The Essence of My Biological Parents and My Adoptive Parents Being Deceased – An Adoptees Perspective

The Essence of My Biological Parents and My Adoptive Parents Being Deceased – An Adoptees Perspective by Pamela A. Karanova

For years now, I have had strained or missing relationships with all of my adoptive parents and my biological parents. But, in the last twelve years, they have all passed away one by one—four people with whom I had four unusual or missing relationships.

Two of them passed away in the last six months.

As a result, my obsession with trolling for obituaries on Google has concluded. I won’t miss it because, like closed adoption, it’s torture and agonizing.

How would you feel if the only way you might learn of your parent’s or family members passing was by conducting Google searches weekly or sometimes daily looking for obituaries? What if this went on for years or even a lifetime?

How many of my fellow adoptees have found themselves doing this?

How does it make you feel?

I always knew this day would come when my biological parents and adoptive parents, aka my parents on paper, would all be gone. Thankfully, I did gain notification of each of the deaths by way of social media or direct contact but that doesn’t change the reality that Google has been my #1 search engine in hopes of learning about the deaths of all of my parents.

But unfortunately, I recently learned my adoptive dad passed away on 1/3/23, and I struggle to find the emotions I should have about his passing. We hadn’t communicated in several years. The sadness I feel doesn’t feel new, I have felt this loss every day. Yet, I haven’t shared his passing with anyone but very few people. So let me also share that my biological father also passed away a little less than six months ago on 6/21/22. I still have yet to scratch the surface on processing his passing away. I have enormous feelings about the obituaries for each of these people, but I will save them for another article.

One of these men took a small part in raising me, and the other took every part in creating me. Equally, from the world’s description, they should have been my fathers, but the description of strangers is more true-to-life.

So how do I have a chance at two fathers yet feel like they are essential strangers? Welcome to the torture of adoption, the one that splits family trees apart and separates and divides. The one that creates lifelong consequential emotional and mental torment for the adopted child that grows up.

I have the same experience with both of my mothers. One took part in raising and traumatizing me; the other took part in creating me and her choice for my life and being separated from her traumatized me at the very beginning of my life.

I describe my adoptive parents as my parents on paper or my paper parents. Here’s why. They signed the adoption paperwork, and I did not. My life was estranged from both of them before they passed away for many reasons I will not discuss in this article but what I will say is that I feel like I was forced to make a choice.

With that choice, I picked myself. Unfortunately, I have been put in a situation because of the split adoption creates where I had to make this conclusion, and I regret it enormously. Most non-adoptees don’t comprehend what I even mean.

Well, let me be frank – when I was born in the adoption paradox at no choice of my own, I have always felt this internal tug-of-war being tugged in a million different directions. It’s felt like a split in the core of my being, and then from those two splits, there are more splits and more and more, and the splits go on forever, yet I can’t fully claim any side as mine.

Some may see it as a larger-than-life, full-of-love family tree. But I see it as a tree with no growing roots, replaced by severed roots that are chopped up all over the ground and left for dead.

I am the dead roots, trying to come alive, all alone. Still, because of all the emotions and deep-rooted feelings that resurface over and over, it’s almost impossible to feel planted or to grow with all these different people and families from all over the place.

Two sets, maternal and paternal, represent a DNA connection, and the other two, my adoptive parents, represent shared history. They are equally part of me, but I am forced to keep them separate. I fucking hate it because it always feels like I’m hiding half of myself to protect the other side. I have to watch what I say, and I have to watch what I do. And I damn sure can never share MY STORY because of the fear of pissing both sides off.

I have always felt like tremendous missing links have created a wedge between all my parents and me, and I genuinely believe ADOPTION is the root cause. I have no shared history with my biological parents and no shared DNA with my adoptive aka paper parents. I have always felt ripped into a million pieces between these two worlds. I have never felt like I belong in either of them.

Because of 45+ years of trying to shake this reality off, the sooner I acknowledged my adoptee pain was here to stay, the sooner things got more manageable for me. But in this self-reflection process, I also acknowledged I had to walk away from everyone to save myself.

This is something only a very minimal number of adoptees can do. Taking the first step towards freedom took strength and courage, but it didn’t come without a cost.

It was the hardest thing I ever did.

It cost me everything to choose myself.

EVERYTHING.

But at least now I have myself, even if I feel like I am in shambles half the time.

When others lose a parent, I see people grieving, crying on social media about the loss, and having loved ones surround them with care and concern. I see meal trains and flowers delivered. I see people take off work to grieve the life-changing loss and to take suitable time to grieve the loss. I see the world have compassion for someone when they lose a parent, not to mention losing two parents in a short period.

I don’t see the same thing for adopted people, especially when we mention we had no relationship or estranged relationships with our adopters or biological parents. It’s almost as if the world shrugs its shoulders and says to itself, “Well, you didn’t know them, so what’s the big deal?” or better yet, “You chose not to have a relationship with them,” so it’s your fault. It’s a miracle if we are contacted at all.

No matter how hard we try or what we do, we’re always outsiders looking in – especially to the immediate adoptive or biological relatives because, let’s never forget, blood is always thicker than water. In my case, and many other adoptees, blood will also toss you to the wolves in the name of “Brave Love.” Even more so if you have no shared history.

In reality, the loss of these individuals hurts and hurts profoundly. However, as an adoptee, I can share that my grief for each person is not due to what was but rather what wasn’t. Every day of my life, I have cried inside at the loss of my biological mother and the loss of the woman I wished my adoptive mom was.

I have also cried inside at losing the connection with my biological father and the relationship I always wished I had with my adoptive dad. But unfortunately, these deep relationships never existed, so I have cried every day as if each of these people died daily because, essentially, I felt like they did.

But, instead of shedding external tears of sadness for what was lost with each of them, I have shed internal tears that ebb and flow as life passes me by every day of my life.

This isn’t new; it’s been a lifelong journey.

The two biological parents I sincerely spent a lifetime desiring to find, meet and get to know slammed the door in my face once located. I have yet to experience any more tremendous pain in this lifetime than the pain of this disappointment followed by grief, loss, abandonment, and rejection that will never entirely go away.

Unfortunately, the two who paid a cash price in exchange for being parents, who signed the dotted line, weren’t capable of being parents. My adoptive dad knew my adoptive mother was mentally unstable, yet he adopted two daughters and abandoned us a year later, divorced her, and left. He moved over an hour away, remarried, and raised her three sons as his own.

I get it.

He chose to save himself as I did.

I can’t tell you one lesson my adoptive dad taught me over my lifetime. He was always far away, and it impacted any relationship we might have had. I remember him saying, “If you’re happy, I’m happy,” which has been the extent of anything I have retained that could be a “lesson” he taught me. I don’t know anything about him other than he worked at John Deere, where he retired. While I am waiting patiently on his obituary to be published, I am confident I will find out more about him in his obituary than what I knew in my 48 years of him being my parent on paper.

I almost got up enough nerve about 8-9 years ago to reach out to him and ask him if he could come to Kentucky for a weekend, so I could get to know him while we planned a father/daughter visit. I was hoping that one time in my life, I could spend even one hour with him alone to get to know him one-on-one. This is something I have never experienced nor do I have any father/daughter memories to hang onto. But then, one day, I woke up and reevaluated all my relationships and acknowledged the reality that I have visited Iowa dozens of times over the years. As a result, I accepted that my adoptive dad had visited Kentucky 3 times in over 30 years.

