Adoptees are Paying the Price for Adoptive Parent Infertility Compacted with AP Fragility

It is not enough to lose your biological mother at the beginning of life. Still, adopted individuals also must live up to unrealistic expectations set upon us by society and our adoptive parents. We must fit in the shoes of the fantasized biological child our adoptive parents would have had; could they have had children of their own. They have big plans for us like most parents have for their children.

News Flash: We can’t fit into those shoes or that role. It’s impossible. I’m very sorry for your loss, but its not my job to fix it or make up for it. I shouldn’t have to carry that burden. However, adoptees continue to be presented as a clean slate when we meet our adoptive parents’. Every one of us has a [his]-story & a [her]-story before we’re adopted, and it’s a critically important part of US.

I’ve experienced in my journey and learned by listening to my fellow adoptees that, more times than not, our adoptive parents have never fully healed from the unsettling truth that they couldn’t have children of their own due to infertility issues.  This causes significant problems for the adopted child because we will never live up to the expectations as if we were a biological child, but this demand is high. When healing hasn’t happened first, it can be a disaster in the home.

We’re born experiencing immense trauma by being separated from our biological mothers. This separation trauma impacts every area of our lives showing up as grief, loss, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, anger, rage, addictions and so much more.  The weight the adopted child feels and carries into adulthood is tremendous alone. Still, it’s compacted by the expectations set upon us to be something or someone we aren’t by our adoptive parent’s expectations. This weight carries on into adulthood and impacts every area of our lives. 

When our adoptive parents have significant unhealed issues with the loss of not having children of their own, it surfaces in every area of the home.

In my story, I remember my adoptive mom never being well, and she was always taking pills. When I was a child, I didn’t understand what was going on, but now I know “never being well” was depression, pill addiction, and manic depressive suicidal episodes. The depression was rooted in untreated mental illness, the aftermath of not being able to have children of her own, and marrying and adopting two daughters, only to divorce one short year later. I was told she wasn’t capable of parenting one adopted child, but somehow she ended up divorced, alone with two adopted daughters.

A glimpse of my childhood consisted of me being my adoptive mom’s caretaker. She was abnormally emotional every day and cried daily, saying repeatedly she wasn’t worthy of being a mother. I was the comforter and “Good adoptee.” I would sit with her on the edge of the couch and comfort her by rubbing her back and saying, “It’s okay, mommy, I’m sorry, mommy, It’s okay.” I must have said, “I’m sorry,” 100X a day sometimes. I remember being sad all the time and wanting her to stop crying. She never did, but when she wasn’t crying, she was sleeping in the daytime, and she also had a compulsion of wanting to threaten to commit suicide in front of us, which she frequently did. Learning and focusing in school was impossible most days, because I was I was riddled with anxiety and fear day in and day out.

Is it possible her infertility issues were the root of her behaviors? Being 46 years old and evaluating my childhood, I would suggest so. I don’t have the definite answers because she never got help for those issues; she adopted to fill the void instead. It was my responsibility as far back as I could remember to take care of her, cater to her, and be there for her. I was a slave to her.

I’ve recently discovered that I’m a people pleaser, and this characteristic was developed early in my childhood as a direct reflection of wanting to make my adoptive mom happy. I did everything I could think of to bring her happiness, and in the end, I always fell short. A co-dependent relationship was created, but I had no choice in the matter. I felt trapped in this cycle of co-dependency for most of my life due to my adoption experience.

Where was I going to go?

How was I going to get out?

It was all I knew.

I recall my entire childhood was focused on ways to make my adoptive mom happy, at the expense of my childhood happiness. Everything was all about her. I felt like a child servant with a list of tasks to complete daily, and most of them were centered around making her happy. I was brushing her hair, putting makeup on her face, massaging her arms, legs, and back with lotion, filing paperwork for her, cutting coupons, cleaning far beyond everyday routine childhood chores. I was never able to be a kid in this home. My feelings were never validated, nor were they important. Her adoptive parent fragility reigned supreme over all things in this household.

