Lying Lips and DNA Kits

It’s not enough that many times the information that is relayed over to the adoptee/relinquishee is shadowy at best. Still, often we are presented with information based on inaccurate data that is usually restricted and modified to stall the adoptee/relinqishee or throw them off entirely from ever learning who they are and where they come from.

One of the many challenging lessons I’ve learned over the last 10+ years of coming out of the fog regarding my adoption journey is that no matter what we find or how we find it, we should ALWAYS back our stories and conclusions up by doing DNA testing, preferably Ancestry DNA. Ancestry has the most extensive database with nearly 20 million people.

Here’s why I make this suggestion.

People lie when it comes to adoption and relinquishment stories. While we learn from childhood that lying is never okay and even receive punishment as a child for such activities, our society accepts this rule in adoption and relinquishment; our culture makes an exception to this rule. Sometimes I believe that people believe their lies, and sometimes we don’t want to accept them. We feel a shadowed conclusion that doesn’t sit well with our internal dialogue.

Let me give you an example of this. I was told back in 1998 from an individual in my birth mother’s family that my birth father was dead and that he had gotten shot. I sat with that for a minute, and it never sat well with my spirit. But, my intuition is on point, so I said to the world. “If he’s dead, let me confirm he’s my father via DNA testing FIRST, and let me stand of that man’s grave and see his death certificate so I can see it for myself.” Unfortunately, I know countless adoptees who have been sold a lie.

I was never able to receive either of them, and in 2010 I decided to drive 11+ hours from Kentucky to Leon, Iowa, and I showed up at his doorstep and introduced myself. That man wasn’t dead, and he was very much alive. So they lied to me, and chances are if you are adopted, you have been lied to also. I learned from a close family friend that I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He knew nothing of the pregnancy, and he never consented that I was given up for adoption.  

Sometimes as adoptees, we want something to be confirmed with every fiber in our being, so we ignore the signs or subtle hints that a find might not be true, accurate, or correct. Instead, we jump in head over heels, going by what we were told or what we hope to be true. I hope this article puts a pause in play for anyone that reads it. Please tread carefully and always, always, get DNA testing done BEFORE you build relationships with someone you suspect might be your biological family.

Adoptees/relinquishes are vulnerable individuals. When searching, we often open our hearts and lives as wide as they can go to receive whatever it is we have been fantasizing about our entire lives. We assume the best yet frequently are left feeling misled, robbed, or even taken advantage of. Sometimes this can feel like the biggest disappointment of our lives.

Growing up, our life is filled with fantasies about what we will find. Where is the mother that “loved us so much?” But often, we’re faced with the complete opposite, a cold, disconnected woman that shows no signs towards us that feel like anything close to “love.”

People say, “Expect the worst and hope for the best.” Yet, I am here to tell you there is no natural way to prepare for such conflicting and unimaginable feelings and emotions that come with our discoveries, no matter what they turn out like. It’s like opening a pandora’s box, and what we find can be shattering combined with fulfilling. It’s complex at best, but not learning the solid truth can be devastating beyond repair, so DNA testing is exceedingly essential.

My life story backs this conclusion up because, in 2010, I learned I had a half-sibling out there in the world. After a year of searching, I finally found him. We compared notes, and he ended up being the absolute best part of my reunion story. We spent time together from states away, planned visits and trips together. We accepted one another and our children and spent five years building a relationship. I always said he was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and he was and is to this day the only happy and positive part of my whole adoption experience and story.

Until January 2016, everything was flipped upside down. We ended up doing DNA testing to send the results that my brother and I were connected via DNA to my birth father. He has always expressed a deep-rooted feeling of disbelief that either of us was his biological adult children. To be completely transparent, I haven’t blamed him. He didn’t know anything about me, and he said he had reason to doubt my newfound brother was his biological son. This was why I wanted to complete DNA testing with my brother, so we could present the truth in hopes that it might change something with my biological father because initially, he rejected us, not knowing if we were his or not.

While I had taken the position to clear up this bed of lies that my life was rooted in, I had no idea what the DNA test would soon reveal. In January 2017, the DNA test returned and said WE SHARED NO DNA. I will never forget how this made me feel. I was sick and so distraught that I honestly didn’t believe it. The first person I reached out to was the amazing and gracious Priscilla Stone-Sharp, and I asked her if she could double-check this for me. She concluded that my newfound brother and I shared no DNA. However, we could pinpoint that my birth father was my birth father. His mother’s maiden name is all over in my highest DNA matches. However, my new brother is the one that showed NO DNA with my birth father, which means his biological mother gave him the incorrect information on who his biological father was.

