Boundaries | Adoptionland | Minimizing | Into The Wild: KY | 2020

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Boundaries, Boundaries & More Boundaries

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. 

This has created a significant upset in Adoptionland and I’ve been clear all the way back to the article I wrote in January 2018, I’m Not Co-Signing for Online Bullying & Harassment. That was a year ago, and things have only gotten significantly worse. 

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. 

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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

388f964a-8e76-4e5b-a234-8afed1e38e51For 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.img_0073  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: adopteesconnect@gmail.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! 

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Love, Love. 

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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’m Adopted: You Can’t Fix Me or Take My Pain Away. Please Stop Trying.

Is Anyone Even Listening?

Ouch, this might have come off as abrasive right off the title. Hopefully so because my aim is to grasp the attention of anyone in the adoption arena in hopes to help someone who might not understand that you can’t fix adoptees and you can’t take our pain away. We need to embrace it and learn it’s here to stay. The sooner I acknowledged it, stopped running from it or trying to mask it with substances, the sooner healing started to happen.

National Adoption Awareness Month to me means I need to add my voice somewhere to the adoption arena because I’m adopted, and I know how it feels. Over the last 10 years of my activism in sharing how it feels to be adopted, I keep hearing the majority of adoptive parents say things like, “I just want to take away my adopted daughters pain” or “I don’t want my adopted son to feel like he was abandoned”.

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Photo by Casey Anderson on Unsplash.

I moderate multiple platforms online where this is a common theme and every time I hear it, I cringe. I think to myself, “They can’t possibly understand what damage they are doing by this mindset!”

Because if we know better, we do better and once you know, you can’t un-know. 

I decided that time is the most important thing we have, so I didn’t want to waste another minute not putting this information out here.

When a child or baby is adopted or separated from their biological mother for ANY REASON, no matter when it happens in life, it causes a trauma for this child. That trauma has to be acknowledged, but it also has to be exposed and brought to light so the person who has experienced this trauma has a chance to heal. As a baby, born and relinquished by my birth mother, my trauma happened at a preverbal state so growing up I never had the words to tap into this trauma. I didn’t have the language or memories talk to anyone about it. While this trauma has been stored my entire life in my subconscious memory, the fact that it’s never been addressed or acknowledged growing up has led me to a lifetime of addictions and unhealthy behavior habits.

I think if my adoptive parents understood this, they would have been able to help me. In 1974 they were told to not talk about it and move on. Sweep the truth under the rug and press on with the “better life” theory and act as if this real trauma never existed. Once this trauma occurs, it can never be undone. Healing is possible, but in order to heal it we must feel it and the earlier we start to do this, the sooner we start to heal.

Adoptees deserve to heal. 

I think as parents, we naturally want to take our children’s pain away, adopted or not. I’m a mom, I successfully have raised 3 kids to adult hood as a single parent and I have said many times, “I wish I could take your pain away” when they experience painful things in life. In acknowledging my own pain, I have been able to learn to acknowledge their pain.

There is a big difference in saying this but not reserving space for the pain to be processed vs saying this but also allowing space for the pain to be processed.

We can’t heal our wounds by saying they aren’t there.

While I believe many people have good intentions, we naturally don’t like to see people hurting, especially children. We want to help them, but the biggest mistake that can be made for an adoptee is when people try to fix us, or attempt to take our pain away by trying to make us “FEEL BETTER” without ever actually acknowledging that pain (trauma) to begin with. This is really life or death for adoptees everywhere. Of course, it’s life or death for anyone that’s been separated from their birth mothers, but I speak from an adoptees perspective so that’s the lens I’m sharing from.

The biggest deception in adoption today is that LOVE will somehow take the pain away, or that love will be enough. Well I’m here to share from my perspective and experience that love isn’t enough, and it will never be enough. The feeling of pain was far greater in my life than being able to FEEL LOVE.  Let’s be honest, there has never been a safe space for me (or most adoptees) to share them until Adoptees Connect, Inc. Because my trauma and pain was so BIG and LOVE was presented to me as abandonment, LOVE is something that confuses me to this day.  Love leaves, love is loss and love is abandonment. “My birth mother loved me so much, she gave me away” is my view of love.  Because of this, LOVE has always been a foreign concept to me when it comes to other people loving me.

Having children of my own, I finally know what it’s like to love others, but I still struggle to this day believing or FEELING like anyone loves me. I know it’s rooted in my adoption experience because I’ve spent the last 7 years in recovery working on myself. I’ve been able to identify the root issue being abandonment & rejection from both birth parents, compiled with C-PTSD, grief, loss and trauma.

Throughout my entire life I longed for my birth mother. The sadness that followed is something I can’t even put into words, but it stuck with me my entire life. I drank alcohol for 27 years to COPE with this experience because I couldn’t handle processing this pain, but alcohol temporarily took the pain away. No amount of love, material possessions, people, places or things could make up for my trauma and loss of my birth mother at the beginning of life.

My birth mothers shortcomings didn’t matter to me 

ALL I EVER WANTED WAS HER. 

