Finally Sending Off For My Original Birth Certificate After 47 Years!

Today is January 1, 2022. I never thought the day would get here where I could finally say that I could apply to receive my original birth certificate from the Iowa Department of Public Health. But unfortunately, most non-adopted people don’t know that most adopted individuals from the USA (and other countries) don’t have their Original Birth Certificates, so I am here to explain things a bit.

While I am eternally grateful for the opportunity and all the hard work in getting this law changed, for some reason, I thought I would be able to do this online, so when I went online to do it this morning, I was a bit disappointed that I had to download forms, fill them out, get them notarized by a notary and mail them off with a $15.00 money order. Uggh. I hate to complain, but after waiting 47 years, I hoped it would be an online and much quicker process but it is the way it is and I can’t change it. The documents need notarized so I get it.

Nonetheless, I am still satisfied that I will have this completed by Monday, 1/3/22, and my request will be in a sealed envelope on its way to IDPH!

Some people who aren’t adopted might not understand what something like this means for an adoptee like myself. Of course, I can’t speak for everyone, but this is one of the most important events of my life. I know most of my fellow adoptees get it, but for others, I figured I might share a little about why this is such a milestone event and what it means to me to get my original birth certificate. I’ve been fighting the good fight for 47 years!

Back to 5 years old, I have been dreaming about the woman who gave me life. Who was she, what did she look like, did I know her, where could I find her? Was she looking for me? Questions plagued my mind every day of my life. So I started searching for her everywhere I went, all the way back to the beginning of knowing she existed.

When someone is adopted, their original birth certificate is sealed away by the state, and a new “Certificate of Live Birth” is issued to the adoptive parents with the biological parent’s information redacted. Then, it’s replaced with the adoptive parent’s information. This is to protect the identity of the birth parents and to eliminate the adoptee from ever finding out who they are. Unfortunately, this is one of the areas where the deception in adoption begins, and it only gets deeper and deeper as the years pass. This is one of the many reasons I can’t support the adoption industry. I can’t support secrecy, lies, and half-truths.

Can you imagine not knowing who your mother and father are?

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable.

 It’s torture.

It’s inhumane.

It isn’t kind.

It’s vile.

It’s awful and cruel.

I was a persistent adoptee. I didn’t care who I hurt trying to find my truth because none of them cared how much relinquishment trauma, adoption trauma and secrets hurt me. I tell people on a scale of 1 to 10, and 1 being an adoptee with minor issues and 10 being an adoptee with many problems, I was at about 10,000 and off the charts with my adoptee issues. There has never been anything positive about adoption in my world. I can’t even think of ANYTHING positive that came out of it for me. Nothing. I have tried to think of things, but it has always bothered me to my core.

I didn’t bond with my adoptive mom, and being forced to bond with her was a traumatic experience for me. I was unfortunately stuck with her for legal reasons. So, as a result, I acted out in many ways, and I hated my life, I hated the world, and I have wanted to die more than I have wanted to stay alive. Why? Because the pain from my story has been so great that it almost killed me many times over.

From the #simplepieceofpaper initiative in 2012

The simple piece of paper has held the keys to my healing, and because I haven’t had it for 47 years, my healing has stalled because of it. I am one of the fortunate adoptees who pushed and pushed my way around because I was not taking “NO” for an answer when it came to finding my biological family. They told me no, I pushed harder. I was stalled, lied to, gaslit, and experienced so much emotional abuse because I wanted to know who my fucking parents were. It was and is abusive, and so many adoptees experience this abuse just because we want our information and sometimes we experience just because we are alive!

 I finally found both my biological parents, only to be rejected by both of them ten years apart. This broke my heart, and I was once convinced that was what would kill me. I was going to die of a broken heart.

The birth certificate for me is a seal of the deal. It’s the last missing puzzle piece to my story, and although I was one of the fortunate ones to find my biological people, I still want the first piece that I will ever have to my story. I don’t have a birth story. I don’t have happy memories or things from the first days of my life. But I have my original birth certificate. It’s a piece of me, and it’s a part of my story. The government has said I can’t have it for 47 years.

Some of the things that I am asking myself about my OBC are, I wonder if my birth mother named me? I wonder if it will have my birth father’s name on it? I wonder if it will have my time of birth and confirm my birth date? I wonder if I will get any other information, like health history or additional value notes? I wonder if I will even get it? What if I’m the exception and they don’t have it or can’t find it? What if they send it to me and it’s blank?

These are my obsessive thoughts, which I suspect many adoptees think about relating to the unknown. When someone doesn’t have the truth, we’re left to wonder, dream, fantasize, and even obsess about thoughts of who our biological family is and where they are. As if that isn’t punishment enough, many of us suffer from wondering if we are dating one of our very own siblings or cousins!

Adoption is INHUMANE.

I have had three significant milestones in my life, and that’s the birth of the three amazing humans I brought into the world. The next is the ability to gain access to my original birth certificate! The idea that the government can keep this from me, and it’s something that belongs to me, is revolting.

It’s damaging, and it hurts.

I had the honor of being invited to Des Moines, Iowa, in May 2021 to be present for Governor Kim Reynold’s bill signing that enacts a law for many adult adoptees to gain access to their original birth certificates. I was over the moon and so thrilled that I could attend. Here’s an article I wrote about it. My Sentiments on Iowa Bill HF855. When I showed up in Iowa, I decided to wear yellow as a sign of remembrance for all the adoptees who passed away before ever receiving their truth.

From the bottom of my heart, I can honestly say that gaining access to my original birth certificate is something I would never be alive to see. I have fantasized about this my entire life. I can’t help but ponder all the people who passed away before receiving their original birth certificates. I also think of all the people who will just be finding their biological family but find out their biological parents have passed away. The reality is, no adopted person should be withheld from knowing who their biological parent is, ever. And to be completely frank, no one adopted or not should have to live without knowing who their biological parent/s are. It really can and does do an unmeasurable amount of damage, and it can and does last a lifetime. It also reverberates through future generations.

While I’m learning after I mail this request off, I will then have to wait 6-8 weeks before I receive my OBC in the mail. Let me share something with you about the mail. When I found my birth mother in 1995, she promised to write me and send me pictures. I was so excited to see what she looked like and her handwriting. I was dying to know her thoughts or if she had any sentiments to share. You know, something sweet for the daughter she gave away 21 years earlier. I checked the mail every day; I met the mailman at the box most days because I watched for him. Days passed, followed by weeks and months. She lied; she didn’t keep the agreement. I was crushed, and still to this day, every day I walk to the mailbox, I think of her, and all those days I waited, and I never got anything.

I think waiting on my OBC might be triggering because of this, and because as an adopted person, I have spent my whole life WAITING on her to come back or to change her mind about me. So I am not sure how I will handle the next 6-8 weeks, but I will do it the only way I know-how. Relish in plenty of self-care, and stay busy. Idol time isn’t my friend.

I’ve decided I will likely get together with my kids, and they can be with me as I open it. I might invite two close friends. I am sure I will be an emotional basket case, but I am ready to get this chapter behind me. No matter what I get back in the mail or how this turns out, this will likely be the last chapter of my search, the final clue I collect, and the last piece to my puzzle. Of course, I can never say never, but these are my thoughts now.

Interestingly, my OBC is something I’m gaining access to at 47 years old, and it’s a significant tangible piece to my truth and the beginning of my life. However, if I’m lucky, my life is likely half over, and I’m just now getting this simple piece of paper. Just wow.

I hope in 2022, more people who aren’t adopted get on board for advocating for equal access for every single adult adopted person to be able to gain access to what’s rightfully theirs, and that’s their original birth certificate. Every state needs to change these laws, and every adopted person deserves to know who they are and where they came from.

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, Mental Health & Daily Self-Care

Once again, I’m noticing a significant amount of changes in the adoptee community, and it’s helped me reevaluate and reorganize my commitments on where I stand within this community. We all have the abilities to make these choices for ourselves.

Back in 2010, when I started to emerge from the fog, Adopteeland (the online adoptee community) was a welcoming place to be in. It was a light to not only me but hundreds of thousands of fellow adoptees. We made online friends, we built online relationships, and we helped one another online when the other was down. 

I remember all of the “aha” moments I experienced in hearing other adoptees share their stories, and little by little, my story started to come out just like the adoptees I knew that shared their stories before me. It was empowering. I was finally able to tap into my deep-rooted issues that stem from being relinquished by my birth mother and being adopted into an abusive adoptive home. I started to share my feelings little by little, and it was validating and freeing in many ways. Eleven years of being completely consumed in Adopteeland has passed, and I’ve learned many things in that time. 

Part of sharing my feelings on my website has been for my healing, but it’s also to help my fellow adoptees who might be reading from afar so they know they aren’t crazy for feeling the way they feel. Our feelings are expected for a not normal situation. Nothing is normal about being separated from your biological mothers at the beginning of life. 