Now that I had opened that whole can of worms, I had to reveal this to my brother, which was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But, unfortunately, he flat out didn’t believe the DNA results and ended up tragically passing away a few months later in a motorcycle crash. This experience sent me into a profound depression and sadness I could not process at all. I was living alcohol-free, but I could not feel these feelings, and I had no idea the level of grief and sadness that would soon take over my life.

It was such a complex situation that no one could help me, and I couldn’t even find the right words to use to describe this situation. I kept referring to my brother as “My brother who turned out not to be my brother” because I didn’t know how to describe it. I couldn’t believe that one ONLY GOOD PART OF MY STORY wasn’t genuine, I was duped once again, and the devastation left me in horrible shape. I couldn’t stand the thought of therapying another therapist, and this is when I put my vision of Adoptees Connect, Inc. into action, which saved my life.

It’s taken me all these years to begin to recover, and I still have a lot of sadness about it. I wanted to share this dynamic because I want non-adoptees to see what adopted people have to go through when we are searching for our truth. All these hoops and hurdles can and do exhaust us, they destroy us, and they can and do take us down. It’s inhumane that the adults in our lives signed us up to go through this. Literally, every adult who took part in signing any adoption documents signed over that they would be okay letting me suffer and damn near die in my pain from all the secrecy, lies, and deception from adoption and the adults that co-signed for this traumatic event to happen to me.

Today, I have annulled my adoption in my mind, body, and spirit, and I sometimes remind myself that I didn’t’ sign any adoption paperwork. Yet, I have survived this nightmare, moved across the country, changed my name, and started my life over.

For my fellow adoptees who might have made it this far, I beg you to please get DNA testing before you build relationships or get too excited about a possible discovery you believe is a biological family member. The pain of the alternative I have shared here is something I do not want anyone to go through because it’s unbearable when we already feel so alone; we get our hopes up and put ourselves out there. Ancestry DNA has sales around major holidays, and the DNA kits are $59.00.

Not getting DNA testing FIRST can add a new level of trauma that you do not deserve. Please learn from my experience. Trust me; you do not want to risk it.

For those who might be wondering, this changed nothing with my birth father. I sent him confirmation I am his daughter, and he tossed it in the trash, and went on his merry way.

*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

Dead Man Walking

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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! 

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Delivering the DNA Results with Grace

 

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Wow, hard to believe this is the next hurdle I will be experiencing.

It’s very emotional but I know God is with me!

It’s nerve wrecking considering what I have already experienced with my biological father and this adoptee journey!

The greatest part is that I have a new found cousin who I have connected with via DNA who is not only AMAZING but she is SO SUPPORTIVE of me through this journey. She seems to “Get it” and no one really gets it unless they are adopted, and she’s not adopted! I can’t help but KNOW God planted her in my life at the perfect time because I know I couldn’t do this alone. Thank you God for LINDA! Thank you LINDA for your help, support and new found friendship!  This is a really emotional journey for me as I know my fellow adoptees can relate.

So the story goes as I’m sure you read my last blog post. My birth father has always said, “What are we going to do, get a blood test 40 years later?” He knew nothing about me, lies and secrets prevented him from knowing so I don’t blame him for being skeptical all these years.

My new found cousin, Linda has showed me the ropes on all this. I have gotten a DNA test and it has linked me to his DNA and family line. He hasn’t had a DNA test done, but my DNA test has made DNA connections via 23andMe to his mother’s line, who is my biological grandmother. I don’t need HIS DNA to be linked to HIS DNA LINE. That’s the cool thing about DNA. There are so many ways to trace and confirm. There is no way I would share DNA with my distant cousin where our connection is our grandmothers are sisters, if J.J. (birth father) wasn’t my father. It wouldn’t be possible.

HE IS MY BIRTH FATHER

But he doesn’t know I am confirmed his daughter via DNA

Just YET…

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My new found cousin suggested I contact the local Catholic Priest to see if he will collaborate a “meeting” with J.J. and his wife to present the DNA results. Yes, they are catholic. The last time I spoke to my birth fathers wife, she mentioned them wanting to get back involved in the Catholic Church and she wondered if I knew the dates J.J. was married to his previous wives. I shared with her I would try to obtain that information to help her out. So this has let me know they are Catholic and reaching out to the local Catholic Priest seems to be the best idea so far. Thank you again, Linda!

