Chapter 15. Deal Breaker – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 15.

Deal Breaker

The three-day journey to Utah from Kentucky seemed like an eternity. The twins weren’t even a year old yet, and Keila was close to five years old. I was piled into a car with Patricia and my kids. We stopped every hour or so to tend to the kids and to use the restroom.

One of Patricia’s friends drove the U-Haul 1654 miles across the country, and it wouldn’t go over 60 MPH because we had it so filled with the belongings of two adult households and three kids. It was a grueling three-day trip, but in the summer of 2000, we made it to Salt Lake City.

In all fairness, we all had high hopes for a fresh start. Melanie did a lot of work finding us all a place to live. The plan was that we all move in together, and then in some time, we separate to find our own places to live. We moved into a three-bedroom home, and I shared the biggest bedroom with my kids. Patricia and Melanie each had their own rooms.

Thankfully, I was able to transfer my housing authority voucher to Salt Lake City, so as soon as I found a new place to live and set things up, I would be able to move out. But, even with this setup, it took several months. Living with Patricia and Melanie for those months with my kids was a sacrifice for everyone. We all gave a lot to try to make this work.

The reality was that I chose to have my kids and wanted to take care of them on my own with no help from anyone. But unfortunately, it wasn’t anyone’s job to take care of my kids but me, and after moving to Utah, I felt like I was back at square one with little to no resources available. The difference in Salt Lake City was that they didn’t have resources for young single mothers like in Kentucky.

There were no after-school programs, sports in elementary school, or organizations to help me out, so I felt like I was even worse off than when I lived in Kentucky. But unfortunately, Utah is mormonized, and the available resources are only available if you convert to Mormonism. They were centered around the family unit with a father involved, and the reality that I had my kids outside of the traditional religious sense and out of wedlock as a single mother left me shit out of luck.

Once again, I found myself depending on Patricia to help babysit at times, and I also found a wonderfully babysitter named Ms. Lora, who was a fantastic light for my kids and me. In addition, I was able to get a small amount of help to pay for her daycare services, which was a huge help.

I still had no car, but after getting a part-time job, I saved enough money to buy a $500 cash car. It was beyond a beater, but it was good enough to get me from point A to point B. Salt Lake City had its perks. I met my best friend there, and the city is surrounded by mountains. However, it wasn’t a place where I felt like I fit in with my kids.

I remember being in a city with no friends and how that experience made me feel like arriving in Lexington, KY, with no friends or family besides Patricia and Melanie. But, one thing was sure; I was going to make some new friends because it was in my nature. So, I got a job and started to meet people. Eventually, I found a three-bedroom duplex to move into with my kids, and we began our new life in Salt Lake City.

Keila started Kindergarten, and she started ballet classes. The twins weren’t ready for school yet, and with no pre-school in Salt Lake City, they went to daycare at Ms. Lora’s so I could work. I got a waitress job at Joe’s Crabshack and then Applebee’s. Then, I got part-time jobs at Smith’s grocery store and the state liquor store. I always worked two jobs and never seemed to be able to get ahead. I didn’t blame anyone but myself for my bad choices and carried a lot of guilt because of my decisions.

After we moved out of the home with Patricia and Melanie, we occasionally saw Melanie and her boyfriend, Nasser, having a meal together or having a picnic in the canyons. We saw Patricia much more, and in no time, I started to experience the same unhealthy co-dependent patterns developing in Salt Lake City that I had to deal with in Kentucky. But now, I had kids in the picture impacted by the toxicity.

With all these changes going on and moving even farther away from Iowa, it was obvious that my relationships with Eileen and Joanna were non-existent. However, that didn’t mean I didn’t try to reach out to Joanna in the hope of sparking some dialogue. I wanted her to know that I was no longer in Kentucky, and if she needed me for anything, she could find me in Salt Lake City. But, once again, I am “putting myself out there” only to get crickets. This continued to be a hard pill to swallow, and I would frequently find myself in tears mourning the loss of the family I had dreamed about my whole life.

One day while living in Salt Lake City, I decided I had nothing to lose and I called my birth mother to ask one last time about my birth father. She didn’t answer but her current husband, Keith did. I explained who I was, and was blunt in the reason I was calling.

At the time, Damond was in the hospital for childhood asthma, and I wanted to try to learn some medical history. After Keith shared that Eileen wasn’t available, I asked him if he could share my birth father’s name with me so I could try to gain my medical history; I also expressed that my son was in the hospital and needed this information. I didn’t give a damn about letting the secret out of the bag. They didn’t give a damn about me so why should I? I was concerned for my son’s health.

“I don’t know his name, but I learned several years ago that he was dead; he got shot in a hunting accident. He’s been dead for several years.” Keith said.

That was the first time I had heard anything about my birth father being dead, but my initial instinct was disbelief. This news didn’t sting a bit because I didn’t believe it for a minute. If he was dead, I wanted to stand over his grave and see his death certificate for myself. Keith refused to give me his name, even when my child’s life was on the line. Two words – Fuck em! I will get to the bottom of this, one way or another!

Being a mom now, things moved quicker, and I didn’t have as much time to sit and dwell on my birth family while in Salt Lake City. However, they were never far from my mind. One day, they might change their mind and open the door. So I waited and waited and waited. I was going to find my birth father if my life depended on it; even if I found a grave, I would stand over his grave one day. Until that day, he was very much alive to me.

In the meantime, I found a new circle of friends and continued my party life mixed with the mom life. I think I always made friends well because I was like a chameleon with a lack of identity in my beginnings. This created the ability to blend in with everyone. It’s impossible to know who you are when you don’t know where you came from.

Alcohol continued to numb my reality, and about a year after moving to Salt Lake City, I found myself in a new relationship. It was evident I lacked self-love, among many other things, because my relationship was very harmful and abusive, and I stayed in it for three years.

Those three years were filled with more physical abuse than I had ever experienced, but I kept it all a secret from my family and did everything I could to hide it from my kid. Moving to Salt Lake City was a nice thought, but I was still a walking train wreck. It was no one’s fault but my own for putting up with the abuse for three years, but I continued to make bad choices in the relationship area.

I tried to be kind, and I allowed a friend to stay with the kids and me with her four year old daughter because she had nowhere to go. I got a call at work one night while working at Applebees. The fire department called to let me know my house was on fire. She had left her daughter unattended, and she turned on the broilers of the oven, and it eventually started the fire.

Thankfully, all the kids were with Patricia; however, this was a huge ordeal to experience. I will always say things can be replaced, but our lives can’t if something happens to the kids or me. My friend left the next day with her belongings, and I essentially never heard from her again. I was left to clean up the damage and find somewhere else to stay while the house was remodeled.

One thing is for sure, you can leave everything behind, but all your old habits and patterns are sure to follow until you get to the root of the issues. Still, at that time, I never connected my low self-esteem and internal heartache, and lack of self-love with relinquishment and adoption trauma. Don’t get me wrong; I knew I was sad and heartbroken, but I didn’t understand the depths of everything and how everything was intertwined.

That didn’t happen until I reached my late 30s when I would start researching adoption and relinquishment to learn that it’s all connected. Then, I started uncovering the truth by connecting with other adoptees online. But unfortunately, I had a long way to go before I got to this point.

As I matured into motherhood, my wants, needs, and desires for my kids also changed. Then, finally, I started seeing them experiencing some of the same things I did with Patricia when I was a kid, and this was when I knew I had to make a move. This reality was a deal-breaker.

After spending five years in Salt Lake City, everything shifted. I wanted my kids to have a better life than I did, so I was forced to make one of the most challenging decisions of my life.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

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

Chapter 4. Searching for Clues Among Chaos – Finding Purpose in The Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 4.

Searching for Clues Among Chaos By Pamela A. Karanova

“I see…the way you’re always searching. How much you hate anything fake or phony. How you’re older than your years, but still…playful, like a little girl. How you’re always looking into people, or wondering what they see when they look back at you. Your eyes. It’s all in the eyes.” – Claudia Gray

My entire childhood is filled with memories of hitting the highway and going back and forth between Dunkerton and Cedar Rapids every other weekend. It was Sunday at 5 PM, and we were swiftly dropped back off into Patricia’s care. Thomas and Laura never went inside; they just dropped us off and told us they would see us next time, two weeks later.

As soon as we returned to Patricia’s, the three-ring circus began. She had clothes piled up, waiting to be ironed. She taught me how to iron at around seven years old, and it was my job to iron all her clothes. As long as my eyes reached the top of the iron board, I could get the job done. By the time I was nine or ten years old, I was a professional ironer. The chores at Patricia’s were never-ending.

Anytime Patricia turned her back or took a nap, I was secretly busy searching for documents to find out who my birth mother was. Patricia had filing cabinets that were 6FT tall, a desk, and papers everywhere. I just knew there had to be some evidence somewhere. So day after day, for as long as I could remember, I would look everywhere I could think of to find adoption paperwork. Sadly, I never found any clues, and I searched all of her files numerous times.

When my searches continued to come up empty, around nine years old, I decided to be gutsy and ask Patricia, “I want to find my birth mother. How can I find her?”

Patricia’s response was the same each time I asked, and it sounded like a broken record, “Your adoption was closed, so we don’t have any information on your birth mother. When we get enough money for an attorney, we will get the sealed records opened, but right now, we don’t have enough money.”

My hope for a different response was inconsolable, but I never stopped asking the same question about every six months. Only to be given the same response every single time. The truth was, we were never going to have enough money. We still didn’t even have a fucking car! I was deeply conflicted that I didn’t know who my birth mother was.

On a scale of 1 to 10, adoptees with minimal issues with being adopted are at a 1, and adoptees with massive issues with it are at a 10; I was at 10,000. I was so emotionally disrupted by having a missing mother out there that I was physically ill. I remember having stomach issues around five years old and feeling sick a lot, and I ended up in the hospital many times as a child because of stomach problems. I was a thumb sucker, and I also had a baby blanket I was deeply attached to until one day, they threw it in the trash because they decided I didn’t need it anymore. This was traumatic as a child, on top of everything else.

Yet, not one adult in my life would acknowledge that separation from my birth mother and adoption might be the root instigation of these issues. The only diagnosis they could come up with was that I could be suffering from a dairy allergy, and they labeled me lactose intolerant. I have learned in recent years that many adoptees have stomach issues related to childhood anxiety and separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma. If you do the research, you can see for yourself.

What if I was suffering from anxiety deep in my body that I was in the wrong place? What if the separation from my birth mother was a traumatic experience? What if I never bonded with my adoptive mom, but I was forced to bond with her? What if her emotional outbursts and suicide attempts caused me severe PTSD? What if I have experienced severe trauma, and it was making me physically ill? What if the sexual abuse from my adopted stepbrother was taking a toll? What if I was suffering from an emotional response to all the things going on in both of these homes with Patricia, Thomas, and Laura?

But my angst and suffering were always neglected by Patricia and Melanie’s fights, and my feelings would never be acknowledged or discussed. Indeed, not one adult in my life, between my adoptive parents, teachers, school counselors, and regular counselors, would acknowledge a combination between adoption, relinquishment, and my adoptee issues, so I suffered and suffered greatly.

Because I suffered physically, emotionally, and mentally, it significantly impacted my school performance. But unfortunately, no one was paying attention that I had a learning disability, and I wouldn’t discover this until adulthood, on my own. Because of this, it seemed like I barely made it out of each grade and suffered in silence my entire life in grade school, middle school, and high school. As a child, my wants and needs were always swept under the rug, and Patricia’s dramatic emotional and mental outbursts always sat front and center in our daily lives.

After moving to Westover Road, my daily escapes seemed less frequent. Not because I didn’t want to get outside, but Patricia would stand in front of the one door to get in and out of the apartment, and she wouldn’t let me leave to go outside and play. She would cross her arms and shout, “You aren’t going anywhere!” I was trapped daily. How the hell was I going to get out of this house?

I knew if I were ever going to get outside, I would have to escape through the bedroom window and climb down the three levels to get to the ground. This was a more severe type of escape, and if I was going for it, it needed to be for a good reason! So I started to venture farther from home, and I learned all about taking the city bus at around nine years old. My feelings of getting in trouble were non-existent. In my mind, no punishment could be worse than living inside Patricia’s house.

Patricia had a sister named Jeanette, and she had six kids who were my favorite cousins. Melanie and I were close to Olivia, Jeanette’s oldest daughter. I was also significantly close to Jeanette’s sons, Wilder and Forest, who were younger than Olivia, more my age. Being a tomboy, Wilder, Forest, and I ran off to have adventures together. They had the advantage of living right across the street from Ellis Park, a park that ran alongside the Cedar River.

To get to Jeanette’s house, I had to escape out my third-floor bedroom window and take off walking in the direction to get to Ellis Park. I never asked for permission because I knew what the answer would be! It was seven miles away, and at nine years old, I would walk up to first avenue and spend hours walking to Jeanette’s house. But, for sure, every step I took was a step towards freedom. Finally, after so many trips to Jeanette’s, I learned there was a city bus line that would take me straight to Ellis Park! It was on and popping now. Over time, I learned I could take the city bus all over the city! Freedom just entered a whole new level!

By the time I made it to Jeanette’s house, my cousins were waiting for me! Their house was different than Patricia’s house. Things leaned on the messy side, but it was refreshing to arrive somewhere I could be a kid, and Mark and Patricia were nowhere around. I honestly never wanted to leave, and Ellis Park and the golf course across the street were always a great escape for all of us kids.

We would scamper down to the Cedar River in wintertime and skate on the ice regularly. If our parents knew we were doing this, we would have been in big trouble. I will never forget the Ellis Park Golf Course would turn its giant sprinklers on in the summertime, and we would sneak over to play in them at all hours of the night. Then, once we saw the groundskeeper coming over the hill, we would squeal and take off running! We owned Ellis Park and knew every inch of the area as we frequented the park any chance we could. Some of my favorite childhood memories are running free in Ellis Park with my cousins, and I cherish them all.

