Adoptees in Recovery Powered by Adoptees Connect

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By Pamela Karanova

As the founder of Adoptees Connect, Inc. I’ve been significantly transparent about being an Adoptee in Recovery and I’ve spent years of my life documenting this journey at www.adopteeinrecovery.com

As I began to come out of the fog, I decided writing was a therapeutic healing tool for me, as no one could silence me or tell me how I should feel. Using a pseudo name was comforting to me at that time because in the beginning, I didn’t have enough strength or courage to write under the real true me, Pamela Karanova. It takes time for adoptees to come to a place of empowerment to be able to share their stories.

It takes even more time to share those stories with the world publicly.

As I navigated my journey and moved forward with my healing, I have many years of articles that document my personal journey. I look back and can hardly believe how much has changed, and how different my life is now. For so many years I was STUCK. My first article posted was an open letter to my birth mother. Sharing my journey is a way to help myself heal, but also help other adoptees know they aren’t alone.

As this was long ago but being an Adoptee in Recovery is still a very significant piece of my life today. Without it, there is no Pamela Karanova. One of the core reasons Adoptees Connect, Inc. was founded was for all adult adoptees, but it was also for adoptees like me, Adoptees in Recovery. It was my service work; it was my give back to my community and to my fellow adoptees. It was part of my step work.  I didn’t shout it from the rooftops, but my monthly small group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY meeting was and is my recovery meeting.

After a few years of writing under the pseudo name, “Adoptee in Recovery” I finally came to a place of empowerment and I was able to share the real true me and Pamela Karanova was born. For me, my adoption journey has run parallel to my recovery journey. For most of my life, I couldn’t make the connections as alcohol and being in the fog was blocking me from processing my adoptee pain which lasted 27 years of my life.  August 13, 2012 is my sobriety date, everything changed, and the walls came crumbling down. My adoptee reality was sitting on my front doorstep and it wasn’t going anywhere until I decided to unpack it piece by piece and put in the work to become a happier, healthier version of me.

My kids deserved it, and so did I.

The last 7 years haven’t been easy, as I say recovery isn’t for sissies, nor is being adopted! This combination of my experiences gives me a unique view of what adoptees need, and my recovery journey allowed me to understand I still have work to do. I always say, “I’m in recovery from LIFE, for the rest of my life!”

I’ve noticed so much stigma attached to the word “Recovery” as many times people already have their mind made up if they learn you are someone in recovery. I keep talking about my recovery and I never will stop because I aim to create conversations, even when they are difficult and awkward as a way to  normalized conversations when it comes to being in recovery. I also create conversations that are specifically tied to being an Adoptee in Recovery. We need to talk about these things because Adoptees are dying if we don’t.  These topics are important, and they very much run parallel to one another. I know there are a lot of hurting adoptees out there, and a lot of adoptees that could use a lifeline of hope.

For those that aren’t aware, adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees, and adoptees are overrepresented in prisons, jails, mental health facilities and treatment facilities. We can’t afford to remain silent and do nothing!

Adoption is rooted and grounded in loss which is compacted with root issues regarding the primal wound, separation trauma, abandonment, rejection, grief, fear, complex PTSD, attachment disorders, identity issues, and many times our adoptions are surrounded in secrecy and lies. And we wonder why so many adult adoptees are overrepresented in these spaces? As a society we must step out of denial and create change for the adult adoptee population.  I was once one of those broken and hurting adoptees and to this day, I still deal with struggles regarding being adopted. The sooner I stepped out of denial and started to work on these things, the sooner I started to heal.

In order to heal it, we must feel it.

I’ve had years of experience with AA and Celebrate Recovery, and they are huge pieces of my journey. As Adoptees Connect was founded, things changed. As I’m currently 7 years into my sobriety journey I realized something was missing and that’s my community of others who are in recovery. I had my adoptee community, which has been my saving grace but in recovery at times we must be specific of who we spend time with, where we allow ourselves to be present. Being surrounded by others in recovery is invaluable to the recovery experience! I knew there had to be other adoptees like me, in recovery out there. I decided to take some advice of my good friend, Maria and I attended my first Voices of Hope – Lexington, KY recovery meeting. I’m so thankful I did! Thank you Maria!

Knowing these alarming statistics and knowing what it’s like to be an Adoptee in 69590297_10214366441259609_2222345056818298880_nRecovery we’re exceptionally excited to announce our first “Adoptees in Recovery” group that will be launching here in Lexington, KY on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to have an opportunity to not just create a safe space for our monthly small group meetings for all adoptees, but also add an additional resource by creating a space for Adoptees in Recovery.

