Adoptee in Recovery – When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal 

1f6ae293-fe8e-4e1f-903b-0e9d69324cafTo my friends, David Bohl and GRH –   Thank you for giving me the courage to write about this! 

As I continue on my recovery and healing journey, so many things are coming to the light about different areas I’ve navigated over the years. One of those areas is the topic of forgiveness. This is going to be lengthy, so get a cup of coffee and be prepared. 

The world says “If you let go, by forgiving others you don’t have to hold onto resentment and anger” It’s said that forgiveness is necessary for personal growth. I can see this might be true in some circumstances and for minor hurts, but my thoughts shared here are relating to forgiveness towards traumatic events and situations because of someone else’s harmful actions. 

What is considered traumatic? That’s for each person to decide. What’s traumatic to me, might not be traumatic to you. My role in sharing this information is to shine a light about a topic that’s significantly complex, with many layers from the perspective of an adult adoptee in recovery. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what forgiveness is, or isn’t and this is usually in alignment with the experiences that person has gained over their lifetime. 

I’ve heard about forgiveness over the years, but I was never in a position to apply it to my life, nor did I see a need for it when I was young. It wasn’t a topic of conversation but I also wasn’t on a healing journey as a child either. In 2012 I started my healing journey and things changed. This sparked a significant experience with forgiveness as I got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and I started working the 12 Steps. Not long after I learned of Celebrate Recovery, and forgiveness was talked about even more but it was in a religious setting because Celebrate Recovery is a ministry. 

Although I have an appreciation for both of these programs and the concept of forgiveness, I’m now an outsider looking in because I no longer attend either of these programs and I’ve been reflecting on my experiences with both. 

Let me back things up to give you a little history. 

When I was 15 years old, I was lost, alone, broken, rage filled and I had no hope in life. Not only was I experiencing abuse in my adoptive home, but my fantasy of my birth mother coming back to get me was shattered, and reality was beginning to set in. 

SHE WAS NEVER COMING BACK. 

SHE was constantly on my mind, but where was she? Who was she? I acted out in every way possible and began using substances daily at 12 years old.  My struggles were 100% adoption related, but adoption was never talked about and never mentioned so I turned to substances, because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to feel. Most days I wanted to die, but somehow I found myself committed to drug and alcohol rehab in a locked facility at 15 years old. 

I will never forget being locked in an all white room, and a nurse came in and handed me the big book. I had no clue what the big book was, but for those who don’t know it’s the story of Bill W. who’s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he shares how to recover from alcoholism. It’s focused on the 12 Steps and 8 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

I asked myself, “did I hit rock bottom at 15 years old?” I hadn’t even begun to live my life yet. I had barely made it out of Jr. High, and I found myself locked in rehab, with a big book in my hand. I will never forget reading the first few pages, and the first few chapters. So let me get this straight, finding GOD was the cure all to this recovery thing? The only way I was going to graduate this drug and alcohol treatment program, and get out was finding GOD? And working these 12 steps. Today, I ask myself, ‘what were my other options?”  

I had none. 

So this huge gigantic responsibility was placed on me, TO FIGURE IT OUT. The entire treatment program and my recovery depended on it because the effectiveness of the entire AA program will depend on this decision to “turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood Him.”  

Let’s break that down a little more, “AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM.” I had no clue what this even meant, but I was either going with the punches, working these 12 steps or never graduate this program. Let me be honest. I didn’t care about any of it, because I just wanted to go drink and use again. I had no choice in this and I was forced to play along. I asked a few of the inmates (it was like jail so that’s what I will call them) what god they turned their wills and life over to in hopes to gain a better understanding. They expressed the God that created the earth, the bible was the word, and that was the only way this thing was going to work. 

I remember having experiences with that same God when I was growing up. My adoptive mom had us read devotionals, we went to church, performed in church plays, and she made us say prayers before meals. 

But now, my entire life depended on turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him. What did this even mean? To be honest, I didn’t understand him but I did what I had to do to get out. I finally worked all the 12 steps, and after about 8 weeks I graduated the program. During my time in this locked treatment facility, I never once worked on or talked about any of my root adoptee related issues, like relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, abandonment, the primal wound, etc. I got out, went and got high and drunk again as soon as I was free. 

I did NOT want to feel adoption, and at all costs and I didn’t.