GOD CAN DO ANYTHING!

With HIM all things are possible.

I know there are people out there that might be saying, “Why would she go through all this heartache. Why can’t she just accept it and walk away?” Let me share that until you have walked in my shoes or another adoptees for that matter you really have no idea what loss, grief and trauma is involved in this journey. I can share there is nothing that can be done to me that hasn’t already been done. I have already been rejected by this man, but if there is a little chance that DNA will make a difference than I am willing to take that chance. You see, being adopted we are constantly putting ourselves out there all for a chance to be loved, accepted and for a chance at a relationship with those who were STOLEN from us. My adoption was an illegal one because I was adopted without his knowledge or consent. I don’t blame him for being skeptical. There is a HUGE chance I will be getting the door slammed in my face again, but at least at the end of my life when my story is all said and done I won’t be saying, “ I WISH, I WISH”. My wish will be “I TRIED”. Who is anyone to tell me I should just give up HOPE and WALK AWAY? I am not a weakling, and am not a sissy. I’m not walking away. I am going to PROVE I am J.J.’s ONLY DAUGTER if my life depends on it. The next few months are going to be pretty nerve wrecking and significant in my life. This is a huge step.

I would like to say to all the people who think I’m crazy or nuts and who think I should just walk away and accept this as my life

WHO ARE YOU TO TAKE AWAY MY FAITH? WHO ARE YOU TO TAKE AWAY MY HOPE?

WHO ARE YOU?

ENOUGH HAS BEEN TAKEN! I’M NOT LETTING ANYONE TAKE MY HOPE AND FAITH AWAY.

GOD IS LOVE

GOD IS HOPE

GOD IS FAITH

GOD IS TRUTH

Every sense I was a little girl I have fantasized and had visions of “These People” meaning my biological family. I have spent my entire LIFE fighting to PROVE I am SOMEBODY regardless of my birth parents decision in rejecting me. Today, I don’t need them to prove WHO I AM. I know who I am. I’m God’s daughter, and that is the most important thing to me. This does NOT change the fact that I still need to TRY to prove what is TRUTH when there have been so many lies in my story.

WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH BRINGING DARKNESS TO LIGHT?

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to the light and made known to all” – Luke 8:17

I know secrets and lies are not from God, they are from the enemy.

My God is a God of TRUTH and the TRUTH means NOTHING HIDDEN.

In 2010 my biological aunt who is my birth mother’s sister is the one who came clean and told me “MY STORY” as she saw it. She shared that my birth father was married at the time of conception, and this was a big part why my birth mother chose adoption. I was able to put myself in my birth mothers shoes, and have some compassion for her and her decision. It brought me healing to know this “TRUTH”. I have written about it many times, and I always encourage my fellow adoptees to TRY to put yourself in “Her” shoes in attempts to feel what she felt and try to understand WHY she made the decision she did. This has helped me gain acceptance and forgive her.

Recently I have believed to uncover that it is a lie that my birth father was married at the time of my conception. I have had to dig and dig and to find out this TRUTH. I don’t understand why people don’t understand how important it is to adoptees THAT WE RECEIVE OUR TRUTH!! So now I don’t know the truth and for me, it’s an important and critical part of my healing because

IF I DON”T KNOW THE TRUTH I DON’T KNOW WHAT IM HEALING FROM!!!

I CAN’T HEAL FROM LIES AND HALF TRUTHS!

“You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!” Jeremiah 6:14

WHY ARE ADOPTEES FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHT TO HEAL BY SIMPLY WANTING OUR TRUTH?

Where are all my Christian friends at during this topic? Where are all the people who simply believe in RIGHT & WRONG? Why aren’t more people taking a stand that ALL ADOPTED PEOPLE DESERVE WHAT’S RIGHTFULLY THEIRS, THEIR Original Birth Certificates & their TRUTH & ANSWERS and ALL OF THEM.

½ Truth + ½ Truth = A WHOLE LIE

So here you have it, at 41 years old adoption loss and grief is still very strong in my life, and will always be strong in my life because I am still fighting for my truth. When I find my truth there are thousands of other adoptees who do not have theirs. I will never sit down and be quiet about this until all adopted people all over the world have their truth. God has given me GRACE and I plan on using it.