As years have passed, I saw the recognizable need for adoptee-centric spaces that meet in person, in our neighborhoods, and our communities. After a close call with my contemplation of ending my life in 2017, I decided I wanted to take all the pain I was carrying from my adoption experience and do something positive with it. For me, I describe it as finding purpose in the pain. It’s saved my life to create Adoptees Connect, Inc. In return, the resource itself has saved the lives of many adoptees around the USA and beyond who attend our in-person groups. 

Around 2018, I noticed an overwhelming and alarming amount of cyberbullying and cyber mobbing in Adopteeland. It was disturbing in every regard. I have seen fellow adoptees bully other adoptees to the point of attempting to take their own lives. It was so disturbing to see, and I created an Adoptees Connect Social Disclaimer because of this activity. I decided that any of the platforms I am a part of cannot and will not turn a blind eye to this type of behavior.  All of our volunteers and facilitators must agree to abide by this disclaimer to join our organization. 

I was hoping many of the other organizations in Adopteeland would follow suit, but sadly I have been greatly disappointed in that area. 

Let me be honest, aside from the adoptee vs. adoptee discord, the internet, in general, isn’t a safe space for anyone. Adopteeland is filled with triggers for adopted individuals, and time and time again, I see the fallout from these events. Someone is always getting hurt, and that’s never a good feeling. Adopteeland, just like the internet in general, is a breeding ground for keyboard warriors to flex their muscles and mistreat people disrespectfully and downright awful. Many people have big balls on the internet, even women. I have seen adoptees turn on other adoptees or adoptee-centric organizations and the drop of a dime. It doesn’t matter how much good they have done in the adoption community. This is the same community they wish to protect and care for. No one can be trusted on the internet. All of my real adoptee friends are ones I connect with offline, off the internet. There is a small group of them, and they know who they are. 

Because of the increasing toxicity of Adopteeland and the internet in general, I have decided to make some very significant changes for myself, and I hope you consider doing the same. First, I had to self-reflect and ask myself how these interactions with other adoptees and organizations made me feel? Do I feel consciously good about them, or do they leave me feeling drained, sad, depressed, isolated, and alone? Do they trigger me? How do I respond to the triggers? Are they interfering with my quality of life?

A lot of the time, I had so many fires in the oven all over Adopteeland, I sacrificed my time as if my commitments to Adopteeland were a full-time job. I knew the commitments created needed resources, and they were areas that had never been touched in the adoptee community before. I held my commitment to Adopteeland as one of the primary and most significant commitments of my life. This is 11 years of time I can never get back. 

I can’t lie; it’s taken a toll. 

I woke up one day and learned I had been misled by this community I put so much trust in because I saw what they would do to others. I knew they could do the same to me. Adopteeland can and will turn on you in a heartbeat, stab you in the back, and LITERALLY leave you for dead. Most of them don’t care about you. You are just another adoptee on the internet. I have seen adoptees set up cyber mob attacks towards other adoptees or organizations and not think twice about the person they are cyberbullying or what they might be going through in their personal lives. After many years of seeing my fellow adoptees get dragged through the mud, I realized I could no longer witness such travesties. My heart hurts and hurts deeply when I see these interactions online, and it aches me to the core to see adoptees harm fellow adoptees. This is not the community I want to put my hope, trust, and time into. This is one of the main reasons Adoptees Connect groups meet in person in real life. To bypass the internet and build genuine in-person relationships.

It’s life or death for many of us. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are adoptees worldwide whom I have built relationships with online and who mean the world to me, and I will never meet many of them in person. They aren’t included in the Adopteeland problematic scene. They are kind, loving, compassionate, and would do anything for the adoptee community. I would do anything for them. They know who they are. 

Adoptees are tender individuals, and no matter what anyone does that I don’t agree with or dislike, I don’t have a right to cyberbully them or set up cyber mobbing attacks on that adoptee or an adoptee-centric organization. If I was to lower myself to that type of activity, it’s CLEAR that Adopteeland isn’t a place for me. 

I think it is safe to say the old days of Adopteeland back in 2010 are dead and gone, and for my mental health, I have had to disconnect and release myself from 99.9% of adoptee-centric spaces on the internet. Let me be honest; I don’t give my time too much on the internet these days. I have a beautiful life to live, and I don’t like the primary bloodsucker (internet) stealing the most valuable thing I have, my time.

Another dynamic to my mental health is not over-committing myself to adoptee/adoption-centric responsibilities. I sometimes think, as adoptees, when we find the online community, we get so excited we jump all in headfirst. But the kicker for many of us is that we forget to swim back to shore and find life again. It’s sometimes tough, if not impossible, to find a happy balance between life outside of adoption commitments and to be adopted and finding happiness in the world. 

For me, Adopteeland and adoptee-centric activities have drained the life out of me. I think it’s so important that we listen to our bodies and make changes when things aren’t bringing us solitude and happiness. It’s essential that we learn that many things are for a season, and we’re not supposed to sit in Adopteeland or the Adoption arena FOREVER. It will keep us stuck, and I am a prime example that it’s kept me stuck for a long time. 

I don’t regret a minute of my time in Adopteeland, and I am not disappearing. However, I have to put my mental health first because my mental health suffering was impacting my physical health. I encourage anyone reading this to listen to your bodies and what they are telling you. It’s okay to back out of commitments and also prioritize them. 

Adoption and Adoptee related topics are draining AF. The internet and Adopteeland are draining AF. Self-care is an essential dynamic to being knee-deep in something as heavy as adoption. I have developed a very effective self-care routine, and most of the things I do to take care of myself have nothing to do with adoption other than writing. For me, this means removing myself from ALL THINGS ADOPTEE/ADOPTION at times. My self-care routine are the things I’ve found that re-energize me and allow me to stay grounded and centered. Hiking, walking, writing, reading, bonfires, sunrises, sunsets, outdoors, spending time with my kids and loved ones, my dogs, arts and crafts, kayaking, tending to my plant addiction, etc.

Staying in something so heavy so much of the time can and will impact our quality of life. 

I challenge you, if you are an adoptee in Adopteeland spaces, to be mindful of your emotional, mental, and physical health being challenged. Be aware of your interactions on the internet, with others and how you treat people, and how you allow them to treat you. Be mindful of the triggers you experience and how your body responds to the triggers. Adopteeland can be an unhealthy place to be involved in. In the beginning, it’s like you finally found your tribe, a euphoric feeling. It has a lot of pros to it, but all of a sudden, you get sucked into something, and your whole life is consumed into it, from the minute you wake up to the minute you lay your head down at night. Nothing as heavy as adoption can be healthy without consistent and committed self-care and a healthy balance.

Every. Single. Day. 

If anyone on the internet has mistreated you, adopted or not, I encourage you to report them if possible and block and ban them from all of your platforms. However, if you are the creator of a platform and allow this behavior to occur on your platform, I would like to ask you why you let abuse happen? Turning a blind eye, you are no better than the cyberbully or emotional abuser. I used to have a loyalty to the adoptees in Adopteeland, but that ship has sailed and sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Unfortunately, there are many problematic adoptees in Adopteeland, and I will not tolerate anyone’s bullshit. Period. 

We have to realize that sometimes people make mistakes in person and online. We’re all human beings, and we don’t always get it right. If you make a mistake and have tried to right your wrong, and someone won’t allow for an honest, professional, and open dialog to find a solution for the mishap, you can walk away. If someone drains the life out of you, you can walk away. If anyone is bullying you and cyber mobbing you, you do not have to tolerate this behavior. I wonder what the online cyber bullies would do if they pushed another human being over the edge to end their lives? Would they still advocate for adoptee suicide?

WALK AWAY. 

REPORT ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. 

BLOCK. 

BAN. 

DELETE. 

Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th is approaching. I picked one day on behalf of Adoptees Connect, Inc. to be a day we highlight Adoptee Suicide and all the other dynamics ARD symbolizes. I thought long and hard about this. One day was picked (over a week or month) because of the sensitive nature and focus of the day and how it can impact the adoptee community long term. One day seemed like a better idea than a week or a month because I worry about the mental health of anyone participating in such sensitive topics for a longer duration than a day. 

I am noticing the rise of a three-month highlight, starting with September being Adoptee Suicide Awareness Month, followed by October and November trailing on with some of the same highlights. I commend all adoptees who are pouring their hearts and souls into bringing awareness on such an important topic for the adoptee community. I support each of you!

First, of course, November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and it’s heavy and triggering for adoptees in its own way.  I worry significantly and even gravely for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of all the adoptees participating in these topics for up to three months in a row. Do they have the resources they need? Are people spreading love and light during a difficult time? Who’s on standby when someone is on overload with emotions piling up during such a lengthy focus on such a excruciatingly painful topic?