I have never spent one hour with my adoptive dad, just him and me ever, in my whole life. So it’s hard for me to look at him like a father. I can see why the other people in his life have that experience with him; however, I don’t. Because of his choice to leave me with my adoptive mom, my childhood was robbed and stolen. Here’s an article on what it was like growing up with her. – The Narcissistic Adoptive Mom.

Not long after I turned 17, my adoptive mom moved me across the country, away from everyone. I never got along with my adoptive mom. We were like oil and vinegar. Because of this, I have felt entirely alone in the family area my whole life until I had my kids, who are all adults now.

So many memories with my biological family have been robbed because of adoption, and so much time has been lost, never to return. Reminiscing upon my life story, one of the most valuable things to me is time and what I can do with it. I hold high importance on making memories with those I love with the time I have left on this earth.

Adoption is a coverup for the most tremendous loss of someone’s life. It glosses over the loss before an adoption takes place with a shiny, sparkly coat that shines for all to see. But the reality is adoption is the ring leader of counterfeit and forged connections and not every adoptee benefits from it or bonds with their adopters.

I thank adoption because it’s the gift that keeps on giving; to me, it feels like death all by itself. It’s the queen of separation and the king of the division of families. It’s the ruler of grief, loss, anger, rage, abandonment, and rejection. It’s the monarch of a lifetime of pain that never goes away, rooted in secrecy, lies, and half-truths.

While I have stepped into a space of acknowledging that all my parents are gone because of the separation and division that adoption causes, I have never felt like they were here to begin with. This isn’t new because they have all left the earth; it’s been this way since the beginning.

I think my grief is heightened because this is it. Any small glimmer of hope something will change or be different is dead and gone with all the people with whom I should have the closest relationships.

“You chose to walk away from everyone,” says the world.

Yes, yes, I did.

But I should have never felt like I had to make that decision, to begin with. Unless you are adopted and forced to walk this tightrope, you have no idea how it feels. The split is too painful for me, and I give up on it.

But make no mistake, giving up still comes with a lifetime of anguish about what should have been, could have been, and what was robbed because of adoption and relinquishment.

My adoptive and biological parents are all deceased; however, adoption’s revolting and heartbreaking consequences are still felt for generations. I have no idea where to start processing my pain, but writing this article is a first step for me.

For my fellow adoptees, does this article resonate with you at all?

How do you think adoption has impacted your relationships with your adoptive parents and biological parents?

If they have passed away, how have you processed the loss?

I’ve created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for adult adoptees and adoption advocates!

Thank you for reading,

Love, Love

Pamela A. Karanova

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article 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. While it is Pamela’s hope that you find the information in her website useful and informative please note- the information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by Pamela A. Karanova with the goal of having the information up-to-date and correct; she makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the resources list on the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the resources listed on her website. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Pamela A. Karanova. She has no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.

A Living, Breathing Inconvenience: The War Within – An Adoptees Perspective

Trigger Warning: This article contains content about suicidal ideation. 

This website has saved me so many times from releasing my burdensome thoughts to those I am close to. Over the last decade, being able to share my big adoptee sentiments here on my website has likely saved my life many times over!

Thank you for being here and allowing me to communicate my inner adoptee thoughts and struggles. We all need a space like this, and if you are an adoptee and don’t have it, I inspire you to get it! 

While 2022 is winding up, the year will soon be behind us. But, as we step into 2023, I can’t help but acknowledge all the changes and growth that’s transpired in 2022 in my personal life. So much greatness has happened that I will be eternally grateful for. 

Yet, I’ve also experienced many significant things that have created a layer of sadness that I’m unsure what to do with. Holidays are challenging in general and even more so for adoptees. While everyone is arranging holiday get-togethers with family and celebrating life and the marvelous things it brings, I am drowning in my sadness.

Welcome to adoption. 

Anytime I’m feeling “some type of way” in my journey, I try to get with myself and self-reflect because I know I am the only one who can figure out what’s going on. So I look inward and identify the areas that might bother me so I can work on them. Sometimes, I can identify what’s happening and make some changes. But right now, I feel stuck, so I am attempting to see if writing about it helps me.  One of the realities in being adopted is that I was denied a voice. This is why writing has always been easier for me to share feelings because I seem to be able to write about my thoughts, but allowing them to come out of my mouth is another story.

Lately, I am struggling with constantly feeling like I am an inconvenience to those around me, so I spend every waking moment trying to ensure I am not that! Unfortunately, I do it a lot of the time automatically, not even realizing I’m doing it. 

This battle has been a lifetime; however, it’s highlighted more now than before. Sharing it here in this safe space may help since I cannot share it with anyone close to me because of the burden factor. 

I wrote about this topic years ago in an article titled “Being Born A Burden.”

“Many adoptees spend their entire lives searching. It’s exhausting mentally, emotionally, and physically. I never thought I would have to experience this again. For me, searching is extreme mental anguish. I don’t even know how to describe it. It triggers me back to my childhood and earlier life, searching for my birth mother. Now I’m searching for a sister. Before the sister, it was my birth father, and another brother and another sister. It’s the unknown, and that’s not a good place for me.”

I have promised myself that I will always be true to myself, but sometimes my adoptee feelings are so big they scare me. I am 100% confident that if I share them with anyone close to me, they will scare them also. At least, this is my fear anyway. 

Unfortunately, this is the only place I can share them. Still, I am baring my soul for the world to help myself by releasing them and opening the possibility that my transparency might help another adoptee out there. There is a lot of power in “letting things out” and sharing them with at least one other person. Sometimes that all by itself helps me, and I can regroup, recenter and move forward. 

Of course, sharing such personal pieces of my life publicly doesn’t come without a risk of those who love me finding out about my struggles and kicking me to the curb. This would be the easiest solution, and I wouldn’t blame them. Hell, a lot of the time, I want to kick myself to the curb, too. 

But, if they knew I was only trying to spare them from my BIG ADOPTEE FEELINGS, maybe they would understand better. The truth is, I have always been a deep thinker and a deep processor, which is a blessing and a curse. So what I write about here isn’t always rainbows and unicorns but real-life struggles from an adult adoptee’s perspective. Adoption always has been and always will be the gift that keeps giving. 

It seems that no matter how much healing I do or how hard I work towards feeling “good,” my adoptee reality will always knock me back down. That’s a significant struggle all by itself. I’ve been riding the waves for 48 years now. Sometimes it’s hard to get back up. Sometimes I can’t see the light. Sometimes it takes my breath away. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning. Sometimes it’s so much that I want to die. Sometimes it lasts a few hours, and sometimes days and weeks. Sometimes the highs are high, and the lows are low. As I write this article, I am sitting knee-deep in one of the lows that I am having difficulty shaking. 

I’m an expert at smiling for the world, always putting my best foot forward to make others feel good, cheerful, or loved, which takes the focus off me and what I might be genuinely dealing with underneath it all. Us adoptees are great at being chameleons and pretending. It’s survival, and we learned it very young! 

