Chapter 3. Corn Fields for Days – Finding Purpose In The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 3.

Corn Fields for Days by Pamela A. Karanova

Trigger Warning // Childhood Sexual Abuse

It was Friday at 5PM, it was time to head to Dunkerton, where Thomas and Laura lived, along with Mark, Max, and Mike. It was an hour each way from Patricia’s house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They lived in a house in the country, literally smack dab in the middle of cornfields that surrounded our small cul-de-sac with a few other houses.

Thomas worked at John Deere’s, and my interactions with him were pleasant most of the time. He was a hard worker and was dedicated to taking care of his family and doing what he had to do to put food on the table. At times, his commute to and from work was an hour each way, and even in the cold, brutal Iowa winters, he did what he had to do to provide for his family.

He took pride in taking us on summer vacations and loading us up in the big blue van with the pop-up camper. We went to Disney Land, The Grand Canyon, The Petrified Forest, Wisconsin Dells, and The Queen Mary. In addition, we frequented many campgrounds around the USA. My favorite was always Jelly Stone Park.

The big blue van with the pop-up camper.

Before she met Thomas, Laura worked part-time at a local gas station and had the three boys with different dads. Once they married, Thomas raised my three stepbrothers as his own. Laura worked off and on over the years. We never talked about God or prayed before meals, but on Sundays, Laura and Thomas would sometimes drop us off at the local catholic church but would never stay themselves.

Laura had an aura about herself where I never felt a “motherly” love from her; instead, I felt like she was cold as ice towards me. There was nothing warm and fuzzy about her, not as far as I was concerned anyway. We were never close or connected, and she was always around, which stood in the way of me ever having any one-on-one time with Thomas. I don’t ever remember us having 5 minutes of father/daughter time together in all my life. And to be completely honest, I don’t know much about Thomas because he wasn’t a talker.

Melanie and I didn’t have chores at Thomas’s house because our visits were only a weekend in length, creating what felt like a free pass. The visits with them were much different than our home life with Patricia. Thomas and Laura’s house was usually kept clean, dinner was always ready around 5 PM, and I didn’t have to sneak outside and play. There was a structure here, which I knew nothing about at Patricia’s. Most of the time, chaos was at a bare minimum, but I wasn’t around much either. I heard some stories about Thomas being tough on the boys and calling them sissies for wanting to play sports. This never made me feel good that they were treated this way, actually the opposite.

The Brown House in Dunkerton, Iowa

The boys each had their own rooms in the unfinished basement, and Melanie and I shared a room for a long time. Believe it or not, Melanie and I rarely fought at Thomas and Laura’s like we did at Patricia’s. The ring leader and middle man spinning the drama were nonexistent, so things were pleasant.

At one point, as a way to separate Melanie and me as we got older, they created a small “room” for me, which was a closet that fit my twin bed and dresser in it. They hung up sheets from the ceiling to block off the area to create privacy. It was tiny; however, it was the first time in my life I had a space I could call my own. Because of this, I didn’t think twice about it being in a closet.

At Thomas’s house, I could ask to go outside, and most of the time, they said the most prized words that I longed to hear at Patricia’s house, “Have fun!” or “BYE!” I would take off flying out the door and enjoy the freedom every child should have without the sneak effect hanging over my head.

Mike was a year older than me, he enjoyed wrestling in school, and he loved the Dungeons and Dragons game. He was a fun kid and always enjoyed our company when we visited from Cedar Rapids for the weekend. We have some great childhood memories together.

Max was always the favorite of Thomas and Laura. He was three years older than me. He loved Motley Crew, Ozzy Osborne, and Guns N Roses. He was popular in school and seemed to receive favor everywhere he went. However, he was a rebel and seemed to get in trouble more than any of us. He was arrested first and wrecked a car first, but he was still everyone’s favorite.

Mark was five years older than me, so when I was 5, he was 10. There were always some peculiar things about him, like the fantasies he created in his mind about creating another world and his own government named after him. He had a strange personality, and I always felt it from him. He was also in and out of psychiatric hospitals his entire juvenile and early adult life. It ended up being that he came out of the closet as gay, and I am sure that was a difficult journey for him to navigate.

All three of my stepbrothers detasseled corn in the summertime, and that was a tough job. They would remove the immature pollen-producing tassels from the top of the corn, laying them on the ground on by one. They would get up at the crack of dawn and go to the pick-up site to head out to the cornfields for the day. When they returned home, they were bright red from the sun beating on them each day. One thing was for sure, detasseling corn wasn’t for sissies!

I will never forget Mike screaming frantically one evening while running through the woods shouting, “A wild bore is chasing me! Hurry! Run fast!” The reality was that it was dinner time, and he was trying to round us up to get inside! We would play hide and seek in the cornfields or the woods. In Wintertime, we would create igloos and play king of the mountain with the heavy snowfall we received in Iowa.

At some point around the age of five, Mark started to groom me to do sexual favors for him. He was a kid at ten years old; however, I have memories of these interactions up to me being 10-11 years old, where he would have been 15 to 16 years old and old enough to know better! So while things with Laura and Thomas seemed to be better than with Patricia, I lived with this childhood sexual abuse keeping it to myself until I ended up in therapy again at 18 years old, and this was the first time it all came out.

Until then, my lips were sealed because Mark told me not to share it with anyone or else! By the time I reached 12 years old, I had stopped wanting to visit Thomas and Laura because of these activities. When they asked why I didn’t want to come anymore, I didn’t give a definite reason. I kept that secret from all, just like Mark instructed me to do.

L-R Melanie, Max, Pamela, Mark, Mike – In the photo, look how far away I am from Mark, look at his hand, and look at my face. This was only the beginning!

At times, someone in the house did something wrong, and Thomas and Laura would punish us all. For example, we were told to get down on our hands and knees on the basement floor, and while we all five lined up, they beat our asses with a belt one by one. This was terrifying and painful.

We returned home, and Patricia saw that we had marks on our bodies from the belt. She let Thomas and Laura know that we would never return until they agreed to never use a belt on us again. They finally agreed, and after a pause in visits, our visits to Dunkerton would resume.

Thomas and Laura never spoke negatively about Patricia in front of us girls. On the contrary, I always appreciated this because that was the opposite of what Patricia did. It was almost as if she wanted to sow seeds of discord. She did an excellent job at it; however, I would ultimately lose respect for her because she continuously attempted to put a wedge between Thomas and us girls. I put him on a pedestal because he always showed up to pick us up and he took us on vacations and to fun places.

I would run off to frolic in the cornfields, which seemed never-ending. We also had the woods not far where I would have the freedom to run wild until dinner time. No one knew that my escape into nature would be a healing place for me. I was free from Mark and Patricia’s toxicity, and I could pretend the forest was my home. My imagination would run wild by being able to run amongst the forest and the trees. I never wanted to leave.

Freedom always reigned for me outside amongst the trees. We had one substantial gigantic tree outside our house across the street. I climbed to the top and would reach up and touch the sky, and in my mind, I was touching the only close thing I had to my birth mother. I knew she was under the same sky I was, and I longed to be closer to her. So I would hang out at the top, dreaming of her. It was like the sky was my baby blanket growing up, and it made me feel closer to my birth mother, when the reality was I had no idea who she was or where she was. Was she looking for me? Was she thinking of me? I knew it was a matter of time before she returned for me.

I never spoke to Thomas or Laura about knowing I was adopted; however, I know my three stepbrothers knew. I know this because they would get upset with Melanie or me for something; they would shout, “You aren’t our REAL family” or “Blood is thicker than water!.” They would also make fun of us because our city smelled nasty, so they would hurl insults at us from time to time. “They were kids!” shouts the world. Yes, this is true, but it was mean-spirited, and it stuck, especially being adopted.

Little Pammy on the basement steps at the brown house in Dunkerton.

I loved being able to escape into nature and consider that piece of my childhood an essential aspect of why I am the person I am today. Mother Nature was always there even when my earthly mothers didn’t hold up to the expectations I deserved! As early as I can remember, I felt more connected to the trees and the woods than I did any of the people in my life, especially running around barefoot with no shoes on. That was my jam. I loved to get dirty and wet and play in the mud and rain. I had little fear!

I never cared for Laura much and didn’t feel close to her. She was deceptive multiple times and lied to Thomas and us about being a smoker. Even though she let us see her smoke, she wanted us to lie for her to Thomas. She also stepped outside the marriage with Thomas. As a result, I lost respect for her and had little love for her, and felt the coldness in her aura towards me. She also favored Max, and because of this, all the rest of us felt like red-headed stepchildren. And in my case, the adopted red-headed stepchild. Favoring kids destroys kids.

It was Sunday in the blink of an eye, and it was time to go back to Patricia’s house. We wouldn’t see or hear from Thomas or Laura for two weeks. We never kept in touch between the visits or spoke on the phone. They never knew how school was going or what we were up to sports-wise, or activities we completed like dance recitals or plays. I never remember conversations on life lessons at all. They just showed up for the court-ordered visits, every other holiday, and a vacation in the summer.

Thomas was always far away, and because of this, sadly, I don’t feel like I ever had a close relationship with him or a relationship at all. He wasn’t around when Patricia was amid her meltdowns, and world war three was happening inside Patricia’s home. I was dying to know details about the divorce from his perspective. How do you marry someone, adopt two daughters, get divorced a year later and move to another city, and re-marry a year later? Did he know how emotionally unstable Patricia was? If he did, why did he leave us with her?

It would be years before I would get up enough nerve to ask Thomas to get to the bottom of this. But eventually, I would learn the truth from his perspective, and it was a hard pill to swallow. After reality set in, sadly, the pedestal I put him on my whole life changed to a different reality. One that I wasn’t expecting to learn. But ultimately, even when it hurts, it’s the truth that sets us free.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast 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

Chapter 1. Sneak Life – Finding Purpose in The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 1.

Sneak Life By Pamela A. Karanova

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott.

I grew up in a small town in Iowa called Cedar Rapids otherwise known as “The City of Five Smells.” Burnt corn, stale, rotten garbage, and overcooked oatmeal are combined to make a nasty stench that covers the city. I will never forget that smell! It’s the home of the largest cereal plants in the world, General Mills and Quaker Oats. Cedar Rapids is also known for being the largest corn producing city in the world. I remember wonderful parks where I spent a lot of my childhood.

In the summer of 1979, on a hot and humid morning, my five-year-old self moped down the creaky wooden stairs somberly to the living room in the big grey house on 13th street. My hair was a sandy blonde, messy from just waking up. It was 7 AM on a Saturday, and everyone was still asleep. It was quite and peaceful for a change.

I always went to bed at night before everyone else and seemed to get sleepy earlier than your average kid. This allowed me to get up earlier most of the time while everyone else was sleeping soundly. This was a magnificent thing because I could watch a few minutes of Saturday morning cartoons, which was rare. If I was lucky, I could also sneak outside for a little bit of freedom.  

The living-room coffee table overflowed with papers, pill containers, magazines, and old and half-filled empty Pepsi cola bottles. Old newspapers, mail, coupons that needed cut, and magazines took up half the couch, and clutter surrounded the area allowing for a tiny sitting space—a full cigarette ashtray sat waiting to be emptied. Boston ferns hung in front of the windows, in desperate need of watering.

I walked into the kitchen to find the usual clutter, dirty dishes piled up and old food, and junk covering the countertops. The garbage was overflowing with a stinky odor filtrating the morning air coming through the windows. Full eight packs of Pepsi bottles lined the baseboard along one wall for my mom’s pleasure. On the other side of the wall sat the empty bottles of Pepsi that I would walk up to the 7-11 gas station to trade with a note from my mom. The gas station would return .10 cents for each empty bottle taken back. The note would say, “Please allow my daughter to trade two eight packs of empty Pepsi bottles for one pack of Marlboro Light 100s. Thank you!”  

I will never forget my five-year-old self walking up 13th street carrying two eight-backs of empty Pepsi bottles. They were heavy, and I was alone, but I was brave and didn’t scare easily. I would stop and take breaks when I needed to. It was about a five-block walk. I would get Patricia her pack of cigarettes with the note and walk back home. We didn’t have enough money for a car, so walking or taking the city bus was a regular event. 

To enjoy the rare luxury of watching Saturday morning cartoons, I managed to jump up on the counter to grab a bowl to enjoy some cereal before everyone else woke up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the good kind with sugar; it was plain cheerios or wheat crisps. But, of course, I had no problems finding the sugar and pouring as much as I wanted into the bowl. 

The big grey house was where some of my first childhood memories were. I lived here with my mom, Patricia, and my sister, Melanie, until approximately 9. Both Patricia and Melanie were night owls, and I was the opposite. I was known as the sleepy head of the family and didn’t appreciate late nights and sleeping half the day away. It was a regular occurrence that dinner not be served until 9 or 10 PM if it was served at all. I got sleepy most of the time and wandered off to bed without eating dinner because it never seemed to be ready at the usual dinner time. It wasn’t odd to me because it was all I knew. This was just the way it was. 

I don’t have any memories of my parents being together, but I believe that’s because they divorced when I was one year old. My sister, Melanie, was 11 months older than me, so we were almost like having twins. I do have one photo of my parents being together before the divorce. When I look at the photo, it’s hard for me to believe that they would divorce less than a year after the photo was taken, and that was the end of their marriage. Why would a marriage only last a year or two?

After the divorce, my dad, Thomas, moved over an hour away to Dunkerton, Iowa. He remarried my stepmom, Laura. Laura had three sons of her own, named Mark, Max, and Mike. We saw them every other weekend, on some holidays, and for a summer vacation. My sister, Melanie, and I stayed with Patricia full time between the visits with our dad. 

Patricia was 33 years old, and she had brown hair and she stood about 5’1 tall. She was going to school to be a Registered Nurse and this was a lifelong dream of hers. She loved soap operas, watching figure skating, and lavender smells, and her favorite color was blue. She enjoyed baking holiday treats and having her family over for festivities. She also loved plants and flowers. She was single as long as I knew her. She would read us bible devotionals and take us to church on occasion. Patricia wanted to be the center of everything, and in all conversations she had with people, she was the dominator so she could be the center of attention. 

She didn’t work the earlier part of my life, but instead, we received public assistance, food stamps, welfare, and child support from my dad to make it by. Things were always tight, and we never had extra money for anything other than the basic needs. 

The house on 13th street was rented to us with Title-19, a program for families to receive assistance with their rent. I’m confident that’s the only way we could afford to live at this house because it was gigantic and it had to be expensive, especially for someone not working. However, even as big as the house was, it only had two bedrooms, so Melanie and I shared a room. 

The Big Grey House on 13th Street, The Porch Roof I Jumped Off Of at 5 years old.

Polk Elementary School was two blocks away. So if we came out of or front or side door and turned left, we walked straight down the alley two blocks and ran into the school playground. I was not too fond of school, and I never did well in it.   

If we came out of our front door and turned right, made another right at the stop sign, and walked about five blocks down, we ran into Helen and Leo’s house. Helen was an 81-year-old lady who used to babysit us while Patricia was in school to get her nursing degree. Leo was 92, and he was Helen’s husband. So we spent a lot of time at Helen and Leo’s. 

Their house was old, musty, and dark. However, the backyard did have a swing set, and we were on it as much as possible. The basement was better known as the “Dog house!” and we spent much time there. What would get us thrown in the dog house? Being rowdy, rambunctious, not listening, or misbehaving in some way. And sometimes, nothing would get us sent to the dog house; we were just ordered to go! 

The doghouse was filled with old books, unfinished rooms, and an old school laundry room, and it felt like doom. The floor was concrete and cold. Leo made a habit of seeing me and kicking me in my ass and shouting, “little bastard!” This was followed by a mumble of “get out of my way!” It was no secret that Leo was grumpy, and we needed to stay out of his way. He would send me straight to the dog house if I didn’t move quick enough or if I crossed his path. Thankfully he was just a mean old man and not a dirty, mean old man. 

Helen was about her business. She wasn’t warm or grandma-like, as you would think. Sometimes she would forget we were down in the dog house, so we would stay for a long time. We better not come out of the dog house without being excused first. And sometimes, Patricia would leave us at Leo and Helen’s overnight or for several days at a time. So Helen would put blankets on the living room floor, where we would sleep until Patricia eventually made the call for Helen to send us to walk home. Patricia was supposed to pay Helen for babysitting us, but she rarely gave her the money she was owed, and she still kept sending us anyway. 

We passed several houses with Dobermann Pinschers chained to the front porch as we walked back and forth. That was the primary way to secure your home and belongings when I was coming up. I will never forget walking the five blocks back home from Helen’s, and one particular day a man called us to his car window. We walked over, and he was sitting naked, masturbating himself. I was with a cousin at the time, and we both screamed and took off running all the way home to the big grey house on 13th street. We told Patricia and the cops were called to the car where the gross man was.

Patricia slept a lot, and she was always taking naps. I didn’t know what depression or mental illness was as a child, but I do now. She was severely depressed due to the divorce, and she felt like a failure as a parent. She would sleep late in the day most days because she stayed up late at night. During school days, I remember waking myself up and getting myself ready for school most days while she slept half of the day away. Anytime she took naps in the day or evening, it was a perfect opportunity for me to sneak off and run wild; it was my way of life!

My Saturday morning cereal and cartoons were an unusual treat in the big grey house. Sometimes I would put clothes on and sneak outside to play until I heard the dreaded yell. Being outside was a great escape for me, and I would try to sneak out as much as possible. I would do wild and crazy things because I was a daredevil. I would climb trees to the top and climb on the rooftops to hang out. I was a tomboy and grew up feeling invincible. 

I have memories of all the neighborhood kids daring me to jump off the roof of the big porch of the grey house and jump down to the ground when Patricia was gone one day. But, of course, I wasn’t scared, and I did it with great pride. I almost felt like I should have won an award for being so brave, but several claps followed by hemming and hawing from all my friends would do. 

Of course, I was not supposed to be outside when Patricia was gone; however, sneaking outside was a full-time job for me from a very early age. I was the queen of sneak. But it was all over as soon as she came back home, and I would hear her shout out the front door, “Pammy, get back in this house!” I knew I would get in trouble, but I didn’t care, so I pretended I didn’t hear her. I continued to sneak anyway, proudly. 

I would hear her yell again a short time later, but I would ride every second of freedom out to the fullest. I didn’t want to go back inside because I knew I would never be allowed to come back outside again. Sneaking was the only option for me. Finally, after hearing Patricia yell for me a second and sometimes a third time, I would mope back inside with a sorrowful aura about myself. The escape to freedom was over. But make no mistakes, I was already planning my next escape adventure!

But for now, onto the constant and never-ending task of catering to and caring for Patricia. “You know better than to go outside without permission!” yelled Patricia. The reality was that I could never go outside, even with permission. This is why I made a run for it any chance I could! Getting in trouble was worth it to get out of the house for a short time. 

I remember walking up to First Avenue to fetch Patricia’s medications from the pharmacy many times as a little girl. As young as six years old, I would cross the busiest street in the city. I guess Patricia’s medications were that important, and it was my job to make sure she didn’t run out of them. One particular day, I was walking home, and my classmate Manuel Gonzales came up to me and asked me what I was doing. I explained that I walked to the pharmacy to pick up my mom’s medication. He asked me to give him one of the pills, and I did. 

He wandered off, and I was stopped by a police car within a few minutes. The officer got out and asked me my name and where I lived. I told him my name was Pamela, and I pointed down the street, and he proceeded to ask me to get in his car so he could take me home. I didn’t understand why; however, Manual ran straight over to the fire department a block down the road and let them know I had given him a pill and that I was walking home with them now. 

We pulled up at the big grey house, and I knew I would get into trouble giving Manual one of Patricia’s pills. The police officer called Patricia to the door and handed her the medication bag. He scolded her for allowing me to cross the busiest street in the city at my age, and he strongly disagreed with her having me pick up her medications at that age. He also said I was carrying the narcotic diazepam, otherwise known as Valiums. The cops gave her a warning, and my ass was grass once they left. That was the last time I ever walked to pick up Patricia’s medications. 

When I didn’t have school, as soon as Patricia was awake for the day, it was time for me to get busy. She created a chore chart the size of a 22×28-inch poster board. Each entry of a chore was a 1/4 of an inch, and the poster board was full of chores. From top to bottom! A few of the tasks were everyday chores most kids can relate to doing, like taking the trash out and making your bed up. Others were strange things like rubbing and massaging Patricia’s back, feet, and legs using lotion, running her bathwater, brushing her hair, and making her bed up. She made me give her enemas while she lay on the bathroom floor, and she would also make me pop all her pimples. Talk about disgusting. Were other kids doing this, I wondered?

In addition, she wanted us to cut coupons for days, file papers in her filing cabinet, and handle other miscellaneous tasks most kids don’t do. We were always in charge of helping her clean piles of clothes and trash off her bedroom floor, changing her bedding, and dusting her bedroom and the whole house. Cleaning and caretaking were embedded in me from a very young age.

The reward was the star sticker system. Each chore was a one-star sticker, and if we got 25 stars, we got a popsicle or a nickel or a dime. The chores were never done, and as soon as we thought we would be close to getting them done, it was a new week and time to start them all over again. Once it was time to give us the little bit of change that was owed to us, we never had the money and bills being due was the reason.

Patricia was a professional at getting people to feel sorry for her, especially churches. As far back as I could remember, we had churches helping us pay our bills and donating us food when we had little to eat. She knew how to turn on the tears at a second’s notice and did a great job telling the story of her husband leaving her for another woman, and she’s a single mother raising two kids with no help or assistance.

The basement was problematic; it was continuously flooded with water, and water bugs were everywhere. We cleaned up all the rotten wood from a failed attempt to create a floor. The wooden floor was created so we could put our toys on it to stay safe from the water, but the water rotted the wood in no time. Our toys were mixed with the mess, so we bagged most of it, hauling them off to the trash. 

If I ever thought my chores were almost done so I could go outside and play, Patricia would insist I entertain her wants and needs. “Pammy, go get me a Pepsi,” and “Pammy, go run my bathwater.” “Pammy, come watch figure skating with me, and you can work on your workbook.” It was never-ending all about her. If getting paid to fetch her Pepsis and massaging her body was a job, I would be a millionaire. 

