Chapter 8. Transporting Trauma – Finding Purpose in the Pain, One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope and Healing, An Audible Memoir By Pamela A. Karanova

Chapter 8.

Transporting Trauma

Trigger Warning // Suicide // Physical Abuse

Approximately 6-8 hours after trying to leave this world, I woke up with a hazy and sluggish feeling all over my body and mind. I remember lying in bed thinking, “Damn, I woke back up! Wasn’t I supposed to be meeting the Devil at the gates of hell right about now?” I could hardly believe it.

Looking back over that time in my life, one of the most shocking things is that hell seemed like a better solution than living in my reality on earth. That is tremendous because I knew I was going to hell for everything I had done to deserve it, but I didn’t care because I was drowning in my sorrow. I just wanted the pain to go away.

Does this give the world a small glimpse of how significant my adoptee pain was? Possibly, for those who want to try to understand. I was crushed that I woke back up, I didn’t want to wake back up, and I had this enormous feeling of guilt that came over me that I couldn’t even kill myself right. I felt like a total failure despite all the other feelings I was dealing with.

I quickly clung to the bottle and drank myself out of my misery morning, noon and night. Drinking alcohol was the only way I could survive the pain I was feeling. For 27 years, It allowed me not to feel but opened a whole world of other problems that would have lifelong consequences.

Most people won’t understand this, but at times over the last five years, I have been presented with a question on various social media platforms that says, “If you were to tell your younger self something, what would you tell them?”

Sadly, the first thing that always comes to my mind, even at 47 years old, is “Take more pills!”

Still, to this day, I feel like if I could have found a way out, I wouldn’t have had to live with a lifetime of excruciating pain. I wouldn’t have passed on my pain to my kids and had so much to recover from. But instead, I would just be gone, with no legacy to leave other than a dead, deeply troubled adoptee and one that is nothing more than a menace to society.

However, the universe had other plans for me. I wish I could say I figured this out in my teenage or young adult years; however, it would be a long time before I understood this.

You would think this experience “changed me,” but what changed me the most is that I tried to kill myself, and not one single person knew about it or noticed. It felt like no one on the earth cared about me. It’s a hard pill to swallow. I didn’t “get better,” but I continued to spiral out of control.

I ended up taking Giovanni back, and our relationship was rocky, but we both confessed our love for one another. I won’t go into all the details of every dynamic of abuse I experienced with him, but it was a lot. We were both troubled and were constantly getting arrested for fighting.

Eventually, I ran away so much and continued to break the law that I found myself in a group home called Foundation 2. During my time in Foundation 2, I remember liking the structure there, just like I did when I was locked in drug and alcohol rehab. I remember staying several months, going home, and acting out repeatedly.

Unfortunately, Giovanni was back in jail, and we were separated again. I know Patricia looked at our time apart as a positive thing, but all I wanted was to be with Giovanni. When I say I loved him, I love him.

When I was 16, Patricia started talking about moving to Lexington, Kentucky, because she had a friend who lived there. So she planned a visit to look at jobs and the city. We arrived, spent five days sightseeing around Lexington, and saw the beautiful horse country we would soon call home.

I remember having mixed feelings about the move because I would be leaving the state where I hoped to find my birth mother. Wouldn’t it be more challenging for us to find one another states away? But, of course, I knew the answer was yes, and I always wondered if this was part of why Patricia wanted to leave Iowa because I never stopped asking about finding my birth mother. I would never give up on finding her, no matter what state I was in.

I was also conflicted because I would be leaving Giovanni and I have always felt like that was part of Patricia’s plan. While he was locked up, we wrote each other letters constantly, and I started to keep a collection of his letters in a big box, and after some time, it filled up. I would read them repeatedly, and they were my most prized possession. We would sometimes write to each other daily, sometimes receiving multiple letters each day. We hoped we would be back together again one day, and until then, we knew that even when distance separated us, we would always be in each other’s hearts.

I hadn’t seen Thomas, Laura, Melanie, or the boys in a long time when I stopped going for weekend visits. Our time spent together tapered off into nothingness.

We packed up a 22-foot U-Haul and arrived at our new three-bedroom home in Lexington, Kentucky, in the Fall of 1991. I didn’t know a single person in the whole town, but I was always great at making new friends anywhere I went.

I think Patricia had hoped I would turn a new page removing Giovanni from my life and luring me away from Cedar Rapids, where I was always in nonstop trouble combined with constant alcohol use. The thing is, I was still dealing with all the same issues, but the only thing that had changed was my surroundings.

I was 17 years old, in a new city, and she was back working the night shift again. The summer of 1992 rolled around, and the new Dr. Dre – The Chronic album had just come out. What did that mean? If you don’t know, never mind.

It was about to be on and popping in the city of Lexington because one thing is for sure, I was the life of the party anywhere I went, and I was always ready to get the party popping!

I was expected to enroll in an all-new high school that was predominantly black, and being a white girl from Iowa, and I started to make friends one by one. However, my time at Bryan Station Sr. High was short-lived. Patricia must have forgotten that I hated regular school, so I dropped out within a month, and at 18 years old, I was a high school dropout. However, I attended long enough to make new friends, and I made friends with some neighbors close to me.

I think my mind did sway a bit regarding the nagging desire to find my birth mother, but I feel that’s only because I was in a new city with new friends and new things to do. The deep-rooted abandonment was always there, but drinking daily forced it to take a back seat.

I remember going to my first party with my friend Dorthy who lived down the street from me. I didn’t know her that well, but after a while, I learned that we ended up at a crack house in East End. I remember being offered the drug and trying it. I would do anything to get out of my mind. It didn’t affect me, so I tried some more. I drank until the sun came down, sitting in a crack house surrounded by people I didn’t even know. I wanted to belong and be part of something, so I was along for the ride.

While the evening would wind down, everyone at the party was just getting started. So I decided I wanted to split, and although we didn’t have cell phones back then, I was pretty sure I could walk home and find my way.

I set off to walk home through East End and ended up waking up in the Fayette County Detention Center with a public intoxication charge. At 18 years old, I graduated from juvenile jail to the big house, and I remember not feeling anything about this reality. Once again, I felt disconnected from my body and did not care if I lived, died, or woke up in jail.

The internal hate I had for myself only traveled with me to Kentucky. While I know Patricia thought she was doing the right thing, my troubles only followed me, but now I was an adult, and my actions had real-life consequences. I called some of my neighbor kids who were friends of mine who had a brother that was 19 years old, and they came and got me out of jail. I was drinking the same day and didn’t learn a damn thing.

Patricia kept nagging me to get my GED or go back to school, but I shot down every attempt at a conversation, expressing that there was no point in returning to school because, in my mind, the world was going to end. I was profoundly depressed but masked every bit of this with drugs and alcohol. Finally, she nagged me to start therapy, and at 18, I decided to try it.

During round 382 of therapy, I sat in a new therapist’s office again. But unfortunately, of all the feelings I had pondered deep inside about my birth mother, my sadness, grief, and loss still never made their way into the appointment with the new therapist.

When we make our adoptive parent’s “dreams come true” to be parents, our feelings of sadness are automatically stuffed deep inside. It’s known in a very subtle way that feelings that aren’t positive, thankful, or grateful aren’t welcome. For me, there was a block there, and I don’t know how else to explain why adoption or the implications of separation trauma were once again never discussed. The therapist never brought it up or addressed it, so neither did I. To this day, I can’t wrap my brain around why adoption was never discussed in all the therapist’s offices I sat in throughout my whole life!

The therapists detected that I was suicidal and that I had no hope for the future. Duh. I did express that I never got along with Patricia, and I felt comfortable sharing with her all the things Mark did to me growing up and why I decided to stop going to Thomas’s house. This was the first time I had shared this with anyone.

She encouraged me to call Thomas and Laura while I was in her office to tell them about the childhood sexual abuse Mark is responsible for. She also wanted me to tell Patricia, so I did.

While speaking to Thomas and Laura on speaker phone, I expressed to them vague details of my experience with Mark, and they said they didn’t know why he would do such a thing, but they would reach out to his therapist and bring this topic to the table to get him some help. They speculated that maybe Mark was being sexually abused by the catholic priest at the church they used to drop us off at? No one knew, but they assured me they would address it with Mark. I didn’t get any resolve out of this other than bringing a secret to light and finally telling them what had happened. No one asked how this impacted me in my life or if I needed help with healing.

A big piece of me feels they want to blame my outbursts and acting out on the childhood sexual abuse alone, omitting adoption and separation from my birth mother is even a thing. How convenient of them.

Everyone seemed to sweep this under the rug, and we never discussed it again. Finally, when I told the new therapist I thought the world would end, she prescribed me Prozac and sent me on my way. I took the Prozac for a week and threw it in the trash. I never went back to that therapist again.

Not long after moving to Lexington, I learned Giovanni was arrested for burglary, kidnapping, and aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison in California. We still wrote off and on and professed our love for one another, but we tapered apart due to his lengthy prison sentence. He served 16 years, got out, and is currently back in prison as a persistent felony offender serving federal time.

I ended up in another abusive relationship that resulted in a broken nose, stitches between my eyes, and two black eyes. When people say you attract what you are, they aren’t lying. I felt horrible about myself, and I attracted horrible men.

Again, I numbed the pain with more drugs and alcohol. I was farther away from finding my birth mother than I ever had been, and I had little hope I would ever find her. Deep-down sadness and despair were masked with a fake smile and a party over at Pam’s!