I know for sure, my emotional and mental well-being can only take one day of it, and I am dedicating that day to Adoptee Remembrance Day. After that, I can not and will not be able to participate in more. It’s just too heavy. I would die committing to more, and I am not saying this lightly. 

One of the main points of me writing this article is that I’m worried about the adoptee community, and I see some awful interactions happening that are harmful and hurtful to the productivity of so many amazing causes. I’ve witnessed dark sides of adoptees I have known online and loved for years that I never thought I would see. In experiencing and seeing these things, I will continue to take steps back away from the same community I have poured my heart and soul into for 11+ years. My main focus is Adoptees Connect, Inc., and that’s the only commitment I have time for these days. Keep in mind, while Adoptees Connect does have a social media account on Facebook and Instagram, the root and main focus of the entire vision of the organization is creating OFFLINE adoptee-centric spaces that meet in person, in real life for many of these reasons. That’s where I choose to put my focus, time, and energy. I can’t get sucked into online drama, and I avoid it to the fullest at all costs. 

Please be careful with your online interactions and the amount of trust you put into Adopteeland. Please give yourself the gift of walking away from anything, anyone, and everything that doesn’t serve your emotional, mental and physical health positively. If Adopteeland is too triggering for you, either walk away entirely or set yourself boundaries and participate in small microdoses. Understand and recognize when your time’s up, and you can cross over to finding other fulfilling things in life. If you don’t do it on your own, your body will do it for you!  

Take care of yourself, and above all things, please put your Mental Health first. 

For any adoptees struggling right now, here are some Recommended Resources we have listed on the Adoptees Connect website. Please share them in your online communities.

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

Honored to be a Spotlight Guest Tonight – 5/28/21- NAAP Adoption Happy Hour

TONIGHT – National Association of Adoptees and Parents – AdoptionHappyHour – 7 pm est – Pamela A. Karanova – Adoptees Connect, Inc.

Join host Marcie Keithley as she welcomes spotlight guest Pamela Karanova.

Pamela is an adult adoptee, living in Lexington, Kentucky, was born in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1974. Although Pamela’s roots are scattered all over Iowa, she considers Kentucky to be her home.

Over the last ten years, Pamela has dedicated much of her life to not only work towards healing regarding her adoptee journey but also pouring into the adoptee community. She’s created resources for adult adoptees and built relationships with adoptees all over the world!

www.adopteesconnect.com

Registered attendees will be emailed a link to the event on Zoom Meeting on Thursday and Friday. If you add the event to your calendar when you register you can launch the Zoom Meeting from the calendar event. (click the play button in the center of the event image)

Visit www.naapunited.org to register! Or click the link below ⤵️

https://fb.me/e/V5AlHtyk

Join Us in Celebrating the Launch of the Adoptee Remembrance Day Website Powered by Adoptees Connect, Inc.

We are eager and enthusiastic to unveil the Adoptee Remembrance Day website with you! As the very first Annual Adoptee Remembrance Day launched in 2020, it’s created a firestorm of activities across the globe that take part in this day. Such a symbolic day for the adoptee community needed its very own space to share upcoming news, events, articles, and all things – Adoptee Remembrance Day.

What is Adoptee Remembrance Day?

Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th serves several purposes.

It raises public awareness of crimes against adoptees by adoptive parents, an action that current media does not recognize. It also allows us to publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who we have lost who might otherwise be forgotten. It raises awareness about adoptee suicide, shining a light on a difficult topic. Through these actions, we express love and respect for the adoptee community. Adoptee Remembrance Day reminds others that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends, and lovers. Adoptee Remembrance Day gives our allies a chance to step forward with us, memorializing those who have died too soon, and it also recognizing the loss all adopted people experience, before they’re actually adopted.

While this topic remains sensitive in nature, adoptees who are murdered by their adoptive parents is increasing around the world. It is a time to honor their legacy by setting aside a day just for them. While those who have passed away before us, are no longer able to speak and share their stories or voices, there are many adoptees today who are paving the way for the voiceless to become strong enough to share their voices and stories. We are the voice of the voiceless.

We also recognize that there are international adoptees who are living without citizenship and/or have been deported due to mistakes by adoptive parents, adoption agencies, attorneys, and ultimately, the U.S. adoption system. Some international adoptees must survive abuse and neglect, including in regards to their citizenship, from their adoptive parents. We honor the adoptees who did not survive or are struggling to survive their deportations to countries they left as children where they have no support network and limited access to support services, including mental health care, clothing, food, and shelter. Lack of citizenship is a tragic and often unacknowledged issue facing the adoptee community. Please visit Adoptees for Justice to learn more.

This is what Adoptee Remembrance Day is all about.

While our first annual Adoptee Remembrance Day in 2020 was a day that was echoed all around the world, it is evident that it was only the beginning. As the years pass, our hope is this day grows larger and continues to expand across the globe. We hope that the truth about relinquishment trauma is recognized, acknowledged, and addressed as a critical component before any adoption ever takes place. We want to raise awareness of the complexities that adopted people experience by hearing the voices of those who have the lived experiences, the adopted individuals themselves. We want to honor those adoptees we have lost from suicide and at the hands of their adoptive parents by setting a day aside to recognize them and the loss we feel without them.

We are honored to share the first story on the new Adoptee Remembrance Day website by the highly thought of Sara Graves. Sara has agreed to share her story publicly, and we couldn’t be more proud of her and honored to share it as we unveil the new website. We admire her willingness to share her story and applaud her strength in this process. To help us celebrate Sara and her story, please visit the Adoptee Remembrance Day website and leave her a message of support and love. You can view Sara’s story by clicking here.

Don’t forget to follow the Adoptee Remembrance Day website and the Facebook page. You can RSVP to the next Adoptee Remembrance Day by clicking here. Have an idea for the next Adoptee Remembrance Day? Please submit it here.

To everyone who has participated on this day, thank you. We’re sending love and light around the world, and as adoptees share their truth, our voices get stronger together. Adoptee Remembrance Day 2021 is only a few months away. Please reach out to us if you would like to get involved by sending us a message here. – Pamela Karanova, Adoptees Connect, Inc.

Help Support the Growth of our Growing Network!

Adoptees Connect Inc. is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations to Adoptees Connect are tax deductible as allowed by law. Please consult your tax advisor regarding deductibility. EIN: 83-1862971. Thank you for your generosity in helping our vision move forward.

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The Difference in Today, Feeling the Feels

I’ve come to a recent discovery after doing some self-reflection that I am someone that takes longer than your average person to process feelings, especially ones that are considered heavy or disheartening. I’m naturally a BIG feeler and a deep thinker.

While discovering this, it has been said that this is a “hang-up” or a “bad thing.” As I ask myself, “am I defective for taking so long to process things?” or “is something wrong with me for taking so long to process things?” I’ve been trying to process why I am this way, and I had an epiphany this morning.

I take longer than the average person to process things, because I’m feeling the feelings and processing them. I’m not side stepping or avoiding truly feeling and processing feelings. I’m doing the work, I’m evaluating my part, and caring enough about myself to not rush the process. This is self-care. This is self-love. This is putting myself first, and in return I can show up for others in a more grounded way. I spent 27 years drinking alcohol to numb my reality, to escape.

While running, I didn’t have to put in the work to feel the feelings and process the pain. I jumped from one shit storm to another for 27 years. I didn’t show up but a shell of me did. Avoidance worked until I decided I wanted to get real with myself, and all the problems I had been running from for 27+ years showed up at my front doorstep. I could only run for so long… 27 years is ALONG TIME!

The difference in today…

Today, I’m no longer running home to drink so I don’t have to feel. A shell of me is no longer showing up, but all of me is, along with my imperfections. As I approach a 9-year milestone in my recovery and alcohol-free journey (8/13/12) I am taking note of the way things are for me now, verses the way things used to be. I’m no longer depending on alcohol to take the pain away; I’m depending on myself to put in the work to do that.

This takes a while.

I’m not a robot.

While others might say this is a negative thing, or something they can’t live with or tolerate, I can say I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come. It’s taken a lot of self-work, blood sweat and tears to learn how to process real and raw feelings after spending 27 years escaping them. No one has shown me how to do this, I have no mother, father, siblings, aunts, or uncles pouring into me. I have figured it out on my own.

Let me add, responding after a trauma response is triggered, is a whole new beast. Acknowledging the problem is half the battle. Admitting and committing to help is another piece of the battle. I’m a work in progress as we all are but I’m not sitting in denial. I have work to do.

It’s all a part of the growth process, I think. As we grow and move forward in life, we discover new things about ourselves. Some of them will make us pick our face up off the floor, and some we ease right on into depending on the circumstances. We’re all a work in progress, and we’ve all adapted to life’s circumstances using survival skills, some healthy and some unhealthy. It’s up to each of us to put in the time, work, and effort to figure out new ways to work things out, especially when the old ways don’t necessarily serve us a great purpose.