I genuinely feel this adaption is rooted in adoption and the reality of being placed in a situation where everyone’s feelings matter more than mine. To my adoptive parents, my feelings have never mattered. I was the prize (a gift, if you will) that was paid for with a hefty cash price, and in return, they became parents. The misplaced link is that I would be expected to be forever praising and indebted to a lifetime of caring for them while sacrificing my wants and needs. 

Sadly, I had to walk away from everyone to choose myself. I would do it again if I had to; however, I struggle with being put into a situation at no fault of my own that made me feel like I had to choose between my adoptive family and biological family and MYSELF. I struggle HARD to navigate the tightrope of being somewhere between all these families. So walking away from them ALL is the only solution I have. 

I don’t have the tools to manage all the emotions that come between existing between two worlds, never belonging to either of them. THIS IS PAINFUL AND HARD FOR ME, AND IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN. I don’t have a shared history with my biological family, which makes things incredibly uncomfortable and challenging. I don’t share DNA with my adoptive family, who are genetic strangers to me! I do not feel connected to them and never bonded with my adoptive mom, but I was forced to TRY. 

Somehow I am expected to keep everything between them separated. It fucking hurts to be placed into a situation where I constantly have to leave pieces of my life separate. I didn’t sign up for this bullshit, so I am not playing the game. 

One of the significant healing dynamics I came to years ago is accepting that the pain from adoption was here to stay and that some of the wounds caused by relinquishment trauma and adoption trauma can’t heal! Fuck Adoption!

This was a KEY DYNAMIC to accepting what has been done and sabotaged, at no choice of my own. It might sound depressing to some, but please understand I didn’t come to this conclusion without spending a lifetime trying to heal the wounds that cannot be fully healed! God couldn’t fully heal my wounds; praying couldn’t fully heal my wounds; nothing has fully healed these wounds. The sooner I could accept they were here to stay and learned to sit with them, the sooner I started to heal! 

I feel like a living, breathing inconvenience and a burden. I can acknowledge and recognize this feeling is rooted in my beginnings (being born a burden), which has nothing to do with NOW; however, it has dramatically shaped how I feel and live my life. 

I can grasp a lousy day or a bad few days, but what do I do when the heaviness doesn’t leave and I can’t shake it? I’ve been wrestling with this for a while now, and I haven’t told anyone I’m on the struggle bus. 

Why? 

Because I don’t want to inconvenience anyone, and I don’t want to be a burden. Of course, it’s easy for someone to say, “You aren’t a burden!” but no matter how much they say it, that’s not how I feel. So I beat myself up for feeling that way, as if feeling like a burden and inconvenience isn’t enough all by itself. 

So what is my effing problem as of late? 

I am genuinely struggling because my being adopted by no choice of my own directly harms my kids in many ways. The thought of them feeling even a little of how I feel is enough to take my breath away. I feel this tremendous feeling of GUILT that is suffocating me! It makes me feel defective, and I carry a huge burden that I can’t put into words. 

How can I ever forgive myself for bringing my kids into a world where they have to pay the price for their mom being adopted and all the heavy layers that come with it? They deserve more, much more. I wish I could take this pain and direct it to something positive; however, I am not there yet. I don’t know what to do with it, especially when it’s impacted my kids the way it has. 

There I said it.

Well, half of it. 

I am also struggling with the reality that I would likely DIE before I burden anyone with my feelings, problems, or issues about all of this or situations that arise in my life that isn’t optimistic, positive, or uplifting. I always want to show up with a smile and cheer for everyone around me. I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to this, so when I go through some things that I can’t bring myself to share, I become overcome with complex emotions and feel like I’m drowning. Most of the time I can’t even put my feelings into words.

I feel inadequate on top of feeling flawed. It’s no one’s problem but my own for feeling this way, and I am the only person who can put it on the table and work on it. I don’t think many non-adoptees will ever comprehend the layers of the adoptee experience and how it runs so deep and lasts a lifetime. However, I can’t believe I am the only adoptee struggling with this. 

Recently, I had a scary SVT episode that was awful. My resting heart rate was stuck at 154 BPM for several hours. I should have gone to the ER, but I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. The only way I can describe this is to imagine Mike Tyson hitting his punching bag as fast as he could for several hours, nonstop. Put my heart in the place of the punching bag. It’s a really dreadful feeling that has a recovery process of days for me. 

It’s invisible, just like I want it to be most of the time. I was super thankful to have two friends who drove me home and were very compassionate. However, I didn’t contact one person in my immediate life to notify them this was happening, and I crawled into my bed after taking a heart pill and slept for the next 13 hours, which is entirely out of my nature. But, again, I didn’t want to inconvenience or burden anyone.

I am at fault for being groomed this way because of adoption, always putting other people’s feelings, wants, and needs ahead of my own. I have been alone with my kids and me for a long time, moving across the country away from everyone to find ME and be FREE, finally. Being a single parent of 3 kids makes for a strong woman. I had no one to depend on, but myself and the family dynamic was nonexistent, so there hasn’t been a family cushion to fall back on for a long time. 

A variety of these things makes me feel stuck in a paradox between wanting to be true to myself yet never wanting to depend on anyone for anything; even if I needed a little help that could be lifesaving, I would never ask! I will die first! This is an expansive war I struggle with within myself. 

Well, the reality is that this impacts those I love who also love me. This can cause problems, so my first step is acknowledging it’s a thing for me. Have any of my fellow adoptees struggled with this dynamic? 

It was a stretch to ask my friends to help me get home because I sat there pondering how to ask or get home without inconveniencing anyone. I was considering taking a Uber or a Lyft. Once they offered, I accepted, but I felt terrible the whole way for upsetting our plans and inconveniencing anyone, on top of having a significant heart issue. They were so kind and understanding, but I felt like I was about to have a heart attack and was also feeling guilty for getting a ride home. Then once I got home, I quietly went to my room, not to come back out for 13 hours, suffering all alone without anyone knowing what was happening. I did end up telling my significant other and my oldest daughter, after the fact for the sake of them knowing for health reasons. They wished I would have told them at the time, but I let them know I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

The moral of the story is, why be a burden? I was born a burden; I don’t want to die one. I even planned my funeral because it’s important to me to die better than I came into the world. These are some fucked up thoughts, and it’s a lot to carry at times. One thing I can share is that I already feel a release by reaching this paragraph in my writing about these issues. Some of my heaviness has lifted. I want to get to a place in life where I don’t have to “do anything” but process through my adoptee struggles all on my own, but I am not there yet. Quite frankly, I am not sure I will ever be. Keeping things bottled up inside isn’t always effective.

I gave up on therapy because, being adopted, I have always had to therapy the therapist. I’m dead ass tired of therapy. I am in charge of healing myself. I genuinely feel all the tools I need are already inside of me. Writing has been exceptionally cathartic and therapeutic. When I can’t find the courage to talk about things, I can usually write about them.

Adoptees, Do you write?

How does it help you navigate your healing journey?

What helps you when you can’t see the light?

Today, I remind myself, and I can share without a shadow of a doubt, that even when I feel defective, like a burden and a total inconvenience, I know deep down that ADOPTION IS WHAT’S F*CKED UP. I am not f*cked up. Adoption is. Adoption has caused these issues, which are a constant, lifelong struggle. No matter what I do, this sh!t keeps resurfacing, and it’s here to stay. The sooner we accept this, the sooner we can learn to sit with it when it comes and walk through it. We have to feel it to heal it. Sharing it helps too! 