Unfortunately, I had never healed from all the trauma I had experienced. Even transporting me to a new state, with a new school and new friends, my unresolved, unhealed separation and adoption trauma wounds transported with me. However, the other traumas from Diego, Mark, and Giovanni compacted the root traumas. I was a walking dead woman, feeling hollow and empty inside.

At 18 years old, I continued to find my way in the party lifestyle and made severe mistakes and bad choices along the way. I was going down a path of destruction, and most days, I didn’t care if I lived or died. I hated myself, the world, and everyone in it. I had so much anger and rage it consumed me. However, I always felt like my life would end early, and at this stage, I hoped it would.

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

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

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

Being Rejected Before Being Born – An Adoptee’s Perspective

It’s no secret that adoption impacts every adopted person differently. When sharing my story, I describe my separation trauma and relinquishment experience before I was adopted as three separate layers of the primal wound and mother wound:

  1. The rejection from my birth mother before I was born.
  2. The abandonment and rejection I received from her at birth.
  3. The rejection and abandonment I experienced from her after I searched and found her. 

They all come with their own set of layered pain, and they all have impacted me immensely in every area of my life. We must distinguish the difference in all three, as they are different dynamics to the lived adoptee experience. 

I am so thankful I have arrived at a place of healing, and I have learned so many lifelong lessons along the way. While I believe all the articles I have written over the last decade are beneficial in many ways, it’s not until the last year that I feel my articles come from a more well-rounded space. My anger and rage have subsided. While I still feel those feelings and consider them natural feelings to the lifelong adoptee experience, my messages are better received and come across as more informative.

I’m not sure how much research you have done on the prenatal bonding experience that a mother and child experience before their baby is born? That was one of the many areas I wanted to dive into because I know this time in my pre-verbal and prenatal life didn’t go as planned. 

What do I mean? 

I was conceived out of an affair with a married man, and he was a close friend of the family, at least ten years older than my biological mother. Unfortunately, my biological mother chose to give me up for adoption. After spending a lifetime searching for clues to my story, I genuinely believe that she rejected the pregnancy, including me, before I ever entered the world. 

This is entirely different from being rejected and abandoned after entering the world. But, at the same time, they are all very significant dynamics to the adoptee experience. 

I wrote an article titled “My Birth Mother’s Shoes,” and in this article, I had to dissect my birth mother’s life and get to the bottom of her story. Why? Because I wanted to take my anger, rage, and pain and bring some understanding and compassion into the picture. This is one of the most powerful steps to healing for adoptees. 

I wrote:

“I learned that my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even throughout her pregnancy with me. She was considered an alcoholic by those close to her, and they told me stories about her life that helped me better understand her. During the 20 years of silence from her, I was angry. I was hurt. I was rage-filled, and alcohol was the only thing that made a bit of a dent in navigating through this pain. It didn’t help me process anything, but it helped me not feel the truth.”

One of the worst parts for an adopted individual is that we’re dealing with roadblocks to receiving our truth every step of the way. Some of us never find it at all, and others gather fragments of clues over a 40-50-60 year span, and we barely arrive at a place of understanding after our life is well over half over. (if we’re lucky) Some of us have spent every bit of our lives feeling incomplete, lost, and filled with mental torment because living in the unknown is a tremendous burden.  

What does this have to do with being rejected before being born?

Once we can assess the truth of our stories BEFORE THE GRAND ENTRANCE into the world, it helps us form conclusions on why things are the way they are and why our biological mothers chose to give us up for adoption. It gives a glimpse of her era and how things were in her life.

This information is critical to the healing of the adoptee experience. 

Every tiny clue matters!

Once I knew that my biological mother drank alcohol the entire pregnancy with me, it was like the lights flipped on. I knew at that moment that she couldn’t possibly bond with the baby in her belly for nine months. So she actually likely and purposely emotionally and mentally blocked any bonding out, and alcohol was the primary way she was able to do this. 

She was a sick woman long before I ever came into the world or was conceived. I had empathy and compassion for her and learned that her biggest problem was her alcohol use which ultimately killed her in her 60s. 

While I have been able to acknowledge and accept that she didn’t bond with me in utero but likely discouraged such bonding before I was born, I can’t deny this hasn’t had a lifelong impact on my life. Did I bond with her even when she couldn’t bond with me? Perhaps, I would like to think so, but that doesn’t change the dynamic of me feeling, knowing, and instinctively realizing that she didn’t bond with me. It takes two to bond, so I can safely say I believe I just answered my question. 

 Many people aren’t aware that this is even a thing, but I tell you, it is. While trying to piece my journey together to assess this dynamic, I have purposely researched how vital prenatal bonding is with our biological mothers and the post-natal bonding experience. I wanted to dive into this so I could understand myself better. For my fellow adoptees reading, I encourage you to do the same. 

While we already know the bond that was broken when I was born and separated from my birth mother and how it impacts every area of the adoptee’s life. This is the same for anyone separated from their biological mothers because this is a traumatic experience for all. Therefore, I encourage you to research Attachment Theory and learn about the implications of being separated from your biological mothers at the beginning of life.

Bowlby’s Attachment Theory suggests: 

“Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis suggests that continual disruption of the attachment between infant and primary caregiver (i.e., mother) could result in long-term cognitive, social, and emotional difficulties for that infant. Bowlby originally believed the effects to be permanent and irreversible.”

What’s also shared: 

“John Bowlby, working alongside James Robertson (1952), observed that children experienced intense distress when separated from their mothers. Even when such children were fed by other caregivers, this did not diminish the child’s anxiety.”

They found three progressive stages of distress:

  • Protest: The child cries, screams and protests angrily when the parent leaves. They will try to cling on to the parent to stop them leaving.
  • Despair: The child’s protesting begins to stop, and they appear to be calmer although still upset. The child refuses others’ attempts for comfort and often seems withdrawn and uninterested in anything.
  • Detachment: If separation continues, the child will start to engage with other people again. They will reject the caregiver on their return and show strong signs of anger.

I believe in the reality that mothers aren’t interchangeable. I do believe, at times, a substitute mother can come into play, as in our adoptive mothers; however, the bond is nothing like that of the bond we are supposed to have with our biological mothers. I feel once the damage is done with the broken bond, nothing can repair it, and it can and does impact every area of our lives. 

Research foster youth, foster adults, and adopted youth and adopted adults and see how the prison system, jails, treatment, and mental health facilities are over-populated with these individuals. Unfortunately, this is the reality of the aftermath of the primal wound and separation trauma. I could do the research for you, but I already have, and I encourage you to do the same. 

But what happens when we are rejected before we are even born? 

The Evolution of a Theory of Prenatal Attachment: 

Rubin, a nurse specializing in maternity care doing doctoral work at the University of Chicago, perhaps laid the foundation for a theoretical construct of attachment that begins before birth states:

“She identified four specific tasks the women she observed navigated before childbirth: (1) Seeking safe passage for self and baby, (2) ensuring that the baby is accepted by significant others, (c) “binding-in” 3, and (4) giving of herself. These tasks formed a framework for her conceptualization of the psychological experience of pregnancy and, although she did not use the term “attachment,” Ruben states: “By the end of the second trimester, the pregnant woman becomes so aware of the child within her and attaches so much value to him that she possesses something very dear, very important to her, something that gives her considerable pleasure and pride.” 

We can all acknowledge that this process of prenatal bonding can likely be interrupted when it comes to the feelings our biological mothers have about us when they are pregnant due to the very nature of the pregnancy outcome, I think this is noteworthy to investigate each adoptee’s experience. 

I know that this dynamic in my journey has helped me understand myself. Yes, it was a hard pill to swallow that I believe my birth mother rejected the pregnancy and, in return, rejected me for the nine months she carried me. However, acknowledging this and accepting it as part of my story has brought me great healing and understanding of why I am the way I am. 

If I’m candid and transparent, I feel broken because of this severed bond. Not only did my birth mother reject the pregnancy, but she abandoned me and rejected me after she gave birth. So while they are two separate things, I have often tried to take myself back to the days when I was in the womb and to try to process the feelings of my preborn self, to get to the bottom of what I might be feeling; at that time? Any chance of repair with her was shattered, because once I found her she rejected a relationship with me. Unfortunately, in my case this only added insult to injury setting me up for the biggest disappointment of my life.

In utero, I could likely feel the warmth of her body, but her coldness towards me was also felt. I could feel her desire to “get it over with” regarding the delivery and pregnancy altogether. I could feel her disdain and shame for conceiving a baby out of wedlock in 1974 and becoming pregnant by a friend of the family who was older than her and was married at the time. 

I could taste the alcohol she drank daily as any attempt to dull the pain. What did that alcohol do to me every day of my life for the nine months she carried me? One can only speculate. She never sang to me; she never embraced my touch or the growth of her growing belly. Instead, her feelings of badness transferred into my tiny body, and I was born with the feelings of being bad that stayed with me most of my life. 

While this all seems like a lot for an adoptee to navigate, walk through, and process, I can share that even when learning these things has been excruciatingly painful, it’s helped me heal. 

I want to emphasize that it is critically important for every adopted person to know the whole truth about their beginnings and the story of conception. We need to know it, we deserve to know it, and it is life or death for us. Can you imagine not knowing who brought you into the world and not knowing your conception and birth stories? 