Sharing because if I’m ever late to the party, likely I’m over here processing and feeling the feels just so I can show up at all. But when I show up, I will show up with all of me. Not fragments or broken up pieces of me like I did for 27 years. I won’t show up avoiding my reality, masking my feelings with alcohol. I call it self-loyalty and being true to me. It’s not for everyone to accept and not everyone will understand this. That’s okay. I’ve accepted I’m not for everyone.

My main focus is on being true to me. Then, I can show up genuinely for others in a more well rounded way. Wherever you are in your healing and processing journey, be easy on yourself. You are right where you need to be. 💛

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!

Pamela A. Karanova

What You Can Do to Support Adoptees on Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th

As Adoptee Remembrance Day is approaching, I have felt like it would be essential to share a few things that we need from our friends, family, loved ones, and even those who aren’t close to an adoptee but maybe they know one. If you need a moment to reflect on what Adoptee Remembrance Day is about, please visit this link.

First things first, this day is 100% focused on the adoptee experience, and all it entails regarding adoptee grief, loss, abuse, mental health, deportation, and adoptee suicide.

While each topic carries significant weight, what we need from non-adopted individuals is for them to search deep in their hearts and understand that adoption might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Our society has failed miserably on every level of bypassing and ignoring the TRUTH regarding how adoption impacts adopted individuals. While adoption has been celebrated worldwide, the adoptee suffers in silence significantly.

Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day to step into a new light that there is so much more to the adoptee experience than what our world has lead non-adoptees to believe. It’s a day to seek deep in your heart to find the willingness to listen and learn from adopted individuals that there is much more to the adoptee experience than what the adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, news, and society tell you.

I know you mihgt know an adoptee, and they say they have no issues at all.

Well, I know thousands of adoptees that DO have problems with it, and I have dedicated over ten years of my life to building relationships with them, listening to them, and validating them. We must collectively step out of a space of denial into an area of truth to better understand the trauma in relinquishment and adoption, regardless of all the given love.

While our world is focused on pushing positive culture, this is a day to reflect sorrow and sadness. Please understand that there is nothing wrong with this. Adoptees have never ending things to be sorrow-filled about and sad. Adoptee Deportation and Suicide are significant issues within the adoptee community. Adoptee grief and loss are not acknowledged by the Adoption community. Please save space for the adoptees on this day who need to sit and be sad. All they need from you is for your to listen and have the willingness to try to learn how they feel. If you are close to them, wrap your arms around them while they cry. Allow them the space to cry.

I’ve said it before, and I will repeat it, love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff. Love does not replace our lineage, lost memories, relinquishment trauma, grief and loss process, ethnicity, medical history, answers to our truth, citizenship, knowing who our siblings and biological kin are. Nothing can replace what is lost in adoption for the adopted individual, and until we can start to have these candid and raw conversations, adoptees will continue to die.

Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day for non-adopted individuals to press into this day and do everything they can to listen and learn. There are genuinely countless layers to the adoption experience, and they deserve to be addressed and brought to light. We’re asking for your support as you open your heart to learning that every adoption begins with a loss so significant, it could very well impact an adopted person for the rest of their lives.

We were hoping you would consider showing up in some way by making a public statement acknowledging the sensitive topics of this day. Maybe you will take part in this day by sharing articles and posts about this day. We were hoping you could support us by RSVP’ing to the Facebook event and invite your followers, friends, and family to the event.

Search the hashtags #ard2020, #adopteeremembranceday, and #adopteesweremember and soak in all you can on other adoptee experiences. This is a day to save space for adoptees’ experiences in deep pain, grieving losses they have been denied the right to grieve for an entire lifetime.

There are adoptees out there who consider themselves “saved by adoption,” and they might even be “thankful they were adopted,” however, I encourage them to step into this day with the notion of understanding that not all adoptees feel this way. I challenge you to learn, grow, and expand in your current knowledge and insight on how adoption impacts your fellow adoptees. Step into a space of grace and understanding to try to listen and learn how your fellow adoptees might feel. Please, whatever you do, don’t say, “That’s not how I feel” when another adoptee shares their feelings. We all deserve space without someone else coming behind us, running over our feelings, reminding us we need to be thankful or grateful.

If you don’t know any adopted individuals, you can still get involved on this day, and we need your support. Here’s an article that share’s ways you can help promote this day.  Promoting Adoptee Remembrance Day. Don’t forget to read how you can get involved on this day and the different things you can do to participate. Read here.

Last but not least, Adoptee Remembrance Day is going to be an emotional day for Adoptees everywhere. I am already crying daily just because we finally have the day to recognize the truth in adoption that I get emotional even thinking about it. I’m pretty sure on October 30th, 2020, and I will likely have a box of Kleenex with me all day because I know my emotions will be all over the place. Be easy on your fellow adoptees or any adoptees in your life. It’s not going to be easy for any of us, but so overdue and so very needed for the Adoptee Community.

For those who might not support this day or for whatever reason don’t feel it’s necessary, we respect your right to feel that way, however adoption has stolen enough from us. What we won’t allow is those who don’t support this day for the adoptee community to hijack this day by spinning the adoption is wonderful narrative. Sometimes being frank is the only way I can be because I always have to be true to me and the adoptee community. We invite you to take a seat, close your mouth and make the choice to not participate. Thank you very much.

Please realize that we’ve invited everyone to get involved on this day, and that includes biological parents, adoptive parents, and friends and family of adoptees. We’re saving space for you to share your thoughts on this day. Together, we hope to share our feelings, so healing begins to happen.  

We will be sharing an Adoptee Remembrance Day Agenda in the coming days. Be sure to share it online with your friends, families, and in your adoption circles.

If there ever was a time to share your voice, the time is now for my fellow adoptees. Make sure you tag Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th on Facebook and RSVP to our Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th Event. Use hashtags we’ve shared above.

Together, we’re collectively going to raise our voices, so the world will be able to listen.

Sending you sunshine, love, and light as this day approaches.

Please know you aren’t alone!

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.

The Adoptee Expressway to Recovery Has More Than One Way 

img_7963I’ve learned the hard way, that the one way that’s usually presented as an express track to recovery and sobriety, isn’t the only way. I’ve also learned that there is nothing fast, quick or express about it. I’ve found that when one way is presented, this leaves one with absolutely no options to choose from in regards to making an informed choice regarding one’s very personal recovery journey. This is part of my life story. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again that someone’s recovery journey is as unique as their very own fingerprint and DNA. No two journeys are alike.  

I’ve been sharing my Adoptee in Recovery journey since August 13, 2012 and it’s no secret my main “addiction” was always alcohol. It was my “go to” to escape my adoptee reality. But the real question is, what was the reality I was running from? How long had I struggled with this addiction? What pathways to recovery did I try? What ways were presented to me? What were my root issues?

WHAT OPTIONS DID I HAVE? 

At 15 years old, I found myself locked in drug & alcohol treatment all alone. The only way out was to believe in God, a power higher than myself, and to work the 12 steps. I had no other options. By completing the 12 steps in 6 weeks, I graduated the program and it allowed me to go home. I had no knowledge of the AA Big Book before this, and I really didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the big book even after I worked the 12 steps. I was just “Going with the flow” because if I didn’t, I would never get to go home. Adoption was never talked about! 

If you read my previous article titled “Adoptee in Recovery, When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal” you learned a little of my background of my drinking career. I don’t want to repeat everything from that article, so if interested, please read it and you can to get a little background. 

img_7964Today, I navigate my 2838th day living alcohol free, I’m just now coming to the head-space where I feel comfortable talking about this topic. After 7.5 years of a recovery process, If I’m completely transparent, my drinking started before I was ever born, in utero because I was told my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even through her pregnancies. It’s no wonder I started drinking so young.  

I’ve spent 45 years on this earth, my drinking career started at age 12 years old. That means I drank from 12 years old, to 38 years old. This is a 26 year drinking career! For an entire lifetime, I’ve been told I’m an alcoholic and I have always struggled with that thought. It’s made me feel “Bad” or “Defective.” Labeling myself an ALCOHOLIC for the rest of my life seems daunting, heavy, untrue and downright disgusting when I’ve been manipulated my whole life to believe this about myself. Being told I’m in DENIAL if I don’t label myself an alcoholic is abusive. I’m exceptionally happy I’m at such a healthy place in my own journey that I can recognize this as being unhealthy and toxic to my recovery. 

In the recovery world, I have never been able to verbally say, “My name’s Pam and I’m an alcoholic.” Those words have never set well with my spirit, even during the times in my life that I didn’t understand WHY. I remember a few times between 15 years old, and 38 years old I found myself in an AA room, because I knew I had a problem but the root of my problem was adoption, not alcohol. I know this now, but I didn’t know this as a 15 year old. If I was to share in an AA room about relinquishment trauma and how it’s impacted me, they would all look at me like I had lost my mind! I already know what they would be thinking, “What the HELL does this have to do with being an alcoholic?!” 