Eventually, I would have to return to Patricia’s house after what felt like a “day pass” from jail and return to the life I despised the most. When I was younger, I didn’t have a voice and was a good compliant adoptee. But boy, by the time I progressed into my pre-teen identity, the tables got flipped upside down. I started to stand up for myself.

While I feel Melanie began to do this at a much younger age than I did, I am proud that she had the willpower to keep standing up for herself in such a harmful home! Sadly, her standing up for herself backfired on several occasions. Patricia convinced all of her close friends and church group that Melanie was problematic. She was convinced that the “tough love” way was the only way, and she had Melanie physically removed from the home on several occasions. She not only had her physically removed from the home by random strangers, but she also had them drop her off at the locked local psych ward, where she would stay for several weeks on end.

I always felt despair for Melanie when I was a child. I didn’t understand that Patricia was the one who suffered from mental illness, and she was the one that should have been locked in the psyche ward! After those interactions, Melanie must have felt heartbroken, and my heart truly breaks for her. Still, to this day, my heart breaks for all she went through growing up in Melanie’s care. She deserved so much more. We both did.

Anytime Melanie was “away,” I would be the sole focus of Patricia’s interactions, almost like her projecting her toxicity was placed directly on me because Melanie was out of the picture for a short time. Either way, we were both directly impacted by Patricia’s ill mental health, which impacted every area of our lives growing up.

After a few trips to the psych ward and a lifetime of disaster with Patricia, Melanie decided she wanted to go live with Thomas and Laura. I don’t blame her. She was around 13, and I was about 12 years old. Maybe things would improve for everyone because Patricia and Melanie were now separated? Maybe the house would be more peaceful? Maybe Melanie would be happier at Thomas and Laura’s?

Boy, was I mistaken. As soon as Melanie left and moved away, the shit hit the fan with Patricia and me in a whole new way. It was like the flip of a switch, an overnight change where the good adoptee turned herself in, never to return. I now wore the shoes of the bad adoptee, I put on my boxing gloves, and I started to act out because I was the sole beneficiary of Patricia’s wrath, mental illness, and toxicity.

Sunday morning, the summer of 1986, Patricia gets a call from the Springville Police Department. “Hi Patricia, we have your daughter, Pamela, in custody. She’s been arrested with several other kids for burglary. You can come to pick her up, but she will likely be on probation and have to complete restitution. This week, you will hear from her new probation officer on the next steps.” So, Patricia came to pick me up, which was the beginning of my adoptee anger, rage, rebellion, and defiance. Reality began to set in that my birth mother wasn’t coming back to get me, and deep down, I was miserable. Hurt was the root, but it showed up in brutal ways.

Feelings of anger, rage, and self-hate started to internalize deep inside me from a very early age. Soon they took over subconsciously, and I felt abandoned by the woman who should have loved me the most, my birth mother. Just because she didn’t come back for me didn’t mean I wasn’t searching for her. I continued to search for clues to find her everywhere I went. I was tormented every day by not knowing who she was or where I came from.

This was around the time I stopped wanting to visit Thomas and Laura’s house due to the things Mark was doing to me. I was in for a real-life changing experience about how distressing things would get at Patricia’s house. The good adoptee disappeared into nothingness, and I started to have very unfavorable feelings about Patricia. My newfound adoration of escaping out my third-floor bedroom window was a fast track to being a runaway and experiencing a ruthless street life. Unruly was about to become an understatement.

Little did I know, agony hadn’t even begun for me. I was 12 years old, and by the time I was 15 years old, I had already experienced what most people don’t experience in an entire lifetime.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

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

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

Adoptees Deserve Far More Than What They Get

*Disclosure Statement: I do NOT claim to speak for all adoptees in this article, nor do I claim ALL adoptive parents are abusive or fit the narrative of the topics brought to light in this article. CHILL #apfragility

And for the record, Jesus, his love, our adoptive parents love or a house full of stuff isn’t enough. 

I keep seeing individuals use Jesus as a reason to invalidate the reality and truth of the adoptee experience. 

This has to stop. 

Adoptees are DYING. 

PLEASE STOP! 

Listen to Adoptees before it’s too late. 

First things first, if we’re transparent, adoption is messy AF. Everything about it. It’s complicating, emotional, taxing, and exhausting. There is no one size fits all, and all stories are unique in their own way. 

I’ve not only navigated my adoptee journey and spent most of my life in agony over it, but I’ve listened to the stories of hundreds of my fellow adoptees. We all have in common that we experience painful pieces of our journeys that can impact many areas of our lives, if not every area. 

“So what’s the big deal? Everyone deals with pain in life!” 

The big deal is that we live in a world that promotes and celebrates adoption (just like religion)  but do they realize they promote relinquishment trauma on every child separated from their biological mother?  While they pray for another person’s child, they ignore entirely that every adoption is rooted in loss and trauma FIRST.

They are praying for TRAUMA TO HAPPEN!

 If you have ever prayed for a child to adopt, YOU ARE GUILTY! 

Thousands of adoptees have walked before me and navigated these muddy and messy waters of trying to navigate a life that’s rooted in relinquishment trauma. Thousands of adoptees are walking behind me that haven’t yet made the connection, and some are slowly emerging out of the adoptee fog, figuring out just how damaging relinquishment trauma is on every person separated from their biological mothers at the beginning of life. 

For some of us, we don’t make this connection until later in life. We become all too familiar with waking up every day trying to make sense of it all, trying to heal, and finding happiness when our very beginnings were severed from the woman who should love and want us the most, our biological mothers. 

Society has this conditioned belief that adoption can be an excellent and painless alternative to many scenarios in life. For example, maybe someone can’t have children of their own, or they want to save unwanted children, so they sign an adoption registry and start the process to adopt a child. Whatever the reason is, we need to get to the root of the problems, and there are many! 

Adoption is a supply and demand multi-billion-dollar unregulated industry. Check out The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce or The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Industry by Mirah Riben if you need to research for yourself.  

If adoption agencies would genuinely care for the child’s best interest, they wouldn’t be in the business of separating them from their biological mothers. Whether some women choose to parent or not, if we have more adoption agencies, we have more accessibility to provide services for a mother to pass her baby over to strangers. Just like the more adoptive parents who want to adopt, keep these businesses in the business.  

Unfortunately, these agencies are FOR-PROFIT.  Of course, that’s why an adoption costs so much, yet we fail to realize that adoption today is rooted in legalized human trafficking. If you haven’t figured this out by now, I encourage you to do some soul searching and researching. The adoption industry is selling babies and making a living off of doing it. When a price tag is being put on a human being’s head for any cost, it’s human trafficking. It shouldn’t matter that adoption is legalized, it doesn’t mean its right.

When many adopted children are adopted, they are legally assigned a new identity, and their history is essentially erased. However, even when our beginnings are painful or abusive, we are still connected to our past via DNA and our history. We all have a history, even when the system of adoption is set up to destroy, erase and abolish its existence. Even when it’s painful, we deserve to know our truth and all of it. 

Why are so many secrets kept in adoption? 

When someone signs up to adopt a child, they sign up to co-sign for secrecy, lies, and half-truths regarding the adoptive child. Do you know what secrecy, lies, and half-truths do to a human being? 

They destroy them and stall their healing. 

When biological mothers refuse to share the truth about the conception, birth, and biological father of the adoptee, they add many levels of shame and secrecy the adoptee later has to uncover. It’s AGONIZING to not know who you are or where you come from!

Why should adoptees have to experience deception at every turn? 

We deserve more than that. 

HONESTY

TRUTH

TRANSPARENCY

It’s no secret that we can’t heal from half-truths because we don’t know what we are healing from. So if you ever wondered why your adopted child or adopted adult in your life is angry, sad, depressed, addicted to substances or struggling, I would like to look no further. Relinquishment trauma compacted by adoption trauma is the culprit. I’m not saying other things might exacerbate these issues. However, the ROOT cause is abandonment, rejection, relinquishment trauma, and adoption trauma. 

For those unfamiliar with the statistics, adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide, and we’re overrepresented in jails, prisons, treatment, and mental health facilities. Why? Because adoption is rooted in secrecy and lies, anything embedded in secrecy and lies is bound to have significant repercussions. It’s also rooted in relinquishment trauma.

If you support adoption, you are a co-signer. 

Why should we have to spend our whole lives trying to fix what adoption has broken? 

Why should we have to fight the world for our truth? 

Why should we have to experience relinquishment trauma, to begin with? 

Why is our history, ethnicity, siblings, DNA connections, medical history, original birth certificates, and biological connections and relationships be kept from us? 

Why does the world rob us from acknowledging our grief, loss, and trauma?

Why have our adoptive parents co-signed for this pain? 

Why did our biological mothers give us away? 

Why should we have to look at doctors our whole lives and say, “I don’t know my medical history; I’m adopted?” 

Were they genuinely ignorant? Or did they choose to ignore these realities for the sake of their wants and needs? 

ADOPTEES DESERVE MORE! 

It’s no secret that there have never been resources for adoptees until recently. We didn’t sign any paperwork, yet we are sentenced to life for a crime we didn’t commit. 

For most of us, learning our TRUTH is the beginning KEY to accept that truth, acknowledge it, and make a choice to move towards healing. 

NO TRUTH = NO HEALING 

If our truth is kept secret from us, it will always have ways of impacting our lives and circling back around. It will keep surfacing. We often depend on substances to take our pain away because it’s so great we can’t process the feelings or address the trauma. 

Don’t read this and think for a minute that open adoption is any better. The secrecy part is usually not there; however, did you ever wonder what it’s like to be traumatized over and over again by being removed from your biological mother over and over again? You see her one day, and then you are ripped from her arms the next? How can anyone inflict this type of pain on a child they supposedly love? Open adoptions aren’t legally binding, and many times adoptive parents have no problems closing the adoptions. DOOR SLAM IN YOUR FACE, and there is nothing you can do about it. NOTHING!

Adoptees are met with adoptive parents who believe that Jesus, Love, and a nice home are enough to stand in the gap for what the adoptee has lost. This is manipulative and gaslighting behavior.  Let me be completely honest; you are fooling yourself if you think that any amount of love can replace the woman that gave us life! Jesus has never healed my adoptee wounds, and even if I believed he was real ( I did at one point in my life), I can and will never think he’s in the business of separating mothers and babies! If you believe this, you are delusional! That sick and twisted mentality is one of the many reasons I am no longer a believer.

A fancy house, a two-parent home, and all the material belongings in the world will never replace the loss an adoptee experiences. Adoptive parents get divorced, abuse their adoptive kids every day. Adoptees are sexually abused in their adoptive homes all the time. Many times adoptive kids are used as pawns to fill a void in the lives of their adoptive parents. Many of us are adopted solely to take care of our adoptive parents in their old age and even replace the relationship with a biological child that went south. Yet, time and time again, we’re expected to meet the expectations of our adopters, and no matter how hard we try, we always fall short. 

We are not their DNA, and we will never be. Yet, we notice being treated differently. We know when we are treated like the adopted child and adult in the family. We know when we don’t fit in or belong. Trust me; we feel it every day of our lives. As adoptees how it feels to be left out of the will, just because you are the adopted one in the family. Ask adoptees what it feels like to sit at the funeral of a biological mother or father, yet not be listed in the obituary as if they don’t even exist.

ADOPTEES DESERVE FAR MORE THAN WHAT THEY GET

The moral of the story is, get on the right side of wrong.

LISTEN TO ADOPTEES BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE. 

 Understand that many of us aren’t grateful at all for all of this pain and trauma being inflicted on us at no fault of our own, nor should we be expected to be. Understand that many of us would have rather been aborted, and if you are withholding the truth from an adoptee, you need to share the truth NOW. Even when the truth hurts, we want it because it’s ours! If you see your adopted child or the child you adopted who is now an adult hurting, help them process pain, grief and loss. Try HARDER to understand your adoptees’ pain, and never diminish it or tell them they should be grateful or get over it and move on. NEVER use Jesus as a tool that intercedes in them processing pain. Research spiritual bypassing and don’t do it! Understand there is no time frame on grief and processing all that is lost and research and become great at helping an adoptee process grief and loss. Know that there is NOTHING you can do to fix us or take our pain away, and we would like to ask you politely to please stop trying.

The world might feel like we have a replacement family for our biological mothers and families, but we haven’t. That’s a fantasy, and the sooner everyone realizes this, the better. No one can sweep our DNA under the rug, but they keep trying. I can promise you that the truth always comes out, especially now more than ever, with the increasing ability to do DNA testing. 

There is no amount of money, fancy car, house or vacations that can make up for what was lost because of adoption. Nothing on this earth can replace the memories and relationships lost. NOTHING.

For my fellow adoptees, never give up hope in finding your truth. If anyone has told you your biological parents are deceased, DO NOT BELIEVE IT. I repeat, DO NOT BELIEVE IT unless you are standing over their grave AFTER you have done DNA testing to confirm you share DNA with them. I can’t tell you how many times I have learned that adoptees are told their biological parents are deceased, only for them to be very much alive. I am one of these adoptees who was told my birth father was deceased, and I refused to believe it and later found out he was very much alive!  

Please know you didn’t deserve the cards you were dealt. You deserved far more!  You are strong, and even in the dark moments, realize you aren’t alone. You are a survivor, surviving daily. Know that you don’t owe anyone anything outside of yourself. I challenge you to take back what was taken from you because you are the only person who can do it. Look deep within yourself, and you will find precisely what you need. 

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

*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

It’s Hard to Smile Today – My Tribute to Adoptee Remembrance Day 10/30/2020

It’s hard to smile today when so many adoptee smiles have been washed away. If you know an adoptee, let me take you on a ride in an Adoptee’s mind. Please sit down and give me a few minutes of your time.

Imagine being in your mother’s womb, where there is only room for two scared hearts beating as one. The day we are born should be as bright as the luminous stars in the sky.

Her heartbeat warms our hearts like the bright & shiny sun but quickly turns to gloom as soon as you make your grand entrance into the delivery room.

