Earth Day, Mother’s Day and My Adoptee Epiphany

Today is Earth Day, and Mother’s Day is right around the corner. What does each of these days mean to me, being an adult adoptee? 

Let me back things up a bit and explain what my experience was like with my earthly mothers.

My first chance at a mother did not want to mother me.

My biological mother didn’t want me, so she passed me over to strangers. After a lifetime of searching for her, dreaming, and wishing we would cross paths one day, my one true dream of finding her and having a relationship with her was shattered all over the ground. We met one time briefly in 1995, and that was the last time I ever saw her. What felt like a cold-hearted rejection was her not being able to navigate the pain of her decision and hearing how my life turned out. The better life promised wasn’t better at all. Only different. She felt a deep sadness over learning this reality.

That didn’t change how this rejection has made me feel and the truth that it’s impacted every area of my life. She abandoned me not once but twice. The ultimate betrayal from my biological mother has been the most significant wound I have ever carried, even compared to what other people would consider major traumatic events.

This deep mother wound and disappointment has been impossible to shake, and it will be with me for life. I’ve accepted the pain was here to stay, and that was one of the most healing things I have done for myself. Nothing on earth and no amount of pain I have ever felt compares to this wound. She died in 2010, and I hadn’t had contact with her in over 25 years.

It’s deep. It’s raw. It hurts.

My second chance at a mother could not mother me.

My adoptive mother wanted to be a mother so bad, but the reality was she was so mentally ill, she couldn’t parent me. Instead, I suffered greatly because of her mental health issues. She should have never been allowed to adopt a child, let alone two. My adoptive dad divorced her when I was one years old, and knowing she couldn’t care for us be left and moved over an hour away to remarry, and raise three stepsons as his own. My childhood in my adoptive parent’s homes was filled with traumatic experiences that have impacted every area of my life. I’ve spent years recovering from these experiences and a lifetime of seeing how things shouldn’t be. I never bonded with my adoptive mom, and I despise the facts that I was forced to pretend she was my mother.

The lengths of trauma I experienced in these homes have riddled me with anxiety, fear, and the loss of what so many of us deserve and need, and that’s an opportunity at decent mother and a safe place to live. I didn’t need perfect. I didn’t need a big house, fancy cars, and all the material things money could buy.

I just needed one halfway normal, decent mother.

She was suicidal, manic-depressive, and had severe issues that stemmed back to her childhood. She tried to commit suicide by lying in the street, and she would consistently lock herself in her room and take all her pills and the phone with her letting us know as children she’s about to end her life. We would bang outside her bedroom door, for hours begging her not to die.

She was hurting, and instead of work on her hurt, she adopted two daughters to take care of her. Her main goal was to have two daughters to care for her so she wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. How do I know? Because back to my early childhood, she talked about not wanting to go to a nursing home, more than she talked about just about anything. Because of the toxicity she brought to my life and because she would not abide by common courtesy boundaries I tried to put into play, we were estranged for several years before she died. I don’t regret choosing to separate, as my recovery and being alive depended on it. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.

I am sad I had to make such a decision but I did it for myself and my kids.

My third chance at a mother figure, I call my Step Monster.

My adoptive stepmother is no one I consider a mother. She has protected her pedophile son over believing me for 46 years. She has turned a blind eye and has chosen to defend him repeatedly. I won’t go into all the details, but she has never been and never will be anyone I consider a mother figure. We have never been close or had a relationship. For my peace of mind, after being ignored for 46 years about the pain her son has caused me and countless others, I have had to sever ties with her too.

Three chances in the mother area, and I struck out.

Every.

Single.

Time.

While my heartache as a child and teenager is hard to put into words, my experiences in my adoptive home and the abandonment from my birth mother lead me to some dark places. I spent most of my juvenile life as a runaway and locked up in detention, drug and alcohol rehab, and group homes for most of my teen years. I was hurting and hurt people hurt people.

Mother’s Day has always been painful for me as it is for so many people, adopted or not. Some people are sad at the loss of a mother they spent a lifetime getting to know, where they have thousands of memories to hang onto forever. Pictures to reminisce and remember. I get sad because I didn’t get that, and there are no memories to hang on to, to keep forever. I have emptiness, sadness, and abandonment issues that continue to revisit me. Processing grief & loss are going to be with me for life.