 Of course, if the tools were present and I had help, I’m sure I would have been able to process but that’s not how things worked for me. I had no tools, no one opening up conversations about my adoptee reality,  it was a taboo topic. The less we talked about it, the better for everyone else. I felt truly alone in the world, but it wasn’t a happy alone. It was a deep, dark sad alone. I spent the next 27 years drinking alcohol, and using as many drugs as I could get my hands on as a way to numb my reality.  So many times in my life, I just wanted to die because my adoptee pain has been that great. Reality, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore and I had no tools to work on my issues. In my mind, the only way to get rid of it is to go to sleep and never wake up again. Two times as a teenager I was unseccessful at trying to commit suicide, taking a hand full of pills each time, only waking up later regretful that the pills didn’t work. My adoptive parents never knew, and they still don’t. I just wanted out.  The next 27 years was a roller coaster of a ride. 

As 2012 hit, so did my next attempt at recovery and the 12 steps once again smacked me straight in my face. Here we go again. What other options were presented to me or available? 

None.

Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.

NONE. 

The only way to get healing is turning my life and will over to God, and making sure I forgive all those who have harmed me, even if they aren’t sorry, and even if I hadn’t even worked on the issues at all. I also had to forgive God, and forgive myself, which was the hardest part.  As I set out on my recovery journey, I learned the rules to forgiveness in the religious realm are, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14

I remember my time heavily in the church, surrounding myself with Christian’s and church people the advice and information I was getting was solely from them and I also researched forgiveness. As they shared, and the bible shared, I knew that forgiveness was such an important part of healing, and the 12 steps so I worked on figuring out the true meaning of forgiveness and what it meant to me. I knew it was something for me, not the other person. The more I learned, I applied this to my life, but I also shared it with others on many occasions, especially during the 4 years I served in leadership for the women’s chemical dependency group in Celebrate Recovery. I remember internally struggling with the fact that I had forgiven someone like I was told to do by the 12 steps, but I still had major issues with the situation or the person I had forgiven. This only made me feel more defective than I already felt. It made me feel worse, because I must not be doing something right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head, combined with my heart torn into shreds. It was a horrible life for many of my years on earth. 

I learned that in order for us to be forgiven by God, we had to forgive others who had harmed us. It’s said this “deal” could potentially send us to hell, and it would always keep us in bondage if we didn’t make the choice to forgive others, God and ourselves. I learned that once we make the choice to forgive others for them harming us and when we forgive ourselves, we then had to consciously decide to never bring it up again, and never discuss it or tell others about it, otherwise it wasn’t true forgiveness. Even when we thought about it again, we weren’t to speak about it, at all. 

In my mind, this is more like coerced and mandatory forgiveness, (forged) but not true from the heart and it’s also ABUSIVE.  Writing this today, I’ve come to the realization of how I personally feel this can be extremely damaging and even fatal for some people. I know in the AA Big Book, it says to find “God as I understood Him” and the forgiveness rules are possibly a little different than in the religious settings. But both of these ideas of forgiveness ignited the fact that I had to forgive others in order to make it out alive and complete these 12 steps. And what about there truly being no other choice towards healing, aside from working these 12 steps? 

Why wasn’t I given anymore options? 

Let me make this clear, I wholeheartedly believe that the 12 steps in AA and Celebrate Recovery have worked wonders and saved the lives of many individuals, and for that I’m very thankful. However, this topic is a critical thing, and it’s important it’s shared, especially with Adoptees in general, but specifically my fellow Adoptees in Recovery. 

I’m not addressing forgiveness for minor or petty offenses. I’m not talking about when someone TRULY makes a mistake, and they are sorry they did something and us forgiving them and giving second chances.  I’m not talking about those that don’t intentionally hurt us. We can easily say, “That person didn’t know what they were doing” but many times forgiveness is extended to people who knew what they were doing. Improper forgiveness can keep us in bondage, and it can set the forgiver up to be victimized again, and again, and again with the offender never being truly sorry or remorseful. This is ABUSIVE. THIS IS BONDAGE. 

Do you ever feel like forgiveness defends the abusers? I do. Do you ever feel like forgiveness feels like giving our abusers a free pass? I do. When someone has root issues that are trauma based, the whole idea of forgiveness can be very damaging, and oftentimes deadly. I can share this, because this is how forgiveness has impacted me, when it’s been presented in a way it has throughout my lifetime. Forced upon me by scriptures backing it up, and through programs I had to complete to LIVE, it’s clearly had me backed in a corner with nowhere to turn. It manipulated me to the core of my being. 

Until Now…

I realize that there are more resources today than there were when I was 15 years old, and even when I started my recovery journey in 2012. Today I’m thinking for myself, and I’m not being backed into a corner with no options.  I realize that I possibly didn’t have all the tools for recovery in my recovery tool box and there are more possibilities today than there was before. The more I learn about forgiveness, and all the different dynamics of it, the more I’m informed if it works for me or if it doesn’t work for me. 