Like a thief in the night, your sacred heartbeat is gone. Disappeared. You are all alone, no longer one. Where is your bright and shiny sun?

She’s gone, and she’s not coming back. Pre-verbal trauma will be carried around like a permanent backpack. We can run, but we can’t hide. Adoptee triggers bring on lifelong thoughts of suicide.

Adoptees are dying, searching for their sun. Carrying so much pain because being separated from your mother is a deep-rooted trauma and inhumane.

“LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED”

That’s a lie. No matter what they say, love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff. Buckle up for the ride called “The Fight of Your Life!”

You are fighting the fight of your life with your very first breath, unattached to anyone because of the broken bond. Most days, the only escape seems like death.

We might not want to die, but we want out of here. We’re sick and tired of the endless emptiness inside, the heartbreak, and never-ending tears.

Every day can seem like an uphill battle, being tormented by things everyday people can’t relate to. They have no idea what it feels like to have your entire history erased or what it feels like to look in the mirror and see “Nobody’s Face.”

There is nothing wrong with your views or how you feel. What’s wrong is relinquishment and adoption trauma being subjects that are considered taboo.

Rooted in relinquishment trauma, dark clouds are everywhere, most days feeling hollow and empty inside. Being born a burden is a tremendous pill to swallow. Mental gymnastics always override and blindside the happiness non-adoptees feel. I wake up most days and can’t believe this life is real.

The world says, “Be Thankful!” for the deck of cards you were dealt. They are clueless about what it means to feel like a piece of property—paid in full for a cash price. Only to make the dreams come true for another person’s life. Meanwhile, our entire lives are rooted in secrecy and lies.

We’re tired of therapying the therapists. No one understands adoptee layers unless they are one of us. When you say, “Screw the world, I no longer want to live, and I have nothing left to give!” I want you to know your adoptee tribe knows your pain. We love you with no ulterior motives, and we have nothing to gain.

Today is Adoptee Remembrance Day, and It’s hard to smile today.

I wish I could wipe your teardrops away. If I had one more chance, I would hug you so tight and tell you wherever you are in life, that everything’s going to be alright. I will always remember you because your heart and smile are as big as the sky, and no one can deny the outcry we feel because you didn’t deserve to die.

Please know we will never let your memories fade away.

I wish I could take your pain away.

It’s hard to smile today.

RIP to Caleb Harris and all the Adoptees who didn’t make it by way of suicide or at the hands of their adoptive parents. 

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 Keep Walking, Learning to Live for Myself, Love Myself, & Honor Myself

img_6311It’s interesting that I’ve been experiencing a new layer of an awakening process recently, even before Covid-19 came about. I’m so thankful for all things NEW, because that means I’m not sitting in the same spot for eternity. Many people are fretting about the isolation and aloneness they are feeling due to the new social distancing guidelines, but for me personally, this is something I’ve felt my entire life. It’s nothing new to me being adopted, and feeling isolated and alone. I’ve adapted to that feeling way back to my early childhood, but I sympathize for all those who are experiencing this for the the first time.

I’ve made the choice to set more boundaries in my life, which have allowed me to have more room for JOY. This hasn’t been an easy thing to do because no one has guided me, or encouraged me to do this. I’ve figured it out on my own.

As an adoptee, I’m used to giving all of my self for others wants and needs, all the way back to my childhood and juvenile years. I didn’t have a typical adoption story, I had a heartbreaking one. Every single side I look at has been nothing but heartbreak and pain. I know so many of my fellow adoptees have the same story, it’s heart-wrenching.

I’ve written before about this BADNESS I’ve always felt, being attached to me from the beginning, as I was conceived in my birth mothers womb. I was conceived out of an affair with a married man, who was also a close friend of the family. So not only did my birth mother feel shame and guilt, she kept her pregnancy a secret, but she rejected the pregnancy, and drank alcohol the entire time.

I felt this as a baby, in utero and if you do the research and study this topic, you will learn that babies feel what the mother feels while we are in the womb. We can sense our biological mothers emotions, feelings and surroundings before we’re ever born.

Scientist Say, say, “They found something interesting: what mattered to the babies was if the environment was consistent before and after birth. That is, the babies who did best were those who either had mothers who were healthy both before and after birth, and those whose mothers were depressed before birth and stayed depressed afterward. What slowed the babies’ development was changing conditions — a mother who went from depressed before birth to healthy after or healthy before birth to depressed after. “We must admit, the strength of this finding surprised us,” Sandman says.

So much to unpack here, but my motive in sharing this is the more we research the entire concept of perinatal bonding, and our pre-birth conditions, the more we understand our selves. This is one of the MANY reasons why adoptees receiving our TRUTH is so critically important. I will say it now, and I’ve said it a million times before, we (adoptees) can’t heal from secrecy, lies or half truths. The conditions of our conception is very important for us to learn, so we can gain a better understanding of WHY.

This is the ONLY way to acceptance & healing

While the topic of our experiences is very important, so is the topic of being born into a world to serve others wants and needs. I can share from my story, I felt like I was “the help” when it came to my experience in my adoptive moms home. I was her caretaker from the very beginning, and lived my entire life catering to her wants, needs and demands. Not just her physical needs, but her emotional and psychological ones as well.

She suffered from severe emotional and mental illness, and her issues impacted my life greatly. One reason was because she was never officially diagnosed, or treated although she was given several pain medications, and mood stabilizing medications and was addicted to them until she died in 2015. She was consistent in over medicating herself, which only added issues to her mental illness.

My life until I was 30 years old was centered and focused around HER. She had it planned out that she wanted to adopt 2 daughters, so she would have someone to take care of her in her old age, because her greatest fear of life was dying in a nursing home all alone. She adopted for us to take care of her, and that’s exactly what happened for 30 years of my life, until I broke free and escaped by moving across the country with my children. She created a very toxic and unhealthy codependent relationship, that was VERY hard for me to break away from, but I did it in 2005.

I’ve done a lot of research on codependency, and as complex as it is, it’s some real live issues that come with it. When I was a child, I had no way out and I had nothing to compare it too. What was a normal relationship with a mom, or a parent, and what did a healthy relationship look like? I have no idea.

Needless to say, when I spent 30 years catering to her wants and needs, it’s taken me the last 15 years to learn what taking care of myself looks like. When every waking moment of my childhood was to serve her, and the entire reasons for my existence was to take care of her, this hasn’t been an easy task to learn. As it turns out, I’ve been a private independent caregiver for a stroke patient for 15 years as my full time career.

It’s interesting how I leave a very toxic care taking and codependent relationship ends, but I once again pick up a career taking care of someone else, because it’s all I know. A big difference in the two situations is one is healthy, and a wonderful relationship as my career, and it’s something I enjoy with my whole heart. The other was something that was forced upon me I had no control over that was very toxic. I know for certain, that care taking responsibilities run deep in my veins, because of my childhood and my role in taking care of my adoptive mom all the way back to pre-verbal days.

Besides by life growing up in my toxic adoptive home, I’ve been a mom for 26 years, taking care of my kids. They have been my #1 motivation to keep going and taking care of them has been priority. Between being a mom, being a caregiver by career, and my history in the toxic adoptive home, how in the actual hell have I even learned how to take care of myself?

It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn to do. I didn’t start taking care of myself and actually enjoying MYSELF in the process until I walked away from the church. Walking away from the church, and religion is a whole different topic, article and discussion. I don’t care to share much here, but I will eventually. However, leaving the church has allowed me the time to serve, but instead of serve 4-5 days in the church, I’ve been serving 4-5 days a week at getting my life back, the one that was stolen from me.

I’ve learned that consistently, things come in our paths that will take our time and energy from us. Time is the most valuable thing any of us have, so the more commitments, the less time we have to use for ourselves. Just what if, we took all the energy we’ve been pouring out into systems, people, places and things outside of ourselves, and turned it back around and put it into ourselves? What would happen then?

I can tell you what will happen, because it’s my life, my story. I’ve spent a LIFETIME walking away, and escaping situations that don’t suite me well. At the end of the road, all I have left is myself, and my children. I say all the time I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork, so I’m not committed to anyone aside from MYSELF. I can no longer give all my time or energy to any family that doesn’t honor and respect the fact that I’m an adult and I can speak for myself. I can no longer pour my life into serving in a church, or slaving for my adoptive mother only to feel empty and depleted in the end. I have no more energy to put into relationships that have gone sour, for whatever reason. I have no time to explain myself, or try to “plead my case.”

I walk. And I keep walking. Those who are meant to stay will stay, and those who aren’t meant to stay will go along their way. Along the way, is the new path that I have chosen for myself. It’s a path that I CHOOSE, and it’s one I am learning to enjoy. The key has been, learning the TRUTH, and then REMOVING THINGS NO LONGER MEANT FOR ME. Doesn’t matter who or what it is, if it’s not healthy for me, it has to go.

This has left my life wide open for a choice. I can either sit around and feel sorry for myself, and live in misery or I can accept the truth, work toward healing for the rest of my life, and in the process get to know myself, which has allowed me the space to learn to love myself. In this, I’ve learned what I love, and what I don’t. I’ve learned what I stand for, and what I don’t. I’ve learned who I want in my life, who I should share my very valuable time with and who I shouldn’t.

I’ve learned out of all the experiences in life, and of all my attempts to fill the void and huge hole adoption has left, after I found my TRUTH, the very thing I was searching for was inside myself the entire time. And let me share, I’ve searched everywhere. Partying, drugs, alcohol, men, sweets, committing to serving and being present in the church FULL TIME. Nothing filled me up, nothing helped permanently.

I know, it’s hard to find ones self when we don’t have our truth, and if I’m completely honest, It’s impossible to do. This is why THE TRUTH is 110% critical for adoptees. But once I broke away from so many commitments, responsibilities, and systems, I found the time to look myself in the mirror, and find some time for myself. Little by little over the last few years, I’ve uncovered that life everyone talks about being beautiful, is something I can find beautiful too. But this isn’t easy to conclude. It’s hard work.

A few years ago, before Adoptees Connect, Inc. came about, I felt like I had no purpose, and I didn’t even want to be alive because I was in so much pain from my adoption experience. Finding PURPOSE in Adoptees Connect, has been a huge piece of my healing journey. Between finding purpose in the pain, and seeking outside fulfillment within myself, things have dramatically changed for me.

I still have bad days, and extreme days of sadness due to my adoption experience. The difference now is that I sit with it. It’s usually GRIEF that I’m feeling, and I allow myself to feel it and process it, whatever that looks like for me. It’s not even logical to say that I will be totally healed. That’s false, and not part of my reality. As soon as I accepted this, that’s actually when more healing began. Let me explain a little further.

As I continue my steps forward there is no doubt in my mind that I will never completely forget my past. No matter who says that’s possible, it’s not realistic for me to think like that. Adoption impacts so much, I deal with daily triggers, daily reminders of what was lost, sometimes hourly. One of the best things I did for myself is accepting that the pain from relinquishment and my adoption experience is here to stay. Once I accepted this, I learned to embrace my feelings, and I stopped trying to PRAY THEM AWAY or FILL THEM WITH OTHER THINGS. I sat with them, I cried with them and I learned to process them.

No one on this earth can do this for me. No one told me this is what was going to work. I’ve learned it because I’ve literally tried everything under the sun to BE HEALED, and nothing worked for me until I made the choice to STOP TRYING TO BE HEALED and sit with the pain. For me, my pain has looked more like GRIEF than anything. No one on earth is going to tell adoptees this, but grief for us will likely be a grieving process we experience for the rest of our lives. For me, to just expect it to be gone, IN JESUS NAME is something that didn’t work for me. It actually hindered my healing process, and made things worse. It bypassed the trauma I experienced from relinquishment, that was compacted by a traumatic adoption experience.

Fighting like hell for my truth was the first step. Accepting the pain was here to stay, was the beginning of my healing process. Today I can see brighter days ahead, and I can see joy in life like I have never seen before because my pain was just too great. So many adoptees can’t see past the pain, and they are stuck. I understand it and get it because it was me for years, 43 to be exact.

The whole entire concept of taking my energy, confidence, feelings, and time and reality, and turning it over to an outside source, system or person is something I’ve found to be extremely dangerous and counterproductive to my healing.  It’s no wonder I’ve always felt empty, alone, isolated, like a walking dead woman. It’s impossible to look at yourself as a source of strength, when we’re continuously told to look for it in other people, places and things.

I challenge everyone, not just adoptees to seek inside themselves, because your strength is there. Your wisdom is there. Your happiness is there. You have the total power and control to shift your energy from seeking sources outside yourself, to that of seeking strength, wisdom and understanding deep in your own heart.

For adoptees, if you don’t have your truth and all of it, fight like hell to get it. Never give up. You deserve healing, wholeness, and happiness. My story has been heartbreaking all the way around, with double rejection from BOTH my birth parents, and I have no relationship with 95% of my adoptive family for MANY reasons. I’ve had to make the choice to put myself, my recovery and my happiness FIRST. They put their happiness first, when I was conceived out of an affair, handed over to strangers to raise. My adoptive parents only cared about being parents, they didn’t have the capabilities of caring for me, an adoptee, like I needed to be cared for. No one helped me, I was 100% on my own finding my truth. Once I received the truth, that I fought like hell to get ON MY OWN, I realized that I CARRIED ME THROUGH THAT. I HAD THE STRENGTH TO MAKE IT. MY HEART IS THE ONE THAT WAS LEFT BROKEN. I USED SUBSTANCES FOR 27 YEARS TO NUMB MY PAIN. I’M THE ONE WHO DID THE WORK IN RECOVERY. I’M THE ONE PERSON I COULD COUNT ON. I HAD THE FIGHT TO WANT TO HEAL, BE HEARD AND NOT STOP. I WANTED TO BE A BETTER MOTHER TO MY KIDS THAN WHAT I HAD. I LIVE EVERYDAY IN RECOVERY AND MAKE DAILY, SOMETIMES HOURLY DECISIONS THAT TAKE WISDOM SO I STAY IN RECOVERY. NO SOURCE OR SYSTEM OUTSIDE MYSELF DID THAT.

