Earth Day, Mother’s Day and My Adoptee Epiphany

Today is Earth Day, and Mother’s Day is right around the corner. What does each of these days mean to me, being an adult adoptee? 

Let me back things up a bit and explain what my experience was like with my earthly mothers.

My first chance at a mother did not want to mother me.

My biological mother didn’t want me, so she passed me over to strangers. After a lifetime of searching for her, dreaming, and wishing we would cross paths one day, my one true dream of finding her and having a relationship with her was shattered all over the ground. We met one time briefly in 1995, and that was the last time I ever saw her. What felt like a cold-hearted rejection was her not being able to navigate the pain of her decision and hearing how my life turned out. The better life promised wasn’t better at all. Only different. She felt a deep sadness over learning this reality.

That didn’t change how this rejection has made me feel and the truth that it’s impacted every area of my life. She abandoned me not once but twice. The ultimate betrayal from my biological mother has been the most significant wound I have ever carried, even compared to what other people would consider major traumatic events.

This deep mother wound and disappointment has been impossible to shake, and it will be with me for life. I’ve accepted the pain was here to stay, and that was one of the most healing things I have done for myself. Nothing on earth and no amount of pain I have ever felt compares to this wound. She died in 2010, and I hadn’t had contact with her in over 25 years.

It’s deep. It’s raw. It hurts.

My second chance at a mother could not mother me.

My adoptive mother wanted to be a mother so bad, but the reality was she was so mentally ill, she couldn’t parent me. Instead, I suffered greatly because of her mental health issues. She should have never been allowed to adopt a child, let alone two. My adoptive dad divorced her when I was one years old, and knowing she couldn’t care for us be left and moved over an hour away to remarry, and raise three stepsons as his own. My childhood in my adoptive parent’s homes was filled with traumatic experiences that have impacted every area of my life. I’ve spent years recovering from these experiences and a lifetime of seeing how things shouldn’t be. I never bonded with my adoptive mom, and I despise the facts that I was forced to pretend she was my mother.

The lengths of trauma I experienced in these homes have riddled me with anxiety, fear, and the loss of what so many of us deserve and need, and that’s an opportunity at decent mother and a safe place to live. I didn’t need perfect. I didn’t need a big house, fancy cars, and all the material things money could buy.

I just needed one halfway normal, decent mother.

She was suicidal, manic-depressive, and had severe issues that stemmed back to her childhood. She tried to commit suicide by lying in the street, and she would consistently lock herself in her room and take all her pills and the phone with her letting us know as children she’s about to end her life. We would bang outside her bedroom door, for hours begging her not to die.

She was hurting, and instead of work on her hurt, she adopted two daughters to take care of her. Her main goal was to have two daughters to care for her so she wouldn’t have to go to a nursing home. How do I know? Because back to my early childhood, she talked about not wanting to go to a nursing home, more than she talked about just about anything. Because of the toxicity she brought to my life and because she would not abide by common courtesy boundaries I tried to put into play, we were estranged for several years before she died. I don’t regret choosing to separate, as my recovery and being alive depended on it. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t hard. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make.

I am sad I had to make such a decision but I did it for myself and my kids.

My third chance at a mother figure, I call my Step Monster.

My adoptive stepmother is no one I consider a mother. She has protected her pedophile son over believing me for 46 years. She has turned a blind eye and has chosen to defend him repeatedly. I won’t go into all the details, but she has never been and never will be anyone I consider a mother figure. We have never been close or had a relationship. For my peace of mind, after being ignored for 46 years about the pain her son has caused me and countless others, I have had to sever ties with her too.

Three chances in the mother area, and I struck out.

Every.

Single.

Time.

While my heartache as a child and teenager is hard to put into words, my experiences in my adoptive home and the abandonment from my birth mother lead me to some dark places. I spent most of my juvenile life as a runaway and locked up in detention, drug and alcohol rehab, and group homes for most of my teen years. I was hurting and hurt people hurt people.

Mother’s Day has always been painful for me as it is for so many people, adopted or not. Some people are sad at the loss of a mother they spent a lifetime getting to know, where they have thousands of memories to hang onto forever. Pictures to reminisce and remember. I get sad because I didn’t get that, and there are no memories to hang on to, to keep forever. I have emptiness, sadness, and abandonment issues that continue to revisit me. Processing grief & loss are going to be with me for life.