I resent the fact that from the biblical concept of forgiveness and the world’s standards, I’ve felt 100% manipulated and duped into forgiving others, God and myself. What I wonder is, if I’m supposed to forgive all those who hurt me, myself and God and if I don’t God won’t forgive me, but he sends so many people to hell, so where is his forgiveness for others? Isn’t this quite the double standard and mental mind manipulation?  It’s lead me to question God all together, and rethink my entire approach on what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’m going to save that for another article, but it’s coming. 

I don’t know about you, but the idea that a person that has been victimized has a responsibility placed on them to forgive their perpetrator/s is pretty disgusting and a topic I’ve found to be very disheartening. Anyone who is pushing forgiveness onto others is doing it for their own gain, and their own agenda, not yours. A lot of the wounds people care are inner child wounds, and being forced or coerced to forgive others is extremely toxic and damaging!

For me, where I am today, what if I personally don’t believe in forgiveness based on my experience with it, but I believe in holding people accountable for their shitty actions? What if I make the choice if I want to allow them in my life or not without being manipulated into forgiving them? What if MY WAY isn’t the WORLDS WAY but who gives a shit, because it’s what works for me? Would you believe me if I told you that I’m at peace with things, but I haven’t forgiven anyone by the world’s standards? That doesn’t mean I still don’t have traumatic memories, or have trauma work to do.  What if I take forgiveness and everything about it and toss it in the trash? Shouldn’t we want to consciously and organically in our hearts want to give people second chances, be better people or come to peace with things on our own time without an entire belief system manipulating us into doing so? This manipulation with forgiveness has actually hindered me, kept me in bondage, and held me back from true authentic and organic healing. This is life or death for many of us. 

 Forced and Forged Forgiveness can add layers of shame onto victims, for not “getting over something” or for “sharing their trauma.” Once you forgive someone, you’re supposed to get over it, and move on with your life. What if you don’t get over it or move on? “Here you are talking about it again” … Shame comes in after we’ve said to forgive someone,  when you are simply having natural and very legitimate feelings associated with a very real situation for you. This isn’t helping people, only hurting them worse. I’ve had people09be5a42-2952-4e14-810c-0c40893545c9 silence me with scriptures, when I share very real feelings with them. “You’ve already forgiven yourself for that, the devil is only bringing it up again because he wants you to live in condemnation.”  Talk about BONDAGE and MENTAL MIND F&^KS. It’s becoming apparent to me that this belief system can cause great amounts of harm, and even become fatal to some. (I plan on writing about that later) 

Let’s touch on the our society’s “positive culture” that surrounds our lives today. Positive vibes, clearing any and all negative energies from our sacred spaces, and much of the time we’re denying our own feelings, stuffing them down and bypassing processing them just to fit into the mold of the world and the preaching of positive vibes. You see motivational speakers kicking into high drive, and spiritual circles silencing you with scriptures all to keep the positive vibes going.  Have you learned what Spiritual Bypassing is? I suggest you research it, and it’s a real thing. Also research Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your life will never be the same. 

As adoptees, it’s so important we understand that anger, and feelings of grief, loss and sadness are perfectly legitimate feelings, and they come in waves for many of us. Are you leaving room for these feelings within your friends and family and within your circle? If not, please reconsider because it’s life and death. I don’t have time to preach positivity when adoptees are dying! Once we are in a position to process these feelings, in natural ways we then start healing. When positive culture is shoved down our throats, like it is in churches, spiritual settings, and in society as a whole it leaves no room for us to share our pain. Just like forged forgiveness, this can be fatal. We really need to rethink our approach, and stop forcing this culture on everyone. We have to do better. 

Anger can be a very positive thing when used the right way. Anger can be used to fuel change, create visions, and put action behind them. We have to stop silencing people when they share it, and stop trying to dish out feel good juice, and learn to sit with people in their pain. I’m not talking about ANGER that abuses and hurts other people which is HUGE as well. This is when anger is toxic to others and it isn’t productive. We can each set our own boundaries if this type of anger influences our lives, or the lives of others. But before we get to the other side of healing starting, we have to process the anger FIRST. 

If you step out of the box filled with influences from your lifetime, please know It is entirely possible for someone to get to a place of acceptance, and peace about a situation and forgiveness has never been extended. Please know forgiveness culture can be very damaging when it’s forged and forced in anyway.   