Please understand that this didn’t stop in childhood. It only stopped when I packed up a 22 Foot U haul and left this toxicity. I moved across the country with my three young children at 31 years old. It felt like an escape, and I have never looked back or regretted my decision but it hasn’t come without more heartache.. When I arrived back in Kentucky, I had no job, no car, no money, no home, no place to live, and no keys to anything. Thankfully my twin’s grandmother was kind enough to let us use a bedroom, where we all 4 stayed for the next few months to get on my feet. Little by little, I made a way for my children.

This escape didn’t come without a cost. Unfortunately, it’s taken me 15+ years to recover, and I’m still recovering daily. It’s going to be a lifelong process for me, as it is most adoptees/relinquishees.

My adoptive moms’ actions throughout my childhood and lifetime caused significant damage that has radiated throughout my life course. When I left at 31, I had to sever ties for my mental health, but it wasn’t before I tried to set boundaries first. She overrode every boundary I asked of her, which were simple things like please put your pills away. I asked her to please not cry around my kids. I asked her please not talk negatively about me behind my back to my children. She broke everyone, so I cut all contact. She was not going to do to my children what she did to me. Moving across the country and cutting ties was the only option.

It was the hardest decision I ever made.

Being groomed to put my feelings aside and caretake to her and her feelings have been a pattern I have picked up into adulthood. I put everyone else ahead of myself, and I never learned how to say “no” or even have an opinion about anything. This has caused me a lot of problems in relationships and my personal space and life. Caretaking is something I was conditioned to do from a very early age; it’s no wonder I am a caretaker by career and have been for 15+ years. This role wasn’t healthy for me as a child, and it’s not healthy for me as an adult.

I was forced to pretend, and I ended up being a professional at this game of make-believe. Better yet, I was conditioned to assume the role of expectations from a very early age. In this game, I learned early that my true feelings of grief, loss, and sadness from the loss of my biological mother and families’ weren’t welcomed. If I shared them, I took the chance I might hurt my adoptive parents’ feelings.

With my adoptive mom crying daily, sometimes hourly, having mental health episodes, she was likely already hysterical. My feelings of sadness would only add to this problem. I learned to keep things inside locked away. I learned my feelings weren’t important, and they didn’t compare to her outbursts. The safest place for them was to pretend like they weren’t there. I think I learned to disassociate and became a professional at it as a survival technique. There was a split created between the real true me, and the me she needed me to be.

As an adult, trying to recover from this childhood, I have done countless healing exercises to help myself try to make sense of it all and heal. One of the things I did was put myself in her shoes to try to gain a better understanding of why she was the way she was.

Untreated mental illness has always highlighted itself in a way that I’ve put it at the top of the list of why she was the way she was. I didn’t understand this as a child, but It’s more than evident mental illness is front and center when her suicide attempts of laying in the middle of the street play like a repeated movie scene in my mind from my childhood. She was sick, but I didn’t understand mental illness as a child.

I can’t help but wonder how my life would have been different if my adoptive parents had gotten some therapy for infertility issues before choosing to adopt. I think about it from time to time; although non of us get any “do-overs” in life, I sure would have benefited in a positive way to have a happy, healthy mother figure to think about in my lifetime. I blew it in this area not once, but twice. A total crap shot.

Instead, the trauma of her attempting suicide, her untreated mental illness, pill addiction, and her manic depressive episodes trump all the good memories there were.  Traumatic memories seem to have a way of showing upfront and center in our lives when we least expect it.

Over the years, I have heard countless stories from my fellow adoptees. They experienced similar childhoods and lives. Our adoptive parents adopted a child to replace their biological child they might have had if they didn’t have infertility issues, never healing from infertility issues first. It’s no secret in the adoptee community; we weren’t chosen. We were next in line.

