I’ve been working really hard at being okay with doing nothing, learning to JUST BE. I must be honest, It’s a new place for me. One more silver lining I give to Covid-19, but if I’m transparent, it hasn’t been easy.
For 45 years of my life, I have been busy. Busy raising kids, busy finding my truth, busy working, busy with friends or family. I’ve been busy pouring my heart and soul into other things, a lot of the time being left empty. I’ve been busy with recovery and working on a million root issues. I’ve been busy over committing myself and over extending myself. I’ve been busy finding myself by learning who I am and what I like and don’t like. I’ve been busy creating resources and tools for the adult adoptee population and being an advocate for the community I hold very close to my heart.
Almost all of my commitments and life I’ve been taking care of other people. All the way to being born, and adopted into a family where my adoptive mom couldn’t care for me due to her own mental illness. She showed me that being still or resting was unhealthy, and I don’t want to be anything like her. I remember catering to her wants and needs from a very early age, (5ish). I took care of her, she didn’t take care of me. I was her caretaker.
At 21 I had my first child, and then I had twins at 24. They are all 3 the best part of me. I took care of and raised my 3 children 100% solo with no child support, and no help at all from their fathers. My kids are all adults now, and have turned out wonderfully considering they have come this far without their dads in their life. Not only was I their caretaker, I was mom and dad. I wouldn’t change a thing because they have been worth every bit of the struggle but I will never be able to make up for their dads being missing.
In 2005 I started taking care of a stroke patient for a living. This October I will be with her for 15 years. We’ve rode it out all these years, and she’s been the biggest inspiration of my life. The position I have is a Team Leader position where I’m on call 24/7, which is a significant responsibility. It’s kept me busy and has given me more rewards than you could ever imagine.
Being an advocate in the adoptee community has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my lifetime, however it’s been draining as hell! I am not lying and I have no way to sugar coat it. I wouldn’t change a thing, but I’m defiantly making changes for myself moving forward. I’m no longer always available like I always have been. I’m putting my mental health first and setting boundaries that work for me.
All of these caretaker roles all the way back to the beginning of my life have taken up ALL MY LIFE. It’s safe to say care taking is in my DNA which is interesting because I don’t feel like anyone has ever taken care of me. Crazy how that works…
Part of finding myself and what I love to do has been such a wonderful and freeing experience. It’s been a lot of fun, and I plan to continue on this amazing journey. However, for some reason I’ve felt for the last few years that I’m running out of time. I plan on writing about “Time” soon, but it’s way too complex for this article. Running out of time makes me feel like every minute of my life I need to be DOING SOMETHING and BEING STILL has never been in my forecast. Being still makes me feel like I’m wasting my life away, and when time is running out that’s a NO GO.
I’ve always been a “Go Getter” and I’m a doer. I don’t just talk about things, I do them. I hate relying on others, because I always seem to get let down so I try to do EVERYTHING on my own, and normally I do a pretty good job at it. I’m all about integrity and I’m a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do something I do it. I hate being late, and I’m very proud that 99.9% of the time I’m always a little early or on time. I’m always going, taking advantage of every minute of time I’m given, because after all I’m running out of time.
Over the last 8 years of being in recovery, it’s been a shit ton of work. I’ve worked on more “Self Help” topics that I can even share here. 8 Whole years of my life I can’t ever get back, but all those things I worked on have helped me arrive at the destination I am today.
I’ve never been a napper, or someone that rests. The only time I will be still is if I’m sick or my busy life catches up to me and I wear myself out and I make myself sick. Cell phones don’t help this, but enable the havoc we experience in our everyday lives. Having hand held computers at our fingertips, along with social media our minds never stop running. Little by little I’m prying myself of all the ways of the world, finding what works best for me. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to experience is to learn to just be.
How do I do this when I’ve been running for 45 years?
As you can see, learning to JUST BE hasn’t been easy for me!
One of the biggest rewards Covid-19 has done for me, (among many) is allowed me the space to learn to JUST BE. What does “just be” look like to me? Doing nothing, reading a book, resting my body, relaxing, going to bed early, calling a friend, writing, unplugging, sitting in nature, watching something I want to watch, etc. To me, “Just Be” is being still for awhile.
It’s a whole new thing for me but I can tell my body is enjoying a break, and I’m taking on the full time responsibility of whispering to myself that it’s okay to JUST BE. It’s okay to be still, it’s okay to rest. I truly feel the alternate of staying busy all the time, over committing, over booking, and over stimulating my mind, body and spirit was only taking a toll on my emotional, mental and physical health. If I didn’t make these changes, I’m sure I would end up in the hospital at some point, likely sooner than later. I think a significant piece of this journey is learning to love yourself, by yourself. Embracing your own company.
I decided to share this because being an adoptee, staying busy was an escape for me. I didn’t have to think about my adoptee problems. I worked 3 jobs at one point last year, and also managed to pull of Adoptees Connect, Inc. I was always afraid to be by myself, for idol time and to be alone. But not anymore. I have so many things I like and love to do while I’m being STILL. Writing is one, and I’m doing a lot more of that lately. As well as making time to talk to my friends on the phone. I’m 100% certain if I didn’t get my truth regarding who I am, I wouldn’t even be alive right now let alone in the space of learning to enjoy to JUST BE.
Finding a healthy balance between all these things has been exceptionally challenging if not impossible. I have tried, but I still was way too over committed for it to make a difference. If you can prioritize your life, and then eliminate things that no longer serve you a purpose, then you can find the healthy balance between those things that you decide to keep.
Let me share that there is nothing on this planet worth your health. Nothing. If you feel like you are being spread thin, please reevaluate your commitments and put yourself first. Whatever you can discontinue in order to put your emotional, mental and physical health first please do it. It’s so easy to be that person who’s always there for everyone else, but become depleted because no ones pouring into you or your cup is bone dry empty. If you can no longer keep commitments you have made, communicate that to the reciprocating party/s. Sometimes we have to learn to slow our roll. Put yourself first.
Everything in my life has changed since Covid-19 and I hope you are taking this opportunity to make the changes you need to live a happier and healthier life. No one is going to do it for you. It’s all on you!
**What changes have you made for yourself since Covid-19 hit? Have you been able to find any silver linings? Do you have trouble resting and being still? How does that impact your daily life?
To my friends, David Bohl and GRH – Thank you for giving me the courage to write about this!
As I continue on my recovery and healing journey, so many things are coming to the light about different areas I’ve navigated over the years. One of those areas is the topic of forgiveness. This is going to be lengthy, so get a cup of coffee and be prepared.
The world says “If you let go, by forgiving others you don’t have to hold onto resentment and anger” It’s said that forgiveness is necessary for personal growth. I can see this might be true in some circumstances and for minor hurts, but my thoughts shared here are relating to forgiveness towards traumatic events and situations because of someone else’s harmful actions.
What is considered traumatic? That’s for each person to decide. What’s traumatic to me, might not be traumatic to you. My role in sharing this information is to shine a light about a topic that’s significantly complex, with many layers from the perspective of an adult adoptee in recovery. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what forgiveness is, or isn’t and this is usually in alignment with the experiences that person has gained over their lifetime.
I’ve heard about forgiveness over the years, but I was never in a position to apply it to my life, nor did I see a need for it when I was young. It wasn’t a topic of conversation but I also wasn’t on a healing journey as a child either. In 2012 I started my healing journey and things changed. This sparked a significant experience with forgiveness as I got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and I started working the 12 Steps. Not long after I learned of Celebrate Recovery, and forgiveness was talked about even more but it was in a religious setting because Celebrate Recovery is a ministry.
Although I have an appreciation for both of these programs and the concept of forgiveness, I’m now an outsider looking in because I no longer attend either of these programs and I’ve been reflecting on my experiences with both.
Let me back things up to give you a little history.
When I was 15 years old, I was lost, alone, broken, rage filled and I had no hope in life. Not only was I experiencing abuse in my adoptive home, but my fantasy of my birth mother coming back to get me was shattered, and reality was beginning to set in.
SHE WAS NEVER COMING BACK.
SHE was constantly on my mind, but where was she? Who was she? I acted out in every way possible and began using substances daily at 12 years old. My struggles were 100% adoption related, but adoption was never talked about and never mentioned so I turned to substances, because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to feel. Most days I wanted to die, but somehow I found myself committed to drug and alcohol rehab in a locked facility at 15 years old.
I will never forget being locked in an all white room, and a nurse came in and handed me the big book. I had no clue what the big book was, but for those who don’t know it’s the story of Bill W. who’s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he shares how to recover from alcoholism. It’s focused on the 12 Steps and 8 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I asked myself, “did I hit rock bottom at 15 years old?” I hadn’t even begun to live my life yet. I had barely made it out of Jr. High, and I found myself locked in rehab, with a big book in my hand. I will never forget reading the first few pages, and the first few chapters. So let me get this straight, finding GOD was the cure all to this recovery thing? The only way I was going to graduate this drug and alcohol treatment program, and get out was finding GOD? And working these 12 steps. Today, I ask myself, ‘what were my other options?”
I had none.
So this huge gigantic responsibility was placed on me, TO FIGURE IT OUT. The entire treatment program and my recovery depended on it because the effectiveness of the entire AA program will depend on this decision to “turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood Him.”
Let’s break that down a little more, “AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM.” I had no clue what this even meant, but I was either going with the punches, working these 12 steps or never graduate this program. Let me be honest. I didn’t care about any of it, because I just wanted to go drink and use again. I had no choice in this and I was forced to play along. I asked a few of the inmates (it was like jail so that’s what I will call them) what god they turned their wills and life over to in hopes to gain a better understanding. They expressed the God that created the earth, the bible was the word, and that was the only way this thing was going to work.
I remember having experiences with that same God when I was growing up. My adoptive mom had us read devotionals, we went to church, performed in church plays, and she made us say prayers before meals.
But now, my entire life depended on turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him. What did this even mean? To be honest, I didn’t understand him but I did what I had to do to get out. I finally worked all the 12 steps, and after about 8 weeks I graduated the program. During my time in this locked treatment facility, I never once worked on or talked about any of my root adoptee related issues, like relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, abandonment, the primal wound, etc. I got out, went and got high and drunk again as soon as I was free.
I did NOT want to feel adoption, and at all costs and I didn’t.
Of course, if the tools were present and I had help, I’m sure I would have been able to process but that’s not how things worked for me. I had no tools, no one opening up conversations about my adoptee reality, it was a taboo topic. The less we talked about it, the better for everyone else. I felt truly alone in the world, but it wasn’t a happy alone. It was a deep, dark sad alone. I spent the next 27 years drinking alcohol, and using as many drugs as I could get my hands on as a way to numb my reality. So many times in my life, I just wanted to die because my adoptee pain has been that great. Reality, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore and I had no tools to work on my issues. In my mind, the only way to get rid of it is to go to sleep and never wake up again. Two times as a teenager I was unseccessful at trying to commit suicide, taking a hand full of pills each time, only waking up later regretful that the pills didn’t work. My adoptive parents never knew, and they still don’t. I just wanted out. The next 27 years was a roller coaster of a ride.
As 2012 hit, so did my next attempt at recovery and the 12 steps once again smacked me straight in my face. Here we go again. What other options were presented to me or available?
Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.
The only way to get healing is turning my life and will over to God, and making sure I forgive all those who have harmed me, even if they aren’t sorry, and even if I hadn’t even worked on the issues at all. I also had to forgive God, and forgive myself, which was the hardest part. As I set out on my recovery journey, I learned the rules to forgiveness in the religious realm are, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14
I remember my time heavily in the church, surrounding myself with Christian’s and church people the advice and information I was getting was solely from them and I also researched forgiveness. As they shared, and the bible shared, I knew that forgiveness was such an important part of healing, and the 12 steps so I worked on figuring out the true meaning of forgiveness and what it meant to me. I knew it was something for me, not the other person. The more I learned, I applied this to my life, but I also shared it with others on many occasions, especially during the 4 years I served in leadership for the women’s chemical dependency group in Celebrate Recovery. I remember internally struggling with the fact that I had forgiven someone like I was told to do by the 12 steps, but I still had major issues with the situation or the person I had forgiven. This only made me feel more defective than I already felt. It made me feel worse, because I must not be doing something right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head, combined with my heart torn into shreds. It was a horrible life for many of my years on earth.
I learned that in order for us to be forgiven by God, we had to forgive others who had harmed us. It’s said this “deal” could potentially send us to hell, and it would always keep us in bondage if we didn’t make the choice to forgive others, God and ourselves. I learned that once we make the choice to forgive others for them harming us and when we forgive ourselves, we then had to consciously decide to never bring it up again, and never discuss it or tell others about it, otherwise it wasn’t true forgiveness. Even when we thought about it again, we weren’t to speak about it, at all.
In my mind, this is more like coerced and mandatory forgiveness, (forged) but not true from the heart and it’s also ABUSIVE. Writing this today, I’ve come to the realization of how I personally feel this can be extremely damaging and even fatal for some people. I know in the AA Big Book, it says to find “God as I understood Him” and the forgiveness rules are possibly a little different than in the religious settings. But both of these ideas of forgiveness ignited the fact that I had to forgive others in order to make it out alive and complete these 12 steps. And what about there truly being no other choice towards healing, aside from working these 12 steps?
Why wasn’t I given anymore options?
Let me make this clear, I wholeheartedly believe that the 12 steps in AA and Celebrate Recovery have worked wonders and saved the lives of many individuals, and for that I’m very thankful. However, this topic is a critical thing, and it’s important it’s shared, especially with Adoptees in general, but specifically my fellow Adoptees in Recovery.
I’m not addressing forgiveness for minor or petty offenses. I’m not talking about when someone TRULY makes a mistake, and they are sorry they did something and us forgiving them and giving second chances. I’m not talking about those that don’t intentionally hurt us. We can easily say, “That person didn’t know what they were doing” but many times forgiveness is extended to people who knew what they were doing. Improper forgiveness can keep us in bondage, and it can set the forgiver up to be victimized again, and again, and again with the offender never being truly sorry or remorseful. This is ABUSIVE. THIS IS BONDAGE.
Do you ever feel like forgiveness defends the abusers? I do. Do you ever feel like forgiveness feels like giving our abusers a free pass? I do. When someone has root issues that are trauma based, the whole idea of forgiveness can be very damaging, and oftentimes deadly. I can share this, because this is how forgiveness has impacted me, when it’s been presented in a way it has throughout my lifetime. Forced upon me by scriptures backing it up, and through programs I had to complete to LIVE, it’s clearly had me backed in a corner with nowhere to turn. It manipulated me to the core of my being.
I realize that there are more resources today than there were when I was 15 years old, and even when I started my recovery journey in 2012. Today I’m thinking for myself, and I’m not being backed into a corner with no options. I realize that I possibly didn’t have all the tools for recovery in my recovery tool box and there are more possibilities today than there was before. The more I learn about forgiveness, and all the different dynamics of it, the more I’m informed if it works for me or if it doesn’t work for me.
I resent the fact that from the biblical concept of forgiveness and the world’s standards, I’ve felt 100% manipulated and duped into forgiving others, God and myself. What I wonder is, if I’m supposed to forgive all those who hurt me, myself and God and if I don’t God won’t forgive me, but he sends so many people to hell, so where is his forgiveness for others? Isn’t this quite the double standard and mental mind manipulation? It’s lead me to question God all together, and rethink my entire approach on what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’m going to save that for another article, but it’s coming.
I don’t know about you, but the idea that a person that has been victimized has a responsibility placed on them to forgive their perpetrator/s is pretty disgusting and a topic I’ve found to be very disheartening. Anyone who is pushing forgiveness onto others is doing it for their own gain, and their own agenda, not yours. A lot of the wounds people care are inner child wounds, and being forced or coerced to forgive others is extremely toxic and damaging!
For me, where I am today, what if I personally don’t believe in forgiveness based on my experience with it, but I believe in holding people accountable for their shitty actions? What if I make the choice if I want to allow them in my life or not without being manipulated into forgiving them? What if MY WAY isn’t the WORLDS WAY but who gives a shit, because it’s what works for me? Would you believe me if I told you that I’m at peace with things, but I haven’t forgiven anyone by the world’s standards? That doesn’t mean I still don’t have traumatic memories, or have trauma work to do. What if I take forgiveness and everything about it and toss it in the trash? Shouldn’t we want to consciously and organically in our hearts want to give people second chances, be better people or come to peace with things on our own time without an entire belief system manipulating us into doing so? This manipulation with forgiveness has actually hindered me, kept me in bondage, and held me back from true authentic and organic healing. This is life or death for many of us.
Forced and Forged Forgiveness can add layers of shame onto victims, for not “getting over something” or for “sharing their trauma.” Once you forgive someone, you’re supposed to get over it, and move on with your life. What if you don’t get over it or move on? “Here you are talking about it again” … Shame comes in after we’ve said to forgive someone, when you are simply having natural and very legitimate feelings associated with a very real situation for you. This isn’t helping people, only hurting them worse. I’ve had people silence me with scriptures, when I share very real feelings with them. “You’ve already forgiven yourself for that, the devil is only bringing it up again because he wants you to live in condemnation.” Talk about BONDAGE and MENTAL MIND F&^KS. It’s becoming apparent to me that this belief system can cause great amounts of harm, and even become fatal to some. (I plan on writing about that later)
Let’s touch on the our society’s “positive culture” that surrounds our lives today. Positive vibes, clearing any and all negative energies from our sacred spaces, and much of the time we’re denying our own feelings, stuffing them down and bypassing processing them just to fit into the mold of the world and the preaching of positive vibes. You see motivational speakers kicking into high drive, and spiritual circles silencing you with scriptures all to keep the positive vibes going. Have you learned what Spiritual Bypassing is? I suggest you research it, and it’s a real thing. Also research Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your life will never be the same.
As adoptees, it’s so important we understand that anger, and feelings of grief, loss and sadness are perfectly legitimate feelings, and they come in waves for many of us. Are you leaving room for these feelings within your friends and family and within your circle? If not, please reconsider because it’s life and death. I don’t have time to preach positivity when adoptees are dying! Once we are in a position to process these feelings, in natural ways we then start healing. When positive culture is shoved down our throats, like it is in churches, spiritual settings, and in society as a whole it leaves no room for us to share our pain. Just like forged forgiveness, this can be fatal. We really need to rethink our approach, and stop forcing this culture on everyone. We have to do better.
Anger can be a very positive thing when used the right way. Anger can be used to fuel change, create visions, and put action behind them. We have to stop silencing people when they share it, and stop trying to dish out feel good juice, and learn to sit with people in their pain. I’m not talking about ANGER that abuses and hurts other people which is HUGE as well. This is when anger is toxic to others and it isn’t productive. We can each set our own boundaries if this type of anger influences our lives, or the lives of others. But before we get to the other side of healing starting, we have to process the anger FIRST.
If you step out of the box filled with influences from your lifetime, please know It is entirely possible for someone to get to a place of acceptance, and peace about a situation and forgiveness has never been extended. Please know forgiveness culture can be very damaging when it’s forged and forced in anyway.
What if I have been on a healing journey, and I’ve decided on my own that my goal is to come to peace with things in my life, and for me that process happens by accepting things are the way they are and there is nothing I can do to change them? What if forged forgiveness does more harm than good? What if expecting others to FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED US actually retraumatised us and damages us more than the actual offense itself? What if we’re placing an unrealistic and damaging burden on those who we expect to forgive who are perpetrators and those who hurt us and it only adds to our pain and trauma?
“Forgiveness is for you, and no one else and it should never be forced on anyone” – Says the world.
Yes, this is true yet the world is set up as the opposite, especially in religious circles. The 12 steps are focused around forgiveness, and for me I was giving FREE PASSES TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSED AND TRAUMATIZED ME. Is anyone manipulating me into “coming to a place of peace?” No, no they aren’t. It’s something I do on my time, through healing (whatever that looks like to me), and trauma therapy, and TONS OF TRAUMA work. Not because GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES SAY SO.
For me, forged forgiveness (a huge burden and responsibility) to forgive those who have traumatized and hurt me, was actually BONDAGE. Not the other way around. Forged Forgiveness feels like gaslighting to me, and that’s only adding trauma on top of trauma. It’s up to each of us to decide on our own, without any influences if we want to forgive someone or not. It should be from our hearts, not because of manipulation or to complete a program. If forgiveness has worked for you, that’s wonderful but we must understand what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Have you spent as much time sitting with someone, listening to them in their grief and pain like you have encouraged them to forgive their perpetrator/s?
Today, I’ve decided I’m withdrawing my forgiveness claims, and reevaluating each and every situation on my own terms, in my own time. Right now, I have a clean slate and I have forgiven no one. From this day forward, as situations arise and thoughts come to my mind, I will process them organically either alone or with someone I trust and I will REMOVE any forged and forced idea of forgiveness from my mind. This is freedom to me.
If the idea of forgiveness comes naturally, then I will apply it to that situation. If it doesn’t, and I can come to a place of peace, then wonderful. Maybe I’m not at a place of peace yet about certain things, which means I still have trauma work to do. Maybe I will never get to that place, because trauma impacts us all in different ways. It can change our brain wiring, it can change our memory and our mobility. Trauma can change everything and not all trauma just goes away. Sometimes acceptance that the trauma and it’s symptoms are here to stay is what’s needed to be able to cope.
No two stories are the same, and we all need and want different things in life. This article is long, and it’s filled with a lot of thoughts. I’m sharing because this is a HUGE topic, and recently having someone tell me “MAYBE YOU SHOULD FORGIVE THEM” even after I shared many traumatic situations with that person, really rubbed me the wrong way. It made me reevaluate forgiveness all together, and made me really think how abusive it can be. It also made me realize how forged forgiveness has impacted my life, and how I’m the only one who can change things for my future.
After reading ALL THIS, I’m not here to tell you forgiveness isn’t productive and it’s not for you. I’m here to share my truth, as my experiences back it up. I’m here to share there is a damaging side to forgiveness and I hope each person reading is given more tools than what I was given. I hope for each of you, forgiveness is a CHOICE that you choose.