I know you can’t because it’s unimaginable. But, it’s also inhumane to expect any human being to live through this painful and traumatic experience rooted in shame, secrecy, and lies. So, why are adopted adults still paying the price for others’ decisions and outdated laws from the baby scoop era? 

While I hope this article sheds some light on the different layers of the adoptee experience regarding separation trauma and prenatal bonding, I encourage you to do your research and dig as deep as possible to uncover your truth. The truth holds the keys to acceptance and, ultimately, healing. 

Let me also share that no one handed me this information. Therefore, it was up to me to fight the closed adoption laws and raise hell until I got my truth! Even when I was lied to my whole life, and I had people deliberately throw shade to discourage me from ever learning my truth, I kept pushing anyway. This is what I call THE FIGHT OF MY LIFE which is an article I wrote to describe what this struggle has been like. 

For my fellow adoptees, have you been able to learn the truth of your conception? Do you feel like you bonded with your birth mother before you were born, and do you think she rejected the pregnancy? How do you think this impacted you?

Have you ever processed through this layer of the adoptee experience? If so, what did you uncover? If you haven’t, is it by choice, or are you lacking the information needed? 

Thank you for reading and listening! 

Love, Love, 

Pamela A. Karanova 

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

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

*The views and opinions expressed in this article 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

The Vital Contrast Between Relinquishment Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Adoption Trauma and Why We Should Consider the Difference 

I am learning and growing to understand all the layers of the adoption experience from an adult adoptee’s perspective. I am entirely open to learning and growing in my experience, my story, and the stories of my fellow adoptees, intercountry adoptees, and/or multiracial adoptees. 

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is an intercountry adoptee, and the conversation was striking to me. She shared a piece with me I had never thought about before, and with this, I learned something very significant that I feel we should all understand, so I felt the need to share it in this article.

When most people think of adoption, they think of a “blessing” or a “wonderful outcome” for a child who was not wanted by their biological parents. Rarely do they know the other side of the coin, the reality of what adoption is, how separation trauma impacts us and what adoption feels like from the adoptee’s lens.

Some adoptees might be fortunate enough to receive the “picture perfect” adoption story; however, all the adoptees I know who could sympathize with this scenario still have deep-rooted issues that stem from the separation from their biological mother and adoption experience. Unfortunately, I have not met one who doesn’t, and I have been connecting with adoptees worldwide for over a decade now. 

Let’s get straight to the reason behind writing this article. 

Relinquish – voluntarily cease to keep or claim; give up. 

Voluntary – done, given, or acting of one’s own free will.

Separation – the act or process of separating: the state of being separated.

When I first began to emerge out of the fog from my adoption experience, I learned that the classification of referring to my experience as “Adoption Trauma” was something I could wholeheartedly relate to. My adoption experience did indeed traumatize me. 

However, it’s vital that I also recognize that the separation from my biological mother has also traumatized me. While many already know this, anytime a mother and a child are separated for any reason, a trauma occurs. This separation is classified as a traumatic experience and can cause a host of issues for the duration of the adoptee’s life. While we can undoubtedly suggest that the separation trauma from our biological mothers is traumatic indeed, it impacts us all at different levels. 

Over the years, I have learned that some adoptees have gravitated towards a well-rounded adoption experience, and many of us struggle every step of the way. Sometimes we’re somewhere in the middle of a complex adoption experience with varying emotions and experiences. One thing is for sure; no two adoptee stories are alike. I learned at the beginning of my healing journey that a lot of times, the adoption experience is lumped into one extensive experience; however, I view the separation from my biological mother as one traumatic experience and my adoption from my adoptive parents as a separate traumatic experience.

When we say “ADOPTION TRAUMA,” when we speak about our experiences, I feel like we are speaking about the experience of our adoptive parents adopting us because this event happens AFTER WE ARE SEPARATED from our biological mothers for whatever reason. It begins at the moment we are ADOPTED. But what about the traumatic experience of separation that happens first? 

While I think the adoption community means well, I see a significant issue with lumping these events together as one. Suppose you research separation trauma, mother and baby bonding and what happens when that bond is disrupted, and attachment theory. In that case, you will quickly learn of all the traumatic layers of losing a person’s biological mother. A baby can be fresh out of the womb, a toddler, or a preteen. Separation from our biological mothers will always create a wound, also known as the primal or mother wound. This wound is the greatest wound of our lives for many of us. For others, they aren’t so profoundly impacted by it. 

But, again, it impacts each of us differently. Still, the extreme end of the spectrum is where I have found myself to be, and the most significant source of my heartbreak, grief, loss, and pain is undoubtedly the separation and loss of my biological mother. This is just my experience as I see it over a decade of coming out of the fog from my adoption experience. I don’t claim to know it all, but I have gained snippets of knowledge and understanding along the way. 

While the term separation can describe anyone who has been separated from their biological mothers, relinquishment can not. I have learned that many adoptees don’t know if they were relinquished or stolen, which changes everything regarding how we speak about and view the adoptee experience. Being separated from our biological mothers is different from being adopted by our adoptive parents. 

Totally different! 

When speaking of my own story, I sometimes say relinquishment trauma when speaking of the primal wound or mother wound, but that’s because I know I wasn’t stolen. Instead, I know my biological mother chose to relinquish me. 

When I speak of adoption trauma, I am speaking of the trauma I experienced AFTER separation from my biological mother and paperwork was finalized with my adoptive family and what happened moving forward. But, again, both are very separate things, and both hold very different experiences! 

When I speak as a whole about other adoptees being separated from their biological mothers, I tend to gravitate towards separation trauma (instead of relinquishment trauma) because I don’t know if all adoptees were relinquished or not. We can’t assume all adopted people were relinquished. Many were stolen and sold on the black market and other various ways. 

And even when adoptees are relinquished, a lot of the time, the biological mothers didn’t voluntarily give their babies up. Instead, they were often coerced and conditioned, which is a form of gaslighting and manipulation that leads them to feel the shame and guilt many feel, which leads to adoption. 

Some might use the term “Surrender” when speaking of the separation of a mother and a baby. That means “to cease resistance to an enemy opponent and submit to their authority,”  however that doesn’t align with the possibility that there is an UNKNOWN area where a baby could be a stolen baby. 

Adoption Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Relinquishment Trauma all mean different things. I wanted to highlight this because I see “Adoption Trauma” used more and more. When I think a lot of the time, “Separation Trauma” is better fitting for what the person is trying to explain. 

Not all adoptees feel like adoption traumatized them, and not all adoptees feel like separation from their biological mothers traumatized them. We all write our own stories based on what we know and our experiences in life with our adoption journeys. I want to spark conversations with this article and thoughts that will shed light on this topic for anyone that hasn’t thought of these dynamics. 

I say, “Relinquishment trauma, compacted by adoption trauma,” when it comes to MY STORY, which fits me the best regarding my story.  It’s no doubt that no matter how you slice it, Separation Trauma, Relinquishment Trauma, AND Adoption Trauma are all very traumatic experiences. However, it is good to distinguish between them when we communicate our experiences to articulate our messages more clearly and defined. 

Adoptees, How do you refer to the separation from your biological mother?

Have you been able to learn if you were stolen or relinquished? 

How do you refer to your adoption experience or the experience of others who have been separated from their biological mothers and adopted? 

Do you use “Adoption Trauma” across the board, or do you distinguish the two as separate experiences? 

I am curious about others’ thoughts on this topic. 

Thank you for reading,

Love,

Pamela A. Karanova  

Facebook: Pamela A. Karanova

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

📱 iTunes – https://apple.co/3tKzT5f

🌎 Google – https://bit.ly/3JP6NY0

🎧 Spotify – https://spoti.fi/3Ny6h35

📦 Amazon – https://amzn.to/3JScoga

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

*The views and opinions expressed in this article 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

Being Adopted and The Significance of the Black Hole

Before sharing specifics, I need to bring Seasonal Affective Disorder to light. I suffer from this each year as fall approaches until early spring. Because of this, I feel what I describe as the “black hole” is much more prevalent in my life during that time frame. One of the dynamics of my healing journey is that idol time has proven to be a struggle for me. I have more idol time during the fall and winter months because I hate the cold, and can’t enjoy my number one escape, nature. When I’m trapped in the house, I experience a part of me that makes me feel guilty for resting, or when I’m not busy, a part of me feels dysfunctional. But, on the other hand, part of me always feels like I need to constantly be productive, active, doing something. 

Another part of me flourishes in a unique aliveness and sweet natural essence. I can see beauty in everyday life, and I find happiness within myself and my surroundings. The sunshine fuels my passion to be alive, and I strive to be active and never miss a moment to make a memory. Sometimes I run off into nature alone, and sometimes I take friends or family.

And then, there is a part of me that is missing; it’s hallowed and empty in that space that I call the black hole.

The black hole wants to be filled up, but it has no ending and depths. It goes on forever and ever, hallow. Sometimes I don’t think about it being there, especially in the summer and spring months. Other times in the fall and winter months, it’s screaming for attention. I describe it as an itch or a void. I have identified it’s significantly different from the black cloud that used to follow me everywhere I went, from all the sorrow I felt from adoption.  

I do my best to cover the defective parts and let happiness soar, but deep down, hidden from the world is a different story.  