Spending time with her wasn’t my kind of fun if I had any “fun.” It was her kind of fun. We would watch Lawrence Welk, old-timer television shows, and play Kings Corners. I would help her get her flower beds ready and pull weeds out. She would talk non-stop sharing stories about her life, her family and her childhood. She also spent a lot of time bashing my dad, Thomas and his new wife, Laura. It was clear she held a lot of resentment about the divorce and him and Laura.

I longed to be a regular child who could go outside and play with friends without sneaking and getting in trouble. I would have given anything to be able to have friends over to stay all night, but that was always out of the question. I don’t think I ever had one friend stay all night in all my life, and I can count on one hand the times I stayed at a friend’s house all night. 

One evening when I was five years old, I watched television with Patricia, and we saw a woman giving birth to a baby. “Did I come out of your tummy like that, Mommy?” Her answer would forever change the trajectory of my life. 

She said, “No, honey. You were adopted. That means you came out of another woman’s tummy. She loved you so much, but she couldn’t care for you. She made my dreams come true to be a parent. I will always love her because of her selfless decision.” 

I remember the feelings of total confusion that came over my life. I said, “Who is she, and where is she?” Patricia said, “I don’t know who she is or where she is. The adoption was closed, so all of that information was kept private. I know your birth mother loved you so much, and she wanted you to have a better life.”

After this, I didn’t ask any more questions, but my brain would not stop thinking about my “birth mother.” My thoughts were, “So you mean you aren’t my real parents and my real siblings?” I was blown away at the news of being adopted. I stuffed my feelings out of respect for Patricia’s dreams coming true, but my life would never be the same.

I wish I could share that Melanie and I had a close relationship growing up, but we didn’t. It seemed like Patricia and Melanie were constantly fighting, and with no choice of my own, I was stuck in the middle, left to be the comforter to Patricia. She had constant outbursts that created a living hell in the big grey house. This created an automatic wedge between Melanie and me for as long as I can remember. Things were manageable during the peaceful times in the big grey house, but when all hell broke loose, all hell broke loose. 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*The views and opinions expressed in this article, memoir, and podcast 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

Adoptees, Why Are You So Angry? Over 100 Adoptees Share Heartfelt Feelings

In 2014, I decided to call on my fellow adoptees on the How Does it Feel to Be Adopted? Page to help collaborate and share thoughts from the heart, reflecting the voices almost always overlooked in the adoption constellation. Over 8 years of collecting these submissions, this article collaborates with over 100 Adoptees who share heartfelt feelings on why they are angry from the adult adoptee’s perspective. So, 100 of us came together to capture some of the feelings and experiences adoptees go through during their lifetimes and why we are angry.

The reasons an adopted person might be angry are endless and no two adoptee experiences are the same. We experience healing by sharing our feelings and anger is a natural, normal feeling to the adoptee experience. It can add great fuel to our fire to raise awareness, and bring some light to the dark side of adoption that can and does help promote change.

While you read these submissions, we ask you to remain with an open heart and mind and enter the possibility that we all have a lot to learn from one another. We must recognize that adopted children grow up, reach adulthood, and consume adoption’s rollercoaster journey. We are mothers, fathers, sisters, cousins, doctors, nurses, teachers, public speakers, advocates, writers, authors, D.J’s, lawyers, homemakers, students, etc. As we grow up, we host lifelong experiences, and every experience holds value to our lives and stories. The adoptees submitted their quotes anonymously to protect their privacy for this collaboration. Some submissions are short and quaint, and some are longer filled with highs and lows of the adoptee experience. Remember, it’s taken me 8 years to complete this article, and every submission holds immeasurable value to the adoptee experience.

By sharing why adoptees are angry with the world, we hope that a new level of awareness will arise that there is so much more to adoption than what society recognizes. Perhaps love isn’t enough, or a house full of stuff? Perhaps we should start talking about relinquishment trauma as soon as possible? Maybe adoption hurts more than we would ever know?

Again, we ask for open hearts and open minds.

Thank you to each adoptee who shared their heart here many moons ago and the new submissions I received in the last 8 years to add to this article. While reading this article, you will validate that you are not alone. We’re in this together, and our voices are valuable and worthy.

We are stronger together.

I asked a straightforward question, “ADOPTEES, WHY ARE YOU SO ANGRY?”

Over 100 adoptees chimed in.

Here are their responses.

  1. “Lack of identity. Lack of origin. Adoption being about our adoptive parent’s pain which eclipses our own, feeling like an outsider. Feeling helpless. Bullying. Discrimination. Systematic discrimination. Legal discrimination. Being forced to lead someone else’s life and not my own. Searching for an identity in all we know. Having to identify with painful backstories of pop culture icons whose worlds have been destroyed (superman, Mr. Spock, Starlord, the punisher, the list goes on). Feeling like your life is a movie because we’ve been introduced as a supplemental characters in our own story with no history. Having to grow up too fast. Being told we’re lucky. Being asked about our ‘real’ parents, being looked at like an alien. Being told, there’s a reason for our suffering without being told the reason. Feeling worthless because nobody values OUR needs. Feeling like there’s no end in sight. An inability to believe in ourselves because we believe there is something intrinsically wrong with us. Having to constantly wonder if the people you may know on Facebook are somehow related. Feeling the same feeling when walking down the street—having to wonder when starting a new relationship whether or not they’re your sibling or cousin—never being able to feel 100% comfortable in the said relationship because of that. Feeling like love is someone leaving you. Never finishing anything because of a lack of closure.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “My own FAMILY gave me a way to strangers. My grandmother lied to and coerced my mother to feel she had no other choice because my grandmother cared more about what the neighbors thought than my mother or me. The government conspired with my grandmother to ensure that my mother wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone unsupervised by my grandmother, so she had no opportunity to discuss or truly discover what SHE wanted. Even though the government KNEW full well that my father wanted to raise me even if my mother didn’t, they told him he had no rights to me and gave me to strangers when they COULD EASILY have allowed me to be kept within my own family.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Some members of my adoptive family always treated me like an outsider. I never fit into my adoptive family. I’m not like the rest of them – even those who have been nice to me. All the other kids at school knew I was adopted and would tell me that their parents had said that my real mother didn’t love me and didn’t want me.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Other people have always acted like THEY know better and have told me how I should feel and what I should or should not do. Other people gave me search advice that I wish I hadn’t taken because my mother DIED before I found her, and if I’d just called around, I’d have found her before that. Other people told me what to call my natural family, and I wish I hadn’t felt obligated to listen because it’s NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “People do not allow us to grieve. Try telling someone your mother died and hearing, “It’s just as well.” or “You’re overreacting. You didn’t even know her.” I’m angry because my right to grieve was stolen along with my history. If I had been allowed to grieve and share my feelings as a child, I might not be as angry as an adult. Unfortunately, I’m just now grieving my losses. And yes, ANGER is a stage of that grief.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I was told a lie most of my life by my adoptive parents. Why are we raised to tell the truth and not lie, but adoption lies are okay? Lying is not okay. I would rather know my hardcore history [My truth] than being lied to my entire life by those who are supposed to love me the most.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I was not told I was adopted until I was in my 30s, and it’s very disempowering, plus quite a shock to find out at that age.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I grew up feeling completely out of place and ALWAYS have wondered about where I came from, and here I am- a grown adult who is STILL being denied that knowledge by other people. I am angry because I have had to put myself (and private information) out there for the world to see for only a tiny CHANCE of finding my biological identity. I am angry because I have feelings that get poo-pooed by other people who have never been in my shoes. I am angry because I am being treated like a perpetual child. Like I’m not “allowed” to want to know and that I don’t deserve to know, and most of the people with those thoughts get to know exactly where THEY came from!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I’m in my 50s and still not allowed access to my birth certificate – even though I found all of my family member’s years ago. I’m angry that there is still a lack of support for family preservation in favor of adoption. I’m angry that having more money allows certain adopters to pull wanted children away from their families. I’m angry that so many childless people claiming to care about children only want to get themselves a baby and not help older children in foster care or even vulnerable families in their community. I’m angry that whenever adoptees attempt to speak their truth and call for changes in the system, they are silenced, called “ungrateful” and “angry,” and told they just had a “bad experience.” I’m angry that the industry is pulling in thousands of dollars at the expense of vulnerable children. I will continue to be “angry” to try to affect change for today’s children and those yet unborn.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because everyone expected me to forget my first family & expected me to be thankful for the biggest loss of my life—an entire family. I’m angry because of my adoptive parent’s gain; I lost a lifetime of memories that can’t be replaced with my biological family members.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I was taken away from my country, culture, and native language. Not only that but I was lied to, which was pretty stupid as I was transracially adopted! My name was taken away from me. I was taken away from me, and I was renamed. If they had used my Chinese name as a middle name, that would have been fine but I wasn’t even afforded that option. What makes me even angrier is that I see 21st-century white adoptive parents making exactly the same “mistakes” or decisions as my unenlightened 60’s adoptive parents did. At least they had an excuse; ideas about culture and identity had yet to be formed, etc. But today, what’s the excuse? There is none.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m not angry. I’m hurt. I’m hurt that my birth Mother thinks the system failed her. I’m hurt that my natural citizenship from Canada was taken away from me. I’m hurt that I was taken away from my birth father. I’m hurt that I was discarded both as a baby and an adult after the reunion. I’m hurt that my birth mother cares more about what others think than how I feel. I’m not angry; please don’t mistake hurt for anger.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because if we feel any negativity towards being taken from our roots, heritage, and FAMILIES, it’s seen as anger and dismissed. Why can’t we just be sad that we have lost so much? I am mostly sad, but I am furious that the government decided I would be better off with a married couple without any other support than my loving single mother. The latter could raise me herself and had a HUGE extended family. I’m angry that no checks were done other than to check their marriage certificate. That certificate didn’t take away the dysfunction and abuse in the marriage.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “It gets me angry that I fucking don’t know the beginning of my own life! How am I supposed to live a life when I don’t know how it started?” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry that we are made to feel ashamed if we express anger because we should be grateful. That our anger is seen as unjustified and that we must have some mental health problem if we are so angry; rather than a normal reaction to a tragedy.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am an angry adoptee because not only was I given up for adoption, but so were my four siblings. Thankfully, I did find them all.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Well, I have struggled with anger my entire life. I am a 48-year-old adoptee, and my Adoptive Father was also an adoptee. We BOTH had/have anger issues. It stems from fear of abandonment, I believe. Anger can creep up in the strangest places. I call these “triggers.” Because we have experienced abandonment at birth, we may not remember it, but it is imprinted on our psyche, and we carry that with us our entire lives. Our brains are also hard-wired around this event. I also believe that we intuitively know that we do not want to be abandoned again. So, we will do everything humanly possible to avoid anything we perceive as abandonment. I have read tons of books on adoption and its effects on the adoptee, which is the conclusion I have come to for today. Our brains are not fully developed at birth. When babies are taken away from our birth mother, we immediately go into fight or flight mode. Our brains at this age cannot regulate and handle all the stress that we are experiencing and our systems become overloaded with cortisol which changes how the pathways in our brand-new brains are wired. As a result, I also believe that experiencing this at birth tells us that we are not worthy, capable, or entitled to basic necessities and comforts in life. Anger is also a mask for other emotions that we “believe” we cannot or are not allowed to feel for fear of abandonment. I can ” become angry whenever I feel sadness, fear, loneliness, STRESS, being left out (This is a HUGE, HUGE trigger for me), or many other feelings. If I stop and think, “What is the underlying emotion that I am feeling right now” or “What is causing me to feel anger right now?” I can often avert the anger and deal with what I am really feeling – not always, though. Asking for help is another HUGE trigger for me simply because I have three teenage children who do not always want to help out at home. If I am having a low energy day and cannot follow through with asking for what I NEED help with, I often become angry. I become angry when I am overwhelmed. The thoughts in my head also tell me incorrect ideas that lead me to believe that I cannot ask for help – for fear of abandonment. Thankfully, I am learning to overcome this after many years of hard work. My thoughts also tell me that I cannot do nice things for myself because 1. I cannot afford it, 2. I do not have time, 3. My chores are not done. Etc., Etc., Etc. I also have a terrible habit of reading into the thoughts and feelings of others. If these people do not read my mind and act the way I “Need” them to, I become angry.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I have been married for 25 years to a wonderful man who is patient and kind. I STILL, to this day, become outraged over silly little things – all because I do not communicate my needs, feelings, or wants (in a healthy way), AND I can provide myself adequate “Downtime” consistently due to fear of abandonment. Here is one example. My husband is a hunter, and he plans two hunting trips every year. Every year we talk and put the trips on the calendar. Every year I become angry at him during this time for several reasons: 1. He is preoccupied with planning for and packing for the trip. (I feel left out) 2. I have not planned a “Getaway” for myself in YEARS! (This makes me feel guilty and sad and worn out etc., etc.).” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “In a nutshell, I think we adult adoptees have hidden triggers that creep up in several predictable and sometimes unpredictable places in our lives. These triggers cause us to feel anger because we are covering up emotions that we do not feel we should feel for fear of abandonment.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “The bottom line is that we had no voice & no choice. It left most of us feeling disenfranchised. It affects every aspect of our lives & our sense of self-worth. It’s as though we were just thrown away to be bought & sold to fulfill someone else’s needs rather than ours. Even as adults, we have to fight to gain any knowledge of our own personal health & family history, nationality & religious backgrounds, much less to know if we have biological relatives, & to claim our birth certificates. To get anywhere on our searches costs money & we have to face the potential for rejection from both our adoptive & biological families for doing it. People who were raised in their own family of origin get to take all of that for granted.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I don’t have the basic right to be who I am, and I have a law that prevents me most of my life from talking to my own mother and father, while strangers who were married took me because they wanted to and because adoption is a form of slavery and child trafficking.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Ambiguous grief. Why can’t you be grateful? Most adoptees are. Coercion. No one offered to help my first mother raise me. So much for helping “widows and orphans” Hijacking holy writ for personal or financial gain. Interesting that “orphans and widows” are often mentioned together in the sacred texts, implying vulnerable mothers and children. I remember one important man turning over some tables or something with the money changers. Hijacked identity. Give me my OBC.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Decades lost with my siblings that wouldn’t have been without closed adoption.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry that the state feels I’m incapable of knowing who my biological parents are, that the adoption industry is profiting by human trafficking and that so many adoptive parents are so insecure that they are threatened by us wanting to know our truths.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because most adoptive parents don’t have the willingness to read something like this to help understand adoptees better. They label us and say, “we just had a bad adoption experience.” Adoption in itself is a bad experience, yet they refuse to listen to us! The world refuses to listen to us! Well, someone better be angry because of all the voiceless adoptees who haven’t made it on this earth. Who’s going to stand up for them? Adoptees who attempt suicide are 4x more likely than non-adoptees. When are you people going to start listening to adult adoptees? Do we have to make lists like this so you won’t shut us down? WAKE UP. I will continue to be angry until you WAKE UP! Someone has to be angry for change to happen! #ihaveavoice I will use it!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because, for 57 years, I wasted my time thinking I had to fit in with my adopted family. I am angry because I was treated as an outsider no matter what my adoptive parents said when they had their own kids. I am angry that the government made it almost impossible for me to connect with my biological mother. I am angry when I think back to incidents where I desperately needed my adoptive mother to hug me, and she never did. When I needed my adoptive parents to listen, they never did. I am angry that they always treated me differently, and then they totally rejected me when I was a teen. But mostly, I am angry that it took me this long to realize that these people are not worth my time or effort.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am not angry; I am hurt. I grew up in complete filth. I was abandoned at the hospital when I was born. My adoptive mother was in and out of psych wards my whole life, and my adoptive father was Satan in disguise. I had no upbringing. I searched for my health. My adoptive mother told me I would not be able to walk when I hit my thirties, and at 34, I lost some vision and live with extreme muscle pain. I am angry because I sound desperate. I almost feel like a person begging for food. Am I wrong because I want to know where I come from? Am I wrong because, for once, I want to feel like I belong? I am more desperate now than ever. I wonder all the time looking at my 17 and 14 years old. Are they okay? I cry secretly because I wish I could be a better mom like I used to be without these health issues.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Anger is a part of the grief & loss process. No one told me I could grieve my losses growing up, so I’m doing it now. I’m 62. Every day is a struggle. I just want to know. I will not burden my birth mother. I would never blame or yell. I want answers, and I have a right to know.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Because anger gives me the energy to handle all the hurts; if I were just to feel my sadness, I would fall into a depression. A bit of anger helps me keep my head above water to fight for adoption laws to change for adoptions to be open, ethical, and more support services. I work in adoptions because I am angry with people not doing adoptions correctly, and I want to be a part of the solution and help change and influence those around me. I am angry because I did not get a say. My loss was and still is not validated. I still don’t get a say. My reunion was 24 years ago. My adoptive parents died 20 years ago, yet I cannot unadopt myself. I cannot legally be my mother’s daughter or my father’s daughter. This makes me angry that I do not have the same self-determination as non-adoptees.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Sometimes I have no idea why I am angry; self-worth and abandonment seem to be at the center of the feelings that do not always make sense. Angry because we are told how we should feel, but our feelings are not validated, even in our own families.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “What causes me anger as an adoptee was having to hold back my feelings as a child, and of course still now as an adult, with my adoptive parents to protect their feelings, as if theirs were the only ones that mattered. They certainly made it loud and clear that theirs mattered more than mine when it came to wanting to search for my birth mom and asking too many questions about her because they made it very clear from the get-go that they would be very hurt if I searched for her. I did it anyway in secret and found her as an adult. I am also angry that the adoptee’s voice counts for nothing.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because the government says I have no right to know who I am or where I came from….that the 14th amendment doesn’t apply to me.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I’m expected to be grateful for losing my mother. Non-adoptees take so much for granted and are unwilling to understand our loss and grief. If one more fucking person tells me I’m lucky, I’m ready to give them an earful. I had to disguise my grief so as not to upset my adopters. I’m angry that I was given to people old enough to be my grandparents who thought a shed was an appropriate home. They didn’t legally adopt me till I was 16, and they kept that a secret, although all my ‘friends’ knew. I’m angry that I don’t belong with either my adoptive or birth families. They’re aliens to me. I didn’t search till it was too late. My mother was dead. I delayed because I didn’t want to hurt my adopters! My male adopter (I wouldn’t dignify him with the title father) was an abusive drunk. They were insensitive to my feelings. They never talked about my adoption. Well, there wasn’t one when I was growing up. They were clueless that I was seriously depressed. I hate them, and I hate my birth relatives. They, too, are insensitive. My cousin showed me a ring from my mother’s, never thinking that I’m her daughter and it should be mine. Why am I angry? Sheesh!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I think frustrated is a better descriptor than angry. Frustrated and over being silenced, lied to, and treated like wayward children.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I’ve never seen my own birth certificate. I’m angry because I was lied to for 34 years. I didn’t discover I was adopted until I was an adult, when my birth mother found me. The “better” family I went to was emotionally and physically abusive. I’m angry that I missed knowing my biological family for so long. My birth mom searched for ten years before finding me. Numerous relatives, including my birth father, died during that time. Health history would have been treasured (thus avoiding several tests I “needed” based on adoptive family history). I’m angry because no one supported my mother in raising me instead of making me out to be a shameful secret. I’m angry that my adoptive family denied my mental health issues when they would have been addressed openly in my bio family (all my siblings have some kind of issue that the family deals with openly and honestly). I’m angry that my birth mom didn’t make the cake at my wedding. I’m angry that we have missed so many important days together.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m not angry as much as I’m hurt. I believe I was discarded and sold (the way adoption agencies work). I was raised in a VERY dysfunctional family, and as a result, I feel like I can’t speak the truth to my biological family about how I was raised. I don’t think anyone has ever loved me, wanted me or cared about me without an ulterior motive. I’ve been alone my whole life. I’m hurt because people use words like “we know what’s best for you,” and that’s a lie. They know what’s best for them or what they want. And now, I lie to my adopted family that it’s okay that a mother raised me with mental health issues, and I lie to my bio-family that I had a happy childhood (I’m trying to protect them). The truth is, I was born alone and will probably die alone, and everybody will say they did their best. As a 9-year-old, when my ‘adoption issues’ first presented, I was told that adoption had nothing to do with any of my issues. After that, a lockstep of denial that adoption had any ill effects was the party line in my AP’s house. My adoptive mother abused and neglected me, and my adoptive father did nothing to stop it. Yes, I have anger at the adoption industry that continues to profit off my pain.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I’m in-between two females being my mother, yet when I met one’s family, they all say I look like them. I can’t have my OBC, and my adoptive parents know who my birth mother is and her last name but will not tell me. I’ve been lied to and abused, and I’m downright sick of the lies.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because my birth father’s rights were stripped. In the 1970s, things were much different, but it’s still happening today! This makes me angry. I missed out on a lifetime with him and my sibling. This can’t be undone or replaced.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because the government does not deem me worthy of having my original birth certificate. Even my dogs have their original birth certificates; I, however, am not allowed to have mine. I would NOT change anything about my life insofar as being adopted, my adopted parents – who were the best parents anyone could have ever had — the only thing I ask for is being treated with respect as a human being – I have the right to know who I am, where I come from and who I come from and my ancestry – I don’t think that’s asking too much.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “My parents adopted me and then treated me like shit. People always ask me, “Why did they adopt you?” It’s the million-dollar question. The closest I could come to was that I was a lemon for them, and they had buyer’s remorse. For some reason, I still hung on from the fringes, and it wasn’t until I read this page that it occurred to me that I could simply let go and just walk away from the pain of being an outcast in my immediate adoptive family. I haven’t yet let go, and maybe I won’t, but it sucks to feel like you were rejected twice and still feel a connection to people who, for all insensitive purposes, don’t want me. It does give me some measure of comfort that at some point, should I choose to, I can decide to divorce my family and just be me, not defined by them and all that I endured as their “Mistake.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry that my adopted mother was so desperate for a child that she ignored the wishes of my natural Mother. I know she knew. I’m angry that my natural Grandmother was a coward who sent the Doctor in to pull me away. I’m angry at my natural Grandfather, who said he’d throw my mom out on the street if she kept me. I’m angry that there was no advocate for her and me and that it wasn’t anyone in her family. I’m angry at the pain she went through, enough to experience the feeling of not wanting to be because I love her.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I was robbed of my culture and heritage, and I’m not a transracial adoptee. I was adopted by a couple who were not good parents – they were extreme narcissists who demanded a culture of denial. I figured out early that it was my job to meet their needs (not the other way around). They allowed a grandfather to abuse me sexually, and although they knew it was going on, they kept that man as a member of the family. Just another indignity an 8-year-old had to endure to keep the peace. I was verbally ridiculed and minimized and physically abused. I kept quiet until I was in my 50s. Now old family friends don’t want to believe it and want to cast me as an ungrateful adoptee. Ungrateful for what? I’d like to add that I don’t thank my biological mother for giving me life. I don’t know why this is part of the social myth of adoption. Either have us and keep us or don’t have us, but don’t have us and give us away, and try to claim some moral high ground. Being abandoned and left to strangers creates deep wounds that last a lifetime and are passed to the next generation. Many times I considered suicide. After all, my history, culture, and identity were killed, what part of me is left?” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “This is the anger talking, which comes from the deep well of hurt we carry. We may be fortunate enough to find our strength and self-esteem, but we often don’t feel valued by the world, so our self-worth sucks. I am angry that we must work hard to overcome adoption to survive and thrive. I’m angry that many of us can’t.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because a social worker shut down my search when I was fifteen by telling me that my biological mother probably wasn’t as interested in me as I was in her. Forty years later, I searched again, only to find both parents dead.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because the loneliness and genetic confusion of adoption are passed down to the next generation when our kids don’t know who their true ancestors are unless we undertake a financially and emotionally costly search that is fraught with obstacles, rejection, and ignorant “experts.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because the non-adoption community is bloody ignorant yet full of self-righteous opinions. I’m angry because adoption is child trafficking pure and simple, and has become glamorized by Hollywood and the powerful – so that adoptees don’t have a voice.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m now in my 50s. I am still angry (that’s not the right word – I’m furious, enraged, deeply saddened, distraught) about being given away. My adoption was miserable. I felt disconnected, filled with self-loathing, and inferior. I was told I was special, but how could I be special when I felt dirty and bad inside. My adoptive mother was abusive and completely dominated my adoptive father. I think she was probably a narcissistic personality – she wanted children because it was part of her perfect package but couldn’t accept my sister and me for the people we were. I wasn’t their child. I wasn’t what they wanted. I was their last resort. The other week, I suddenly burst into tears in public at the thought that my birth mother had abandoned me in a children’s home at four weeks old. I’ve never done that before. I suppose that was grief showing itself – and I’m scared that so much grief is still inside me. Unlike many adoptees, I found my birth parents. And for me, this was the twist in the tail. Both my birth parents are self-absorbed and irresponsible. Much to my disbelief, I discovered that my birth mother had the choice to keep me – a former boyfriend who still cared about her and wanted to marry her and raise me as his own child. But she chose not to, telling me it wouldn’t have been right because she didn’t love him. A year later, she went ahead and married him anyway. And on top of that, when I met her, she used me to try to re-establish contact with my birth father. I understand that losing a child to adoption caused her irreparable pain. But I have no words to describe what I’ve lived with throughout my life and what that discovery did to me – the self-doubt, the hatred, the isolation blew up almost out of control. Adoption is destruction. The ties are broken and can’t be fixed. A baby’s development, emotional and mental, is radically altered by the adoption experience. Why, when so many ‘minority’ groups can have a voice in society, are the voices of adoptees still smothered? I detest the hypocrisy that human life is sacred – if we truly believed that, adoption, as it is now, would no longer exist. Don’t have a child and give it away. Keep it, or don’t go through with the pregnancy.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I have said I choose who my family is. The thing about that is that they don’t feel the same about you. People always treat their blood differently. They care about them more. They will do more for them. On top of that, I ended up in a family I don’t mesh with. I struggle to socialize with them. I don’t know-how. My parents love me as their own, and the extended family doesn’t. I also feel I have a right to know who I am. I am stuck in this never-ending identity crisis.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry that the court, which symbolizes justice, approved and arranged for me to live out my life as a secret (it was a closed adoption) even from myself. I am angry that I normalized being a secret to the point that I was willing to participate in other relationships where I was required to be a secret. I couldn’t see the selfishness and the lack of respect these people were showing me. Like a child, I still believed I was still being protected by being kept a secret! I am also angry about being a receptacle for the shame, resentment, and disappointment both my mothers feel about their actions. Lastly, I am angry about how non-adopted people responded when I searched. Eventually, I experienced a secondary rejection from my birth mother. People asked about the well-being of both sets of parents at this time. Some expressed sorrow and compassion for my birth mother, who rejected me. Others praised my adoptive parents for their patience and support. No one asked me how I was doing or felt about being rejected again. When I tried to voice my feelings, someone said, “Hey, this isn’t a competition, you know.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Angry; since my older sister turned seventeen and decided to seek out our biological mom, my adopted mother believes she is a victim. In some cases, she may be, but that didn’t give her the right to treat me any differently because I wanted to know where I came from. It is years later, and I do NOT even talk to my biological family, none of them. In my adopted family’s eyes, I am now an adult and on my own, which I agree with, but please, let the past go. No matter what decision I made, It was “MY” decision. Some information for anyone thinking about adopting; NOT everyone will want to meet their biological families, but if they do, don’t hold it against them; or think they do not love you.”- Adult Adoptee