I’m glad I got to share this, and I feel even more free than when I started typing it. I’m thankful I’m at a place of freedom where I can recognize the abuse behind certain areas that are portrayed to be positive things. The healthier we get, the more BS we can recognize. I hope to continue to share what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me. My hope is, it helps someone out there, specifically my fellow adoptees. Please understand, if you can’t bring it in your life to FORGIVE others, for ANY REASON please don’t allow others to place that BURDEN on you. You don’t deserve it, and it’s not yours to carry. You don’t owe anyone, I MEAN IT!
No matter who it is.
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. P.K.
P.S. I know some might mean well, but if you feel the need to send me scriptures about forgiveness, please spare yourself the time. I’m not interested.
What is Adoptionland to me? – The online adoption community.
Rolling into 2020 I continue to set boundaries for myself, in my personal and professional life.
What do these boundaries look like?
I’m no longer opening up my personal facebook to Adoptionland like I always have. As I continue to get dozens of friend requests weekly, I apologize in advance to the adoptees who send me friend requests that I don’t accept, or I deny. I know how sensitive adoptees can be, and I totally understand why many of us have that sensitivity.
I live with it everyday.
However, I have to put the safety of myself and my family first. If you had seen what I have seen in the last 2 years in Adoptionland, you would understand a bit more why I have set these boundaries. I have shared some articles on my website so if you are keeping up with me, you already have some ideas about why I’ve made this choice. If you are close to me, you are aware. The dynamics of my online experience has shifted significantly, and because of this, I need to protect my space.
Let me take a moment to recap my Adoptionland experience for you.
When I came out of the fog approx 10 years ago, Adoptionland was a space of refugee. It was a space where adoptees were on deck to help one another by extending a hand of grace, walking with you out of the deep dark waters of being in adoption fog. It was a safe space and I have connected with adoptee friends online near and far, all around the world. I cherish many of these friendships, and always will. We’re still waking it out together.
I had adoptees that lead the way for me and so many others like Deanna Doss Shrodes, Jessenia Arias, and Rebecca Hawks. These ladies will never understand how much their kindness, compassion and dedication to the adoption community has helped so many adoptees. Once I emerged out of the fog, I made a commitment to do everything in my power to give back to Adoptionland in hopes to help other adoptees to give back to a community that had so freely given to me.
Like many adoptees, I poured my heart and soul into this mission and I’ve spent many years now not only transforming my life, but in that process I’ve been able to help others which has also helped me.
I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey. But things have changed in Adoptionland and they are no longer what they used to be.
What I’ve seen is the supportive adoptees that created the community that was once safe, only to be taken over by trolls, cyber bullies, and impostors who conceal their identities, spew evil, hate and rage throughout the online adoption community aka Adoptionland. They feel it’s perfectly okay to publicly shame, call out, and attack anyone that doesn’t fit into the mold they’ve created. This could be adoptees, adoptive parents and biological parents, or anyone for that matter. They hold no bars on who they attack, vilify and cyber bully. I could list a HUGE list of names, but that’s not my style. They know who they are.
It’s become a common theme that these trolls believe they are “Educating Adoptionland” but they have no remorse of the hate and evil they are spilling or the way they are doing it is actually causing more harm to adoption than they could ever truly understand. It’s ABUSE in every form. I’ve seen with my own eyes, these trolls create so many online identities that they talk to themselves and carry on conversations with their different online personas. Yes, I said that right! I’ve seen them create so many identities that their goals is to get on your Facebook page, so they can steal your information and create Adoptionland drama, stir the pot and set you up to be cyber attacked. They are professionals at twisting words, being deceptive by acting like they are your “friend” and then throwing you out to the wolves while their followers rip you to shreds. While they hide behind the pseudonym name, they reveal the true identities of people, which can cause a real safety concern, not to mention the damage and hurt they are doing to the specific person they are cyber targeting.
I KNOW ADOPTEES WHO HAVE BEEN SO DEVASTATED BY BEING TARGETED AND TREATED THIS WAY THEY HAVE BEEN DRIVEN TO CONTEMPLATE SUICIDE, AND EVEN ATTEMPT IT. SOME ARE FRIENDS OF MINE.
I’ve seen these trolls set targeted attacks on individuals, and use their entire following to cyber mob a person. Many of these individuals that have been targeted are personal friends of mine. I’ve seen them take confidential conversations that someone shared in private, and screen shot them and make them public to “call out” this person all in the name of “Educating in Adoption”.
Whatever side of adoption you are on, no matter how you feel about it – this behavior is NEVER okay. It is not okay to treat people this way and if you are on the side of thinking this behavior is okay, have fun in your misery. Most of the time, I’ve learned that these are the adoptees who are stuck. I was once stuck and I have much compassion for adoptees who are stuck, however I didn’t use my valuable time tearing other adoptees down, cyber attacking or cyber mobbing them. But beware, these individuals are the very first to say you are gaslighting them, tone policing them, and holding them accountable for their delivery which they use as a full time defense for their abusive online behavior. Reality is, many of them are narcissists, and every time you feed into their toxicity, you fuel their fire. I’ve never seen such disrespect, abuse and toxicity in my life.
There is so much more to “educating” someone about adoption, than sitting behind a computer screen hiding behind a pseudonym name while attacking and targeting others who have the strength and poise to share their real true identities. You can dish out the BS, but you can’t take the heat when it comes back full circle which is why you hide behind a fake name… I literally have no time for it, and I will not engage on any platforms or with people that aren’t legit, real true individuals. Aside from the platforms I manage, admin and moderate that I know are safe, I’m 100% done with Adoptionland. My time is way to valuable, and yours is too!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN YOUR COMMUNITY ON THE GROUND TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
A huge part of why Adoptees Connect, Inc. was created was to counteract with what Adoptionland has become. Our goal is to take our online relationships offline, and create grassroots connections in our very own communities- in real life. This cuts out all of the cyber attacks, cyber bullying/mobbing and interaction with trolls in Adoptionland.
What does this mean for Adoptionland in my world?
I can only make changes and control my own life in attempts to create the safest space possible for MYSELF. In 2020 I’m making more changes to protect my space. One of the steps I’m taking is moving 99.9% of my Adoptionland interactions to LinkedIn. I haven’t seen the trolls on LinkedIn like I’ve seen them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I’m not saying they aren’t there, but I’m saying I feel LinkedIn is a safer space, based on it being rooted and grounded in us creating a professional network. I’m also not adding anyone to my LinkedIn who I don’t personally know. Under no circumstances am I adding anyone just because we have mutual friends.
Those days are over. Adoptionland isn’t safe at all anymore and we all must protect our spaces, at all costs. For me, Adoptionland has always been about being a light for my fellow adoptees, no matter what space they are at I have always tried to embrace them, and walk with them out of the darkness into the light. Now, the tides are turning and I’m more interested in continuing this advocacy, but I prefer to pour my time and energy into the relationships I’ve built in my city, via my Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY group and those within the Adoptees Connect community where the connections are centered around real, true and genuine meetings and getting to know one another IN REAL LIFE. I no longer have the time or energy to pour into dozens of online conversations when Adoptionland has been consumed by trolls, and evil individuals who have no remorse for who they hurt, or how they do it.
Let’s take Adoptionland and Adoption out of the equation for a moment and talk about being a kind human being. This behavior that’s increased online isn’t okay in any fashion. No matter what you are advocating for, if you aren’t trying to educate in a way that doesn’t hurt others, you should hang up your hat and go spend some time to work on some of your own pain before you continue to inflict your rage onto others. Reevaluate the way you are delivering your message, and consider making some changes where you are advocating for the truth in adoption, but you aren’t hurting people in the process. It can be done.
FYI: YOU AREN’T EDUCATING IN THE NAME OF ADOPTION WHEN YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS!
If you’re an online troll, with one or multiple identities, who thinks it’s okay to set up cyber mobbing attacks, call others out, bully, and be hateful to others, I challenge you to make some changes in 2020. If you are someone who sits back and watches this type of behavior happen, I challenge you to rethink your approach in Adoptionland. Maybe you are someone who chimes in, and eggs this behavior on? You don’t set up these attacks, you just comment on them and like/love them on social media?
Whatever your role is, in whatever communities you spend time online, I ask you to be kind to others. If you are creating a space in Adoptionland where only YOUR WAY or YOUR BELIEFS are allowed, you truly aren’t teaching anyone. You are creating a community of people who believe like you, leaving NO ROOM for teachable moments. The minute your RAGE flips into action, rooted from YOUR OWN PAIN – you are turning people away from receiving your message. You have LOST what could have been a wonderful message received by someone who truly wants to learn from others. I challenge you to get off the internet, stop spreading hate and pain and go work on yourself to get UNSTUCK before you continue to hurt others online and your personal life.
Being adopted doesn’t give you a free pass to treat people like shit, and to dish out your rage filled hate in an abusive way while hurting others in the process. I revoke your free pass and call you on your BS, Narcissistic behavior and toxicity!
We all come from different experiences, and none of them are exactly the same. We all deserve to be heard, without being attacked, no matter what our stance in adoption is. If you disagree with someone or what their role is in the adoption community, have a trustworthy conversation with them, creating a safe dialogue in private over calling them out on social media, setting them up to be cyber mobbed. This is horrible behavior, and let me just tell you if you participate in it at all, YOUR TIME WILL COME. Wait until you get treated this way, or someone you love and you will rethink your approach.
As I continue to set boundaries and back away from Adoptionland, I would love to encourage any of my followers to find me on LinkedIn, send me a message introducing yourself, and we can go from there. If you don’t have LinkedIn and you are an adoptee, or anyone in Adoptionland I encourage you to set up a LinkedIn profile, and start networking in a professional way. I truly feel this is the only way to continue to make connections online in the adoption community in a safer way.
Wherever you are in your personal journey, I hope you set healthy boundaries for yourself in 2020 and in this process you find healthy online activities. You are the only one who can make these changes for YOURSELF.
INTO THE WILD: KY
For 2020 I’m not only setting these boundaries, but I’m focusing on spending less time online, less time on my cell phone, and electronics, and spending more time making plans to spend quality time with the small circle of people/friends/family who I feel close too. I’m working at setting boundaries for myself so my time isn’t so consumed in things at a level I’m not enjoying my life.
We LIVE EVERYDAY, but we have to clear space in our personal lives, professional lives and everyday lives to make room for living life. I plan to spend 2020 minimizing to less THINGS, and upgrading by having more ADVENTURES. I want to spend more time in the wilderness and having more Into The Wild: KY – Kentucky Wilderness & Waterfall Adventures. I want to take my close friends, my kids and others who are interested in exploring nature because wilderness wellness is at the top of my self care toolbox.
Time is something that can be more meaningful for adoptees than your average person. Time is something I cherish, because when it’s all said and done it’s all I have and I don’t want to lose more TIME, when so much has already been lost because of ADOPTION. I’m 45 years old, and so much TIME has already gone, and I could possibly be at the halfway mark of my life here on earth, do I really want to use all my time up fighting with trolls on the internet? Or being consumed by social media? I want to make wonderful memories with others, and I will not sacrifice five minutes of the most valuable thing I have for internet trolls, and cyber bullies. They will not get any airtime on my platforms, nor will those who support them.
