I began searching for my birth family as soon as I found out I was adopted around 5 years old. Everywhere I went, I was searching for HER, my birth mother. As I reached my early 20’s I had already found my birth mother.
But what about HIM?
Where was my birth father…
When I asked my birth mother who my birth father was she said, “He didn’t know anything about you, and he wouldn’t want to!” She refused to give me any information, and that was that. I learned quickly if I wanted her in my life, I better never ask about him again.
Soon after our very first meeting, she shut me out and I never heard from her again. I was heartbroken. I didn’t give up and I still very much wanted to learn who my birth father was. Occasionally I would call her home, to see if she would answer but she never did. Her husband answered on one occasion and we had a brief conversation. What did I have to lose?
I was never giving up in finding my truth.
He expressed knowing who my birth father was, but that he was sorry to tell me he had passed away, and he heard that he had been shot many years ago. I asked him his name, but he said he couldn’t remember. He said there was no reason I needed it because he didn’t exist in this world, he was gone, forever.
This was in 1996 when we didn’t have the internet, social media or DNA testing. Believing my birth father was dead never set well with my spirit. Deep down in my heart, I said to myself, “If he’s dead I still want to know his name, and I still want to see his grave.” I was never giving up on finding him, until I found my truth.
No one would help me.
No one supported me.
I was up against the world and the legal closed adoption system. Born in the state of Iowa, these laws have been sealed since July 4, 1941. That was 79 years ago. This is 79 years of adult adoptees fighting against the grain for their truth. It’s 79 years of living lies. It’s 79 years of secrecy and shame with adoptees plagued by the stigma attached to unplanned pregnancies, paying the price of this life sentence and even when we find our truth, the magnitude of the loss impacts every area’s of our lives.
And we’ll find our truth If we’re lucky that is.
Over 20 years had passed of no contact and I received a Facebook message my birth mother had passed away. I made the choice to go to her funeral, after I was invited by my birth sister. In 2011 I buried the woman I met once, who I dreamed of knowing my entire life. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was introduced as “The daughter she gave up for adoption” and invisible from her obituary as if I didn’t even exist. It was beyond hard.
Being surrounded by her friends & family, I started asking questions. I was able to get confirmation of who my birth father was, who his family was and how he was tied in to my birth mother. I was told he was a friend of the family, and he was about 10 years older than my birth mother. He lived off the land, with his brothers and parents all living in Leon, Iowa close to the Missouri border. I was told he was married at the time of my conception, and he knew nothing about my existence. But the real question was, IS HE STILL ALIVE?
“Yes, yes he’s very much still alive.” said a friend of my birth mother.
So you mean to tell me I was told he had passed away, but that was a lie? That’s very much the way the story goes in my journey. It happens to adoptees all the time! The same trip to Iowa for my birth mother’s funeral was the same trip I drove to Leon, Iowa and showed up at my birth father’s doorstep.
I will never forget November 11, 2011 arriving at his door and seeing his face for the first time in my life. It was a surreal experience. The man I had been told was dead, was very much alive, walking and talking. The internal nagging and turmoil of the unknown had come to an end, and I was looking at his face. Our visit lasted about an hour. He expressed he knew nothing about me, but if he knew about me he would have kept me. He wasn’t accepting of me, and over the last 9+ years I’ve given up hope on us having a relationship.
I now have my truth.
I know my truth.
I have seen my truth for MYSELF.
I had to fight like hell to get it.
I would like to encourage my fellow adoptees to keep searching even when you’ve been told they have passed away. Don’t give up! I encourage you to get DNA testing to make sure the person you’ve been told is your biological family FIRST. And if you’ve been told they have passed, I wouldn’t believe it until you know by DNA that’s your people, and then you are standing over their grave.
I’ve seen countless adoptees be given falsified information by the adoption agencies, time and time again. I’ve seen outlandish stories written in identifying and non-identifying information that’s turned out to be completely false in attempts to throw the adoptee off from finding their people. I’ve seen this same paperwork say the biological father has died in a tragic accident yet they are found very much alive.
I’ve seen it all.
Many adoptions are rooted and grounded in secrecy and lies.
Please don’t believe what you are told. Verify with DNA your father is who they say he is. If you’ve been told he’s passed away, never give up until you are standing over his grave, but ONLY if this is the person who your DNA says your father is. This goes the same for biological mothers but it seems with many of them relinquishing without our fathers consent, it’s usually our fathers we’re told are dead, vs. our mothers.
We know DNA is changing the game for adoptees. If you are still searching, I truly hope you find the answers you are looking for. Everyone on earth deserves to know where they come from. Don’t give up!
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!
I asked my fellow adoptees to chime in and share some of the secrets and lies they have experienced regarding their adoption experiences as a way to bring awareness to the realities of what many adoptees face in adoption.
I also asked them to share how these secrets and lies impacted them.
Here are their responses.
All entries are kept anonymous.
Way too many lies to list here but the biggest ones that have hurt me the most. I always asked my adoptive mom about my birth mother growing up. I don’t think a day passed I didn’t ask about her! In a way to detour me she always said “When we get enough $ for an attorney we will get the sealed records open but right now we don’t have enough $” This went on for 21 years then she decided to “Come Clean” and admit she knew my birth mothers name. Trust forever broken.
My adoption was illegal because my birth father did NOT consent to anything. I was kept a secret from him. His rights were stolen. My adoptive parents and adoption attorney must have not even asked any questions about him because he wasn’t even considered a factor in my adoption.
I was told my birth father was dead! That was a cruel lie. I found him and met him. He knew nothing about me! Fathers have rights too!
I was told my birth father was married when I was conceived this is why adoption was “chosen” for me. That was a lie. He was not married. Truth is WE ALL DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH! ALL THINGS IN DARKNESS WILL COME TO LIGHT. Get right with GOD and COME CLEAN! Adoptees are HURTING because of all the lies. John 8:32.