This breaks my heart for my fellow adoptees because many of us didn’t stand a chance at having happy childhoods. There is nothing a relinquishee/adoptee can do to make up for the loss one feels who cannot have their own biological children. Nothing. Yet here we are, forced to fit into a role we can’t possibly fit into.

But we fake it until we make it, and we try because we have no choice. We learn to adapt, or we die trying. This sets us up for a lifetime of a false sense of self, never really knowing who we are or who we aren’t until we break away altogether. And some of us never make it to that place of self-discovery. Breaking away is difficult, if not impossible, for most of us. It’s no wonder adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide. Look at the paradox we are forced to be in the center of.

The sensitivities around this topic echo throughout our lives. Many times it creates an adoptive parent fragility that adoptees are forced to be sensitive to. We’re groomed to put everyone’s feelings above our own, and it can and will create and a lifetime of struggles. 

It’s taken a lifetime to be able to look myself in the mirror and say, “You are important, and so are ALL of your feelings!” because no one ever did this for me growing up. My life was centered around her and her feelings. It was never about me.

I remember conversations with my adoptive mom way before I reached adulthood, where she wanted to make sure I knew she didn’t want to go to a nursing home when she got old. She also had talked about me being her power of attorney way before I was even an adult. It became evident to me at a very early age, and these were the reasons she adopted two daughters. She had a motive the entire time, and it wasn’t hard to piece it all together as I grew up.  

I never was and never will be the daughter my adoptive parents signed up for. I’m pretty sure I’ve turned out quite the opposite, to be honest. I’ve committed to spending the rest of my days trying to recover from this childhood of pain, not just for myself. For my kids, so they have a chance at seeing a happy and healthy mom, which I never had. Even on the days where I didn’t have the drive and motivation for myself, I do it for them.

Suppose you’ve made it this far, and you are possibly a prospective adoptive parent. In that case, I ask you to please consider intense emotional and psychological therapy before you even think of adopting a child. And then before you choose to adopt, visit pages like @askanadoptee and @howdoesitfeeltobeadopted and read and learn what adoption is like from an adoptee’s perspective. Ask questions on the Ask an Adoptee platform because one thing for sure, adoptees there will tell you the truth, even when it hurts. Have you accepted that relinquishment trauma is a real thing? Do you know anything about it? If you don’t you need to learn from adopted adults. We hold the keys of knowledge but you have to have the willingness to listen and learn.

If you are an adoptive parent already, I urge you to seek deep within ourselves to find out where you are in your recovery and healing with your infertility struggles.  Please do this immediately before you project your pain onto your adoptive child. Also, know that we never can and never will be what your biological child would have been. Unless you have accepted this, you still have work to do.

For my fellow adoptees, I’m so sorry for your pain and heartache. I’m sorry for the unrealistic expectations that have been placed upon you to fill the shoes of a child you were never meant to fill. I’m sorry you weren’t listened to. I’m sorry you haven’t felt your feelings are important as a child or an adult. Your feelings are important, and so are you. Can you relate to anything I have shared here? I would love to hear from you!

Love, Love.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Pamela A. Karanova. Reproduction of the material contained in this publication may be made only with the written permission of Pamela A. Karanova.

My Love For My Heartless Birthparents

I would give anything to be one of the adoptees who didn’t have any feelings about my birth parents. Why? Because then my pain wouldn’t be something I face on a daily basis, sometimes hourly. I would maybe be okay with being adopted?