Some of my boundaries regarding social media/email/cell that will bring me quality of life starting January 2020 are:
I am no longer using Facebook messenger on my cell and I don’t have it on my phone. I will only check it occasionally from my laptop once or maybe twice a week.
I’m going to try to start calling my friends more. Text has taken over the world and starting in January 2020 – I’m calling you!
I’m no longer accepting friend requests on Facebook from people I don’t personally know, even if we have mutual friends. The internet has gotten extremely toxic and I will not chance allowing anyone into my space that I don’t know. Please know this isn’t personal, but boundaries I’m setting for myself. However, You can follow me on my public page at Pamela Karanova.
I don’t use inboxes on Twitter or Instagram for communications, nor will I be checking them. It takes up too much time, and I’m not giving more time to these inboxes. Email is a better way for me to communicate.
I will consider adding people to my LinkedIn but only if they send me a direct message introducing themselves. Somebody’s momma always said don’t talk to strangers, yet the internet has ruined that. I’m always happy to have a discussion with someone, but introduce yourself first, please have some manners.
I’m only checking email first thing in the morning, MON-FRI. I removed email apps from my cell, and I am no longer refreshing them 100x a day to see whos emailed me.
If you text me, I will respond when I can but let’s work together to talk on the phone sometimes. I’m going to be working on doing this as well. Maybe we can set up a time to talk via text? Let’s meet in the middle.
I will not respond to drama on the internet. I’ve removed myself from ALL DRAMA ZONES FOR A MILLION VERY GOOD REASONS. Please don’t pull me into any messes and consider removing yourself from these spaces as well.
I’m not on call for Adoptees Connect, Inc. As it grows, there is still only one me. Please direct all questions or concerns to the exclusive group on Facebook or email: email@example.com Please allow for appropriate time for me to get back to you. This is 100% volunteer and I have a MORE THAN FULL TIME CAREER that I’m on call for 24/7.
Let me be just completely honest. I’m not happy with the way everyone has become so disconnected with the real meaning of life, me included. True relationships that meet in real life and spending time with those you love is what I crave. Authentic organic connections are ones I enjoy the most. I’ve been working for some years to restore this piece of what so many have lost and moving into 2020 I will continue to work on this.
I always say the things I need in life, money can’t buy. Honesty, Truth, Transparency, Connection, Time, Adventure, Wilderness, Compassion, Kindness, and the list could go on.
In attempts to create the life I would like, I have to make these changes and set these boundaries for myself. The greatest gift I have to give anyone is my time, because it’s something I can never give back. In 2020 I’m putting a focus on these things, along with people who mean the world to me.
I hope you all continue to follow your hearts as we enter into a new year. We have a new chance to rewrite our stories and a new 365 days to add some magic to our lives. I encourage you to make as many changes as you need to make to create the life you desire and deserve. Cheers to all we have learned in 2019 and all the lessons we’ve experienced along the way. Cheers to many more!
Disclosure Statement: Online bullying, threats and personal attacks aren’t going to make Adoption any better. Usually it does the opposite. I continue to unfollow and block ALL accounts that endorse this content. I challenge you to do the same.
I was born in Iowa in August of 1974. At that moment when I found out I was adopted back in 1979, I wish my adoptive mom would have sat down with me and opened the conversations about what adoption REALLY meant. I was around 5 years old.
Instead, I got something like this.
Me: Mommy, I grew in your tummy like the baby in the lady’s belly on television?
Adoptive Mom: No, you grew in another lady’s belly. She loved you so much, she gave you to me to raise because she wanted you to have a better life. It was a dream come true for me to become a mommy. I couldn’t have children of my own. I will always love her for that because she’s given me the greatest gift of my life.
Me: Who is she?
Adoptive Mom: I don’t know who she is. You were adopted. If you want to know who she is, we will have to wait until we get enough money for an attorney to get the sealed records opened. Right now, we don’t have enough money. I just know she loved you so much and wanted you to have a better life.
Me: Where is she?
Adoptive Mom: I don’t know where she is.
Me 1980: Who is She?
Me 1981: Where is She?
Me 1982: Who Is She?
Me 1983: Where is She?
Me 1984: Who is She?
Me 1985-1994: Every Single Year – Who is she? Where is She?
Every Single Year
Adoptive Mom: I don’t know who she is or where she is. You were adopted. If you want to know who she is, we will have to wait until we get enough money for an attorney to get the sealed records opened. Right now, we don’t have enough money.
At 21 Years Old in 1995 I said to my adoptive mom, “WHO IS MY BIRTH MOTHER? WHERE IS SHE?’ It was like a broken record.
Adoptive Mom: Well, there’s something I want to tell you. When your dad and I signed the paperwork for you to be adopted, the doctors accidentally gave us the wrong paperwork. We saw your birth mothers name, and the street she lived on. If you call your dad, he might remember the information.
I remember this exact moment, because I immediately became enraged and the anger that took over, is something that’s hard for me to process. I’m just telling you THE TRUTH because once I found out she lied to me my entire life, I have never looked at her like a mother again. EVER! Yes, for the record I have forgiven her, but we had an estranged relationship until she died and I don’t regret it for a minute. I can’t have people in my life who lie to me, for any reason at all. Hopefully this will help adoptive parents understand, lying and deception under any circumstances is never okay.
What kind of mother lies to their child repeatedly? I have had to unpack this, and there are many layers and dynamics to it but this layer (along with all the layers of adoption) of the onion has impacted me greatly my entire life.
I was adopted in 1974 and things were different then. I’m certain my adoptive parents were told to not talk about it, to sweep it under the rug and act as if me being adopted didn’t exist. So many adoptive parents weren’t given the correct tools to use so they knew how to navigate these complex dynamics of the adoptee experience.
Looking back, how I wish things were handled?
Today I believe in my heart of hearts, my adoptive parents didn’t have a CLUE of what they were doing. I don’t think adoption agencies or adoption attorneys are preparing adoptive parents for the TRUTH, and how to navigate it as making money trumps everything in that arena.
I think the deception regarding lying to me my whole life is a way my adoptive mom was able to stall me from finding my truth. But let me just tell you, there were consequences for that. I never trusted her again, and I’ve always felt like she adopted me for her needs, not mine. This has impacted every area of my life, still to this day! I was a pawn to fulfill her void because she couldn’t have children of her own. I would like to encourage anyone dealing with infertility issues, please seek help on your own. Don’t make your adopted child fill your void.
I wish more conversations were opened at that moment I found out I was adopted in 1979 and moving forward.
I wish our conversation would have went like this.
Me: Mommy, Did I come out of your belly like the lady on the television?
Adoptive Mom: No honey, you came out of another lady’s belly. She was unable to take care of you, so she decided to have someone else parent you and that someone else was your dad and me. No, she loved you and gave you away. No, you were my biggest gift because I couldn’t parent or have kids of my own!
Me: Who is she? Where is she?
Adoptive Mom: Because you were adopted, when you are old enough, we will do everything in our power to help you try to find her. Helping your adopted child search and find their biological parents means everything! Support us!
Me: I want to find her now.
Adoptive Mom: We can’t find her until you are 18, but it’s okay to be sad you lost her. It’s okay to love her and want to find her. You lost the most important woman of your life, and it’s okay to feel sad for losing her. Would you like to talk about it? How are you feeling about this? Open these conversations and never stop!
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
No one has ever asked me how it feels to be adopted!
Me: Weeping, my grieving starts at 5 years old because I have every reason to be sad for losing the woman who carried me in her belly for 9 months and who brought me into the world. Regardless of whose dreams she made come true to be parents. Regardless of how much LOVE she thought I was going to have in this “BETTER LIFE” I was promised. Regardless of how happy my adoptive parents were to be parents, and their dreams coming true, I still deserved the right to grieve my losses as soon as I discovered them.
The catch is, I was 5 years old. I didn’t know how to do this. I needed my adoptive parents to step in and open the dialog and put ME AND MY LOSSES FIRST. I needed them to set their dream come true to be parents on the shelf and BE REAL WITH ME!
Yes, this is possible at 5 years old. At age appropriate times it is possible to share the TRUTH with adopted children. If you can’t do this, you have no business being an adoptive parent. Period!
I would give anything if someone in my life would have sat me down and said “It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be mad. it’s okay to feel hurt, and broken, and lost. If I was you, I would feel that way too after losing so much!
But that never happened so at 45 years old, I have been going through the grieving process for 7 years now, all alone.
What did I lose?
My Birth Mother.
My Birth Father.
My maternal and paternal grandparents.
My siblings on both sides.
Memories from all the above.
My medical history.
My peace of mind, taken by always searching for clues to my family.
My childhood, taken because I was searching my entire life.
I lost how to regulate emotions, because these are the biggest emotions I’ve ever had, and I had to keep them secret so my adoptive parents wouldn’t get hurt. This was a HUGE internal war within me. It almost killed me. Not to mention, as a child I can’t articulate how I’m feeling, and I don’t have the words to describe it.
I needed help, and I didn’t get it although I’ve been in therapy my entire life since I was 5 years old, and the THERAPIST COULDN’T EVEN HELP ME! Adoption was never talked about, and it was the ROOT issue!
Abuse of substances for 27 years took away my pain, but only temporarily. A lot happened in 27 years.
Today, I’m doing for myself what my adoptive parents and Adoption Culture didn’t do for me. I’m allowing myself the space to grieve my adoptee losses, whatever that looks like for me. Usually I run off in nature, and I cry there because Mother Nature doesn’t have an ulterior motive behind her role in my life. She want’s nothing from me. I write here on my website. I share my feelings in my Adoptees Connect group. I have ways to process, but I’ve had to figure this out alone, after a lifetime of pain.
So, I seek Mother Nature the most, as no one in this world seems to understand that adoptee grief is something I will process for the rest of my life. It never goes away. Just like grief from someone loses their mom in childbirth, or someone losing both their parents in a car wreck.
The difference is, those people are given the gift and privilege of being able to grieve their losses as soon as they happen and usually throughout the duration of their lives, it’s normal to coach them through the grief process.
Not for adoptees.
We are stripped of that privledge but that doesn’ t mean we aren’t grieving on the inside.
We must grieve in silence, and for many of us, it kills us. I’ve attempted suicide multiple times as a adopted teen, and have contemplated suicide many times as an adult due to my adoption trauma. Mix grief, loss, abandonment, rejection, C-PTSD and the internal confliction I experience daily, it’s a miracle I’m alive and I feel the same for all adoptees who make it out alive. We also live in an Adoption Culture society that celebrates our losses and tries to talk down upon us for feeling anything less than “thankful” or “happy” about our experiences.
I’m just telling you; adoptees are dying out here and there is something adoptive parents and Adoption Culture can do about it. If you know all of this, you can’t unknow it and you can’t say someone out there didn’t share it. If you have adopted a child, please understand that this child can and will have lifelong difficulties that will need ongoing care. Please know that we never outgrow being adopted. Yes, adoption is complicated and it’s messy. No one story fits all. We know this.
But please understand that being adopted is with us FOREVER. The sooner we can start grieving our losses, the sooner we start to heal. Please understand that NO AMOUNT OF LOVE IN THIS WORLD CAN REPLACE THE LOSS I have always felt by losing my biological parents, and all the losses that come with that. Please understand no ivy league college, a brand-new car at 16 years old, or a huge house on a hill can take away these losses. We should be allowed to grieve as early as possible, at age appropriate times and this is life or death for us.