Here’s the deal. I can handle the truth; it is the secrecy and withholding that is thoroughly egregious.
People can say anything to me; but If it’s a lie… (as a closed adoption adoptees), I can detect bullshit to the ‘enth’ parts per million.
Yes, I was lied too. We all were in some way that is what adoption is/was predicated upon in the first place. It has fundamentally always been assumed that we couldn’t handle the truth.
While I always knew I was adopted, my adopted mom had told me that my birth mother and father couldn’t afford to keep me and didn’t want to have kids. Once I found my birth family last year, I discovered the truth. My birth mother wasn’t given a choice. Her parents sent her to a home for unwed mothers to have me. Since finding out the truth, I’ve dealt with a lot of anger towards my adopted mom for keeping all this from me. She had to have known at least some of this info. Truth is I believe she was scared and afraid of losing me and that’s why she hid information from me. What all that has done to me is it made me very guarded with other people and it takes a long time for me to trust others. Feelings of abandonment and loneliness have been a struggle.
The adoption agency lied to me and my adoptive parents. The adoption agency told us that my birth mother never went to try and get me back, I did not have any other biological siblings that were also adopted, my birth mother never tried contacting me over the years. We found out all those things to be false. A week after I was born my birth mother went back for me, I have a younger biological brother that was also adopted through the same agency, and my birth mother went back three times over 25 years to try and get information about me. Even when I was reunited with my birth mother and learned all these facts, the adoption agency still denied them.
My adoptive parents didn’t tell me I was adopted, even when I asked after the birth of my first child. I was 34 when my birth mom found me and I discovered the truth. My adoptive parents told me everything they knew…the young and unmarried story… They also gave me paperwork which was accurately filled out by my birth mom when I was 16 and everything on my OBC (which I requested last year) was exactly the same as my amended one (except, of course, for parents names). So, the truth was always told. HOWEVER, the biggest and most damaging lie is that a 19 year old isn’t a fit parent. Or that money is a factor. The industry is perpetuating lies which are believed by vulnerable women and that is where the problems lies. There will always be actual orphans and kids who honestly don’t have fit parents. Let’s be stewards of these needy children, and stop creating ‘needy’ children with lies.
I believe I found my father after 13 years of searching. 29 years I grew up thinking he had passed away before I was born. Got my non-Identifying information and it also said the same thing. That he passed. So for an additional 13 years I accepted the fact that he’s passed but I may find his family. Well. 3 days ago we believe we found the family. Yesterday morning I get a message saying “You might be my daughter, get back to me”. WHAT!!!???? Yea. Everything about him in my paperwork has so far been a complete lie. I spoke to him and I said “well, you’re supposed to be dead”. We had a good laugh about it, but we were both stunned with the lies that were told from the birth mom and how the agency let it happen. I guess this is the reason why she never wanted to reunite. She couldn’t face me because she knows she lied.
Only an adoptive father left, we’re estranged. One of the reasons I’d because he still lies, even knowing how important it is for me, while at the same time, scoffing at me why I just don’t leave it alone and move forward. I want the truth. I’m so over lies and I want a chance to be whole! No agency, I was handed over on the street. There was a birth mother, her father, and a lawyer for both sides. Don’t even know what nationality I am. My mom’s favorite threat was sending me away to boarding school. She killed me. ..I didn’t kiss them on the mouth, drink from their glass or look at them in the eye. I hate the sad fog that covers me every day.
Though my parents were pretty honest with me about my adoption there was a “lie by omission” in my case. I found out at 16 years old, the first time I ever had the guts to really ask questions, that there had been a 2 legal sized paper, back and frontboth sheets, letter from my birth mother that came with me. My adoptive mother burned it so I never got to see it. I eventually found my birth parents and happened to get a copy of that letter in my file. If only I’d had the info growing up, it would have gone a long way to helping me sort out who I was, even if it gave no identifying info for search.
I was lied to way too much to write about here I guess the biggest were when I was youngest and was told natural mum didn’t want me or love me but I was also told adoptive mom had a hysterectomy which she never did. I was told that she had remarried had other kids and moved on why would I ruin that for her. I was even told I was found under the gooseberry bush and that was some of adoptive parents lies. Then my natural half-brother lied to me for a year about knowing natural moms whereabouts. The social service reports said I had two brothers when I had a brother and a sister. There’s a lot of conflict between the stories I got from my social service reports compared to what my natural mum has told me but she also told me she is so traumatized in my first five years she doesn’t remember frown emoticon. My truth is still elusive to me even after reunion. I did try to contact my dad but no answer there yet. The lies did a lot of damage to my life and they also prevented me from searching when I was 16 and took off the travel and be abused around the world. I could of found my Mum sis and Bro all in contact at that time instead I took off round the world searching for something and I didn’t even know what it was. Now my brother is missing and no one seems to know what happened with him. I found my sister with mum though even they have lied to me too. Adoption is all about deception in my eyes and my trust is shattered.
I was 21 when I learned that I was adopted. I had hunches but it was only confirmed when my foster mother died. I felt like my whole life back then was a lie and it didn’t help that my real parents were unloving and uncaring up until now I still feel the stigma of being adopted which is synonymous to being unwanted I guess. The worse part was being lied to.
Let us not forget about the secrecy in our birth families. If they don’t tell us something and they know about it, that is a lie in my book.
My birth mother kept me a secret from her younger two sons.
My birth father kept me a secret from his wives and my paternal brothers.I think part of the reason I don’t have a close relationship with my maternal brothers is they did not know about me. I met one paternal brother in 2011 and the other in 2015. The youngest one I was afraid to meet because of his mental and rage issues. Sadly he committed suicide in November 2015. I was not encouraged to attend the funeral because my birth father won’t acknowledge me. Meeting him at the service could have been an explosive situation. I wanted to go but I value the relationships with my paternal family who has accepted me.