I’ve accepted it.

I’ve also accepted these were the cards I was dealt. For the last 11 years, I have been on a healing journey. If you read back over my website, you can see the changes and growth that have transpired over the years. In that time, you will see that nature is something I gravitate towards, and if you follow any of my social media, you will see waterfalls and Mother Nature have a considerable space in my life.

You see, nature, aka Mother Nature, has been a sacred space for me since my early childhood, growing up in the country in Iowa. Inside any of the homes, I was in was chaos and trauma. So outside, running wild in the forest was the only freedom I had as a child. It was healing for me, and it was an escape. It was one of my first loves, along with the sky. Read “The Sky & I” to learn more about my tie to the sky.

As I circle back around and will soon be celebrating nine years of living a life free from alcohol, I’ve been reacquainted with my first love, Mother Nature. Of all the areas I’ve been incorporating into my life for self-care reasons, nature has always been the only one always to be dependable and always there. It wasn’t my birth mother, or my adopted mother, or my step monster.

It was and is MOTHER NATURE.

Bucket list Adventure, Pine Island Double Falls – Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

As Earth Day is here and Mother’s Day is to follow, I am making a conscious choice to redirect myself to focus on the mother who’s always been there – Mother Earth.

As I discover who I am, I have found joy in adventures in the Kentucky forest by chasing and finding waterfalls. Kentucky is filled with over 700 waterfalls, and exploring nature and taking as many people as I can is one of the most powerful healing tools I have yet to find. Trust me when I tell you, I have tried it all. Between 27 years of alcohol dependency, church hopping, religion, other people, places, and things, nothing has provided me with what mother nature has.

Many aren’t aware, but there are healing dynamics to being close to, in, or near bodies of water. I always felt it, but I never knew it was an actual thing. I have a friend and fellow adoptee in recovery named David B. Bohl, and David is an advocate of BLUE MIND.

Q. What is Blue Mind?

A. Blue Mind: A mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.

It’s also described in the book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do

David shares, “As many of you know, I am a student of Blue Mind science, an advocate for Blue Mind methods, and a practitioner of Blue Mind daily living techniques.  There is no doubt in my mind and experience that proximity to, and engagement in, water provides physical health, mental health, and spiritual/relational benefits that have been scientifically identified – and are essential in today’s stressful world.”

Please check out David’s full article here – Blue Mind and Addiction Recovery

Coming to know David as a friend and fellow adoptee in recovery, we have discovered that we have many things in common, but our love for being near water is one of them. David shares online his outdoor trips in and near water, and I do as well. Mine are usually running off into the forest to chase waterfalls all over the state of Kentucky. We aren’t too far from our next adventure close to a body of water, whatever we are doing. Thank you, David for your continued inspiration over the years!

Surprisingly, after reading the beginning of the Blue Mind book from David’s recommendation, I learned that the author of Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols is also an adoptee. I will not lie; something about that shook me up! I had no idea he was an adoptee, but I was so excited to now know of 3 adoptees who have found the healing and therapeutic benefits of being close to water. I can’t wait to read the rest of his amazing book! I’m sure there are many more adoptees who find healing around bodies of water.

While 2021 is moving swiftly and Earth Day is here, I’ve been thinking of ways to connect to Mother Earth and give back to her and to give to others in the process. I can reflect on my childhood up to my current days. I no longer drink alcohol to cope with adoptee pain, and I celebrate nine years of sobriety in August 2021.  This is a massive milestone for me, especially finding both birth parents and learning they are both alcoholics.

One of the things I’ve learned about recovery is that you need to replace it with something else when you remove something. My connection to mother nature has become exceptionally strong in the last nine years. I consider my nature adventures as one of the most effective self-care practices I have yet to discover.

While I think of all Mother Nature is to me, and how she’s been there over my earthly mothers, and she’s never let me down, I get emotional. My truth that no one can come between that connection or take it away is something I think about a lot. Even back to my childhood, she’s been there for me and continues to be there. I call it wilderness wellness, and it’s FREE.