If any adoptive parents might be reading, please allow these conversations to be opened at age appropriately times. Please seek therapy on how to do this. Please don’t ignore this. Please understand no matter how much of a blessing you feel adoption is, it doesn’t change the fact that we experienced a trauma the moment we lost our birth mothers, and that trauma is compacted by pretending it’s not there by adoption being celebrated. I’m sharing here what I wish was done differently based on my experience.
I will be grieving these losses for the rest of my life, but I can’t help but wonder how my life might have been different if I would have started grieving at the moment I found out I was adopted. Please don’t let Adoption Culture deceive you, because I’m here to tell you if you ignore the grief and loss process for your adopted child, you will be sorry you did.
Please don’t mistaken this article as I’m sitting in sadness, depressed, angry or mad at the world. I was in that space for most of my life, because I couldn’t grieve my losses. But today, becaue I’ve allowed myself the space to do this, I’m healing daily and I have actually been able to find love in my life. Love for myself, love for life itself, love for others, love for all things around me. It’s almost impossible to get to the space I am, without grieving my losses. Today I enjoy life. Today I welcome my sadness when it comes, I embrace it and I invite it to stay awhile. I sit with it, I talk with it, and I process it. Then I let it go, until it circles back around again. Procesing adoptee grief is a lifelong journey. The sooner we embrace it and stop running from it, the sooner we start to heal.
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you.
Adopted Adults are the KEY to learning what should have been done, or what could be done differently. If you’re an adoptive parent, and you have any questions for the adult adoptee community, visit How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? on Facebook. This platform was designed for you in mind.
Adoptees, What are some ways you have been able to grieve your losses? What age did you start this process? Did anyone ever encourage you to do this growing up? Have you been alone in this process?
Adoptive Parents, where are you at with this topic? Did the agencies or attorneys give you information on how to proceed with this topic? Have you been able to open these conversations? If yes, what has that looked like for you? If no, what are you waiting for?
Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!
I decided to write a short article about this topic, because over the years of coming out of the fog and being in recovery it’s come to my attention that so much of the adoptee experience is rooted and grounded in grief & loss. If we leave it up to the world we live in, they not only deny us the right to have anything but positive feelings, they also deny us the right to grieve our losses.
Can you imagine everyone around you celebrating your trauma? Can you imagine living in a world where your trauma is considered something wonderful? Can you imagine always having to hide your true feelings, because everyone in your life can’t understand that adoption is complex, and in order to heal it we must feel it. Can you imagine there never being any space to share your grief & loss because in adoption, grief & loss is something we are denied, yet society tells us we should he happy about it! This is adoption in our world today.
No one ever told me processing grief and loss was a natural part of the adoptee experience. Navigating this journey alone, it’s honestly been the hardest experience of my life. For me personally, being adopted has carried more weight than multiple brutal violent traumatic experiences that I’ve had in my 44 years of life. Yes, you read that right. I’ve survived MANY brutal violent traumatic experiences, and relinquishment trauma compacted by adoption trauma have impacted me far worse than any other experience, even the brutal violent ones all put together. That’s how BIG the wound from relinquishment trauma has been in my life. The adoption trauma only added to it.
Yes, Adoption Relinquishment is TRAUMA
For me, adoption, by far has hurt the worst and it’s had the most complex dynamics to it. It hits deeper layers, and the recovery time seems to expand throughout ones entire lifetime. I’ve accepted that full recovery is never going to happen, so I’ve embraced it and welcomed the uncomfortable feelings when they come. Multiple brutal violent traumatic experiences have healed much faster than relinquishment trauma. That should tell you something about relinquishment trauma. Real lived experiences trump everything you have been told about adoption.
It’s hard to come out of the fog on your own like I did. Seeking therapy for the complexities of my adoption experience has always been a dead end for me. I’ve tried and gone to therapy since I was 5 years old. I’m not knocking anyone in therapy and I encourage it wholeheartedly. It just didn’t work for me. I pour my heart into therapying the therapist, and leave with little to no relief other than having one hour to share my life with someone who doesn’t’ “get it” in the long run. If they aren’t adopted, they have no clue what adoptees experience. Thankfully more adoptees are therapists these days, and things are changing. When I was a child in therapy, they didn’t even talk about adoption. When I was a teenager crying out in rage and pain, they didn’t even talk about adoption. When I was in juvenile lock up, group homes, drug treatment, the mental health hospital as a teenager and in jail and a mental ward as an adult, they never talked about adoption. When I tried to commit suicide multiple times, they never talked about adoption. When I was in alcohol addiction for 27 years, they never talked about adoption! Let’s be honest, I was groomed to never talk about it either, conditioned from a very early age. But I hold therapists to a higher standard. All these therapists of my lifetime failed me. I should be dead right now, but I’m not.
Today, I say “hello” to the waves of grief & loss as they come into my life instead of turn them away.
Today we’re talking about adoption!
Relinquishment is is the root cause!
I was in addiction for 27 years to ESCAPE! Alcohol took my pain away but only temporarily. Now that I’m in a place of 6.5 years of sobriety, I have even more wisdom to share about being an adult adoptee in recovery. As I navigate close to 10 years of coming out of the fog and 10 years of being in “Adoptee Land” one thing that keeps circling back around in my life is grief and loss. I’m recognizing how I’m feeling at the moment and how I’m feeling day to day about my adoption experience. I’m acknowledging those feelings as they come. I say HELLO to them. I welcome them. Of course I’m going up against what our world says, which is just be thankful and grateful!
I spent some time in a religious setting, and always made me feel like I wasn’t praying enough or I wasn’t fasting enough. I even heard I was CHOOSING to hang onto this pain, or better yet “You must not be receiving your healing because you aren’t right with God! I’ve heard it all, and today I consider it all to be MUMBO JUMBO and I want no part of it. It only caused me to AVOID the TRUTH and NOT FEEL THE PAIN! Because heaven forbid you actually process your traumatic experiences, or grieve your very legitimate losses!
I’m just saying, I’ve gone around the wagon a million times trying to be HEALED from relinquishment trauma! I have some wisdom to share, that’s why I keep writing. For you all and for me. The fact is, grief and loss are perfectly normal for a not normal situation. Nothing is normal about adoption, although our society and world have normalized it. It’s NOT normal to be severed from your roots at the beginning of life, to be handed over to strangers.
Adoption is not normal, and it’s time we STOP normalizing it.
Adoption is traumatic, relinquishment is traumatic and if adoptees aren’t allowed the space to process this trauma we will continue to see the jails, prisons, mental health facilities and treatment facilities overflowing with adoptees! We will continue to see adoptees attempt and succeed in suicide. The earlier we start to address the truth about adoption, the sooner adoptees can start to process our grief and loss.
As a child, I wouldn’t have had the language to process my pain if I wanted to have it. I didn’t know as a child what I know now. I’m here to tell you if SOMEONE, ANYONE would have told me it was okay to be SAD I lost my birth mother, or it was okay to be ANGRY she left me, my whole entire world would have changed growing up. I didn’t have that language, so my adoptive parents should have helped me find it. Yeah, I know it was 1974 and things were different then! TRUE! But they are different now too, and once you know this TRUTH that I’m sharing here based on my 44 years of lived experience being adopted, you can’t unknow it. Please, do what you can to help your adopted children access feelings of grief and loss, and HELP THEM process them!
For my fellow adoptees who have made it this far, I’m asking you how you are processing your grief and loss? What have you been able to do to tap into your real true feelings? Are you at a phase where you are numbing them and running? Or are you working towards processing them?
For me, saying HELLO to my grief and loss has been a critical part of my healing process. I’m no longer running the rat race to be healed! That doesn’t work for many of us. Being SAD about your adoption experience is NORMAL. Being ANGRY about your adoption experience is NORMAL. It’s what you do with these feeling is what’s KEY. Acceptance of them is KEY.
Saying HELLO to them is acknowledging them. Sitting with them awhile, writing about them, or sharing them with someone you love or trust is processing them. Getting alone in nature, doing your yoga, jogging, biking, hiking, and anything outside can help you release some the build up you have, and so many adoptees have anger and rage deep inside, bursting to come out. It’s going to come out in healthy ways, or unhealthy ways. What have you picked for yourself?
I picked unhealthy for 27 years, but it wasn’t because I wanted to pick it. It was because I didn’t have the tools to work on my adoptee issues. Remember, we live in a world that celebrates our trauma and celebrates adoption! This is why it upsets me when people say we are choosing to stay STUCK. Don’t you think if every single adoptee had a flip to switch, on was happy and off was sad/angry we would choose the HAPPY SWITCH? Seriously, so many of us are stuck because that was me for 40+ years because we had no tools. Thank God times are changing! – Adoptees Connect.
The best part is, once we know that grief and loss is a normal response, and once we know it’s time to start processing it in healthy ways we can then make the choice to put one foot forward and try to walk it out TOGETHER.
Is it scary? Damn straight it is! I always say adoptees aren’t sissies! They are some of the strongest people on the planet! But I did it, and you can do it too! So my question for you is, when are you going to start saying HELLO to your grief and loss? Welcome it, embrace it and keep it moving. Only you can do this because one thing I’ve learned is that if we want something in the adoptee community or for ourselves we will have to seek it, create it, or find it ourselves! No one is going to do it for us, especially when they are so busy celebrating our trauma and they don’t acknowledge we have any losses to grieve.
It’s up to us. It’s up to me. It’s up to you.
What are you going to do?
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!
Mommy Dearest #1 is the mommy that gave birth to me. She relinquished all rights to parent me. She left me at the hospital then decided to flee.
Mommy Dearest #2 is the mommy that adopted me. It took me a lifetime to discover, she was mentally ill and didn’t have capabilities to parent me.
I spent my entire life searching for Mommy Dearest #1 because she had to be a better mommy than Mommy Dearest #2.
“But she gave you away, she didn’t want to parent you!” they say.
“But she loved you so much” they say.
Conflicting stores, leaning towards my birth mother wanting to see me because I believed that “She loved me so much.” How could a mother not love their child? She must be searching for me too, to rescue me from Mommy Dearest #2.
Mommy Dearest #2 had some good qualities if I’m honest. She loved gardening, plants, lavender, and the colors blue and white. She liked watching soap operas, cutting coupons, talking, and figure skating. She was a nurse, and her greatest gift was my birth mothers ultimate sacrifice.
Mommy Dearest #2 wanted to be a mother more than anything in this world, but here’s the drawback. Her husband, my adoptive father left us when I was 1, because he knew she couldn’t parent us. He moved over an hour away, remarried and raised a new family of his own. Leaving us with Mommy Dearest #2.
Mommy Dearest #2 was manic depressive, always sad and cried daily, and said over and over, “I’m not a good mother, I just want to die.” I was her caretaker my entire child hood and most of my life. Recalled memories of terror that have overpowered any good she brought into my life. Her laying in the street, trying to commit suicide. Flashbacks. Flashbacks. I will never forget it. Her locking herself in her room with her box of pills, saying she was going to commit suicide. Being a little girl banging on the door, crying hysterically for hours sometimes begging her not to die. Over and over, memories never leave my mind. Flashbacks. Flashbacks. I didn’t know about mental illness as a child, I just know because of her being undiagnosed, and untreated I paid the price and will have memories of this trauma for life. Read more about my experience with her here.