I know I’m not alone in feeling the way I do, and I remind myself sometimes daily that the way I feel is normal for a not-normal situation. Nothing is normal about being separated from your biological families at the beginning of life and having your very existence built on a bed of lies. 

While I conclude this article, one thing I would like to highlight that’s a positive spin is that today is Winter Solstice – 2022! I get comfort in knowing a shift is on the horizon and our days will start getting longer.

If you are an adoptee struggling, please know you are not alone!

I have created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for you! 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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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

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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. 

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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

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 a “Birth” Mother Lies & Keeps Secrets…

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After 41.5 years I am still trying to fix the mistakes of my birth mother.

In her eyes “It was the best choice”.

In my eyes it’s been the biggest nightmare and loss of my life.

41 years ago I was a secret to everyone around. Her shame was too big. Her guilt probably enormous. I have tried to put myself in her shoes back in 1974. She made probably one of the hardest decisions of her life. I have accepted her decision. She did what the industry told her would be THE BEST FOR ME…

Hand me over to strangers.

But what they failed to tell her was the lifelong grief, loss, abandonment, rejection & trauma I would experience because of HER CHOICE.

I HAVE HOPE IN HEALING BECAUSE GOD IS MY HEALER!

Her choice was to keep who my biological father was hidden. Not just from me, but from HIM. She CHOSE FOR ME AND FOR HIM that we could never lay eyes on one another, never celebrate a Father’s Day or Holiday together. She CHOSE for us both that we would never have a relationship.

SHE DID THAT.

Because of her SECRET he knew nothing about me.

Naturally I want to know Him! I want to find him!

Because He knew nothing about me when I showed up at his door,

HE HAS DENIED I’M HIS DAUGHTER FOR THE 16 YEARS HE’S KNOWN ABOUT ME. 

WHY?

BECAUSE MY BIRTH MOTHER KEPT THE PREGNANCY A SECRET. I WAS GIVEN UP FOR ADOPTION WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.

“FATHER UNKNOWN”

WAS A LIE!

How do we teach our kids not to lie but adoption is filled with lies and deception?

Explain that to me?

I wonder how many women FALSELY put “FATHER UNKNOWN” on their child’s birth certificate knowing they were lying, being deceptive, keeping life changing information hidden for years to come?

My birth father has known about me since 1999. He’s had 16 years to get to the bottom of the truth. But because of MY BIRTH MOTHERS DECISION he is skeptical I show up on his door step and tell him I’m his daughter! Do you blame him? I don’t?

He has said over and over “what are we gonna do get a blood test 30-40 years later?!”

Actually DNA is so much more advanced now, I was able to get a DNA test without his DNA which linked me 2x to his family tree by his family surname.

BIRTH MOTHERS CAN LIE AND KEEP SECRETS ALL THEY WANT BUT DNA DOESN’T LIE!

THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES TO LIGHT!

ALWAYS!

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”- Luke 8:17

You can read my last attempt to deliver him the DNA confirmation here.

A follow up to that post is basically Father Felix stopped communication with me. 100% cold turkey.

Heartbroken All Over Again.

Regardless I never knew if he delivered the DNA Results. So I decided in one last attempts to FIX WHAT MY BIRTH MOTHER LIED ABOUT I needed to make sure my birth father knew the TRUTH that I am his daughter. I have decided to mail the DNA results on my own along with a letter and a photo.

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WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOOSE?

Absolutely NOTHING!

I went through a phase where I had given up. I lost all hope. I just couldn’t deal with any more rejection from my biological family but I prayed about it and something happened.

God gave me a fresh new wind to give it one last shot.

What am I expecting?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

But this is something I need to do for myself. There has always been that uncertainty as far as my birth father is concerned. He didn’t know if I was REALLY his or not! Think about it, he would have to face the past and take accountability for his actions. He fathered a child out of wedlock, in the 70’s. He might feel shame or remorse, he might not care at all! Either way I am not mad at him, but I can’t imagine not wanting to get right with my only daughter before I die! He’s 77 for God’s sake.

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Do we look alike?

Regardless of what he does or doesn’t do after he receives the TRUTH I have done my part. I have spent 41 years in agony and those days are over for me. If he knows I’m his only biological daughter and HE STILL DENIES ME

I AM FINISHED!

I will leave the door open, but I am walking away.

So what happens when a birth mother lies and keeps secrets?

IT ONLY HURTS THE ADOPTEE AND IT HURTS US GREATLY! IT DOESN’T JUST GO AWAY. IT’S A LIFE LONG STRUGGLE. IF THE ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ADOPTION COUNSELORS ARE TELLING YOU OTHERWISE THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. I AM ADOPTED AND I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. I WOULDN’T WISH IT ON MY WORST ENEMY!

I MAILED THIS PACKET TO MY BIRTH FATHER TODAY. AFTER 42 YEARS IF HE STILL DENIES ME IT’S HIS LOSS. BUT PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR ME AND A PRAYER FOR HIM.

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE HAVING A FATHER OUT THERE THAT IS ALIVE BUT I CAN’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM BECAUSE ADOPTION STOLE HIS RIGHTS AND STOLE A CHANCE AT US GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER? LIKE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF SOMEONE WHO IS ALIVE. HAVE YOU EVER DONE IT? ADOPTEES HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS DAILY AND THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS CAN PRETEND ITS NOT THERE BECAUSE WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT…

LET ME SHARE YOU ALL ARE THE LAST PEOPLE I WOULD SHARE THESE FEELINGS WITH. THAT WOULD BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT BLOG POST.

FOR ALL THE BIRTH MOTHERS/FIRST MOTHERS OUT THERE WHO MIGHT BE READING- IF YOU ARE KEEPING ANY SECRETS OR LYING PLEASE RECONSIDER.

EVERYONE DESERVES THE TRUTH NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS.

EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM.

WE CAN’T HEAL UNLESS WE HAVE OUR TRUTH!

ALL OF IT!

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The Fight of My Life

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God planted me in my birth mother’s womb

Did he plan all the alcohol she would consume?

I know he did NOT. This was her choice

Just like surrendering me for adoption

As an innocent baby with no voice

Month by month passes

The date is getting closer

I spent 9 months bonding

But I was getting ready to lose her.

A sacred bond

Would be broken too soon

I can imagine the sorrow

In the delivery room

August 13, 1974 the fight began

The minute I was born my birthmother ran

Conceived out of a drunken one night stand

Did my tiny body ever feel her warm soft hands?

I spent the next 4 days in the nursery all alone.

But I always wondered

Did she name me?

Did she hold me?

Did she love me?

Did she think about me?

I will never know my birth right

What was the beginning of my life like?

Handed over to strangers

Who wanted a child of their own

What happened to my mother?

Her voice, scent & sacred bond are all I’ve ever known.

A counterfeit bond was forced upon me

Who was this lady?

I didn’t recognize anything about her

Forced to live a delusion

I had no way out

Trapped in this home with this woman

Who wanted to be my Mother

I never bonded with anything about her.