I’ve accepted it.

I’ve also accepted these were the cards I was dealt. For the last 11 years, I have been on a healing journey. If you read back over my website, you can see the changes and growth that have transpired over the years. In that time, you will see that nature is something I gravitate towards, and if you follow any of my social media, you will see waterfalls and Mother Nature have a considerable space in my life.

You see, nature, aka Mother Nature, has been a sacred space for me since my early childhood, growing up in the country in Iowa. Inside any of the homes, I was in was chaos and trauma. So outside, running wild in the forest was the only freedom I had as a child. It was healing for me, and it was an escape. It was one of my first loves, along with the sky. Read “The Sky & I” to learn more about my tie to the sky.

As I circle back around and will soon be celebrating nine years of living a life free from alcohol, I’ve been reacquainted with my first love, Mother Nature. Of all the areas I’ve been incorporating into my life for self-care reasons, nature has always been the only one always to be dependable and always there. It wasn’t my birth mother, or my adopted mother, or my step monster.

It was and is MOTHER NATURE.

Bucket list Adventure, Pine Island Double Falls – Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky

As Earth Day is here and Mother’s Day is to follow, I am making a conscious choice to redirect myself to focus on the mother who’s always been there – Mother Earth.

As I discover who I am, I have found joy in adventures in the Kentucky forest by chasing and finding waterfalls. Kentucky is filled with over 700 waterfalls, and exploring nature and taking as many people as I can is one of the most powerful healing tools I have yet to find. Trust me when I tell you, I have tried it all. Between 27 years of alcohol dependency, church hopping, religion, other people, places, and things, nothing has provided me with what mother nature has.

Many aren’t aware, but there are healing dynamics to being close to, in, or near bodies of water. I always felt it, but I never knew it was an actual thing. I have a friend and fellow adoptee in recovery named David B. Bohl, and David is an advocate of BLUE MIND.

Q. What is Blue Mind?

A. Blue Mind: A mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peace, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.

It’s also described in the book Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do

David shares, “As many of you know, I am a student of Blue Mind science, an advocate for Blue Mind methods, and a practitioner of Blue Mind daily living techniques.  There is no doubt in my mind and experience that proximity to, and engagement in, water provides physical health, mental health, and spiritual/relational benefits that have been scientifically identified – and are essential in today’s stressful world.”

Please check out David’s full article here – Blue Mind and Addiction Recovery

Coming to know David as a friend and fellow adoptee in recovery, we have discovered that we have many things in common, but our love for being near water is one of them. David shares online his outdoor trips in and near water, and I do as well. Mine are usually running off into the forest to chase waterfalls all over the state of Kentucky. We aren’t too far from our next adventure close to a body of water, whatever we are doing. Thank you, David for your continued inspiration over the years!

Surprisingly, after reading the beginning of the Blue Mind book from David’s recommendation, I learned that the author of Blue Mind, Wallace J. Nichols is also an adoptee. I will not lie; something about that shook me up! I had no idea he was an adoptee, but I was so excited to now know of 3 adoptees who have found the healing and therapeutic benefits of being close to water. I can’t wait to read the rest of his amazing book! I’m sure there are many more adoptees who find healing around bodies of water.

While 2021 is moving swiftly and Earth Day is here, I’ve been thinking of ways to connect to Mother Earth and give back to her and to give to others in the process. I can reflect on my childhood up to my current days. I no longer drink alcohol to cope with adoptee pain, and I celebrate nine years of sobriety in August 2021.  This is a massive milestone for me, especially finding both birth parents and learning they are both alcoholics.

One of the things I’ve learned about recovery is that you need to replace it with something else when you remove something. My connection to mother nature has become exceptionally strong in the last nine years. I consider my nature adventures as one of the most effective self-care practices I have yet to discover.

While I think of all Mother Nature is to me, and how she’s been there over my earthly mothers, and she’s never let me down, I get emotional. My truth that no one can come between that connection or take it away is something I think about a lot. Even back to my childhood, she’s been there for me and continues to be there. I call it wilderness wellness, and it’s FREE.

Top of the falls, ya’ll.

I like to combine my mother nature adventures with not only seeking waterfalls, but getting wet and dirty and not thinking twice about it. I think many times we’re groomed from childhood to not get wet or dirty. I see countless people never want to get their feet wet, or get dirty and it pains me to see. Water and dirt have never hurt anyone. Take your shoes and socks off, get in the water and get dirty. I promise you, you won’t regret allowing yourself to be free in this way.