I DID THAT.

I walked and I’m still walking.

For the rest of my days on earth, I will not be confined to anyone or anything. I no loner believe in any belief systems or have any loyalty to any one person or families that have hurt me. I’m finally FREE, living for ME. I continue to set boundaries for myself, and I have many more I will be setting in the coming weeks, months, years. All the labels in the world can walk off into the sunset, because I no longer want to be a part of them either. They don’t define me, they don’t make me a better person, or different than anyone else. Just like adoption. It’s a piece of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am.

As I continue to walk, I’m making the choice to continue to put my happiness first, as this new stage of my life approaches I HAVE A LOT OF MAKING UP TO DO. Chances are you do too!. Adoption has stolen A LOT. I refuse to allow it to steal anymore of my beautiful life. I have a wonderful career, amazing kids, and things in life I want to do. I have hobbies, and I want to be a happy, healthy mom and individual. When the end of my life is near, I hope people remember my life, but I also hope they see I didn’t stay stuck until the end of my days. Adoption will snatch up all our time, memories and freedom as we slave away at trying to bring the truth to light, and help others. I will always have certain commitments to the adoption community, but other commitments are falling to the side, because I’ve missed enough of living life, I don’t want to miss anymore.

Every minute lost is a minute I can’t get back. I ask myself daily, as I look in the mirror, “If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want to do today, if it was your last time on earth?” What makes my heart happy and what makes me tick? Same to you… What creates your happiness, deep within your soul? Don’t let adoption suck your entire life away, weather it be getting unstuck, or serving your life away in the adoption community. Finding a happy balance is KEY.

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Today, I keep walking, learning to live for myself, love myself, & honor myself. I’m focused on seeking solace and serenity inside myself, because others just let me down. I’ve never been happier. No one is going to tell you to seek this route, you will be solo but for many adoptees, that’s nothing new.  I’ve always been alone, but I haven’t always been okay with being alone.

Today, I’m alone, but I’m finally okay with being alone.

 It’s actually the safest space for me, because it’s all I know. I’m my own safe space. 

I have my kids, my career, nature, sunrises, sunsets, trees, flowers, fresh air, books, writing, my animals, health, inner peace, hiking, waterfalls, road trips, exercise, bonfires, hot tea, coffee,  acceptance, sobriety, a small circle of friends, my story, and my continued recovery.

I have all I need.

I’ve let go of the rest. 

I’m a free bird. 

For my fellow adoptees, what have you found that makes you tick?

Where is your safe space?

What JOY have you been able to find in your life, despite your adoptee journey?

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Saying “Hello” to Adoptee Grief & Loss

img_5766I 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 PodcastsiTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Sending Renewed Love & Light,

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Reclaiming. Recovering. Recreating. Retreating. Repeating. 

Left Out of the Obituary- Again

Adoption is Messy.

MORE THAN MESSY!

Inconsolable Grief Consumed Me…

The feelings overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my face for hours. There was nothing that eased the pain I was feeling when I learned my brothers family left me out of His obituary.

His death was one thing.

Leaving me out of the obituary was another.

HEARTBROKEN

AGAIN, AGAIN, & AGAIN…

There are really no words to describe how this has felt to me. I experienced the same thing when my birth mother passed away. My birth sister asked me to come and said she needed me to be at the funeral so I went. Why did I have it in my mind that maybe, just maybe I would be listed in her obituary as her daughter? She rejected me. She didn’t want a relationship with me, yet I still had this HIDDEN HOPE that I would be in her obituary.

I guess adoptees are good at fantasizing & dreaming about who, what, when & where did I come from? From the moment we find out we’re adopted we start seeking and searching for our people. HIDDEN HOPE is something I always carried with me. Tucked away in my back pocket wishing and hoping things would change with my birth mother, that one day she would change her mind and want me in her life.

20 years passed and it never happened, yet I was supposed to be there for my birth sister to support her?

On November 7, 2010 I & experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I sat in the front row of my birth mothers funeral service, along side of my sister- you know where the “VIP Family” sits? Yet, I glanced at the funeral service, and looked at the obituary and I was no where to be found.

So who the hell am I?

Am I invisible?

Do I not count for shit?

Am I a human being who has no feelings at all?

Again, inconsolable grief that grew to be larger than the grief of the loss in itself. Just heart-wrenching & I still tear up thinking about it. The pain was and is overwhelming.

So here we have it May 20, 2017- I’ve been working on building a relationship with my img_5247new found brother which I found in 2011. We’ve actually been working together to build that relationship. I had visited Texas multiple times with my kids, and my brother had come to Kentucky multiple times. We both made an effort. We talked on the phone every few weeks, and we text one another pictures of the sunrises and sunsets on occasion. The last time I heard form Him was Mother’s Day…

Sadly, I will never hear from Him again but our last words were happy, cheerful, fun and full of LOVE.

He was my brother.

When I read the obituary and saw I was not included, my heart dropped. I was at the park doing laps for some exercise and it stopped me in my tracks. Tears rolled down my face as I began to weep. Weeping turned into sobbing and there was nothing I could to to ease this pain. The truth is the truth. This hurt like hell. More than anything. It hurt.

I sobbed for hours that night… a few close to me could feel my pain by the tone of my voice, my sadness, my tears and for once in my life I wasn’t hiding it. THEY SAW IT. I sat in the dark of my living room for what seemed like hours. My dogs gave me comfort and one of my daughters stopped by to lend me some support. She hugged me, and held my hand and told me how sorry she was that happened.

What now? I text my brother’s sister and asked her “WHY” I was left out of the obituary. Oh it was a mistake, blah blah blah… Right. I wonder how many adoptees in the world have heard that same crap? Millions I’m sure. All I know is it showed me their true colors on how they really feel about me, but I can tell you one thing my brother didn’t feel that way about me. We have 6 years of amazing memories that no one can take. We had a great relationship that can’t be erased. This was the last photo we took together & a photo of Him and my kids on our first trip to Texas.

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Perhaps I set myself up for this pain? One thing I’ve always done is try to see the best in everyone, to look at things in a positive light, to pull out something good in every situation. There has to be a lesson here right? I mean isn’t there a lesson in everything?

For me the only lesson I can pull from this heartache is to stop investing in so many relationships because in the end, it’s always pain. It’s happened my entire life. I know my fellow adoptees get it, especially those in reunion… Reunion is rocky at times, it’s hard and it takes a lot of work especially when so much time has been missed. It’s hard to build relationships with people from afar when you have no shared history. It’s awkward, its overwhelming sadness of what was missed, it’s joy and fun at times. I’ve learned as time passes in my life less is good. The less people, less commitments, less ties to people, places & things the better for me. I love to be by myself, and that’s where I’m the happiest because it’s just God and I.

I must connect with someone extremely well before I make the choice to let them in. I know many adoptees experience the same. I think it’s natural for a not natural situation. I’m very cautious who I allow to enter my life, and at this point I’m extremely happy with the small group of friends I have, my children & very few family members. I have a special man in my life, he knows who he is. I’m also happy with a fairly wide circle of fellow adoptees. If any of you should read this, please know you are a safety net for me and so many others. When I disappear from social media,  or the world I know I don’t even have to explain it. You guys are right there to pick up where we left off when things circle back around. And they always circle back around.

No matter what I do in life, I still find myself processing the pain from adoption.

Praise God for this safe space where no one can interrupt me or shut me down from sharing how I feel. Those days are over. I will not make any apologies for how I feel nor will I deny how I feel to make other’s feel comfortable. Healing from this journey will take an entire lifetime, because so much was lost and there are so many dynamics to it. Thankfully I live a happy life aside from my adoptee issues. I have amazing kids, a great job I love, I have found myself in nature and searching for waterfalls. I’m free from running in circles at churches, and recovery meetings. I’m seeking God in all things but the rules and regulations brought on by man are things I’m no longer interested in in my life. Life is good. I’m happy generally speaking.

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Somehow adoption always has a way of creeping its head back up trying to take more of my joy. Many adoptees feel the same way, its not just me! It’s always something. The greatest part about sharing these feelings when they come is once I share them it takes the load off my shoulders and I release it so it’s not weighing me down. We have to share our hurts! If you are an adoptee reading this, please find someone safe you can talk to who will listen without judgement. If you are not an adoptee who might be reading this, please JUST LISTEN when adoptees share. Please listen with the intent to LEARN, not the intent to REPLY. Please understand that not all adoptees “Have a bad experience” because their pain doesn’t line up with the worldly views of how wonderful adoption is. Just because we have pain because of adoption, doesn’t mean we aren’t happy people.

So today, I am moving forward. I’m not getting stuck in this pain but I’m processing it in healthy ways as it comes. Today I’m not drinking, I’m writing. I’m living my life the way I see fit. If you want to know why I always seem happy and bubbly, I get my joy from those I’m close to and from the Lord! I’m resting in God’s hand and I’m pretty comfortable there.

Until Next Time…

❤ P.Karanova

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6 Years Gained, 47 Years Lost

Being an adoptee in a closed adoption, I had no idea I had a brother until 2010. The minute I found out about Him was the minute I began searching- AGAIN.  I was ecstatic about this, but where was he? What did he look like? Would he accept my children and I? Would I ever find Him?

All I knew is that I was going to dye trying. At all costs I was going to find Him. Almost a year to the date my long anticipation of waiting was over.

November 2011 I found my brother.

Greg
Greg ❤

We spoke on the phone for the first time comparing notes on our lives. My birth father was His father. After seeing a picture of Him I was amazed at all of our similarities we shared. Our skin tone was almost the same, we were both very tall with the same natural hair color and it appeared we had more resemblances than His siblings he grew up with and was raised with. After comparing some of our baby pictures we both just knew we were siblings.

There was no question about it.

For me this was an outstanding discovery but the best part is my new found brother not only mirrored me, but he accepted me. Not only did he accept me, he accepted my children. Do you have any idea how much this means when I have been rejected by both my biological parents and their families?

THIS HAS MEANT EVERYTHING TO ME!

I was on top of the world!

I told everyone about my brother and in a very short period of time in my eyes, he hung the moon! He planned a trip to spend Christmas with my kids and I in Kentucky and we met for the first time December 24, 2011. It was a dream come true for me. This would be the first holiday in my life I spent with biological family.  We sat at the table and talked for hours and hours. We both agreed we had a lot of making up to do.

I always told everyone He was the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow for me and God always saves the best for last.

Greg will always be my pot of Gold & my TREASURE in my adoption journey!

My First Trip To Texas 2014
Greg & I -Texas 2014

Over the last 6 years we made many memories together. Greg flew to KY 2x to share Christmas with my children and I. We visited Texas 2x to attend His Annual Craw-fish Boil in 2014 and in 2015 I attended my very first Thanksgiving Dinner with Him. This was an amazing experience. Family gathering around to celebrate all things, especially one another. There aren’t enough words to express How wonderful Greg and His entire family has been to my children and I. I had 4 new found nieces & a nephew. I had a new sister and brother which were Greg’s siblings he grew up with.

In a blink of an eye I had a whole new family I could call my own.

Amazing.

Especially since so much has been lost in adoption.

Greg and I made a mutual attempt at having a relationship with one another from afar. It wasn’t easy but it seemed to come natural to both of us. We always looked forward to speaking to one another. He was in Texas and I was in Kentucky. He knew I loved the sunrises and sunsets so it was common for Him to send me early morning or evening pictures of the Texas sunset. This has always been a way to my heart because I see God in all things to do with nature and the sky. I looked forward to our long conversations on the phone catching up on how things have changed from the last time we spoke.  Greg was always a breath of fresh air in my life. He was a big brother who gave me advice when I needed it, and listened when he needed a listener. He was an awesome dad, and an outstanding human being who would have done anything for anyone. Our similarities were astonishing at times. We both loved nature and hiking. He gave me great advice on many areas including the best supplements to take, hiking safe, how to check for ticks (lol), and so much more. At the end of every conversation we never hesitated to tell one another we loved each other.

Until Next Time…

Greg, ” I love you, Sis!”

Me, ” I love you too! We will talk soon!”

You see as an adoptee, I don’t tell people “bye”.

I say “I’ll talk to you soon”.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

May 21st 2017 I received some tragic information that Greg was in an early morning motorcycle accident. He was going 60MPH on a Texas road and hit a cow that was laying in the middle or the road. His brain damage was so sever he was put on life support and the doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. Greg fought for His life for the next 3 days and on May 24, 2017 He went home to be with the Lord.

My heart is broken.

Not many non-adoptees get it but my fellow adoptees can understand the pain associated with something like this. Waiting our entire lives to find our people, and the emotions attached to having to search for them daily our entire lives. The pain attached to our never ending journey of wanting to fit in somewhere with our people. The roller coaster ride that comes with reunions. I remember visiting Greg and going to the bedroom to cry many times because I was so ANGRY I missed so many years with my brother! The grief of missing so much of Him in my life was inconsolable at times! I tried my best to hide it from everyone, but it would overtake my mind and I just couldn’t shake it sometimes. It sent me into depression episodes many times over the years.

How could I have a brother so amazing SOMEWHERE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD and because of the secrets & lies in adoption I had no clue he existed and he had no clue I existed? I was given up for adoption in 1974 without my birth fathers consent as if he didn’t exist- bullshit! And it’s still happening today in 2017!  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve struggled with this and struggled a lot. As if anyone in the adoption “triad” doesn’t ever think of these things? Birth father’s have rights too! I would have known about my brother much sooner if it wasn’t for the secrets & lies in adoption!

ADOPTION IMPACTS ADOPTEES FOREVER!

IT NEVER GOES AWAY!

PLEASE BELIEVE IT!