While spending the first few years of recovery in my late 30’s in and out of the AA rooms, this lets you know how much I took advantage of the open share of the AA rooms. ZERO. Because it was known that in order to share, I had to say “I’m Pam and I’m an alcoholic.” Me being stubborn is an understatement. I wasn’t going to say something that I didn’t feel in my heart was true just to be able to share, so I never shared. I just listened even after the first year. Even when I never verbally said I was an alcoholic, AA was known for alcoholics. I feel I was labeling myself as an alcoholic just by showing up at the meetings, even when I didn’t verbally say I was an alcoholic. Sharing is healing, and if I didn’t share at all in the meetings, it was stalling my healing. Period. 

I totally understand why AA/NA & Celebrate Recovery work for so many people. They provide community for others experiencing similar stages of life. They bring on new friendships, and a safe place to share. I think this provides amazing benefits for many people, and I’m happy about that if it works for you, or those you might know and love. My experience is different, but I have been able to take away some wonderful benefits from being a part of these groups, even if it was for a season. I learned a lot! 

Spending the last few years on the outside of any recovery organization or ministry, I’ve learned a lot as well. I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned, and use it for good and help others who might be where I once was. I had to walk away from everyone I knew and loved when I decided to get sober. I know I hurt some people doing this, but I didn’t have to explain myself. My life came first, and it was life or death. All I have to do is see the faces of my kids, and future grand-kids and I’m reminded alcohol no longer plays a role in my life. I don’t need the label of “alcoholic” to remind me. The world hasn’t been on my side in this discovery! 

In those 26 years, not only was I forced to admit in my mind, and publicly by showing up at meetings that I was an alcoholic, but it was necessary that I believe in God. I was told I needed to forgive all those who have hurt me, and I was encouraged to make amends with those who have traumatized and abused me. I was told if I didn’t admit I was an alcoholic, I was in denial and denial would only lead to death, failed recovery, relapse, among other things. 

Somehow I finagled my way through the 12 steps MANY times, without ever verbally saying I was an alcoholic. In 2012, I would say, “I’m Pam, I’m in recovery for alcohol abuse.” but that was the closest thing I have ever come to labeling myself an alcoholic. It seemed to fit me and my situation better at the current time. It was more TRUE to me to say that, than attach a label to myself for the rest of my life. I absolutely despise labels, and I find them to be a box of confinement of rules and regulations that I refuse to fit in. Currently, May 21, 2020 I say, “I’m in recovery from LIFE and relinquishment & adoption trauma!” This suits me at this present stage of my life. See how the labels can actually hinder us and trap us in a space we have the abilities to move beyond? Especially the phrase, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic!” –  Dangerous! 

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It feels so wonderful to share this publicly, and not feel like I’m going to get thrown under the bus in the process. I feel labels only construct us and hold us back within the limits of those ideas and we deserve the freedom to go far beyond that. I know I have one friend who understands this and that’s David Bohl.  David is also a fellow adoptee in recovery, and we see things very similarly. He’s given me the inspiration to share my feelings about such a complex topic and he continues to share his on his website. 

DavidBohl-headshot-740x1024David shares in his article called The World Post – AA,, “I’ve learned a lot from AA and I learned a lot from leaving it. The biggest lesson is the one that tells me I need to be kind with myself and that I need to stay as diligent about Reality as I’ve always been. I no longer live in the delusion that I can drink without some dire consequences and I don’t need meetings to tell me that. But just because I don’t go to meetings, it doesn’t mean that I’m off the hook from reminding myself every day and practicing what keeps me sober and happy.” –  David B. Bohl 

I can so agree with David about learning a lot from AA and also learning a lot from leaving it! Same with Celebrate Recovery. Today I asked myself, “Did I really have to admit I was an alcoholic in order to be in recovery, seek healing and wholeness in my life? Did I need to admit I was an alcoholic to stop drinking? How has this idea stalled my healing?”  What I’ve finally discovered is that, “NO, I don’t have to accept or admit I’m an alcoholic!” I can’t tell you how refreshing, freeing and wonderful this realization has been. If it’s true for me, it can be true for you too! We have to step into writing our own story, and stop letting others write it for us. 

Over a 20 year period, I learned that both my biological parents were alcoholics. I found out my biological mother was first, and it’s ultimately what killed her. Some years later I found my biological father, and I was told he was a raging alcoholic. He will likely die the way my birth mother did. Discovering these two very important pieces of my history is something that rocked me to my core. This is why ALL adopted people should receive 100% of their truth. It’s the KEY to healing!  You might ask, “How are both of your birth parents alcoholics and you are not when you drank for 26 years?” 

That’s easy for me. I don’t drink anymore, and I’m in recovery and I no longer have a desire to drink. I’ve put in the work to make changes. They, on the other hand are going to die from alcoholism as my birth mother already has, and my biological father is right behind her. If either of my birth parents put in the work to become sober, I wouldn’t label them alcoholics but they never got help, sadly. I broke the cycle and I’ve applied a lot of blood, sweat and tears to do this. I can not consciously attach being an alcoholic to my name and my legacy because of this. My kids are my motivation! 

I BROKE THE CYCLE NOT JUST FOR ME, BUT FOR THEM! 

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From my experience, in AA never admitting you are an alcoholic is denial. This thought process that influenced me kept me confined for a very long time! It’s very scary for a lot of people who are considering recovery or living an alcohol free life. From my experience, in AA, if you don’t label yourself an alcoholic, you will NOT make it. Relapse is inevitable and you will be told you are in denial. Let me be clear, I know AA, NA and Celebrate Recovery, and all the other recovery programs and ministries have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I can find goodness in all of these programs. But due to my experiences with them, I can also take some steps back and see how damaging they can be. I’m not knocking them, or those who believe in them or those that are faithful participants of any of them. I’m just saying what worked and didn’t work for me, along with my views being on the outside looking in. 

Besides my three amazing kids, knowing both my birth parents were alcoholics was my motivation to want to be nothing like them. I didn’t want to be like them, and I didn’t want to die like them. I have wasted 26 years of my life, with alcohol being at the center of almost everything I did and I didn’t want alcohol to take anymore from my life, or my kids lives.  

The older I get, the more wisdom I gain, and the more I begin to think for myself. I never understood how labeling myself an alcoholic for the rest of my life would help me? If I’m doing everything in my power to become happy, healthy, and recover from my previous life experiences, why do I have to call myself an alcoholic, yet be manipulated into doing this? I never fell for it, and I have never been comfortable with ADMITTING I’M AN ALCOHOLIC. 

Today I celebrate 2838 days of living alcohol free, and I’ve made it this far never claiming the label of being an alcoholic. Can I agree I had an alcohol problem? Definitely. Can I drink today even if I wanted to drink today? No sir. I can’t. I know this and I have way too much at risk. I can also agree that the root of my drinking, and alcohol problem was relinquishment trauma and adoption trauma from my adoption experience. That’s my truth and that’s where I needed to put my focus if I ever wanted to be a happy, healthy individual. 

So how did I get to where I am when I’ve never publicly admitted I’m an alcoholic? Being true to myself was KEY. In order to know what that looked like, I needed to be by myself. I know not everyone can do this, or wants to do this. That’s okay.  I spent years, single not dating at all in order to learn who I am and who I’m not. What were my likes and dislikes at this stage of my life? I had to leave all the systems that were presented to me like church,  AA & Celebrate Recovery and walk away.  I had to create my own program that works for me which has been Adoptees Connect, Inc.  I walked away from many of the reasons (people, places and things) I drank to begin with, I got real with myself and got honest. I’ve applied the tools that I’ve been given and aligned them with what works for me and I’ve thrown the rest in the trash. Some of these things, others inside and outside of recovery settings might not agree with. I’ve learned to be okay with that. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I’m no longer collecting CHIPS for my recovery milestones. I collect ROCKS which are symbolic to me. I’ve found more healing in nature, chasing waterfalls than I have inside any church, program or ministry. 

MY WAY. 

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There’s a lot of stigma attached to recovery, that it has to be done a certain way. I’m no longer buying into it. I’m now doing things my way. Going against the grain is in my DNA but it’s been a significantly difficult journey to always be the one “not listening” or “not following directions.”  Or better yet, “THE REBEL WITH A CAUSE” – This is what I prefer to be called. 🙂 But here I am, 2838 days into sobriety and I have a story to tell on how I got here. The instructions of finding god, labeling myself an alcoholic and demanding forgiveness in order to heal and be in recovery has not worked for me, and news flash…

I’M STILL IN RECOVERY! 

I’M STILL SOBER! 

I HAVE A NEW FOUND LOVE FOR LIFE THAT I NEVER HAD BEFORE. 

MY WAY ISN’T ANYONE ELSE’S WAY. 

I’M OKAY WITH THIS. 

I BROKE THE CYCLE! 

