Building My Family Tree

Biological roots denied me but DNA doesn’t Lie.

My family tree is still my family tree.

That weird feeling when I create my family tree on but I know if my biological family knew I was  including them in what is biologically mine they would disown me a second time or lash out at me in some way…

All the way back to being a little girl in elementary school, I was denied being able to build a family tree because I didn’t have the information that was rightfully mine to have. I refused to build a family tree unless I knew my biological information, because if I built it on my adoptive family it seemed that wasn’t the truth for me, although I’m sure everyone would have liked me to go along with that. But I didn’t because it wasn’t true.

This was what was TRUE, Until I found my answers.

Now, I feel a certain way about building it, because most of them weren’t accepting. But my need and want to KNOW and SEE MY FAMILY TREE for the first time in my life, is far greater than caring what any of them think… But it is in the back of my mind.

Have any of my fellow adoptees had this weird experience or felt this way?

It’s time I have my family tree, my truth and to be able to trace my ancestors as far back as possible.

Let me just add: If you aren’t for adoptees finding ALL of our TRUTH you are against it. It’s black and white.

John 8:32 says: 

“We shall know our TRUTH and our TRUTH shall set us FREE!”


I decided a few days ago, to dig deeper into my genealogy. Thankfully I’m one of the few adoptees that has fought and fought hard to discover my truth.  No one helped me. No one cared my heart was literally ripped in shreds not knowing where I came from.  Most of us are alone in this quest and no one walks along side of us and says, “I’m on this ride with you, you aren’t alone”. Not back in my days they didn’t anyway. Thanks to new technology, adoptees are growing up and they are connecting with other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. Praise GOD for this!

Over a 20 year period, I searched and I found. Back in the beginning there was no internet. I found my birth mother’s name after my adoptive mom decided to “come clean” and let me know she lied to me my entire life.  I began my search for her by calling the Waterloo, Iowa library and the librarian was kind enough to do some research for me. God bless her for being so kind on that day back in 1985. I had no idea within 24 hours I would be on the phone with the woman that gave me life. It was a surreal experience for me. I had waited for that day my entire life.

Sadly, after meeting one time about a year after I found her she shut me out and we never spoke again. Not my choice. She passed away in 2010 with us meeting only one time. Through this journey, I have learned to have grace and compassion for this woman, my birth mother whom gave me life. I prayed, and cried, and sulked around for 40 years with a broken heart because I just didn’t understand how she “loved me so much” like I was always told yet she shut me out and didn’t want a relationship with me. It left me feeling so confused, sad, alone, and heartbroken for most of my life. Even into my adult hood I still hadn’t made sense of the truth of what had happened. Thankfully the last 3 years I’ve been on a healing journey, so I could see things through different lenses and gain more truth, because truth brings understanding.




After attending my birth mothers funeral, I gained even more understanding. Many people that were close to her told me she shut me out because she was distraught because my adoptive parents divorced when I was 1. She was promised I would have a “Better Life”.  If she knew that was going to happen, she would have kept me. She could have kept me and raised me as a single parent and gotten welfare, and public assistance and struggled like my adoptive mom did. I was told this hurt her deeply, and that is not what her wishes were. That’s the point many people make that is very valid in adoption. Adoption doesn’t promise a better life, only a different one.

As I struggled through her funeral, I was able to learn more about my biological father, and gain confirmation as to who he was and where he lived.

Next Stop: Leon, Iowa -Population 1900

I showed up at my birth fathers door after receiving confirmation from his wife that it would be a good time so I made a long 3 hour drive and arrived late morning on November 10, 2010. 10 years earlier, he received my letters but he ignored them so I decided I had nothing to lose and I needed to see his face one time. My desire was so great, I knew he was a gamer and a hunter, and he had a gun shed, and a slaughter shed on his property, and I still had no fear in knocking on his door. We had an hour long conversation and he let me take his picture and off I went. We exchanged contact information, and back to Kentucky I went. It was a surreal experience for me. I remember it like it was yesterday. Finally, after 36 years of wondering, wishing, dreaming about who I looked like I finally looked like someone. I looked just like my birth father.