Top of the falls, ya’ll.

I like to combine my mother nature adventures with not only seeking waterfalls, but getting wet and dirty and not thinking twice about it. I think many times we’re groomed from childhood to not get wet or dirty. I see countless people never want to get their feet wet, or get dirty and it pains me to see. Water and dirt have never hurt anyone. Take your shoes and socks off, get in the water and get dirty. I promise you, you won’t regret allowing yourself to be free in this way.

It could mean putting your bare feet in the grass (grounding) or taking a walk outside at your closest park. One of my main goals in life is to encourage people to seek wilderness wellness in their backyards because we all have endless adventures in our state, and most of the time, they are free. You might need a tank of gas and a few snacks. My discovery of how Mother Nature fills me up has been rejuvenating to my mind, body, and spirit in many ways. My adventures are a combination of forest bathing, hiking, nature play, blue mind, grounding, walking, and doing everything in my power to be a kid again. I feel like I’ve been searching for home my entire life, and finding Mother Nature has brought me back home.

As Mother’s Day can be perplexing for adopted people at best, I have decided I’m going to honor Mother Nature for Mother’s Day moving forward. I’m a firm believer that we can all write our stories to suit what fits us the best. Focusing on the mothers that failed me is agonizing. I believe each Mother’s Day will still feel a sense of sadness when it comes to them, and I’ve accepted I always will. I will save space for processing that pain; however I need to process it.

I want to try to shift my focus on how much Mother Nature has done for me and Earth Day – today is HER DAY. I wanted to write this article dedicated to her, to share how much she means to me. It’s not all about what she does for me, but what can I do for her? I salute HER and will do all I can to take care of her moving forward.

I’m not sure where you are with your healing routine and your self-care regimen, but I encourage you to add some wilderness wellness to your self-care toolbox and share it with your friends & family. I love taking elderly people to nature because they are a population that is lacking that resource due to mobility limitations and many other roadblocks.

For me, when so much is lost, never to be seen again because of adoption, I get comfort in knowing that Mother Nature something no one can take away from me. Today I celebrate Earth Day for so many reasons! Mother’s Day I will celebrate being a mother to three incredible humans and Mother Nature because she’s always been there for me. If you feel like following along on my Into the Wild: Kentucky Wilderness & Waterfall Adventures please like my Facebook page today by clicking here. You can also find me on Instagram under @intothewildky.

 Here are a few of my outdoor adventures shared with some of my friends & family. I encourage you to escape for some nature play and wilderness wellness. You might find what you have been searching for all along.

Do you like to get outside in mother nature?

Do you find it to be healing and theraputic around bodies of water?

If so, what are your favorite nature things to do?

How are you celebrating Earth Day and Mother’s Day this year?

What do you do to cope with Mother’s Day if it’s a hard day for you?

Thanks for reading,

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

Do not assume when an adoptee finds their biological family, all their problems will be solved, and the case will be closed.

 

They say to prepare, but there is no real way to prepare for what some adoptees find when they make the choice to search for biological family.

Searching for and finding biological family as an adoptee is opening up Pandora’s box repeatedly. It is the beginning of a new era of uncovering the secrets that so many think they have protected us from. Even under the best of reunion stories, it is still the beginning of a new painful path that adoptees experience.

If we’re lucky, one door closes, and another door opens. And that’s just it if we’re lucky. Society says at least you have found your truth when so many other adoptees would die to find theirs. Even when the truth has been excruciatingly painful, society thinks we should still feel LUCKY. Even our fellow adoptees suggest this at times, and I understand why they feel this way, mainly when they haven’t found their biological families yet.

I think our friends, families and loved ones sense us in agony before we search and find and in all honestly they hope we will feel “better” after we find out truth. However, when they still see us in agony after we reunite, it hurts them to see us hurt. They want to take our pain away, and they have high hopes reunion will do that. Truth and reality is, it usually doesn’t. It brings on a new set of heartbreak, pain, grief and loss.