Sometimes it feels like something inside is broken that created the black hole, and no matter what I try to fill it with, it never fills up. I filled it with alcohol for 27 years, but 9.5 years ago, I stopped that habit. Drinking alcohol kept me from noticing the black hole most of the time. The black hole has been screaming to be filled ever since. Sometimes its scream is more potent than others. 

How did this black hole come about? 

It used to feel like the black hole was in my heart because my heart was deeply saddened and sorrowful from my adoption experience. I always thought I would die from a broken heart, but I have learned over the years that it was grief and loss that were trying to come out. The broken heart feeling hung on day in and day out, never leaving. I have spent 10+ years working towards healing, and my heart feels better most of the time. 

Finally, around August of 2021, the sorrow and sadness I always carried deep down lifted, and I can’t quite explain it yet. Other than working towards healing for over 12 years,  I freed myself from an awful and unhealthy 9-month toxic relation-shit in my life, which is possibly one of my best decisions for my emotional and mental well-being. After this fake connection was severed, I have felt exceptionally FREE because it just wasn’t a good fit. 

I am finding a distinct difference between the broken heart feeling and the black hole feeling. It’s at the center of me, and it reaches the deepest parts of my mind, body, and soul. Most of the time, it doesn’t hurt. It’s just there, but it has a nagging and itching desire to be filled up.

It doesn’t want to be empty.

Can it ever be repaired? 

I suspect the black hole was created when the natural bonding process with my biological mother was interrupted, and the separation from her has left a black hole that can never be repaired. Acceptance of this reality has been a KEY component of my healing. 

Do all adoptees carry this? 

I constantly find myself trying to fill it up, but the most significant thing has happened. I can identify when I’m trying to fill the unfillable black hole with unhealthy choices. 

What are the unhealthy ways I try to fill the black hole up? 

  • Sweets
  • Unhealthy food
  • Over-eating
  • Dating
  • Overextending myself
  • Trying to “save” others
  • Wanting to move
  • Starting a new job
  • Not setting boundaries with people
  • Creating a project adding more responsibility to my plate
  • Finding something new to fill the hole.
  • Buying material things I don’t need
  • Temporary satisfaction with unhealthy things
  • Making commitments, I don’t want to make
  • People-pleasing aka fawning
  • “Treating myself” with unnecessary things 
  • Creating a new “bad habit.”
  • Being impulsive
  • Over-planning
  • Filling the void with people, places and things
  • Acting on other peoples ideas and plans for my life before I think thoroughly if that is something I want to do
  • Being lazy, giving the black hole what it wants
  • Acting on obsessive thoughts and feelings 
  • Not spending enough time to think about things before I act on them
  • Avoidance from dealing with reality

One day I might try to fill the black hole with food where I overdose on sweets and food that I know isn’t good for me. One day I maybe have the itch to start a new project that I know I don’t have time for. Another day I might be searching for a new job I don’t need or a hobby that I like, that causes me to spend money I don’t need to spend. Another day, I might be trying to create something unique that no one has ever done before adding an unnecessary responsibility to my life.

I spent a lifetime trying to fill the black hole with Jesus, but that didn’t work permanently. It did work short-term, as long as I avoided the reality of the black hole. It only left me feeling like I was ashamed and defective even more because Jesus is supposed to cure it all. But I am the exception. I gave up on him, and I am glad. That was like running a never-ending rat race, always falling flat on my face in the end. Pretending that the hole didn’t exist or praying it away caused more harm than good. It was a constant war, and it was a game I decided I didn’t want to play anymore.

I won’t lie; it’s not easy to soothe the black hole. When I think about things thoroughly, and I walk away from an unhealthy choice or sporadic decision that attempts to fill the black hole, it sometimes feels like walking away from a drug I have been strung out on for a very long time. Sometimes it feels like death. I recognize that giving into filling the black hole will fix the empty feeling it carries, but only temporarily. A little time passes, then I am faced with something new that will temporarily “fix” the black hole. But, of course, it never goes away, but I can soothe it by choosing healthy things, or I can take a hit of the unhealthy choice, and it also temporarily fixes it. 

Everything changed when I started to look INSIDE MYSELF for the answers, instead of looking for things outside myself in other people, places and, things.

I’ve accepted that something is always going to be missing from my life, due to separation trauma compacted by adoption trauma.

The most amazing thing has happened in the last few months, but it’s not been easy to discover. Finally, I have IDENTIFIED when I have unhealthy feelings and thoughts that directly fill the black hole! Recognizing this is the first step, and I am thankful that I am at a healing space in my journey where I can acknowledge this and RECOGNIZE IT. Some people go to their graves, never making it to this point. While I had alcohol in my life almost daily for 27 years, it wasn’t possible to even identify this dynamic, let alone dissect it, acknowledge it and, work on it. Alcohol blocked me from tuning into my true self and stood in the way of me truly feeling my feelings.

Some people might say, “How do you know this is directly related to the separation from your birth mother?” 

From deconditioning and coming out of the fog regarding my adoption experience, it has opened up 12+ years of research on the topic of adoption. In learning to navigate all of the emotions and feelings that I have stuffed my whole life, I have learned that the primal wound, aka the mother wound compacted by separation trauma and adoption trauma, can impact every area of an adopted person’s life. Sometimes it’s more intensified for each of us, and some adoptees seem to be more well adjusted and they don’t have very many issues. 

Everyone responds to trauma differently. We must learn to recognize that mothers aren’t interchangeable. The void and trauma damage that happens from the separation of our biological mothers can and does leave lasting imprints on an adopted person that can last a lifetime. 

For me, adoption has always bothered me to my core, and I have done everything under the sun imaginable to fill the void. However, I am now learning that the void adoption has left created a black hole that I keep trying to fill. Conclusion: The reality that I can not fill this hole has been life-changing for me. Now that I can distinguish this dynamic, I can ask myself, “Do I really want to do this, or am I just trying to fill the unfillable black hole?” I make a conscious choice to do my best to choose the healthiest option for me, but I fall short all the time and that’s okay. I am a work in progress like we all are.

What that looks like for me is making myself wait on making decisions and giving myself time to sit with them and process them thoroughly before I act. Sometimes this takes me a while, and people don’t always understand that. Why is she taking so long to process? 

Well, that’s actually because I am PROCESSING trying to make the best decision possible for myself, instead of reacting and acting from a DYING place to fill the black hole. The most significant piece to the black hole is acknowledging it, learning more about it, and not running away from it. So I am opening up about it and having conversations about it. I recognize it’s not present all the time, although it is always there. 

I suspect non-adopted people have this black hole feeling, but maybe they don’t describe it this way. I think the black holes can come from different traumatic events in life or things that have always been missing. Our mothers and fathers missing or absent would likely be at the top of the list for many people. I think abuse of any kind can provoke a black hole, as well as accidents or situations that spark C-PTSD and PTSD. Abandonment and rejection of any kind can spark a black hole feeling. 

Self-awareness has been vital and learning to listen to my mind, body, and spirit when it comes to how I’m feeling. Tuning into how other people make me feel when I am around them and acknowledging how I feel by myself has been instrumental in my healing and growth journey. Even when others might pressure me to move faster or respond quicker, I take my time. 

Today, I welcome the black hole, and I realize that it’s something that might be here for the rest of my life. I’m learning to replace it with positive aspects and to be easy on myself if I fail. I am not numbing it with substances; I’m not running from it. I do not deny it’s there. But, I’m learning to make friends with it, which helps us understand one another more profoundly. I am also celebrating the fact that today, I AM FEELING. So many people stuff these holes with drugs and alcohol, and I am doing none of that.

This alone is a cause to celebrate! 

For my fellow adoptees – have you ever experienced a feeling that feels like a black hole?

Does it come and go?

How would you describe it, and where do you think it comes from?

How do you handle it and deal with it?

Biological mothers – Does losing your child feel like a black hole or would you describe it another way?

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Thank you for reading,

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

Big Adoptee Feelings, Learning to Feel the Feels While Coming Out of the Fog

I remember back to the earlier days of my life, particularly in my pre-teen years, and I was so angry about my birth mother never coming back to get me; I just wanted to die. I hated the world and, I hated everyone in it. And most of all, I hated myself. For me, this means my self-love was non-existent. Nothing could console me and I didn’t feel connected to anyone or anything.

I was a trainwreck.

During the beginning of my life, I developed the fantasy that she was coming back. I dreamed and fantasized of the day that she would change her mind and decide her love for me was so great, she decided to come back and get me. After all, I dreamed she wanted me back because who could actually give their baby away and genuinely mean it?

During my teen years and childhood, as many times as I saw therapists ( I saw a lot!), adoption was never addressed or discussed. Because of this, I didn’t start working on any adoptee-related problems or issues I was holding deep down until the later part of my 30’s which is when I consider the beginning of my process of coming out of the fog about adoption.

In the years that passed, adoption-related thoughts plagued my mind, but there was no help for me. I learned to keep things tucked inside, never sharing my thoughts with the world for fear. Fear of what? Fear of shattering my adoptive mother’s dream come true to be a mother. Fear of upsetting her or being abandoned once again. I never talked about it, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about it. It honestly never left my mind. I was obsessed with finding HER, my biological mother.

Who would have ever known that my internal dialog with myself was one of ultimate torture? What adults in my life would have understood this dynamic played out as an adopted child? I wasn’t acting out until I was in my pre-teens.