I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC! 

I would like to share a message of encouragement for all my fellow adoptees in recovery, and anyone else who might be reading this article. You don’t have to admit you’re an alcoholic to get help, nor do you have to admit it in private. You don’t have to forgive everyone, or anyone for that matter. You don’t have to believe in God to get the help you need. I encourage you to explore other options outside of the 12 steps of AA, and religious settings because as times change, recovery doesn’t fit in a box. It’s not a “One size fits all” method like it was when I was growing up, and entering the recovery 12 step world in 2012. There are so many other options out there now. Keep searching until you find what works for you and realize that your way isn’t anyone else’s way. 

 One of the people who I follow and admire greatly is my friend mentioned above, David Bohl. Follow his Facebook, get his memoir. Read his article, Blue Mind and Relinquishees/Adoptees. The idea of being close to water and the healing dynamics to it is a very powerful healing tool! I can wholeheartedly agree, because this is what I get when I chase waterfalls. This is one of the many things that’s worked for us, but the mainstream recovery outlets aren’t talking about it. We learned it on our own and have a lifetime of experiences to back it up. Research Blue Mind.  You will be happy you did! 

TNM_book-hand-mockup_jan_2018-400x386Another sober living tool I’ve been following and learning about is This Naked Mind.  This Naked Mind has helped me realize that many people struggle with alcohol, and we have many options to try to seek understanding on the WHY, so we can make an informed choice on getting help.  I also encourage building a support system of other adoptees in recovery. Consider starting an Adoptees in Recovery® group via Adoptees Connect, Inc.®  I suggest EMDR Therapy because it has been highly recommended for adoptees, trauma work and inner child work is also a great step in healing. If you can find a Adoptee Competent Therapist at Beyond Words Psychological Services, LLC. I highly recommend it. 

268x0wListen to the podcast, Adoptees On. This has been a major healing tool for adoptees all over the world. Haley is a personal friend of mine and her gift of this podcast has changed the lives of so many people. She’s exceptionally gifted on creating a safe space for adoptees to share their adoption experience. In this, the validation that adoptees receive by tuning in is a valuable tool in our healing. Check her out!

I can share from experience, HANDS DOWN – I COULD NOT WORK ON RELINQUISHMENT AND ADOPTION TRAUMA WHILE I WAS DRINKING ALCOHOL. I HAD TO STOP DRINKING COLD TURKEY TO DO THIS WORK! I became suicidal mixing the two, so if you are TRULY wanting to work on your adoptee problems, trauma, and issues I suggest getting sober FIRST. After-all, that’s a huge part of the reason many of us drink and use substances to begin with. If you haven’t made that connection yet, here is a helpful video for you. Paul Sunderland – Adoption & Addiction.

We all deserve to know the truth that there are more ways than the one way that might be presented to us as contemplate entering into a recovery journey. Your “thing”  might be drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, sex, divorce, anger, rage, self esteem, abandonment, rejection, C-PTSD, and the list could go on. Alcohol was the substance I used to run from processing abandonment, rejection, grief, loss and trauma regarding my adoption journey. Keep searching for what works for you and please know that this world is now full of possibilities  to living a life of happiness and wholeness beyond the confinement of any programs, rules and regulations of others telling you how it needs to be done.

Do not settle for one way. 

Your way isn’t anyone else’s way! 

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!

Sending Love & Light,

Pamela Karanova

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Finally, Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30, 2020

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You can find the original posting of this article at Adoptees Connect, Inc by clicking here.

What is Adoptee Remembrance Day? 

Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30, 2020 serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of crimes against adoptees by adoptive parents, an action that current media does not recognize. It also allows us to publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who we have lost who might otherwise be forgotten. It raises awareness about adoptee suicide, shining a light on a difficult topic. Through these actions, we express love and respect for the adoptee community. Adoptee Remembrance Day reminds others that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends, and lovers. Adoptee Remembrance Day gives our allies a chance to step forward with us, memorializing those who have died too soon, and it also recognizing the loss all adopted people experience, before they’re actually adopted.

While this topic remains sensitive in nature, adoptees who are murdered by their adoptive parents is increasing around the world. It is a time to honor their legacy by setting aside a day just for them. While those who have passed away before us, are no longer able to speak and share their stories or voices, there are many adoptees today who are paving the way for the voiceless to become strong enough to share their voices and stories. We are the voice of the voiceless.

We also recognize that there are international adoptees who are living without citizenship and/or have been deported due to mistakes by adoptive parents, adoption agencies, attorneys, and ultimately, the U.S. adoption system. Some international adoptees must survive abuse and neglect, including in regards to their citizenship, from their adoptive parents. We honor the adoptees who did not survive or are struggling to survive their deportations to countries they left as children where they have no support network and limited access to support services, including mental health care, clothing, food and shelter. Lack of citizenship is a tragic and often unacknowledged issue facing the adoptee community. Please visit Adoptees for Justice to learn more.

Adoptee Remembrance Day is starting in 2020 by Adoptees Connect founder, Pamela Karanova.

“Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day to recognize all of our brothers & sisters who are adopted, that didn’t survive adoption. It’s also a day that signifies an acknowledgement of loss for adoptees because before we’re ever adopted we experience the biggest loss of our lives that’s continuously ignored by our world today. Over the years, the adoptee community has had multiple conversations on creating a day set aside for adoptees, but we’re ready to bring this to life as a way to raise awareness and honor those adoptees who are no longer with us. It’s important that we don’t forget them and after all we’ve lost, adoptees deserve a day just for them.” – Pamela Karanova

This is what Adoptee Remembrance Day is all about.

You might be an adoptee, an adoptive parent, a biological parent, a friend, or a sibling of an adoptee? Whatever side of the constellation you are on, you are invited to participate in Adoptee Remembrance Day.

Let us also include this day is for the families and friends who have lost a loved one to adoption. Maybe you have been searching for them, but you cannot find them? Maybe you had an open adoption and it was suddenly closed? Maybe you are a birth parent who lost a child to adoption. We see you. This day is for you too.

We’re working our hardest at sharing our resources with others so we have more groups available all over the world. Adoptees Connect groups are changing the narrative of the adoptee experience from that of isolation and loneliness to one of community and validation. Adopted people are, in fact, four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees: Risk of Suicide Attempt in Adopted and Nonadopted Offspring Adoptees are over represented in prisons, jails, treatment facilities and mental health facilities. Adoptee Remembrance Day is for them. We haven’t forgotten about them. 

I shared an article many years ago titled, “Love is not all we need”, yet society as a whole continues to fall short at giving adoptees what they need. While adoptee advocacy and adoptee voices are raising up and sharing the truth in how adoption has made them feel, many people are still not listening. While we create a space dedicating October 30th to this much needed topic, we hope it will ignite conversations of awareness of the adoptee experience by those who have lived it, the adoptees. 

Remembering the voiceless and honoring those we’ve lost way too soon. 

Since the beginning of time, adoptees have never had a space to go to share their hearts, and conversations about the adoptee experience and these experiences have rarely been welcomed by society at large. Things are changing for the better and our hope is, as we highlight this very important day we will continue to bring light to the other side of adoption that almost always goes unrecognized by our world today. 

Things are changing but what about all that’s been lost in the meantime? 

What about the adoptees that didn’t make it? What about all the memories lost, never to be found? What about the adoptees that haven’t found a community of their own? What about those who haven’t made it to the other side of healing? What if healing isn’t possible? What if you lost an adoptee? You might be an adoptive parent, a biological parent, a friend or a sibling of an adoptee? 

While our aim is to lift up the legacy of those who are no longer with us, we’re also wanting to share the truth of how adoption has impacted each of us. We’re opening October 30th up to be our day of truth,  transparency and remembrance for adoptees all over the world. We’re also remembering the heartbreaking loss that all adoptees experience, which deserves to be acknowledged.

Let’s also include this day is for the families and friends who have lost a loved one to adoption. Maybe you’ve been searching for them, but you can’t find them? Maybe you had an open adoption and it was suddenly closed? Maybe your a birth parent who lost a child to adoption? This day is for adoptive parents, friends, family and loved ones who acknowledge an adoptees loss, before they gain. We see you. This day is for you too.

All adoptions begin with extremely complex multi layered loss FIRST.   

Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day where each person has a chance to share their hearts on this very difficult and sensitive topic. We hope you will consider joining us to honor and remember those who we love and  lost who didn’t survive adoption, as well as acknowledging the loss each adoptee experiences. 

Things you can do to for Adoptee Remembrance Day

Wear YELLOW – We’re dedicating the color YELLOW to this day as a way to honor those adoptees we’ve lost. Please consider wearing yellow to honor them. Spark conversationsimg_2132 why you are wearing yellow in your workplace, home and among friends & family. 

Use Hashtags – We’re using hashtag #adopteesconnect  #adopteeremembranceday and #adopteesweremember so please share all photos, articles, poems, online using this hashtag so we can share with our community. 