My birth mother didn’t bother to tell anyone that I was allergic to milk. I spent years being forced to drink milk. Later in life, after I found her, she lied to me about my birth father. She told me his family were all dead and that he was a “dangerous man” that I shouldn’t try to find. He’s pretty harmless, and it turns out she lied to him, too.
The only truth is my birth mother placed me for adoption at birth.
My adopted parents lied outright and by omission. Adoption was a hugely taboo subject so was not discussed. I had a memory of it being mentioned once when I was about 4, so when I was an adult I searched for information on my own. I was adopted in theUK so was able to get my OBC and some information from the adoption. I told my adoptive parents about this at the point when I had searched and found my birth siblings and was about to meet them. I asked them at that time to share what information they had but they denied having anything at all, including my original name. According to standard practice at the time, they would have been given my original name as it was my legal name until the adoption was finalized which was several months after they had custody of me. I was given their copy of my medical records which started immediately after the adoption finalization date. When I asked about the previous records they said they were ‘lost’. Actually they must have tossed them as they would have been under my original name. My younger sister, also adopted was never told at all about her adoption, I didn’t know either if she was adopted but assumed she would know. I tried to find her birth/adoption record so found out that way. Later, I realized she didn’t know so I told her. At that point we realized the extent of the lying to support the fact that they hadn’t talked about adoption. Like on her passport they put their home town instead of her true birth place and when asked about medical history by the doctor they gave theirs instead of saying they didn’t know.
I was adopted in 1959, born in May of 1958. The lie, well one of the many lies was about my race. I was told that I was some kind of Native Indian. They never told me what nation I came from but that I was an Indian. Turns out my mother is German and according to her, my father is Puerto Rican! This is not true either. I’m lost. I am just so desperate to know the truth. Who am I? Where did I come from? Whose blood do I share?
Catholic Charities lied to my adoptive parents saying my mother had died and I was the only child. In other words move on never look. But what I found out was that my birth mom was 22 and was raped on a street corner in St. Louis by 8 men. She wrotea letter to the agency saying she wanted to connect with me if I ever contacted them. They refused to give me info until I got a court order. My adoptive parents wanted me to know her.
More than half of my non identifying information was a lie. It was my birthmother. Not the agency I have discovered. Very disappointing.
My real mother was lied to, coerced, and forced to give me up. Let’s start with the lies related to breaking down a vulnerable young pregnant woman with the nonsense that she wasn’t good enough to raise me, that she would be selfish to keep me. That theripping apart of a willing mother and her child was the best and only option. The women, who lost their children in the 60 era, and their children, seem the saddest to me. Very decent but vulnerable women treated like criminals, begging to keep their children and having them stolen from them for no good reason. No good reason at all. What happened to them is way beyond cruel, yet our society ignores this complete unethical injustice, and the same practices continue today with a carefully calculated new spin. They use fear and shame to manipulate the mothers. I’m an adoptee and the same fear and shame was used to manipulate me. What is the reason behind all this lying? Why was it necessary? Who did it benefit? Well there were these infertile people that just really, really needed a newborn and would do anything to get it and keep it. Including denying me of any personal information or history. Including denying a dying woman’s request to see a non-identifying photo of her young daughter just one time before she died. Including ignoring a lost little girl’s needs, and criticizing her all her life because she wasn’t like her adoptive parents. I didn’t need to be adopted. I wasn’t unwanted at all, I was desperately wanted. My adoptive parents weren’t secure enough to tell me the truth. My adoptive mother cruelly denied me information that could have made my life better, even as an adult. But sadly my true life story didn’t suit her adoption fantasy, so I suffered the loss, for my adoptive mother’s emotional comfort. Her comfort was the reason for all these lies. She needed to own and control me, and I didn’t turn out like she hoped. In fact I turned out just like my real mother as it turns out. Some adoptions are truly needed. Mine wasn’t, and the treachery and lies involved in taking a child from a perfectly good mother and selling me off to someone who wasn’t very good for me caused a great deal of damage to myself and my real mother. All for another woman’s need to acquire an infant and so her feelings weren’t hurt. She needed someone’s baby to fix her problem. The fact that it was all so unnecessary and all the focus is on not hurting the adoptive mother feelings that is the deepest wound to me. It probably sounds like I hate her for adopting me and I have felt that at times because she has been quite cold and cruel to me. But I still love my adoptive mother and father very much. I understand that they didn’t realize the sinister nature of the baby scoop era. The wanted to be parents. The fact that I still feel the need to tack on this disclaimer that I love my A parents, is a true testament to how incredibly much focus is put on the feelings of the adoptive parents. I do wish my feelings and interests had been considered as much, and that I had at least been provided with all the information they knew. Keeping it from me caused the deepest issue between my adoptive parents and me by far.
What’s the saying? Knowledge is power! When important facts are hidden or lied about to the adoptee it can have disastrous consequences. I didn’t find out the truth until I was almost 45 years old and let me tell you it has been really tough. There wereseveral things my adopted mom kept hidden from me or lied about. She has been deceased for over 10 years so its not like i can confront her about any of this. I fight the battle over guilt, shame and abandonment. Telling the adoptee the truth not matter how hard it may be in my opinion is always the best path to choose. Let the adoptee decide whether or not to pursue any kind of reunion.
I am sad I was lied to and manipulated by my adoptive family and the government and even members of my natural family I am sad they thought it was ok to poison me against and alienate me from my natural mom.
Without the truth how can we live? I mean really live? It’s like wearing a mask, all day, every day, forever. If Illinois did not change the law regarding OBC’S I would still be living with that mask. My reunion wasn’t the fairytale I had dreamed aboutfor 45 years, the rejection almost killed me. BUT, I know who I am! I no longer going through life like a ship with no anchor. All I ever wanted was the truth and I’d do it all over again even knowing it would be painful! No one should have to go through life wondering who they are. It’s a gaping wound that never heals. It touches every little piece of your life and robs you of the simplest of joys. Finding my truth has been the best thing that ever happened to me! The truth wins above all else!