Searching and finding biological family, I like to describe it as trading one type of pain for another. Both types of pain are different but equally painful. The pain of the unknown for adopted individuals is like the feelings a parent might have who has a missing child somewhere out in the world. Imagine your 10-year-old child was abducted on the street, and they vanished with no trace ever to be found. The agony that parents must feel every waking moment of every day having their child missing.

Adoptees think similar to this, but it is not just one family member. It’s their very own mother, father, grandparents on both sides, siblings on both sides, and cousins on both sides. We’re on an island all alone, searching in our minds from the moment we find out we are adopted for our biological connections. This is painful from the very beginning. If you don’t think so, I would like to ask you how many adopted individuals you have gotten to know and listened to their stories over the years? I have gotten to know hundreds, if not over a thousand, and not one of them has said adoption has been 100% wonderful. It’s complex, emotional, and painful at best.

Can you imagine what it feels like to not know what your mother looks like?

Or her name?

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable.

The big difference is, parents of missing children are expected to feel the feelings they feel having a missing child. Society saves space for them, their grief and loss. They have some memories to hang onto, and they have their child’s names and they know who they are. My heart goes out to these parents, because I know it’s a nightmare on every level but I wanted to describe the difference in what adopted individuals experience.

At all costs, we are just supposed to be grateful. If we aren’t, we are labeled as ungrateful, angry, and many other hurtful words.

This is not helpful to the adoptee experience.

To feel whole, complete, and like I was an actual living human being, I had to find this woman that gave birth to me. I had to see her face and know who she was. I fought the closed adoption laws in Iowa like HELL to find her. If I didn’t, I would be dead right now. In my mind, this would solve all the pain I experienced and the heartache I lived with my whole life all the way back to coming home from the hospital with strangers at a few days old.

Living in the unknown is a different type of pain. It was for me anyway. I describe it as agony. Every waking moment of every day for me was painful. I was sad, filled with anxiety, and as I grew into my pre-teen self, it turned into self-sabotage and self-hate. All I needed was HER.

During this time, I had anticipation and high hopes that one day I would be reunited with the woman who gave me away, but things would be different this time. If she “loved me so much,” she had to want to know me and have me back in her life, right?

WRONG

She never wanted to be found, she never wanted to meet me, and she was nothing like what I dreamed about finding my whole life. She was quite the opposite. She was a disappointment on every level and I am still 20+ years later, upset by this disappointment. She considered herself doing me a favor meeting me one time, and we had a 2-hour visit together. After this visit, she shut me out and never spoke to me again. During the visit, she asked me about my life and how my childhood was. I have always been an honest person, even when it hurts. I expressed to her I never bonded with my adoptive mom, and my adoptive parents divorced when I was a year old. I was raised on welfare, food stamps and experienced significant emotional, mental, and even sexual abuse in my adoptive home.

It crushed her, and it was too much for her to handle. Twenty years passed, and she shut me out, not being able to face HER DECISION. She assumed I would have the better life promised to her. I received a message she had passed away, and I traveled to Iowa to her funeral.

I was told by some of her closest friends at her funeral that she was distraught that my adoptive parents divorced, and if she had known that was going to happen, she would have kept me. They said this REALLY BOTHERED HER.

Knowing this truly helped me understand why she shut me out, but it didn’t take away the pain or lessen it. The pain of being rejected by a biological parent is indescribable. The pain of being rejected by your mother, the woman who brought you into the world, is a pain that never goes away. Check out The Primal Wound to learn more.

I’m trying to relay that we should never assume that just because an adoptee finds their biological family that it’s going to be the key that turns the page for them. Or imagine that their life will finally be complete and that they can eventually MOVE ON. Sometimes what we find is so devastating, moving on isn’t an option for many of us. For those of us who can, somewhere along the lines we’ve come to a place of acceptance.

Telling adoptees to MOVE ON or GET OVER IT is never helpful.

It’s actually quite the opposite. High hopes are shattered to the ground, and the disappointment of what was found sets in and rips our hearts to shreds. The grief and loss process continues and will remain a significant component of our lives for the rest of our lives. Adoptees are the kings and queens of adaption, and we do our best to put on a smile for the world to see. It takes everything in our power to pretend that everything is okay deep inside. But it’s usually far from it.