Because we didn’t know about one another until 2011 I only got 6 amazing years with my brother. I’m crushed and most people that aren’t adopted simply don’t get all the dynamics of it all. Honestly, I’m thankful they don’t. Means they don’t know what this pain feels like. Please don’t mistake me sharing my feelings here as not being grateful for those 6 years! I’m extremely grateful!

May 24, 2017 I was given the gift of saying a final good-bye to my brother over the phone. He was in a coma,  and on life support. They had made the decision to remove his life support because of the brain damage he suffered.  Did he hear me? I will never know but they say that you should assume people hear you because a lot of the time they do.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. My brother I just found was the same brother I had to say a final good bye too? This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I sobbed and sobbed and said, “Greg, I just wanted to tell you I LOVE YOU! I’m so so very sorry you were in the accident and you are in this situation! But I want to tell you it’s okay to let go because I know this might be too much for you to hang on. Please believe we will all be okay but we sure are gonna miss you!!!! I’ve had some of the best memories of my LIFE with you and I could never thank you enough for loving me and accepting my children and I. They love you and will miss you and I want you to know you will be so missed but I will see you in heaven one day! I love you Greg”

I hung up the phone and continued to sob.

That was it.

Within a few short hours he was gone.

Not enough words to express the sadness and emotions I am feeling.

Bottom line is we all experience grief & loss in our lives. We handle it be best way we know how. All the way back to 5 years old and I found out I was adopted I have been grieving the unknown. My life has been a long road of grief between searching for my way back home, searching for my birth parents, and being rejected by them both I have experienced this grief & loss my entire life. This was the main reason alcohol was my escape. It did the trick, but now almost 5 years into living a sober lifestyle I am not running from the pain. I’m feeling it.

It hurts and hurts like hell.

Not long before the passing of my brother I have been writing about finding myself in nature, outside the 4 walls of the church. I have finally found my happy place and I know in my heart of hearts my brother would want me to continue to explore the world and go hiking and watch the sunrises and sunsets. He loved all these things as well! He would want me to continue to try to find happiness in the world we live in. I’m going to do that but I will never forget the brother that came into my life for 6 short years who was my treasure in my adoption journey.

47 years lost

6 years found

I will always hate adoption because of so much it’s taken from me and other adoptees. But I will always be grateful for the 6 years with my brother that some adoptees will never get. My heart breaks for them, like it breaks for the loss of my brother.

Today, I’m thankful for the 6 amazing years and I have 6 years of memories to hang onto. Non-adoptees don’t get it. For adoptees, memories are EVERYTHING because almost always we have none to hang onto, this is why many of us clench the pain so tight. There is nothing else to put in its place when you have no memories with your people! This is why there should be no secrecy and lies in adoption- EVER.

 At this place in my life the less attachments and less people I have in my life, the less chance there is to lose them. I’m just tired. Tired of losing people. Tired of being rejected. Tired of being abandoned. Tired of the grief process. It’s taken a toll on me as it does all adoptees.

At least I’m not drinking to cope.

I’m writing.

Today, I will continue to live life because my brother would want that. Last time we spoke I told Him about my bucket list of visiting all the waterfalls in Kentucky and falling in love with hiking. He was proud of me for finding something I have a passion for. Every hike I take I will take in memory of my brother. I know he’s always with me and I know he’s shining down on us all from Heaven.

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I will never get to hear his voice again, but I have 6 years of amazing memories to clench onto. Thank God for those memories. There isn’t enough material items in this entire world that is worth those memories that no one can take from me. Praise God.

Thanks for reading. If you receive anything from this post please never leave a chance to tell someone you love them empty! You never know when it will be your last time. If you’re in the adoption triad please let my post ring true to your ears and understand that adoptees experience grief, trauma, loss, sadness, pain our entire lives. It never goes away. It’s a lifelong battle. Please don’t deny us the right to grieve our losses. This is why I’ve been grieving on my own my entire life, there was no place for it when I was growing up. I could go on forever, but I will stop here.

Thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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When the Wall Comes Tumbling Down…

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You make the choice to pick up all the pieces, try to put them back together again.

Most people who know me or who have followed my blog will be familiar with my story but for those who aren’t aware I’m adopted. I was born in Waterloo, IA in 1974. I spent 20+ years searching for my biological family. Over the years I spent time battling an alcohol addiction and I suffered from anger, rage, low self-esteem, and lived a completely hopeless life.  I had abandonment & rejection issues from my adoption experience and I grew up in an emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive adoptive home. It’s taken me years to move towards accepting and acknowledging the truth, and asking God to come into my life and heal me from all these different “things” I have faced in my lifetime. Today I live in VICTORY. The devil had his way with me for far too long and TODAY because of GOD my life is on the mends. I share my story so other adoptees know they aren’t alone and with the world because adoption is much more than the label “A beautiful thing!” I desire to bring hope to the hopeless adoptees because having someone that UNDERSTANDS is HUGE!

Being adopted isn’t for sissies!

We are strong, resilient and we are fighters.

With that being said, as I was reunited with both my birth parents, they both met me and then rejected me. I hear people say, “You know, what feels like rejection is God’s way of protection!” I believe that to be true, but I also know in life especially in adoption I have always found people to want to silence my pain with reasons I should just be thankful for the circumstances I was born into. Let me just share that with this mentality I was never able to heal growing up. My healing was stalled, because the WORLD didn’t want to hear my pain, or acknowledge it in anyway.

Even the 20 counselors I saw growing up NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED MY ADOPTEE GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA!

Not even a little bit.

All I hear is, “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted?” or “Aren’t you at least thankful for your life?” If you want to know the TRUTH, I spent 37 years being angry my birth mother didn’t abort me and I STILL struggle being thankful for my life! If I hear that one more time I think I might lose it.

Being transparent is the only way I can share things. I refuse to be marginally deceptive to make other people feel comfortable.

Spend some time RESEARCHING Complicated Grief, Loss & Trauma for adoptees. GOOD LUCK finding it because there are no resources ANYWHERE for us but if you find any please share them with me! A few books here and there and on a rare occasion one of us might come across a therapist that specializes in adoptee issues but that’s very rare. They aren’t common at all but there are adoption therapists for adoptive parents on every corner, not to mention agencies.

When you silence our pain with comments like that and refuse to acknowledge our pain you cause us more pain!

What does this mean?

When the walls come crumbling down we are left to figure it out on our own!

I have quickly learned that those close to me who WANT to learn how adoptees feel will make the choice to actively listen and try to understand that there is more to adoption than just a pretty little story.

JUST LISTEN!

As I was rejected by my birth parents, I was reunited with a half adoptive sister that relationship fizzled. She hated that I shared my less than perfect feelings on how adoption has impacted me and she has given a baby up for adoption. This caused an immediate clash between us and there seems to be no middle understanding. Her story is her story and mine is mine but she HATED that I shared adoption has been painful because she refuses to acknowledge her pain regarding losing her son to adoption. She lashed out on me and that was the end of that relationship.

I have had 3 biological family reunions and 3 fizzled reunions. Words can’t even begin to express the pain involved with these losses. I spent MANY years in denial, and really angry. Today I have gained acceptance but I had to step out of denial and the only way I could step out of denial is by learning my TRUTH! Shame and secrets stepped in the way so this is why I’m healing so late in life. The younger we learn our TRUTH the earlier we begin to heal. Secrecy and lies prevented me from healing. Today, as heart breaking as it has been at least I have my truth at least I’m healing!

Today I’m not as angry as I used to be but what fuels my anger is that society still fails to realize that adoption is loss & trauma which causes complicated grief, sadness, anger, rage and a lot of pain! Until this pain is acknowledged and understood on a deeper level the adoptee suicide rate will ALWAYS be 4 x more likely than non-adoptees. Check this article out if you don’t believe me. Preventing Adoptee Related Suicide

I have written for the last 5 years about how God saved the best for last. I didn’t find out I had a brother until 2010. I searched for him for a year in November 2011 I finally found my brother. We shared the same father. December 2011 was the first Christmas I ever spent with a biological family member. I can’t even tell you at the excitement and happiness to have finally found the BEST PART of my adoption search and the reunion was a great one. My brother was accepting, his siblings were accepting, and his children were accepting. We spent the next 5 years making up for lost time. I can tell you that he was and is the first person I ever felt like I had a biological connection besides my own kids. It was something only my fellow adoptees could appreciate because you had to grow up being denied that right, in order to understand how important it is.

FINALLY GOD SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST. MY BROTHER WAS AND IS THE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW FOR ME.

Adoptees know that desire, that need to just feel like they belong, that deep desire to have that deep connection with their blood kin. Non-adoptees can’t relate because they haven’t gone without. It’s something most people take for granted.

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My brother has given me hope, that finally I will have some biological connections with someone somewhere. I imagined that one day when I get married he will be there at my wedding and he can meet all my adoptive family and they can finally see someone else that looks like me, acts like me and who has similarities as me. They will be able to see how awesome he is. I’ve been elated because my niece had her first baby, and I got a card in the mail that said “Auntie” with a Christmas picture with him in it. She kept me up to date about her pregnancy, and it’s been fun slowly building relationships with all of my brothers 4 kids and his siblings. They have all accepted us, loved us, and warmed us into the family. We traveled back and forth to Texas to his crawfish boil. He has been to Kentucky many times and celebrated a few Christmas’s with us. This past Thanksgiving 2015 we drove to Texas and my kids and I spent the first Thanksgiving in 41 years of my life with biological family. For me this has been a dream come true to a pretty tragic story.

God saved the best for last!

Indeed!

What feels like REJECTION is God’s way of protection might be true, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have pain, grief & loss associated with the situation. I know that God understands the pain because he too can feel the deepest parts of my heart, every little broken piece.

As the story unfolds, my biological father doesn’t claim me and he shared doubts with me about my half-brother. My brother is 10 years older than me. He was always told growing up that J.J.; our birth father is his father. Our birth father even acknowledged him at a few different times in his life but they hadn’t had a relationship in many years. I found my birth father in 1999 and mailed him a letter sharing with him who I was. I waited every day for the mail and had high hopes he would respond but after giving him 11 years I never had confirmation he received my letter, so I decided to drive to Iowa to see his face at least one time in my lifetime. 2010 was the year my birth mother died and we had only met one time. It was also the year I laid eyes on my birth father for the first time. During this visit he shared with me I had a half-brother, He said he had some doubts he was his or not, but he was believed to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he gave me his name and off I went. The search was on.

In my heart I felt that if my birth father didn’t claim me, and he wasn’t for sure claiming my brother I would leave it up to my brother and I to determine if we were siblings because as soon as we saw one another’s childhood pictures, and pictures through life we just knew we were siblings. We spent some time together and our similarities are astonishing! We have so many of the same mannerisms, we’re both tall, we have the same complexion and if my hair was natural we would have the same hair color. We are so much alike, and in my heart I finally felt a connection to someone I shared DNA with, which was a connection I had never felt in my lifetime aside from my relationships with my kids. It was amazing to finally feel like I connected with someone! So over the years building this new found relationship has been challenging due to the distance, but we have made many phone calls and visits back and forth. We have done the best with the circumstances. I have struggled in my own personal way I know my fellow adoptees get this  with the fact that so much time has been lost. I get angry regarding this matter. I missed EVERYTHING with my brother, and I get emotional about it, thinking of missing his weddings, his kids being born, having that brother/sister relationship bond that is indescribable and PEOPLE chose to take our relationship away from us. Time is the most valuable thing in the world and 38 years gone, never to return. This has been one of the deepest parts of my hurt, and of course these feelings aren’t welcome anywhere because non-adoptees just don’t understand and they all say “Well aren’t you just thankful you found him and you having the future to look forward too?” Yes, yes of course I am but that doesn’t change the facts which have caused me a great deal of pain.

Thanksgiving 2015 I asked my brother if he would consider doing a DNA test so that I could present it to our birth father. Over the years he has said numerous times, “What are we going to do, get a blood test 40 years later?!” Well, actually that’s a great idea. If PROOF I am his child and my brother is his child might sway him into letting me meet my grandmother for the first time before she dies than for me it would be worth the hassle and cost of 2 DNA tests. (Mine was already uploaded to 23andme and GedMatch) My brother understood in my needs in wanting to do this due to my circumstances regarding my “Story”.  My only purpose was to upload my brothers DNA to GedMatch and we would be able to use the “One to One” compare feature comparing our KIT #’s and BOOM… I could print this out, and compose a letter and mail it to my birth father. Once and for all we would have proof and he couldn’t say we weren’t his. DNA doesn’t lie. Now that doesn’t mean anything would change with him, but I hung on to the little piece of hope that maybe DNA PROOF would maybe change something, after all he said over and over, “What are we going to do, get a DNA test 40 years later?”.

Well, as a matter of a fact…

 I mail my brothers DNA off to AncestryDNA and the waiting begins. 2 days after Christmas his results come in. Dec 27th I uploaded his DNA to Gedmatch and I waited a day to make sure they results were fully uploaded and in the system.

As I compare the “One to One” feature I couldn’t believe what I found.

“No shared DNA segments found”

I tried it again, and again and again.

“No shared DNA segments found”

I got the same thing every time.

“No shared DNA segments found”

NO WAY!

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My first thoughts were, “There is no way I’m believing this. This has to be a mistake” but deep down my heart sunk. I reached out to a few ladies I’m close with that were more familiar with DNA than I am and they both confirmed that the results are true.

I refused to accept this.

I called my brother a few days later, and I shared the news with him. HONESTY IS EVREYTHING EVEN IF IT HURTS! He also refused to accept this. We did not believe these results. I had many people say, “The DNA test could have been faulty”. Well, if there was even a TINY chance the DNA test was faulty I was running with that, and so was my brother.

I mean we are NOT ACCEPTING THIS!

All the adoptee “fears” come rushing in. Thoughts like “I knew I was going to lose him too” and “I always knew he was going to disappear too”. The enemy was having a field day with me. I was NOT accepting this.