Sadly, in the last 5 years he has denied a relationship with me. Chances are, he has never faced his part in this that he produced a child out of an affair, while he was married. He knew nothing about me and he has never accepted I was his daughter. I have accepted this.

My reason in bringing this point to light is because I am wondering if any other adoptees have been rejected by biological family, and when they do genealogy on that family and build a family tree if they feel like they are budding in someplace where they don’t belong. I mean, it is my family tree also. Just because I was given up for adoption, doesn’t mean my family history isn’t my family history. Just because they denied me, doesn’t mean my DNA is lying. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve my birth right, to know where my ancestors came from and to be able to trace them as far back as I possibly can. I feel like so much was taken, and although they denied me, I still have a right to my family tree.

As many other adoptees have said, “I DIDN’T SIGN ANY PAPERWORK”….

That is so true and fits me perfectly.

I believe in adoption all journeys are different. I was one of the adoptees who had this deep deep desire to know all the details about where I came from, and who my people were. It tortured me literally to not have the answers. So the more I find out, the more peace I have because it feels like I’m a real live living person, and not just some baby dropped out of the sky by a stork flying by. When there is no history or answers, or we don’t’ know our birth information, or the answers to our ancestry it’s hard to feel like a real person. For whatever reason a little part of me, maybe the little girl hiding inside is scared of being reprimanded by those who weren’t accepting, and they might tell me to get out of their family tree!




As I build my family tree, I am reminded that it really doesn’t matter if they accepted me or not. It’s still my biological family tree. It isn’t everything to me, but it is a piece of me. I have waited all my life to have it and I don’t care what anyone says, it’s mine to have.

A Few Mistakes Present, But This is the Start of my Family Tree.

As I have been searching over the past few weeks  I’ve found out many new details about ancestors and relatives I wouldn’t have known otherwise. The determination and drive I have had to complete this journey and to never give up can only come from God, and God alone. He’s been my rock when no one understood me. He’s helped me feel love, when I felt worthless, like a piece of trash thrown away to the side. He’s helped me understand that even when “THEY” didn’t plan me “HE DID”.  All of these things are great, but he’s also helped me find my answers, and helped me be courageous enough to put together a family tree with a family that has never accepted me to be in their family. God has saved the best for last, and that is Him helping me find the long lost brother I never knew I had, who has been accepting. He’s been the best part of my search.

Adoption not only has impacted me, but it has impacted my children and it will impact my grandchildren and their children and many generations to come. This isn’t a one-time transaction that doesn’t have any consequences. It’s forever.  My family tree is their family tree. Because it was denied to me, doesn’t mean it should be denied to my children and grandchildren.

God has given me the courage to be brave, to dig deeper and know in my heart of hearts I am doing nothing wrong. If our God is a God of truth, there is no way he wouldn’t want everyone on the earth to know their TRUTH.

For my fellow adoptees, how have you felt about building your family tree? Are you apprehensive or have you not thought twice about it? What has stopped you from building one? Are you one of the adoptees who isn’t able to search due to lack of information? How does this make you feel to not have your history? Have you considered entering your DNA into the DNA databases? What is stopping you?

I pray all adoptees and all people all around the world who don’t have their answers get what they deserve. I pray HOPE in your life, and I want you to never give up!

Let me add, knowing and learning my true history and place of origin has nothing to do with how awesome or amazing my adoptive family has been, or my Family of Choice (church family). They do not compare. They are separate and totally different than me wanting to know my birth right. They are fantastic and amazing in their own way. So please, don’t throw me under the bus for wanting to know my history, it has nothing to do with what my adoptive family did or didn’t do, how they did it or how wonderful they were. It’s simply NATURAL to want to know where we come from. Adoptive parents, please take note and HELP US if you can.

Thanks for reading & don’t forget to to check out the sites I created for all those impacted by adoption, “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted”.

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Fellow Adoptees, always remember you aren’t alone!

Pamela Karanova, Reunited Adult Adoptee