What if I have been on a healing journey, and I’ve decided on my own that my goal is to come to peace with things in my life, and for me that process happens by accepting things are the way they are and there is nothing I can do to change them? What if forged forgiveness does more harm than good? What if expecting others to FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED US actually retraumatised us and damages us more than the actual offense itself? What if we’re placing an unrealistic and damaging burden on those who we expect to forgive who are perpetrators and those who hurt us and it only adds to our pain and trauma? 

“Forgiveness is for you, and no one else and it should never be forced on anyone” – Says the world.

Yes, this is true yet the world is set up as the opposite, especially in religious circles. The 12 steps are focused around forgiveness, and for me I was giving FREE PASSES TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSED AND TRAUMATIZED ME. Is anyone manipulating me into “coming to a place of peace?” No, no they aren’t. It’s something I do on my time, through healing (whatever that looks like to me), and trauma therapy, and TONS OF TRAUMA work. Not because GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES SAY SO. 

For me, forged forgiveness (a huge burden and responsibility) to forgive those who have traumatized and hurt me, was actually BONDAGE. Not the other way around. Forged Forgiveness feels like gaslighting to me, and that’s only adding trauma on top of trauma. It’s up to each of us to decide on our own, without any influences if we want to forgive someone or not. It should be from our hearts, not because of manipulation or to complete a program. If forgiveness has worked for you, that’s wonderful but we must understand what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Have you spent as much time sitting with someone, listening to them in their grief and pain like you have encouraged them to forgive their perpetrator/s? 

Today, I’ve decided I’m withdrawing my forgiveness claims, and reevaluating each and every situation on my own terms, in my own time. Right now, I have a clean slate and I have forgiven no one. From this day forward, as situations arise and thoughts come to my mind, I will process them organically either alone or with someone I trust and I will REMOVE any forged and forced idea of forgiveness from my mind. This is freedom to me. 

 If the idea of forgiveness comes naturally, then I will apply it to that situation. If it doesn’t, and I can come to a place of peace, then wonderful. Maybe I’m not at a place of peace yet about certain things, which means I still have trauma work to do. Maybe I will never get to that place, because trauma impacts us all in different ways. It can change our brain wiring, it can change our memory and our mobility. Trauma can change everything and not all trauma just goes away.  Sometimes acceptance that the trauma and it’s symptoms are here to stay is what’s needed to be able to cope. 

No two stories are the same, and we all need and want different things in life. This article is long, and it’s filled with a lot of thoughts. I’m sharing because this is a HUGE topic, and recently having someone tell me “MAYBE YOU SHOULD FORGIVE THEM” even after I shared many traumatic situations with that person, really rubbed me the wrong way. It made me reevaluate forgiveness all together, and made me really think how abusive it can be. It also made me realize how forged forgiveness has impacted my life, and how I’m the only one who can change things for my future. 

After reading ALL THIS, I’m not here to tell you forgiveness isn’t productive and it’s not for you. I’m here to share my truth, as my experiences back it up. I’m here to share there is a damaging side to forgiveness and I hope each person reading is given more tools than what I was given. I hope for each of you, forgiveness is a CHOICE that you choose.

I’m glad I got to share this, and I feel even more free than when I started typing it. I’m thankful I’m at a place of freedom where I can recognize the abuse behind certain areas that are portrayed to be positive things. The healthier we get, the more BS we can recognize. I hope to continue to share what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me. My hope is, it helps someone out there, specifically my fellow adoptees. Please understand, if you can’t bring it in your life to FORGIVE others, for ANY REASON please don’t allow others to place that BURDEN on you. You don’t deserve it, and it’s not yours to carry. You don’t owe anyone, I MEAN IT!

No matter who it is. 

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Love, love. P.K.

P.S. I know some might mean well, but if you feel the need to send me scriptures about forgiveness, please spare yourself the time. I’m not interested.

My Adoptee Community

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 BIO: Pamela resides in Lexington, KY although she was adopted in Waterloo, IA. She has a passion for connecting with adoptees all over the world, sharing her story so they know they aren’t alone and giving a message of hope. She’s a mother of 3 awesome kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She’s a private caregiver and loves working with elderly. She loves nature, writing, the sky and Jesus!

 

 

I remember back in 2011 I was in a desperate place and I had nowhere to turn. My life had seemed to reach an all-time low. For me it’s always been more of an internal struggle with being adopted, one that rarely ever seems to leave my mind. I would describe it like a mental and emotional torment, but it’s an invisible wound and others have no idea it’s there.