  1. “I was having a bad day, and finally I journaled and what I am most angry about and hurt about adoption is why I could not be loved? What was so difficult about loving a child? I was never told. I, too, am angry that the government or anyone else who helped keep me a “secret.” I do love my adoptive parents and always will. (They both passed three years ago). In saying that, it’s also because I have had to forgive them for finally letting go. I now understand all my feelings growing up, and how I was mistreated finally made sense. I don’t know what it’s like to have that “unconditional” love. I was always looking to be a part of another family. I asked if I was adopted several times growing up, and I was told “NO.” I have no contact with my siblings. Everything was always in my “head.” I was also raised in the military. My biological father was KIA before I was born. So many lies & secrets. I always used to feel like I wasn’t good enough. “It’s my fault what happened to me.” I make excuses for their behavior. I have had to learn to let go of people finally. I have P.T.S.D, and there are lots of triggers. I need to start talking about how adoption hurt me and how many times I have been wounded. How the hell am I going to make it through this?” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry that my birth and my history are still huge questions on my mind, although I’ve been in a reunion for 20 years. I’m angry that people feel the need to keep secrets about MY past and birth. Most of all, I’m angry because I’ve doubted myself and questioned what’s wrong with me my entire life; why can’t somebody answer these questions? Sometimes it’s life or death.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I wasn’t even adopted. I think I was stolen from my mother, dying from hunger and depression. Loneliness, stigma, trauma, abuse, PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, sleep hyper-vigilance, distrust from others, nature, nurture, and the environment, and being rejected by everyone, mocked at, and humiliated for being different. People around either neglect or despise the facts, call me boring and are totally insensitive, and never listen to an adoptee’s reasons. The Primal wound, that is, the separation from mother, is a disintegration of the self, and no one cares about us. We are faced with terror and abuse, and no one cares because usually, It’s a life of lies and lots of repressed rages which we are forbidden to express. Adding to this, I was hated by my adoptive family. It’s tough to survive after all that. Nothing seems credible, long-lasting, or possible. It’s torture and only through an immense amount of self-sacrifices (tragic sacrifices, self-victimization, etc.) did I survive.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry that so many people think we as adoptees should be grateful because our adoptive parents saved us, so we should shut our mouths to any gripes we have about them and be eternally thankful towards them. I am angry that I never felt like I fit in and that I had a huge identity crisis my entire life until I found my birth parents to confirm what I did internally know about myself so that I felt explained and I felt like I understood why I was the way I am so I didn’t feel so out of place, I finally feel accepted and finally know why I was drawn to all I was drawn to, why I react to things as I do and where my talents and interests and values and quirks come from.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry that I have to live a double life as a 37-year-old to hide from my adoptive parents that I have found my birth mom to protect their feelings because it’s all about them, which as a parent of my own biological child, it should never be that way, IMHO. When I say these things, I’m angry that I get told I just had a bad adoption experience. I’m angry that adoption truth is hidden along with my identity and family. The most sacred bond of family is destroyed by adoption, cruel and barbaric, extreme, insanity; imagine preventing family association, absolutely disgusting!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I am 52 years old and have been brainwashed all of my life to believe that I was “chosen” while the fact that I was torn away from my natural mother was swept under the rug like it didn’t matter or wouldn’t have an impact on me for the rest of my life. I am angry because if my 15-year-old mother had received the support she needed to keep me, I might have known what it’s like to feel whole instead of being judged, shamed, and beaten down. I am angry because my adoptive parents weren’t educated on the problems I would have due to being torn away from my natural mother. I did not receive the validation, recognition, or support I needed to deal with that trauma. I am angry that even though I have met and connected with my natural family for 34 years, I still don’t fit or feel whole. I am angry that these things are still happening in 2018 to other innocent babies and children who are expected to fulfill everyone else’s needs while being ‘trained’ to ignore and bury their own needs. Needs that go unrecognized, unacknowledged, and unsupported by the vast majority of society, medical and mental health professionals, religious institutions, child welfare agencies, and discriminatory laws.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Why do we have to be labeled as Angry? That makes me Angry. I’m lost in pain. I should be; I was rejected in the womb and ripped away from the womb, and placed in unfamiliar surroundings as a baby. It’s haunting. I’m tired of all the labels placed on me, mental, angry, angry adopted child. I’m not mental, and I’m not angry. I’m hurt. It hurts me that they give so much attention to the parents and not the baby or child. I get it that it’s got to be hard giving your baby away, but it’s 100 times harder on the baby. We all know what it takes to make a baby, and if you don’t want to deal with the pain of giving a baby away, don’t make one. If I want to be hurt or angry, I have that right, and it doesn’t make me bad.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because my mother never believed that her family (cousins) said racist things to me. “She’s not really our cousin; look how dirty her skin is.” (5 years old) She made blood more important. I’m angry because she made me compete with a child who never existed. “You’re the only fat family member.” I am angry because the parent that understood me and loved me as me died, and I am left with a dependent abusive alcoholic narcissist who can hide her true self from everyone else. Everyone allows her to drink, and when she’s at the point where she’s no longer fun, they dump her onto me, and I hear about how I am a “disappointing alien child. To find your real parents cause you’re a selfish, ungrateful thing I regret.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I have no idea who I am or where I come from. I’ve met my biological mother, with absolutely no connection there. I asked her who my father was; she told me she didn’t remember. I call bullshit! When I tell my wife about things like this, she says,” Did you consider how she feels?” I say it’s not about her, remember? She had a choice. My biological mother has never made any attempts to tell her story, so again I don’t know. I remember growing up and people telling me how ” lucky ” I was because I was chosen? Oh, yea? Give it some time, and tell yourself how lucky you are. I’m 48 years old and still feel at odds with everything around me. I feel like I’m either ten years ahead or ten years behind. I have serious trust issues, even with friends. I wonder if I will ever have peace in my life.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am justifiably angry that adoptive parents and society put so much effort into being saviors, meeting their own needs and not ours, and expecting us to be eternally grateful. Why not have placed more effort in helping my family stay together and keep me as a part of it. For that, I would not only have been grateful, but I would also be functional with none of the burden of the primal wound I carry today from not only being separated from my parents but from being sexually and emotionally abused for eight years by the family I was given to. Better off, I beg to differ.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry that my birth and my history are still a huge question on my mind although I’ve been in reunion for 20 years. I’m angry that people feel the need to keep secrets about MY past and birth. Most of all, I’m angry because I’ve doubted myself and questioned what’s wrong with me my entire life. Why can’t somebody answer these questions? Sometimes it’s life or death.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I was two years old when my mother fainted from hunger and exhaustion, and I was sort of kidnapped to awake in the arms of strangers. The aftermath was that I was bullied, made fun of by everyone in the village, and stalked, put down because I was the unworthy, dirty, shitty blood of a miserable beggar, and I would never make it through in life. I’m angry because I was denied grief. After all, the extended adoptive family rejected me. I couldn’t contact my family of origin because shit is contagious. I tried to run away from home, I tried suicide with Valium at thirteen, and no one cared about my inhuman suffering. I suffered from hypervigilance so much, so limited, and had to put a false front on being well, and I became thinner and thinner. Although my parents knew, they were ashamed and denied the disease (my torture) until I was near death at 21.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I applied for my adoption information from children’s aid, and they knew who my birth mother was, but they never told me even tho legally they should have. It didn’t stop me. I found her anyway. Now I know my medical history, but the doctors are not taking me seriously or believing what I found. If I wasn’t adopted, I could say any medical history and just be believed. I grieve for my family and my sisters and brothers, and since there is no place for that grief, it turns to hardened anger over time.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because the adoptive family was extremely abusive to me. They had a biological son who could do no wrong. I, however, was blamed for everything! My adoptive mother told everyone not to believe anything I said because I was a “Chronic Liar.” It hurt horribly. Later, I realized it was because she didn’t want anyone to know that her husband was an abusive alcoholic and her son was sexually assaulting me and beating me regularly. She was afraid I would tell someone, and they would believe me. She told everyone how bad I was and would pit her son against me with flashcards to show how smarter he was. She would punish me if I got the math problems wrong. The three of them called me horrible names. Her husband was a racist and told me one day that he would kill me if I ever dated a black man! Their son saw me talking to a black male friend at school. He came home and told them I had a black boyfriend. My adoptive mom took me to the doctor to determine if I were still a virgin! I was accused of being a slut! When I found my bio family, my aunt told me that my adoptive father had visited them and told them he would bring me by to meet them. He was drunk and could barely stand up. He never returned. He never told me they lived a few short miles from me. I never knew they even existed. I found them after I married, years later! There are many more reasons why I’m so angry; however, it would take me years to write them all!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry on behalf of that defenseless baby boy who had no say in the matter and is still, at 50 (me), has no say in the matter. Like all other relinquishees/adoptees, I have suffered undiagnosed complex PTSD from the moment my mother relinquished me until now. I have been expected to function as well as ‘normal’ people; needless to say, I have been handicapped in competing, but no one acknowledged that handicap. I was relinquished by my mother, then again by a foster mother, and again by a second foster mother to finally be adopted, all within six months of my birth. Unsurprisingly, I have been unable to cognitively function all my life, suffering very frequent inexplicable ‘mental blocks’ resulting in minimal productivity. Although I am educated to an MA level, I am inevitably regarded as ‘slow’ in the workplace. After ‘failing’ in no less than 30 of the most menial jobs, I have finally given up as unemployable (you can only bang your head against the wall so many times before continuing to do so becomes a silly idea), intending to confront head-on the reason for this tragic pattern. I need therapy but can’t afford it. Only other adoptees who have escaped their own denial mechanisms can acknowledge invisible internal injury. Since no one has pleaded the cause of this baby boy (me), rather actually or implicitly, all have told me to “let it go!” (how ironic); until now, I am simply going to have to do it myself. I am LIVID with humanity that no one could be bothered, not even myself, until now: it’s taken 50 years for someone to speak up for him and that someone is himself: truly sickening! 1968 Mosley, Birmingham, UK, ‘closed reinquishee/adoptee.’ SPEAK OUT FOR ALL SUCH INNOCENT VICTIMS OF WHOM THERE ARE MILLIONS!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I was secreted away into an illegal adoption and lived all my life feeling like a dirty secret. My biological Mom checked into the hospital under my adoptive Mother’s name, so on paper, it looks like I ‘belong’ to her and my adoptive Father. There’s no original birth certificate to try to petition for; there’s no non-identifying information to peruse. From the very beginning, my entire life has been a fraud, a complete fraud that I was supposed to be ‘thankful’ for. I was lucky enough to find my bio Mom and try to get to know her for a year and five months before she died. We were both so guarded that we never let our walls down to get to know each other truly. I protected her feelings as many of us adoptees do and never told her of the hell she put me in by giving me to my adoptive family. They didn’t know how to love me. They were abusive physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. I went without basic needs for most of my childhood and was told to be thankful because ‘No one wanted me.’ I should feel lucky because I could have been aborted or thrown in the trash, but they saved me like a stray fucking dog, and I should just be thankful. I wasn’t given ‘up’; I was certainly handed down to the depths of hell and told to be thankful. Finding my biological Mom and family showed me that they were a pretty functional tight-knit family that had each other’s back no matter what, but I didn’t have that growing up. I felt so sad and hurt that I couldn’t be a part of that then and not now either. My Mom is dead, and the connection to the rest of the family died when she did. We’re all just strangers, and our link has been gone now for 14 years. Recently, 21 days ago, I found my biological father. All the info my bio Mom gave me was completely false. I think the truth lies that she didn’t know who my father was, and she didn’t trust me enough not to hate her if she told me that, so she just made up a story and a name to go with it. My Father had no idea that my Mom was even pregnant, let alone that he had a 42-year-old daughter out, lost in the world wondering who the fuck she was all this time. He has embraced me with open arms and tells me that I’m the light of his life. Finally, I have the love and acceptance I have craved since I came out of the womb, but I don’t know how to take it. I don’t know how to accept goodness and truly feel it without conflict. I feel I’m betraying everyone in my adoptive family, although betrayal is what they deserve and more. I’m just so fucking mad that I’ve had to stuff these emotions my entire life to make everyone else comfortable with their lie. The lie that they based my life on and then called me crazy and mentally ill. What the fuck would they do if the tables were turned? I doubt they would persevere the way I have. I am an angry, fucked up complete badass, and I will conquer this. I WILL right this lie one step at a time with my truth. I’m no longer living in the shadows of what they think I should be, what they think I should think, and what they think I should feel. Fuck them!! And I’m done being ‘thankful’ for the pure hell and torture they put me through. Done!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am a 58-year-old international adoptee. Yesterday, I asked four adoptive family members why they voted for Trump because I was so upset at seeing innocent children separated from their parents at the Mexico-California border. None of them asked why I needed to know, and I thought I was out of line for asking them. They told me I was rude and didn’t want to know why I wanted to know. They were uninterested in finding out that I felt betrayed by them for lifelong callousness to brown immigrants when I am also one. It doesn’t matter to them to understand how the plight of these children, who will be traumatized for life by the cruelty of Trump, could possibly relate to my situation as a 58-year-old adoptee to their Christian family. They refused to acknowledge that the death of my original mother and separation from my original father, sister, and brother, all in one day, and soon after separation from my original country, culture, language, and empowerment is a valid loss that deserved to be acknowledged. Instead, I was dismissed by my adoptive family as a whining selfish ingrate. I was adopted at age four and told that I was their fifth choice of a child after four fruitless searches for a white baby in Illinois. My adoptive Christian family frequently told me that I was selfish and ungrateful because I cried every day for 18 months. My adoptive mother told me to be silent or she would give me something to cry about. Every day for 18 months, I hid in the closet and cried/screamed into a pillow, trying to keep quiet so I wouldn’t be hit for making noise. No one to this day, 54 years later, has even figured out that I lost four blood family members in such a short time. One adoptive cousin, age 60, was surprised that I had ever had any blood relatives to speak of as if I had just somehow appeared at their family place at age 4. No one has ever asked me to describe any memories of my original family, which I have, or how I felt at seeing my original mother die and the resulting devastation to my original father and brother. My sister was a baby, and I remember her crying and my father being desperate to find someone to nurse her. My adoptive family has not been interested that my original father carried my baby sister and had my brother and me follow behind him and hold hands to stay together. They do not care that I remember the echo of footsteps as my father left with my baby sister, telling us that he would return for us. They did not want to hear that; after two days of waiting, my brother attacked another homeless child to get food for me. I remember him attacking several other children so that I could eat over the next few days, but he ate very little. We never saw our father and sister again. When the police found us, we were separated and did not see each other again. When I wrote about this experience, my adoptive family barely read it. When I tried to describe it ten years ago, they told each other (as if I were still invisible in the room) that I had made it up and just shook their heads, rolling their collective eyes. They never asked how or why I could remember or how I felt about the loss. They have never deemed me intelligent enough to understand them, although I am more educated than they are. It has never dawned on them that passing items down in the family through their bloodline and letting me have one table, which was rejected by six others first, might be hurtful. It never occurred to them that leaving me out of their wills might be inconsiderate. Although they claim to be Christian, my adoptive mother, 2 of my adoptive uncles, both ministers, one adoptive aunt, and three adoptive cousins have told me that they agree with each other that I am spoiled and do not appreciate how lucky I was to have them as a family. Since they certainly know how to appreciate each other. They do not realize how many times they left me in the kitchen to clean up for them while the real Christian family enjoyed time together in the dining room. They don’t remember asking me to serve them coffee and tea as if I didn’t deserve to join them at the table. When children, and even two teachers, bullied me at school and church, my adoptive mother told me I had imagined it and that it had not happened. No one believes that my adoptive parents hit me on my first day in the USA for not understanding their instructions to follow them down the grocery store aisle. My first memory of life in the USA was off running down the store aisle, screaming in fear and wondering what I had done that these two big people were chasing me and trying to hit me. That’s when the 18 months of crying started. They have frequently told me directly and in more insidious ways that they feel I am going to hell for being so ungrateful to them for all they did for me. The extended family clarifies that they love my adoptive mother, and her two Christian brothers/ministers and nieces and nephews all think it is okay to phone and email me with orders of things they want to be done for their beloved sister/aunt. Her friends insist that I have an obligation to care for her forever since she took care of me. Is that balanced since she took care of me for only 14 years? Do I really owe her and them forever, or should I just go to hell as they tell me I am going to for not fulfilling their expectations? As recently as a few days ago, the same cousin who didn’t realize that I had blood relatives that I could remember was also telling me that I was going to hell for wishing that the person responsible for hurting innocent children at the border deserved to stand judgment for crimes against humanity. Yesterday, my adoptive mother told me that I had no right to judge this administration for anything they were doing, and I realized that she was the fifth adoptive family member to vote for him. Today, I notified five adoptive family members by phone that I never wanted them to contact me again. Why am I angry? Perhaps, it should be obvious to any decent person.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry, hurt, bitter, and sad. My adoptive parents gave me some of my paperwork. I was placed in Foster care at 11 weeks old. My biological mother had a chance to get me back, and she didn’t give up. They didn’t even care to look for my Dad. I Have abandonment issues that always surface no matter what is going on. I’m angry that no one is looking for me. I’m not allowed to know my beginning life story because the state has decided that I can’t handle it. It makes me so angry that everyone gets to hold on to my life story and not share it with me. I’m 52, and I have so many trust issues. My adoptive parents loved me. But it was simply not enough. Sometimes I just want to scream aloud to non-adoptees that they have all the privileges. I have to beg for information about myself. I’m angry because I was told at 52 that I may have a twin and nobody can help me. Both my adoptive parents are deceased. I always feel that I’m on the outside, not even able to look in the window. Some days I feel like a lost 5-year-old.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m in my 40s and was adopted at birth. I am angry because my entire life has been a scam. I wish that my birth mother would’ve had an abortion rather than leave me with abusive strangers. My life has been a nightmare, and I wish it would end. I recently found my bio father through DNA testing and found that he is successful, wealthy, and has a great life. It seems like everyone has had a great life except for me. I have had non-stop abuse, loss, and harm come my way. It feels like a curse. Everyone treats me like an object. No one has ever sympathized with my loss. I’ve never had a family or love. I’ve never had anyone who cared about me, my life, or my future. I’ve only been surrounded by narcissists who only cared about me concerning what I could do for them or how I could make their lives appear to others. Women need to stop giving their children up for adoption and just get an abortion. I think that my bio mother made big money from selling me, so I guess that the cash incentive is too great for people to do the right thing.”- Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because my adoptive parents didn’t have enough decency to try to integrate my culture into my life once they adopted me from China. They always said, “love sees no color,” which was exceptionally damaging when you are a colored person growing up in America, not resembling anyone. Not only did they rob me of my roots and culture, but they raised me to be white like them. The damage can’t be undone, and I will be spending the rest of my life trying to unravel the layers of pain.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Anything rooted in secrecy and lies, co-signed by all the people who say they love you, is a complete mental mind fuck for adoptees. I’m angry because of the subtle hints of brainwashing I experienced that started in my childhood, like, “You were my greatest gift!” and “You were chosen!” After all, my adoptive parent’s biggest dreams came true to be parents. I was groomed to be grateful, so how could I possibly feel sad for the loss I feel? I’m angry because no one would allow me the space to feel the grief and loss at a younger age, and now it’s boiling over. I have had such significant anger issues; it’s a miracle I’m not in prison for murder. Thankfully, I have finally identified the root of my anger: abandonment and rejection from my adoption experience. It’s too bad I have wasted so much time with no tools or resources, and my life is almost over. I am 68 years old. My adoptive parents and biological parents are dead and gone. I have been unraveling the damage adoption has done my entire life now. If only I had known sooner that my anger was valid and a part of the healing process and learned how to process the pain, I wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone. I would have found internal peace long ago. ” – Adult Adoptee

