Why Love Isn’t Enough or A House Full of Stuff – An Adoptees Perspective By Pamela A. Karanova
We’ve heard it for centuries, as early as 1967 when the Beatles released a number-one hit song, “All you need is love.” The lyrics have echoed throughout time, wildly reverberating throughout adoption communities. However, adoptive parents shine bright when it comes to wanting to offer Love to the child they hope to gain through adoption, placing it at the forefront of their motives to adopt. While they might have pure intentions, there are some layers to the adoptee experience they should consider.
What if love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff?
What if the wound from separation trauma is too big to heal?
What if they adopt a child that doesn’t bond with them?
What if the adoption agencies and advocates haven’t been honest and forthcoming about the other side of the narrative that’s almost always ignored, the feelings of an adopted child once they grow up?
What if they have been sold a lie regarding adoption, and they don’t know what they don’t know?
What if they know it, yet they have chosen to ignore it?
I’ve written about this topic in 2015 in an article titled – Love is Not All We Need. Love can’t replace knowing our medical history. Love can’t replace us knowing our ethnicity or our culture. Love can’t allow us to see the invisible ghost faces of our biological parents. Love can’t replace all the memories lost forever. Love can’t make up for a life beginning on a bed of lies. Love can’t cure a lifetime of the grief and loss we feel. Love can’t forge a bond with our adoptive parents. Love can’t fix the broken bond with our biological mothers. Love can’t form my identity that’s split between two worlds. Love can’t heal my broken heart that is shattered from my adoption experience. Love can’t make me trust when those who say they love me most lied to me. All that was lost in the name of LOVE can never be fully fixed or repaired. Love does not compare to a lifetime of pain that an adoptee carries. Love is not enough.
No amount of Love in the world can refurbish the maternal bond that’s been broken when an adoptee loses their biological mother. In writing this article, I hope that this reality is acknowledged and recognized by society because the wound created by the separation from our biological mothers is a wound we carry our entire lives. But unfortunately, the reality for many of us is that the wound is too deep to heal and can impact every area of our lives. It doesn’t stop there. The damage also echoes through generations to our children and their children.
The Secret Life of the UNBORN CHILD by Thomas Verny, M.D. says, “Your unborn baby is sensitive to his parent’s feelings about him, capable of responding to love – We know now that the unborn child thinks, feels, and hears. Smoking, drinking, drugs, food, sounds, and emotions of the mother all affect the health and well-being of the unborn child. The mother and child share experiences, stress, anxiety, peace, harmony, and joy. Her physiological by-products of those experiences are communicated across the placental barrier.”
Suppose we know this to be true while the baby is in utero. In that case, it must be confirmed after the baby is born and relinquished for adoption; separation from our biological mothers forever has lifelong impacts. What does this mean when a mother has decided to give her baby up for adoption?
She likely rejects the growing baby inside her and ultimately rejects being a mother to this baby after it’s born. We would be naive if we didn’t acknowledge this has negative impacts on the unborn baby and the baby after it’s born. Do the research and learn for yourself how critically important the bond between a biological mother and her biological child is. It’s the most important bond the child will have and when it’s broken, repair is a lost cause. It will impact the adoptee deeply.
One minute we have the whole world (our biological mothers), and the next minute she’s gone – forever. Our spirit breaks when we lose our biological mothers.
How can society, evangelicals, churches, and those who support adoption believe that Love and a house full of stuff could replace my entire world that’s gone missing?
I’ve said it before, and I will repeat it, mothers aren’t interchangeable. For me, love couldn’t forge the maternal bond a biological mother has with her child, but it can create an illusion and a counterfeit bond to a woman who desperately wanted a child of her own but couldn’t have any. Being forced to bond with someone, I felt repulsed by was an extraordinarily toxic and damaging expectation forced upon me. It is something I will never “get over.”
I didn’t care what my birth mother was or wasn’t – she was still my whole world. The loss of HER has impacted me significantly my entire life. The original bond that should have been infinite was broken before I was even born while she was pregnant with me.
She drank alcohol the entire pregnancy, rejected me in utero, and after I was born and left the hospital as if I never existed. After I found her, she rejected me again, leaving me brokenhearted, shattered, and unable to grasp or process such a harrowing experience. Especially when I was told, “She loved you so much!” my entire life growing up. How can an adoptee make sense of love when this is our first encounter?
How could she “love me so much” yet reject a relationship with me once I found her? Understanding the complexities behind this reality would take me many years of a healing journey to unravel. It was painful and still is. This is my reality.
My biological mother was in her 30’s when she had me. I was conceived out of an affair with a married man. She wasn’t an unwed young mother who had no choice. My birth father was a close family friend, and he was ten years older than her. Unfortunately, he was married, and my entire existence was kept from him, and I was given up for adoption without his consent.
Knowing this TRUTH has helped me acknowledge, accept, and move forward with healing. However, I want to make a firm statement that no adoptive parents’ love, money, or material possessions in this lifetime could repair the wound of separation from my biological mother or the lifelong journey of fighting the world for my truth. No amount of therapy or religious scriptures could take these wounds away or make them disappear. No God has been able to heal the relinquishment trauma I carry or my life being rooted in secrecy, lies, and deception, and no amount of praying or fasting has made it any better.
No amount of love from my adoptive parents or material possessions will make up for my truth being kept captive for most of my life, which has been the key to my healing. With the truth missing, my grief, loss, anger, rage, identity, and sense of self were enormously affected, impacting every area of my life from the beginning until now. Not just who I am but how I respond to life situations, parent my kids, build relationships, etc.
Somewhere along these lines, society has swept the reality under the rug that when an adoption occurs, the adoptee has to experience the traumatic experience of being separated from their biological mothers FIRST.
Of course, the reason for separation can vary by the story. Still, in the end, no matter the reason for separation, losing our biological mothers hurts us profoundly, and it is a traumatic experience.
Until the world acknowledges this reality, adoptees will continue to die by suicide because they can’t see past their pain. They will continue overflowing prisons, jails, mental health, and treatment facilities. They will continue to struggle, dying on the inside but smiling on the outside.
So, I hope this article lays the realities out in front of the world and that those reading would consider recognizing that in adoption, love isn’t enough or a house full of stuff, and it never will be.
I’ve created a comprehensive list of recommended resources for my fellow adoptees and anyone involved in the adoption constellation. Please use it as you see fit and share it widely.
Pamela A. Karanova
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