It could mean putting your bare feet in the grass (grounding) or taking a walk outside at your closest park. One of my main goals in life is to encourage people to seek wilderness wellness in their backyards because we all have endless adventures in our state, and most of the time, they are free. You might need a tank of gas and a few snacks. My discovery of how Mother Nature fills me up has been rejuvenating to my mind, body, and spirit in many ways. My adventures are a combination of forest bathing, hiking, nature play, blue mind, grounding, walking, and doing everything in my power to be a kid again. I feel like I’ve been searching for home my entire life, and finding Mother Nature has brought me back home.

As Mother’s Day can be perplexing for adopted people at best, I have decided I’m going to honor Mother Nature for Mother’s Day moving forward. I’m a firm believer that we can all write our stories to suit what fits us the best. Focusing on the mothers that failed me is agonizing. I believe each Mother’s Day will still feel a sense of sadness when it comes to them, and I’ve accepted I always will. I will save space for processing that pain; however I need to process it.

I want to try to shift my focus on how much Mother Nature has done for me and Earth Day – today is HER DAY. I wanted to write this article dedicated to her, to share how much she means to me. It’s not all about what she does for me, but what can I do for her? I salute HER and will do all I can to take care of her moving forward.

I’m not sure where you are with your healing routine and your self-care regimen, but I encourage you to add some wilderness wellness to your self-care toolbox and share it with your friends & family. I love taking elderly people to nature because they are a population that is lacking that resource due to mobility limitations and many other roadblocks.

For me, when so much is lost, never to be seen again because of adoption, I get comfort in knowing that Mother Nature something no one can take away from me. Today I celebrate Earth Day for so many reasons! Mother’s Day I will celebrate being a mother to three incredible humans and Mother Nature because she’s always been there for me. If you feel like following along on my Into the Wild: Kentucky Wilderness & Waterfall Adventures please like my Facebook page today by clicking here. You can also find me on Instagram under @intothewildky.

 Here are a few of my outdoor adventures shared with some of my friends & family. I encourage you to escape for some nature play and wilderness wellness. You might find what you have been searching for all along.

Do you like to get outside in mother nature?

Do you find it to be healing and theraputic around bodies of water?

If so, what are your favorite nature things to do?

How are you celebrating Earth Day and Mother’s Day this year?

What do you do to cope with Mother’s Day if it’s a hard day for you?

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!

Thanks for reading,

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

Adoptee Dreaming & The Island of Lost

[DREAM] – Indulge in daydreams or fantasies about something greatly desired.

[LOST] – Having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.

Dreaming – One more adoptee robbery to add to the list of LOST. The traditional concept of dreaming has been out-of-place for most of my life.

While other little girls were dreaming of what dolls they wanted for Christmas, I was dreaming of finding my birth mother, living in mental torment every day. She was nowhere to be found.

While other little girls were celebrating their birthdays, I was wishing my birth mother would come back to get me, feeling like an outsider on the island of LOST.

Being adopted comes with a heavy cost.

While other little girls were thinking about one day getting married and having children, I was obsessed with finding my birth family. Who were they? Where were they? Why haven’t they come back to find me?

While other little girls were dreaming about what college they wanted to go to, and what they wanted to be when they grew up, I was fighting the world to find out WHO I AM? Where did I come from? Who do I look like? Why am I so tall?

While other little girls were playing with barbies and baby dolls, I was searching for my people. Everywhere I went, I was looking for them. Who matches my hair and skin tone? Could they be my people? Is that my mother?  Is that my sister or my brother?

While other little girls excelled and enjoyed school, I was riddled with anxiety and fears about the previous nights traumatic experience in my home. Concentrating on school and school work was impossible.

While other little girls were playing outside with their friends, I was trying to escape the prison I was adopted into. Chore lists the size of poster boards was all I knew. The work was never done. Ever.

While other little girls were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was searching in my adoptive moms filing cabinet looking for any clue as to who I really was.

While other little girls sit back in awe as they hear their birth story shared by their families, I had no birth story. When you have a birth story, you feel real. Feeling REAL has always been a struggle. Having no roots contributes to the magnitude of being on the island of LOST.