But even then, once I started acting out, no one ever acknowledged that being adopted could play a role in my behaviors. Even running away, locked in drug and alcohol treatment, being in group homes, detention, breaking the law, fighting, stealing, unplanned pregnancy, and even a burglary at 15 – Not even my adoptive parents. So I am here to tell you that not one person in all the contact I had with adults, made the connection that “Wow, this girl is adopted. Maybe that brings some root issues for her we need to bring to the table?”

Once I reached my 30’s I lived many years as an everyday drinker, trying to raise three kids as a single mom, work, pay the bills, and not think about my adoptee reality. Alcohol was the escape, so was partying. I didn’t know how to process the pain from relinquishment, nor did I ever make the connection that my drinking was a symptom of a much bigger cause – ADOPTION TRAUMA AND RELINQUISHMENT TRAUMA.

Once I learned that I have always had every reason to act out and be angry, the fog began to lift. It’s taken over 10+ years working on myself. I have learned that my feelings were so EXTREME and SEVERE because not only was I keeping things tucked inside, but sharing my real feelings about my adoption experience was IMPOSSIBLE because I had never done it.

Not only had I not shared feelings, but I was emotionally abused and gaslit my entire life that adoption was a wonderful thing. I made my adoptive parent’s dreams come true to be parents. I was also told that my birth mother loved me so much; she wanted me to have a better life with a loving two-parent home that she couldn’t provide. Too bad my adoptive parents divorced a year later, and I was raised in an abusive home with a mentally ill and narcissistic adoptive mother I never bonded with!

From a very young age, I learned that I must put everyone’s feelings ahead of my own and that my feelings weren’t significant compared to everyone else’s. Of course, I internalized this, and it only magnified my feelings of grief, loss, anger, rage, and self-hate. I was also forced to pretend that my adoptive parents were my only parents. I knew they were not, but I had to go along with the fantasy because I didn’t know who my biological parents were or how to find them. I was forbidden that information, and it was kept a secret from me.

No Truth, No Healing

The reality that I have made it out of this complete nightmare is nothing short of a miracle. This is why I keep sharing my story because it’s a miracle I am alive to do it. The reason I am saying this is because my issues were so deep. I spent the majority of my youth wanting to die. I tried several times to take my own life (no one even noticed), and I would entice others in hopes that they would kill me. Sounds ludicrous, right? Well, it is, but that’s how dark my sorrow and sadness were. I just wanted out of my misery, and at that time, I was hopeless I would ever “feel alive.” So it’s easy for me to understand why so many adoptees choose to leave the world.

The world has failed adoptees.

When I hit 2010, I found my first adoptee online via the Twitter platform named Jessenia Arias. Jessenia is now Jessenia Arias Parmer, and her website is I Am Adopted. I will never forget this beautiful soul, who I consider one of the most amazing lights to adoptees and anyone in the adoption world. I love you, Jessenia! I remember like it was yesterday, reading her tweets and how so many of them resonated with me.

After spending 2010 and 2011 trying to heal from adoption and relinquishment trauma with alcohol in my everyday life, I finally decided that I could not heal while using substances. Instead, it made my problems worse because I wasn’t genuinely feeling my feelings, I was mixing alcohol with raw emotions, and it was indeed a recipe for disaster!

On my earthly birthday, August 13, 2012, I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking, and this was the last day I ever drank alcohol. Why? Because I desperately wanted to heal, and I wanted my kids to have a better mom than what I had. Even when I was in shambles on the inside, I wanted to get better for my kids. And eventually, for myself. Removing alcohol from my life, I had to get honest with myself. Then, all the feelings I had been running from my whole life showed up at my front door.

BIG ADOPTEE FEELINGS!

Frankly, adoptee feelings have been the biggest and most complex feelings I’ve ever had, even experiencing other traumatic events. Slowly, I started sharing my feelings online, but I was scared to my core that if anyone knew how I felt, something terrible would happen. So I began to write online under an alias, and I wasn’t strong enough to share my feelings from my true authentic self. This was when Adoptee in Recovery was born. It protected me.

I wrote many years under this alias, but one day into my healing journey, the lights flipped on, and I realized I was coming out of the fog, but I wasn’t being true to myself in the process. I wrote under an alias, making me feel phony and not legit. So I stepped into a new phase around 2015 of welcoming the real true me into my website and online adoptee world. This was a liberating experience, but it took years to get up enough courage and strength to get here. I finally didn’t feel invisible. I felt more real than I ever had. I was strong and ready to share my story with the world, from the real true me and not just a piece of me.

 ALL OF ME.

No more hiding behind an alias, but it was lifesaving for a time in my life where I was operating out of paralyzing fear. Adoptees have a lot to lose when they share their real feelings. For me, it was worth the risk, especially knowing I could validate the sentiments of my fellow adoptees if I poured my heart and soul out into my articles.

We must recognize that every person who experiences separation trauma from their biological mother has trauma memories stored in their subconscious memory. This trauma can cause many issues that might not be brought to light. They come out later in life, and adoptees usually have to learn about this independently by experiencing triggers.

While many adoptees feel conditioned to be thankful from the beginning of life, we learn to internalize our thoughts and feelings about our adoption experiences. We go most of our childhood for some of us without ever letting the words from our emotions come out of our mouths. However, just because you don’t hear an adoptee sharing heartbreak or sadness doesn’t mean it’s not there. Most of the time, if they know the whole truth of their adoption, it’s there.

I will never forget the first time I started to share feelings about my birth mother. After 27 years of a love affair with alcohol (so I didn’t have to feel), I stopped drinking alcohol in 2012 at 38 years old and made my way to Celebrate Recovery. I was sitting in a circle of women, and I started sharing about my birth mother, and tears started to flow. I began to cry; my cry turned into a sob. The next thing I knew, I started whaling with my cry and tears, snot started slanging. Suddenly, I realized this was the very first time in my whole life I had shared about the loss of my birth mother. I was 38 years old at the time. 38!!!! Suddenly, an adoptive mom interrupted me, who was in the group. She said, “I’m sorry, but you don’t know adoption like I know adoption! I adopted two kids from foster care, and the experience those kids had gone through before we adopted them has been a nightmare!”

Of course, I was silenced. I shut down. I couldn’t even finish my sentence. How many adoptees who are reading have gotten this sort of treatment in your life?

I got up, and I left…

I walked out of Celebrate Recovery, and that was the moment that I knew if adoptees wanted to heal from a space like this, that is supposed to be safe to share, we would have to create our adoptee centric space because I knew we would be silenced if we didn’t! This was when I knew Adoptees Connect, Inc. was so needed!

So you see, the one time I get up enough courage to share my real feelings, I get silenced and shut down. So I left, and I was hopeless after this. To be transparent, if I were suicidal at this time, I would have taken my own life. I needed and wanted help so desperately, but there was no place I could even share my adoptee feelings freely without being silenced. By this time, I had given up therapy. I couldn’t bear to therapy another therapist.

News Flash: This is the treatment most adoptees get in life! We aren’t only silenced and shut down; we are emotionally and mentally abused and gaslit regularly. Yet, we choose to keep our feelings to ourselves for fear of more emotional abuse.

When I started to come out of the fog and share my truth, I feared that my adoptive family would read my feelings? What if my biological family reads my feelings? Will they all leave me too? Will they stop talking to me? Will they be mad at me?

Despite all these internal fears, I stepped out, and I started to share anyway. After a while, I learned to put myself first and not care what anyone thinks. Finally, after a lifetime of being silenced,  being true to myself and sharing my truth loudly became a priority. Unfortunately, many adoptees never get to this point. Instead, they internalize things so long that they lose the battle at life.

They choose not to go on.

I want those reading that aren’t adopted to consider acknowledging and understanding that their role in an adopted person’s life could potentially be a role that sends an adoptee over the edge. What they say to us is a significant piece of our journey. Do you realize I will never forget the way this adoptive mom treated me and how she silenced me?

Let me share that this experience has been the launching pad for everything I have done for adoptees in creating adoptee-centric spaces all over the world? Unfortunately, not all adoptees will have this courage and strength because we are simply tired! We can’t take more gaslighting and abuse from the world that celebrates our trauma. (adoption) We are tired of being treated like second-class citizens to everyone else’s feelings.

If I ever have the opportunity to speak to an adoptive parent, I always share that the sooner the truth is revealed to the adoptee, the better. I would seek emotional support and therapy from an ADOPTEE competent therapist to know when to share the truth, specifically at age-appropriate times. If I had started to identify with grief, loss, and sadness early on, my healing would have started earlier. I might not have depended on alcohol to numb my pain for 27 years of my life.

The thing about adoptees being young and healing are that we need our adoptive parents, counselors, therapists, and adults in our lives to help us find the words to identify the feelings and also spark conversations that will help create a dialogue. As kids, we don’t know how to do this without help.

Before any adopted child begins to share feelings about being adopted, we need our adoptive parents to research and learn as much as possible and acknowledge and accept that adoption always begins with loss. And we need them to recognize that anytime a mother and a child is separated, a trauma occurs. Once they come to a place of acceptance that their adopted child could struggle with these things, then they can know how to hold space for difficult conversations to be sparked at age-appropriate times.

It’s taken me 10+ years to learn how to process my adoptee feelings in healthy ways, and I am 47 years old. My life is over half over if I’m lucky. Adoption has stolen so much from my fellow adoptees and me, but it doesn’t have to keep stealing so much.