Her Her Her

It was all about Her.

I made her dreams come true.

My sadness never welcomed.

She conditioned me to be THANKFUL

How could I be thankful for the biggest loss of my life?

My loss never acknowledged.

I never grieved or processed losing an entire family.

I loved my first family but I couldn’t even put faces or names to them.

TORTURE

Years passed and I would ask

OVER AND OVER

“Where is my mother?”

 “She loved you so much, but she gave you away for me to raise”

How does a MOTHER give away their child?

Especially the one they LOVE?

CONFUSION & CHAOS

NO UNDERSTANDING

HEART BROKEN

SAD

DEPRESSED

ANGRY

RUNAWAY

RAGE

ALCOHOL

SEX

DRUGS

FIGHTING

ANGER

ANGER

ANGER

EVERY DAY SEARCHING FOR MY MOTHER!

Where is she? This has to be a mistake.

No mother would give their baby away if they love them?

What is love anyway?


PAIN-GRIEF-LOSS-ABANDONMEMNT-REJECTION

ADDICTION

My birth mothers sickness became my sickness too.

I started drinking alcohol at 12

It was all I knew

It took the pain away

But only until the next day

It haunted me and tortured my mind

But why can’t I just leave it all behind?

BECAUSE

I NEEDED TO KNOW WHO I WAS

WHERE DID I COME FROM?

WHO WAS GOING TO HELP ME?

I NEED MY ANSWERS

BUT NO WHERE TO TURN

THE WORLD IS UP AGAINST ME

I HAD TO FIGHT ALL ALONE

FROM THE MOMENT I WAS BORN

MY HEART TURNED TO STONE

ALCOHOL CONTINUED TO NUMB EVERY BONE.

Looking around

Surrounded by strangers

Where is my family?

Looking in the mirror hating what I was looking at

I was disposable

JUST LIKE THAT

The Fight of my Life is just beginning

I needed my truth with EVERYTHING IN ME

How do you live with your HISTORY kept hidden?

The WORLD glorifies my biggest LOSS

Leaving me feeling alone, isolated & I feel like the

 WORLD’S MOST HATED

All because I NEED MY TRUTH?

Begging the world for something that is already mine

Do they not understand the value of TIME?

Every day that passes, memories are LOST

Will they ever be FOUND?

The world celebrates my biggest loss.

Heartbreaking but I must keep it silent

The fight continues

This is the FIGHT of my LIFE

This is not just for me

It’s for my kids, my future grandkids and their kids.

I’m up against the WORLD

The WORLD that glorifies adoption

But doesn’t welcome me finding my TRUTH

How heartbreaking to be in such a world

That doesn’t support adoptees who

NEED THEIR TRUTH

How does it feel to be a secret?

My birth father didn’t know I existed

For 37 years I wished I was aborted

That’s as honest as I can keep it.

Call it selfish

Call it what you want to call it.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS PAIN

BEING BORN IN A WORLD

FOR ANOTHER PERSONS GAIN

If the adoption agencies would be HONEST

Maybe adoptees would have some resources available

Instead they deny our grief, loss & trauma

Adding to the terrifying adoptee suicide rate being 4x

More likely than non-adoptees.

HOW CAN THEY LIVE WITH THEMSELVES?

Profiting off such trauma, grief, lies, and supporting secrecy & lies?

But you keep glorifying adoption and keep turning a BLIND EYE

At the pain involved. You support adoption but you don’t support all adoptees in finding our TRUTH?

You are part of the problem.

FACE IT!

NO RUNNING!

GROWING UP-

Reoccurring thoughts of suicide

Visited me morning, noon and night

Darkness is not from God-

He is the WAY THE TRUTH & THE LIGHT!

He had no intentions of me being born into a FIGHT!

 

The Fight of my Life

Seeking any CLUE to my PAST

There is NO HELP AND NO ONE TO ASK!

Question marks follow me everywhere I go

Don’t they understand?

IT’S KILLING ME TO NOT KNOW!

THE TRUTH

THE TRUTH

THE TRUTH

I need the truth

I’m fighting for the TRUTH

That’s all I want for Christmas, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and any other holiday

FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE

All I want is truth…

Wrap my truth up and gift it to me please?

My truth is more valuable than a

Hundred pound sack of rubies

Put “TRUTH SEEKER” in my

BOOK OF LIFE

Lord knows when I go out it isn’t going to be without a FIGHT!

I didn’t care if my birth mother was a $2 crack whore

I STILL WANTED TO KNOW HER!

Finally over a 40 year period

Fighting the FIGHT of my LIFE

I finally find my truth.

God handed it to me piece by piece

He said “Give me some time and you will see…”

No one on earth helped me or supported me

I was alone.

But God, he was with me the entire time.

It’s the people of this WORLD

Who left me HIGH & DRY

They didn’t care of the mental torture

And emotional anguish I experienced

Even the counselors don’t understand

They SUCK at complex adoptee grief, loss & trauma adoptees face!

NONE HELPED ME & I SAW DOZENS OF THERAPISTS GROWIN UP!

But GOD

As I received my TRUTH as heartbreaking as it has been

He knew I needed to know what the world felt like they were protecting me from

Because GOD knows in order to HEAL IT WE HAVE TO FEEL IT.

God knows we need our TRUTH to move forward and heal.

No matter what painful double rejection I have experienced from FIGHTING SO HARD FOR MY TRUTH God has been with me when the world has left me.

I feel betrayed by the world

LOVE IS NOT ALL WE NEED

God is my only safe place

Who understands?

My fellow adoptees

God

That’s it.

God alone is enough for me, but when I flock together with my fellow adoptees

I have a peace that surpasses all understanding.

They get me. I get them.

They understand me. I understand them.

I SHARE MY STORY FOR THEM

August 12, 2012 I had my last drink

Reality set in and God gave me some time to think

I was running, but running from what?

The PAIN the TRUTH Brought

I denied it until I put the bottle down.

The Fog Lifted

Things became clear

No more alcohol

Finally HEALING is NEAR!

40+ years after fighting the WORLD for my TRUTH

I have made the choice to wave the white flag.

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I CAN’T FIGHT THIS FIGHT ANYMORE!

This FIGHT HAS TO DIE or it will KILL ME FIRST!

My Mind

If you only knew the thoughts I have in my mind, daily.

It has drained me dry, isolated, all alone all I can do is cry!

I can’t even focus on living because my LIFE HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT A LIE!

No more alcohol to numb the pain

It’s been 1309 Days since my last drink

 I live my life in recovery.

4 Years soon!

I’ve been consumed on a healing journey

But now that I have my truth I can accept it and move forward.

I was not allowed to FEEL the pain publicly or outside of my mind growing up

SO I share it TODAY because today I’m FREE

Free because after I’ve fought the good fight

 And it’s all said and done I’ve learned I’m not like

ANYONE

I am who God created me to be!

Fighting so hard to fit in and find my place.

God has clearly let me know I am like Him

BUT HE KNEW I NEEDED TO SEE

MY TRUTH

IT WAS HEARTBREAKING

IT TORE MY HEART INTO SHREDS

I would rather know the truth than live a LIE

But GOD

He’s given me the tools to heal.

He is my healer!