I think many adoptive parents are insecure thinking that children will love the birth mom more. I believe it took all of them to give me life. One to bring my life into the world and the others to sustain my life. I live in total gratitude to all who made my life possible including those who got my mom to a safe place to give birth.
My own adoption was closed. My birth mom sent a letter to Catholic Charities telling them if I wanted to find her she wanted to connect. They NEVER gave me that letter NOR did they even want to give me any information. I had to get a court order and still they didn’t want to give it to me. I told them if they didn’t they would be in contempt of court. I showed up an hour after the phone call.The woman I spoke with was no happy. We talked for a while and then she said “if you’re going to find your mom you need to know about THE DAD!. Well I hadn’t given it any thought. She leaned over as if to throw up on me and angrily said “YOUR MOTHER WAS RAPED” While many might think it was better not to know God had and still has so many plans that humans can’t understand. My mother prayed for 48 years to one day meet me again. She loved me and placed me for adoption because her mother didn’t believe she was raped by 8 men and insisted on my death. My mother fought for me and I’m alive today with 2 married sons and 6 grandchildren.
I’ve founded Choices4Life to help other moms pregnant or raising children after rape conception. YES I am very glad to know the TRUTH.
From a medical standpoint, you are assumed that every disease and cancer may run in your DNA since you have no family medical history. As an adoptee, I was subjected to extra testing and early detection (ie mammograms) because of it.
If you are an adoptee and would like to add to this post to help raise awareness about the lies you were told and how this impacted you please feel free to inbox Pamela Karanova or send me an inbox on How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?
Why is lying okay when it comes to adoption? In some cases adoption isn’t part of the equation, but children are constantly lied to about who their biological family is and people actually think that’s okay.
It’s NOT okay to LIE to a child period. It’s NOT okay to lie to them about who their biological family is. Lies destroy and they ruin relationships. How would you feel if you were lied to about something so important? You wouldn’t like it.
Unless this has happened to you, you can’t comprehend how it makes you feel but you know how it feels to be lied too right? It hurts, imagine someone lying to you about who your mother or father is, or withholding such personal information. I can only speak for my experience and how it made me feel. My adoptive mom lied to me my whole life about finding my birth family. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to find my birth mother. She lied over and over and said “Once we get enough money for an attorney we will get the sealed records opened and we will find her”. This gave me comfort in knowing that one day it might really happen. I might find my birth mother. When I was in my early 20’s that all changed. My adoptive mother told me she had been keeping something from me. She knew who my birth mother was, and my adoptive dad had her name. So all those years she lied to me and I would never trust her again. She put her insecurities about not wanting me to find my birth mother in front of my needs and wanting to know. She knew it tore me up deep down and she didn’t care. I know what you’re thinking. “You should be glad she told you at all!”. Yeah? Well I am glad she told me, but she didn’t need to tell me a LIE all those years! She could have just said the truth or just expressed that she understood my feelings and consoled me in some way. But no, she lied to me over and over. I have forgiven her, but I will never forget it. One more list to add to the things she took from me, along with my child hood. Thank God I can make up for it and be a better mom for my kids.
I know a lot of people who are keeping secrets from their kids so they can cover up their irresponsible actions, and people that are lying to their kids because they don’t want to tell the truth. Because they will have to face reality and it will be too hard on them. Let me just say, the truth is ALWAYS better than discovering that you are living a LIE. Lying destroys people. It tears them down and lies hurt people. When people keep secrets and they are ashamed of the truth it will always come out in the end. 9 X out of 10 it’s always so much harder to discover you are living a lie, than if someone would have told you to begin with.
If you are keeping a secret or lying to a child or a person about their identity, who they are, who their REAL parents are, or where they come from, I beg you to reconsider and tell the truth. I suggest some counseling so you can get some advice on how to make it right. Its never too late to make it right! No matter how painful, the truth is always better than pretending and living a lie. Everyone deserves to know where they come from, and their history.
I received a Facebook message in 2010 from my 1/2 biological sister whom hadn’t spoken to me in over 13 years. Not by my choosing, she shut me out and I still to this day have no idea why she is the way she is. Not only did my birth mother not want anything to do with me, but after I found and was reunited with my birth sister she too shut me out. I never understood because when I first found her, she was ecstatic she had a long lost sister she said she always dreamed of. She invited me to be in her wedding, our children met one another, and it was the first time in my life I felt a true connection with someone with the same blood as me ever in my life. I can’t tell you the sense of joy I had knowing I had a big sister, that I could look up too, get advice from, be close with, and share stories with.
After a few years of meeting her as I would reach out she wouldn’t reach back. Over and over I would try to keep in touch, and she wouldn’t return my calls, letters, emails nothing. This honestly broke my heart a million times, and I never understood WHY. I always thought I did something to offend her, or upset her but I didn’t know what. I was clueless.
Not many years before my birth mother passed away I had basically given up hope that we would ever have the relationship I always dreamed we would have. That dream I had sense I was a little girl, sense the day I found out I was adopted. I knew at this point nothing was going to give, but in the back of my mind I think I always had that sense of “Maybe one day she will come around”. I never stopped thinking about her, or praying for her, or wondering what she was doing, especially around my birthday time.
But my birth sister, I never gave up hope, so when I got this inbox message saying my birth mother passed away, I was not only shocked but I was beyond hurt that I had to find out in a Facebook message. My birth sister hadn’t spoke to me in 13 years! She was acting as if our relationship was where it left off 13 years ago. As if the last 13 years went by and I hadn’t tried to reach out to her a million times, and she shut the door in my face, just like my birth mother did. They have no idea how that has hurt me over the years, and words can’t even describe it. Not only did I feel out of place growing up in a house full of strangers, but the biological roots I dreamed of my whole life didn’t even want me around. They didn’t want to know me, love me or have me in their lives. THIS HURT and still does.