It was obvious that the next move was the prove weather his test was faulty or not. So in order to do that, I started to contact his highest DNA matches on Ancestry DNA to find out some of their surnames and see if I can make connections to his mother’s side. If I was able to make DNA connections to his mother’s side, than that would mean the test is not a faulty one.

Of course we want the test to be faulty!!!

As a few days pass, and I explain to my brother what I’m doing and make sure he is okay with it, I uncovered his DNA has many ties to his mother’s side which indeed was proof his DNA was not a faulty one.

HEARTBROKEN AGAIN!

EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS TAKEN FROM ME! EVERYTHING REGARDING MY ADOPTION EXPERIENCE EQUALS GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA!

Deep down I was…

And I still am…

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This is the most devastating news to me, and it seems there isn’t anyone in the world at this point that can relate to the deep level of pain and sadness I am experiencing regarding this matter. I cried for 3 days straight before I could even tell my brother.

So what does this mean? I was able to trace my DNA connections to J.J. my biological father which means if I share DNA with J.J. and my brother and I share no DNA J.J. is not his biological father. What turns out to be something that started out so simple turned into something far more that what we ever expected. I was not only experiencing my own shock and sadness, but I was also feeling some major sadness for my brother because now I had to tell him the TRUTH and I know the TRUTH might hurt.

So many dynamics to this situation but the end result is that the TRUTH is ALWAYS better than living a LIE.

I have sat and tried to figure out what God has taught me in this situation… I know there had to be a lesson and some areas I am going to grow in regarding many dynamics to this. One thing that comes to mind is that I have never experienced a DNA felt connection with anyone aside from my kids until I met my brother. Now, knowing he’s not actually DNA connected I can TRULY say I still have a connection to him and for me that’s a big deal. It has helped me learn that I can have a close connection with someone I am not DNA connected too. I had a few close connections growing up with a few of my adoptive family members I was close too, but I never felt similar to anyone until I met my brother.

The other thing that I feel God was teaching me is to share with ALL MY FELLOW ADOPTEES that DNA TESTING IS CRITICAL! Don’t just assume and go off of what you are told. Even if the reunion seems to be the PERFECT FIT like mine did with my brother, GET DNA TESTING ANYWAY!

I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH! GOD HAS THIS HEAVY ON MY HEART TO SHARE! SO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN ADOPTION, DNA TESTING IS CRITICAL TO CONFIRM! NO MATTER WHAT!

As far as I’m concerned he’s still my brother. I cried and was really upset for about 3 days, and I had to get myself together so I could share this information with my brother. I prayed and I called him.

My fellow adoptees understand the FEARS associated with reunions, and it seemed one of my greatest fears of my brother leaving might be coming true, but I knew I still have to share the truth. I have heard many people say, “Family isn’t always blood, family is what we make it!” and I find this to be true. But as an adoptee that has already lost so much it’s hard to not fear abandonment again. It has happened with every “reunion” I have experienced with ALL biological family members. I have LOST every single one. So naturally based on my experience I am in fear. Maybe my brother will not want to be my brother anymore? Maybe my nieces and nephews won’t want to be in my life anymore, even if they are all far away. I will once again feel all alone in life, and that happy ending wasn’t happy at all. My pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has been snatched away and God didn’t save the best for last, he took the best part of my reunion away. I have felt like this was some evil trick someone played on me.

I had to think about this for a few days. Process everything. I had to feel the emotions and allow myself the room to feel them. I had to cry. I had to cry out to God and ask him to SHOW ME what he is trying to teach me here. I knew there had to be some reasons. 

All those years of my hopes being high for these WONDERFUL DNA relationships, these fantasies of these AMAZING people that I would look like and act like and have so much in common with are really nonexistent and I can’t begin to describe the sadness and loss attached to this disappointment. Of course I had no other options than to believe it would be all wonderful to connect with DNA “Family” because I hadn’t ever experienced it and I always had such a longing to see where I came from and who I looked like. I had HIGH HOPES ALL MY LIFE! After all, “Your birth mother loved your so much” left the imprint deep in my mind all the way back to the first time I heard it that my biological family loved me, and why would they be anything less than wonderful?

Adoption stole A LOT!

I could go on ALL DAY about what has been stolen!

So what do you do when the wall comes tumbling down?

I’M NOT LETTING THE DEVIL STEAL ANYTHING ELSE FROM ME!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10

The devil is not taking my relationship with my brother, or my nieces and nephews. He’s not taking anything else from me. He’s taken my relationships with both birth parents and my birth sister and I’m NOT letting him take my relationship with my brother.

TO HECK WITH THE DEVIL!  HE IS A LIER!

I believe God started preparing this for me early, as I began to build my church family and I started to experience that type of “family” that I had never experienced before. There is nothing like it anywhere and I am not DNA related to any of them. Not DNA from the world anyway. I do share DNA with them regarding us being in the body of Christ together and I must say THEY HAVE SHOWED UP AND SHOWED OUT WHEN NO ONE ELSE HAS! They have shown me the true definition of love, loyalty and what a “Family” is all about. At my church, we call them “Family of Choice”. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I never knew how special and awesome they were until I experienced it. I can share how empty my life was without them. But learning and building these relationships I have TRULY understood and realized family isn’t always blood, but I had to experience this and experience that latter to actually “Get It”. People just telling me that wasn’t helping me. I had to experience it myself.

WE ALL HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THINGS ON OUR OWN!

So today, with the new found results in my life, I can say I’m still sad and I still have fears that my brother is going to disappear being an adoptee I have that fear anyway about everyone   and maybe “Change his mind” about wanting to be my brother. But our last words to each other were, “IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING” And if I have Jesus in me, I have his hope in me too. I am making the choice to hang onto his word and I am NOT letting GO of my relationship with my brother. He is still my brother and I don’t care what DNA says. YES, I am glad we know the truth now because what that means I need to help my brother find his TRUTH!

 “Then you will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you FREE” –John 8:32 is the verse I stand on!

I can’t help but wonder if that is one more reason God put my brother in my life 5 years ago?

As adoptees we receive every little puzzle piece about our lives, any little clue we can get. We piece it together as one overall goal..

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This has let me know that not only adoptees deserve their truth, but EVERYONE deserves their truth. We all deserve to know the answers to the question

“WHO AM I?”

“WHERE DID I COME FROM?” 

I will share as I end, that secrets and lies hurt and they destroy lives. If you are holding back sharing the TRUTH with someone please know that God is a God of TRUTH. Truth means NOTHING HIDDEN. This is why the Adoptee Rights Rally 2016 is so critical!  We all deserve to know our truth no matter how painful it might be. This has literally crushed me, but I would still rather know the truth ANY DAY! What we choose to do with it is our business. I’m praying for everyone involved with adoption realize that secrecy and lies HURT and TRUTH HEALS. We all deserve to know our truth and we all deserve our BIRTH RIGHT so we can move forward and HEAL!

You see, adoption is far more than adopting a beautiful baby to complete a family or to make someones dreams come true to be parents. For adoptees, adoption is rooted in grief, loss & trauma. We have to deal with the life long consequences for decisions that were made for us, decisions we had no choice over and we have little to no support in processing the grief, loss & trauma we face. I have found that societies ignorance to this grief, loss & trauma has only stalled and prolonged adoptees in receiving truth & healing. I’m praying more and more adoptees speak up and speak out and society starts to open their eyes, ears and hearts to receive what adoptees have to say.

If there is anyone on earth that is for TRUTH & HEALING it’s

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Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @pamelakaranova

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Never give up hope in finding your family. You aren’t alone! Can you relate to this blog post? If so please comment, share and let me know your thoughts.

 

A Cup Of Coffee & A Dose Of Truth…

It’s a new day in adoptee land, and all I have on my mind is how many adoptees I can connect with so they know they aren’t alone.

I remember that feeling oh so well.

Growing up feeling alienated, looking different, feeling different because I was different. In the 70’s (and I’m sure years before and after) adoption wasn’t talked about.

I wonder who invented the “Rules” that went along with adopting a child back then?  Better yet, I wonder who came up with the rules on who could adopt and who couldn’t?

I remember learning that everyone was told that when you adopt a baby you were just supposed to keep quiet on everything, not talk about it, and hopefully the child will grow up never questioning its origins, or for some they never told them they were adopted.

I believe many “Closed Adoption” adoptees have major trust issues, with the world. I know because I do. The world we live in and the adoption industry made the choice to take away my history, and remove my identity and sweep it under the rug like my history didn’t matter or exist. Well, you can’t erase DNA. They tried, but it didn’t work.

If you are wondering why this is such a big deal, chances are you haven’t experienced it.

I can’t imagine growing up never knowing I was adopted!!

Thank you adoptive parents for telling me I was adopted!

If I found out “LDA-Late Discovery Adoptee” later in life I was adopted, and my adoptive parents lied to me in that way, I would feel so betrayed.  My heart aches for the LDA’s that I know. That’s a whole different set of emotions, trauma, feelings, etc.

There is no way I will ever believe hiding someone’s original identity, birth certificate, or anything to do with their history is okay. My God is a God of honesty, and I believe TRUTH is the only way to healing.

Being adopted in a closed adoption did a lot of damage. The best part is God heals. Do you think I would be writing about all this if I didn’t have something good, better yet GREAT to tell? Why would I waste your time?

I wouldn’t.

The thing is, times are changing and adoptees are FINALLY sharing how they feel. They are coming together like a close knit thread of a thousand strings, sharing stories. Sharing heartache. Sharing pain.  Sharing Reunions. Sharing how we have healed.  Sharing is healing.

ADOPTEES: NEVER STOP SHARING!

Some of us are already judged, because in the world today adoption is so glorified, there has never been room for adult adoptees voices. You would think our voice would be the most important in the equation, because our lives and experience living being adopted are very valuable.

But unfortunately we are almost always ignored, or labeled angry adoptees. Better yet, “We just had a bad adoption experience”.

Those days are over. I don’t consider my adoption experience to be the worst out there, but there are most certainly some things I wished were done differently. Why would I not share them so other adoptive parents can learn? My adoptive parents were given a set of rules: There were none. It was always the less you talk about it the better.

Well I am here before you today to tell you, that not being able to talk about my feelings growing up is what led me to internalize all my pain. When I reached a certain age, I began using substances, to numb my pain. And we wonder why adoptee suicide rate is 4x more likely than non-adoptees. I thought of suicide MANY times growing up, and have still struggled with it as an adult.

No, I’m not suicidal. I have a great life and too much to live for.

But what I’m saying is that growing up not having a way to communicate my pain, lead to a destructive lifestyle. When the “WORLD” has already painted a picture that everything about adoption is WONDERFUL, there is no room for adoptees to express their pain.

WE HAVE TO DO BETTER PEOPLE!

Sorry to say, Christian’s are the worst!

Not saying all Christians feel this way, but I have found more Christians use the word to try to silence me, and other adoptees and it really is only hurting us worse. I’ve learned to use the word right back, and express that MY GOD is a God of TRUTH. So anyone that believes lies and secrets in adoption are OKAY, I beg to differ with them. We are all raised that lies and secrets aren’t okay.

I believe almost all people in the world who aren’t impacted by adoption in some way, view adoption the only way they know it. That it’s all wonderful saving an “orphan” who otherwise wouldn’t have a family. But they refuse to acknowledge there is any loss in adoption, only gain.  This has to change. This is why I’m speaking out. So future generations of adoptees don’t have to experience the heartache that I did.

For most who are impacted by adoption, they might know about the loss associated with it, but they are in denial that it impacts the adoptee in anyway. I’m here to tell you it does impact us. When we lose everything that connects us to our DNA, or HISTORY, our BIOLOGICAL ROOTS & FAMILY TREE, it is going to impact us. The world has to stop acting like our history doesn’t exist. You can change our birth certificates, you can rename us, you can pretend our first family doesn’t exist.. But DNA doesn’t lie. It will eventually tie us to all the answers we desire to know when we reach a certain age, but it would be the best thing ever if our adoptive parents didn’t act like our first families didn’t exist. This causes us such tremendous heartache. Trust me, I have lived it. I don’t wish it on anyone.

I challenge CHRISTIANS and the WORLD to get honest, and realize that the secrets and lies in adoption are not okay. Open your ears and hearts to the fact that along with the wonderful adoption stories everyone has, there are REAL losses associated with being adopted.

For adoptees, in order to gain a family, we first had to lose one. That loss is HUGE and almost always ignored. Not to mention the loss of the woman who carried us for 9 months, who’s DNA we share.  Being separated from our birth mothers is a trauma in itself, almost always ignored. (Regardless of the slut, whore, drug addict, prostitute, low life we’ve been told she is, she still matters to US!)

Lies are what destroyed a lot of my life. I have learned that secrets and lies are from the devil. This is why I’m in recovery, and will be for the rest of my life! To sort through the mess I was placed in without a choice. God is not a God of secrets and lies, so why are we supporting secrets and lies in adoption?

I refuse to apologize for my view. I refuse to sit down and be silent. I refuse to be silenced by society.  My truth is my truth.

Why do I write? Because when I write no one interrupts me.

I’ve been interrupted and silenced my entire life. 

No one tells me how I should feel here.

They have told me how to feel my entire life.

If people want to read it, they can choose to do it, or chose not to. I’m not pushing my opinions, feelings, or TRUTH on anyone that doesn’t want to read it. If you’ve made it this far, you made the choice to do so.  I realize not everyone will agree with me. That’s okay.  Almost ALL adoptees will understand where I am coming from, and I KNOW they “Get it”.

For the non-adoptees who made it this far, just what if as a society we decided to take our blinders off, and listen to adult adoptees and how they feel? Do you think we could lower the adoptee suicide rate? I know for certain adoptees are dying to be heard, they just want their feelings validated. They want to know their loss is real, and it’s okay to be sad about losing their first families.

The earlier these issues are addressed, and talked about the less pain the adoptee will internalize.

Remember: Honestly and Open Discussions are always best. Secrets and Lies (even little ones) are not from God. They are from the devil.  Lying is never okay.