I’ve learned all adoptees are different. Some of us are okay with not searching and never discovering our roots. Others need to know and they will never be okay unless they discover their truth. I would say on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being adoptees that are okay with their experience & not knowing their roots and 10 being those adoptees who have extreme issues with their adoption experience & not knowing their roots I’m way past a 10. Being adopted bothers me in every aspect. Now that I’m old enough to work through my emotions I’m experiencing and identifying REAL RAW FEELINGS. From 12-37 I used substances to numb my pain. I didn’t want to feel the emotions that go along with being handed over to strangers by the woman that should love me the most in life. Today, I’m thankful to be on a healing journey but sometimes the pain is unbearable. It’s hard to describe to non-adopted people. I would give anything to have a switch I could just shut off and not care about any of the things that bother me so much. I think because the things that bother me are so senseless and inhumane I don’t think any human should have to experience.  This means my VOICE is critical to the adoptee community, as is all the other fellow adoptees who share their voice. When God answered my prayers and made it possible for me to reunite and find all my biological family I made a promise to God, myself & all the adoptees out there. So many are lost searching to find themselves & their long lost families that I will never stop sharing how it feels to be adopted and offer support all the adoptees who feel hopeless and alone. I will never stop speaking about something that means so much to me. I will spend the rest of my days encouraging adoptees to use their VOICE in adoption. The VOICE that’s most often ignored.

I spent my entire childhood and most of my teen years fantasizing about them, specifically my birth mother. I always had her close to my heart. I dreamed of the day we would be reconnected again. I cried a million tears growing up not knowing where she was. I. I searched for her in my dreams, in grocery stores, at the gas station, walking down the street, at parks, the mall and everywhere else I traveled to. Of course I loved her. My heart loved her even when the world wanted me to forget all about her. I know I formed a bond with her before I was ever born, but the hope I had of an amazing reunion grew my love for her and some days that’s all I could think about.

After all,  “She loved me so much, she gave me away.” <–Explains My Adoptive Mom

Why wouldn’t I have love for her? It came natural to want her in my life. Everyone told me she loved me. So if she loved me, why wouldn’t she want me in her life when I did find her? What the  hell kind of LOVE is everyone talking about?  This messed me up and still has me messed up. A mother doesn’t LOVE their child and reject them after the child finds them. A mother doesn’t LOVE their child and give it away to strangers. That isn’t love. That’s abandonment & rejection in it’s rawest form.

The original abandonment and rejection I experienced before I found my birth parents was a tremendous amount of pain that never left me. Now, since finding both and being rejected by both my pain has been magnified a thousand times and the abandonment & rejection is so RAW that honestly I understand why so many adoptees commit suicide. (Read the stitistics!) This pain is no joke and in adoption the weak will NOT survive. I have so much respect for my fellow adoptees because the pain we face is so deep I believe we are the strongest people on the planet. I truly believe that!

Back to my topic…

My birth mother died about 18 years after us meeting just one time. She shut me out & lied to me. She promised she would send me letters, pictures, and cards in the mail and she never did. I waited on the mail my entire life!! Now I hate checking the mail & each time I do I get the deep sadness all over again that I wasn’t even worth a piece of mail to her. Even when she’s gone, I still wish I would magically open the mailbox and get just one letter she promised me. At least I would have something to keep that was from her. I know that’s complete nonsense to some people but I bet adoptees get it.  I wasn’t included in her obituary. This was horrible to experience. I didn’t count for anything in her life. But she loved me SO much? 

I’ve tried to take myself out of my shoes & put them in hers. I’ve tried to understand. What I gather from knowing what I know based off my experience is that my birth mother didn’t love me. She loved the idea of passing her mistake over to someone else. She loved that she didn’t have to be reminded daily of her actions of becoming pregnant by a married man. She could just pass me to strangers and never think twice about me again.  She didn’t love me because she drank alcohol the entire pregnancy. She loved alcohol, that’s what she loved. She never told me she loved me. She didn’t want a relationship with me. She didn’t include me in her obituary. Why was I so surprised?  One more fantasy to add to the life long list of fantasies adoptees have. I had a million & they were all rooted in speculation because I didn’t know my truth. This is only one aspect of adoption that messed my mind up. I read “The Girls Who went Away”. I totally get the aspect of things being totally different in the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. But this had no waver on her rejecting me once I did find her. I also realize her pain may have been too great,  but if a mother “Loves” their child they will WANT them in their life. You can’t tell me any different.