When I got the Facebook message my immediate response was angry. I was so angry that she told me the way she did! After a few hours when my anger subsided a bit, I realized that in true honesty she didn’t have to contact me at all. I had to try to pull something positive out of this. In her facebook message she expressed how she really wanted me to be there, and she didn’t think she could do it without me. I had a decision. I could either go, be there for her, and perhaps find some more information out about my birth father whom I also always dreamed about knowing, I could find out more information about my birth mother, and meet some of her life long friends, and meet some more of my biological family OR I could stay home and wish I had went.
After making some arrangements with my job, and for my kids off to Iowa I go. I started off on a 10 hour drive, all alone. Something about taking road trips are always so refreshing but not this time. I was nervous, sad, anxious, and I surly didn’t know what the next few days were going to hold. I was just praying, and talking to God the whole entire way for him to help shine his light on me because I knew I was going to need it to get through the next few days.
Soon I was to arrive in Iowa at my adopted mothers house. It is no secret to anyone in my life that we have never EVER gotten along. We are like night and day, and there has never been a time in my life where I feel close to her, or have a bond with her a mother and daughter are supposed to have. I just all the way missed out on that in life. She is a very different person, and after being almost 40 years old I have come to the conclusion that she is mentally sick, and she is a very ill person. She should have never been given the right to adopt a child, let alone two. She wasn’t and still isn’t capable of being a mother. I will never understand how a couple ends up adopting two children, divorcing a year later leaving these two adopted children to be raised in a very dysfunctional home, by a woman whom doesn’t have the capabilities, strength, guidance or understanding to raise children!
After being at my adopted mothers for a hour or so, we decided to take a trip to the grocery store. I was going to stay all night at her house, then leave very early the next morning to drive to Waterloo, Iowa where my birth mother lived. This is where her funeral was going to be held. I was really a nervous wreck. While we were at the grocery something in me decided I wanted to search for my birth mothers obituary online via my cell phone. When I start searching for something, or someone Its crazy but I get frantic almost obsessed until I find what I’m looking for! I think character trait has a big part on me searching and finding my biological family all on my own. I was obsessed with finding them, and I was never going to give up until I saw them all, even if it meant getting shot by showing up on my birth fathers property unannounced! I was going to find them.
As I Google searching for the obituary, walking around in circles in the grocery store waiting on my adopted mom to take her time shopping, (One of our many differences, she takes all day to shop! I get in and get out!) I finally found the obituary. As I started to read it, my heart started racing more and more. I couldn’t even believe what I was reading. SHE DIDN’T LIST ME ANYWHERE! NO WHERE! SHE DOESN’T HAVE JUST ONE CHILD! SHE WAS A LIER! THIS OBITUARY WAS A LIE! I AM HER DAUGHTER TOO, AND SHE HAS 3 OTHER GRANDKIDS AND WE ARE ALIVE. I DROVE ALL THE WAY TO IOWA TO BE AT HER FUNERAL BUT THEY COULDN’T EVEN LIST ME IN THE OBITUARY OR MY CHILDREN! I WAS SO MAD AND HURT!
I immediately started to cry in the middle of the grocery store. Of course I felt I had to hide it from my adoptive mother, because she just wouldn’t understand. So I kept walking around the store, trying to hide my tears from all the people walking by me. I know that some people might not understand the big deal, or why I was feeling the way I was feeling but when you spend a lifetime fantasizing, dreaming and wishing, and wondering about the very woman that created you, and gave you away to have a “better life” but she doesn’t even list you in her obituary it hurt really bad, and cut like a knife. My mind goes back there, to that time in my life and I still cry thinking about it. I don’t understand how someone can give their child away, and act as if they didn’t even exist. I will never understand it.
After I finally got myself together in the grocery, I would soon see my adoptive mother again. She knew by the tears in my eyes something was wrong. She asked, and I told her. I started to cry again. I just walked away from her and told her I would be in the car. In no way did I want her sappy ass rubbing me on my back making it worse! She always made everything worse!
Soon the very next morning had arrived, and it was time to set out on my hour long drive to the very city where I was born, and given away. To the very city my biological mother, and half of my biological family lived. It was a very bitter sweet drive, and time in my life. Something about discovery of your roots, and where you come from is almost eerie to me, and I have done all this alone and I can look back now and rejoice that I had a relationship (And still do) with God, my higher power for hugging me and holding me the entire way. I’m blessed and thankful for that.
My birth sister and her husband moved from Iowa to Arkansas, so they too had to travel back to Iowa for the funeral.I arrive at the hotel where my birth sister and her husband and kids were staying I was a nervous wreck. I hadn’t seen her in ALONG time! I hadn’t talked to her in 13 years, but I hadn’t seen her in about 16 years. I parked my car, and head in to the hotel. Knock on her hotel door, and see her face, and we gave each other a big hug. It was great to see her, and I realized that I couldn’t focus on the past, and be upset with her that for whatever reason she shut me out for the last 13 years. I was still hurt, but I had to make a decision to not focus on that. She expressed to me how bad she wanted me there, and how thankful she was that I came. I got to hug and see my niece and nephew, one I had never met before. I was very excited about that, but yet I was deep down very sad that so many years had passed and they really didn’t even know me. It’s not my fault and if I had it my way It wouldn’t be like that. I would have never been separated from any of them ever if I had it my way. I would have grown up in the same house as her, and we would have been close sisters growing up. She gave me a card, and we all headed over to the funeral home for my biological mothers visitation.