Being adopted can bring a spirit of aloneness and unwantedness with it. Most non-adoptees don’t understand and I’ve found some adoptees aren’t even aware of why they always feel unwanted and alone. This journey is a lonely one and for many of us we feel like we were born a burden and living a normal day to day life can be challenging, at best.

I remember in 2010 making the connection with my first adoptee online and the awakening process that followed. For the first time in my life, someone understood me. Someone else was speaking and sharing feelings I had tucked away inside in a deep dark space, never to be revealed to the world around me. Someone else was speaking my language. Although I could feel a deep sense of connection to this adoptee, it was next to impossible for me to verbalize my feelings. Writing seemed much easier for me. No one interrupted me and no one tried to silence me. I’ve found writing about my pain and experiences has been one of the biggest healing tools to date.

In 2010 fear was at the forefront and it navigated all areas of my life. My fear of what others would think who were close to me and hurting them overpowered all areas of my life regarding sharing my feelings on how it felt to be adopted. I was in fear of being labeled “Angry” or “Ungrateful” or better yet, “She just had a bad adoption experience”. You see, adoptees tend to always put others first. Many of us are taught from a very early age that our biggest loss and heartache is our adoptive parents dream come true. We learn early on our adoptive parent’s feelings come before our own, and we learn to be silent about something that matters deeply to many of us, our feelings being adopted.

As I began to explore social media more and more adoptees surfaced out of the woodworks. Connections were being made online. I began to build relationships with adoptees all over the world. I decided to share my real true feelings, but I felt I had to hide behind an alias. That worked for me for 5 years but I learned I wasn’t being true to myself or my fellow adoptees by hiding my real identity. By connecting with my fellow adoptees, I came to a place of empowerment and acceptance that I no longer needed to hide who I really was. I didn’t need to apologize for how I felt. I mattered and my feelings mattered. I didn’t need to continue to put everyone else’s feelings before my own.

In 2015 I came out of the “Anonymous Adoptee Closet”. It was a liberating yet terrifying moment for me. All I knew was that I needed to be true to me, no matter who could see. I had to share my truth but I knew there would be a price to pay. I was willing to pay the price not only for me but my fellow adoptees.

I struggled to navigate this online adoptee personality with my real-life personality. I desired to connect the two but the division between be writing about pain in adoption and the world celebrating adoption was clear. Most people in my real life want no part of it and they certainly wouldn’t celebrate my important moments with me. I found most people who were not adopted not only didn’t understand my cause, but they really wanted nothing to do with it.

I have a deep compassion for others and have the willingness to want to try to learn other’s perspectives and views.  That said; I’ve concluded not all people are like me. A few friends & family members close to me have listened to me, cried with me, and have done their best to try to understand. I’m appreciative of them. They know who they are. My children have had their share of listening to me express my feelings, cry my tears and celebrated milestones with me when they arise. I’m thankful for them. I know they can’t truly understand because they aren’t adopted. I do appreciate them trying. On the other hand, I have had many people try to silence my work, silence my passion and silence my cause simply because they don’t agree with it. Even some family members. Some days I could just cry at the lack of empathy people have in this world today. Again, I had to realize not everyone has compassion and kindness in them nor do they have the willingness to want to learn other experiences, no matter if they agree with them or not. The sooner I came to a place of acceptance of this the easier things became.

I’ve recently come to the acceptance that being adopted is always going to be a lonely journey in real life but I’m so thankful for my adoptee community online. There have been times where I disappear for 6 months at a time and they totally understand why I had to leave, and they are there waiting for me when I return. We all have this understanding for one another. I have received countless amounts of positive encouraging messages from followers of my blog and they all let me know they can relate and they no longer feel alone. I finally feel like my pain isn’t going in vein but being adopted is still a lonely journey.

I’ve found a safe space within myself that allows me to share my heart so that others may receive it. Each blog post I share I take the chance of offending someone, or someone rejecting me and this is a real fear many adoptees face daily. I’m willing to take that chance, not only for me but for my fellow adoptees. Especially the adoptees that feel alone and are hurting. My hope is that my sharing my journey can be healing words for others to read. This is healing to me as well.

No matter what we do in life we must be true to ourselves and not apologize for how we feel. Sadly, for many adoptees our feelings of aloneness follow us where ever we go. Many of us will always have those missing pieces, that empty void, that broken heart from losing so much in adoption. I’ve found the sooner I come to a place of acceptance of this life, this pain, this loss the sooner I begin to be able to grasp my reality and the truth of it and move forward with healing.

For many adoptees, they don’t have their truth and without their truth they can’t heal. Keep in mind there is no healing from secrecy, lies and half-truths.

