let go of people, places and things the more free I become. The more free I feel. Free to me is a “Safe Space” for me to be in. The less people, places and things the less drama, hiccups and nonsense I have that comes my way.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Facebook for quite some time now. I am learning that Facebook is just a tool used for everyone to be up in your business, when reality is most of those people aren’t even in my life. It’s almost as if I’ve noticed Facebook has a sort of control over me. I have made the choice to “Opt-Out” of allowing Facebook to have this control over my life, at least for the time being. It’s apparent in my life anyway, something can happen spur of the moment and I make the choice to log back in and there I go… Wasting time, very valuable precious time on meddling in what others are doing. I put up a status that is heartwarming for those who read it and go about my merry way. There is much more to Pamela Karanova than what I share on Facebook. I have many layers as we all do.

Most of the time I wonder who is REAL in my life and who ISN’T. Who will even notice I’m gone? Hardly anyone ever does. I find it so interesting. The people who I REALLY have in my life I’m close to and we talk on the phone, text, and see one another and don’t need Facebook to tie us together. I’m clinging to those REAL relationships with my REAL friends. If we have a relationship in “real life” I don’t need Facebook to have that. I am keeping my “Like” pages up and going, as well as sharing adoptee stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Website

Many transitions are taking place in my life. I’m in a discovery phase of WHO I AM and listening what God is going to do next in my life. I’m going through emotional highs and lows in LIFE in general. God is weeding out people, places and things who don’t serve a purpose in my life anymore.

 John 5:8 says, “”Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

And so it is… 

I’m happily embracing on a season of self discovery moving forward while acknowledging all that has been might not be a part of what will be. I’m okay with this. I don’t feel the need to explain my journey to everyone. Most people only want to hear warm fluffy stories anyway! I feel those who will really want to know will take the time to reach out to me and find out how I am, what I’m doing in my life. 9 x out of 10 they won’t have time to meet you for coffee with their busy schedule, so WHY would I share my life with them? Real relationships takes real action. I don’t believe in telling people “Good-Bye”. If you were ever a real part of my life there will be no “Good-Byes” only more “Hello’s”. If you weren’t a real part of my life, you might consider saying “Good-Bye” but may I suggest you save it for the next person you would like to have a “Fake Relationship” with?  Why would you tell someone “Good-Bye” if you have a real relationship with them? I sure wouldn’t.

I’ve seen a lot in my little 42 years of life here on earth. I’ve been in large groups of people who say you are a part of their life, and I’ve been in small groups of people who say the same. I’ve been naive for many years of my life. I’ve wanted to be accepted and belong somewhere for so long, that I’ve been blinded many times over at synthetic relationships that come my way. Just because I speak to you and see you as we pass by one another doesn’t mean you are my friend. Friendships take work. They take time. They take sacrifice to put your friends before yourself. Friendships take intention. I try to see the good in people, and for most of my life I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea of so many people who “love me” or “accept me” and those who say they WANT TO BE MY FRIEND.

It’s take 42 years for me to be OKAY with the idea that people are full of it. They can say words like “Family of Choice” so easily. In the next breath they denounce the very words they spoke the week before.  What is “Family of Choice” anyway? To me it sounds like something that separates and divides us away from our family of origin or our adoptive family or whoever we have close to us we call family. Family is a variety of things. Family is those who you invest in, you take time to reach out to them and you make it a POINT to be in their life. This can even happen from a distance! Family isn’t something that I take lightly. I’ve had blood and adoptive family and church family. People can say they are family and back stab you or betray you in a heartbeat.  One thing I don’t do is FAKE. If I don’t like you or want to be around you, you will not hear from me. I won’t respond to you and I will always try to do this in the most elegant & graceful way possible. Just because I’m a CHRISTian doesn’t mean I have to allow everyone on God’s green earth to see inside my life. I am called to love people, and that I will do. It doesn’t mean I need to continuously let my guard down, allow people to come into my life only to dismiss me in the next segment of this thing we call “Life”.

It’s a freeing feeling to CHOOSE who I allow in my life.

 I can honestly smell bullsh*t a mile away! 

Relationships are reciprocated.

If I don’t reciprocate I don’t want a relationship with you.  

If you don’t reciprocate a relationship with me, I KNOW you don’t want a REAL relationship with me. 

It’s SIMPLE. 

End. Of. Story.  

I remember the days where I would allow people in, and they flat out didn’t deserve to be in my life. I wanted and needed to be accepted SO BAD, I was blinded by so much.

Those days are over. 

Today, the title of this post is “Withdraw & Retreat” for a reason. I’m not all alone. God is with me! My close friends know pieces of what’s going on in my life, and the REAL friends I have are on this ride with me. My kids are with me. They are the most important thing TO ME! So today I’m at a peaceful place filled with many transitions taking place. God is weeding things OUT and I believe with my entire heart he will replace all those things with better things.

It’s critical I trust Him.

Growing in my relationship with God is something I put at the front of my life, each and every day I’m committed to THIS. For my fellow adoptees; I will always be around for YOU!  Please believe this is no good-bye letter. Only a post explaining some things are changing in my life, for the better and I’m excited to share it.

God is about to use me in a new way because it’s a NEW DAY in this thing we call LIFE.

Thanks for reading.

I’m going to try to write more in the near future.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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