The card was an apology for her being absent for the last 13 years. She was very nice in the card, and she expressed how she was sorry that this tragic event is what brought us together again. She said in the past, I was the one to reach out and she failed. She hoped this would be a new beginning to our relationship. I was happy about the card, and I was happy I was getting to see her, and spend some time with her. I was deeply saddened that so much time had passed, and I really didn’t know when I was going to see her again. Was it going to be another 13 years?
My birth sister and my birth mother hadn’t spoke in over 3 years. So I wasn’t the only person they didn’t reach out too. They didn’t even reach out for each other. My birth sister said many times that my birth mother was an alcoholic. She said after her and her husband and children left Iowa, they went back for a visit at Christmas time only for my birth mother to not open the door for her, or her children on Christmas morning. I really don’t know the whole story, or my birth mothers reasoning, but I am sure my birth sister had a very good reason for being upset with her. A long drive from Arkansas to Iowa and your own mother doesn’t open the door? Shame on her. I would be furious too. I can’t say what I would do, but she didn’t speak to her for 3 years. When she did have contact with her again, it would be to bury her.
We soon set out to head to the funeral home. I really didn’t know what to expect. I know from the moment I walked in there, to the time I left I felt so out of place. I knew my birth sister wanted me there, but there is no way my birth mother wanted me there. I was her best kept secret. I knew this for certain. We went in for the viewing. I was shocked at what I saw. My birth mother that was in her mid 60’s and looked as if she was much older. She was wearing a blue jean button up Christmas shirt, glasses and had a few rings on her fingers. She was always lean and long. Her fingers looked like my fingers. I wanted so bad to ask if I could have one of her rings on her fingers, but I didn’t dare. After all I felt as if I was a nobody. I really would to have loved it for sentimental reasons. I had nothing of hers, absolutely nothing. Nothing but a broken heart from this woman. Time after time, and year after year I wanted on her calls, mail, only to receive broken promises after broken promises.
As we sat in the front row, I sat right next to my birth sister. I really felt like her husband should be sitting by her but I respect the fact that she let me sit next to her, and that she acknowledged the fact that I was her daughter too, and I had every right to be there just like she did.
My birth mother planned her service out down to the very last minute. She had someone get up and speak about her life, and some of the things she loved. Rod Stewart, Nascar, Elvis, and some other things. He spoke about her daughter, Joanna and her 3 grand kids from Arkansas. I honestly sat there and wept not only because I was deeply saddened, but because she once again didn’t acknowledge that I was her daughter. Some of you might say, “Well DUH Pamela! She gave you away! You were no longer her daughter!”. You would think it wouldn’t be so hard for me to just “GET IT”, or “GET OVER IT”, but I will never forget that time in my life when they clearly made me feel as if I was nothing. I wonder if she knew how much pain she caused me? I wonder if she even cared? People shouldn’t have to go through life being rejected and denied from the very people that created them.
This is the song that she had requested be played at her funeral. I will never in my life forget this song. I cry every time I hear it, and can’t help but wonder what part of her giving me up for adoption had an impact of her and her life, and this song. If you listen to the words, (please do!) you will understand what I’m talking about. Was I one of the many regrets she is speaking about? I stayed around after the service, so I could meet some of her friends, and some biological family. It was really hard to get through this time in my life. I was thankful I had my birth sister there, but yet she was still so far away. I didn’t know any of those people. My birth sister kept introducing me as “This is my sister, my mom gave up for adoption!”. I really didn’t know what to think, but I was thankful she was even introducing me at all. I had to be thankful I was even there at all because she didn’t have to invite me, or tell me if she didn’t want too. As I got to know some of my birth mothers friends, they all expressed to me how stubborn she was, and how she was very strong willed. She was set in her ways, and no matter what in life she did it her way!
I met my birth mothers best friend, and she knew my birth mother the time she was pregnant with me. She said she remembers her giving me up for adoption. No way did anyone at the funeral try to console me, and what I was going through. I don’t think any of them understood my pain at all. I asked her if she knew any information about my biological father, but she declined. I asked her if she drank when she was pregnant with me, and she said, “Honey I never saw her without a drink in her hand”. I guess I’m supposed to be grateful for that just like I am that I’m adopted. I spoke to a few other people, and met a biological aunt. One aunt that I had met the first time I met my birth mother wasn’t there. I asked about her, but everyone said she was sick, and couldn’t come. I asked my birth sister if we could go visit her, because I realized this might be my last chance at finding out more information about my biological father. On the way to her house I asked my birth sister if we could go by my birth mothers house. She said, “Oh you don’t want to go over there!”. I said, “Yes, I do, I really do”. Off we go.
When my birth mother died, she passed away from alcoholism, and COPD. She smoked, and was on oxygen, and she was an alcoholic all at the same time. These are the things that killed her. I believe alcoholism is what really killed her. Everyone at her funeral said for the last few years of her life, she wouldn’t let anyone in her house, NO ONE. The neighbors would come to bring her food, or try to help her shovel snow in the winter, or help her with a leaking roof and her response to everyone that came to her door was ” GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE!”. I had no idea what to expect when we arrived at her house. I remember walking up to the front door, her house almost looked like a little cottage but you could tell it had some major repairs that needed done, but you didn’t really see it until you walked inside. Her front door had broken glass through the front window, and she had news paper, and duct tape and a piece of plastic over it to keep the cold out. As we walked in I just got such an eerie feeling. This was the house that my birth mother lived in for many many years. It wasn’t the house she was pregnant with me at, but it was the house that my birth sister grew up in. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how dusty everything was. The dust was literally an inch thick. I looked over to the left, and saw another broken window covered just like the other one. Also to the left was about 6 oxygen tanks, all empty. She had papers and clutter all over her dining room table, and hutch. As you walked in further I saw the couch that she was found on. The old dusty mantel, and drapes matched the couch. The whole place looked like a scene from a 1975 movie. NOTHING WAS UPDATED! Everything was so old, and dusty. It was filthy, and the floor was covered with garbage, and junk. The carpet looked like it was 30 years old, and I’m not even kidding. It was so cold in there, and I will never forget the feeling I got when I was in her house. It was so dark, and dingy. Complete filth couldn’t even touch it. I saw a little green paper weight on her coffee table, shaped like a small elephant. I kindly asked my birth sister if she cared if I have it. She said, “Sure take it”. This small paper weight is the only thing I will ever own that was my birth mothers. My birth sister took me through the house, and it’s hard for me to explain the feeling I got. After we noticed no running water, and rat droppings all over, we decided it was time to go. That house should have been condemned in my opinion.