After all I experienced w/ my birth mother and how her actions made me feel, I can honestly say if she appeared in front of my right now I wouldn’t do anything but run into her arms. I would give anything to get one real true hug from her.You know, the kid of hug a mother gives her beautiful daughter. I would give anything to hear her say “I Love You” just one time. That would mean that when I was told “She loved you so much she gave you away” it was true. Unfortunately I never received the confirmation she loved me at all. Today, I’ve learned to never go without telling those close to you that you love them. It maybe the only time they hear it and your last chance at telling them.

I’ve accepted the lie that was told to me, “Your birth mother loved you so much” was just that, a LIE.  I challenge ALL adoptive parents to be VERY CAREFUL in the words you use to share and explain things to your adoptive children. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Not all birth mothers love their babies!

I met my birth father 2 x. He didn’t accept me as his daughter even when I look just like him. He could care less who I am, where I live, or anything to do w. me or my life. He knew nothing about me until I showed up at his door at 37 years old. This hurts. But if he showed up here today, I would also go running to him and be ready for anything he was able to offer. I know this isn’t going to happen. I’ve given up. It still hurts like hell.

After I finally was able to feel my feelings & start a recovery program I put everything out on the table. I was able to draw my own conclusions & connect the dots to the missing pieces of my history. I had to fight like hell to get my answers! People lied to me, and the expense of YEARS of memories with my long lost family. In learning my TRUTH I was able to accept it and begin to heal. I know I can’t change the past but I will spend the rest of my time on earth sharing my experiences on how it feels to be adopted & reaching out to other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone.

My love for my birth parents will ALWAYS be there. I don’t care if someone told me they were drug addicts, who were horrible people! It should be MY CHOICE weather I have them in my life nor not. No one should take this decision from us… Sadly in my case, neither of my birth parents wanted me in their life. I also have a biological sister who rejected me. We clashed after meeting, and we share opposing views on adoption because she followed in my birth mothers foot steps and gave one of her own children up for adoption. She doesn’t understand me, and I don’t understand her. We have no relationship because of it.  It never ends & for the life of me I will never understand how parents reject their own flesh & blood. I’m thankful I was able to make my own choice in searching and was able to meet them each at least 1 x and gain a better understanding of MY HISTORY. MY STORY!

In this journey acceptance is key but it isn’t easy. The question is, how are adoptees supposed to accept something if they don’t know what it is? It’s impossible!  How are we supposed to HEAL if we have nothing to accept? We’ve been fed so many lies and shenanigans that most adoptees don’t have any idea what their truth is! This has caused me the most heartbreaking pain anyone could ever imagine. To wait my whole life to meet them and be left with nothing in the end. No time, no memories, no nothing. I truly believe everyone in life leaves you, especially when your own parents discard you like a piece of garbage. I live in constant FEAR of this & I hate it.

What have I done to feel like I’m controlling something in my life? I moved across the country away from ALL my biological & adoptive family, I changed my number, changed my name and as soon as my kids graduate I’ll be moving again… I’m hoping to be untraceable to those who once rejected me. They will never have a chance to hurt me again. To them I’m the LOST one.. They can spend the rest of their lives wondering where I am, how I am and what I’m doing. Amazing how that script is flip isn’t it??!!! Chances are they don’t care, but I needed to do this for myself. I needed to feel like I controlled SOMETHING in my life! Of course, I have ONE relationship out of my biological family reunion I’ve kept and that’s my biological brother. I’ve closed all the doors on the rest, every single one. I’ve found they are too painful. adoptees understand this. My biological brother is amazing! He’s been accepting and I love him for that. Now I’ll spend the rest of my life mourning all that was lost. I’m not at a place of acceptance with that yet! As for my adoptive family, I have a small handful of one step brother, cousins, 1 aunt, and my adoptive dad & his wife I have in my life. I hold them all close to my heart. There are more who have crossed me in some way and I’ve dismissed them from my life. I have no problems dismissing people who bring unhealthy relationships my way. That’s a deep aspect to being adopted, we’ve lost EVERYTHING so losing more isn’t new to us.. It’s just part of our life!