  1. ” I have spent most of my life completely numb from all my feelings associated with being adopted. The feelings were so gigantic that they scared me. I did everything not to feel because I didn’t know how to handle such emotions, especially when adoptees have never had tools, and therapists can hardly scratch the surface of the layers of the adoptee experience. After two failed marriages, I finally concluded that anger is a legitimate feeling regarding the magnitude of the adoptee’s experience. Being ripped from my mother at birth and lied to my whole life by my adoptive parents and gaslit when I share feelings, it’s no wonder my anger didn’t kill me. Today, I’m thankful I know my anger is valid and legit, and if you are an adoptee, so is yours. It’s what we do with that anger is the key. It can eat us alive, or we can take it and use it for good.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Anger is one of three responses created by loss of the primal mother. Shame and grief are the other two. Chronic anger is a serious problem that needs to be resolved. We have to avoid reinforcing anger in support groups. We validate it, but if it goes on, it will cause serious problems.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I never felt unconditional love. I was promiscuous because I was seeking love and validation. I am angry that everyone dismisses my pain. I’m angry because I don’t know who I am, where I come from, or who I look like. I’m angry because my children are the only biological relation I know. I’m angry my records are sealed, and even though I found my biological mom, I can’t get any info on my biological dad. I’m angry I am a secret that only two people know about in the family. Every time I go to the doctor, I’m angry that I have to write “ADOPTED – UNKNOWN” on my medical history. I’m angry that I demand loyalty and cut people off if I feel slighted, so they don’t have the chance to abandon me. I’m angry because I’ve been sad my entire life.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am 52 and angry. I was adopted by people almost as old as my grandparents. They adopted my brother and me because people would think they were “weird” being childless. They were already planning for retirement and were cheap, which turned me to thievery to have what other kids had. It was sad getting a used bike for your birthday. I was left with babysitters so the parents could go on vacations. I blame this for my lack of perspective, not even knowing what was out there. By default, I was a poor rich kid, things were expected, but nothing was there that other kids around me had. I knew from an early age I was less than, so I watched my life from a distance expecting less. I was always alone, with nobody to comfort me. I can remember being sad, wanting to run away. There was nowhere to go. I thought about hurting myself and did in many ways. I was a boy who needed a real man for a father, not just a provider. In 2009, many years after my parents died, I felt worried about my birth mother. I was told she was probably a drug addict or alcoholic. Was this a way to explain the Primal Wound? Even though counseling as a child, being adopted was never mentioned as a source of the ills. When I finally found out who my birth family was, I realized it was my grandmother who had passed in 2009, AND my grandparents AND the rest of my family never knew I was born. I was literally born into darkness. A fate I tried to ignore, I put on a brave face, a smile, and laughter. Secretly I wondered what kind of people would make their daughter give up her child, but then I found out they never had a chance. I was born a lie! For this, I am angry. After a year and a half, my birth aunt, who I messaged, and was ignored, told me to go away in so many words. The lie was essential to keep. My birth mother is married to the same man and has two children and grandchildren. I will not ruin her family, but I will forever wonder why I was given the name I used here if there was no hope. Why name a kid if you give them away? When my adopted parents died, I found the name on legal paperwork. I hate who I am, and I hate all who shunned me. I hate that my adopted mother had a miracle baby and further withdrew. One of my earliest memories is being dropped off at a youth center and told by my mom there was a bus going to a park. It was for teenagers, and I was left alone. My mom drove off without talking to anyone. This experience opened the door to my abandonment, an awareness of being alone. Because of this, I did not have children. I like kids, they are a joy, but I did not want to ruin anyone’s life. At 52, I question these decisions and more.

  1. I’m hurt like hell. And I’ve finally come to a place where I can admit I’m angry. Anger is something you’re not allowed to feel. It’s a negative emotion. And we should be grateful. We should look on the bright side. We should love people unconditionally. We should accept people’s limitations. They do the best they can. It’s our expectations of others that cause us to hurt. But I call bullshit. We were kids. Defenseless babies. Wounded children. Broken adults. It was not their best. I was taken away from my birth mother. She didn’t fight for me. She let it be. I’m angry at my extended family for not stepping in. And consequently, for the abuse, I suffered. The neglect. The lack of affection. For watching my foster families treat their children differently. For still feeling like an outsider. For still being excluded. For being treated as less than. For treating my children as less than. I’m tired too. Tired of trying to prove my worth. Of trying to win their affection. Of pretending to be someone, I’m not. A shadow of who I am. I’m like a kid saying, pick me, pick me. And this pattern is prevalent in many of my relationships. We should be grateful, you know. We’re lucky, remember. You must never forget that they took us in when nobody wanted us. It’s probably all in our heads. It’s our own insecurities. So don’t say anything. Nobody loves a negative Nancy. You’re one of the lucky ones. I’ve come a long way. But honestly, some parts of me are so broken. The damage is done. And I can’t fix it. I can only live with it the best I can.

  1. I have been angry for most of my 52 years, and I never truly understood why. I recently left a crappy, abusive marriage. I used it as a catalyst to understand how I could have ever let myself, an honest, hardworking, loving, caring person, accept so little from what was supposed to be my primary relationship. I finally understand that fear of rejection (again) has affected so much in my life and made me feel unable to express myself adequately and fight for myself properly and try and please everyone around me in the end, leaving me exhausted and drained and desperately unhappy. All the feelings of anger and rage were stuffed down until I didn’t really feel anything anymore. I’m still unpacking it day by day and hope that one day I can just learn to feel I am worthwhile without having to prove it to myself endlessly. I still struggle with getting angry when I shouldn’t and not getting angry when I should. But anger just seems to be my factory setting.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Why would an adoptee be angry? The separation of a child from its mother increases the risk of various deep-rooted forms of psychopathology based on attachment theory. These problems may manifest themselves in adolescence and continue through to adulthood. Every adopted child has feelings they can’t fully comprehend, including grief, denial, abandonment, low self-esteem, and anger. There are a thousand reasons why adoption puts them in an irritable and irascible mood. Knowing that they were rejected by their parents and discarded by family torments them, and no amount of external love can overcome this internal torture and humiliation. It’s almost impossible to emerge unscathed from any situation that makes a child available for adoption, and every adopted child has experienced loss, or they wouldn’t be available for adoption. Their lives are complicated by painful backstories and gaps in their life’s story that causes emotional suffering. Traumatized by the experience, many of them need help learning to understand their emotions and how to deal with them. They are hurt by the adoption experience and confused by the lack of an authentic self-identity. They sense that something is intrinsically wrong without always knowing why. They are grieved by the difficulties they are forced to endure without ever understanding the reasons for the lifelong banishment they have received. Conscious awareness that their life’s journey has been coldly interrupted leaves many adoptees feeling overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness, annoyance, and displeasure.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because it was never my burden to be the balm to my adoptive mother’s own wounds. If anyone had cared even a smidgen to allow me to be authentically me, I’d not be just shy of 50 and still trying to figure out who I am.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I am treated worse than an illegal immigrant as an adoptee. My adoptive parents have been fabulous, but because I am adopted, neither the British nor German governments are prepared to give me citizenship – the reason being “you are adopted” claim through your biological parents. I was given up at birth anonymously. I do not know who my biological parents are! Are these governments saying my parents are not my parents!?” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I’ve had issues with self-esteem issues, clinical depression, anxiety, and trust issues all my life, and I’ve never been able to connect with my adoptive family no matter how hard I try. I’m angry because when I go out with family, I know I don’t look like my parents, and it’s evident to everyone that I got ABANDONED by my own mother and sold to a different family as plan B (my parents tried to have a baby and couldn’t). I’m angry because I’ve had issues with so many health issues, and I don’t know my history or genetic background and what I could be at risk of when I’m older. I’m angry because I’m treated like a second-class citizen at school and sometimes in public. But, most of all, I’m angry because I lost my entire family. I lost my mother, father, sisters, brothers, grandparents, and cousins, replacing them with new ones. I know I should be grateful because a loving family adopted me. If I weren’t adopted, I would never have had the extraordinary life and opportunities I have now, but I can’t shake the feeling of abandonment. I know that I will never feel like I belong anywhere. Transracial adoption, I had to grow up as the only AA kid in the community and school. The anger talks, and so does the grief. I do not belong in any sort of society, so I live in a tiny town to be left alone.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because my adoptive mother (my adoptive father died when I was two) only got me because it was the done thing in wealthy families to have children, and at 40, she didn’t want anyone thinking she was sterile. She was a real bitch, always saying I was a no-good idiot at school, and she made me thank her every day for what she had done (saved me from the gutter, or my mother was no doubt a prostitute). Her favorites slapped me across the face or banged my head against the wall for any minor fault (spilling soup from the spoon onto the tablecloth) and constantly humiliated me in front of anybody. I hated her and left for another country at eighteen and had minimal contact since. The day I heard she had died was the best day of my life.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because I have zero answers. I’m angry because I am rejected. I’m angry because I will always be different. I’m angry about the PTSD that I was traumatized with as a young kid. I’m angry about the anxiety I was given. I’m angry for always feeling like a burden or unwanted. I’m angry that I will never meet my siblings that THEY KEPT! They kept two of the four. Am I not good enough for them? I love both families because they are both dear to me. That doesn’t mean I’m not EXTREMELY hurt or angry or disappointed.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because I feel so hurt and lost. I am angry at the consulate of my birth country, who didn’t understand why I wanted to find information about my biological family. I am angry that my biological mother passed away before I could meet her. I am angry I was separated from my half-sister and haven’t been able to find her. I am angry because I “look and act white ” but am fiercely proud of being Latina but don’t fit into the Latino community either. I am hurt because I have fears of being abandoned. I am hurt that I will likely never know any of my immediate biological family. I am hurt my adoptive mother didn’t think to take a photo of my birth mother when she met her. I am angry my biological dad abandoned my biological mom and never sought me out.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am a foster care and adoption survivor. Why am I angry? I’m angry because authorities, who insisted and still insist, they know what’s best for babies, for me, acted as if true ancestry and heritage and mother didn’t matter nor had value to a baby, to me, to any child that comes biologically from a particular ancestry, heritage, mother. But we ARE from whom we come. We are not blank slate programmable dollies. I’m angry because who I ended up with could pretend the part on the rare occasion of barely any official scrutiny, and because it wasn’t the bonkers they saw with my mom, it was not just good enough; it was great. I am angry because authorities interpreted my tenacity, intelligence, and resilience as sole evidence of a safe home and adequate caregiving. I am angry because I saw babies, and kids, come and go in that foster home, but I was the prize to the lonely old widow wanted, so she’d tell me how others wanted me, but she wouldn’t let them and told me how loved and special I was to her, but continuously neglected me, used me. I am angry that the widow brainwashed me into believing her mental illness was love and that not being hers was not better, that her alcoholic adult biological son could dislocate my arm at age 4, then show up in court at age 6 to be her advocate and her crutch to the judge, saying I didn’t need a father because I had her glorious son that was like a father. I am angry because I was smarter and more conscientious than they were as a small child but was held captive, deluded, and poorly formed from the lies, ignorance, the gaslighting. I am angry because I was molested by a neighbor, physically and emotionally abused by the foster family, then the court said they were worthy of adopting me. I am angry because the only one that could have saved me was me, but I was so scrambled, and no child should be responsible for saving themselves! I am angry because I was supposed to be her partner, her spite child, the replacement for her husband, her three biological sons, and her two biological grandkids who just weren’t good enough for her. I am angry because she was in borderline poverty but allowed to adopt me, and we lived on food stamps for a while. I am angry because everyone on the outside called her an angel, but her actual family stayed as far away as they could or got good and drunk to be around her. I am angry because she didn’t like or love who I was. I am angry because I was only good when I made her feel good and when she could brag about me when I was her minion. I am angry that I was fetishized and objectified from the start. I am angry that I am nothing like her family, and I was expected to act and think to look different so that I could show up and pretend for their sake. I am angry I had to call her mother and allow her to call me daughter and that I didn’t realize how wrong and damaging that dynamic is/was until I was over 30 years old. I am angry my mother was molested and grew up in an orphanage. I am angry that her trauma and illness were demonized, and no one gave me context. I am angry that I heard I was lucky, chosen, blessed, and special every step of the way. I am angry that foster turned adoptive mother could tell everyone, “she was #28 of 49 foster kids. We kept her because she was special”. I’m grateful that she’s dead and that I cut contact with her family, and that for the last five years, I have finally begun to heal. I think I will get a small holocaust-style tattoo on my arm someday that says “28:49″ because I don’t want to lose sight of how righteous my indignation truly is or forget that children still, yet, today, need people like me to fight and speak for them. I’m angry people think adoption, as it stands, is acceptable, and trauma is a rare, worthwhile trade. I am angry people won’t stop lying to kids, making them pretend to be children of theirs when they aren’t, and I am angry birth certificates are still changing to reflect lies while kids are being gaslit to believe where they come from doesn’t matter. I am angry that I could write more pages for this post. I will stop here, though.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Why am I angry? No one asked me what I wanted. Of course, I was an infant and couldn’t communicate, but this sense of powerlessness prevails in my life. I was removed from my birthmother’s womb, handed to foster care, and adopted three months later. My birthmother SOLD me in a gray adoption to STRANGERS, then when we met 34 years later said she loved me so much she wanted a better life for me. I’m not sure my life was better when I spent so much time feeling abandoned, rejected, powerless, voiceless, and not knowing WHO I am. I’m angry that my birth mother sold me, then 14 months later had my sister, and then quickly became pregnant again and had my brother. She kept them but sold me away. I’m angry that I didn’t have a brother or sister in my life, yet I DID – no one told me. I’m angry that even legal documents are fraudulent, and we have to pretend that these adoptive parents are Mommy and Daddy, but they ARENT. My birth certificate is SEALED, and the public document lists the adoptive parents as “mother” and “father.” it’s all a lie. And NO one can access their own information? Information on health history, heritage, siblings, EVERYTHING is a secret. Maybe adoption empowers a woman to continue her life as before the adoption, not burdened with a child, but adoption does NOT empower a child. We are pawns, without a voice in our own lives.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I hate being adopted, and I hate not being allowed to have a birth family even though the non-adoptees are allowed a birth family at any age but adopted people like me are never allowed a birth family. I hate when non-adoptees are very mean and unkind to adopted people like me. I wish I could smack them in the face and deny them everything they have denied me. I can’t stand how the non-adoptees always support each other and are nice but mean to me because I am adopted. Plus, they like to say they don’t mistreat me when they do.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “ANGRY?? The word doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. Oh YES, I’m quite angry. Why? I never fit with my “family” physically, mentally, or emotionally. I was severely abused physically by my “father” and my “mother,” who, instead of protecting me, had a mental breakdown. My entire childhood was nothing but fear and abuse with “don’t upset your mother” being a common occurrence. Being asked “what was wrong with me” anytime I had a different way of thinking than them!! Seriously even a 10 yr old have their feelings and thoughts!! I was told repeatedly I wasn’t wanted and thrown away like garbage. Should I be your slave and punching bag? I am NOT anyone’s property. I was a child!! My adoptive family was looked on and still is in the community as great people??? WHAT??? THEY are not good people!! They are abusive, child molesting, and trash that only cared about themselves and their family name and appearance. My brother (who was also adopted) and I are looked upon as wild and the black sheep because once of age, we left and never looked back. I’m beyond angry, and I’m pissed off! The government took me from my real family because my mom was a minor and my dad was of age, but my mother’s father didn’t approve in 1976 OR believe they could properly care for my well-being. THE GOVERNMENT WAS WRONG!! My mom and dad married and had four more children. They were not wealthy, but my sisters and brother were LOVED, and now today 2020, my mom and dad are still married. I AM VERY ANGRY. I was robbed of LOVE, acceptance, and well-being. I’m 43 and from Ohio, so I now have my once, and I can proudly say my REAL name is Stephanie L. I WILL ALWAYS BE ANGRY BECAUSE I WAS STRIPPED OF WHO I AM.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I was never angry about being adopted until I started dealing with the government when seeking medical history and my original birth certificate. Things that I believed to be my immediate right to have, such as my OBC and family medical history, have slowly trickled through with changes. But this all took time, and the worst-case scenario may have had significant health implications if the information was not released due to ridiculous vetoes. The Veto system that has since been abolished (but historical ones remain) implies that we are the criminals without any wrongdoing apart from being born. Like putting a restraining order on someone you never met and then us not being allowed to use one in return. Anything else? Not at this stage, but let me think it over some more.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “As a 46-year-old adult who was adopted in 1975, I’m angry at the system which failed to perform thorough psychological evaluations on my prospective adoptive parents. One is a narcissist, and the other has Asperger’s syndrome. Quite the one-two punch for a child growing up in an unfamiliar genetic environment. I believe the prevailing wisdom of the day was, “adopted kids are a blank canvas and will grow up to be however you make them be, ” Like I was some mini-Mr. Potato Head or something. The couple who adopted me were nice enough people to the rest of the world, but they constantly treated me like a malfunctioning machine. I demonstrated high intelligence and musical talent from an early age, yet was told pursuing my life as a musician was out of the question. They steered me instead of towards their interests (religion & science), neither of which I cared for. All I ever heard was, “we know what’s best for you,” even as the loneliness, ostracizing, and lack of personal identity drove me into crime, heavy drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts. Nobody appeared to care about ME. They only cared about how I measured up to their expectations – which I failed at basically every time. I’m a grown adult now, lonely as hell. I was looking back on a childhood of regrets. I don’t speak with them anymore and likely never will. After an exhaustive search, I finally managed to uncover the identity of my birth mother – she died almost 30 years ago.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I am angry because the State of California put the ‘wrong medical information’ on my non-identifying information report. I know. I hired a Private Investigator, and I have found my birth family with DNA. The State of California was reckless with my birth information, and I am sure I am not alone. There were typos throughout the report. They didn’t think we would ever find out in 1957. The jig is up to California, and I am thinking about contacting an attorney about this.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. The fundamental reason many adoptees are angry is that our human rights have been violated. ” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Why am I angry? Socially engineered into “perfect” families based on decisions made by the grandmothers to be and social workers, also mothers and grandmothers, to convince a young unmarried woman to ignore her high school sweetheart who was prepared to marry her and raise his family, so all these already mothers could find a permanent solution to a temporary crisis that embarrassed the pregnant 19 year old’s mother and grandmother. I’m angry because, in the Baby Snatch Era, healthy white infants like myself were a commodity to be bought and sold and then asked to accept delusional thinking. ” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because adoption is so widely pushed at the pulpit and by the evangelicals worldwide, but they refuse to acknowledge the grief, abandonment, loss, and trauma that every adopted person experiences before they are adopted. Not only that, but I’m angry the pro-life movement continues to use adoption as an alternative to abortion, but the alternative to abortion isn’t adoption. It’s parenting! I’m angry that so many evangelicals are still stuck in the dark ages of secrecy, shame, and covering up by supporting untruths which are a part of almost every adoption story today. Secrets, lies, and half-truths destroy, and this is from God? Disgusting! Anger is an understatement.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because so many adoptive parents continue to have their heads in the sand when it comes to the adoptee experience and the pain we all carry. As if the adoptee doesn’t speak about their feelings, they must not have any, and everything must be okay! WRONG! Kids don’t know how to articulate grief and loss, and they need their adoptive parents to facilitate these conversations at a young age. We can quickly adapt to living self-destructive lives and using coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling, addiction to toxic relationships, etc. Stop pretending adoption and relinquishment don’t hurt, and everything is perfect. It’s not. Adoptees are hurting and dying, and we need the world to wake up!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry because closed adoption is a form of torment and an inhumane way to expect anyone to live. So the faces and identities of my biological mother, biological father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are supposed to be a secret from me? Yeah, well fuck you, adoption, and everyone who supports it. My anger stems from the lies I’ve been fed my entire life by those who should love me the most! It’s valid and legit. And just think, they (adoptive parents and birth parents) signed the dotted line so I would have this life! I didn’t sign any paperwork! Until I reached my 40s and learned that I could positively use this anger and create CHANGE, it almost killed me!” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “Anger is a natural part of the grief and loss process and a natural emotion to have when you have been deceived your whole life to appease our adoptive parent’s wants and needs. Do you want to know why it’s so EXTRA BIG for adoptees? Because we’re brainwashed from an early age to be grateful, when those feelings of sadness come in, and they always do, they show up as anger as rage for many of us. We are left in the dark on how to process it all. No one helps us because this idiotic notion that we’re only supposed to be thankful creates a huge mental mind fuck, and it’s sometimes impossible for us to be able to share our feelings how we feel because of this conditioning. I didn’t say the word “birthmother” until I was in my 50s because I was groomed not to talk about it and be thankful and grateful. My feelings weren’t welcome because they went against my adoptive parent’s biggest dream coming true, and that was my birth mother choosing to hand me over to strangers. By the way, those strangers were abusive emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually. I am spending a lifetime recovering from adoption trauma, but I’m spending a lifetime recovering from relinquishment trauma as well.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I asked my adoptive parents over and over who my birth parents were, and they lied to me my whole life. Until one day, the truth came out. They knew who my birth mother was, and they just lied because they thought I would one day shut up about finding this lady that I was searching for in my fantasies and dreams, at parks, festivals, and walking down the street. Because they lied, I have every reason to be angry. I also have every reason to never speak to them again.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’m angry that even when I found my biological family in 1990, the government won’t allow me to have my very own original birth certificate. This is based on outdated laws that were put into play to deceive the adopted person from ever finding their truth. I am sick and tired of everyone thinking that I am still an infant and child with no thoughts, feelings, or say-so. I am 62, and I still am denied this basic human right. Damn right I am angry, and much more.” – Adult Adoptee