My hope is that one by one, Adoptees in Recovery will find us and come so we can allow them a safe space to share their hearts and hurts and in return we can offer some hope. As we hold the torch by creating the first space for Adoptees in Recovery powered by Adoptees Connect, we believe our vision for this resource will reach many in our community and beyond.

Our Adoptees in Recovery meeting will be hosted at an amazing local nonprofit here in Lexington, KY called Voices of Hope – Lexington, Inc. Voices of Hope promotes life-long recovery from the chronic disease of addiction through recovery support services, advocacy, research and education. They have been kind enough to open their doors to our cause and we will be forever grateful. Visit our Facebook page to learn of all our events.

Our facilitators for this group will be Harris Coltrain, Maria Gatz and Pamela Karanova as we are all adult adoptees in recovery residing in Kentucky. As we move forward planting a new resource for the adult adoptee community, please help us celebrate!

Adoptees in Recovery – We’re Planting Seeds of Hope!

Thanks for reading and for your support!

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A Whirlwind But Coming Out On Top

What does “On Top” mean?

Well for me it means I’ve decided in my mind I’m working on moving forward from this previous season of my life.

My whirlwind has been more like a tornado.

It’s been a difficult season, but life is difficult right? What I’m finding out that yes, life is difficult but having things happen in life that are difficult are HARD for many people but this adoptee “thing” is also hard. So for me being in recovery and dealing with this adoptee “thing” and the “life in general” thing it’s extremely difficult and the last few months it’s been extra heavy.

I found myself slipping into a depression after I came back from Iowa from meeting biological family for the first time on my birth fathers side. My amazing cousin was so welcoming and it’s honestly the first time anyone on my birth fathers side welcomed me. I was overwhelmed with emotions not so much during the 2 trips to Iowa, but after I returned and settled back from the trip.

It’s strange to me that my entire life I have dreamed of being welcomed by them, someone, anyone and when that dream happens I’m overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t expect… The journey has been pain for me all the way back to being a 5 year old child learning of my “adoption status”. Confusion and mental torment took over and essentially, it’s never left.

So finally I’m embraced by my cousin, her father and his wife, (my aunt and uncle). On the flip side my birth father still refuses to acknowledge me and has disregarded I’m his daughter. Mixed emotions about this. I’m so thankful for my new found cousin, but reality is I still have to process what was lost.

This is easier said than done.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

I’ve shared in a previous blog post Being Born a Burden my experience on my trip so I won’t share all the dynamics.

Basically a few months ago, when I returned from these trips depression began to set in. No motivation, and other life issues just took me down. I didn’t drink, thank God but at times I felt like I wanted too. Not for the alcohol, just to not feel all the pain I was feeling. The surrealness of seeing my grandmothers house she lived in when I was a child was an overwhelming emotional experience for me. Something felt like I had never been there physically but my spirit had been there. It was almost like an out of body experience, hard to describe.

Finding out I have a sister out there, and my new Ancestry DNA sample and test didn’t bring any good hits on making a connection. This was another major disappointment for me that mixed with my emotions of finding I have a sister to begin with who knows nothing about me, and I have no information on her.

I called my birth father to see if he would tell me any information on this long lost sister. He said he didn’t know her name, her mothers name and he didn’t remember my mothers name! He said “She doesn’t bother me like you do!” and the conversation quickly fizzled. More disappointment and hurt of losing more from adoption.

Why the world things adoption doesn’t impact adoptees for a lifetime is beyond me.

It’s heartbreaking. 

NAAM17 Has been triggering! I literally had multiple adoptees lash out at me on social media!!! This is tragic! Hard to grasp and understand!

So emotions have been swirling, I’ve been taking sleeping pills to just sleep things off and obviously that’s not going to work for very long. Sleeping pills slowly turned into a cocktail of pills, anti depressant, muscle relaxer, and an anxiety medication all non-narcotic because my doctor knows I’m in recovery and I have a very addictive personality. Yet I slowly started to take more pills and more of these same pills just to be able to go to sleep and not feel things. I’ve been stuck in this depressive cycle for a few months now. I thankfully learned this was an unhealthy pattern I was experiencing and I needed to do something about it. Emotionally eating has taken hold. Seasonal Depression has set in, and holidays are EXTREMELY hard for many adoptees, including me.

There is no help for adoptees, not yet anyway.

Soon Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY will connect and a support system will be built in my area.

I woke up a few days ago and decided if I was being honest with myself, and those close to me I needed to talk to my doctor about this issue I was having and tell her I wanted to discontinue all medications. I did just that.

Now, I’m weaning myself off a anti-depressant and stopped the other medications with no desire to take anymore.

Now I will be feeling again.

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This is daunting for a person who internalizes everything and a very deep thinker. All I can do is take one day at a time. I decided to share THIS because I know some people have missed me, missed my Facebook posts but I tend to isolate when I’m going through things but I’m always with God. He’s my sidekick working things out behind the scenes. I don’t want to burden people with my pain, sorrow or tormenting thoughts.