Read Adoptee Books – Read adoptee centric books, The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools, Parallel Universes: The Story of Rebirth, You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are: An Adoptee’s Journey Through The American Adoption Experience You can find a comprehensive list of adoptee centric books at Adoptee Reading. Share which book you are reading on October 30th. 

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A Moment of Silence – Pause for 4 minutes of silence to reflect, honor and remember our fellow adoptees who didn’t survive adoption at 12:00PM EST on October 30th.(Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted individuals)  

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Keep Memories Alive – Keep memories alive & e-mail a paragraph, poem, art or short story with a photo and tribute about the special adoptee you know that didn’t survive adoption, or an adoptee who’s incarcerated. Paint a memory rock, decorating it with your loved ones name, favorite thing or quote. We will share it on our Facebook October 30th in their honor. Email: adopteeremembranceday@gmail.com 

Wear A Yellow Flower – Wear a yellow flower and spark conversations of what the yellow flower represents in your work, home and with friends & family. 

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Share A Tribute – Email a paragraph with your photo if you’re an adoptee who would like to share a tribute to honor the lost adoptees, and/or all you have lost in adoption.  Email: adopteeremembranceday@gmail.com 

Have A Ceremonial Bonfire- Gather with others who support Adoptee Remembrance Day and at dusk light a bonfire in memory of the lost adoptees, and all that’s lost in adoption. Everyone can receive a piece of paper on which to write the message they would like to share. They can read them together, or keep them private. Then they can take turns placing their messages into the fire. As the notes burn, the rising flames and the sparks spiraling upward will offer the effects of sending the messages to the heavens.

Events – Schedule and dedicate an event on Facebook for a walk, hike,  dinner, lunch, sit in the park for October 30th in your community or with your Adoptees Connect group or others as a way to honor those who didn’t survive adoption and to recognize adoption loss. Do you have a special place or a reminder of someone you lost to adoption? Visit this place and set aside some time to remember your loved one. Be sure to tag our official Adoptee Remembrance Day – Oct 30th  page on Facebook, as well as add us to co-host your events. 

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Order A T-Shirt or Hoodie – Wear our exclusive T-Shirts or Hoodies dedicate to this significant day and take photos and share them with us. Wear them leading up to October 30th so you can be a walking billboard for this day. We’re the only ones that will get the word out about the significance of this day, so use this as an opportunity to spark conversations. You can find these items available at www.adopteemerch.com with 100% of the proceeds going directly towards our Adoptees Connect Scholarship Fund. This fund helps adoptees receive a scholarship to be able to receive the materials they need to plant an Adoptees Connect group in their area. We have a growing list of individuals who need scholarships and sponsors. The more groups we plant, the more adoptees will have a safe space to share their journeys.  Learn more: Sponsor Program.  If we see a need for youth & kid sizes, let us know! We will consider adding them to our website. If you can get the whole family involved, that will raise more awareness. 

Tribute Donations – Make a tribute donation or start a fundraiser to Adoptees Connect, Inc. to honor the memory of a loved one who didn’t survive adoption. The more groups we plant, the less isolation and loneliness adoptees will feel which are directly impacting adoptees all over the world. 

Make A Meme – Make a viral memorial meme in honor of any adoptees that didn’t survive adoption. Share it on October 30th in their memory. 

Write a Song – Write and record a song dedicated to the remembrance of the adoptees that didn’t survive adoption and the adoptee loss experience. 

Write an Article – Consider writing an article about adoptees who didn’t survive adoption or those who died at the hands of their adopters. How has this impacted you and the world of adoption?  Share the link with us, we will share it on our Facebook page on October 30th.

 Candle-lite Remembrance – Shine a light or a candle at 9:00PM EST on October 30th which we feel would be a powerful way to remember adoptees who didn’t surviveimg_2131 adoption and to recognize adoption begins with loss. When multiple people are involved in the lighting it can be a powerful recognition but being alone works just as well. 

Living Reminders – Create a living reminder like planting a flower, a tree or an entire garden in memory of adoptees who didn’t survive adoption and acknowledging loss in adoption. Pick up some yellow flowers from the store. 

Memorial Video – Create a memorial video dedicated to all of our lost brothers and sisters in adoption sharing your voice advocating for change in adoption policies and practices today. Tag us so we can share. 

Blow Bubbles – Instead of release balloons, blow bubbles. One person blowing bubbles is fun, but get a group together all blowing bubbles, and you can create a magical experience. For even more impact, add a few giant bubble wands to the mix.

Float flowers – Choose locally-grown flowers rather than imported ones. Friends & Family can drop the flowers into the water from the shore or from a boat in memory and remembrance of adoptee loss & suicide. Add an extra layer of meaning by writing notes to our loved ones, on quick- dissolve paper (such as rice paper) and releasing the notes into the water along with the flowers. They’ll float along for a bit before harmlessly dissolving. To be truly eco-friendly, you should use fully biodegradable ink, such as an ink made from algae, to write the messages.

Write in the Sand – Take a stick and write in the wet sand on the shore of a lake, river or ocean. This can be a prat of a larger remembrance service, or private. Anyone that attends can write their words of love to the departed and all that’s lost in adoption. The waves will wash them away, symbolically sending the message along.

Be Creative – Start a new tradition on October 30th for Adoptee Remembrance Day. Express how you have been advocating for change in adoption by sharing your voice on how adoption has impacted you. Share why this day is important to you. Encourage friends, family and loved ones to do the same. 

Alone Time – Have a moment of alone time which can signify for you a special moment of recognizing adoptee loss. img_2133

Family Friendly – Make it a family affair. Explain the importance of recognizing this day and honor it and remember it with your family. 

Spread the Word – Invite as many people as possible to follow our Facebook page and share our events inviting everyone you know. The more people that learn about this day, the more will begin to recognize the many layers of adoption that are unrecognized by society as a whole.

RSVP to our Facebook event if you plan on participating to Adoptee Remembrance Day. Don’t forget to invite your friends & family. 

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Please don’t release balloons into the environment. Click here to learn why this is terrible for our environment. We have plenty of eco-friendly options listed here. Please choose them over polluting the environment.  

There’s no rule that says you can only remember or memorialize someone or something in one way. Feel free to use multiple suggestions above as you see fit or create something new. 

A few things to remember: 

  • You don’t have to be adopted to recognize Adoptee Remembrance Day. We recognize that many people are impacted by adoption each year. We encourage you to get involved no matter which part of the adoption constellation you might or might not be a part of. Your support means everything to the adoptee community. 
  • We have a main Facebook page for this day, but we are not setting up Instagram or Twitter for this purpose. Our main Adoptee Remembrance Day page will be sharing all posts we are tagged in, so make sure to tag us on October 30th. We will also share as many posts that use hashtags #adopteeremembranceday and #adopteesweremember as well as share as many as possible on our Adoptees Connect, Inc. Instagram & Twitter. 
  • We will need some volunteers to help with our social media, emails, and correspondence about the Adoptee Remembrance Day. If you have some free time and are interested, please email us: adopteerememberanceday@gmail.com 
  • Please be patient with correspondence as we’re 100% volunteer ran and most of us have full time jobs. 
  • Please direct all correspondence regarding Adoptee Remembrance Day to email: adopteerememberanceday@gmail.com and NOT our Adoptees Connect, Inc. email. Separating the two causes will be critical to the productivity of Oct 30th. 

Thank you for your support and understanding in these matters. If you have any more ideas we can add to our list of things we can do on October 30th for Adoptee Remembrance Day, feel free to email them to us. We will take them into consideration and possibly add them to our list.

Adoptee Remembrance Day serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of  crimes against adoptees by adoptive parents, an action that current media doesn’t recognize. It also allows us to publicly mourn and honor the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through these actions, we express love and respect for the adoptee community. Adoptee Remembrance day reminds others that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Adoptee Remembrance day gives our allies a chance to step forward with us, memorializing those who’ve died too soon, and it also recognizing the loss all adopted people experience, before they’re actually adopted.

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Adoptees Connect, Inc.   

I’m Adopted: You Can’t Fix Me or Take My Pain Away. Please Stop Trying.

Is Anyone Even Listening?

Ouch, this might have come off as abrasive right off the title. Hopefully so because my aim is to grasp the attention of anyone in the adoption arena in hopes to help someone who might not understand that you can’t fix adoptees and you can’t take our pain away. We need to embrace it and learn it’s here to stay. The sooner I acknowledged it, stopped running from it or trying to mask it with substances, the sooner healing started to happen.

National Adoption Awareness Month to me means I need to add my voice somewhere to the adoption arena because I’m adopted, and I know how it feels. Over the last 10 years of my activism in sharing how it feels to be adopted, I keep hearing the majority of adoptive parents say things like, “I just want to take away my adopted daughters pain” or “I don’t want my adopted son to feel like he was abandoned”.