We also must remember that this adaption behavior and pretending is instilled into many of us from a very early age. When we learn that our greatest heartbreak is our adoptive parents’ greatest blessing, we discover our feelings aren’t important. This makes us feel like we aren’t important. We must keep them hidden for fear of upsetting our adoptive parents. Our heartache and heartbreak for the mystery woman we fantasize and dream about are insignificant compared to our adoptive parents’ feelings of finally becoming parents.

The mental mind paradox that any adopted individual has to endure is enough to take us out of this world. It’s way too much for one person to bear. Non-adopted individuals can’t comprehend what the big fuss is all about. Accepting they never will understand because they don’t have the experience has been a critical component to my healing journey. Even when non-adoptees TRY to understand, they simply can’t. We do appreciate those who TRY.

Aside from the failed reunion with my biological mother and rejection from her, I experienced the same failed reunion and rejection from my biological father. Even after DNA confirmation that I am his daughter, he has no desire to know me or have a relationship with me. He said that he would have kept me if he would have known about me, but I was adopted without his consent, so he had no say so. In his eyes, it’s too late now. Double rejection and double heartbreak is a hard pill to swallow. It’s heavy to carry, and the pain surfaces in the grief and loss process for me, which I’ve accepted it will last a lifetime.

Aside from being rejected by my biological parents, I found a long-lost brother who was the best part of my search and reunion. We spent five years catching up for lost time, making new memories together, and being elated that we finally found one another after all these years apart. This reality turned into a shattered nightmare when DNA testing showed we shared no DNA. I can’t even put into words how this experience has made me feel. The heartbreak is accurate, and I have no words to describe it. Pain on top of pain.

After a lifetime of dreaming, I get to meet my biological grandmother at least one time, I succeeded. I can’t express how thankful I am that I had enough courage to drive across the country (even after being told by my biological father that I could not meet her) to meet her for one hour as she lived in a nursing home in Iowa. I stayed one hour, and was a dream come true. It opened the connection to my first cousin, who thought she was the only granddaughter. I was honored to be invited back to Iowa for a second visit to meet her and her family and see my biological grandmother a second time. She took me to the land where my grandparents lived, which she described her childhood memories as being like “heaven.” Even with this being a dream come true, when I returned home and the dust settled, this “reunion” became so emotional for me that it set me up for intense grieving I wasn’t prepared to experience. I became sad, depressed, and things spiraled out of control. My grief and sorrow for what was lost and what I missed out on being robbed of these relationships were all I could bear to handle. I was so sad. I just wanted my life to end because of all the pain, the grief, the loss I was feeling. Death seemed like the only way to escape the pain.

Learning to live with a broken heart has been a key component to my healing journey.

Even ten years post reunions with biological parents and all the pain I have experienced in that time from other dynamics to my adoption journey, I still wouldn’t change the fact that I chose to search and find my people. Even when they haven’t accepted me, knowing my truth has been healing in its own way. I don’t regret it, but handling the aftermath is something I will be navigating for the rest of my life.

Even when our loved ones might expect reunions and finding our TRUTH might be the answer for our healing and freedom, in some regards, it can be. Still, the other side is that we suffer in silence carrying the tremendous pain and sorrow of what should have been, what could have been, and all that was lost because of adoption. The difference for adoptees is that our world doesn’t acknowledge we should even be feeling this way; they do not leave space for us and don’t understand why.

Reunion is still just as messy as adoption, and it looks different for each of us. Even being embraced by one or both biological parents carries pain. It brings grief, and it brings loss. Instead of the outlook that when adopted individuals find their biological family, it will be the CURE ALL for the adoptee, let’s reframe things to help them embrace what they are about to experience. It could be happiness; it could be sadness; it could be a combination of both. It could be feelings that are so complex, they don’t even understand them themselves. It could be emotions so difficult that they withdraw; they use coping mechanisms to get through and become shut off.