Today, I take my time to respond to uncomfortable feelings, and I have learned that all my emotions are valid and legitimate. If no one has ever told you, so are yours! I sit with them when they come, and I am no longer numbing myself with substances, so I don’t have to feel. My tears have gone from being hard as a rock to flowing freely. Now, I have cried so much the last 10+ years as an attempt to feel and heal that my tears are finally starting to dry up.

This is what I call getting honest with myself, and sitting with my sorrow and sadness, and learning that it’s okay to feel these ways. I remember days when I couldn’t feel at all!

 I have also accepted the pain is here to stay, which was one of the most prominent healing dynamics of my journey and life. I spent so much time trying to be completely healed in my past! But after running many rat races, I learned that it was all a hoax, and this pain is here to stay. I’m not saying I won’t heal because I am healing daily, but adoption’s painful parts will always revisit. I will never be completely whole, and that’s okay. I have accepted it, and it’s easier for me to believe this than run a rat race for 100 years TRYING TO BE FULLY HEALED. This reality in itself has helped me tremendously. They will revisit future generations and my children when they aren’t revisiting me. The key is not running from it but embracing it, sharing it, and feeling it.

Today, I am thankful for the ability to feel because I remember when I was a teenager, my heart, soul, and entire being felt so hallow, dark, and empty inside. Because of all the blood, sweat, and tears, I’ve put into my journey, not today.

Today I am full of life, and I have joy in the little things. I hope the same for my fellow adoptees.

Adoptees, What has the process been like to identify with your adoptee feelings? Have you struggled with this? Do you have any advice for your fellow adoptees or tips and tricks you recommend when it comes to processing and feeling adoptee feelings? Have your adoptee feelings been the biggest feelings you’ve ever had? How has your healing journey been? What helped you the most?

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

Thank you for reading,

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

A Plea to Pregnant Moms Considering Adoption, From A Single Mom & Adoptee

img_0551I have no idea your circumstances, or what has led you to this place in your life, or this article but I have some information to share with you before you make your final decision that could possibly impact you and your unborn baby for the rest of your life. I know it might be a scary time, and you have no idea what your next steps are. You are not alone. Times are changing and there are much more resources for you to make an informed decision. That’s what this article is written for.

I would love to take a moment to share a little about my personal journey, which has given me the perspective that has inspired me to write this article. First, I want to say THANK YOU for even taking the time to read this article and open your heart to new possibilities regarding what you have been told about adoption. I commend you.

A little of my story, I was surrendered for adoption by my biological mother, with my biological father never knowing of my existence. I was conceived out of an affair as my biological father was married at the time of my conception. I was adopted in a closed adoption and I was never supposed to learn of my beginnings.

I ended up being adopted by a couple who could not have kids of their own, however the marriage crumbled after a year and they divorced not long after. I was sexually abused in this home, and my adoptive mom was mentally ill, and she was unable to parent me. Somehow, I remained in this house, under very toxic, abusive, and harmful conditions. Although it was all I knew, I was raised on public housing, food stamps and welfare.

This was not the “better life” that was promised to my birth mother.

As I grew up, I learned of my adoption status, and my confusion and feelings of isolation and loneliness set in. Instead of being a kid like everyone else, I was set on finding my birth mother and I was obsessed with finding her. My teen years approached and my anger and rage set in. I started using substances at 12 years old and was in drug & alcohol treatment by 15. I was also pregnant at 15. I lost the baby due to an abusive relationship, and I was devastated. I was in and out of jail constantly, and most days I wished I would be taken out of this world. My pain was so great and all I needed and was missing was her. I tried to commit suicide at 17 but failed and no one ever noticed. I wanted the pain to go away, and I had no tools, resources or help in aiding in this process.

I was in and out of abusive relationships because I was lacking self-love, and in my mind, love was pain. If a mother loves her child so much, she passes them over to strangers then love must be pain because nothing feels good about being abandoned by your biological mother. It does not matter how the adoption industry paints the picture or dresses it up, it is abandonment and adoptees can be riddled with the aftermath of this for our entire lives. The agencies, or adoption attorneys are not going to tell you this. They are not going to tell you the lifelong trauma you and your baby will experience due to the separation from one another.

I have suffered from abandonment, trauma, rejection, C-PTSD, grief, loss of connectedness, feelings of aloneness, loss, anger, rage, and emotional, physical, and psychological damage due to being relinquished for adoption, compacted by adoption trauma. I was addicted to substances for 27 years due to these issues; I could not feel the pain because it was too much to bear. For most of my life on earth, I wanted to die because I knew that was the only way the pain would go away. It was like a hole in my heart, with a dark cloud following me around for 43 years of my life.

6f99137b-e869-4d35-a150-bae3774cd43aI am 45 now, and it has taken me 45 years to come to a place of peace regarding my adoption. You will never know the depts of the self-work I have had to do in the lifetime I have lived to get to this place. It has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to undo the lifelong damage and trauma relinquishment and adoption has done. It has been 45 years of fighting to get here and I truly feel like I have never lived my life until now because it was so consumed with relinquishment and adoption related trauma. It has taken me all these years to recover, and I know I will have implications regarding being adopted for the rest of my life. The wounds are too deep to disappear, and I have accepted certain areas of painful experiences and feelings are here to stay. They come and go like waves, grief and loss is going to be something I process for the rest of my life.

You might have heard that an open adoption is better because many of these issues will not be present. I would like to encourage you to read Is Open Adoption The Answer? This article is a collaboration of 22 adult adoptees sharing their insights on how they feel regarding open adoption being better or worse than closed adoption. This is a great resource and tool to help you gain a better understanding of the lifelong trauma caused by relinquishment.

You might think you are in no shape to take care of a baby, possibly for financial reasons or you just are not ready yet. You might feel like a two-parent household would be the selfless choice for your baby, because two parents are always better than one, right? I’m not sure where exactly you are in your life and your situation, but what I do know is that giving your baby up for adoption is a decision that will impact you for the rest of your life and I truly feel you are likely not prepared for the aftermath of a decision like this will have on you and your unborn baby.

You might think giving your baby life is the best thing you have to offer your baby. I am here to share with you that yes, giving your baby life is important but you are the next very most important thing that your baby will ever need. You do not have to have a fancy house, or a nice car for your baby. You do not have to have two parents to feel qualified to parent your baby. You do not have to have a lot of money. Your baby just needs you!

Let me share another piece of my story with you. I became pregnant again at 20 years old. I had my daughter out of wedlock and raised her as a single parent all on my own. Although I had a little support from my adoptive mom at the time, the dynamics of that relationship always have been toxic. Not long after when I was 24 years old, I got pregnant with twins. I was still an unwed pregnant woman, and I already had a 4-year-old as a single parent.

My twins were born 29-week preemies at 2.5oz and 3.1oz and they were in the NICU for 6 weeks before they came home. I brought them home and had a 4-year-old to take care of. I can share with you those times were some of the hardest of my life. I did not have any sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents to help me. I was truly alone but I did it and you can do it too.

It would take me all day to tell you about all the struggles I had raising these 3 kids alone, as a single parent. However, every struggle made us stronger as a family and my kids are truly the reason, I am alive today. They gave me a reason to live when I did not want to live for myself.

I did not have a car most of their lives as younger children, but I learned how to take the bus. I did not have much money, but I was able to get public housing assistance, food stamps and WIC. I could not work because I could not have the twins in daycare. I received state assistance temporarily, but they only gave me $328 a month that had to last the whole month to take care of these kids. I never got child support, although my kid’s fathers have always been ordered to pay.

Thankfully, my kids will never know what it feels like to have their mom abandon them and hand them over to strangers. I know that the loss of my mother, that I am all they ever needed, and they will never know the alternative. I had no clue how to be a mother, because mine we terrible examples but I did the best I could with the resources and tools I had. I would not change a thing about the last 27 years, but I wish adoption did not take so much of my life, so I could have been fully present with my kids. I always felt like a train wreck and I feel they deserved more.

When a pregnant woman learns of her pregnancy, they are usually led to believe they have 3 options. Parent, Abortion or Adoption. However, I do not rally for any of those aside from parenting. Is parenting easy? No way, but our children are so worth it and nothing in life is easy.

If I present Adoption and Abortion as options or choices that would mean I support them, and I support keeping mothers and babies together at all costs. We need more people encouraging mothers to KEEP THEIR BABIES, by offering them support than offering or encouraging Abortion or Adoption as options. I do not fit into the debate of the PRO-CHOICE vs PRO-LIFE. Why? Because my beliefs do not line up to fit in those boxes. I am a family preservationist all the way, so keeping mothers and babies together is my #1 choice and what I wholeheartedly support.

Most people might be judgmental towards my feelings about this, which is perfectly okay, but I feel abortion is much more compassionate than having a baby in the world unwanted and abandoning that baby. Why do I say this? Because I have experienced both. 45 years of deep-rooted relinquishment trauma is a long time to serve filled with unspeakable pain, all for giving my adoptive parents the beautiful baby they wanted. I had to do the time. I have had to pay the price! Please keep in mind I have also been in touch with hundreds of adoptees who feel the same way. Talk to adoptees! We carry the keys to the truth.