All the times growing up I thought God abandoned me

He was right there with me when the world abandoned me

He is a God of TRUTH

He isn’t a God of secrets & lies!

If you ask yourself what “Truth” is and use God as a source of truth through his word you find the word TRUTH in the Bible 228 times (NIV) 224 times (KJV) 269 times (NLT) 

TRUTH MEANS NOTHING HIDDEN!

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” -3 John 4

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” – John 16:13

“But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. For that reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.” – Luke 12:2

If the word TRUTH is in the bible 269 times (NLT) why can’t adoptees have their truth?

Why are we the exception of receiving what’s rightfully ours?

I’m standing on God’s word for ALL ADOPTEES ALL OVER THE WORLD!

Secrets & Lies are from people of the world.

NOT GOD!

Adoption Agencies & the Adoption Industry condone Secrecy & Lies

God is a GOOD GOD

He doesn’t want pain and anguish for his children

Especially for 40+ years

The Fight of my Life

Has almost taken me out

If the devil had his way I would have never learned what God was all about!

But God shined his light on me

He knew my broken heart and why I needed to see

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

But I had to determine this for myself

Not because the WORLD was trying to

PROTECT ME!

(Secrets & Lies)

I’ve fought the good fight so many take for granted

WHO AM I?

WHERE DID I COME FROM?

Thank God his seeds have already been planted

I’m making the choice to FORGIVE the WORLD

And the ADOPTION INDUSTRY

But I will never forget how your secrets and lies have impacted me!

They have hurt me deeper than you will ever know

But today I’m ready to live my life with my past as freshly fallen snow!

God promised it in his word, you know?

I can’t keep looking over my shoulder trying to figure out

WHY

WHY

WHY?

The fact that I’m the daughter of the KING makes my eyes tear up and CRY.

Happy Tears that bring FREEDOM & JOY

No matter how I came into the world

God planned me when my birth parents did NOT

He greeted me into this world, and hugged me tight

While the warm hands of my birth mother were nowhere in sight.

Hanging onto the pain is only blocking some of God’s light!

He calls his children to walk in FREEDOM

The closer I get to Him the more I can rely on Him when the triggers come

AND THEY COME!

Every Mother’s Day, Holiday, Birthday and Christmas.

Every time I want to call my “mother” she is nowhere to be found.

JESUS!

 HELP ME PLEASE!

MOTHER-LESS

MOTHER WOUND

God is my father, but it’s hard to replace him as my MOTHER

The mother wound is deep

But I have to allow myself the space (my blog) to process my emotions because I know the non-adoptee world really doesn’t want to hear it because they can’t relate.

Hating the WORLD and the people in it who support adoption has hurt me even more. Feeling like I’m up against the WORLD has created an even bigger sore.

An open WOUND next to impossible to heal

BUT GOD

Everywhere I look, if they only knew how I feel.

Ignorance is bliss

They don’t know what they don’t know.

Adoption Loss?

Adoption Grief?

Adoption Trauma?

Why does she sit around and cry about not having a momma?

Do the research on this bond being broken

It’s different than a father wound
God is my heavenly father.

Who is my heavenly mother?

I struggle with this daily

But it has made me an incredibly strong person

I raised myself with God along the way

I have done the best I could

With plenty of cloudy days

But TODAY I’m working on closing the door to

The past because it’s so dark and I don’t want to live there anymore.

It’s my choice you know?

But I needed my TRUTH FIRST

Because without it how do I know what to let GO?

How do I forgive with the truth hidden?

How do I give it to God if I don’t know what I’m giving?

TRUTH

TRUTH

TRUTH

It is CRITICAL!

Moving forward is impossible if I don’t know what I’m leaving behind.

How do I give God secrets and lies?

Please WORLD stop stalling my healing.

It’s only hurting ME & MY KIDS

Because it’s taken a lifetime to

FIGHT THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE

TO FIND MY TRUTH

AGAINST THE GRAIN

AGAINS CLOSED ADOPTION LAWS

AGAINST THE WORLD

WHO DOES NOT UNDERSTAND

IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD I NEED THE

TRUTH ABOUT WHO I AM!

I cannot fight my fellow adoptees fight

If I do I will be taken out with no hope in sight

I can walk along side of you and give you the

HOPE AND GLORY OF GOD

Because HE is who has carried me

THROUGH THIS FIGHT OF MY LIFE

I must admit, I’m tired of fighting.

I have part of my truth but I deserve it all

We all deserve our truth

Fighting the fight to find my truth

Has drained me and then LIFE?

It tries to knock you down anyway

 

So this fight…

Is it still worth fighting?

I’m ready to enjoy life and what it has to offer

I’ve forgiven my birth mother

I’ve gained sympathy for her

That decision she made 41 years ago

Created the biggest Fight of my Life

But today I have made the choice to

LET IT GO.

I have enough truth to be at a peaceful place

But acceptance is KEY

And praying to GOD

Because he’s the only one that can fill me with his Grace

I still have pain and this is my place to process

Grief & Loss sometimes overtakes me

BUT THAT’S OK

I will grieve my grief and losses

Cry loud and silent tears

But I want the rest of my life to be better than the first 41 years!

Grandkids will come in the future

I want to be a happy healthy grandma

And a better mom

So TODAY I have to wave the white flag

And thank God for bringing me this far

His beauty all around me

His sky was my baby blanket growing up

And still is.

Moving Forward

But I never want to forget my past

Because how else can I share what God has done for me?

FREEDOM AT LAST!

Laying down this fight, feeling worn, tattered and bruised

But my God is a God of RESTORATION

WALKING WITH HIM IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO LOOSE!

God came in and is taking it all away

Healing my heart

Day by day

When you get sad and weary and it feels like the world is failing you

Remember God gives us the freedom to make all things NEW.

Leaving the past behind me

Waving Good-Bye

THE WHITE FLAG

I’ve traded a world full of lies

But make no mistake when you look into my eyes

I’m His Daughter and with me He is well pleased.

I refuse to keep my pain locked up any longer.

But today I release it to my

Heavenly Father

I can no longer fight this fight

I call it a truce

The Fight of My Life

I know Gods on my side

I will not lose!

It’s by God’s Grace I will contine to share my story.

This is just a piece of what my life feels like for the last 41 years as I struggle and a fight to find out my truth. It’s no rhyme or poem. It’s feelings I had to keep inside for 41 years. Without the truth I would never have been able to move forward to heal and make it to this place. “The Fight of my Life” is my truth as it is for many adoptees. I can only speak for myself but if you are an adoptee and can relate to feeling like you are fighting a battle all alone I promise you God is with you when it feels like the world is up against you. God has been with me this entire way, he’s never forgotten me and never forsaken me. He wants us to have our truth because HE IS TRUTH.

CHECK THIS VIDEO OUT- MY LIFE

Thanks for reading and never give up hope in finding our TRUTH & your FAMILIES! ❤

If you have no hope I have hope for you!

To my Pastor Marion Dalton- Thanks for helping me realize I was stuck in “Red Tape Living”. Through you God has opened my eyes to many things and I’m forever grateful for your teachings and lessons. Thank you isn’t enough! Just know if you happen to read this you have helped me more than you know.