There is no limits to what an adoptee might find when they search for their biological family. I think many of us are set up for the greatest disappointment of our lives when we assume our birth mother “loved us so much” but her actions of rejection show quite the opposite. Many of us find addicts, graves, happy homes without us, that our biological parents married and had more kids after us, or single women who never married or had more kids. Sometimes we find parents who are happy to be found, and others who want to slam us in jail for pursuing them. Sometimes we are received but only if we agree to remain a secret. Sometimes siblings embrace us, and sometimes they reject us. Some of us are told our biological parents are dead, but we later find that was a lie to discourage us for searching. This happened to me! (never believe what you have been told, until you prove it) I’ve heard it ALL over the years!

No matter how the adoptee responds, non-adopted individuals must meet them right where they are, and they should accept this is a lifelong journey for the adoptee. They should also accept that nothing they say or do, can take our pain away. Being adopted never goes away, so our feelings won’t go away either. The sooner non-adoptees can get this, the easier it will be on the adoptee.

We must remember that no matter how the adoptee feels, it’s normal for a not normal situation. There is nothing ordinary about being severed from your roots, abandoned by your biological mother, and fighting the world for your truth. To my fellow adoptees, I love you, I see you, I hear you. XOXO PK.

Thanks for reading.

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

Internal Family Systems Model – Introducing A Teenage Part – Goddamn Green Girl

Trigger Warning: Abuse, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Rape, Suicide

Goddamn Green Girl -12 Years Old

Please consider reading my previous two articles before reading this one. They will help you understand this article better. You will find them here and here.

As I started to get my feet wet to learn about Internal Family Systems, the first part of me has presented herself.

I named her Gooddamn Green Girl.

It’s 6:11 am on Saturday, March 6, 2021. I set my alarm for 5:00 am this morning, so I could get up early and do some housework, brew some coffee and write an article about Goddamn Green Girl.

I’m already in tears, thinking about her. I’ve learned on my healing journey; tears aren’t something to run from; they are therapeutic. As soon as the thoughts about Goddamn Green Girl come to my mind, an enormous amount of pain follows her. Anger and rage are at the forefront of my perception. Goddamn Green Girl isn’t sharing her life for sympathy, or for anyone to feel sorry for her. She’s sharing because it’s evident that she’s never been heard or listened too so having the space to share her thoughts is a big deal to her, especially living a life never having a voice.

The IFS model has given her a voice, and that alone is a critical step for her. You would expect for me to start at the beginning, where the core of relinquishment trauma resides for me being adopted. However, Goddamn Green Girl has stood out to me first, as being the soul protector of self, making the most significant impact in my life. If I don’t start with her first, I don’t think I will identify my other parts to follow. To learn more about Internal Family Systems click here.

Goddamn Green Girl made her grand entrance around 12 years old. To read some of her pre-teen backstory, you can visit here. She was rooted in abandonment, abuse, and trauma, and as she grew in her persona, the hardness of her heart grew as well. She discovered alcohol, which was an everyday part of her life, beginning at 12 years old. She never fit in anywhere, not even in her own skin.

Her name is significant to her journey. Her adoptive mom would always threaten she would go to hell for using the Lord’s name in vain, so it made her want to do it more. Trust me; she did it more. She also told her she would hell for dating outside her race, but she never acknowledged Goddamn Green Girl didn’t even know her ethnicity. Dating others looking nothing like her seemed safer to her; at least she knew they weren’t a biological sibling. Knowing she was going to hell made her want to rebel more, and she did. Her favorite color was neon green, and this is why her name is Goddamn Green Girl. She was rebellious, and she was hell on wheels. At all costs, Goddamn Green Girl was a protector, because no one else was looking out for her.

In the deep space of Goddamn Green Girl, she was experiencing the biggest disappointment of her life. She found out she was adopted around five years old, and she set up a false hope that her biological mother giving her away had to be a big mistake. Who would give their baby away and mean it? She believed her birth mother would come back to rescue her, and she waited and waited and waited.

She hates waiting, and finds it to be a huge trigger.

Her adoptive parents divorced, and her adoptive dad remarried and moved away to raise a new family. She would visit her adoptive dad every other weekend during her childhood, where an older stepbrother sexually abused her. Her adoptive mom had always shown signs of mental instability. Before and after adopting two daughters, she showed signs of emotional and mental discord. The home she grew up in grew more and more toxic and emotionally abusive. I will write more about what I experienced in this home soon as I share more parts.