Instead of anyone trying to fix me, or take my pain away what I needed was my adoptive parents to open the conversations to allow me to process this pain at age appropriate times  I needed them to know AHEAD OF TIME before they ever adopted me that the pain I would experience from relinquishment trauma will be with me for the rest of my life and it will negatively impact me in many ways. I needed them to research relinquishment trauma, pre and post-natal bonding between mother and child and what happens when that natural process is broken, and the bond is severed. I needed them to know their love wouldn’t be enough to fix me or to heal my broken heart. I needed them to know that no matter what they did and how they did it that it wouldn’t take my pain away. I needed them to know about the emotional and psychological issues I would suffer for my entire lifetime because of this trauma, many years beyond being a cute baby and a cuddly toddler. The sooner the reality and truth is brought to light, the better!

Avoidance will only work for so long, and then our emotions start to come out in unhealthy ways. I would much rather sit with my child and HELP them PROCESS the pain by allowing them to feel feelings than watch them self-destruct because they aren’t able to articulate the words about why they are feeling the way they are. We need our parents help to find the right words, and the space to be able to share freely how we are feeling about our adoption experiences. It’s impossible to tap into this when society silences adoptees unless they have a thankful and grateful narrative to spin.

WE HAVE TO STOP BEING SCARED TO SIT WITH SOMEONE IN THEIR PAIN.

WE HAVE TO STOP TRYING TO RUN FROM PROCESSING PAIN. 

WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WE CAN’T PUT A TIME FRAME ON HEALING.

Pain is a natural response to different experiences that happen to us. I say all the time that the way adoptees feel is normal. What’s not normal is being separated from our biological families at the beginning of life. I say this to validate every single experience and feeling of every adoptee who might come across my words. I want them to know they aren’t alone, and they aren’t crazy!

I grew up, and here I am. I survived and I’m surviving daily. I’m in recovery from relinquishment trauma, compacted by adoption trauma. All I have really ever needed was my adoptive parents and those who aren’t adopted to acknowledge my pain, and in acknowledging that pain, sit with me and listen to me share pieces of my story.  They need to understand that there is much more to adoption than what society shares. It’s not all cute and lovely. It’s not all happy and positive. All adoptions are rooted and grounded in the biggest loss of a persons life, and until that’s acknowledged adoptees will continue to be stuck like I was for so many years.

45 Years of my life I can never get back…

I knew someone awhile back who wanted to fix me and was constantly trying to make me feel better. I had to tell them to please stop it because there is nothing anyone can do to change my reality. I certainly don’t need anyone else to try to re-frame my reality for me as an attempt to make me “feel better”. What is so hard about acknowledging someone else’s pain, and just listening to them and sit with them in the pain?

I’m a realist who’s focused on the truth. I didn’t fight for 45 years to get my truth, to turn around and pretend it’s not my reality. I experienced that in the religious settings of my x-church which is known as “spiritual bypassing”. This is when someone uses spiritual practices to avoid dealing with reality. I’ve broken free from that, and I will never live a lie again. So, when I cling to my truth, I don’t appreciate anyone trying to come into my space and change it after I’ve fought my entire life to receive it and I’ve spent many years working towards healing from it.

As a child I never could acknowledge my painful truth because my adoptive parents were busy pretending, I was a blank slate, and they were my only parents. Reality, I had a broken past and history before I ever came to them but them denying it, and pretending like it didn’t exist wrecked me, and it still impacts me to this day. How do you think it feels to be a part of 2 families, but never being able to feel like you fully belong to either? Like an outsider always looking in. It’s extremely difficult to navigate so I’ve made the choice to opt out for my own sanity, mental health and recovery.

I share no DNA with my adoptive family, and I have no shared history with my biological family. I’m learning to adapt by accepting I will never truly be a part of either family, so I’ve moved far away across the country from everyone to try to recovery from this experience the best I can.  I now have 3 adult children who are my family. Although, I’m 7 years into my sobriety and recovery journey and I consider myself an adoptee who’s worked through a lot of these issues, not one day goes by where being adopted doesn’t impact me in some way.

I’m thankful for my kids because without them I wouldn’t be here. 

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Damia, Keila, Damond – Twins 21st Birthday Celebration

It’s us against the world. 

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all. 

I’ve accepted that I will be in recovery for the rest of my life due to my adoption experience. Thankfully I’ve been an adoptee whose found my adoptee tribe that meets in real life and they get me. They understand and they will sit with me in my pain. They don’t put a time frame on it, they don’t try to silence me, and they understand the adoptee journey.  This has been very validating, but I can’t help but wonder who’s narrative might change if other’s hear this side of the story?

Will adoptive parents stop trying to avoid dealing with the truth after reading this? Will non adoptees in society try to listen more and talk less, with compassion and understanding? Will they listen to what I have shared here? Will they try to learn more, and stop trying to bypass the process of dealing with the truth of adoptees all over the world?  I can’t help but hope that if my adoptive parents had this information back in the day, they would do whatever they could to learn to understand the adoptee experience and having the willingness to listen and learn.

Is anyone even listening? 

If you are, this is for you. 

Please know you can’t fix me. 

You can’t fix any adoptees. 

You can’t take our pain away either. 

Please stop trying. 

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Still Grieving Adoptee Losses, What My Adoptive Parents Could Have Done Differently

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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.

Connection.

My maternal and paternal grandparents.

My siblings on both sides.

Memories from all the above.

My ancestry.

Genetic Mirroring

My identity

My medical history.

Maternal Bonding

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 Ask an Adoptee 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?

Love, Love

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