In recovery we learn we are only as sick as our secrets. My secrets are in this blog and this is why I write. I have to release these things somewhere, especially when there are very few adoptees in my local area I can talk too. I do have fellow adoptees far away and they have been lifesaving! But again, I don’t want to seem like a Debbie Downer, yet this is what my life feels like much of the time.

To be quiet honest, I’m tired of the struggle. I believe I could handle life issues better, if all the adoptee “STUFF” wasn’t also overflowing on my plate. This is why I always will say adoptees are STRONG, yet much of the time we don’t feel like it.

Today, I’m excited to stop taking these medications and hopefully have my life back a little bit. Adoption triggers so many emotions for adoptees, and when multiple things hit all at once it can be paralyzing.

This is all for now, but I wanted to share where I’ve been and what’s been going on. I know many of you can relate. Have you experienced anything like this before?

Blessings,

Pamela K.

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Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY

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Finally I’m putting my long time dream and vision into action and I’m starting a Adoptee Support Group in MY CITY!

This is seriously a long time coming.

I remember back in 2012 when I first started my recovery journey I put a few posts up online seeking other adoptees in my area who wanted to start a support group. I searched the internet HIGH & LOW for one already established.

N O T H I N G

What I did find was Celebrate Recovery which was a wonderful tool in many ways. I started this ministry and received some healing and I came to terms with abandonment & rejection being the root cause of my issues. I shared my testimony many times. I was able to receive Leadership Training and be the Women’s Chemical Dependency Group Leader for close to 4 years. This training I received in this ministry was priceless. I grew in so many ways.

ADOPTEES ARE THE EXPERTS IN ADOPTION.

Over my lifetime I’ve been disappointed over and over at the lack of knowledge in the professional communities such as therapists and psychiatrists regarding all the complexities adoption causes for the adoptee. Some “adoption experts” understand some of the dynamics but it’s geared more towards what the adoptive parents experience than the adoptee. They seem to be clueless of the real truth of all the dynamics of what adoptees live with. Most of the time I feel like I’m theryping the therapist and it’s emotionally and mentally exhausting, especially when we are supposed to be the ones to get help.

Over the years, I did find a few “ADOPTION SUPPORT” groups in the area where members of the triad were present. The only issue with this for me is, this is not considered a safe space for adoptees in my opinion. For many of us, our entire lives adoptees have been told how to feel from others in the triad. We should be “thankful” and “grateful” and happy go lucky adoptees who only share happy stories. With this happening all around it’s a form of gas lighting and it’s done great damage to adoptees all over the world.

Including Me.

Adoptees need there own safe space. Our stories are important and we are important. We deserve to have our own community who can support us, encourage us, and even listen to us when we cry. It’s CRITICAL to our lives and healing that we have our own safe space. Community with those who understand is essential to our journeys.

My hope and prayer is that “Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY” is just the beginning. I have a dream of seeing “Adoptees Connect” be born in every city and every state in the USA. This brings me great hope for adoptees all over the USA who feel alone, isolated and have no where to turn.

IT’S TIME YOU GUYS!

WE NEED OUR OWN SAFE SPACE!

AWESOME NEWS: I already have my first fellow adoptee who is committing to starting his very own “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lancaster, PA” and I can’t even tell you how excited I am!!! YAY KEVIN! WOO HOO! I’m so excited for Kevin and his community! We’re in this together!

If you’re an adult adoptee interested in starting an “Adoptees Connect” in your city please message me and we can chat! I can share with you the details and send you the logo with your city and state and you can get things started. I’ve purchased the main domain for “Adoptees Connect” so we can share information on how to get the group started, and a LOG of all the groups that are active, and details about them.

2018 is GOING TO BE AWESOME!

Fear has been in the way for YEARS for me! I am not letting FEAR stop me anymore. I don’t have the blue print for this thing, I just know how valuable my adoptee community is online and I desire that in real life in my community as well. There is power in numbers and community with those who GET IT. Meeting my fellow adoptees online and in real life has been a miraculous & magical all mixed together. We all deserve this community and safe space.

If you are an adoptee you have the qualifications to start your own support group in your community. You have more experience than ANYONE and the most valuable experience at that.

Please message me if you are interested but allow a little time for me to get back to you. I’m currently working 2 jobs and have no days off so I respond to messages in the evenings and early mornings. Just be patient with me. I will get back to you ASAP!

Please celebrate with me as “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lexington, KY” is launching, followed by “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lancaster, PA” down the road.

Hugs and LOVE to all!

Please Check Out Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY Here

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And you can also find us on Instagram @adopteesconnectlexky

XOXO

Pamela Karanova

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