Pre-Goddamn Green Girl – 11 Years Old

Goddamn Green Girl was sprouted from a 10-11-year-old girl who grew up in an abusive adoptive home, and after escaping this environment each day, she found herself in the streets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The newfound freedom she experienced was a freedom she had never felt before. She liked it, but truthfully, she was acting out in pain. The reality had finally set in that her birth mother wasn’t coming back. Deep down, she was broken-hearted. No one understood the complexities of her grief, which showed up as anger, self-hate, and rage.

At 12 years old, she was arrested for the first time with a group of kids who burglarized a laundry mat. This was her first experience with breaking the law, and it was only the beginning. She soon became dependent on alcohol to take her pain away, and running the streets was a daily ordeal. She only went home to shower, change clothes, and hit the streets again.

She remembers looking in the mirror at this age and having no idea who was looking back at her. Who did she look like? Where did she come from? This was when her self-hate and sabotage began, and it was a deep part of her life for many years to come. In the back of her mind, being outside running the streets, she had a chance at running into her biological family. She was hopeful that she would find her birth mother one day, and her spirit was never going to be settled until she did.

She became acquainted with a family by becoming friends with two sisters, who took her in as a little sister. Their older brother, who was 18-19, showed Goddamn Green Girl attention, and around 13 years old, She was in her first relationship with him. She so desperately wanted to belong and be a part of a family; most of the time, she never wanted to go home. Let’s be honest; she didn’t want to go home anyway. This just gave her more reason to stay away. She spent close to a year going back and forth between this house and her own, showering and going right back. Keep in mind; alcohol was always available here, and soon, it would become her best friend.

Around the age of 14, she experienced the first physical abuse from the relationship she was in, and instead of run away from the abuse, she kept going back. She thought this must be what love is, right? Why would he go to the extent of abusing me if he didn’t care? At least he didn’t leave me as my biological mother did. The whole concept of him choking her and slapping her showed her he loved her. Kind of like her birth mother giving her away, love always equaled pain.

The abuse continued, and she started to fight back, which only made it worse. They set her up to be raped in an attic at a house party, and they succeeded. She wanted to belong so badly; even after this, she went back. Her view of love was utterly skewed. When your biological mother “loves you so much she gives you away,” it’s easy to have a toxic idea of love. It’s a mental mind fu*k in itself. They also tried to rape her on the kitchen floor in broad daylight, where someone else stopped them and helped her out of there that day. At first, she had no memory of it because they made sure she was intoxicated first. Later, pieces of these memories came back, and they plagued her mind for years to come. This information was tucked away, locked up never to be told to anyone. Shame took over. After the rape attempt, she decided she wasn’t going back to this house anymore, but it was only because someone else convinced her not to go back. If they hadn’t, she would likely have gone back. No one knew her experiences at this house, and she was ashamed and blamed herself. If she weren’t drinking alcohol, this would have never happened—more deep-rooted hate set in, more profound than before.

Goddamn Green Girl always had trouble in school and could never seem to focus on what was in front of her. Traditional school was not an option as anxiety being around so many other people would make her physically ill. She ended up dropping out of traditional school, and off and on she attended the school for “the bad kids.” The idea of being labeled as one of the bad kids, lined up with her feelings of being bad just for being born, and abandoned by her birth mother.

Badness followed her everywhere she went.

It was in her DNA.

Soon, she was onto the next abusive boyfriend. He had controlling ways, and her mind, that was also love. If he didn’t love her, he wouldn’t care or stay. Love leaves, right? He stayed. She ended up pregnant by him at 15 years old, and she miscarried the baby due to the abuse he inflicted on her. She often wonders about the child she would have had, at 15 years old. She always felt like he would have been a boy. What would he have been like? How old would he be now? This relationship and this kind of abuse was much more extreme than the first if you can even imagine that. She doesn’t want to go into much detail, but he was angry and rage-filled and was known in the city she grew up in as tough, and she was his punching bag. But she loved him, and she believed he loved her, so she stayed with him until she was 17 years old.