I was the ultimate sacrifice.
Was this the “BETTER LIFE?”
Why did Mommy Dearest #1 decide to flee?
I had to find her, because she had to be better than Mommy Dearest #2. Sadly, I learned my fantasy of her wasn’t true. Even when I wrote her a poem that went something like this…
“My prayers were answered, my dreams finally came true, all of this occurred the day that I found you”
The truth is, she wasn’t searching for me, and she didn’t want to be found. She met me once, but she never wanted me to come back around. She slammed the door shut, she locked it and she threw away the key. As long as she was alive on this earth, I never threw away the hope that one day she would want to see me. 20 years passed, I waited and waited. Then I got the dreaded call, “Your birth mother has died.” With her dying, my hope of ever seeing her again died too. I was told it broke her heart that my adoptive parents divorced because if I was going to be raised on welfare, food stamps and in an abusive environment, she would have kept me! This made her ANGRY!
2010 Mommy Dearest #1 is dead.
She would rather die all alone, than have me in her life. I would have been there in a heartbeat if she would have picked up that phone.But the world says I’m supposed to be thankful.
I’m thankful that I found her, I’m thankful that I met her one time but that doesn’t change the fact this has traumatized me for life. I’m not thankful I was adopted. I do have a million things in my life I’m thankful for, but adoption isn’t one of them.
Mommy Dearest #2 died 7 years later.
But not before I escaped by moving across the country in 2005 so my kids and I could have a better life. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is making the choice to sever ties. I changed my name, embraced my recovery journey, and started my life over.
2 Corinthians 5:17
I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork!
As soon as Mommy Dearest #2 died my soul was set free, I finally felt like I could breathe. The weight lifted. I didn’t feel any sadness from her dying, than the same sadness I’ve felt every day of my life NOT. HAVING. A. MOTHER. I still have dreams about her, and memories of my childhood flashback frequently. I continue to remind myself that I don’t live there anymore, today I’ve made the choice to open a new door.
A new life, with new possibilities.
Moving forward, I made a vow to myself, I would always be true to me!
Honesty is KEY!
I’ve moved forward with my life, and the 2 women that should have loved and cared for me the most, have hurt me the most. The damage that has been done is something I’ll be working on for the rest of my life, but today I’ve accepted it and acknowledged its here to stay. It’s part of who I am, it’s part of my story but it’s not all of who I am or all of my story.
I’ve been working 10+ years on my recovery and healing journey. Not all adoptees have something positive to hang onto, but we can take the pain and find something to pour it into! Passion and purpose seem to make it all worth it. Many of us have been dealt a hand of trauma all the way around the paradox. Mother’s Day for many of us is not only a day of remembrance of the woman who carried us for 9 months, handing us over to strangers, TRAUMA!abandoned but it’s also a reminder that the woman we were handed too couldn’t parent us. Trauma times TWO!
If this isn’t you, that’s wonderful, because we all deserve a wonderful mother. The fact is, some of us don’t get it even when we’ve been given 2 chances by being adopted.
How do you strike it out 2x in the mother area?
Some of you will say “It’s all a part of God’s plan.”
Newsflash: God doesn’t plan trauma so stop blaming him!
What has this experience taught me? It taught me that no matter what anyone says, mothers aren’t interchangeable. It’s taught me that adoption of the world today isn’t from God, and man has totally messed this thing up and they have the audacity to say God is in control! It’s taught me this is MAN’S PLAN, NOT GOD’S. God never plans on separating mother’s and babies. It’s taught me I’m strong and a survivor to be alive, making it through this nightmare. It taught me that even when I’ve been adopted on paper, I’ve really raised myself. The examples I had as mothers, not only one but TWO were something I never wanted to be.
So, what did I do?
I have done everything in my power to break generational curses and heal from the hurts. I want to be a better mom to my kids, than what I ever had. I want to be a happy healthy grandma to my future grandkids, which is something my kids never had. I want to take all this pain and trauma and find purpose in it. – Adoptees Connect! I want to take back everything that was stolen from me. I’m finding happiness within myself, because I’ve never found it anywhere else. After I’ve found it in myself, I’ve been able to find it with others. I want to help other adoptees who feel isolated and alone, because if I can survive this THING, they can too. If your adopted and reading this, you are NOT ALONE!
This writing is me acknowledging my pain, and my experience with both of my “mothers”. I’m no longer sitting in this space, but when my feelings come, I need to share them. My website has always been a safe space for me to share. I don’t want to take any more of your time, by sharing this sad story of mine. I acknowledge it, process it, and move forward with my life. I’ve been stuck for far too long.
So, this year, I’m sure my kids will want to celebrate ME, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. I’ll celebrate the fact that I’ve been a mom to some amazing kids, who I cherish more than life. That’s a TRUE gift and a focus for me on Mother’s Day. In the back of my mind, these memories and my story will always be. I have no mother to celebrate. But if you do, I’m happy for you. If I’m a little distant, or it takes me awhile to respond it’s because I’ve pulled away from electronics, and the television where everyone is gloating about their mothers. I just can’t deal. Self-care is something I put first.
Hugs to all my fellow adoptees who lost your first mother, who have a hard time with Mother’s Day. MEGA HUGS to all my fellow adoptees who not only lost your first mother, but your second mother wasn’t what you deserved. I’m crying with you all. If you made it this far, you are a survivor. It hurts, let yourself feel the pain. Write about it, draw, color, paint, run, jog, hike, cry, scream.
Feel free to leave your thoughts here if it will help you in some way. Please take care of yourself in the coming days! Do whatever you need to do, to take care of you.
I decided to post this before Mother’s Day because I don’t want to interfere with those celebrating this day, in anyway. I’m not looking for sympathy or to be “fixed.” Just sharing my story, healing through writing one click at a time. Thank you for being a part of my journey! 💛
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own. I do not claim to, nor make an effort to speak for all adoptees. – p.k.
“I want you to be healed in Jesus Name!”
“Will the pain every go away?”
“Will the pain get easier?”
“You have to let go, and let God!”
“Oh she just had a bad adoption experience!”
“Adoption is a gift from God, sorry you had a bad experience!”
“Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted? You got life!”
The list could go on and on of things I’ve heard people say, and even things I’ve said myself. Over the last 8 years of coming out of the fog, I have learned so much and God has shown me so much about my personal experience and journey. I felt I needed to share some of it with my followers.
2010 I started the healing process. Healing from what? A lifetime of brokenness, heartbreak, grief, loss and trauma some of which is from my adoption experience, some is from other things that have happened in my life. Back in 2010 I was still drinking to numb my pain. I was a functional drinker, I went to work everyday and loved my career. I raised 3 kids, paid my bills, had fun and enjoyed my life to the best of my abilities.
I quickly learned that alcohol and the healing process didn’t work well together, and actually it was pretty catastrophic if I’m being honest. Mixing alcohol with trauma? I learned that alcohol had actually stalled my healing, it made me not process my pain. It was my great escape. I was a runner, alcohol was my magic carpet and for 27 years I rode it ducking and dodging anything remotely painful. One thing I wasn’t doing was FEELING ADOPTION GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA.
When August 13, 2012 came rolling around I had enough of myself. At this point I spent 27 years running from the pain from my past and my adoption experience. August 13, 2012 was also my birthday. The day I came into this world, and the day my birth mother abandoned me and left me. It doesn’t matter who else was around to substitute HER. No one ever has, nor will they ever replace HER. They tried, but didn’t succeed!
I soon started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery and spent the next 4 years working the 12 steps, mentoring other women, leading a women’s chemical dependency group and processing my pain! You read that right. Processing my pain. How do I do this? I never learned how to process my pain. Adoptee pain is ignored and denied to us by the entire WORLD!
Adoption is wonderful!
Adoption saved you!
Adoption gave you LIFE!
If I left it up to this world to help me, I would be dead right now. This world has never had any help for broken, hurting adult adoptees. We don’t fit the narrative of how adoption is perceived by society. Not only do many of us not fit in with our adoptive families, but many of us don’t fit in with our birth families. We don’t fit in with the world which leaves us more isolated and alone than you could ever imagine.
One by one, I started working on my adoptee issues. Triggers, memories, grief, loss, trauma, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, mother wound, father wound, sadness, depression, anxiety, aloneness, isolation, and the list could go on. ADOPTION IMPACTS EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES. As my drinking came to a screeching halt my adoptee reality came rolling in like a ton of bricks. Smacked me straight in the face. Knocked me dead in my tracks.
The fog began to lift, and things got real and fast. Celebrate Recovery was somewhat of a safe space for me, but no one understood me. They didn’t get what I was saying, and they too had the idea that adoption was all wonderful so I was some ungrateful little brat for not appreciating the fact I wasn’t aborted. I had a small handful of close friends who were always there to listen and support me, but they didn’t understand it because they aren’t adopted. I was still isolated and alone in many ways and because Celebrate Recovery was a ministry the goal was to BE HEALED IN JESUS NAME!
Well, I showed up and I did the work. Day after day, week after week and year after year I kept going back and guess what? I still have the pain I did when I walked through the doors. I still am broken. I still have a broken heart, and I still have MAJOR ADOPTEE ISSUES. I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong and like I had to hide like I really felt because this healing everyone was talking about just wasn’t working for me!
“You are choosing to hang onto the pain!”
“You aren’t praying enough!”
“I think you need to fast!”
“Stop thinking of the negative and think of the positive!”
All of these things only made me feel worse about my situation and myself. It made me feel like I was the exception. I was the one that was never going to get the healing. I was the one God was punishing because I’m one ungrateful little b**ch and I’m not thankful I’m adopted. I hate being adopted. I heard people say, “There are reasons people don’t get there healing!”
What in the actual F*CK does that even mean?
*pardon the curse words, but I’ve come to the realization from some close friends that cursing can be therapeutic and it’s not all that bad. It feels really good to say a curse word every now and then and as part of my unconditioning out of the church, I’m allowing myself to say a curse word when I want. 🙂
Do the people who say these things know how damaging this can be to people? I found myself running a rat race trying to BE HEALED in Jesus name and it never worked! What did work is the moment I left out of the church and began to process my REAL PAIN away from all the HOOPLA that the church pushed on me, I became much more free than I had ever been! I found healing in that freedom more than I ever did inside the doors of the church or inside Celebrate Recovery.
Now that I’m an outsider looking in I’ve learned so much in gaining a better understanding in my truth, the truth and God’s truth. Let’s dissect that for a moment. What does that even look like?
The more I share my truth, the more uncomfortable it is for non-adoptees to hear, read and learn about the damage adoption causes an adoptee. They want me to be healed so I shut up. They want me to “get over it” so they stop hearing about it. They want me to move on with my life, because they are done hearing the truth. Reality is adoption is damage and some of the damage can never be undone.