John 8:32

As I grew in my ability to share my real raw feelings regarding being adopted my circle of fellow adoptees grew, and grew and grew. I realized that they were such an important part of my life and my walk that I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. There were times in my life where I was having thoughts of suicide, and they swooped in and became a place of rescue for me. I LOVE YOU ALL! All because they listened, understood and acknowledged my feelings. I understand that to truly understand how it feels to be adopted one must be adopted, but I also understand that adoptees need non-adoptees to have the willingness to listen to us, to want to try to understand and learn from us. WE REALLY NEED THIS FROM NON-ADOPTEES, more listening to learn and less listening to comment.

In April of 2017 I decided to make a trip to Indiana to the Indiana Adoptee Network Conference. This was my first ever adoptee conference and I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was this was my first-time meeting so many far away friends and faces in real life I was ecstatic to have this opportunity.

Between the emotions that came with all the workshops, the time spent talking to each adoptee and the memories that were made this was honestly a chance of a lifetime. It was like a family reunion that I’m never going to get otherwise. To be able to sit and talk, see faces, hug, listen to each other’s journeys and have that connectedness that I’ve never felt elsewhere was awe-inspiring. To be quite honest, I was rather taken back by it all. Not in a bad way, in a healing tears kind of way. I wouldn’t change this experience and being able to connect with my fellow adoptee community in real life for anything.

If you are an adoptee reading this I would love to encourage you to reach out to me and other adoptees online and begin to build your adoptee support community. This is a critical step in your healing journey is to understand you aren’t alone and to make those connections with other’s who understand you. My adoptee community has been my saving grace in good times and bad. We all deserve healing and freedom and sharing our truths no matter how positive or negative it is, is essential to our healing process.

I’ve had to weed out the relationships in my life that are only seasonal and get alone with God and discover who I really am. Adoption is a piece of my pie, but it isn’t all of it. I’ve gotten peace in being alone and I’m working on accepting it as a blessing. Only after I have peace being alone will I have peace being with others.

I would love to extend a special invitation to all reading to consider attending the 2018 Indiana Adoptee Network Conference. The more of us that get together the more community is built. Please visit their website at http://indianaadopteenetwork.org/ to keep up with the planning of this event. My dream is that I get to see you all there IN REAL LIFE! Always remember there’s an army of adoptees out here to support you, encourage you and LIFT YOU UP! You are not alone.

Thanks for reading.

Many blessings and love,

Pamela A. Karanova

www.adopteeinrecovery.com

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

Ask An Adoptee

 

Refresher On The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Page Guidelines & About Section

I have felt the need to share the details of why the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is PUBLIC and why it’s an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting Facebook “Like” page.

Below is what you will find under our “About” section of the page. This area of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page does a pretty good job at explaining things for our followers. After repeated requests to make this a “Private Group” I felt it would be a good idea to focus on a refresher as to why this page is set up the way it is.

PLEASE READ OUR ABOUT SECTION BELOW

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Bringing the truth to light one click at a time. As we grow closer by the click, this is a place for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted.

Please Read Before Posting…

THIS IS A PUBLIC PAGE. THIS MEANS WHATEVER YOU SHARE HERE WILL BE ABLE TO SHOW UP ON YOUR TIMELINE.


FYI: We are aware that this might cause a privacy concern for some but we also feel that the secrets of adoption have been kept a secret for long enough, and it’s not a secret anymore. We want this to stay public to help raise awareness about adoption from an adoptees perspective.

This page is founded for all adoptees that want to express how it feels to be adopted. Your views and opinions matter, and you are not alone. Anyone impacted by adoption can benefit from understanding adoptees better. This page is to help make that happen. We welcome potential adoptive parents, adoptive parents, and biological parents to learn from us because no one can express better than an adoptee, “HOW IT FEELS TO BE ADOPTED”.

Announcement: With some careful consideration we have decided to limit the open dialog of communication here to adoptees, and adoptees ONLY. Everyone is welcome here, and we hope you embrace the experiences share by those who have lived being adopted. Forward, questions from non-adoptees will no longer be posted and comments from non adoptees will be deleted.  We have set up http://www.facebook.com/askanadoptee1 for non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions. Things have gotten a little out of hand lately, and to all the adoptees who have been triggered by this we apologize. We desire to keep this a safe place for all adoptees.

For those who are adoptees AND adoptive parents or biological parents, you are welcome to share here but as we all should keep our sharing focused on our own thoughts and feelings based on our own experiences being an adoptee. We can’t speak for each other. We can only speak for ourselves. We can’t belittle adoptees because we have different views than them. This is a great learning platform for all and the WORLD is allowed to learn from us, this is why the openess of this page is so important. Bringing the darkness to light. Keep in mind we have to respect each others feelings no matter what they are. This change starts now.