  1. “I’ve struggled with anger my entire life due to my adoption experience. I have learned that the more I share my feelings, the more the pain chips away, and I eventually feel more at peace with things. The problem is that no one wants to hear it. We are labeled as “just having a bad adoption experience,” and we are told to “Just get over it already!” by those around us who know and say they love us. The reality is, I have learned that society doesn’t leave room for the heartbreak in adoption, only the sunny side, which always reflects the needs and wants of our adoptive parents. People are starting to listen little by little, but it’s still such a stretch to feel safe sharing feelings being adopted. I wonder if people knew how many adoptees commit suicide and how our jails, prisons, treatment, and mental health facilities are overpopulated with adoptees if they would open their hearts and minds to the realities that adoption isn’t what they have always thought it was? It is much more, and if we want the wants and needs of the CHILD to be put first, we need to acknowledge that that adopted child grows up. We have voices, and we need the world to start to listen and even become an ally and advocate for truth and transparency in all adoptions today. Remember – secrecy and lies destroy, so you are a huge part of the problem if you support this. Adoptees have every right to be angry. You would understand this if you only knew what we had to go through to find our truth. One simple response to an adopted person like, “I see you, I am sorry you are in pain, I am here to listen to you without judgment always,” could save an adoptee’s life. The willingness to listen, kindness, and compassion go a long way.” – Adult Adoptee

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time to read why 100 adoptees might be angry. Please share this article in your online communities. Our hope is that we raise a brighter light around adoptee voices and bring the truth to light, one story, quote, and click at a time.

If you are an adoptee, what piece of this article spoke to you the most? Could you relate to any of your fellow adoptee’s thoughts, feelings and experiences?

Maybe you are an adoptee and missed the call to be included in this 100; we still want to hear from you! If you are an adoptee who what’s to share why you are angry, please drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you are not an adoptee but have somehow been impacted by this article, we would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for your willingness to learn that there is much more to adoption than a beautiful bouncing baby to complete your family.

Once again, a special thank you to all 100 adoptees who took the time to share your feelings with me over the last 8 years and, in return, collaborated with one of the most important articles we can share. 100 of us coming TOGETHER to share our truth is a powerful initiative. THANK YOU!

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Love,

Pamela A. Karanova

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Pamela A. Karanova – Finding Purpose In The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing – An Audible Memoir

Over a decade ago, I named my memoir “Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing,” Although a lot of time has passed, this is still the name I would like my memoir to be today. At one time, I decided to give up on writing a memoir because I feel like, in a way, my website is my memoir. However, I also feel things are so spread out on my website when sharing MY STORY. There are also a lot of things I haven’t shared.

This website is filled with sharing my insight, experiences, and thoughts. Still, I have recently decided to share my story separately to reach the adoptees who feel isolated and all alone. I want them to know they aren’t alone and their feelings are normal for a not normal situation. Nothing is normal about being separated from your biological family at the beginning of life.

Questions I get from adoptees all the time: 

How did you navigate double rejection from both biological parents? How did you overcome a 27-year drinking career rooted in the painful dynamics of my adoption experience? How was your therapy experience? What was your childhood like? Did you bond with your adoptive parents? How did you overcome emotional, mental, and sexual abuse in your adoptive home? How did you move past the pain and find happiness in a lifetime of heartbreak? I have fellow adoptees ask me how I was able to experience so much tragedy and get to where I am today. 

The truth is, If I had unlimited time left on earth, I would be honored to have individual conversations with every adoptee I cross paths with. But because time is of the essence, and logically I have to work full time to make a living and also juggle Adoptees Connect, Inc. on the side as an entirely volunteer basis, the facts are that I have little leftover time to dedicate to these lifesaving conversations. With what little time I have left, I’m committed to pouring into my self-care and spending time with close friends and family. 

After over a decade of contemplation and wavering feelings, starting and stopping my memoir several times, I have decided to pick my memoir back up by sharing my story via an audible format that will be easily accessible and complimentary for all the adoptees and others who are interested in hearing it. 

My goal is to honor a farewell gift to the adoptee community that’s been so good to me over the years, especially over a decade ago when I first emerged out of the fog from my adoption experience. I was utterly broken, on the verge of suicide, and felt deeply depressed, isolated, and alone. 

What has shifted? 

It’s simple, and I can sum it up in one word

GROWTH.

I believe the timing is everything. My healing has been so progressive and profound that I know I’m going to wither into nothingness when it comes to my voice in the adoptee community one day soon. I know this is coming because I finally see the beauty in everyday life, and it’s time I enjoy it. It’s almost as if my fire for all things adoptee-related is becoming dimmer by the day. I feel it deep inside. However, before I depart, I have this one project I want to complete. I want to offer a glimmer of hope with my memoir to the fellow adoptees who still sit in the darkness trumped by the sadness so many adoptees live with and ultimately die with. 

Don’t worry, my role in Adoptees Connect, Inc. isn’t going anywhere!

While I completely understand that a memoir is ideally created with a printed and published book for purchase in mind, I have thought long and hard about sharing my story in audible format only. It is the most economical and accessible for all, including myself. While I could easily explore all the avenues to market and profit from this endeavor, my desire is not to profit from my story. I hope it will help my fellow adoptees, specifically those with similar struggles. As a complimentary gift, hopefully, my story reaches more adoptees, not just those who could afford a hardcopy book, not to mention shipping prices.

A while back, I started sharing my articles on multiple streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Podcasts so my supporters, friends, and family could follow along in the easiest way possible. Let’s face it, technology is taking over! People aren’t reading books like they used to, yet they are migrating to an audio format which saves space and is usually cheaper. This is my deciding factor to write my memoir and share it in audible format for your listening convenience. I am also considering the economical challenges of life many of us are experiencing at this time.

Allowing myself the flexibility to share my story in this way also means that I will be doing my editing and writing without any assistance or insight. My goal is to spend ZERO money because I don’t have much to spend yet still share my journey and experiences from the heart, offering guidance and encouragement. I can do it, and I want my friends, followers, and readers to be the first to know.

I still have other writing I plan on doing and some other adoptee centric projects; however, over the next few months, I will likely be spending a lot of my time focused on my audible memoir. I have re-launched my public Pamela A. Karanova page, which will be a place I update you on how my audible memoir is coming along. Be sure to follow it here. – Pamela A. Karanova – Finding Purpose In The Pain, An Audible Memoir.

“We have to walk through all the adoptee layers, to make it to the light, but it won’t come overnight or without a lifelong fight!” – Pamela A. Karanova

Thanks for reading and listening!

On to the next adventure!

Love,

Pamela A. Karanova

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*The views and opinions expressed in this article and podcast 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

Being Rejected Before Being Born – An Adoptee’s Perspective

It’s no secret that adoption impacts every adopted person differently. When sharing my story, I describe my separation trauma and relinquishment experience before I was adopted as three separate layers of the primal wound and mother wound:

  1. The rejection from my birth mother before I was born.
  2. The abandonment and rejection I received from her at birth.
  3. The rejection and abandonment I experienced from her after I searched and found her. 

They all come with their own set of layered pain, and they all have impacted me immensely in every area of my life. We must distinguish the difference in all three, as they are different dynamics to the lived adoptee experience. 

I am so thankful I have arrived at a place of healing, and I have learned so many lifelong lessons along the way. While I believe all the articles I have written over the last decade are beneficial in many ways, it’s not until the last year that I feel my articles come from a more well-rounded space. My anger and rage have subsided. While I still feel those feelings and consider them natural feelings to the lifelong adoptee experience, my messages are better received and come across as more informative.

I’m not sure how much research you have done on the prenatal bonding experience that a mother and child experience before their baby is born? That was one of the many areas I wanted to dive into because I know this time in my pre-verbal and prenatal life didn’t go as planned. 

What do I mean? 

I was conceived out of an affair with a married man, and he was a close friend of the family, at least ten years older than my biological mother. Unfortunately, my biological mother chose to give me up for adoption. After spending a lifetime searching for clues to my story, I genuinely believe that she rejected the pregnancy, including me, before I ever entered the world. 

This is entirely different from being rejected and abandoned after entering the world. But, at the same time, they are all very significant dynamics to the adoptee experience. 

I wrote an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes,” and in this article, I had to dissect my birth mother’s life and get to the bottom of her story. Why? Because I wanted to take my anger, rage, and pain and bring some understanding and compassion into the picture. This is one of the most powerful steps to healing for adoptees. 

I wrote:

“I learned that my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even throughout her pregnancy with me. She was considered an alcoholic by those close to her, and they told me stories about her life that helped me better understand her. During the 20 years of silence from her, I was angry. I was hurt. I was rage-filled, and alcohol was the only thing that made a bit of a dent in navigating through this pain. It didn’t help me process anything, but it helped me not feel the truth.”

One of the worst parts for an adopted individual is that we’re dealing with roadblocks to receiving our truth every step of the way. Some of us never find it at all, and others gather fragments of clues over a 40-50-60 year span, and we barely arrive at a place of understanding after our life is well over half over. (if we’re lucky) Some of us have spent every bit of our lives feeling incomplete, lost, and filled with mental torment because living in the unknown is a tremendous burden.  

What does this have to do with being rejected before being born?

Once we can assess the truth of our stories BEFORE THE GRAND ENTRANCE into the world, it helps us form conclusions on why things are the way they are and why our biological mothers chose to give us up for adoption. It gives a glimpse of her era and how things were in her life.

This information is critical to the healing of the adoptee experience. 

Every tiny clue matters!

Once I knew that my biological mother drank alcohol the entire pregnancy with me, it was like the lights flipped on. I knew at that moment that she couldn’t possibly bond with the baby in her belly for nine months. So she actually likely and purposely emotionally and mentally blocked any bonding out, and alcohol was the primary way she was able to do this. 

She was a sick woman long before I ever came into the world or was conceived. I had empathy and compassion for her and learned that her biggest problem was her alcohol use which ultimately killed her in her 60s. 

While I have been able to acknowledge and accept that she didn’t bond with me in utero but likely discouraged such bonding before I was born, I can’t deny this hasn’t had a lifelong impact on my life. Did I bond with her even when she couldn’t bond with me? Perhaps, I would like to think so, but that doesn’t change the dynamic of me feeling, knowing, and instinctively realizing that she didn’t bond with me. It takes two to bond, so I can safely say I believe I just answered my question. 

 Many people aren’t aware that this is even a thing, but I tell you, it is. While trying to piece my journey together to assess this dynamic, I have purposely researched how vital prenatal bonding is with our biological mothers and the post-natal bonding experience. I wanted to dive into this so I could understand myself better. For my fellow adoptees reading, I encourage you to do the same. 

While we already know the bond that was broken when I was born and separated from my birth mother and how it impacts every area of the adoptee’s life. This is the same for anyone separated from their biological mothers because this is a traumatic experience for all. Therefore, I encourage you to research Attachment Theory and learn about the implications of being separated from your biological mothers at the beginning of life.

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory suggests: 

“Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis suggests that continual disruption of the attachment between infant and primary caregiver (i.e., mother) could result in long-term cognitive, social, and emotional difficulties for that infant. Bowlby originally believed the effects to be permanent and irreversible.”

What’s also shared: 

“John Bowlby, working alongside James Robertson (1952), observed that children experienced intense distress when separated from their mothers. Even when such children were fed by other caregivers, this did not diminish the child’s anxiety.”

They found three progressive stages of distress:

  • Protest: The child cries, screams and protests angrily when the parent leaves. They will try to cling on to the parent to stop them leaving.
  • Despair: The child’s protesting begins to stop, and they appear to be calmer although still upset. The child refuses others’ attempts for comfort and often seems withdrawn and uninterested in anything.
  • Detachment: If separation continues, the child will start to engage with other people again. They will reject the caregiver on their return and show strong signs of anger.

I believe in the reality that mothers aren’t interchangeable. I do believe, at times, a substitute mother can come into play, as in our adoptive mothers; however, the bond is nothing like that of the bond we are supposed to have with our biological mothers. I feel once the damage is done with the broken bond, nothing can repair it, and it can and does impact every area of our lives. 

Research foster youth, foster adults, and adopted youth and adopted adults and see how the prison system, jails, treatment, and mental health facilities are over-populated with these individuals. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the aftermath of the primal wound and separation trauma. I could do the research for you, but I already have, and I encourage you to do the same. 

But what happens when we are rejected before we are even born? 

The Evolution of a Theory of Prenatal Attachment: 

Rubin, a nurse specializing in maternity care doing doctoral work at the University of Chicago, perhaps laid the foundation for a theoretical construct of attachment that begins before birth states:

“She identified four specific tasks the women she observed navigated before childbirth: (1) Seeking safe passage for self and baby, (2) ensuring that the baby is accepted by significant others, (c) “binding-in” 3, and (4) giving of herself. These tasks formed a framework for her conceptualization of the psychological experience of pregnancy and, although she did not use the term “attachment,” Ruben states: “By the end of the second trimester, the pregnant woman becomes so aware of the child within her and attaches so much value to him that she possesses something very dear, very important to her, something that gives her considerable pleasure and pride.” 

We can all acknowledge that this process of prenatal bonding can likely be interrupted when it comes to the feelings our biological mothers have about us when they are pregnant due to the very nature of the pregnancy outcome, I think this is noteworthy to investigate each adoptee’s experience. 

I know that this dynamic in my journey has helped me understand myself. Yes, it was a hard pill to swallow that I believe my birth mother rejected the pregnancy and, in return, rejected me for the nine months she carried me. However, acknowledging this and accepting it as part of my story has brought me great healing and understanding of why I am the way I am. 

If I’m candid and transparent, I feel broken because of this severed bond. Not only did my birth mother reject the pregnancy, but she abandoned me and rejected me after she gave birth. So while they are two separate things, I have often tried to take myself back to the days when I was in the womb and to try to process the feelings of my preborn self, to get to the bottom of what I might be feeling; at that time? Any chance of repair with her was shattered, because once I found her she rejected a relationship with me. Unfortunately, in my case this only added insult to injury setting me up for the biggest disappointment of my life.

In utero, I could likely feel the warmth of her body, but her coldness towards me was also felt. I could feel her desire to “get it over with” regarding the delivery and pregnancy altogether. I could feel her disdain and shame for conceiving a baby out of wedlock in 1974 and becoming pregnant by a friend of the family who was older than her and was married at the time. 

I could taste the alcohol she drank daily as any attempt to dull the pain. What did that alcohol do to me every day of my life for the nine months she carried me? One can only speculate. She never sang to me; she never embraced my touch or the growth of her growing belly. Instead, her feelings of badness transferred into my tiny body, and I was born with the feelings of being bad that stayed with me most of my life. 

While this all seems like a lot for an adoptee to navigate, walk through, and process, I can share that even when learning these things has been excruciatingly painful, it’s helped me heal. 

I want to emphasize that it is critically important for every adopted person to know the whole truth about their beginnings and the story of conception. We need to know it, we deserve to know it, and it is life or death for us. Can you imagine not knowing who brought you into the world and not knowing your conception and birth stories? 

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable. But, it’s also inhumane to expect any human being to live through this painful and traumatic experience rooted in shame, secrecy, and lies. So, why are adopted adults still paying the price for others’ decisions and outdated laws from the baby scoop era? 

While I hope this article sheds some light on the different layers of the adoptee experience regarding separation trauma and prenatal bonding, I encourage you to do your research and dig as deep as possible to uncover your truth. The truth holds the keys to acceptance and, ultimately, healing. 

Let me also share that no one handed me this information. Therefore, it was up to me to fight the closed adoption laws and raise hell until I got my truth! Even when I was lied to my whole life, and I had people deliberately throw shade to discourage me from ever learning my truth, I kept pushing anyway. This is what I call THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE which is an article I wrote to describe what this struggle has been like. 

For my fellow adoptees, have you been able to learn the truth of your conception? Do you feel like you bonded with your birth mother before you were born, and do you think she rejected the pregnancy? How do you think this impacted you?

Have you ever processed through this layer of the adoptee experience? If so, what did you uncover? If you haven’t, is it by choice, or are you lacking the information needed? 

Thank you for reading and listening! 

Love, Love, 

Pamela A. Karanova 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*The views and opinions expressed in this article and podcast 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

Being Groomed for Gotcha Day – An Adoptee’s Perspective

Many of you have heard of the term “Gotcha Day” over the years, and it seems like it isn’t going anywhere. For those new to this term, Gotcha Day is a day our adoptive parents have picked to celebrate, reflecting the day our adoptions are finalized.

While I think many of them might have good intentions, this term is problematic for many reasons. I write this article to offer another viewpoint from an adult adoptee. I don’t wish to throw anyone under the bus if you choose to celebrate this day. While I have read many articles written by adoptive parents, why they choose to celebrate this day, and even an article or two from a biological mother, I have not read an article focused on an adoptee’s perspective.

I decided to share my feelings on this topic in this article. Let me be frank, my adoptive parents didn’t celebrate this day, and I am exceptionally thankful for this. However, after building relationships with adoptees worldwide for over a decade, I have experienced a lot of thoughts on “Gotcha Day.”

One dynamic that I would like to bring to light is that any child enjoys a celebration 99.9% of the time. If our adoptive parents decide to celebrate “Gotcha Day,” the adopted child is along for the ride. Kids don’t generally turn away from a party. This is when our grooming to celebrate the day we are adopted begins. Celebrating this day as a child might feel good.

Our adoptive parents have all the power to celebrate or not celebrate the day we legally became adopted. While they likely see no issue with it when we are children, we must not forget the adopted child grows up.

In 2018 I completed a poll on the How Does it Feel to Be Adopted? page and the question were for adoptees, and it said, “Adoptees, Are you in favor of the term “Gotcha Day?”

377 adoptees responded, and 95% said that “No” they were not in favor of the term Gotcha Day.

You read that right, 95%!

Adult Adoptee, Sarah says:

“I DESPISE it. It was referred to as my ‘Gotcha Day” and always involved a present, much like a birthday. It symbolized a day that sealed my fate of never returning to my biological family. Having it celebrated felt like my adoptive family was disregarding my biological family and my feelings about not being with them. My adoptive mom still celebrates it and brings me a present which I usually throw in the closet for months before opening, or I give it back to her.”

Another Adult Adoptee, Chris, says:

“My family did not celebrate it as I was growing up. I don’t care for the term “gotcha,” as it does feel like ownership. And while I understand that it may be a cause for celebration for the adoptive parents, it’s also a day of loss for the adoptee, even if they are not aware of the loss.”

While I can completely understand the feelings of these two adoptees, I share similar sentiments. I feel that if I were in a position to celebrate this day as a child with the terminology “Gotcha Day,” it would be a dehumanizing experience I likely wouldn’t fully understand as a child.

As an adult, I feel it belittles what someone separated from their biological mother has to lose to become an adopted person. It glosses over the reality we all experience. Do those who celebrate this day understand what we lost before they “GOT US?” Our biological mother and father, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, ancestry, culture, language, medical history, memories, and the list could go on.

I personally would be mortified and resentful if my adoptive parents groomed me to celebrate this day. For me, it was the day I lost everything! To be expected to celebrate it, would be a cruel thing to have to do and I find it insensitive to be encouraged to do so.

Our lives don’t begin the moment we are adopted.

So we have a [his]-story and a [her]-story, which are essential to our lives and experiences. So celebrating “Gotcha Day” solely focuses on the day we are adopted and not what we lost to get to that point.