While other little girls were having sleepovers and telling their friends which boys they liked, I was rubbing my adoptive moms back, feet and legs. Brushing her hair and putting makeup on her. Running her bath water and scrubbing her back. Fetching her Pepsi’s and pills.

While other little girls were being spoiled by their grandparents, I was recovering from witnessing my adoptive mom trying to commit suicide. Over and over. Trauma wounds piled up.  

Mental torment was my constant companion, and I did not have time for typical little girl dreams. A childhood misplaced, but I have survived. It has taken me 46 years to feel even a little alive.

I must make up for all the lost little girl dreams, it seems.

I want to be free, with the sunshine all over me. I want to see the rainbows even on the darkest days and climb trees to the top. I want the teardrops to stop, to sit on the mountain tops and make new memories with those I love, nonstop.

I want to love and be loved with no agenda. I want to be surrounded by friends where I do not have to censor my thoughts. I want to connect with mother nature because we are one – This is just for starters.

I am not close to being done.

I must make up for whatever has been lost, no matter what the cost. The future belongs to me, but I must be the one to see. Brightness is all around, no more letting others let me down.

Smile. Be Free. The future is bright but only if you see that beauty surrounds us in everyday life. I have learned to embrace feeling LOST, because being adopted comes with a hefty cost.  I’ve learned that in feeling lost, I’ve actually been found.

Dream little, dream big, I must be true to me and do whatever it is I love to do. It is never too late to look myself in the mirror and embrace what I see, the key is learning to love ME.

This is my adoptee reality.

It’s time to take back what was stolen from me.

Dead Man Walking

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I began searching for my birth family as soon as I found out I was adopted around 5 years old. Everywhere I went, I was searching for HER, my birth mother. As I reached my early 20’s I had already found my birth mother.  

But what about HIM? 

Where was my birth father…

When I asked my birth mother who my birth father was she said, “He didn’t know anything about you, and he wouldn’t want to!” She refused to give me any information, and that was that. I learned quickly if I wanted her in my life, I better never ask about him again. 

Soon after our very first meeting, she shut me out and I never heard from her again. I was heartbroken. I didn’t give up and I still very much wanted to learn who my birth father was. Occasionally I would call her home, to see if she would answer but she never did. Her husband answered on one occasion and we had a brief conversation. What did I have to lose?

I was never giving up in finding my truth. 

He expressed knowing who my birth father was, but that he was sorry to tell me he had passed away, and he heard that he had been shot many years ago. I asked him his name, but he said he couldn’t remember. He said there was no reason I needed it because he didn’t exist in this world, he was gone, forever. 

This was in 1996 when we didn’t have the internet, social media or DNA testing. Believing my birth father was dead never set well with my spirit. Deep down in my heart, I said to myself, “If he’s dead I still want to know his name, and I still want to see his grave.” I was never giving up on finding him, until I found my truth. 

No one would help me.

No one supported me. 

 I was up against the world and the legal closed adoption system. Born in the state of Iowa, these laws have been sealed since July 4, 1941. That was 79 years ago. This is 79 years of adult adoptees fighting against the grain for their truth.  It’s 79 years of living lies. It’s 79 years of secrecy and shame with adoptees plagued by the stigma attached to unplanned pregnancies, paying the price of this life sentence and even when we find our truth, the magnitude of the loss impacts every area’s of our lives. 

And we’ll find our truth If we’re lucky that is. 

Over 20 years had passed of no contact and I received a Facebook message my birth mother had passed away. I made the choice to go to her funeral, after I was invited by my birth sister. In 2011 I buried the woman I met once, who I dreamed of knowing my entire life. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I was introduced as “The daughter she gave up for adoption” and invisible from her obituary as if I didn’t even exist. It was beyond hard. 

Being surrounded by her friends & family, I started asking questions. I was able to get confirmation of who my birth father was, who his family was and how he was tied in to my birth mother. I was told he was a friend of the family, and he was about 10 years older than my birth mother. He lived off the land, with his brothers and parents all living in Leon, Iowa close to the Missouri border. I was told he was married at the time of my conception, and he knew nothing about my existence. But the real question was, IS HE STILL ALIVE?

“Yes, yes he’s very much still alive.” said a friend of my birth mother. 

So you mean to tell me I was told he had passed away, but that was a lie? That’s very much the way the story goes in my journey. It happens to adoptees all the time! The same trip to Iowa for my birth mother’s funeral was the same trip I drove to Leon, Iowa and showed up at my birth father’s doorstep.  