FYI: Please keep in mind that not all adoptees journeys are those of a positive outcome. Some are just that. This is considered a “SAFE PLACE” for ALL adoptees regardless of how they view their adoption experience. This page is here to offer support, advice, encouragement for every one of us so please be understanding when adoptees have a different view than you. We are each entitled to our own feelings, and they deserve to be heard, and validated.

If you always felt alone, you are not alone anymore. This is a wide group of amazing adoptees, and others impacted by adoption. We are here if you need us!

Please:
•No personal insults to others.
•Respect each other and moderators
•Strong language and vulgarity are prohibited.
•Please use common sense and courtesy
• Please validate others feelings and allow the negative and positive feelings also to come to the surface, as identifying these issues is the only way we can begin to heal.
• Even if you don’t agree with someones opinion or view, please respect that its theirs to have. We all came from different places, and we have no idea what the other person has been through.

Feel free to inbox if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or concerns. Adoptees, Please feel free to send any questions you would like asked on the page to the inbox for the page. As many as you would like, and they will be kept anonymous. Also, please share your reunion stories with us! We would love to celebrate the discovery if your history with you!

It’s a huge blessing to have each of you here!

Each adoptees unique story has tremendous power to promote identity, relationship, and healing.

Blessings!

Admin: Pamela A. Karanova
Anyone impacted by adoption in some way,especially my fellow adoptees feel free to add me. Please send me an inbox sharing how you are impacted by adoption. Looking forward to connecting with you! ♥

Many people don’t read the about section of the page but we always encourage it.  We have also set up page guidelines for all our followers to read and this is pinned to the top of the page for easy viewing.

THE PAGE GUIDELINES LOOK LIKE THIS

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Page Guidelines

The purpose of this page is to create a space for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted. To ensure that this is a safe space for all adoptees we would like to use the following guidelines:

●Only adoptees are allowed to comment here. No exceptions.

●Adoptees, Please keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings based on your own experiences.

●There is NO piggy backing. This when one adoptee comments in his/her safe space (usually responding to a question asked by the poster) and another adoptee comes and disagrees or disregards their experiences. Most of the time this creates a dialog between the two adoptees. If you disagree with what an adoptee says, that’s your right but please refrain from commenting in another adoptees “Safe Space”.

●Share your feelings regarding the question by clicking “Reply” to the original question asked. Please do not “Reply” on other adoptees responses unless it’s agreeing and understanding them. Why? When you come against them it’s creating an immediate violation of the safe space created for them to share their feelings.

●This kind of communication can be difficult in the best of times, because of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and differences. When this communication takes place it has the potential to be extremely negative, even leading to destructive outcomes. It can also be very triggering for many adoptees.

●There are no right or wrong answers on this page. Each person is free to express his or her feelings without interruptions in the “Safe Place” created just for them. When you reply to the question asked that is considered your safe space.

We are here to support one another, not “fix” another.

●If you are an adoptee and an adoptive parent or an adoptee and a birth parent, we value your dynamic experience. We ask you reserve this safe space to share your adoptee experience ONLY. There are other places you can share your adoptive/birth parent experience.

●It’s okay to agree to disagree. We must respect one another’s views even if we don’t agree with them.

If anyone doesn’t follow these guidelines we will have no choice but to delete any comments made if they are violating their fellow adoptees “Safe Place”.

Thank you for reading our guidelines. Together we want to make this the safest space possible so all adoptees can share how it feels to be adopted. – ♡ Admin.

So here we have it…

Page Guidelines & our “About” section of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page listed here for us all.

Let’s unpack this a little bit.

First things first, this page is not a group. It’s a public “Like” page. It clearly states this in the ABOUT section of the page. The reason this page was originally set up this way is because (as shared in the about section of the page) there is so much secrecy in adoption already I wanted to let the world see our real, raw feelings because our feelings matter, we matter. I get tons of requests to make this a PRIVATE GROUP but it’s impossible to switch a public like page to a private group. Yes, I could make a private group for this page specifically but for me, and the purpose I have in this lifetime I only have a desire to keep things public because I’m tired of being a secret. I’m tired of non-adoptees running our show. I understand fully that some adoptees aren’t able to comment as they wish because they have fears of their adoptive and biological families seeing their truth. I totally understand and I totally get it. I’ve been there. I recommend creating a “Pen Name” (An anonymous name used for writing purposes). I used a pen name for 3 years when I didn’t feel strong enough to share my real true feelings for FEAR of __________ <—- Insert a million reasons here! I get it, I promise I do!