Some families are using “Adoption Day” or “Family Day” instead of the dreaded “Gotcha Day.” While I respect the need to want to celebrate such a wonderful day in the new family, I must share that no matter how you slice it, you can’t deny the reality of what the adoptee lost to gain a new family.

I say we get rid of these celebrations altogether.

However, if you decide to host them, let’s be honest and have a day of mourning the day before or the same day, so we equally acknowledge all the adopted person has to lose before the adoption ever takes place. If we’re authentic, honest, and accurate, we must acknowledge this as part of the adoptee story, and it happens FIRST.

The sooner an adoptee begins to grieve the losses they have experienced, the better. Therefore, I suggest all adoptive parents become experts in The Grief Recovery Method for kids and learn as much as they can as an adoptive parents and apply it to the adopted child’s life. In addition, finding an adoptee-competent therapist would be beneficial to all involved.

I hope this helps clear up how adopted adults feel about celebrating the day we were adopted, specifically “Gotcha Day.” It’s particularly despised in the adoptee community. I genuinely believe that once we know better, we do better, so I hope this article shares some insight that can be helpful.

To my fellow adoptees, what are your thoughts on this topic? Did you celebrate “Gotcha Day” and if so, how do you feel about it now? For those who didn’t celebrate it, how do you feel about the term and celebrating adoption day?

Thanks for reading and listening!
Pamela A. Karanova

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*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

Adoptees Are Not Gifts and Possessions – An Adoptee’s Perspective

“All children are a gift from God,” – Says the world. 

I believe this is part of the reason our adoptive parents refer to us as gifts; however, to refer to each adopted individual as a gift would insinuate that children are owned by someone who then bestows the gift upon a receiver and that this person is now the owner of the property being gifted. 

I think people likely mean well; however, sometimes, they don’t understand the layers and depths of their words when explaining and exploring the different dynamics of the adoption and adoptee experience. Sometimes people can say things that are well intended, but the reality is that they can be hurtful to adoptees. On the other hand, sometimes, a little enlightenment on a topic can go a long way.

Let me get straight to the point. Children are free individuals, and no one possesses them in a way that they would be in a position to “give one” to someone else as a gift. Being your parent’s responsibility is entirely different from being their property. 

Having my own experience with adoption and hearing the experiences of my fellow adoptees for over a decade, many of us feel as if we are referred to as a monetary possession when hearing from our adoptive parents and others. This comes off as a reflection of “ownership” to many of us. 

However, when most of us are paid for with a cash price, is when the reality of our feelings gets magnified even more considerably. Not to mention the lifelong reminders we get from those around us and the families we grow up in. 

The feelings of being referred to as a gift imply ownership, entitlement, and possession are many ways adopted people feel in our experiences with our adoptive parents and others. I now consider this line of thinking linked to adoptive parent parental narcissism.

Nevertheless, as if feeling this was not enough, many adoptees are expected to celebrate “Gotcha Day” or “Adoption Day” and referred to as a “Gift” as if the loss we experience before we are adopted does not count for anything. I will be writing about this soon. 

We are expected to feel thankful and grateful that our adoptive parents took us in when our biological families did not want us. Assuming that an adopted child or adult should be more grateful and thankful than a biological child can be an epic failure in acknowledging and recognizing what that person had to experience to be adopted, to begin with. Expecting us to be more thankful or grateful than another person on earth is an unrealistic expectation placed on us. 

Our biological connections matter to us and presuming that their loss doesn’t exist causes tremendous grief and pain for the adopted person, on top of the loss we already experience, and it’s not helpful. 

Unfortunately, society at large and most of our adoptive parents have not left room for us to share our feelings because they assume we should be thankful and grateful. While many adoptees have not come to a place of sharing their true feelings, many of us are blazing the trailways and sharing how adoption has impacted us and made us feel. 

I remember as a teen, I would have new friends or a new boyfriend, and my adoptive mom would suddenly act as if she had new friends and a new boyfriend. She would ask questions and want me to tell her everything about them and my life. She rarely had friends of her own, and she never had a boyfriend as she and my adoptive dad divorced when I was one year old. She did not have her own life and lived through me and mine. 

I would constantly tell my adoptive mom to “Stay out of my business” when it seemed like she was constantly overstepping. Being a teenager, I thought she was just a nosey parent; however, when this carried over into my adult life is when I knew something was not right. 

One of the phrases I heard throughout my childhood and adult life from my adoptive mom was, “Your life is my life, and everything that has to do with you is my business!” Anytime she would say this to me, it would strike a chord profoundly. Unfortunately, I had no healthy examples in my life of what a mother and daughter were supposed to be like, so I grew up thinking this was normal. 

As I grew into my teen and adult years, I would still hear, “Your life is my life, and everything that has to do with you is my business.” 

In my childhood, I also remember hearing “you were my greatest gift,” like a broken record about my biological mother giving me up for adoption and my adoptive mom sharing her elated feelings about this decision. Ultimately, my birth mother chose not to parent, which allowed my adoptive mom’s dreams to come true to be a mother. 

But, while she celebrated, I suffered in silence as many adoptees do. As soon as her feelings of happiness came into the conversation, there was no room for my sadness about this woman who was gone, to whom I was very much connected. So while I believe she had no idea how damaging this would be, I am here to share that it was indeed damaging.

An adopted person is usually paid for with a cash price, so our sentiments being referred to as a gift will likely be different than a biological child or a child that wasn’t paid for with monetary value. It makes us feel like a monetary possession. Yet, too often than not, we’re expected to be glad that someone on this earth cared enough about us that they created GoFundMe and received loans from family and friends to purchase us as if that wouldn’t impact us at some point in life. 

I completed a poll on the How Does it Feel to Be Adopted? Page in 2015 asking adoptees if they were okay with being referred to as a gift. I had 378 adopted people respond, with 88% saying that “NO” they aren’t okay with being referred to as a gift. Can we consider this when we speak about adopted children and adults moving forward? 

I would like to think that it counts for something significant that 88% of adoptees are not okay with being referred to as a gift, which implies ownership of a whole human being. Can we at least be sensitive that this is a problem and have the willingness to consider changing our language in adoption?

When I think of the children I brought into the world, they are my children, but they are also their own individual people. While I didn’t pay for them with a $45,000.00 cash price, I still do not refer to them as a gift because of the weight of ownership this implies. 

One of the most amazing things I have received was from a friend, Frank Ligtvoet. He shared the song “On Children” by Sweet Honey In The Rock, and I wanted to share it. I think this song is powerful in so many ways. I would like to think it could be applied to the lives of those who wish to accept, acknowledge and appreciate that none of us own our kids. They are sons and daughters of the universe and the world itself. Adopted or not, this is a powerful reminder that no one has ownership over another, and no human being is a GIFT of monetary possession. Can we acknowledge that things ring differently for adopted people? Even with well-intended circumstances, adopted people are not okay with feeling like they are possessions and gifts. 

It’s time our language and thoughts match up with this reality. 

Take a listen below!

For my fellow adoptees, have you been referred to as a gift or felt as if you were a possession? If so, how did that make you feel?

Thanks for reading and listening!

Pamela A. Karanova

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your listening convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*The views and opinions expressed in this article and podcast 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

The Vital Contrast Between Relinquishment Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Adoption Trauma and Why We Should Consider the Difference 

I am learning and growing to understand all the layers of the adoption experience from an adult adoptee’s perspective. I am entirely open to learning and growing in my experience, my story, and the stories of my fellow adoptees, intercountry adoptees, and/or multiracial adoptees. 

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is an intercountry adoptee, and the conversation was striking to me. She shared a piece with me I had never thought about before, and with this, I learned something very significant that I feel we should all understand, so I felt the need to share it in this article.

When most people think of adoption, they think of a “blessing” or a “wonderful outcome” for a child who was not wanted by their biological parents. Rarely do they know the other side of the coin, the reality of what adoption is, how separation trauma impacts us and what adoption feels like from the adoptee’s lens.

Some adoptees might be fortunate enough to receive the “picture perfect” adoption story; however, all the adoptees I know who could sympathize with this scenario still have deep-rooted issues that stem from the separation from their biological mother and adoption experience. Unfortunately, I have not met one who doesn’t, and I have been connecting with adoptees worldwide for over a decade now. 

Let’s get straight to the reason behind writing this article. 

Relinquish – voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up. 

Voluntary – done, given, or acting of one’s own free will.

Separation – the act or process of separating: the state of being separated.

When I first began to emerge out of the fog from my adoption experience, I learned that the classification of referring to my experience as “Adoption Trauma” was something I could wholeheartedly relate to. My adoption experience did indeed traumatize me. 

However, it’s vital that I also recognize that the separation from my biological mother has also traumatized me. While many already know this, anytime a mother and a child are separated for any reason, a trauma occurs. This separation is classified as a traumatic experience and can cause a host of issues for the duration of the adoptee’s life. While we can undoubtedly suggest that the separation trauma from our biological mothers is traumatic indeed, it impacts us all at different levels. 

Over the years, I have learned that some adoptees have gravitated towards a well-rounded adoption experience, and many of us struggle every step of the way. Sometimes we’re somewhere in the middle of a complex adoption experience with varying emotions and experiences. One thing is for sure; no two adoptee stories are alike. I learned at the beginning of my healing journey that a lot of times, the adoption experience is lumped into one extensive experience; however, I view the separation from my biological mother as one traumatic experience and my adoption from my adoptive parents as a separate traumatic experience.

When we say “ADOPTION TRAUMA,” when we speak about our experiences, I feel like we are speaking about the experience of our adoptive parents adopting us because this event happens AFTER WE ARE SEPARATED from our biological mothers for whatever reason. It begins at the moment we are ADOPTED. But what about the traumatic experience of separation that happens first? 

While I think the adoption community means well, I see a significant issue with lumping these events together as one. Suppose you research separation trauma, mother and baby bonding and what happens when that bond is disrupted, and attachment theory. In that case, you will quickly learn of all the traumatic layers of losing a person’s biological mother. A baby can be fresh out of the womb, a toddler, or a preteen. Separation from our biological mothers will always create a wound, also known as the primal or mother wound. This wound is the greatest wound of our lives for many of us. For others, they aren’t so profoundly impacted by it. 

But, again, it impacts each of us differently. Still, the extreme end of the spectrum is where I have found myself to be, and the most significant source of my heartbreak, grief, loss, and pain is undoubtedly the separation and loss of my biological mother. This is just my experience as I see it over a decade of coming out of the fog from my adoption experience. I don’t claim to know it all, but I have gained snippets of knowledge and understanding along the way. 

While the term separation can describe anyone who has been separated from their biological mothers, relinquishment can not. I have learned that many adoptees don’t know if they were relinquished or stolen, which changes everything regarding how we speak about and view the adoptee experience. Being separated from our biological mothers is different from being adopted by our adoptive parents. 

Totally different! 

When speaking of my own story, I sometimes say relinquishment trauma when speaking of the primal wound or mother wound, but that’s because I know I wasn’t stolen. Instead, I know my biological mother chose to relinquish me. 

When I speak of adoption trauma, I am speaking of the trauma I experienced AFTER separation from my biological mother and paperwork was finalized with my adoptive family and what happened moving forward. But, again, both are very separate things, and both hold very different experiences! 

When I speak as a whole about other adoptees being separated from their biological mothers, I tend to gravitate towards separation trauma (instead of relinquishment trauma) because I don’t know if all adoptees were relinquished or not. We can’t assume all adopted people were relinquished. Many were stolen and sold on the black market and other various ways. 

And even when adoptees are relinquished, a lot of the time, the biological mothers didn’t voluntarily give their babies up. Instead, they were often coerced and conditioned, which is a form of gaslighting and manipulation that leads them to feel the shame and guilt many feel, which leads to adoption. 

Some might use the term “Surrender” when speaking of the separation of a mother and a baby. That means “to cease resistance to an enemy opponent and submit to their authority,”  however that doesn’t align with the possibility that there is an UNKNOWN area where a baby could be a stolen baby. 

Adoption Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Relinquishment Trauma all mean different things. I wanted to highlight this because I see “Adoption Trauma” used more and more. When I think a lot of the time, “Separation Trauma” is better fitting for what the person is trying to explain. 

Not all adoptees feel like adoption traumatized them, and not all adoptees feel like separation from their biological mothers traumatized them. We all write our own stories based on what we know and our experiences in life with our adoption journeys. I want to spark conversations with this article and thoughts that will shed light on this topic for anyone that hasn’t thought of these dynamics. 

I say, “Relinquishment trauma, compacted by adoption trauma,” when it comes to MY STORY, which fits me the best regarding my story.  It’s no doubt that no matter how you slice it, Separation Trauma, Relinquishment Trauma, AND Adoption Trauma are all very traumatic experiences. However, it is good to distinguish between them when we communicate our experiences to articulate our messages more clearly and defined. 

Adoptees, How do you refer to the separation from your biological mother?

Have you been able to learn if you were stolen or relinquished? 

How do you refer to your adoption experience or the experience of others who have been separated from their biological mothers and adopted? 

Do you use “Adoption Trauma” across the board, or do you distinguish the two as separate experiences? 

I am curious about others’ thoughts on this topic. 

Thank you for reading,

Love,

Pamela A. Karanova  

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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*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

She Just Had a Bad Adoption Experience

Wow, at how many times I’ve heard people whispering these sentiments as I walk on by with a giant-sized adoptee chip on my shoulder. I couldn’t even begin to count, but it’s a lot. Even when they don’t say it directly to me, I feel it.

But the truth of the matter is that if we’re being honest and transparent, a trauma occurs before every adoption occurs when we experience the separation from our biological mothers. Even when adoptees are removed from dire situations and taken into foster care to more safe environments, the trauma of separation is still present. Because of this trauma, every adoptee can equate separating from our biological mothers as a bad adoption experience.

Some of us have awful experiences after we are adopted, and some have wonderful ones. But, of course, no two adoption stories are alike. Still, one thing for certain is that before every adoption occurs, the trauma of separation from our biological mothers occurs first.

The world pretends that separation trauma doesn’t exist in adoption. They gloss over it and even celebrate it. But then, they sweep it under the rug, ignore it and act like it doesn’t exist. Yet, the separation trauma is genuine and the root of every adoptee’s experience.

Some adopted people don’t even understand or realize that this trauma can impact every area of their lives. Unfortunately, most of the world doesn’t acknowledge it or recognize it either. If they truly knew, would they still celebrate every adopted person’s trauma, not leaving room for the realities of the heartache every adoptee experiences before they are ever adopted?

When we know better, we do better. At least we hope that is the plan.

My reason for sharing this article is to highlight that we must acknowledge and recognize as a society that separation trauma is a real thing, and it hurts. Separation trauma always happens before the adoption takes place. When I write, I try to distinguish that the SEPARATION is TRAUMA. And while we can speak about adoption being trauma, for some of us, it can be. But separation trauma is a separate thing. It’s essential to identify them as separate events in our lives.

 No matter who my biological mother was, how she was, or what she wasn’t, she was my biological mother. And no matter what the reasons were for our separation, it caused me a lot of heartache to lose her. But unfortunately, the world and my adoptive parents swept it under the rug because that is what everyone is told to do. We’re blank slates. But let me share a part of how the separation trauma showed up in my life.

At 12, I started drinking alcohol, and I started to run away. I started breaking the law, and I was in and out of group homes, juvenile detention, and drug and alcohol treatment. I was in an abusive relationship and pregnant at 15. This was only the beginning of what the world can consider “acting out” as a teenager. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of a lifetime of troubles. I drank alcohol for 27 years to cope with the pain.  

But it was much more than that. I knew I was adopted, and to the very core of my being, I just wanted and needed to find my biological mother. But no one knew the internal agony I was going through. I didn’t even understand it. Read over some of my articles, specifically “She’s Bad,” and you can gain a glimpse of the feelings I have carried.

For those who want to apply the label to my life, “She just had a bad adoption experience,” let me share some advice with you. Instead of applying this label to me, my life, and my fellow adoptees, why not open your heart up to the possibility that there is much more to adoption than what you always knew?

You can continue to label me as the lady that just had a bad adoption experience, but I ask you to reconsider your thoughts. Maybe I share my pain because it brings healing to my life. Maybe I share it with my fellow adoptees to know they aren’t alone. Maybe writing is healing to me. Maybe it’s one of the only places I can share my feelings about being adopted, and non-adoptees can’t silence me, shut me down, and tell me how to feel? Maybe writing my thoughts about adoption-related topics has helped me more than the 100 therapists I have seen in my life? Maybe it’s a safe place for me, and the world is not when it comes to sharing adoptee thoughts and feelings?

Also, please understand that the sentiments of “she just had a bad adoption experience” come off as gaslighting and invalidating my trauma and pain resulting from separation trauma and my adoption experience. Please stop.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. Hopefully, this article helps non-adoptees understand that every adoption is rooted in separation trauma first. It’s so much deeper than me just having a bad adoption experience!

How many of my fellow adoptees have heard this at some point in your journey? How has it made you feel?

Thank you for reading,

Love,

Pamela A. Karanova  

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

Don’t forget that I’m streaming my articles on several audio platforms for your convenience! 👇🏼

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

☕️– Buy Me A Coffee https://bit.ly/3uBD8eI

*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

Adoptees, Why Did Your Adoptive Parents Adopt You?  

I write about the difficult dynamics in adoption, the ones no one wants to talk about. As I have emerged from the fog of adoption, I’ve learned that not all adoptees are adopted for the reasons most people think they are. So what was the reason your adoptive parents adopted you? What were you told, and did it align with the truth?

Society paints a picture that adoptees are taken in when their biological families don’t want them. Their adoptive parents have taken on this responsibility to parent another person’s child to provide a safe and loving home for the child. The adoptive parents are then seen as heroes and often take on the superior attitude of saving an unwanted child from a life of despair. White savior complex sits front and center on many occasions regarding adoptions today. There is an underbelly to these false realities.

However, this is the opposite contrast of what many adoptees feel while we navigate life on the other side of the coin. For many of us, over years of our lives, we learn the truth about why we were adopted, and it opens up a level of understanding for each of us. We’re told we were chosen, and most of the time, we believe it. It’s a cushion to soften the blow of the realities about adoption. The chosen baby theory makes people feel better, even when it’s not true.

I am here to share the truth that most of the time, when a baby is adopted, the reasons they were separated from their biological mothers isn’t usually a pretty story. We must share this reality to stop setting adoptees up for the life-altering disappointment when they discover the truth. The separation trauma is traumatic enough, and we don’t have to add more lies and secrecy to it by using the chosen baby theory. I will be writing more about the chosen baby theory soon.

It’s rare for someone to choose to take on the responsibility of parenting another person’s child, with it being the first option. People generally want to have their own biological children FIRST, before adoption is ever spoken of. This means adoption is likely the LAST option vs. the chosen one. If you think your adoptive parent’s hand-picked you out of a line of babies, I can guarantee you this is a false narrative spun by the adoption industry. It’s part of the propaganda they sell to dress adoption up and hide what it truthfully is. The truth is, they took the next baby in line.

My adoptive mom was infertile. She couldn’t have kids of her own. So instead of healing from this significant loss and accepting those were the cards she was dealt, she adopted! I carried the load of her struggles with infertility my entire life. Somehow I remember saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” more than anything. She never healed from the divorce or her infertility struggles. I was the prime target of her emotional and mental outbursts and my adopted sister. Our adoptive father divorced her, left us, and moved away even when he knew she couldn’t take care of us. It was no secret that she was mentally ill. From an early age, I was her caretaker. I rubbed her back, put lotion all over her body, cleaned her room, changed her bedding. I ran her bath water, brushed her hair, cut coupons for her, cleaned the whole house, and the list could go on.

I started to learn in my early teens that my adoptive mother had a fear of going to a nursing home in her older age. She talked about this in my childhood many times, and by my teen years, it was very apparent to me that she had significant issues with going to a nursing home. As I started to connect the dots on this, and I experienced a life of hell in this home, it is evident that she adopted 1. Because she couldn’t have offspring of her own. 2. She didn’t want to go to a nursing home in her old days. These reasons are far-fetched from wanting to provide a loving and caring home to a child in need.

Another highlight about this reality is that our relationship was very strained my whole life, especially as I grew into my adulthood. She tried to convince me to be her power of attorney when I was 38 years old. When I was 38 years old, I was the single parent of a new 18-year-old high school graduate. I also had twins that were in 9th grade. I had my hands full to take on this responsibility, and I declined. If we had a healthy relationship and if she wasn’t abusive my whole life, I might have considered it. However, she went straight for my fresh out of high school 18-year-old daughter when I declined.

My daughter was barely out of high school, yet when she asked her and pursued her to be her POA. She was applying to colleges and ready to start her life as an adult. So why would she want to dig her claws in my daughter in this way? Because her plan with me backfired. I cared for her and catered to her my entire life until I finally broke free in 2005. I packed up a UHaul, all my belongings, my kids and moved across the country to escape her. It was the hardest thing I ever did because when you are adopted, you then step into a space of having no family and, in this case, no mother. I didn’t have one anyway, but we started our life over. I had no place to live, no job, no money, no car, and no keys TO ANYTHING.

I did this not only for my kids to have a better life but also for myself. So I could start the healing process from all my adoption experience has caused. I have come to life little by little, and today I’m thriving. However, this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been hurt by the reality of why my adoptive mom adopted me, to begin with. I see right through her intentions. It would be easier to believe the fairytale narrative; however, my life’s experiences won’t allow me to believe this.

I am not saying that some adoptees aren’t adopted for pure reasons, but I know I am not the only one who has figured out I was adopted to fill the void a biological child would have brought to my adoptive mom and her adopting for her wants and needs. It’s almost like I feel like a pawn in a game I never agreed to play. Unfortunately, because of this and all the abuse and lies she inflicted on me my entire life, we were estranged for several years before she passed away.

I’m curious about the experiences of my fellow adoptees? Do you feel like your adoptive parents adopted for “the right reasons?” whatever that looks like to you? Or do you feel there was another reason or even several? How has this made you feel?

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 PodcastsiTunes , 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!

Thanks for reading and listening,

Love, Love.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article and podcast 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.

