Dear Non-Adopted Friends & Family Members

I will do my best to share from a place of grace because a lot is on the line here, but I also refuse to sugarcoat things to make them comfortable for anyone who reads this article. Hopefully, I can reach a middle ground that relays the message yet shares what is at stake in an upfront way. 

The lives of adopted individuals are in a crisis, and there is no time to wait in sharing this truth or to ponder on those who might take this article as a slap in the face or offensive. 

First things first, this article is for anyone who knows and loves an adopted individual and for those who can step into their shoes to try to gain a level of understanding that adoption might not be all you have known it to be. 

Do you have the emotional and mental capacity to do that? 

Are you open-minded and can see that other perspectives are entirely possible? 

If the answer is “YES,” Please continue. 

If you can’t do that, don’t bother reading any further.

Your time will be wasted. 

This information is for those who want to learn and those who can see beyond their own level of experience, knowledge, and understanding. 

My entire life, I’ve been silenced, shut down, and ridiculed by non-adopted individuals, and I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of seeing my fellow adoptees treated this way, and I can’t help but wonder if people understand the depts of their words and actions? Do they know their responses to us sharing feelings could be a life or death response from the adoptee? 

Adoptees are DYING!

I can’t help but give some of these people the benefit of the doubt that it’s not just adopted people they treat this way, but all people because they never learned the actual value of acknowledging someone’s feelings, sitting with others in their sadness, and also having empathy for others and trying to understand their viewpoints. I have learned the hard way, this is a gift, and not everyone has it. 

I have recently seen an adoptee share a meme (see below) on a social media post, and a long-time friend & family member decided to post a comment on the meme. This is what they said, “I don’t get it. Would you have rather grown up in an orphanage or foster care?” This reminds me of all the times we get, “Would you rather have been aborted?” or the infamous “You should be thankful you were adopted!” 

I couldn’t help but jump in and go to the defense of this young lady, who is a fellow adoptee, because his comment struck a chord with me. Even when the meme said, “Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide – Listen before its too late,” and he still didn’t have the common sense that it was OBVIOUS that the adoptee shared this for very valid and legit reasons. Gaslighting her into feeling bad about sharing it was an awful thing to do. Talk about insensitive and offensive to the adoptee experience, yet how many adoptees experience this daily? 

If we emerge from the fog and start sharing our feelings, we are always in fear someone will jump on us or tell us we’re ungrateful, and it can and does cause us to shrink back from sharing our truth. 

My point in sharing here is that you have no idea what it feels like to be an adoptee if you aren’t adopted. You don’t have a clue about the complexities that we carry around with us daily. You have two choices. To listen and try to learn from us OR you can turn the other way and ignore us like we’re the ungrateful adoptees the world says we are. BUT YOU WILL NOT continue to gaslight us and minimize our pain and suffering when it takes us our whole lives to get to a space where we feel confident enough to share our feelings. 

I know so many adoptees who have been on the edge of taking their own lives at various times in their lives. I am one of those adoptees. But, unfortunately, one friend or a family member can say something that literally can and will and has sent an adoptee over the edge of taking their own life, and there is no coming back. It happens all the time!

It blows me away that even when this meme says what it says, this individual had to insert his ignorant and self-serving comment without ever asking the adoptee, “Hey, I’m wondering if you can help me understand this better? I would love to learn from you!” 

I wrote an article back in 2014 – Just Listen, That is All. But if you want to do the world a favor, try to LEARN something new while you listen to adoptees share their experiences. It truly is a humbling thing when we come to a place in life where we acknowledge and accept that we don’t know everything and we can learn a lot of things from other people. 

If you have made it this far and are a friend or family member of an adopted person, thank you for reading. I would like to invite you not to comment when an adoptee shares feelings unless it’s coming from a place of support and understanding. What would you do if your comment was the breaking point for that person, and it was the last straw for them to feel once again invalidated, unheard and unacknowledged? You would have to live with that for the rest of your life, and there is no bringing that adoptee back. 

Like the meme says, LISTEN BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! 

How hard is it? 

TOO HARD FOR SOME PEOPLE! 

National Adoption Awareness Month is coming up, and so is Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th, and a lot of adoptees will be sharing feelings, thoughts, and emotions during these times. I invite everyone reading to try to understand the WHYS better when adoptees share how they are feeling. 

It costs nothing to be a kind and empathetic human being. 

I am thankful you are here for the adoptees who have made it this far because I want to invite you to cut these insensitive and harmful people out of your life. You do not need anyone in your life who tries to shut you down, silence you, and minimize your legitimate feelings. I encourage you to block, ban and delete anyone who can’t create space for you to share your story and emotions. Those are not your people, and it might be hard but do it anyway. You deserve to have people in your life who are understanding and empathetic for you and all that you carry. Allowing harmful people in your life will not serve you well in the long run. 

Family or not, they have to go.

Put yourself first, and set firm boundaries.  

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

Healing from Years of Abandonment & Rejection

Healing from Years of Abandonment & Rejection

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When I was a little girl, I found out I was adopted about 5 years old. Although I am thankful for the truth, this moment would change my life forever.  I always had a deep natural desire to find out the simple questions so many take for granted; who am I and where did I come from?

If you were to ask me what it was like growing up adopted I would say it was like having an empty heart with a mind filled with sadness and despair. These feelings were hidden from the world because there was nowhere to share my pain.  I felt isolated and alone. There were never-ending missing pieces to my story and it was impossible to feel whole without having the answers my heart desired.  I was plagued with feelings of insecurities from being abandoned at birth.  I had no voice and no choice resulting in disenfranchised grief, loss and trauma.   At a young age all alone, I set out to find my birth parents searching for them everywhere I went. I was never going to give up in finding them.