If I had to choose, abortion would be my #2 option over adoption any day! I am not interested in arguing with you, or hearing the PRO LIFE propaganda. These are my personal views, and this is my personal space to share them. I know countless adoptees who feel the same way. I can say this because I have lived being adopted and I know firsthand the pain it is caused and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.  I live with it every day. It stole my quality of life for 43 years out of 45 and I am just now coming to a place of peace and fulfillment in my own personal life. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. We can defiantly agree to disagree.  Likely, if you haven’t been abandoned by your mother and passed over to strangers, you can’t grasp the magnitude. If you’re an adoptee that doesn’t agree, that’s fine too. Please understand that your pain isn’t everyone else’s pain. If you haven’t experienced the pain so deep that dying seemed like your only way out, consider yourself fortunate.

Let me also share, if anyone reading this is promoting adoption over abortion these two really have NOTHING to do with one another! On behalf of the adoptee community, we would like you to stop using us as your poster children for your PRO-LIFE motives. On a personal note, you should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELF for promoting the separation of mothers and babies over 100% keeping them together. Adoption should NEVER be an option, unless abuse or neglect are involved, and even then TRUTH & TRANSPARENCY is the ONLY way to go.

I do not support adoption or consider it an option because I have had to live being adopted and I can tell you the pain is a pain that is lifelong, even with the most amazing and loving adoptive parents. I will never support adoption and I never present it as a choice of any kind when I speak to any pregnant women. It is NOT A CHOICE in my world. If that topic is brought up, I do everything in my power to educate the person if they are willing to receive the message.

Please understand…

 LOVE ISN’T ENOUGH OR A HOUSE FULL OF STUFF.

Please do not let anyone convince you that it is. Please read Considering Adoption? What Adoptees Want You to Know… and understand it is not just me that feels this way. This article is a plea from over 30 adult adoptees to their first mothers before they make the choice to surrender them for adoption.

There is not any amount of love or material things that will ever replace YOU. It will not take the pain away, no matter how hard our adoptive parents TRY. Maybe the father is not involved, and you are scared? Maybe you do not feel qualified to parent? Please understand that circumstances change, and a lot of the time financial situations are temporary. There are resources out there to help women in these situations.

Adoption is forever.

Please also be encouraged, I remember not having money for food, and a sick baby with no car to the doctors. I remember our electric getting cut off several times. I did what I had to do to survive.

27 YEARS LATER, WE MADE IT!

My twins just turned 22 years old, and my oldest daughter just turned 26. My oldest daughter graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2018 and my twins are both doing great.  Raising them into amazing and incredible human beings has been the biggest gift of my life. The struggles have been real, and it has never been easy, but the rewards have totally exceeded far beyond all our hard times. I always say, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”

Please do not let anyone separate you from the most amazing part of your life, and that is your baby. You might be considering an open adoption but I am here to tell you that working in the adoption community over 10 years open adoptions seem to close more than they stay open leaving the birth parents in absolute heartbreak. I have learned of countless stories where the adoptive parents come up with many reasons to close the adoptions, and there is NOTHING legally binding to keep the adoptions open. Imaging being in the shoes of this happening. It seems they all want to sell a dream in the beginning, to get your baby but things change at the drop of the dime and that door slams shut and there is NOTHING you can do about it. It is too late. Do you really want to risk this? It is so not worth it when it comes to your baby.

The mother wound is one of the deepest wounds anyone on earth will ever experience. Many adoptees have this wound not once, but twice due to lack of connection and bonding with our adoptive mothers. It can take a lifetime to unravel and healing is not always possible.  Please do not inflict this wound onto your unborn baby along with the trauma that comes with relinquishment. Please research pre-natal and peri-natal bonding and what happens when this bond is interrupted. Did they tell you that it can cause lifelong damage in your baby? Did they tell you that your baby will cry for you until his/her spirit breaks? Did they tell you adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adopted individuals and that our prisons, jails, and mental health facilities are overpopulated with adoptees?

If dire circumstances are present, drugs, homelessness, etc. then the next option should be keeping the child with a family member. At all costs, this child’s identity should not be erased, ever! No name changing, or altering birth certificates, no hiding ethnicity, medical history or removing children from their cultures. Adoption of the world today is legalized human trafficking and it needs to be abolished! If you do not believe me read the book “The Child Catchers” and see for yourself. And please understand I know that some adoptions must happen, but I still stand strong that adoption of the world today needs abolished as we know it and we need to focus on guardianship. It needs rebuilt where there are no secrets and lies, and identities are kept intact. Until this happens, I will never support adoption because morally I can not support secrecy and lies, and I know too many adoptees who struggle with everything in them. This was me and my story for 43 years, remember?

Let me also share there is no guarantee your baby is going to go to a home that is loving and can provide more than you can. They want to sell you a dream, but I can assure you adoptive parents divorce, and adopted kids are raised in poverty and on welfare, food stamps, & housing assistance like I was. I was also adopted into a home with a pedophile who has hurt countless innocent children, which is part of the reason I am estranged from this family I was sexually abused in. Do you think my birth mother planned this? No, she was sold the dream I would have two loving parents, and a “better life.” Let us also not forget the number of adoptees being murdered and killed in their adoptive homes is not declining. Please do the research on this.

THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOUR BABY WILL HAVE A BETTER LIFE.

Only a different one.

If you have made it this far, I commend you. I am honored you would have the willingness to read this article and take in all I have shared here. If you take away anything here, please remember that YOU are all your baby needs. Just you. If you would like assistance from an organization that is set up to guide you and help you through the process of KEEPING YOUR BABY, I wholeheartedly recommend Saving Our Sisters. This organization is founded by a personal friend of mine, Renee Gilin who I admire and love greatly. She has poured her heart and soul into creating this organization out of her own grief, loss, and trauma in losing her son to adoption. Please check her website out and reach out to her if you are still unsure about what you are going to do.

Suggested Resources

Please seek out adult adoptees FIRST before you do anything. We’re the experts in the adoption constellation and we’ve lived being adopted.

Please research adoptee blogs by visiting my Adoptee Blog Roll and also read adoptee centric memoirs and books at Adoptee Reading.

A platform that was created for you is called Ask an Adoptee. This platform has hundreds of adult adoptees on stand by to answer your questions regarding the adoption experience. They want to shed light on the side of things that the adoption agencies and adoption attorneys will not tell you. Please take advantage of this platform and use it as much as you can.

Visit How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? And read and learn from the hundreds of adoptees who have been brave enough to pour their heart and soul out in sharing their experiences on how it feels to be adopted.

Reach out to The Broken Birth Mom on Facebook and connect with her regarding her story of relinquishment.

Tune into Adoptees On and listed to this podcast filled with adoptee stories where you can get a true glimpse of the realities your baby might face if surrendered for adoption.

Connect with Adoption & Birth Mother Support by Musings of the Lame by visiting their website.

Another great resource is First Mother Forum by a friend, Lorraine Dusky who is a birth mother.

Read adoptee stories at Dear Adoption, who is founded by a great friend of mine, Reshma McClintock.

I hope you realize that no matter what story you are sold by the adoption industry, you are truly the best thing for your baby. Every human being has issues, and we are all a work in progress but never let anyone convince you that you aren’t capable of taking care of your baby and that the selfless thing to do is to hand it over to strangers to raise. The majority of adoptees I have been in contact with over the years do NOT feel their mother’s decision was selfless, yet they feel completely abandoned and traumatized by these actions. The adoption industry uses significant coercive tactics to convince you that you are not worthy.

YOU ARE WORTHY AND YOU CAN DO IT.

If you need someone talk too, please email me at: pamelakaranova@gmail.com 

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

d5a71516-b8fb-4335-9634-67a7c487301e

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

Is Anyone Even Listening?

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

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

191d3c81-ad20-40ba-8713-678525caea85
Photo by Casey Anderson on Unsplash.

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

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

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

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

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

Adoptees deserve to heal. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My birth mothers shortcomings didn’t matter to me 

ALL I EVER WANTED WAS HER. 

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

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

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

WE HAVE TO STOP TRYING TO RUN FROM PROCESSING PAIN. 

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

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

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

45 Years of my life I can never get back…

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

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

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

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

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

3d8c9d8b-ff6a-4dea-877d-857dafb5a147
Damia, Keila, Damond – Twins 21st Birthday Celebration

It’s us against the world. 

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

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

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

Is anyone even listening? 

If you are, this is for you. 

Please know you can’t fix me. 

You can’t fix any adoptees. 

You can’t take our pain away either. 

Please stop trying. 

Don’t forget this article along with all my other articles are available in audio for your convenience, just look up Pamela A. Karanova Podcast on Google Podcasts, iTunes , Spotify. and Amazon Music. Interested in treating me with a coffee, to add fuel to my fire? Click here. Many thanks in advance to my supporters!

d5a71516-b8fb-4335-9634-67a7c487301e

The Girl in the Grocery Store

I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to write about this but it’s been on my mind pretty heavy dd3b937b1788b74f542f5891f1128b73--drawings-of-eyes-crying-sad-face-drawing-sketchesso I decided to get it off my chest. I’m also curious if any of my fellow adoptees have experienced anything similar?

Let me share, I’m a 43 year old adult adoptee. I’ve been single for many years, I’ve raised my kids as a single mom. I’ve had a lot of alone time and I’ve embraced it and I actually love to be alone because it seems to be the safest space for me. After many years I recently ventured out into the dating world and I’m currently seeing someone. As we’ve gotten to know one another over the last few months, I have shared a little of my adoption experience with Him. He’s listened and taken in what I have shared, but he doesn’t seem to have much to say in response which seems to be the norm for most non-adoptees. I can dig it because what is there to say? Usually one has to be able to relate to an extent so a conversation dialog is created and there the conversation goes.