The Hypocrisy of Classifying All Biological Mothers as Relinquishers – An Adoptee’s Perspective

I don’t like anyone telling me what to call my biological mother, and when they try, it grinds my gears in a wild ass way! I had a fellow adoptee DEMAND I call my biological mother, MOTHER. If I didn’t, she insisted I was feeding into the adoption industry propaganda and that I wasn’t being honest because she was, in fact, my mother! I get what she was trying to say; however, no one gets to tell me what to do or how to refer to my biological mother. 

I will never try to tell anyone how to refer to their BIOLOGICAL MOTHER, FIRST MOTHER, or BIRTH MOTHER. I couldn’t call her mother because she didn’t earn the right to gain that title. I will share more about that in a few. 

I have had biological mothers jump my ass in online settings for using BM (birth mother or bowel movement) when describing my biological mother. I let them know I can use BM because it’s easier to describe biological mothers in adoption spaces, and most people know what BM means.

Now that I have been on a healing and growth journey, I try to be sympathetic to this. Not because I have to, but because I want to.

For anyone to tell another person how they should refer to anyone in their life is something I can’t entirely agree with. Of course, we are all free to refer to our biological mothers or anyone else as we wish, but that’s not what this article is about. It’s about using a blanket statement calling ALL biological mothers relinquishers. Many individuals call the entire category of biological mothers RELINQUISHERS for those unaware of it.

Over a decade, I have been in the adoptee community and longer than that in online adoptee spaces, better known as ADOPTEELAND. While several years ago, I since retired from Adopteeland altogether, gladly passing the baton over to those who are better equipped to handle the complexities that come with it. There have been many situations where I learned that all biological mothers are referred to as relinquishers, and I have some thoughts on this. 

Relinquish – voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up. 

Voluntary – done, given, or acting of one’s own free will.

This is a loaded topic, and I am only sharing from my perspective because I see an issue with ALL biological mothers being classified as relinquishers. 

Here’s why. 

When we refer to ALL biological mothers as relinquishers, we classify them ALL as voluntarily, of their own free will,  giving up their babies for adoption. However, we admit that adoption agencies, adoption officials, churches, evangelicals, the pro-life movement, and adoption advocates have particular ways to manipulate and coerce mothers before they give their babies up for adoption.

In that case, we have to consider this when classifying them ALL as relinquishers. We can not know this and rightfully call all biological mothers relinquishers because many of them had no choice. 

Most of us are aware that adoption is a multi-billion dollar unregulated business and that there is a lot of money to be made in this arena. We also know that the coercion tactics used on mothers are very sly and cunning. The exploitation runs deep and raw.

I had the experience of reading The Girls That Went Away, a remarkable book that recounts the experiences of biological mothers through the baby scoop era. They share feelings associated with the lifelong trauma of their babies being separated from their existence.  Many of them would have kept their babies if they could. However, they had no choice or options between the era they were in and a lack of support. Many were conditioned to believe their babies would be better off without them, and sadly many believed it. Sadly, this still happens today.

Many of us recognize and acknowledge that not all adoptees have the beginnings of their life, which means they don’t know the truth about their beginnings. We can not assume that all international adoptees or domestic adoptees weren’t stolen. We must acknowledge that many adoptees are stolen and sold on the black market and in other awful ways. When we know this, we can’t assume that the biological mothers relinquished their babies, yet many of them were legitimately stolen from them. 

How can anyone call all biological mothers relinquishers when they know this is a part of adoption? Once again, If you know this, and you are still calling ALL biological mothers relinquishers, I believe you are just being cruel and mean. This usually always occurs on the internet because most people don’t dare to be this mean in real life. 

There are many adoptees who are referring to themselves as “relinquishee” instead of “adoptee.” I wrote an article about that called, “My Views on Adoptee vs. Relinquishee.” While I sometimes use the term relinquishee, it fits my story but it doesn’t fit everyone’s story. Some adopted people are uncertain if they were stolen or relinquished which are two very significant differrences. I will be writing about this soon.

This topic is quite personal to me due to an exceptional individual in my life who was brave enough to share their story with me, who happens to be a biological mother. She was pregnant in the baby scoop era at 15 years old, and like many other unwed mothers, she was swept away to a mother/baby home to prepare for the surrender of her baby. But unfortunately, her parents wouldn’t support her, and at 15, she had no options. 

When her daughter turned 18, she had already found her and sat at her high school graduation from afar, watching the baby she gave birth to 18 years earlier walk across the stage. She slipped out, never to be noticed by anyone. Not long after, she pursued reuniting and a relationship with her daughter, and she had an existing one until her dying days. On her deathbed, she still wept tears from the loss of her daughter. 

Even in the hospital, she whispered to her many years later as tears wept down her face, “I wish I would have taken you and ran; I’m so sorry I didn’t.”  Even with all the cards stacked against her, she carried the pain of the separation from her daughter to her last breath in her last words. 

Knowing that she experienced this, and so many other biological mothers, to put them in a category labeled RELINQUISHERS is something I can’t agree with. But, this is one story of countless that I have been willing to listen to and learn from. 

Now, my biological mother, on the other hand, might be able to slide her into the category of relinquisher because I genuinely feel she was old enough to know what she was doing. She made a clear and conscious choice as a grown adult, and even when in 1974, things were significantly different than today. She could have kept me and parented me. 

The circumstances around her decision are based on the fact that she had an affair with a married man, and I was conceived as a product of this affair. He was a close family friend, and she kept the whole pregnancy a secret, even from my biological father. I don’t call her a relinquisher because I feel it has a vile tone and a mean connotation attached to the way the word is used. Instead, I choose the word biological mother or birth mother for the woman who gave birth to me because that fits my story and what feels comfortable to me. 

I feel it’s exceptionally hypocritical to use a blanket statement calling all biological mothers relinquishers when we know these realities exist and that every single separation from our biological mother is different from the next.

Call your biological mother a relinquisher if you wish! But I feel when anyone refers to ALL biological mothers as relinquishers, it’s fueled by anger and spite resulting from unresolved trauma wounds.  As we all know, anytime a mother and a child are separated, a trauma occurs, so every adopted person and their biological mothers carry trauma with them whether they understand it or not. 

I don’t refer to all birth mothers as relinquishers, nor do I refer to ANY birth mothers as relinquishers. Part of my journey has allowed me the opportunity to have many one-on-one, heart-to-heart online and in-person conversations with biological mothers. I have been willing to try to understand the depths of their experiences. Everyone has said it was a traumatic experience, and almost all said they had no choice. I’m not saying this is the case for every story because I know it’s not. 

Kindness and compassion go a long way. However, being a mean human being isn’t cool at all. When someone is mean, rude, or disrespectful on the internet, or if they have bullying tendencies, I completely tune them out and turn them off. They get no airtime in my world. I encourage you to do the same! 

Let’s try to do better and reconsider when we think about using blanket statements by calling all biological mothers relinquishers and let’s handle each experience as its individual own. Let’s take accountability that we legitimately know not all birth mothers have or had a choice. Let’s grow in our journeys to have more kindness and compassion for others. 

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!

Thanks for reading, 

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

Being Found VS. No One Looking – An Adoptees Perspective

The thoughts coming to life in this article are reflections I have had brewing for a very long time. My perspective is from the natural lens of an adopted adult who unfortunately had no one from my natural family looking for me, not in this lifetime anyway. 

What do I mean by “I had no one looking for me?”

Many adoptees, myself included, have formed this fantasy that our biological parents made a big mistake, and they are coming to find us! Every day in my childhood, I dreamed of the day that my birth mother would reappear and take me back home to live with her. When we are told she “loved us so much,” it’s easy to attach all kinds of fantasies to this scenario. Dreams, fantasies, and wishes are endless and limitless. Sometimes I feel like my whole life was built on a fantasy, a dream, and a wish. But instead of dreaming about a husband, an amazing career, children, and a fancy car and house like most people, it was all about HER.

The biggest dream, fantasy, and wishes were always centered around my birth mother coming back to get me or me finding her. Year after year passed, and I hit my teen years, and reality set in. She wasn’t coming back, and as I reached adulthood, my fantasy was shattered and destroyed.

Here’s why – my birth mother was never looking for me, and she never wanted to be found. (These are two separate things) It’s hard to put into words the depths of pain this reality has caused me, but it’s shifted every part of my being to be disappointed and rejected in such a profound way, buy the woman that should love me the most. The high hopes in a happy reunion story came crashing down, and I have found myself picking up shattered pieces of my heart, step by step, trying to put the pieces together again. While I have healed at great lengths, I have accepted the pain is here to stay.

Not running from it has been the key to healing for me.

My biological father didn’t know I existed, and I was adopted without his consent. So it would be ludicrous for me to think he was looking for me. However, before I learned that he knew nothing of my existence, I had hoped he was trying to find me—more fantasies at their finest.

I am 12 years into coming out of the fog and navigating my healing journey, and things are much better today. I made a choice to leave alcohol alone and decided to feel the feelings of rejection, abandonment, and the primal wound, aka relinquishment trauma.

However, over the 12 years, there were many times the pain and REALITY of my truth were just too much to carry, and I wanted out. I had plans to leave the earth many times and I thought I would die from a broken heart. I don’t share that lightly.

But here I am, alive to share my story. The future seems to have developed into a more peaceful existence. Of all the time and energy I have spent on healing, I will never forget how it has felt to have not one person on this earth looking for me after spending a lifetime thinking they were.

It’s a sad feeling, dark and hallow at times like I wasn’t worth finding. It feels like I shouldn’t exist in a world where my own biological family could care less if I lived or died. To show up and exist in this world with these dynamics at the root of my very existence has been a never ending challenge most will never understand.

Thankfully, even when no one wanted to find me, I wanted to find me, but it doesn’t take 47 years of the pain away.

My desire to find myself, who I am, and who I am not is something that has taken me 47 years to experience. I have pondered what it might feel like if someone was searching for me, and I can imagine it would be the best feeling in the world. 

Unfortunately, I will never know. 

The adopted adults who have the experience of a biological family searching for them can hang onto that experience, so they will likely never know what it feels like for NO ONE to be searching for them.

However, I suppose that they could experience the maternal side OR the paternal side searching for them, which would give them a glimpse of what it feels like for one side to search for them, and another side not to search for them. Regardless of how it all plays out in each adopted person’s story, our very existence on earth comes with so much weight to carry. It’s painful no matter how you slice it.

But to carry the weight of NO ONE searching…

It hurts, and there isn’t much in the world that has topped this type of pain off. It’s primal, and it’s deep-rooted. But, the most significant part is that if we sit with the pain long enough, it starts to heal. I have sat in it for over 9.5 years without using alcohol to numb the pain, and it’s getting more manageable. Still, I can completely understand how some adoptees choose not to go on because the pain can be that difficult to navigate. That was once me.

Suppose a biological mother, biological father, or friends and family of an adopted person are weighing in the dynamic to search or not to search. In that case, I hope this article sheds some light for you in making your decision. This article is on a dynamic on how it feels when NO ONE is searching for you. On top of the pain and trauma from relinquishment, we also deal with this dynamic of no one looking for us that no one wants to talk about, yet it’s the reality for so many adopted people.

We must also take into consideration that some adoptees don’t want to be found. I can chime in and say, that they rightfully should be respected in this wish, however, how will you ever know unless you try to reach out to them? They deserve to get the choice in the matter. This means that even if you make the choice to search for an adoptee, the adoptee ultimately gets to decide if they want to open that door or not. We are all different and no two adoptee journeys are the same but I would think it would count for something if one of our biological relatives at least tried! I know it would have meant EVERYTHING to me that at least one of them tried.

It’s a tough pill to swallow. My heart aches for adoptees who stepped into a space where no one was searching for them and for those who stepped into a space where their biological parents don’t want to be found. I see you, hear you, and my heart is with you. You are not alone.

For adoptees, what has your experience searching for your biological family members?

Are you one of the adoptees who had no search for you?

Were your maternal or paternal biological parents or family searching for you?

Did they embrace a reunion, or did they not want to be found? 

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!

Thank you for reading.

Healing through writing, one article at a time.

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

Being Adopted and The Significance of the Black Hole

Before sharing specifics, I need to bring Seasonal Affective Disorder to light. I suffer from this each year as fall approaches until early spring. Because of this, I feel what I describe as the “black hole” is much more prevalent in my life during that time frame. One of the dynamics of my healing journey is that idol time has proven to be a struggle for me. I have more idol time during the fall and winter months because I hate the cold, and can’t enjoy my number one escape, nature. When I’m trapped in the house, I experience a part of me that makes me feel guilty for resting, or when I’m not busy, a part of me feels dysfunctional. But, on the other hand, part of me always feels like I need to constantly be productive, active, doing something. 

Another part of me flourishes in a unique aliveness and sweet natural essence. I can see beauty in everyday life, and I find happiness within myself and my surroundings. The sunshine fuels my passion to be alive, and I strive to be active and never miss a moment to make a memory. Sometimes I run off into nature alone, and sometimes I take friends or family.

And then, there is a part of me that is missing; it’s hallowed and empty in that space that I call the black hole.

The black hole wants to be filled up, but it has no ending and depths. It goes on forever and ever, hallow. Sometimes I don’t think about it being there, especially in the summer and spring months. Other times in the fall and winter months, it’s screaming for attention. I describe it as an itch or a void. I have identified it’s significantly different from the black cloud that used to follow me everywhere I went, from all the sorrow I felt from adoption.  

I do my best to cover the defective parts and let happiness soar, but deep down, hidden from the world is a different story.  

Sometimes it feels like something inside is broken that created the black hole, and no matter what I try to fill it with, it never fills up. I filled it with alcohol for 27 years, but 9.5 years ago, I stopped that habit. Drinking alcohol kept me from noticing the black hole most of the time. The black hole has been screaming to be filled ever since. Sometimes its scream is more potent than others. 

How did this black hole come about? 

It used to feel like the black hole was in my heart because my heart was deeply saddened and sorrowful from my adoption experience. I always thought I would die from a broken heart, but I have learned over the years that it was grief and loss that were trying to come out. The broken heart feeling hung on day in and day out, never leaving. I have spent 10+ years working towards healing, and my heart feels better most of the time. 

Finally, around August of 2021, the sorrow and sadness I always carried deep down lifted, and I can’t quite explain it yet. Other than working towards healing for over 12 years,  I freed myself from an awful and unhealthy 9-month toxic relation-shit in my life, which is possibly one of my best decisions for my emotional and mental well-being. After this fake connection was severed, I have felt exceptionally FREE because it just wasn’t a good fit. 

I am finding a distinct difference between the broken heart feeling and the black hole feeling. It’s at the center of me, and it reaches the deepest parts of my mind, body, and soul. Most of the time, it doesn’t hurt. It’s just there, but it has a nagging and itching desire to be filled up.

It doesn’t want to be empty.

Can it ever be repaired? 

I suspect the black hole was created when the natural bonding process with my biological mother was interrupted, and the separation from her has left a black hole that can never be repaired. Acceptance of this reality has been a KEY component of my healing. 

Do all adoptees carry this? 

I constantly find myself trying to fill it up, but the most significant thing has happened. I can identify when I’m trying to fill the unfillable black hole with unhealthy choices. 

What are the unhealthy ways I try to fill the black hole up? 

  • Sweets
  • Unhealthy food
  • Over-eating
  • Dating
  • Overextending myself
  • Trying to “save” others
  • Wanting to move
  • Starting a new job
  • Not setting boundaries with people
  • Creating a project adding more responsibility to my plate
  • Finding something new to fill the hole.
  • Buying material things I don’t need
  • Temporary satisfaction with unhealthy things
  • Making commitments, I don’t want to make
  • People-pleasing aka fawning
  • “Treating myself” with unnecessary things 
  • Creating a new “bad habit.”
  • Being impulsive
  • Over-planning
  • Filling the void with people, places and things
  • Acting on other peoples ideas and plans for my life before I think thoroughly if that is something I want to do
  • Being lazy, giving the black hole what it wants
  • Acting on obsessive thoughts and feelings 
  • Not spending enough time to think about things before I act on them
  • Avoidance from dealing with reality

One day I might try to fill the black hole with food where I overdose on sweets and food that I know isn’t good for me. One day I maybe have the itch to start a new project that I know I don’t have time for. Another day I might be searching for a new job I don’t need or a hobby that I like, that causes me to spend money I don’t need to spend. Another day, I might be trying to create something unique that no one has ever done before adding an unnecessary responsibility to my life.

I spent a lifetime trying to fill the black hole with Jesus, but that didn’t work permanently. It did work short-term, as long as I avoided the reality of the black hole. It only left me feeling like I was ashamed and defective even more because Jesus is supposed to cure it all. But I am the exception. I gave up on him, and I am glad. That was like running a never-ending rat race, always falling flat on my face in the end. Pretending that the hole didn’t exist or praying it away caused more harm than good. It was a constant war, and it was a game I decided I didn’t want to play anymore.

I won’t lie; it’s not easy to soothe the black hole. When I think about things thoroughly, and I walk away from an unhealthy choice or sporadic decision that attempts to fill the black hole, it sometimes feels like walking away from a drug I have been strung out on for a very long time. Sometimes it feels like death. I recognize that giving into filling the black hole will fix the empty feeling it carries, but only temporarily. A little time passes, then I am faced with something new that will temporarily “fix” the black hole. But, of course, it never goes away, but I can soothe it by choosing healthy things, or I can take a hit of the unhealthy choice, and it also temporarily fixes it. 

Everything changed when I started to look INSIDE MYSELF for the answers, instead of looking for things outside myself in other people, places and, things.

I’ve accepted that something is always going to be missing from my life, due to separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma.

The most amazing thing has happened in the last few months, but it’s not been easy to discover. Finally, I have IDENTIFIED when I have unhealthy feelings and thoughts that directly fill the black hole! Recognizing this is the first step, and I am thankful that I am at a healing space in my journey where I can acknowledge this and RECOGNIZE IT. Some people go to their graves, never making it to this point. While I had alcohol in my life almost daily for 27 years, it wasn’t possible to even identify this dynamic, let alone dissect it, acknowledge it and, work on it. Alcohol blocked me from tuning into my true self and stood in the way of me truly feeling my feelings.

Some people might say, “How do you know this is directly related to the separation from your birth mother?” 

From deconditioning and coming out of the fog regarding my adoption experience, it has opened up 12+ years of research on the topic of adoption. In learning to navigate all of the emotions and feelings that I have stuffed my whole life, I have learned that the primal wound, aka the mother wound compacted by separation trauma and adoption trauma, can impact every area of an adopted person’s life. Sometimes it’s more intensified for each of us, and some adoptees seem to be more well adjusted and they don’t have very many issues. 

Everyone responds to trauma differently. We must learn to recognize that mothers aren’t interchangeable. The void and trauma damage that happens from the separation of our biological mothers can and does leave lasting imprints on an adopted person that can last a lifetime. 

For me, adoption has always bothered me to my core, and I have done everything under the sun imaginable to fill the void. However, I am now learning that the void adoption has left created a black hole that I keep trying to fill. Conclusion: The reality that I can not fill this hole has been life-changing for me. Now that I can distinguish this dynamic, I can ask myself, “Do I really want to do this, or am I just trying to fill the unfillable black hole?” I make a conscious choice to do my best to choose the healthiest option for me, but I fall short all the time and that’s okay. I am a work in progress like we all are.

What that looks like for me is making myself wait on making decisions and giving myself time to sit with them and process them thoroughly before I act. Sometimes this takes me a while, and people don’t always understand that. Why is she taking so long to process? 

Well, that’s actually because I am PROCESSING trying to make the best decision possible for myself, instead of reacting and acting from a DYING place to fill the black hole. The most significant piece to the black hole is acknowledging it, learning more about it, and not running away from it. So I am opening up about it and having conversations about it. I recognize it’s not present all the time, although it is always there. 

I suspect non-adopted people have this black hole feeling, but maybe they don’t describe it this way. I think the black holes can come from different traumatic events in life or things that have always been missing. Our mothers and fathers missing or absent would likely be at the top of the list for many people. I think abuse of any kind can provoke a black hole, as well as accidents or situations that spark C-PTSD and PTSD. Abandonment and rejection of any kind can spark a black hole feeling. 

Self-awareness has been vital and learning to listen to my mind, body, and spirit when it comes to how I’m feeling. Tuning into how other people make me feel when I am around them and acknowledging how I feel by myself has been instrumental in my healing and growth journey. Even when others might pressure me to move faster or respond quicker, I take my time. 

Today, I welcome the black hole, and I realize that it’s something that might be here for the rest of my life. I’m learning to replace it with positive aspects and to be easy on myself if I fail. I am not numbing it with substances; I’m not running from it. I do not deny it’s there. But, I’m learning to make friends with it, which helps us understand one another more profoundly. I am also celebrating the fact that today, I AM FEELING. So many people stuff these holes with drugs and alcohol, and I am doing none of that.

This alone is a cause to celebrate! 

For my fellow adoptees – have you ever experienced a feeling that feels like a black hole?

Does it come and go?

How would you describe it, and where do you think it comes from?

How do you handle it and deal with it?

Biological mothers – Does losing your child feel like a black hole or would you describe it another way?

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!

Thank you for reading,

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

Adoptees, You Are Not Your Abandonment and Rejection

I know the title of this article is so much easier said than felt, but man, I have to share a few things about the experiences and wounds that many of us carry that I describe as very deep-rooted abandonment & rejection wounds. When we think of these wounds, we tend to believe that they began after we were born, but I suggest they could have started before birth due to the research I have done over the last 10 years. Just what we need, more cards stacked up against us. But knowledge is power, and it also promotes healing. 

I have lived with this wound for 47 years in addition to my time in utero, so I understand how it can manifest in an adoptee’s life and how we can try to hide it and cover it up or act like it doesn’t exist. Sometimes many of us don’t understand this is even a thing. But no matter what we do, abandonment and rejection issues always seem to circle back around and rear their ugly heads. 

I am not sure if you have thought about this or not, but many of us experienced our very first feelings of rejection while we were still in the womb of our birth mothers. I share this because I have researched prenatal bonding and prenatal psychology to try to understand my wound better.  