As I have decided to take the advice to contact the Catholic Priest in Leon, IA where my birth father lives, I made a few calls and left a few messages for him to get back to me. Finally we caught up with one another. I explained who I am and what I was calling for. After sharing I desired his help to deliver the DNA results to my birth father, he asks some questions and told me it was very important that I’m able to answer these questions. He said it appears J.J. has some knots that are tangled up and he wants to try to untangle the knots so he can figure out the truth as to why J.J. would deny me. My point is that he denied me before, but now I have the DNA results that prove I am his daughter. So regardless of the past, and why he originally denied me is really irrelevant because now DNA proves that any reasons he believed I might not be his are not valid.

TRUTH IS TRUTH

“It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail” – 1 Corinthians 13:6

I could tell by the accent of Father Felix that he is of African descent which leads me to believe he’s African American. I can tell you he was extremely friendly and was very comforting in his words to me. He said, “Mam I want to help you but one thing I need to share is I don’t want you to feel rejected.” I said, “Thank you sir, but I have felt rejected my entire life. In this situation it’s hard to not feel that way” He said “I’m so sorry you feel that way but I hope I can help you untangle this knot and be prepared it might take some time”. I was gracious for him talking to me. He gave me his email and asked me to email him all the information I have about J.J. and his marriages, and my biological mother. He said when he goes he needs the armed with the facts and the DNA proof. I let him know I would email it to him in the near future and we would be in touch.

I can’t help but believe that GOD is in the center of this because when my birth father found out I had bi-racial children he gave me a few choice words about his opinion regarding me having kids by a “black man”. I let him know I didn’t need his acceptance of my kids or I and that isn’t what I was there for. It wasn’t pretty and I will just leave it at that. He said conflicting things during my 2nd and final visit ever seeing him, but in the end his tone came around where he had compassion and he was interested in meeting my kids. That topic is a whole different blog post in itself. But I have prayed that God just change his heart and his mind on how he feels regarding this matter. I am NOT taking my kids to meet this guy, not yet anyway.

So thinking that the local Catholic Priest is an African American man I believe with my entire heart that God is behind this meeting that is about to take place. How else do you explain that? The town of Leon, IA is population is 1900 and it’s a very small town with little to no diversity. And he is willing to set up a meeting with J.J. and present him with the DNA results. WOW. I just get chills thinking of it. If anyone can change J.J’s heart it’s GOD!

In the next 24 hours I will have my email compiled to Father Felix and I will email it off to him. And the wait will begin. Seems us adoptees live our lives waiting. Its torture but I know that if God is behind it, I have nothing to worry about. I feel like once the DNA TRUTH is presented I will know at the end of my life that I tried, and I did all I could do. I can tell you this journey has been an emotionally and mentally exhausting one. I listen to the song “Happy” by Pharrell and I wonder when I’m going to experience happiness like that. Not just on the outside but on the inside too. I want to move past this place in my life, but as you see I still have some loose ends God is guiding me to tie up.

Some might say, “What if you present him with the DNA and it changes nothing?”

I would say, at least I tried. At least now I know it’s not a DNA matter with J.J. but it’s more of a heart matter. If he’s presented with the DNA TRUTH and he still rejects me I will be much more able to accept that as the TRUTH than him never knowing I’m his only living daughter and him never knowing I’m really his or not. He rejects me again, he has to live with that and he has to answer for that. My job is over.

See where the fight has come in at? I’m so sick of fighting and I’m NOT going to stop until I receive all my truth! Why would I give up now? Why would I let the devil have his way by discouraging me and taking my HOPE away? Why would I accept something when the truth hasn’t been presented yet? Once the TRUTH (DNA) is presented and nothing changes and ALL J.J.s family is made aware of the DNA results then I will be at a place where I am able to accept the truth because now there are no secrets.

I’m forever thankful for all my blog readers who are supporting me and who are on this journey with me. I couldn’t do it without God, my close friends and family that support me, my amazing new found cousin, Linda and those who I have a special place for tucked away in my heart of hearts- ALL MY FELLOW ADOPTEES WHO GET IT!

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If secrets and lies weren’t the ROOT of my life and where it all began I wouldn’t be uncovering the TRUTH at 41 years old.

WE ALL DESERVE OUR TRUTH NO MATTER HOW HARD IT MIGHT BE!

I will be sure to update you all on the outcome.

Thanks for reading and send me a word of encouragement if you have one!

PRAY FOR ME & I WILL PRAY FOR YOU TOO!

 With God all things are possible.

If you need prayers send me an email and I would be happy to pray for you! If you can relate to my story at all, please leave me a message.

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