I’ve learned many times the truth hurts, and it’s hard to swallow. Of all the adoptee activism I’ve done in my 8 years of coming out of the fog, I’ve heard HUNDREDS of adoptee stories! If not thousands. I have put in the time, energy and work to learn from so many adoptees from all over the world and guess what. The MAJORITY of them have heartbreaking stories where adoption has negatively impacted every area of their lives, for an entire lifetime. I wouldn’t make this stuff up! I can’t unknow what I know.
If God is the way, the truth and the life, then GOD IS TRUTH. Let’s be truthful for a moment. What about the broken, hurting and lost adoptees? Who is looking out for them? Who is speaking for them when they don’t feel strong enough to speak for themselves? Where are the resources for them?
Because being a broken, hurting and lost adoptee myself I have only found that for myself in creating it for not only myself, but other adoptees in Adoptees Connect.
Do you think my fire and passion for this Adoptee “thing” came from nothing? No, it came from a very dark and painful place where I have had no choice but to reside for most of my life because of no resources for adoptees.
What if I become “Healed in Jesus Name”?
What does that look like?
Will my spark die?
Will my purpose dissolve?
Will my fire die for Adoptee City?
Will I walk off into the sunset as a “Healed Adoptee” feeling WHOLE and leaving all the broken adoptees behind to figure it all out on their own? Will I finally be happy inside and outside and the dark cloud be gone? Will I forget all about being adopted and how much it’s impacted every area of my life? Will my triggers be dissolved into none at all? Will my mother wound go away? Will my trauma disappear? Will my grief and loss be non-existent? Will my heart finally be WHOLE? Will my truth disappear?
If I answer all these questions, and if I’m REAL about it and if I share the TRUTH, if I let all these things go, what will I have? What will my purpose be?
If God heals, and he wants us to be whole, what about those of us who try that, and we don’t get our healing? How do you know it’s not for a good purpose or a God purpose instead of a punishment? please be careful what you say to people!
What if I’m alive here today so I can share the pain of what it’s like growing up in an emotionally and mentally abusive adoptive home, so that hopefully other adoptees who have experience this won’t feel alone? What if I’m here to bring light (truth) to the reality of the damage that happens anytime a mother and a child is separated? How do we know that my story, my pain hasn’t gone away because God wants the world to know that adoption TODAY isn’t what he intended for it to be? How do we know if all the secrecy and lies in adoption that impacted me in negative ways, is something God wants brought to light because HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE?
Why is this so hard for some people to accept about ADOPTION? Adoption is rooted and grounded in grief, loss and division! Secrecy and lies follow suit. What if I’m not “Healed in Jesus Name” so I can share my truth that is the same TRUTH thousands and thousands of adoptees have all over the world?
What if my pain is here to stay because I have work to do?
Should I trade my pain for complicity?
I will continue to hold it, keep it tight so I can continue to share the truth about the jacked up adoption industry and how negatively adoption has and will continue to impact adoptees in a negative way all around the world.
What a hefty price to pay, to carry this burden that has been placed upon my shoulders. At least in the process I’m being true to me, who I am and my experience. I’m being true to my fellow adoptees who are all over the place hurting, some on the edge of suicide, isolated and all alone. At least I’m doing something positive with this pain. At least it won’t go in vein. At least I’m sharing my truth as I see it. I’m not drinking to numb my pain any longer. This is the reality of being an adult adoptee. This is my reality.
Another reason I’ve hung onto this pain so tight is because it’s all I have of my birth mother. That’s extremely hard to comprehend to some people but for me, meeting her once, and her slamming the door shut left me with a lifetime of questions, pain, hurt and more severe abandonment and rejection issues than anyone on this earth can imagine or comprehend. I wrote about the pain associated with my birth mother one time, and you can read that here; Mother May I but even after this writing it’s been impossible for me to let go of the pain associated with HER, my birth mother.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because it’s all I have of her. I don’t have the memories, I don’t have the lessons learned, I don’t have the relationship other people have or had with their mother. I have nothing of her, but the pain. The balloon at the top of this photo is a symbol for me that if I let go of the pain I will be sitting in an empty chair. I’ll disappear into a world of nothingness, more alone than before.
How do I let the pain (her) go?
For me, this has been one of the hardest things to do, that’s easier said than done. Mother’s Day I’m reminded of her, everyday I look in the mirror I’m reminded of her. I’m her daughter weather she wanted me or not. I have her fingers, her feet, her skin tone, her alcohol issues, her stubborn spirit. I am her. If I let her go, I let myself go.
Does this make sense to anyone?
Anyway, as the poem “Mother May I” says, “But if I let it go, what will I have? There are no memories to remember, no future, and no forever. I thought of saving a piece, folding it up and putting it away. Then I can take it out on a rainy day. Because then you will know I never forgot you. I never want you to think I forgot about you”
Who would have ever thought that out of the fog, into recovery being an adoptee this MOTHER WOUND would be so deep and a wound that is such a mixture of emotions filled with grief, loss and pain. Even if I try to let the pain go, and let her go the wound is still there.
MOTHER LESS is what I’ll always be.
That impacts every day of my life in it’s own way.
For me acceptance has been key, and that is acceptance of the pain as well. If I get on the bandwagon of “Being Healed” that will go against my acceptance of the pain and this journey and it will only hurt me more. Have I healed in some regards? Absolutely. I’ve grown and healed a lot over the years and I believe I will grow and heal some more. It’s taking out the expectation that one day I will be totally be healed is something that’s been extremely important in my journey. There is too much pain from all different angles to ever believe I will wake up healed one day. For me, learning how to navigate the triggers when they come and sharing my pain in my writings has been healing for me. Knowing I’m not alone by networking with my fellow adoptees has also been a important part of my journey. Validation has been critical to my acceptance and healing as well.
Because I have adoptee pain, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to find some beauty in my life. I have a million things I’m thankful for, and there are things I love about my life. There are things that bring me great joy, and comfort. Please don’t mistake my blog post as I’m someone sitting around mad, angry and mean all the time. That’s farthest from the truth. This happens to be part of my therapy, and part of my healing space. This is where I share my adoptee pain. #healingthroughwriting
Sharing my views on Adoptee Pain from my experience is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. For the adoptees reading, how have you handled your pain? How have you processed it? What has worked for you and what has that process been like for you?
I’m not even lying. I totally overdid it last year and as a result I dropped off the face of “Adoptee Land” for 6 full months. I was too overwhelmed with it all I had to spend 6 months of self care to nurture my adoptee self back to life again. Then, I tippy toed my way back in but made a promise to myself.
I was not going to overdue it again! For my own mental health and sanity. And also so Adoptee Land wouldn’t lose me again, for 6 months or maybe longer.
I wanted to share what NAAM17 meant to me.
NAAM17 is a time where the world celebrates adoption, yet adoptee voices have always been an after thought. As the years have passed adoptees are breaking out of the fog and coming together and raising our voices to the world on how it feels to be adopted. Finally, we have a space and our voice matters. On the other hand as November approaches I almost get this sick feeling in my stomach like someone punched me in the gut. It’s an unnerving feeling. Unsettling for adoptees and this is why many of us feel the need to raise our voices. Seeing the adoption agencies and those in the adoption arena celebrate adoption is sorrowful for many of us. It brings triggers that we have to learn to navigate. It’s difficult and there is no way to escape it.
For me, this month is a month I’m putting my long time vision of starting an all adoptee support group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY into action on the ground here in Lexington, KY where I live. This is my contribution to NAAM17 this year, as well as guiding some of my fellow adoptees around the USA to start their own Adoptees Connect in the city and state they live in.
IT’S OUR TIME!
I still have my Facebook “Like” pages to run, as well as my own blog so my plate is already full. For my fellow adoptees, please take care of yourself this month. Go treat yourself to something you want, buy a massage or get your nails done. Buy an ice cream cone or go to the gym and work out to burn steam off. Whatever calms your spirit and brings you job, make sure you’re doing that this month in the middle of your commitment to raising awareness on how it feels to be adopted.
That’s a wonderful place to be IMHO. I’ve come to a cross roads in life. I feel like I’ve come to many cross roads over the last few years, but none quite like this one. I feel a total peace about the place I am, and this is why I know it’s from God.
I’ve learned over time it’s so easy to become co-dependent on people, places and things. I am striving to be free of codependency of people, places and things. The more I let go of people, places and things the more free I become. The more free I feel. Free to me is a “Safe Space” for me to be in. The less people, places and things the less drama, hiccups and nonsense I have that comes my way.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Facebook for quite some time now. I am learning that Facebook is just a tool used for everyone to be up in your business, when reality is most of those people aren’t even in my life. It’s almost as if I’ve noticed Facebook has a sort of control over me. I have made the choice to “Opt-Out” of allowing Facebook to have this control over my life, at least for the time being. It’s apparent in my life anyway, something can happen spur of the moment and I make the choice to log back in and there I go… Wasting time, very valuable precious time on meddling in what others are doing. I put up a status that is heartwarming for those who read it and go about my merry way. There is much more to Pamela Karanova than what I share on Facebook. I have many layers as we all do.
Most of the time I wonder who is REAL in my life and who ISN’T. Who will even notice I’m gone? Hardly anyone ever does. I find it so interesting. The people who I REALLY have in my life I’m close to and we talk on the phone, text, and see one another and don’t need Facebook to tie us together. I’m clinging to those REAL relationships with my REAL friends. If we have a relationship in “real life” I don’t need Facebook to have that. I am keeping my “Like” pages up and going, as well as sharing adoptee stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Website
Many transitions are taking place in my life. I’m in a discovery phase of WHO I AM and listening what God is going to do next in my life. I’m going through emotional highs and lows in LIFE in general. God is weeding out people, places and things who don’t serve a purpose in my life anymore.
John 5:8 says, “”Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
And so it is…
I’m happily embracing on a season of self discovery moving forward while acknowledging all that has been might not be a part of what will be. I’m okay with this. I don’t feel the need to explain my journey to everyone. Most people only want to hear warm fluffy stories anyway!I feel those who will really want to know will take the time to reach out to me and find out how I am, what I’m doing in my life. 9 x out of 10 they won’t have time to meet you for coffee with their busy schedule, so WHY would I share my life with them? Real relationships takes real action. I don’t believe in telling people “Good-Bye”. If you were ever a real part of my life there will be no “Good-Byes” only more “Hello’s”. If you weren’t a real part of my life, you might consider saying “Good-Bye” but may I suggest you save it for the next person you would like to have a “Fake Relationship” with? Why would you tell someone “Good-Bye” if you have a real relationship with them? I sure wouldn’t.
I’ve seen a lot in my little 42 years of life here on earth. I’ve been in large groups of people who say you are a part of their life, and I’ve been in small groups of people who say the same. I’ve been naive for many years of my life. I’ve wanted to be accepted and belong somewhere for so long, that I’ve been blinded many times over at synthetic relationships that come my way. Just because I speak to you and see you as we pass by one another doesn’t mean you are my friend. Friendships take work. They take time. They take sacrifice to put your friends before yourself. Friendships take intention. I try to see the good in people, and for most of my life I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea of so many people who “love me” or “accept me” and those who say they WANT TO BE MY FRIEND.