We are all supposed to grow a strong bond with our biological mothers while still in the womb; however, that bond doesn’t always happen for adoptees. Research shows that biological mothers can and do bond with their babies while in utero, so it’s only safe to say that they can also disconnect and not connect with the baby during pregnancy. I learned we all have a critical process of development before birth, and it’s possible to be born with psychological issues due to a lack of bonding and connection with our biological mothers. This would only add to separation trauma, compacted by adoption trauma. 

To help me understand the bond I should have had with my birth mother during conception,  I read many books and articles that helped me understand how important this bond was because then I understood what I was missing if I didn’t have this bond with my biological mother. I also learned how this had impacted me throughout my life into adulthood. 

A few of the books I read are, Babies Remember Birth, The Secret Life of the Unborn Child, Pre-Parenting – Nurturing Your Child From Conception, and Windows to the Womb – Revealing the Conscious Baby from Conception to Birth

However, many times when an adoptee is going to be relinquished for adoption, our biological mothers purposely try not to bond with the baby growing inside their bellies for nine months. Why? Without a strong mother bond to us, it’s said to be easier to relinquish when the time comes. With this, sometimes, our biological mothers can purposefully try to block any emotions or feelings that come with bonding to the baby they are carrying for nine months. As a result, we feel this rejection back to the beginning for many of us before we were ever born. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to connect the dots and make sense of it all. And sometimes adoptees go to their grave, never really understanding that the abandonment and rejection we feel aren’t who we are; it’s something that happened to us. It’s sometimes next to impossible to weigh these dynamics out, let alone heal from them. 

It’s impossible to heal a wound by denying it’s there, so I wanted to write about this wound many of us carry that is no fault of our own. While researching conception and how babies can and do tune into their mother’s emotions during these nine months, even if our biological mothers aren’t purposely trying to not bond with us, their feelings of us are felt by us and can be carried in our subconscious memories. It’s no wonder many of us don’t understand the complexities of this wound because no one is teaching us or telling us that it exists. 

Once we know more, we can heal more. 

For me, my desire to HEAL was SO GREAT. I wanted to research the entire scope of pregnancy and pre-birth for myself, so I could try to get a better idea of my beginnings and how it all went down with my birth mother. Some of these discoveries I have learned were hard to grasp, but they have helped me understand from a more profound level, which helps me understand myself better. In return, I am learning to have empathy and compassion for myself and my birth mother. Every little clue to my beginnings has helped me heal, and I hope my fellow adoptees explore this dynamic so they can try to understand themselves better. 

While reading an article on the Integrative Psychiatry Institute website that is called “How Prenatal and Birth Imprints Set the Stage for Adult Behaviors HPP15,” I learned: 

“From a prenatal psychology perspective, the development in the womb and the birth process can have a huge impact on who we are as adults and the behaviors that we default to.” 

This alone inspires me to learn as much as possible about my prenatal life and to learn all the information that I can about my birth story. As adoptees, we’re usually always considered blank slates; when we enter into the contractual agreement, we don’t sigh; we call this adoption. 

While society and our adoptive parents at large spark our stories beginning with our adoptive parents, the adoptee community is circling around to let the world know that our stories didn’t start at adoption. They started long before then, and our stories before adoption matter, and they are essential to each of us. 

While I began to fight the world for my truth, I learned many things about my biological mother that helped me understand her decision to relinquish me for adoption. So I wanted to step into her shoes to learn more about her life as a child, her life growing up and her life when she conceived me, the days up to my delivery, and her life after. I wrote about this before in an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes.” In understanding her journey better, I understood my life better. 

I learned I was conceived out of a one-night stand with a married man. He was a close friend of the family, ten years older than my biological mother. The pregnancy with me was hidden from him and everyone around. It was a secret, and no one was supposed to know at all costs. I can only imagine how my birth mother felt during that time. Maybe she didn’t feel at all because I learned she drank every day through the entire pregnancy with me. I genuinely believe she rejected the pregnancy while she was pregnant with me, and even when I could have bonded with her because I was connected to her, she was not bonded with me and even likely fought this connection off. By learning about her alcohol abuse, I am left to speculate. I learned she worked up until the day she had me and went back to work the very next day. She checked into the hospital under an alias.

 I think she felt “bad” for being pregnant by a married man, and one of the feelings I have carried my whole life is the feeling of being BAD. Read, “She’s Bad.” The feelings of secrecy and shame likely consumed her, which makes it no secret I have had to work hard to remove the way she felt from my life because it has always felt like I was born with that shame, secrecy, and badness. I have felt sad and lonely for most of my life, and I believe this was also the feelings my birth mother felt during her pregnancy and the days leading up to my birth. In many ways, for many years, it defined who I am because that is all I have known. However, I am not those things, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt like them for most of my life. Learning to separate them has helped me tremendously.  

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“A bad birth can be like a thorn in the flesh, which keeps getting inflamed.” 

We can all guarantee that any child relinquished for adoption can be equated with an inhumane and bad birth/experience. It’s one of the most significant traumas we will ever experience, yet society continues to turn a blind eye and act as if it doesn’t exist. 

In Babies Remember Birth, if you skip to page 134, you will find chapter 10, titled PITFALLS. If you decide to read on, you will learn of many individuals who experienced separation trauma and what that felt like as they participated in hypnosis in therapy and tap into their preverbal consciousness. 

One person even said, “It was like a funeral at birth.” 

David Chamberlain, Ph.D. also states in his book, Babies Remember Birth: 

“Things said during pregnancy can leave harmful imprints, “birthmarks” that are psychological rather than physical. But, even inside the womb, babies can learn to cope with unhappy parents.” 

I am sharing these dynamics in this article because I hope all my fellow adoptees understand that the wounds of abandonment and rejection they carry are valid, legit, and so very real. They can and do go back to our preverbal and prenatal lives. For each of our individual lives, it helps by investigating further by asking more questions and not giving up or taking “no” for an answer. 

The argument can be raised from the adoptee’s perspective that we need our truth to gain this reality of our beginnings, and they are correct. This is why I will always side with my fellow adoptees learning their truth because everyone deserves to know who they are and where they come from. I fought the moment I came out of the womb and likely while in the womb. I even wrote about it one time in an article titled “The Fight of My Life – Revised.” I have fought like so many of my fellow adoptees have to learn our truth when it seems like the whole world is up against us. 

I was never giving up, but I almost died trying many times over. 

One of the many discoveries I have learned is that although I feel abandoned and rejected by my birth mother, she didn’t know me to reject me. Instead, she rejected the unresolved wounds that she had never processed due to her alcohol dependency. She rejected her decision, the outcome of my adoptive parents divorcing when I was one, and that her decision didn’t create a better life for me, only a different one. I acknowledged her alcohol abuse was a focus of her life way before I was born. She had a hard life and a challenging childhood. I heard many stories, and every little clue helped me understand better and begin healing in return. 

Separation trauma can impact adoptees significantly, and everyone reacts differently to trauma. However, one of the most significant dynamics for adoptees is that we often suffer in silence because our adoptive parents and the world celebrate adoption. In return, they celebrate our trauma. They leave no room for our sorrow or sadness. Our conception and preconception stories, and birth stories are a part of our history. Even when we’re considered blank slates, what happens during these times matters to adoptees. 

While abandonment and rejection from our adoption experiences can and does impact each of us significantly, and sometimes the wounds last a lifetime, the more we learn about our [His]-Story and [Her]-Story, the more we learn about ourselves. So it’s essential to separate the differences between the things we have control over and the things we don’t. We had no control over what happened to us as babies, but we can fight like hell for our truth. I always try to remember I am not how abandonment and rejection from adoption has made me feel. I am not the pain and heartbreak. Yes, it’s been a part of my life and always will be, but we are all so much more than how adoption has made us feel. We have a purpose, and we all have many countless reasons that the universe brought us together. 

Being adopted, it’s sometimes hard to feel like anyone cares about you. But I am here to share that you won’t feel others care about you until you put yourself first and learn to care about yourself FIRST. For me, that meant letting go of the feelings of being misunderstood. My fellow adoptees get me, and that’s good enough for me. But, unfortunately, other people can’t get me because they aren’t walking in my shoes. 

So much of what adoptees experience and endure along our journeys aren’t our fault. The feelings of abandonment and rejection aren’t our faults either. I hope you know that you are so much more than how adoption makes you feel wherever you are in your healing journey. You are NOT how abandonment and rejection make you feel. Trauma doesn’t have a healing time frame, so be easy on yourself and allow yourself to feel the feelings when they surface. Then, allow yourself the space to seek healing and guidance by adoptee-competent trauma specialists.

Research all of the dynamics of the wounds you carry as an adoptee and, if possible, go back to previous generations. You can bet that your biological mother’s decision didn’t start with her. Consider reading the book “It Didn’t Start with You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle.” 

It’s not your fault, and you didn’t deserve the pain adoption has caused you. You are not your abandonment and rejection. You are more valuable, and your story is of utmost importance, back to the very beginning. 

Never stop fighting for your truth; you deserve it. Never stop researching and learning about the wounds we carry. Understand, most of society won’t acknowledge them, so it’s up to YOU to do the work. But, acknowledging these realities is the first step.

I hope this article helps one of my fellow adoptees out there.

 For those who have made it this far, have you been able to gain any information on your biological mother to help form a conclusion of what your preverbal and prenatal lives might have been like? 

Have you made the connection that the way she felt during pregnancy could very well be impacting you to this day? 

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!

Love, Love PK 

*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

Why I Have A Blazing Passion to Share My Story and What It Cost Me to Tell It

“Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” – Janis Joplin.

When an adoptee is adopted, we are immediately put in a position where we are expected to forget our former selves and carry on with life as if our pre-adoption life never existed. 

When we grow up and start to develop internal feelings about this, these feelings often manifest outside ourselves in many different ways. Some of us use unhealthy coping mechanisms like using substances or alcohol. Some of us are perfectionists and overachievers. Some of us are workaholics. Some are addicted to food and spending money. Some of us are rage-filled and angry as hell. Some have healthy coping mechanisms like working out, exercising, hiking, running, bike riding, jogging, volunteering, writing, etc. 

But it’s no secret that when we start to tap into our real feelings and begin to express them verbally, we are walking a thin line here, and we feel every bit of it. I could possibly describe it as modern-day blackmail.  

Blackmail-  “To cheat, deceive or defraud someone for personal gain. A fraudulent scheme or ruse.”

What does this even mean? Many of us have a lot to lose, and we live in fear and intimidation that if we upset our adoptive families, we could have terrifying outcomes. Many of us have similar feelings regarding our biological families, so we remain silent because the risk we take sharing our emotions is too consequential. 

If our adoptive parents love us and take care of us when our biological parents didn’t want us, we must be thankful, grateful and we damn sure aren’t supposed to share any feelings that don’t line up with this narrative. It feels like blackmail, and it constantly hangs over our heads. 

We give you love if you pretend everything is perfect. 

Thoughts like, “If they knew how I feel, would they still love me?” or “If I share my feelings publicly, I will be disowned?” So much of the time, the adoptee can’t share their feelings, even if they want to. Our biological and adoptive families don’t have to say anything; we just know it! We feel it in our souls. Our compliance in keeping quiet is usually in exchange for being included in the family dynamics and receiving the love that’s conditional from the beginning. Trust me, the adopted children that grow up are the first to be left out of wills and shunned or excluded in the family dynamics. If we speak privately or publicly, we take the chance of losing it all!  

So most of the time, adoptees might have online roles or share pieces of their story. Still, they often use pen names to write.  I don’t see many adoptees sharing particular details about their birth parents and adoptive parents publicly because of these reasons. I’m not saying they don’t write about the adoptee experience; I’m saying they are sometimes afraid to share anything that doesn’t line up with the fairytale narrative.

I also see adoptees write or share about their adoption experience, and they feel as if they ALWAYS have to include, “My adoptive family was wonderful or I am thankful my parents chose me.” They don’t feel they can be real and raw without saying these things before, or after they say the truth that adoption has impacted them negatively.

As a result, I sometimes describe our experiences in a way that others can understand, and I call it the “Adoptee Whammy Effect.” 

This is based on having four parents: one adoptive mom, one adoptive dad, one biological mother, and one biological father. In addition, of course, many of us have step-parents or parental roles, which would add layers to this example. 

Let’s also not forget to recognize that some adoptees adopted internationally have not had the opportunity to find biological families, and some adoptees adopted domestically haven’t searched for various reasons. 

This example assumes that the adopted person has two adoptive parents and two biological parents they have attempted to reunite with over their lifetimes. Let’s also accept and acknowledge that before every person is adopted, they experience separation trauma from being removed from their biological mother. This should never be viewed as a positive experience; it’s traumatic. I have learned from other adoptees that even when they have the “Assumed Picture Perfect Adoption Experience” and they have ZERO WHAMMYS, they still have separation trauma that haunts them, and it impacts them in every way throughout life. That alone is enough for an adoptee to feel completely wrecked by adoption. Adding the whammy’s to it, only magnifies the grief, loss, pain and, trauma. Research separation trauma and the primal wound and learn so you can see for yourself.

When I share “Ideal and Fulfilling” relationships with our parents, I mean the adoptee’s relationships with the specific parent (bio mom, bio dad, adoptive mom & adoptive dad) have been generally a loving and healthy one. 

What’s Assumed in Adoption – Every adoptee has an ideal and fulfilling relationship with both adoptive parents. After searching for their biological family, both biological parents receive, love, and accept the adoptee. But, unfortunately, this is the fairytale narrative that most people believe happens in most adoptions. 

What Really Happens to Multiply Our Grief, Loss, Separation Trauma & Adoption Trauma:

A Single Whammy – This is when we don’t have good experiences with one of the two adoptive parents OR one of two of the biological parents 

A Double Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with two of our parents. It could be one adoptive parent and one biological parent, OR both adoptive parents OR both biological parents. 

A Triple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with three of our four parents. It could be one adoptive parent and both biological parents, OR both adoptive parents and one biological parent. 

A Quadruple Whammy – We don’t have good experiences with all four of our parents, both adoptive parents and both biological parents. 

I try to leave it up to the adoptees to describe what they consider a “Good Experience” when it comes to each of our individual maternal and paternal parents and each of our adoptive parents because no one else should define that for us. 

In my case, I am hands down A Quadruple Whammy and some EXTRA ISH! 

I am not going into all the grimy details on WHY I have a quadruple whammy, but I will share briefly that I was estranged from my adoptive mom before her passing and have no relationship with my adoptive dad. In addition, both biological parents rejected a relationship with me after meeting them each one time. Finally, I have an adoptive step-monster who essentially doesn’t exist in my life for various reasons I’m not going to make public. 

As a result, I don’t feel connected to or a part of any family except the three adult kids I birthed myself. I have accepted this, and I’m at peace with it at this stage of my life, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t lost so much in the process. It still impacts me (and my kids) until this day, and grief and loss are something I will be processing for the rest of my life. This doesn’t mean I am not thankful for what I have, because I am. My kids are the reason I keep living.

What does it cost for me to share my story? I can’t list everything, but I will highlight the main areas that come to mind. 

  • I have lost three shots at having a nurturing, loving, and caring mother. Three chances and I struck out all three times. I will never know what a loving relationship looks like from a mother other than seeing it in other people and their mothers. I have no mother to call, and I never really have. With this, I have never felt a mother’s unconditional love and support. There is no wound on earth quite like the mother wound. When you have it x3 as I do, it only magnifies it. 
  • I have lost the chance to know and grow up with and have relationships with my biological siblings. This is unforgivable, and the pain will echo for a lifetime. I have a lost/missing sister somewhere out there, and I have a half biological sister who resents me because I was adopted, and she wasn’t. She, too, bought into the fairy tale narrative that adoption is rainbows and unicorns, and it’s always a better life. She relinquished her baby for adoption just like my birth mother did. Giving your baby away runs in the family!  She thinks I should be grateful, and I am NOT. She knows nothing about the trauma I experienced in my life, nor has she tried to understand that I might have had a different life than her, but it damn sure hasn’t been a better one. Because of our differences on the issue, we have no relationship today. 
  • I have lost a sense of self because I have had severe identity struggles from childhood to adulthood. Only until I fought like hell for my truth have I been able to come to a place of internal peace in the last five years. That’s a lot of time lost!
  • I have lost a normal childhood; while most kids are frolicking in the fields, I was obsessed with finding my birth mother. It never left my mind. Read “The Sky and I.” I was also consumed with being the caretaker for my sick adoptive mom. I was traumatized over and over again by her manic depressive episodes.
  • I can’t connect with celebrating or even embracing a culture. I didn’t find out my ethnicity until I was 40 years old, and now I don’t even know how to tap into something that has been null and void my whole life.    
  • The dream I had of how much my birth parents “Loved Me So Much” was nothing more than a pacifier statement and a myth to stall my healing, and it stood in the way of me knowing the truth. No truth = no healing. The truth is, not all birth mothers love their children, and not all of them want to be found. My birth mother is one of them. Being told she loved me so much shattered me once I saw her, and she rejected a relationship. Please stop saying this to adoptees! 
  • I have lost the ability to understand what love even is. Your mother is supposed to be your ride or die and the one who fights until the end of the earth for you. So when your mother “Loves you so much” she gives you away to strangers, it’s a significant mental mind fuck. I am still making sense of it, and I am not sure I will ever understand why I was told this in this way? Did they know this would forever manipulate my view of what love is? This “lesson” has caused catastrophic consequences in my lifetime. 
  • I don’t know what it’s like to be a part of a real family, aside from my own three adult kids.  Being adopted to me feels like I’m still an orphan because I never felt like I fit in with my adoptive family. I always knew I was the second choice.  But, I am FOREVER grateful for MY FAMILY WITH MY KIDS. Without them, I would not be here. 
  • I have taken on an impending sense of deep-rooted sadness that will be with me until I leave this earth, for the fact that me being adopted IMPACTS MY KIDS, in every way! The trauma from relinquishment and adoption is generational, and I see my kids experiencing some of the things I did because of my adoption story. I will always hate adoption because of this. I can handle how it makes ME feel, but because it impacts my innocent children in such a profound way, I will never be able to forgive adoption. It will also impact my future grandkids, and their kids. Fuck adoption. 
  • I have lost the ability to trust because I learned early on from my adoptive mother that life and love are based on conditions. I have lived my life feeling like everyone wants something from me. Love is like a carrot, dangling over my head my whole life. The love will be snatched away if I say or do the wrong thing. Well, I’m an adult now, and I don’t want that conditional love anymore. I am learning to trust a few people, and I appreciate small circles.   
  • It’s taken me 47 years on earth to feel complete within myself, finally. The hell I had to go through to get here has consumed every part of my life. Because of this, I feel like I missed out on many moments of my kids being younger and the ability to find beauty in everyday life because most of my 47 years have been spent recovering from separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma. I resent this, and this is one of the reasons I don’t want to waste any more time and I am very selective on what I use my time on. 
  • I have lost every chance at having a father in my life. My biological father didn’t know of my existence, and he didn’t sign any adoption paperwork. However, once found, he still doesn’t want a relationship. My adoptive dad divorced my adoptive mom a year after adopting two daughters; (even when he knew she couldn’t care for us, he left anyway!); he moved over an hour away and remarried. He raised three stepsons as his own, and I honestly feel I don’t even know him. He’s always been far away, and he’s only visited Kentucky 3 times that I can remember,  in over 30 years of me being here. On the other hand, I have been back to Iowa at least 20+ times. No father/daughter dance or date, ever. No one-on-one time, not even an hour. Ever. 
  • Trust –  I have lost the ability to trust the people who are supposed to love me the most. They kept my truth from me for their gain. They paid a cash price for me. They said whatever they had to say to soothe my deep-rooted desire to find my biological family. I don’t just give trust away; people have to earn it in time. 
  • Missing Memories – I have lost all memories I should have made with my biological family’s maternal and paternal sides. This has been one of the most complex parts for me to fathom. I will never know any grandparents or aunts and uncles. I have met a few biological cousins, but we have no shared history. It’s hard building relationships from scratch. To much time is missing. The grief has knocked me down so many times over in my life. It’s consumed me so profoundly; some days and seasons in my life, I didn’t even want to go on with living. The sadness has been that great. 
  • Judgment – When people learn of me, maybe in a professional setting or even in the dating world, I am always putting myself at risk for pre-judgment because people can read my whole life story on my website before they get to know me real life. This impacts me significantly in life, and I am still sharing my story with my fellow adoptees, but it doesn’t come without a considerable cost! It’s a HUGE PRICE TO PAY!
  • People assume I am stuck – When I am still writing about adoption, many people think I am stuck in the places I am writing about. However, the truth is that I am not stuck. I have been stuck in the past; however, I have moved on in my life, I have accepted adoption for what it is, I have healed and continue to heal. It has always been the most significant thing in my life that has hurt me the most. I am sharing my feelings with the world, specifically my fellow adoptees because people need to know they have been sold a lie when it comes to adoption. I share so my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone and aren’t crazy about their feelings. I am also sharing because it helps me heal, and non-adopted individuals can learn from an adoptee’s lens. They are why I keep writing, but I have happiness and wholeness in my personal life, and I am no longer stuck. However, that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions. The great thing is, I could care less what people think. 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. 

As you can see, I have nothing to lose by sharing my story – I have already lost everything. When any adoptee shares their story, even if it’s in small pieces or micro-doses, please understand that sometimes that might be the very first time they ever let these feelings come to light. Sometimes it takes us an entire lifetime for adoptee feelings to come out of our mouths. So please listen without judgment and understand that to share our stories, especially publicly, we have A LOT TO LOSE! Be kind, be compassionate, and most of all, have the willingness to understand that there is much more to adoption than what society has been sold. 

In sharing my story and being a lifeline to my fellow adoptees, because I have nothing to lose, I can share from depths that many others can’t. When I share from these spaces, I heal a little more each and every time I release feelings that have been inside for 47 years. Because of these reasons, I keep sharing.

For my fellow adoptees, do you have the fairytale narrative that’s assumed by society? 

Or do you fit into the Single, Double, Triple, or Quadruple Whammy Effect?

How has this impacted your short term and long term?

What has helped you heal? 

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!

Thank you for reading, 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