In all honesty I haven’t shared all the dynamics of what it’s like to date an adopted person, me specifically. I have only shared with him a few details and some of the things on my list of “Special Needs”. O_O

One of the main things is COMMUNICATION. I made sure in the beginning I let him know how important communication is to me because areas of UNKNOWN are a area of FEAR for me. Maybe I didn’t say “Communicate with me at all times because if you don’t I start to freak out inside and my mind goes haywire and I need you to communicate with me!”… But chances are I said similar, but in a nicer way that said “Hey, communication is important to me so please communicate with me as much as possible”.

Do you have any idea how daunting it is to explain to someone all your adoptee issues? The great thing about this handsome man is I haven’t even had to tell Him all of these issues and one by one they seem to play themselves out. I want to be honest with him, yet what is too much especially in the beginning of a dating relationship? Again, FEAR of sharing too much is always at the forefront and wondering if he will leave like everyone else has, is on my mind so not saying much at all until the situation arises seems safer?

I think in time things reveal themselves so the need for me to vomit all my adoptee issues all over his lap is not necessary. I must say I’m rather sad and somewhat depressed I can’t seem to just forget all about this adoptee crap and get on with my life. As soon as I feel like I’m on top of the world, boom I crash and fall. If you read my blog years back you will see I have done the work! I have tried EVERYTHING! The highs and lows from this adoption thing seem to follow me all over and chances are they will follow me for the rest of my life.

It’s sad and depressing to me.

When I get to this “Space” all I want to do is sleep. I lose my MOJO and go into what I call a “FUNK”.

I never know when the sadness is going to rear it’s ugly head. All I know is when it comes I have to embrace it and KNOW that my response to current situations that might happen are based on the little girl that was abandoned as a baby and child. A non-adoptee reading might have no clue what I’m taking about and might just think I need to check myself into a mental ward, which might not be a bad idea. BUT I promise you if you do the research like I have, and understand that many of our responses to current situations are based on unprocessed stored memories from the beginning of conception and on, you will see that my responses as well as many adoptees aren’t all that “OFF” for the situation at hand.

I know this is A LOT.

Being adopted is A LOT

I hate being adopted.

“Well why are you so negative and why can’t you find the good in being adopted?”

I will save that answer for a totally different blog post because I’m not trying to go off today.  Stay tuned.

Back to the girl in the grocery store…

I turned into a little girl in the grocery store!

Laugh while you can!

It was humiliating!

I went with my guy to the grocery and I had to use the rest room. He was just getting a few things and we walked to the back of the store and found the rest room. I said “I’ll be right back” and walked on in. A few minutes later I came back out and I didn’t see Him. Where did he go? I just knew he had to be right around the corner. I walked a few steps and didn’t see him. I walked a few more steps and didn’t see him.

WHERE WAS HE AND WHY DID HE LEAVE ME HERE?

I TOLD HIM I WOULD BE RIGHT BACK.

My heart starts to do some flips because now I know he’s gone. I didn’t see Him anywhere. My mind starts racing and I started to walk up and down the isles and as I passed each isle, my panic button was being triggered more and more. Every step I took where I couldn’t see Him my fear increased. I felt like I was split in two. The real me KNEW he had to be there somewhere, but the little girl in me knew I was lost. The FEAR from the little girl was much MUCH stronger than the reality of Him being there somewhere.  I was in a full blown panic episode at 43 years old in the damn grocery store!

I walked to the front of the store, and even looked out the front window and thought, “Maybe he went to the car and he’s waiting on me?” or “Maybe he’s hiding around one of these corners trying to play a trick on me?”.

Up and down the isles, faster and faster, searching… I was so upset that he left me. I got tears in my eyes, and I kept looking for Him. In my mind he left me. I continued to search, but I hated the way I was feeling. As I walked all the way to the opposite side of the store I got tears in my eyes. I kept searching. I was frantic.

After many minutes and a dissecting the store in search of HIM I finally laid eyes on Him. A sigh of relief came over me.

He’s here after all and he didn’t leave me…

By this time my mind was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I’m pretty sure I was pouting as I got closer to Him and my eyes were tearful. I’m pretty sure if I said what I was feeling he would have been totally taken back by my reality and considerably shook at my revelations.

I remember saying, “Why did you leave me?” He said, “I told you I was going to find the milk and chicken”. Obviously I didn’t hear that part.  I’m pretty sure he could tell I was visibly upset. I told him I didn’t hear him.  I’ve been beating myself up ever sense then and I am still upset about it because I feel like as far as I am on my healing journey I should have been able to flip the switch on that one.

He said, “Do you really think I would leave you?”. I just looked at Him. I couldn’t even say anything after that because me feeling what I felt at that moment I felt LEFT & LOST. Knowing he would never leave me in the grocery was at a parallel ends of the spectrum of how I was feeling at that moment.   I  had the feeling like I had been abandoned in the grocery at 43 years old by my BOO! WTF! At that time, I either wanted 1 of 2 things to happen. I wanted Him to hug me tight and tell me he’s never gonna abandon me or leave me in the grocery store or ever for that matter, OR I wanted to go crawl in my bed and pull the covers up and never come out again.

I couldn’t do either. I had to just pretend that this episode didn’t happen and I didn’t share with him my feelings about it because I thought it would be just too much for anyone to take in. I do love to communicate and I would like to share it with Him. This is one of the many “Special Needs” that many adoptees might face that our significant others need to know about so they know how to help us and handle us better.

REALITY= I was at the grocery store in the town where I live. I knew where I was. I wasn’t lost but that isn’t how I felt.  I felt abandoned and lost, like the little girl I always was searching for her birth mother.

My thing is who the hell wants to deal with this crap? Seriously? It’s something so small to so many but to me it was a huge deal. I’m disappointed and I’m sad in myself for responding this way, although I feel had no control over it. It was a much deeper psychological episode than I felt I could control. I’ve been working on triggers and how to respond when I have them which is ALL THE TIME but this one swooped up on me and I felt helpless in my response. It was almost like the feeling of coming down on a drug, terrible terrible feeling.

I would rather DIE than feel this way!

I’m not freaking kidding either!

 

THE DREAM

 I was about 5 years old around the time I found out I was adopted.

After this I had a reoccurring dream as a little girl and through much of my life. I was in a hospital around 5 years old wearing a hospital gown. I remember the long hallways going on forever and ever and I was running up and down the hallways looking for my birth mother. I could very vividly remember being frantic, running and pulling the curtains back on each hospital room searching for HER. It went on forever, and I never did find her in the dream. Again, I had this dream over and over through out my life.

This searching FEAR is the exact same way I felt in the grocery when I felt like I was LEFT & LOST.

I’ve always been triggered by feeling lost, and I definitely associate this to adoption. If I can’t find my car parked coming out of the grocery store and I have to walk all over looking for it, I feel lost and I start to panic inside and get tears in my eyes. Worst feeling ever.

The feeling of your mother abandoning you and never coming back, ever. A deep homesick feeling and nothing or no one can help it.

That’s how it feels.

Let’s turn the coin and talk about living real life searching for my biological mother everywhere I went my entire life. Most adoptees can relate 100%. This isn’t a dream. This is real life. I mean today, September 7, 2017 I know where my birth mother is.

She’s dead.

I no longer search for her  but these episodes sparked by FEAR of being abandoned and rejected, LEFT & LOST take me back to the unresolved emotional wounds that are under the surface from being an adoptee.

It’s scary!

It’s complicated.

Adoption is complicated.

All adoptees are different.

Not all adoptees can sympathize with this type of issue, yet some can.

It seriously messed me up and I still haven’t gotten myself back right yet.

I want to tell my guy, but I don’t want to burden him or anyone else with my issues so I have shared it here instead. Maybe one day I’ll get up enough courage to share this blog post with him, until then I will keep it to myself for fear of……

To me, this is one example of so many I could share how adoptees are tormented by emotional and psychological issues we carry regarding being adopted. It might seem small to some, but this type of thing happens daily for many adoptees, and sometimes hourly and more. It’s a constant mental struggle and it’s exhausting just to be alive most days.

Adoption is a permanent solution to what is most of the time a temporary problem and adoptees are the ones doing the life sentence. We pay the price for life, while the rest of the world glorifies how they think we should feel, gratefulness.

I’m sick of adoption. Because of all the real true dynamics, I know and feel and live regarding all the pain, grief, loss and trauma that happens when a child is adopted is why I am deeply saddened anytime a child is adopted and separated from their first families. I am me alone, yet I see and hear the pain and heartache from hundreds of adoptees all over the world that I’m acquainted with. Please believe I am not singing this tune all alone. We create our own army and support one another and validate one another.

If you are an adoptive parent and you have made it this far I commend you for reading. I appreciate it. It takes courage to make the choice to try to learn from adult adoptees. Please look up my tab that says “Adoptee Blogs” and save it as a favorite and you will have never ending knowledge based on real TRUE experience from those who know adoption the most- The Adoptee.

Adoptees, can you relate?

Have you ever had anything like this happen?

How did you diffuse out of it?

Thanks for reading,

img_9360
Pamela A Karanova

145b6685af5cb74ee058a1befdada4b6--dope-quotes-confidence-quotes