I know I will always have pain attached to this grief, loss and trauma but through God I’m healing daily and moving forward living a sober life in recovery. I don’t have to drink today to process this pain but recovery isn’t for sissies and being adopted isn’t for sissies. God has let me know adoptees are some of the strongest people on the planet to be able to live through what we do and move forward. Thanks for reading.

Adoptees, Can you relate to this blog post? If so, please share how?

Love to ALL!

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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.

 

Funerals, Death, Loss & the Adoptee, Only Speaking for Me!

I would really like to know if its only me, as an adult adoptee that has a strange disconnection with funerals, death and loss or do other adoptees have similar feelings?

Being an adoptee, have you ever had anyone say, “Well, since you didn’t have a relationship with “them” (bio fam) then I’m sure that’s much easier to process the loss, because there really is no loss!”…. As if losing what could have been doesn’t even exist. As if we shouldn’t be sad for the lost relationships, lost memories, lost time, lost birthdays together, lost holidays together, lost EVERYTHING!

WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN IS WHERE I AM STUCK RIGHT NOW! I’M ANGRY PEOPLE DISREGARD THIS AS A PART OF MY LOSS! 

I know, it’s my issue, my problem, and I am the one who is working through this so I can get to the other side! I don’t want to be stuck here forever! Why would I? It’s heartbreak day in and day out! This place is where I can share my feelings, so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ve had multiple close friends lose a loved one recently, a mother or a father, or a sister or a brother. It’s extremely difficult for me to sympathize on how it feels to lose that “close” relationship for the simple fact I’ve never had that with my birth parents, or my adoptive parents. Adoption created a invisible separation from the closeness and life long bonds that I WOULD have had with my biological parents, & siblings if I would not have been adopted. And although I have no relationship with my adoptive mom, (never have had a bond) I care deeply for my adoptive dad, but it’s just not the same even when everyone wishes it was. He IS the closest thing I have to a bond with my adoptive family, (aside from some cousins, and aunts) I cherish them.

What I wonder, is how does the world expect me to turn on my feelings and grieve the loss of someone I made memories with, when they denied me my right to grieve the loss of my entire family whom I had no memories with? HOW DO I DO THAT? I had to learn how to cope on my own from the time I was a small child. I grieved in my own way by searching, and dreaming, and trying to find out where I came from.  I cried silent tears from the moment I found out I was adopted and have every single say since. But now, when someone dies I’m supposed to be a certain way… What if I don’t feel the same way other people do? Does that make me wrong? Or bad? What if I’m simply OVERJOYED that we whoever died have at least one or two, or if I’m lucky multiple memories with them and that’s more than I have ever been given with my biological family. When someone dies I hear over and over, stories of time spent with grandparents, mothers, fathers, and I sit and listen and hear the person sharing such special memories. Every single time, I’m reminded of how precious a memory is, and how I WISH I had ONE memory with my biological grandmother, or grandfather. I WISH I had ONE conversation of how much my birth mother “loved me” while looking into her eyes. After all, I was told she loved me so much my whole life, but she didn’t want to even get to know me. That was another lie. I wish I had ONE memory with my birth father, about his child hood, or his life growing up. I wish my birth father knew the day I was born, that was stolen from him and he will never be telling me “Happy Birthday”. Another loss, stolen forever. This is just a piece of what I’m angry about. You know ANGER is a part of the stages of the grief and loss process? Thank God for this safe place of mine to process my grief! If I was able to grieve my losses growing up I might not be doing it at 40 years old. But here I am, sharing my journey with the world. Yes, I’m angry and I am having a hard time getting over what was LOST. Chances are I might never “get over it”, but I will continue to put my hope in God, work on my issues, and develop healthy ways to share my feelings since I was told by the world my whole life to just be thankful! and writing is one of my favorite places to share my feelings on how it feels to be adopted.

I’M SORRY BUT I CAN’T RELATE TO FUNERALS, FAMILIES GATHERINGS, CRYING AND SHARING STORIES ABOUT MY LOVED ONES WHEN THEY DIE OR REMINISCING ABOUT MEMORIES ABOUT GROWING UP & FAMILY REUNIONS & HOLIDAY GATHERINGS.  That process was stolen from me for the people that I searched for my entire life as well as any memories that COULD have been if I were not adopted. How do I all of a sudden  distinguish HOW TO GRIEVE my loss for someone who is in my adoptive family, or a close friend, when I couldn’t grieve for my losses associated with losing an entire family! I have a hard time with this!!!

I’ve accepted being adopted but that doesn’t change how I FEEL about being adopted!

I honestly feel like I don’t need funerals to accept that fact that someone is gone! I have been expected by society to just FORGET ABOUT THOSE I LOVE (yes, I can love them even if I have never met them!) and just MOVE ON with my life with no feelings at all… How can people really believe that this isn’t something that might bother adoptees? This has hurt my heart deeper than anything on this planet.

I have found that it’s harder for me to grieve the loss of what was LOST with all my relationships with being adopted, than it is for that person to actually leave this earth. This might be complicated to some who aren’t adopted. But when someone dies, most of you have MEMORIES! Adoptees, we don’t have that! LOST IS TRULY LOST! You never truly lose when you have memories to hold onto forever.  I have had a harder time accepting what was LOST in memory form, than my biological family dying and leaving this earth. All that did was make me give up HOPE that some memories would be created, somewhere in my life. But the missed and lost memories CAN NEVER BE REPLACED. I can’t sit at their funeral and talk about all the fun times we had! There are none! But this isn’t for one person, or two.. It’s for our entire families!!!!

I know I’m not the only adoptee who feels this way. I know I can pull a positive out of such heartache,  and that’s the ability to never take a moment for granted. Time spent is the most valuable thing on the earth. I wonder if experiencing such a profound loss is the reason my love language is “Quality Time”..

The other aspect that comes to mind is the fact that no where in my life has anyone ever asked me how it’s felt to loose so much in adoption. Yet everyone wonders why I’ve always struggled with such low self worth & struggled with sharing my feelings. My adoptive parents never let me know I could LOVE my first family so I felt like I had to hide my love for them and they were more a piece of me than anything. Was my love for them unimportant or something I should be ashamed of? It made me feel that way, and this is why I always felt like I was unimportant and struggled with low self.worth.   No one ever cared enough to ask how I felt. It’s baffling to me that the world doesn’t understand the trauma involved with adoption. It’s time we wake up as a nation and start to TRY to understand how adoptees feel. If I had an adoptive child I would be researching every adult adoptees blog and learn as much as possible to try to understand my child the best I could.

As a 40 year old woman in recovery for adoptee abandonment & rejection issues I’m just now scratching the surface on my issues relating to being adopted. I’m extremely grateful for this place where I can share my true feelings. Can any other adoptees relate?

Pamela Jones

@freesimplyme

http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

Genealogy & Me.. My Crack Pipe Mystery

Crazy title, I know…

I was trying to describe what it feels like to SEARCH for genealogy clues and tips on Ancestry.com. I don’t know if other adoptees can relate, but I have the strongest desire deep in the core of my being to SEARCH FOR PEOPLE! I truly believe that I began searching from the moment I found out I was adopted, and that was 5 years old.