During that time, she was a runaway. She was in and out of several group homes, detention centers, drug, and alcohol treatment, and she broke the law more times than she can even try to remember. She hoped somewhere along the way, someone would kill her, but only after trying to take her own life didn’t work.

No one even noticed.

While in drug and alcohol treatment at 15 years old, she was put in a hospital room and handed the big book from Alcoholics Anonymous. It was apparent she needed to get familiar with this book, or she was never going to make it out of this locked facility. One of the first confusing areas for her was the concept of finding God, and that was something she had to do to make it out. She knew of God because her adoptive mom read the bible, read her devotionals, and threatened her with hell throughout her life. Is this the same God?  Goddamn Green Girl decided to fake it until she made it out of this treatment facility. Not one time was her root issue of relinquishment trauma, compacted by adoption trauma ever discussed. Just like all of her therapy appointments throughout her entire life, adoption was never addressed.

Goddamn Green Girl hated herself, She hated the world, and She hated everyone in it. Her grief, loss, abandonment & rejection showed up as rage. She continuously provoked physical altercations with others, but her acts of violence on others were actually how she felt deep-down about herself. If her own mother didn’t want her, who else would want her? The more she hated herself, the more alcohol she drank, the more she was arrested, and the more she just wanted to die.

The reality was the pain was so great; she didn’t want to feel it anymore. Where was God? If this was his plan for her life, F*ck him. Dying seemed like the only way out. She just wanted to find her people; She wanted her truth; She wanted to find her way home, to her biological family, because all that was missing from their life had to be her. They were all that was missing from her life. In the back of her mind, She had a tremendous hope that they must be looking for her, and it was only a matter of time until she found her way back home. She felt that ANYTHING had to be better than the abusive adoptive homes she grew up in.

Therapy was a constant part of Goddamn Green Girls life, from the age of 5+. Therapists were never equipped to open the topics of root issues of relinquishment trauma or adoption trauma, so Goddamn Green Girl never worked on the root issues. Around 18 years old, she found herself in another therapist’s office. This time was the first time she shared the childhood sexual abuse from her oldest adopted stepbrother.

She was encouraged to contact her adopted father and her adopted stepmother to share this news. Over the next 30 years of her life, they ignored her and never validated her experience as valid. They never addressed the issue, and Goddamn Green Girl felt ignored entirely, which added further destruction to her life of being invalidated and heard.

Until the age of 21, Gooddamn Green Girl lived a life in the streets while paving a destructive path everywhere she went. What changed everything for her was having her first baby in 1994, who finally give her something to live for when she didn’t want to live for herself. She was up for many new challenges, learning how to be a mother when she never had a healthy example of one was at the top of the list. She was determined to go back to school, graduate and make something of herself. Goddamn Green Girl still shows up sometimes, and she will always be a part of Pamela’s life. She’s learning to acknowledge her and to give her what she needs, which is something no one else has done.

Goddamn Green Girls adoptive mom finally came clean at 21 years old after a lifetime of deception; (lying she knew Goddamn Green Girls truth) that she knew who who her biological mother was. Her initial reaction was more rage, for being lied too. However, she was set out on a new search, to find the woman she had dreamed about her whole life, her birth mother. Alcohol was still her best friend, and it was the only way she knew how to cope with a lifetime of pain, and what has passed and what was to come. From a runaway teenager, to a new mom – she finally had something to live for. Now Goddamn Green Girl was a mother, of a beautiful baby girl. ❤

Now that I (Pamela/Self) have been able to identify Goddamn Green Girl, and acknowledge her part in my life, I am able to sit with her and nurture her which is something no one else has ever done. She visits frequently, in different experiences I have in life, and she’s triggered frequently also. Learning the dynamics to Goddamn Green Girl, and her triggers is helping my SELF understand and make sense of it all. Through IFS, I’m learning that none of our parts are bad, even when much of this article is heavy, I acknowledge that Goddamn Green Girl is a part of me who was protecting other parts of me. And she was brought to life, out of my child and baby parts. I am currently identifying them as well, and they will be shared in the near future.

For my fellow adoptees, have you been able to identify any of your parts? Child, teen or adult? Have you ever used IFS therapy? What’s your experience been like?

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