It’s take 42 years for me to be OKAY with the idea that people are full of it. They can say words like “Family of Choice” so easily. In the next breath they denounce the very words they spoke the week before. What is “Family of Choice” anyway? To me it sounds like something that separates and divides us away from our family of origin or our adoptive family or whoever we have close to us we call family. Family is a variety of things. Family is those who you invest in, you take time to reach out to them and you make it a POINT to be in their life. This can even happen from a distance! Family isn’t something that I take lightly. I’ve had blood and adoptive family and church family. People can say they are family and back stab you or betray you in a heartbeat. One thing I don’t do is FAKE. If I don’t like you or want to be around you, you will not hear from me. I won’t respond to you and I will always try to do this in the most elegant & graceful way possible. Just because I’m aCHRISTian doesn’t mean I have to allow everyone on God’s green earth to see inside my life. I am called to love people, and that I will do. It doesn’t mean I need to continuously let my guard down, allow people to come into my life only to dismiss me in the next segment of this thing we call “Life”.
It’s a freeing feeling to CHOOSE who I allow in my life.
I can honestly smell bullsh*t a mile away!
Relationships are reciprocated.
If I don’t reciprocate I don’t want a relationship with you.
If you don’t reciprocate a relationship with me, I KNOW you don’t want a REAL relationship with me.
End. Of. Story.
I remember the days where I would allow people in, and they flat out didn’t deserve to be in my life. I wanted and needed to be accepted SO BAD, I was blinded by so much.
Those days are over.
Today, the title of this post is “Withdraw & Retreat” for a reason. I’m not all alone. God is with me! My close friends know pieces of what’s going on in my life, and the REAL friends I have are on this ride with me. My kids are with me. They are the most important thing TO ME! So today I’m at a peaceful place filled with many transitions taking place. God is weeding things OUT and I believe with my entire heart he will replace all those things with better things.
It’s critical I trust Him.
Growing in my relationship with God is something I put at the front of my life, each and every day I’m committed to THIS. For my fellow adoptees; I will always be around for YOU! Please believe this is no good-bye letter. Only a post explaining some things are changing in my life, for the better and I’m excited to share it.
God is about to use me in a new way because it’s a NEW DAY in this thing we call LIFE.
Thanks for reading.
I’m going to try to write more in the near future.
It seems like this has been the hardest year of my life.
Probably because it has.
It’s amazing how things can change in just a blink of an eye.
For me, reality has set in in many areas of my life.
But today God has restored some of my hope that was lost along the way.
The Bible says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 ESV
To be honest, if I didn’t have God’s word and his promises to stand on I would not be here today! This world does not bring me HOPE but God does! Because of his word it gives me something to stand on and FIGHT WITH. The enemy thought he was going to take me out and even my children but he has had another thing coming.
IT’S BEEN WAR BUT THE BATTLE HAS ALREADY BEEN WON!
The Armor of God-
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
I started seeing a new therapist yesterday. You can guess ADOPTEE ISSUES are a pretty heavy but I’m STILL working on healing. I’ve come to terms that this might last a lifetime! For some reason I was thinking after 4 years in recovery it would get better! It has NOT gotten better. It has gotten harder, heavier and worse! I keep praying for healing, closure, acceptance, answers, truth, and happiness within myself… If I give up on seeking these things what is the point of living? I mean I am not a quitter! I am not giving up!
I will say the last year some days I have felt like given up, actually if I’m honest MOST DAYS I HAVE FELT LIKE GIVING UP!.
I know he has a purpose for my life, as he does all of us.
SO I’m here.
I’ve moved on from the past nightmare relation SHIT I was in that ended a year ago. I’ve spent the last year healing from this relation SHITwhich caused me a lot of heartache and grief as if I haven’t gone through enough in my life. Closing that door was the best thing I ever did because let’s just face it- SOME PEOPLE NEVER CHANGE!!!
What this relation SHIT taught me is that people lie, even grown people. Grown people even manipulate and deceive and make things up. I’ve learned I can’t control what other people do but I can control 110% who I have in my life. If someone is going to LIE to me I will not tolerate that crap. I’m a good person and I deserve the BEST!
Why would I break free from a lifetime of dysfunction that I was born into and enter into more dysfunction?? I smell dysfunction a mile away and not that I have it all together but my struggles are internal, they don’t hurt other people!! I’m good to other people and try to be a good person.
Anyway.. I’ve been dealing with a few personal things with my children but things in that area are also starting to look better and I couldn’t be more thankful. I have had to put MYSELF (blog, and what not) on the back burner for a bit but I’m praying about blossoming back into the online world but not Facebook. I do believe I will put the “How Does it Feel To Be Adopted” Facebook page back up but monitor it from a dummy page this way I don’t gain the distraction of a personal Facebook page. I just can’t get sucked back into Facebook right now. THERE ARE HUGE TRIGGERS ON FACEBOOK TO ME!
And, as I see this new therapist we agreed since I love writing she’s going to pull that out of me by giving me some writing assignments. I believe I will share them here on my blog. This is my safe place. So stay tuned.
Today I have more hope and peace about things than I have in a long time! I give the glory to God! Thank you all for your prayers, for supporting me and for reaching out to me! It means the world. Please know me removing myself has nothing to do with anyone personally, I just had to do it for myself and to get closer to God. I’ve spent a long season doing this and it’s honestly all I have known to do in such a dark time of my life.
But the lights are back on. Hope is here. I’m moving forward.
The older I get the more God has brought many things to my attention that the things of the world that excite most people have no waver on exciting me.
Not in this lifetime anyway.
Sometimes I feel like something is wrong with me…
If I could pay for peace of mind regarding my adoption experience do you know I would set up a payment plan and pay it off until my dying days?
Unfortunately, we all know this is a silly thought to have but truth is if there was anything on earth I would love to pay for this would be it! Can you imagine the investment we could all make in our own lives?
The fact of the matter is, when I am 41 years old STILL trying to figure out the truth, still seeking answers, still FIGHTING to seek solace and peace regarding this experience it is one of my biggest goals in life, is to feel peace about being adopted. Sadly, I still don’t have much of my truth yet and have recently found some of what I was told was lies.
When I have spent 41 years fighting for the truth, it seems it has over powered SO MUCH OF MY LIFE that I still have yet to really enjoy LIVING!
I mean how can we live when we are still trying to figure out who we are and where we come from?
I can speak from my experience only, that this life has caused me to REALLY appreciate the SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE that so many people can take for granted.
I follow an adoptive parent on social media and one weekend she spent the entire weekend taking photos of old knickknacks she had around her house that she had collected from her parents, grandparents and great grandparents. It struck a chord with me because I wondered if she knew how valuable even one of those things would be to her adopted children if it was something from their biological families? Did she know most all adoptees are robbed of this simple gift most all non-adoptees get to take part in? Again, it’s not the material value, it’s the sentimental value that each of these things holds.
I can speak for myself that I have nothing from either of my biological families. I have nothing tangible that has no material value or anything that has sentimental value. Pictures mean the WORLD to me, but I have very few of them of my biological family, although I am grateful for the ones I have. So many of my fellow adoptees have none! Letters mean the world to me, but I don’t have any from my biological family. They promised they would write but they never delivered.
Let me also share MEMORIES hold a special place in my heart. I know most people who haven’t been adopted can’t have such an appreciation for memories that I have. The memories lost forever that can never be replaced cause me more sadness than anyone can ever imagine. And I’m sorry; I can’t just get over it and move on. Every time I see someone on social media post pictures with their biological family whether it be grandparents, parents, siblings or whoever it is a trigger for many of us. It is a reminder that we are somewhere between here and there and those memories are lost forever. While most people are grieving long lost family members when they pass, they have memories to cling onto. Not the adoptee. We have deep sadness because we WISH we had those memories.
This has added to me as a person, because my primary love language is QUALITY TIME. My least favorite love language is GIFTS. I think this is a gift in itself because most people that know me know I’m one of the most genuine sincere people they will ever meet. I most definitely won’t use you for your money, and I am clear about what makes me tick.
QUALITY TIME WITH THOSE I LOVE. TALKING TO THOSE I LOVE. MAKING MEMORIES WITH THOSE I LOVE. TAKING PICTURES WITH THOSE I LOVE. – It’s that simple for me!
One of my biggest desires in life is…
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH AND THIS IS SOMETHING I AM STILL FIGHTING FOR. MOST PEOPLE DESIRE THINGS OF THE WORLD. THAT IS WHAT MAKES THEM HAPPY. Nicer cars, nicer houses, nicer electronics, nicer clothes, promotions on their jobs, newer clothes, shoes, watches, and the list could go on. I WOULD SIMPLY BE HAPPY AND BE ABLE TO MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE IF I HAD ALL THE TRUTH TO MY HISTORY!
I could find myself just as happy living in a one room efficiency apartment as I would a huge 8 bedroom mansion.
Because the things I desire money can’t buy!
The sweet gift of being an adoptee who keeps things simple and who enjoys the simplicity life brings is a different aspect that most non-adoptees can’t embrace. I consider that part of this life as a GIFT. I don’t have credit cards. I don’t usually make impulsive decisions with money. I get the same happiness from 1 shirt at Goodwill as I do 1 shirt from Macys. My kids make fun of me, but I don’t care. I am the most humble frugal spirited anyone will ever meet because the most important and valuable things that I could have, that most take for granted have been taken from me.
I haven’t given up on receiving these things. I still have hope!
For my Christian friends who might be reading, yes I believe Jesus paid it ALL! But I also know God wants me to have my truth, and once I obtain the ENTIRE TRUTH regarding my adoption experience I will have that Jesus peace about my entire adoption experience. Today I have Jesus peace in most areas of my life! This just happens to be the area shaded with secrecy and lies. Let’s face it, we can’t give it to JESUS unless we know what we are giving to Him! It’s kinda hard to hand him a question mark??!!! Have you ever thought about that? You can’t possibly thing I would be choosing heartache and pain for peace of mind if it were that simple? God is TRUTH and I know he wants ALL ADOPTEES TO HAVE THEIR TRUTH! Why are so many people in adoption standing in the way and supporting half truths?
While I continue on my journey of seeking my TRUTH, I enjoy things that are free. Being outside, being alone with God, listening to worship music, reading my bible, writing, journaling, blogging and reaching out to my fellow adoptees, supporting them in their journeys, being on board for adoptee rights. I enjoy helping hurting people, I enjoy the sky and going to coffee shops, parks, thrift shops, garage sales, bon fires. I love eliminating all negative and toxic people, places and things out of my life. I love plants and colors. I love that I can control that aspect of my life, when so much has been uncontrollable. I love growing in my relationship with God, and my church family. I love spending time with my kids, and my adoptive family who I have relationships with. I love my career of caring for elderly, and find it a major gift in my life. So you see there is more to me than being adopted but this is what God has called me to write about so my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone like I once felt.
If anyone comes into my life and tries to disrupt the peace I do have I have no choice to eliminate them. Because I have no time for relationships or people who do nothing but drain the life out of me. It’s taken me 41 years to get to be where I am. By God’s grace I am able to see the beauty in so many areas but I am still fighting for my TRUTH! I have no time or energy for toxic people!
I’m wondering if any of my fellow adoptees can relate to anything I have shared in this post. What brings you happiness? What brings you peace of mind? What are you fighting for most people would take for granted?
Thanks for reading and for all your support! ❤
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