Some people might be saying,”WOW- and you aren’t HAPPY she gave you up for adoption?”. NO, No I’m not. I would have taken my birth mother any way she came. I would have loved to be with my biological roots, even if she made mistakes as a mother, I would have forgiven her. All of her mistakes and errors in life wouldn’t change the fact that she gave birth to me. I will never stop thinking about her, or wishing I knew her. I will always love the woman I never got to know.
After we left my birthmothers house, we headed over to visit my aunt for a few minutes. When we arrived the house was filled with smoke, and we could smell that she had been smoking. Its amazing that the crazy part is she looked at both of us and said “I quit smoking awhile back”.. Even thoe we smelled right through that lie. This was my birthmothers sister. She was also a smoker, and on oxygen suffereing from COPD which is what my birth mother died from. After we visited a few minutes, I got up enough nerve to ask her if she knew who my birth father was. I thought I had nothing to loose. She ended up giving me a name, and told me a little about my birth father. Now I recieved confirmation who he was and where he lived. A month after visiting my biological aunt she passed away from COPD. I look back and I’m in awe the way God set it up. Not that I wanted her to die, but he let me find out my confirming information about my birthfather before she passed away, and it meant so much to me to be able to see her one last time.
Leaving Waterloo, Iowa was a bitter sweet moment for me, but so was my experience after I drove to my birthfathers door step. Leaving Iowa on this trip I made a very brave decision. I could either drive back to Kentucky and never see who my birth father was, or I could drive 3 hours out of the way and show up at his door step and introduce myself. I was able to receive some confirming information while I was in Waterloo about my birth father. I prayed, and God answered my prayers. I drove 3 hours out of the way to his house, but I only stayed 45 minutes. I left Leon, Iowa and my life would never be the same.
About a week ago I got some super awesome news, and I am so excited to share it with you all!
If you don’t know by now, I am pretty vocal on my adoption views and have expressed in my blog much of my view point because I finally feel like I have a voice in my world. A voice of an adult adoptee. This voice has been an amazing healing tool for me. Finally I am figuring out who I am, and what I stand for, but this didn’t take place before 37 years of loss of identity and total chaos and confusion took place. Why? Because I’m adopted. Adoption is loss. Adoption is pain. Adoption is hurt. Adoption is lies.
In the last year, I have met many other adult adoptees via the Internet, and made some very special friends in the process. We share a bond that no one else can share. It has helped me in so many ways. I am not alone in feeling the way I feel. Sense discovering this, I have also discovered the Adoptee Rights Coalition. They are a group of amazing adopted individuals that stand for adoptees having equal rights like non adopted people. The meet each year at a certain destination and protest in a peaceful demonstration that Adoptees deserve to have access to their original birth certificates. It’s unfair treatment and laws that are taking place when a small handful of states allow this, and the rest don’t. Only very few states in the U.S. allow adoptees to gain access to their original birth certificates, the rest aren’t so fortunate. For an adult adoptee, this is a critical piece of our lives to find out who we REALLY are, and where we REALLY come from. If you aren’t adopted it might never cross your mind that almost all adopted individuals have a falsified birth certificate which makes us feel like our lives are based on lies. These falsified birth certificates are not real, they are not really who we are, and this is a huge injustice to us because we can’t truly know WHO WE ARE, until we know the TRUTH. Some adult adoptees go to their grave with never knowing who they really are. They never piece together their puzzle, for whatever reason. Some scared of rejection, or some because of lack of identifying information to complete the search. Whatever the reason, and there are a million. We all deserve to know where we come from, and to see our original birth certificates.
This realization taking place in my life has helped me understand a few things. I need to get active with The Adoptee Rights Coalition. I need to be there for the 2013 Demonstration because for me, this means so much! If you haven’t read my previous post about my falsified birth certificate, please check it out. But my birth certificate is falsified, and it is nothing more than a piece of lies to me. The dates don’t match up, and I have been told lies over the years but I do feel I deserve to see my original birth certificate because WE as adoptees deserve equal rights!
After deciding that no matter what happens I am going to be at the ARC -Adoptee Rights Coalition for the 2013 Demonstration I also decided a few other things in my life. One is that I am no longer celebrating my “birth” day. It is such a hard time and month in my life. I experience heart wrenching grief from all the thoughts that come with my “birth” day, and me being given away on that day. I have another post titled “Blue August Birthday” if you want to learn more about these feelings of grief. So deciding I’m not celebrating my birthday is one thing, but I know in my heart of hearts I must replace this day with another day, but I will call it my “HAPPY LIFE DAY”. I just hadn’t figured out when this day would be. I have done a lot of praying about all these things, and asking God to show me the way.
Another thing that has changed is me deciding I am no longer going to drink alcohol, and I have joined a 12 step program and Celebrate Recovery to help me do this. Sense finding my biological parents, and them both being alcoholics, I feel very strong that if I don’t stop drinking all the way, I am going to die like my birth mother. In a house that should have been condemned, all alone. She was a horrible alcoholic, and she smoked, had COPD, and was on oxygen. Her house was in horrific conditions. I know that if I don’t stop drinking I am going to end up like her. So I have made the decision to seek help, and guidance from Alcoholics Anonymous, and Celebrate Recovery. Today is 23 days sober. I can’t wait until I get to 30 days. Then 60..