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Photo by Casey Anderson on Unsplash.

I moderate multiple platforms online where this is a common theme and every time I hear it, I cringe. I think to myself, “They can’t possibly understand what damage they are doing by this mindset!”

Because if we know better, we do better and once you know, you can’t un-know. 

I decided that time is the most important thing we have, so I didn’t want to waste another minute not putting this information out here.

When a child or baby is adopted or separated from their biological mother for ANY REASON, no matter when it happens in life, it causes a trauma for this child. That trauma has to be acknowledged, but it also has to be exposed and brought to light so the person who has experienced this trauma has a chance to heal. As a baby, born and relinquished by my birth mother, my trauma happened at a preverbal state so growing up I never had the words to tap into this trauma. I didn’t have the language or memories talk to anyone about it. While this trauma has been stored my entire life in my subconscious memory, the fact that it’s never been addressed or acknowledged growing up has led me to a lifetime of addictions and unhealthy behavior habits.

I think if my adoptive parents understood this, they would have been able to help me. In 1974 they were told to not talk about it and move on. Sweep the truth under the rug and press on with the “better life” theory and act as if this real trauma never existed. Once this trauma occurs, it can never be undone. Healing is possible, but in order to heal it we must feel it and the earlier we start to do this, the sooner we start to heal.

Adoptees deserve to heal. 

I think as parents, we naturally want to take our children’s pain away, adopted or not. I’m a mom, I successfully have raised 3 kids to adult hood as a single parent and I have said many times, “I wish I could take your pain away” when they experience painful things in life. In acknowledging my own pain, I have been able to learn to acknowledge their pain.

There is a big difference in saying this but not reserving space for the pain to be processed vs saying this but also allowing space for the pain to be processed.

We can’t heal our wounds by saying they aren’t there.

While I believe many people have good intentions, we naturally don’t like to see people hurting, especially children. We want to help them, but the biggest mistake that can be made for an adoptee is when people try to fix us, or attempt to take our pain away by trying to make us “FEEL BETTER” without ever actually acknowledging that pain (trauma) to begin with. This is really life or death for adoptees everywhere. Of course, it’s life or death for anyone that’s been separated from their birth mothers, but I speak from an adoptees perspective so that’s the lens I’m sharing from.

The biggest deception in adoption today is that LOVE will somehow take the pain away, or that love will be enough. Well I’m here to share from my perspective and experience that love isn’t enough, and it will never be enough. The feeling of pain was far greater in my life than being able to FEEL LOVE.  Let’s be honest, there has never been a safe space for me (or most adoptees) to share them until Adoptees Connect, Inc. Because my trauma and pain was so BIG and LOVE was presented to me as abandonment, LOVE is something that confuses me to this day.  Love leaves, love is loss and love is abandonment. “My birth mother loved me so much, she gave me away” is my view of love.  Because of this, LOVE has always been a foreign concept to me when it comes to other people loving me.

Having children of my own, I finally know what it’s like to love others, but I still struggle to this day believing or FEELING like anyone loves me. I know it’s rooted in my adoption experience because I’ve spent the last 7 years in recovery working on myself. I’ve been able to identify the root issue being abandonment & rejection from both birth parents, compiled with C-PTSD, grief, loss and trauma.

Throughout my entire life I longed for my birth mother. The sadness that followed is something I can’t even put into words, but it stuck with me my entire life. I drank alcohol for 27 years to COPE with this experience because I couldn’t handle processing this pain, but alcohol temporarily took the pain away. No amount of love, material possessions, people, places or things could make up for my trauma and loss of my birth mother at the beginning of life.

My birth mothers shortcomings didn’t matter to me 

ALL I EVER WANTED WAS HER. 

Instead of anyone trying to fix me, or take my pain away what I needed was my adoptive parents to open the conversations to allow me to process this pain at age appropriate times  I needed them to know AHEAD OF TIME before they ever adopted me that the pain I would experience from relinquishment trauma will be with me for the rest of my life and it will negatively impact me in many ways. I needed them to research relinquishment trauma, pre and post-natal bonding between mother and child and what happens when that natural process is broken, and the bond is severed. I needed them to know their love wouldn’t be enough to fix me or to heal my broken heart. I needed them to know that no matter what they did and how they did it that it wouldn’t take my pain away. I needed them to know about the emotional and psychological issues I would suffer for my entire lifetime because of this trauma, many years beyond being a cute baby and a cuddly toddler. The sooner the reality and truth is brought to light, the better!

Avoidance will only work for so long, and then our emotions start to come out in unhealthy ways. I would much rather sit with my child and HELP them PROCESS the pain by allowing them to feel feelings than watch them self-destruct because they aren’t able to articulate the words about why they are feeling the way they are. We need our parents help to find the right words, and the space to be able to share freely how we are feeling about our adoption experiences. It’s impossible to tap into this when society silences adoptees unless they have a thankful and grateful narrative to spin.

WE HAVE TO STOP BEING SCARED TO SIT WITH SOMEONE IN THEIR PAIN.

WE HAVE TO STOP TRYING TO RUN FROM PROCESSING PAIN. 

WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WE CAN’T PUT A TIME FRAME ON HEALING.

Pain is a natural response to different experiences that happen to us. I say all the time that the way adoptees feel is normal. What’s not normal is being separated from our biological families at the beginning of life. I say this to validate every single experience and feeling of every adoptee who might come across my words. I want them to know they aren’t alone, and they aren’t crazy!

I grew up, and here I am. I survived and I’m surviving daily. I’m in recovery from relinquishment trauma, compacted by adoption trauma. All I have really ever needed was my adoptive parents and those who aren’t adopted to acknowledge my pain, and in acknowledging that pain, sit with me and listen to me share pieces of my story.  They need to understand that there is much more to adoption than what society shares. It’s not all cute and lovely. It’s not all happy and positive. All adoptions are rooted and grounded in the biggest loss of a persons life, and until that’s acknowledged adoptees will continue to be stuck like I was for so many years.

45 Years of my life I can never get back…

I knew someone awhile back who wanted to fix me and was constantly trying to make me feel better. I had to tell them to please stop it because there is nothing anyone can do to change my reality. I certainly don’t need anyone else to try to re-frame my reality for me as an attempt to make me “feel better”. What is so hard about acknowledging someone else’s pain, and just listening to them and sit with them in the pain?

I’m a realist who’s focused on the truth. I didn’t fight for 45 years to get my truth, to turn around and pretend it’s not my reality. I experienced that in the religious settings of my x-church which is known as “spiritual bypassing”. This is when someone uses spiritual practices to avoid dealing with reality. I’ve broken free from that, and I will never live a lie again. So, when I cling to my truth, I don’t appreciate anyone trying to come into my space and change it after I’ve fought my entire life to receive it and I’ve spent many years working towards healing from it.

As a child I never could acknowledge my painful truth because my adoptive parents were busy pretending, I was a blank slate, and they were my only parents. Reality, I had a broken past and history before I ever came to them but them denying it, and pretending like it didn’t exist wrecked me, and it still impacts me to this day. How do you think it feels to be a part of 2 families, but never being able to feel like you fully belong to either? Like an outsider always looking in. It’s extremely difficult to navigate so I’ve made the choice to opt out for my own sanity, mental health and recovery.

I share no DNA with my adoptive family, and I have no shared history with my biological family. I’m learning to adapt by accepting I will never truly be a part of either family, so I’ve moved far away across the country from everyone to try to recovery from this experience the best I can.  I now have 3 adult children who are my family. Although, I’m 7 years into my sobriety and recovery journey and I consider myself an adoptee who’s worked through a lot of these issues, not one day goes by where being adopted doesn’t impact me in some way.

I’m thankful for my kids because without them I wouldn’t be here. 

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Damia, Keila, Damond – Twins 21st Birthday Celebration

It’s us against the world. 

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all. 

I’ve accepted that I will be in recovery for the rest of my life due to my adoption experience. Thankfully I’ve been an adoptee whose found my adoptee tribe that meets in real life and they get me. They understand and they will sit with me in my pain. They don’t put a time frame on it, they don’t try to silence me, and they understand the adoptee journey.  This has been very validating, but I can’t help but wonder who’s narrative might change if other’s hear this side of the story?

Will adoptive parents stop trying to avoid dealing with the truth after reading this? Will non adoptees in society try to listen more and talk less, with compassion and understanding? Will they listen to what I have shared here? Will they try to learn more, and stop trying to bypass the process of dealing with the truth of adoptees all over the world?  I can’t help but hope that if my adoptive parents had this information back in the day, they would do whatever they could to learn to understand the adoptee experience and having the willingness to listen and learn.

Is anyone even listening? 

If you are, this is for you. 

Please know you can’t fix me. 

You can’t fix any adoptees. 

You can’t take our pain away either. 

Please stop trying. 

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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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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