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. 💛

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.