My adoptive mom always lied to me growing up. We have no relationship today. My adoptive dad was always 100% honest. We have a relationship today.

Speaks for itself.

It’s taken me 40 years to get to a peaceful place of healing. God get’s the glory. I will spend the rest of my days writing and sharing how it’s felt growing up adopted, and living as an adult adoptee in a world that doesn’t recognize our loss.

Adoptees, never give up on finding your TRUTH, never give up on HEALING. God can and he WILL give you your truth & he will help you HEAL. You just have to BELIEVE! ❤

If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

For all adoptees reading, please add me to your Facebook!

Pamela Karanova, Adult Adoptee Reunited

 

Lexington, KY

pamelakaranova@gmail.com

www.howdoesitfeeltobeadopted.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

Smiling Through the Pain..

My oldest daughter let me know the other day she “KNEW I HATED THE HOLIDAYS”, and if I hate the holidays they will hate the holidays. It made me feel pretty bad. I guess I let my truth surface for awhile, where I’ve had to hide it my whole life.

I try REALLY hard to muzzle through but as soon as Fall approaches I start to dread the time of year where everyone talks about spending time with their “FAMILIES” when adoption has left me robbed of most of mine. It’s a REALLY tough time, and I know my kids don’t understand it. It’s left me in another situation where I feel bad, and it honestly takes everything in me just to get through another day. I never want them to feel my pain, but I know they feel it when I fail to pretend like I’m happy all the time.

The problem I’m having is that I don’t want those close to me like my kids, and my significant other to feel like they aren’t enough to make me happy. They are definitely enough to make me happy, but it’s more of an outside layer of happy.  They are the reason I get up every day.  The inside layer is still the broken hearted little girl searching for her mommy. In reality she’s never coming back. I hate this feeling. I want it to go away. I know she’s not coming back. She’s dead for God’s sake so why do I still keep feeling this way?

“LET IT GO!”… Well let me just say, if it was that easy for me don’t you think I would love to just LET IT GO! Society takes away my right to grieve growing up, and as an adult I had to do the work and GET SOBER ( speaking for myself) and decided I was going to FEEL THE PAIN of losing my first family and everything that goes along with it, we’re told by the world to just “GET OVER IT”. Do you not understand this only causes pain to our already unrecognized TRAUMA?  Loss is LOSS, and everyone deserves to grieve their loss. I write. I share my story. Don’t think for a minute all I do is sit around and cry all day long about being adopted and how much it sucks! I have a life, I have a career, I have my kids, my man, my church family & friends. On the outside I’m happy but I want to be happy on the inside too. That is why I’m in recovery. That’s why I write. That’s why I’m on a healing journey. I’ve been on this journey for 3 years, and it’s not getting ANY EASIER! Only harder, but no one said it would be easy. The more I step forward, the more layers are pealed. The more messed up I think I am. Why would anyone really want to be bothered with me? I just can’t believe anyone would really want to “keep me” knowing all the deep rooted emotional issues I have with this adoption experience. This way of thinking is challenging because it’s hard to build relationships when I feel like EVERYONE is going to THROW ME AWAY!

I think the inside layer of trauma that occurred at the beginning of life, and the added pain of being told she “loved me SO much” & believing she would come find me has all left me flat on my face since I’ve been living in recovery. The real truth is surfacing. Lies are being exposed and my TRUTH is being revealed.

My birth mother didn’t love me and she was NEVER coming back!

It’s the holidays, and many people have trouble during the holidays… Not just adoptees. I recognize this. But I speak from an adoptee in recovery’s standpoint so that’s why I write about what I do. I know other adoptees can feel my pain.

So today, and every day I will continue to smile through the pain for those around, and take comfort in the fact that God knows my broken heart. He knew it when I was a little girl, and he knows it now. Smiling through the pain is hard. Sometimes I sit in my car and cry, I cry when I drive because I’m alone. I know the people driving next to me think I’m crazy, I don’t care. I cry at work, I cry when no one is looking. God knows my cries. I’m asking him for healing. I know he can do it.

I just had to get this off my chest. Today, I’m still the broken hearted little girl wishing her mommy would come back and there isn’t usually a 5 minute period I don’t think about HER!…  But I will continue to smile through the pain for others.  It’s so exhausting, but my kids are worth it and they deserve a happy mom. I long for the day where I’m happy inside. Thank GOD I have HOPE!

Can any of my fellow adoptees relate? How do you make it though the holidays?. XO

-Pamela Jones

2 Years 4 Months SOBER!

@freesimplyme

http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

The Narcissistic Adoptive Mother

It’s amazing to finally be able to put a name to the way this lady is. I’ve always had an extremely difficult time explaining her characteristics over the years and when I do almost everyone I know can’t fully grasp what I’m explaining unless they experience it themselves. It makes it rather challenging to explain WHY I can’t have a relationship with her today but none the less I’ve let go of my need to explain it, unless someone specifically asks.

After doing some research on “Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers” I was overwhelmed in a sort of a good way with the similarities that my adoptive “mother” has with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I say overwhelmed, because finally I’m able to understand better. I needed these answers to be able to put some pieces together as to why she is the way she is. This has helped me gain a better understanding of why my childhood and life was the way it was when she was in it.

Here are some questions that were asked to me and almost every one fits my adoptive mother to the perfect description.

Check all those that apply to your relationship with your mother:

(X)= This is something I continuously experienced with my adoptive mother over my lifetime.

  1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself? (X)- ALL THE TIME!
  2. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feeling with her own? (X) – 100% OF THE TIME!
  3. Does your mother act jealous of you? (X) YES, IT’S ALL ABOUT HER!
  4. Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings? (X) – ALL ABOUT HER!
  5. Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother?” (X) YES! SHE BELIEVES SHE GETS CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE. GOD GET’S MY GLORY. NOT HER. SHE DROVE ME INSANE MY WHOLE LIFE.
  6. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother? (X) – YES YES YES! WE HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP AND SHE MAKES MY SKIN CRAWL.
  7. Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you? – (X) YES! SHE USED ME FOR ENTITLEMENT REASONS, AND FOR ME TO TAKE CARE OF HER AND BE HER SLAVE.
  8. Does your mother only do things for you when others can see? (X)- YES, THEN BRAGS ABOUT IT!
  9. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce,) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel? (X) – YES, IT’S ALL ABOUT HER! ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
  10. Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
  11. Does your mother deny her own feelings? (X) YES BUT SHE HAS NO PROBLEMS BEING OVERLY EMOTIONAL AND CRYING ALL DAY LONG.
  12. Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her feelings or actions? (X)- YES, SHE’S NEVER IN THE WRONG, EVER.
  13. Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carried a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem? (X)- YES AND I HAD TO PAY FOR THIS FOR 31 YEARS OF MY LIFE UNTIL I ESCAPED.
  14. Do you feel you were a slave to your mother? (X) I KNOW I WAS A SLAVE TO HER! THAT’S THE ONLY REASON SHE ADOPTED ME.
  15. Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)? (X) YES, SHE WAS AND STILL IS SICK EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE AND IT WAS ALWAYS PROJECTED ON ME AS A CHILD AND GROWING UP. I WAS RESPONSIBLE TO MAKE HER FEEL BETTER.
  16. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child? (X) ALWAYS! ALWAYS! ALWAYS!  ADD EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL TO THIS LIST!
  17. Do you feel unaccepted by your mother? (X)
  18. Do you feel your mother was critical of you? (X)
  19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother? (X) I FEEL HORRIBLE AROUND HER!
  20. Are you shamed often by your mother? (X) NEVER FEEL GOOD ENOUGH.
  21. Do you feel your mother knows the real you? (X) NO, SHE CAN’T POSSIBLY.
  22. Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her? (X) YES, ALWAYS HAS! CENTER OF ATTENTION IN EVERY SINGLE SITUATION!
  23. Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother? (X) GROWING UP, YES. NOW, NO..I MOVED ACROSS THE COUNTRY!
  24. Does your mother appear phony to you? (X) YES!
  25. Does your mother want to control your choices? (X) YES!
  26. Does your mother swing from egotistical to a depressed mood? (X) MORE DEPRESSED ALL THE TIME. DRAINING TO ME. AGAIN ALL ABOUT HER.
  27. Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child? (X) YES! ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS!
  28. Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother? (X) YES!
  29. Do you feel valued by mother for what you do rather than who you are? (X) YES! IT’S ALL ABOUT WHAT SHE CAN “GET” OUT OF YOU.
  30. Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr? (X) VICTIM MENTALITY ALL THE WAY ALL THE TIME.
  31. Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel? (X) SHE DID GROWING UP, NOW I’M MY OWN PERSON AND I CAN SHARE MY FEELINGS SINCE I ESCAPED HER WRATH.
  32. Does your mother compete with you? (X) OF COURSE! IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT HER!
  33. Does your mother always have to have things her way? (X) YES!
  34. A grandiose sense of self-importance (may be shown as an exaggeration of abilities and talents, expectation that he or she will be seen as superior to all others). (X) YES! ALL SHE TALKS ABOUT IS HER SELF!
  35. Is obsessed with him- or herself. (X) YES!
  36. Goals are almost always selfish and self-motivated. (X) YES! IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT HER!
  37. Has troubles with healthy, normal relationships. (X) YES, SHE HAS MY WHOLE LIFE!
  38. Becomes furious if criticized. (X) YES YES YES! SHE TURNS INTO A 2 YEAR OLD LITERALLY!
  39. Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, love, and beauty.
  40. Believes that he or she is unique and special, and therefore should only hang out with other special, high-status people.
  41. Requires extreme admiration for everything. (X) YES, AND FOCUSES SOLY ON HER SELF.
  42. Feels entitled – has unreasonable expectations of special treatment. (X) YES, AND REFERS TO WHAT SHE’S DONE FOR YOU AS TO WHY SHE SHOULD GET IT.
  43. Takes advantage of others to further his or her own needs. (X) ALWAYS! SHE DOES NOTHING UNLESS SHES GETTING SOMETHING IN RETURN.
  44. Has zero empathy – cannot (or will not) recognize the feelings of others. (X) ITS ALL ABOUT HER!
  45. May be envious of others or believe that others are envious of him or her. (X) ENVIOUS OF OTHERS. CANNNOT CELEBRATE OTHERS EVENTS UNLESS SHE PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON HERSLEF TO STEAL THE SHOW. THIS IS CONVERSATIONS ALSO.
  46. Behaves arrogantly, haughtily. (X) YES! SHE TURNS INTO A 2 YEAR OLD LITERALLY. STARTS POUTING, STOMPING HER FEET, STORMING OFF SLAMMING DOORS, CROSSING HER ARMS WHEN SHE IS TOLD SHE’S IN THE WRONG OR SHE HEARS SOMETHING SHE DOESN’T LIKE.

Note: All of these questions related to narcissistic traits. The more questions you checked, the more likely your mother has narcissistic traits and this has caused some difficulty for you as a growing daughter and adult.

Narcissistic Parent Glossary and Terms:

Narcissistic Attachment: is the belief that the child of a narcissist exists only for the benefit of the parent, such as a particular status.

Parentification: is the expectation that a child must care for his/her parent, siblings, and household as a surrogate parent. This causes the child to lose out on any type of normal childhood.

Infantilization: using brainwashing tactics to ensure a child stays young and dependent upon the Narcissistic Parent.

Triangulation: a tactic used by narcissistic parents to change the balance of power in a family system. For example, rather than allowing two siblings to work together, the Narcissistic Parent insists that he or she be the go-between. This controls the way the information flows, the way it is interpreted, and adds nuances to the conversation. It’s also a way to feed Narcissistic Supply.

Narcissistic Supply: is a term used to designate the manner in which narcissists require, feed on attention. The best sorts of attention are approval, adoration, and admiration, but other sources of attention – like fear – are acceptable to a Narcissist. Children, small children, of narcissists are used as an ongoing source of this attention.

Gaslighting: a way in which Narcissistic Parents (and other abusers) use lies – intentional or not – to make their child question his or her own reality. A child may end up feeling as though he or she is crazy. An example would be, insisting that the sky is actually green, until the child believes it. Gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of emotional and psychological abuse.

Narcissistic Rage: Narcissists despise any challenge or insult, and when that happens, a Narcissist can fly into a rage – spewing insults and becoming physical and aggressive with their children.

Site Source: www.willieverbegoodenough.com & www.bandbacktogether.com

Let me just say that no matter how my adoptive mom was, I still experienced the trauma of being separated from my birth mother at the beginning of life. So many people say, “Oh, she had a bad adoption experience…That explains it all” Well…….That “Bad Experience’ more like a nightmare began the day I was born. The moment I was swept away from my birth mother and I laid in a nursery for 4 days all alone. That moment I experienced the biggest trauma of my life. That moment my history was erased, my weight and height didn’t matter. My biological roots were a mere part of my past that no one wanted to recognize. I was never supposed to find out where I came from. The moment I was separated from my birth mother I was considered a blank slate. My little body was just in existence, waiting to be formed and molded into what “THEY” wanted me to be. It didn’t matter that I just lost my mommy, the woman who carried me for 9 months in her belly.

The home where I stayed with my adoptive mom felt like I was living in a world that’s almost indescribable. It’s very difficult for me to explain to people all the hell I went through in her home. After her and my adoptive dad divorced when I was a year old, my adoptive sister and I were the center of her world. She wanted to be a mother SO BAD, yet failed to deliver in providing us with a loving home. Everything from day one was about HER. Now that I’m 40 years old and I look back over my childhood I feel as if I was almost kept captive in her home. Formed and molded into what she wanted me to be. She caused every problem there ever was in that home. I never had 5 minutes to JUST BE A KID. Every time I would run off to play, she would shout my name. She had more tasks and cleaning for me to do- EVERY SINGLE DAY! This was the same when I would try to go outside to play, or turn the T.V. on to a kid station. She was so overly emotional, and cried every single day of my life. She was addicted to prescription pain pills, stayed in bed all the time, depressed. Her moods changed in an instant, and she was often suicidal and made sure my adoptive sister and I knew she was attempting to kill herself so we would cry and BEG her not to. I remember being hysterical on multiple occasions thinking she was going to die, including the time she laid in the middle of the street while we watched in horror from our 3rd floor apartment window. I will never forget these things. She made sure we knew all of her adult problems, she talked about everyone, she started trouble between everyone in her family and she absolutely THRIVES ON BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION IN EVERY SITUATION!