That said, there are thousands of adoptees who DO feel comfortable in sharing their truth on this public “Like” page. By all means I suggest any adoptees who are in need of a private group to start one of  your own or join one of the many that is already out there and available. There are TONS! Here is a link to one that is moderated by a friend of mine and fellow adoptee, Lawrence Proctor. Make sure you answer the question on why you want to join the group or he won’t accept the invitations. Click this link! Adoptees Anonymous? Who Are We?

ADOPTEE ONLY COMMENTING

Why is this page adoptee only commenting? It’s simple. Adoptees are tired of the rest of the world speaking for us, silencing us and not having any safe space to share our feelings.

Let me share a little about how the page was created. On October 20, 2012 I was attending a Celebrate Recovery group meeting in Lexington, KY. I was 60+ days in my sobriety journey and I had no where to turn. AA is a wonderful program but it wasn’t what I was looking for because I needed a safe place where I could share my feelings about being adopted and all the hurt and pain I was running from for 27 years. A friend recommended Celebrate Recovery so beginning October I went and continued on a weekly basis. It took me a few weeks to open up and get familiar with the people in my group. I remember like it was yesterday, I started to share something regarding my biological mother and tears began to flow. I started sharing my pain from losing her and a lady to my left whom happened to be an adoptive mother, interrupted me and said, “YOU DON’T KNOW ADOPTION LIKE I KNOW ADOPTION!!!” and she began to tell me her experience with adoption. I was cut off, I was silenced.

IT WAS CLEAR THAT ALTHOUGH THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE PLACE FOR ME ADOPTION WAS THE EXCEPTION. I left in tears, hopeless and even having thoughts of suicide. I was feeling like if this was a Christian Ministry and I was silenced sitting in a small group that was supposed to be a safe space, but not for me the adoptee I had no where to turn. There was no help for me. I went into a depression, was sad and upset for weeks after this. Eventually, after about 3 weeks I went back and I let them know how that impacted me. I let them know it hurt, and it took me to a really dark place. After this, some changes were made regarding cross talk so other peoples feelings weren’t invalidated like mine were, and I spent the next 4 years working through my adoptee issues via Celebrate Recovery. I went on to get leadership training, small group training and I was the small group leader for Women’s Chemical Dependency for almost 3 years. I shared my adoption journey many times by giving my testimony and I was able to get to the root issues of abandonment and rejection from my adoption experience so I could begin to address my issues, and move towards acceptance and healing. This process was critical to my healing process. I learned the dynamics of creating a safe space for everyone to share and how important it is.

So please know I have taken careful thought and consideration into creating this page and running it with the flow it has. I realize not everyone will like it and not everyone will agree. I am open to suggestions and feedback, but I’m also limited to what I can do regarding my commitment to the page, and my personal life, etc.

For the non-adoptees who might be reading this, don’t you think adoptees deserve a safe space where they can share without you all interrupting us or silencing us? My commitment is 110% to the adoptees, and creating a safe space for THEM to share their feelings. I want them to share whatever level of feelings they feel comfortable with. Have you noticed the other places online where ALL members of the adoption equation are participants how much chaos goes on and how adoptees are silenced by non-adoptees? I refuse to be a part of those pages because they are extremely triggering to me, and I’ve had countless amounts of adoptees say the same thing. I consider it a privileged that non-adoptees are able to sit back and LEARN from us. They can read and reflect and learn.

It’s about time don’t you think?

That said, I have also received over the years a high amount of non-adoptees who want to ask adoptees questions. The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is not set up for this to happen. After many months of requests from non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions I created ASK AN ADOPTEE. This page has been an amazing tool in the adoption community.  It’s not only given non-adoptees a space to ask questions, but it’s given adoptees the space to share their insight regarding the question, based on their experience living adopted. Please visit the “About Section” for details on the flow of the page. Again, this is an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting space for the same reasons How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Is.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?  and ASK AN ADOPTEE are the ONLY FACEBOOK LIKE PAGES (that I’m aware of) that is set up where the moderator (me) only allows adoptee only commenting. This is because ADOPTEES DESERVE THIS SPACE. 

Again, I fully understand the way these pages are conducted it might not work for everyone, but I also know it’s working for thousands of adoptees and non-adoptees who want to learn how we feel without commenting, all across the world.

I hope this sheds some light on all those who are inquiring about why this isn’t a private group and why adoptees are the only ones who can comment.

Thanks for reading,

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova

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