My whole life has revolved around drinking. I started drinking alcohol sense I was 12. Stopped drinking the day before my 38th birthday. August 12, 2012 was my last drink of alcohol. For me to stop drinking is so much more to me than just “STOPPING DRINKING”. You see, to me it’s the beginning of my LIFE. The life that God intended for me to live. I sit and look over my life, and how many terrible choices I made where alcohol was related, and I just get sick with myself. I know that growing up with a total loss of “SELF” not knowing who I was, or where I came from caused me great grief from the time I found out I was adopted. Alcohol mad the pain go away, but only until I got sober, and then I would have to drink again. Alcohol distorted my life in so many ways I can’t even begin to tell you. But one thing I know now, TODAY is alcohol is no longer in my life. I can say I couldn’t do it alone. I need support from other alcoholics that can give me guidance, support and advice when I need it. Abusive relationships have been the head of my life, along with alcohol from the ages of 13-31. At 31 I was brave enough to get out of the last relationship, and it has taken me years to get to where I am today.The root of my issues with alcohol partly stem to my step brother molesting me when I was little, I would drink to numb the memories I have from him when I was intimate with whatever boyfriend I had at the time. This has gone on my entire life. I am sure I need consoling for this, but at this time I am working through these things with God as my guide, and other support from those who are close to me, and healing through writing of course. The abusive relationships play over and over in my head, like flashes of the memories. They never seem to go away, but I am not going to let those things define me anymore. I cant be the VICTIM and live in VICTORY. It’s impossible. I am so ready to live in victory it’s insane. As long as alcohol is in my life, it will take me back to being the victim, and block my blessings, and halt me from being the person God wants me to be.
So my reason for expressing all of these things is to get to some AMAZING SUPER AWESOME NEWS! As I stated before I am going replace my “birth”date with a different very special day called My Happy “Life” Day. I have made the decision to make this day on August 12, 2013 because that is the one year sobriety birthday and it will honestly be the one year celebration of me living the life God intended for me to live. August 12, 2013 is one day before the day I was born into this world which for me is a very tragic day. (Aug 13, 1974).
I am so excited about this I can’t even express how much this is going to mean to me, and this is why I say drinking alcohol is “LIFE OR DEATH” to me. If I drink, I can’t celebrate my one year sobriety birthday at all. It will not count. It will be disqualified to nothing. I won’t have a “birth” day, or a “Life” day or a sobriety “birth”day.. I will have nothing. So AUGUST 12, 2013 is HUGE for me.. But wait until you hear the rest!!!!!!!!!!!
I found out about a week ago that The Adoptee Rights Coalitions demonstration is in Atlanta next year and GUESS WHAT DAY IT’S ON?????????????????????????????????????????
AUGUST 12, 2013!!!!!!!!!!
I honestly don’t know when I have been so excited in my life!!! This is going to be HUGE for me,and you honestly can’t tell me GOD isn’t doing his thing with this one! I am in complete AWE at the amazing work he is doing in my life. He knows how important this date is to me. He knows how bad I wanted to be at The Adoptee Rights Coalition Demonstration in 2013! He knows how important my sobriety is to me. THIS DATE IS HUGE!!! Aside from the births of my kids, at this point in my life this is going to be the most important thing to date in my life’s history. I have such a passion for adoptees and the right for us to be able to obtain our original birth certificates. Now I will have a whole new focus on my depressing, sad, and horrific “birth”date. I will have a whole new day to celebrate.!
CHEERS TO AUGUST 12, 2013!!
GOD GETS THE GLORY!!!
If anyone in my area is interested in attending or getting to know a fellow adoptee contact me! Lexington, Ky
I think its safe to say that my whole life I never knew who I was, so when I looked in the mirror all I saw was someone that was lost, and didn’t have an identity because I didn’t have any idea who I looked like or who I was. This had some lifelong affects for me.
Now that I’m 37 years old, and I have completed my search and found my biological family I can tell you who I see when I look in the mirror. My birth father. We have some major similarities. When I see myself he is who I see. Everyday when I look in the mirror I think of him. Crazy how that works!
Now that my biological father has rejected me, it makes me sad to know that my own blood wants nothing to do with me. I don’t know if that’s something that I will just “Get over”. But one thing I can rejoice on is now I know who I look like. I got to meet my biological father face to face two times. Some people go a lifetime never knowing, and never seeing the faces of those who created them. I don’t know what I would do if I never completed my puzzle. I know how I felt all those years not knowing, and now that I know who I am I feel at peace with that area. I’m so beyond thankful that God has made it all possible.
Now being able to talk about my feelings with being an adoptee I find it a healing tool and I feel like I have to share my adoption journey with others. God put these things in our lives for a reason, and we must share our experiences because I feel that’s what God intends for us all.
Of all the things I have been through, I am now learning that being given away at birth has had the most lifelong effects on me than anything else. When I started the healing process, I started working on feelings that went along with childhood sexual abuse brought on by a step brother. Then it went into being in abusive relationships my whole life, until I was 31.. Then I started working on my adoption and the issues I have had with being adopted. In the last 6-8 months I have been working on the root of some emotional issues I have carried around an entire lifetime, and I can honestly say I have never felt more FREE than I do today. Who gets the credit? God. It’s as simple as that. He has given me the strength and courage to conquer each thing one by one. God has put certain people in my life to help me realize my true worth as well. Some situations harder than others, but each and every one I have learned so much from.
So now when I look in the mirror I know who I see. I love the person I am, and I know that no matter what happens in my life that my past is just that, my past. God doesn’t judge us by our past, so why should we judge ourselves or worry about what others think of us?