One of the biggest reasons I lost respect for this lady is because she ALWAYS spoke negatively about my adoptive dad. In my 40 years of life, he has never said one word about her negatively to me, neither has his wife. I was always faced with situations where she was speaking bad about him. He was a great adoptive father, and he provided for us, paid child support, and did all he was supposed to do. I supposed she was trying to gain brownie points for all the negative talk about him but all it did was make me feel even more alone, and worse than ever. She took her personal feelings and made them my business when I shouldn’t have ever known about their issues. I see a lot of mothers do this about fathers, not even in adoption and little do they know it makes the child feel negatively about themselves. That’s their father, you had a child with him no matter how it came about. Kids are NOT responsible for ADULT consequences. She always made her issues our issues. This was a heavy load to carry as a child and I remember this happening as far back in my childhood as I can remember.

My adoptive mom played my adoptive sister and I against each other. We never stood a chance at being sisters, because she always had one of us who was the “Good Kid” and the other was “The Bad Kid”. This created a constant battle field in our home. My adoptive sister (she came from a different family) has always hated my guts because her and my adoptive mom used to fist fight all the time, and I was the odd ball out who was always trying to rescue and comfort my adoptive mom. She would cry hysterical and I didn’t know what else to do besides sit there, next to her and take care of her. I would rub her back, and say “It’s okay mommy, everything’s going to be okay”. Just typing those words makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH. This wasn’t once in a blue moon, this was every single day of my childhood. This created a deep rooted resentment in my adoptive sister because she felt like the “Bad Kid” and I was the “Good Kid”. This is described in the narcissistic information above, and it describes my childhood to a tee. It was hell living in that home.

My adoptive mom was a horrible housekeeper. She couldn’t cook a hot meal and serve it all at once. Everything was always a mess, and her adoptive kids more like little house slaves were in charge of catering to her every need. I remember over and over she would call us from far away to go fetch things for her, and this happened even if she was closer than we were. Yeah, I know. Lots of kids “fetch” things for their parents, but she was overly excessive with it! Every five minutes we were fetching things.

Her life was consumed with us and what we could do for her. If we tried to do what kids do, she put an end to it. We would get up extra early on a Saturday morning to try to watch cartoons, as soon as she would wake up she would make us turn the TV off and she had a list of chores for us to do the size of a poster board. I’m not kidding! This started at a very early age. If we tried to go outside to play she had more chores for us to do, so on occasion we would sneak. I remember the feeling so vividly because we wouldn’t be outside 5 minutes and she would come screaming for us to get in the house, but that few minutes of FREEDOM was the best feeling in the world, even when I knew it was only going to be a few minutes before it was over. Back inside living in hell, serving and catering to this lady who I’m supposed to call “Mom”. When things didn’t go her way, she would tie us to chairs with dish towels. I remember this very clear and I never understood what I did that was so bad to deserve this. I will never forget being tied to those chairs as a little girl. She would make us give her massages, all over her body. She said her body hurt all the time, so our job was to help her pain go away, (even when she was loaded on prescription pain pills). Every single day we had to rub her back, her feet & her legs. She even had us pop pimples & black heads on her back, and this traumatized me for life! She used to lie on the bathroom floor and make us give her enemas. What normal human being makes their kids do these things? This woman is truly disgusting and I will never forget the things she made us do. These things are NOT NORMAL.

Things got rocky when things didn’t go her way. As we got older the fights escalated and got out of hand. Why was there so much fighting going on in this home? I mean physical fighting between my adoptive mom and my adoptive sister AND between my adoptive sister and I. As I’ve gotten older it’s been made apparent to me that this woman never should have been allowed to adopt children.

I sat my adoptive dad down one day a few years ago. I had a heart to heart with him. I asked him “WHY DID YOU MARRY HER?!! WHY WAS SHE ALLOWED TO ADOPT CHILDREN? WHY DID YOU LEAVE US WITH HER WHEN YOU DIVORCED?” I needed these answers!!!

He sat at my dining room table, and held my hand and said how sorry he was. He said she fought him tooth and nail in court to get custody, and all the judge would give him was visitation & holidays. He said that I came REAL close to not being adopted. My older sister was adopted a year earlier, and my adoptive mom had an extremely difficult time taking care of her, and struggled each day to parent her as a new born baby and the weeks, and months to follow. She could barely take care of her. Then they got the call for me. My adoptive dad said my adoptive mom had to go to a psychiatrist before they agreed they wanted to adopt me. For whatever reason they decided she would be able to parent me, on top of a 1 year old so the adoption was granted from a private attorney and granted. I went home with them 4 days after I was born and they divorced when I was 1 year old. I know for certain I could have never bonded with this lady. As much of a basket case as she was as far back as I can remember, I know she was even worse when I was a newborn baby. I’m glad I have some answers, but I wish my adoptive dad would have fought harder to get custody of us!!!

As we grew into our early teen years, things got worse. Fighting got worse, everything got worse. My adoptive sister escaped and went to live with my adoptive dad. I got stuck in my adoptive moms home because I felt sorry for her, and I knew if she was left alone she very well may commit suicide as she had tried this so many other times. She made sure to manipulate us, and she always made it known that her feelings are something we are responsible for. I learned later in life, that’s ridiculous. All the way from being a young girl, I never had a healthy relationship around me and I never had a mother/daughter relationship or a bond. I could never share my feelings with her, because it was ALWAYS about her, her feelings, her drama, & her issues. I was just in existence to cater to her needs, her wants and her desire to be labeled “MOTHER”. That seems the only purpose I served in her life. When I was in my early teens I remember her talking about never wanting to go to a nursing home. She would explain over and over all the “bad things” she saw in nursing homes, and would constantly bring up the fact that she never wanted to live in a nursing home. She mentioned me being her POA, and would throw hints my way over and over that her intentions were for me to be her POA and for her to live with me as she grew into an elderly woman, and then she wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. As I got older, I realized her speaking about this would increase, as well as all her health issues, sickness, and emotional hang ups. She was sick every single day of my life. I never remember her saying, “I feel great today!”. NEVER! There was always a reason for her to take pills, and stay in bed, depressed. Pills were everywhere lying all over the place. I hated it!

Nothing changed as I got older, and I had kids. She just began to project her misery onto my children, and started to find ways to manipulate my own kids against me. They saw her unhealthy and sleeping all the time. She made them give her massages. They saw her messy lifestyle, with bottles of pills laying all around. It was up to me to save them from what I had to experience growing up.

I’m glad her dreams were fulfilled, at least for 31 years, until I got up enough courage to pack up a 22 foot U-Haul and move my kids and I across the country. I’m 40 now.   This was the hardest decision of my life, because at that moment I knew I had to do this for my kids, not just for myself. My adoptive mom Mommy Dearest was a professional at creating co-dependent relationships, and she thrived on me needing her for different things. She knew I needed her help babysitting, but when I started seeing her treat my kids the same way she did us growing up, I knew I had to come up with an escape plan. I know this may sound dramatic to some, but I truly felt like I had to ESCAPE her WRATH once and for ALL!

I began planning the move across the country. She began to play mind games with my kids, talking bad about me behind my back. I remember the day I loaded the 22 foot U-Haul with no support from anyone in the whole wide world, accept my best friend. I could have never done it without her!! I planned to drive across the country, drop our stuff off in storage, and fly back to pick up my kids. I wanted to talk to them every day so they wouldn’t think I left them or abandoned them. This fucking bitch turned her ringer off and wouldn’t let me talk to my kids AT ALL the entire 3 days I was gone. Finally she answered my call from someone else’s phone, and I let her have it! That was the last straw for me, with her and her sick minded manipulation games. I will never forget it, because I wanted to make sure my kids knew exactly what I was doing, and where I was. I wanted to tell them I loved them every day, but she stopped it from happening.

I have forgiven this lady, but in the process of me forgiving her, I have had to accept the fact that she stole my one chance at having a decent mother. She stole my childhood, and any happiness I would have had as a child. Now, she thinks she has some “Grandparent” rights to my kids. She wants to come visit them, and continue on with a sick and unhealthy relationship with them. Every time she visits, she turns my flipping house upside down. It’s like the devil shows up and my door, and comes whipping through my home like a tornado. It’s insane how ONE PERSON can cause so many problems. After her last visit, she’s not welcome around me, or in my home. She’s a VERY BIG trigger to me, actually the biggest in my life. I’m living in recovery going on 2.5 years from alcohol abuse, and drug abuse for numbing my LIFES ISSUES, ADOPTION BEING THE ROOT! I can’t chance my recovery and have someone in my life whos a huge trigger like she is. My Christian counselor has told me its okay to not have her in my life. I don’t owe her ANYTHING! Now, I have to try to do my best to explain all this to my kids, who ARE impacted by my adoption experience. They are VERY MUCH IMPACTED!

My adoptive moms family has recently disclosed to me that they feel like “SHE WAS BORN WITH EVIL IN HER BODY!.” After discovering I believe she’s suffering from extreme narcissism, and bipolar disorder, depression and an addiction to prescription pain pills It’s has brought me some understanding on how ONE PERSON can do so much damage. If I was to sit and try to have a calm talk with her about all the damage she’s done to me in my life, she would turn into a 2 year old literally! She has never admitted when she was wrong, or made any changes to get help for her behavior. She’s sick, and mentally ill and I have to keep her away from me. The thought of her coming back into my life sends complete and total FEAR into my body. It takes me back to my childhood, and being that scared little girl who needed a mommy, but I was too busy caring for her and her needs, I was robbed of a mother all together but left constantly taking care of her needs. She never adopted for me, she adopted for her selfish desires, and today I have no mother.

Every day I’m reminded of this. When I found my birth mother, I sat and had one talk with her. I wanted for this day my entire life. Her question to me was, “So tell me about your life?”. I remember not having much good to say. I told her my adoptive parents divorced when I was 1. My adoptive mom and I never got along, I was in and out of group homes, and juvenile lock up. I guess she wanted me to share some “WONDERFUL STORY”. But because I didn’t have one, this is something she took deeply to heart. I know because I was told she was REALLY upset that she was promised I would have 2 parents and my adoptive parents divorced when I was 1. If that was the case, she would have raised me herself! She was VERY upset about this, and after this meeting she shut me out and never spoke to me again. I can’t help but try to put myself in her shoes, and feel the shame, guilt and sorrow she must have felt when she learned the life that she had planned to be so much “BETTER” than the one she could give me wasn’t better at all. I was told this crushed her. She passed away, and rejected a relationship with me after meeting that one time. I can’t help but hold my adoptive “mom” somewhat responsible because once again, she stole so much from me. Even the one chance I had at beginning a relationship with my birth mother was STOLEN because my adoptive “mom” FAILED at being a MOTHER!

Where has this left me? MOTHER-LESS! My kids are GRANDMOTHER-LESS. I was forced to make a decision where I felt I had to move across the country from this unhealthy sick human being, and then it leaves us all with constant reminders of what adoption has taken. I have no relationship with my adoptive sister today. My narcissistic adoptive “mom” made sure she ruined any and all chances of us ever being close by playing us against each other all the way back to the beginning of my life. That;s another loss, and my kids have had to experience this loss also. Bottom line, I can’t have UNHEALTHY relationships in my life!!! There is no hope that my birth mother will be in my life, or my kids. Adoption made sure of that.

My adoptive mother fits all these things perfectly.

 Maternal Narcissism

Every single day, every holiday, every minute I’m reminded of what adoption has taken from me. I’m on a healing journey, and more and more is revealed daily. I’m thankful God is revealing it, but I hope some adoptive parents, and biological parents, and adoptees can read this and learn that adoption isn’t all rainbows for some of us! I’m thankful for my blog. I’m thankful for this place where I can share my feelings, even when some of my entries are entirely too long! This is the ONLY place I have to share it. And not one single person in my life, adoptive or biological family reads this place. I don’t think they could handle the truth, and if they did read it I would be left once again defending myself as to WHY I FEEL THE WAY I DO. I’m thankful God has given me my adoptee VOICE. I’m thankful for all of my church family God has put in my life who may not “Get it” but they listen to me, and support me no matter what. I’m thankful for my relationships with my kids, and a very special man I have in my life. They all tell me, that when they look at me they can see my mind never stops racing. If only they could experience the thoughts in my mind for a 5 minute period, they would understand me so much better. I don’t believe there’s any way they could handle it, because almost all the thoughts in my head are FEAR related to my adoption experience. Fear of people leaving me, fear of EVERYTHING! I guess I need to keep reminding myself when I’ve lost EVERYTHING there isn’t much else I can lose, even when it feels like it. You see, even in the middle of living this nightmare of a life I didn’t have any control over, I ESCAPED & I’M THANKFUL FOR THAT! But let me say, I will never be able to be THANKFUL for being ADOPTED. Adoption has stolen too much from me. I hate being adopted with every bit of my being.

 I would have rather had my REAL MOTHER and lived in a CARD BOARD BOX than been assigned to my ADOPTIVE MOM and lived in HELL ON EARTH in her home. IJS!

 Now I have a choice what I’m going to do with all of this pain. God has let me know that our pain is someone else’s gain. So here I am, sharing my journey in hopes to reach other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. I have so much more to say, but TODAY I have to head out to work.

If you made it this far, THANKS FOR READING!

Let me know you were here and if you can relate to any of what I’ve experienced or my feelings. Did you have a narcissistic adoptive parent? Was it the adoptive father or adoptive mother? Or both? How did this make you feel?

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Thank you for reading! 

Pamela A. Karanova