I began to search for my birth mother all over the place. Looking back over my childhood and my life, I really don’t think anyone understands the heartache and trauma this causes on a child. How would you feel if you searched for your own mother every where you went? I remember distinctly how it felt, and all the places I looked for her. I remember seeing someone who might be “her”, but I never had enough guts to ask anyone until I reached my early teens. Of course, then I sounded like an idiot, “Are you my mother?”. SMH. That book makes me cry by the way, every time I see it or read it. 

My mind was filled with fantasies about who she was, where she was, and I knew in my heart of hearts this “Adoption Thing” was all a big mistake. There was no way possible a mother would truly give their baby up, would they? I dreamed my birth mother was looking for me, and any day she would pull up in her car and take me back home where I belonged. Every day I waited. Every day I was disappointed when she didn’t come. I never accepted the fact that it was real.

As I got older, I got angry. At 21 my adoptive mom told me she had been keeping something from me, and she lied to me my whole life. She knew who my birth mother was. Feeling betrayed, I began the search for my birth mother because now I had her name. Within days I found her, and the search was over.

During that time (1995) the internet wasn’t big at all. I couldn’t get online and do anything, but I did learn to be resourceful. I was born in Iowa, but I lived in KY. I called the Iowa library in the city I was born, and was super extra nice to the librarian who answered the phone. I really needed her help since I was so far away! I explained to her why I was calling, and she was more than happy to help me. I asked her to look up my birth mothers name in the 1974 directory. She did, and she found my birth mother and her address. Then I asked her to look in the 1995 directory. My birth mothers name wasn’t there, but there was another person that had the same last name as my birth mother that was listed in 1974 AND 1995. The librarian gave me this persons name, and I called her. She happened to be my birth mothers sister-n-law through marriage. Within minutes I had my birth mothers number, and called her.

I’m sharing this because all the way back to my early childhood I began searching, trying to put pieces of my puzzle together. Once I turned 21 and found my birth mother, and I had a name to go off of it took me 16 years and a road trip to finally meet my birth father, then I had 2 siblings I finally met. PUZZLE COMPLETE. ( I was rejected, which was and still is the biggest heartache of my life, but I believe it adds value to my testimony because I have survived being rejected by the woman who SHOULD love me the most!)

Over the years, I have helped many friends & family search for long lost loved ones. Again, the deep desire I have to help others connect their puzzle pieces is almost indescribable. It’s so strong, and now as an adult at 40 years old searching is something that truly makes me happy. I get excited with a new challenge, and I am always ecstatic when I help someone fill in some missing pieces. Little by little mysteries are being solved. Little by little people are bridging the gap between fantasy and reality when it comes to WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY COME FROM?

Could it be that God helped me make it through this life so I could be here on earth to help others find their missing links? My title “Genealogy & Me, My Crack Pipe Mystery” as my title because once I get going on solving a mystery, I am addicted to it, and it’s extremely hard for me to stop! LOL

Some people don’t have this desire in them at all, so that leaves me to believe it’s a gift. I have helped a friend who gave a baby up for adoption find her son. They were reunited a few years back. I have helped a guy find his birth parents, and he had never spoke to his father his whole life. I helped a childhood friend find her brother who was given up for adoption when they were children. The list could go on and on. It’s something that truly makes me happy. I remember not knowing, and no one being anywhere to help me. Maybe God has put me here to support others in their search and reunions, and to be someone who can assist them in what to do next? I’ve been searching for over 20 years now. I’m pretty good at it, and I believe God is using me to help others connect with long lost family members.

I recently subscribed to Ancestory.com. Wow.. You would think I was on crack for real! ( LOL.. Those who know me know I’m living in recovery, 2 years 5 months!) I get addicted to searching for clues and cues. It’s insane. I literally have to pry myself away from the computer. I can spend hours and hours searching.

What is this big thing I have with searching? Does it come from searching for my birth parents at such a young age, even before I had a name? Do any other adoptees have this desire to search for their long lost loved ones? Even for others? To help them find their missing pieces?

Please share your thoughts & experience!

Pamela Jones AKA @freesimplyme

http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

How Do You Feel About The Day You Were Born & Why?

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”- Mark Twain…

Does this quote make other adoptees squeal deep down inside or is it just me? I’ve been seeing more and more of this quote and each time I read it I’m reminded of the 2 most important days of my life and many other adoptees being hijacked, stolen gone forever. It feels like a knife stabs me in the gut each time I read this. I would suspect non-adoptees can’t even grasp WHY this quote would hurt so badly.

Let’s face it… There was no celebration that day. It was dooms day for my birth mother and I. I believe the day she surrendered her newborn baby was the hardest day of her life & I believe that day set the tone for the rest of her life. She died an alcoholic all alone at 63 years old.  I believe the day I was born was the day I experienced the biggest loss of my life, my entire first family and everything to go along with it.

For the day I was born to be one of the top 2 most important days of my life, AND for me to experience the biggest trauma of my life on that day by being separated from my birth mother at the beginning of life is an oxymoron. So this leads me to believe this quote counts for everyone, BUT adoptees.

Does the world truly not see why adoptess views of themselves may or may not be so distorted? We were born into a difficult situation. We’re left to process this alone. We’re expected to celebrate something that should be grieved.

I don’t know about you, but this whole adoption thing is the most backwards experience of my entire life. How can I grasp that the 2 most important days of my life were the day that I was born and they day I found out why? I know why I was born… So I could fill a void in a woman’s life who couldn’t have children. She always dreamed of being called “Mother”. That’s why I was born. I was born because my birth mother had a sister who was deformed at birth because her mother tried to give herself an abortion, but didn’t succeed. This is the only reason my birth mother didn’t have an abortion. That’s why I was born. I was born and handed to strangers because my birth mother wanted to get rid of her problem. Her reminder of her affair with a married man who’s wife was dying of terminal cancer at the time I was conceived.

I don’t feel any comforting thoughts about the day I was born, only tragic. I don’t feel anything GOOD or warm fuzzy about anything to do with that day. I don’t feel HAPPY about being given LIFE instead of aborted. I would have rather been aborted because I wouldn’t feel any of this heart breaking pain day in and day out!  If you walked one day in my shoes and felt what I felt you just might feel the same way, so don’t judge me! I don’t feel great about anything to do with being born on this earth, used for the benefit of someone else. I don’t feel great at ALL about all that was taken from me. There is nothing GOOD to say about anything to do with the day I was born, or the reason WHY.

This isn’t saying I’m not thankful for certain aspects of my life or being born. I’m thankful I was a healthy baby. I was born with all my fingers and toes, etc. But for me to be happy or joyous about the day I was born, or the reason WHY I was born is crap. I had to fight like hell to find out my truth about WHY I WAS BORN. The truth hurt, but at least I found out. Thousands of adoptees will never find out their truth. They will never find out why they were born. Does this make them LESS THAN? It sure makes them feel like their foundation is missing.

Mark Twain- Your quote is crap for adoptees around the world.

That is all. I had to get this off my chest, because if I see that quote one more time I might just scream. How does this quote impact you if you are an adoptee? Am I alone here? Only ranting because this is my place to rant and share my feelings without being interrupted.

I wish I was excited about the day I was born. 

I wish I felt happiness on the day I was born. 

Thank you very much.

Happy New Year ALL!

Pamela Karanova @pamelakaranova

http://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