At the age of 21, I was given some information that was kept hidden from me. This was a dream come true for me because soon I would come face to face with my biological parents.  I could make up for lost time, or so I thought. I had high hopes for the reunion I always dreamed of. When my birth mother loved me “So Much” why would I think otherwise?  I don’t believe an adoptee can fully prepare for rejection from their biological parents. Soon I was faced with double rejection from both birth parents.  I had nowhere to turn experiencing more grief, loss & sadness. I was in denial and I didn’t want to accept the truth.  I discovered I was the product of an affair with a married man. My existence was a secret from everyone around.  My biological father knew nothing about me. Every clue to my history was extremely valuable to me in my healing process.

Every Birthday, Holidays, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day are constant reminders of the loss of 2 entire familirs, which has left me deeply saddened for many years  No memories to remember, no good bye and no forever. The grief and loss were unbearable at times. The world didn’t understand this thing called “Adoption” that was glorified worldwide was the very source of my deepest pain.

I was completely heartbroken.

I started to research “Adoptee Support” and found nothing. This left me feeling hopeless, depressed and even suicidal at times.

I began drinking alcohol at a very early age to numb my pain. I was in and out of drug and alcohol rehab, juvenile jail and many group homes. This would lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits as well as anger and rage issues.  When I found both my birth parents they were both alcoholics. This scared me because of my history but finding this truth is what potentially saved my life. It prompted me to make the choice to make changes in my life. This is a choice only I could make, no one else could make it for me.  I started a ministry called Celebrate Recovery and threw in the towel on my drinking habit. I’ve been living a sober life since August 13, 2012. During this time I have worked on healing by discovering my root issues come from abandonment & rejection from my adoption experience.  Facing the pain head on is what I was focused on for the next 4 years. During this time I learned adoptees have no safe place to share their deep rooted feelings regarding being adopted. This is when How Does it Feel to be Adopted? was created for all the adoptees out there. I started sharing my journey at Adoptee in Recovery which turned into a great healing through writing tool not only for me, but for other adoptees as well. I’m a firm believer in order to heal it we must feel it. I started to grow in my relationship with God and this is when things started to change for me. I gave my life to Christ in 2009 and in time my heart became filled with His love. This is love I never experienced before. God shining His light on me and learning the truth about my history has been my way to healing and freedom.

A bible verse I hold close to my heart is “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” – John 8:32

I felt it was impossible to “give it to God” when I don’t have the truth to give. What am I giving? As I began to share my deepest hurts with God, he began to help me see things from another perspective. I grew in a way I never had before. I had a deep desire to reach out to other adoptees all over the world and hear their stories. I wanted to let them know they aren’t alone and the way the feel is normal for a not normal situation. I learned that adoptee attempt suicide at a rate that is 4xs more likely than non-adoptees, and prisons and treatment facilities are overflowing with adoptees.  I knew because of these statistics and my own experience with attempting suicide as a teenager, battling addictions and suffering from abandonment & rejection I needed to share my story. My hope is to make a difference among the adoptee community.  In sharing my journey I have adoptees from all over the world connecting with me and they begin to share their journey and feel validated.  Sharing untold feelings & having someone who understands is healing. I let them know God loves them so much and “You can’t heal a wound by denying it’s there!” – Jeremiah 6:14 is another favorite verse I stand on for adoptees all over the world. I encourage them to share their stories and their feelings. I’m extremely thankful God helped me find my truth and he’s pushed me to help other adoptees do the same.  It’s impossible to know where your headed if you don’t know where you come from.

I’m a proud mom of  3 amazing kids and I strive to be a happy healthy mom because this is something I never had. I adore my career in private home health working with elderly. I attend  Bethel Harvest Church in Lexington, KY and consider my church family to be the family I never had. I’m on a healing journey and live my life in recovery. This will last a lifetime. I rally for truth and for all adoptees to be able to access their original birth certificates which are only accessible in a few states.  I assist with search and reunification for my fellow adoptees because everyone deserves to know where they come from. I’m working on starting an all adoptee support group in Lexington, KY.

We all deserve that safe place to share our deepest hurts.

The best part is God heals.

For any non-adoptees who are reading, please know that one of the main things you can do to help us is have the willingness to listen and learn.  This is when our healing begins.  Have the willingness to read adoptee stories and learn from us. No matter what the therapist say, no one knows how it feels to be adopted like we do. Our voices and views are the most valuable in the equation, yet the most ignored.

I would like to share a word of encouragement for my fellow adoptees. God knows your hearts desires and he knows all your tears and pain. Never give up hope in finding your family and seeking your truth. I have some Adoptee Healing Tools I would like to share with you all.  No matter what the truth is, it’s the way to healing, acceptance and freedom. It’s important to network with your fellow adoptees who understand what this journey is like. Please reach out to me. I would love to share your story at How Does it Feel to be Adopted? Please know you are not alone. You matter and your story matters.

Pamela A. Karanova

Lexington, KY

Adoptee Writing Prompt- Birth Mother/First Mother

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To participate in Writing Prompts all you have to do is be an adoptee and have the willingness to SHARE regarding your adoption experience in relation to the writing prompt.

There is no wright or wrong in what you share or don’t share.

The key is: SHARE! 🙂 

Sharing is healing

This will be a weekly event in which the changing topic inspires adoptees to share stories, ideas, memories and as much or as little that comes to their mind regarding the topic and their adoption journeys.

Although the world can read and learn from us, I would like to save this space for adoptee only sharing.

Please leave your comment here ❤