As #FlipTheScript in November comes to an end, I would like to challenge ALL ADOPTIVE PARENTS to please help your adoptive child find their truth. Please help us find our history. Please don’t make us feel bad or guilty for wanting to know where we come from. This is natural for a unnatural situation.

For all the birth parents out there… I would just like to say that if you’ve made the choice to cut your biological child out of your life please know you are hurting them more than anyone could ever imagine! Please seek help and reconsider. No matter what the circumstances “Were” there is nothing to be afraid of now. Things are different. If anything PLEASE TELL THE CHILD YOU SURRENDERED YOU LOVE THEM IF YOU DO LOVE THEM. No child in the world should have to go through life never hearing “I LOVE YOU” from either of their biological parents.

If you made it this far, can you relate to any of my blog post? How do you feel about your birth parents?  What are you on the scale of 1-10?

Blessings,
Pamela Jones
@freesimplyme
http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

Open Hearts and Open Minds, Adoptive Parents

I had an adoptive mom say to me on twitter yesterday, “I read your blog,
I know from personal knowledge that many adoptees do not share your issues.”
And I replied with “I know from personal knowledge many adoptees DO share my issues.” I don’t understanding why society is so blinded about the realities of adoption. My adoptee issues and pain are very real and I will continue to always share my feelings with the world to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.
From this lady’s response to me, it leads me to believe she’s an adoptive mom or why would she care to comment? I find this comment to be disturbing. Half-truth, half lie? It was pointless to say the least. I find it appalling when an adoptive parent wants to stand up and speak about what adoptees go through when they are basing their opinion on their fantasy or what they wish their adopted child felt. The truth is, more than likely their adopted child hasn’t grown up and developed their adoptee voice yet.  This means as a child they just might not have any issues, and for the lucky adoptees maybe they never will. I have been blogging about my adoptee experience for almost 2 years now and I’m fairly active in the online adoptee community. I have yet to experience an overflowing amount of “EXCITED TO BE ADOPTED ADOPTEES!”
I really believe that all the adoptees with a voice need to keep voicing their experience so that any adoptive parents that stumble across their blogs, or tweets, or Facebook pages can truly open their hearts up and learn something. It’s the AP’s such as the one above that are blinded and don’t see REALITY who are not going to learn and benefit from the adoptees who have been in the shoes of the very ones they are raising. Even if they don’t agree with what they are hearing about how it feels to be adopted, they should really open their heart and eyes and ears up to the fact that, WOW, MY ADOPTED CHILD COULD FEEL THIS WAY. Not, “I know for certain many adoptees don’t feel the way you do”  With an attitude like that there will be no hope for future adoptees and for society to understand there is much more to adoption than 2 people completing their family by adopting an unwanted, abandoned child.
The reality of adoption is that before a child is adopted their own mother gives them away. However this is explained to the child leaves the child confused. After all, how does one love something and give it away? This can very well lead to low self-esteem, abandonment & rejection issues and fear issues that everyone is going to leave them. These issues are ALL root causes of many types of dysfunctional behaviors and adoptees have a very large chance of facing any of these root causes. Weather any adoptive parents want to admit it or not. I think the real question should be, “How do I help understand my adoptive child better?” VS. “I know from personal experience many adoptees don’t feel like you do”.
Open your eyes and ears, and be receptive to what adoptees have to say, especially if you have invested in adopted children. Of all people you should have an open heart and mind. You can learn a lot from someone who has been in your child’s shoes. Especially those who have healed from the trauma that being given up for adoption by their own mother.
To be continued…