I will never forget November 11, 2011 arriving at his door and seeing his face for the first time in my life. It was a surreal experience. The man I had been told was dead, was very much alive, walking and talking. The internal nagging and turmoil of the unknown had come to an end, and I was looking at his face. Our visit lasted about an hour. He expressed he knew nothing about me, but if he knew about me he would have kept me. He wasn’t accepting of me, and over the last 9+ years I’ve given up hope on us having a relationship. 

I now have my truth. 

I know my truth. 

I have seen my truth for MYSELF.

I had to fight like hell to get it.

I would like to encourage my fellow adoptees to keep searching even when you’ve been told they have passed away.  Don’t give up! I encourage you to get DNA testing to make sure the person you’ve been told is your biological family FIRST. And if you’ve been told they have passed, I wouldn’t believe it until you know by DNA that’s your people, and then you are standing over their grave. 

I’ve seen countless adoptees be given falsified information by the adoption agencies, time and time again. I’ve seen outlandish stories written in identifying and non-identifying information that’s turned out to be completely false in attempts to throw the adoptee off from finding their people. I’ve seen this same paperwork say the biological father has died in a tragic accident yet they are found very much alive. 

I’ve seen it all.

Many adoptions are rooted and grounded in secrecy and lies. 

Please don’t believe what you are told. Verify with DNA your father is who they say he is. If you’ve been told he’s passed away, never give up until you are standing over his grave, but ONLY if this is the person who your DNA says your father is. This goes the same for biological mothers but it seems with many of them relinquishing without our fathers consent, it’s usually our fathers we’re told are dead, vs. our mothers. 

 We know DNA is changing the game for adoptees. If you are still searching, I truly hope you find the answers you are looking for. Everyone on earth deserves to know where they come from. Don’t give up! 

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!

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Mirror, Mirror – Mi Amor

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Something about a MIRROR has always been extraordinarily symbolic to me. From the beginning of my life, the mirror brought me great sadness and pain, as I looked at myself I had no idea who or what was looking back at me. I would look at my face, and watch tears drop to the bathroom countertops, wondering if anyone on this entire planet cared about the pain I was carrying not knowing who I was or where I came from? 

The little girl, robbed of her ancestry and culture, I grew up clueless of who I was and where I came from, the basic human right most people take for granted. I remember seeing myself, feeling hollow inside. Not knowing my truth kept me in bondage, dying inside. 

As I grew up, looking in the mirror grew exceptionally painful and in my early teenage years I started to develop a deep rooted hate for the girl that was looking back at me. She was ugly, unwanted, abandoned and rejected by the two people that should love her the most, her biological parents. This self hate manifested in many ways, and self love was non-existent. 

I couldn’t love myself and hate myself at the same time. Self hate, lead to harmful and reckless choices, and my life is filled with them. I don’t believe in “No regrets, just lessons learned.” That’s what the world wants me to believe, but I don’t feel that way at all. I have so many regrets, and yes, many lessons learned. 

As I grew into a young woman and had kids of my own, I was able to step outside of the way I feel about myself, and love my children to the best of my ability but self love has still been nonexistent for most of my life. 

When did things change for me? 

When I found my truth. 

The hard core raw, heartbreaking truth is what allowed me to begin the process of looking in the mirror from a different lense. In order for my spirit to be at peace, I needed to see the faces of both of my birth parents, so I can see the reflection of myself I had never seen in my entire life. In this process, I learned about them. I heard stories, I learned similarities we shared, and things we didn’t share. I learned that in many ways, I was so much like them, but other ways I was nothing like them. 

This process allowed me to see things FOR MYSELF, instead of adoption trying to PROTECT ME FROM MYSELF. This was life or death for me, and it’s life or death for most adoptees. It’s a NATURAL desire to want to see who we look like, so we can get a better understanding of who’s looking at us when we see the hollow person looking in the mirror. 

The mirror has brought me great pain most of my life, but because I’ve fought like hell to get my truth, I can now look in the mirror and I know who I am. Slowly, over the last 15 years or so, the sadness I once felt has turned into sorrow, and then grief, loss and processing. The self hate, from the unknown has slowly turned into self love. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken years of recovery, therapy, self reflecting, self work, self help, and lots of tears, grief, loss, anger, rage, and WORK! 

I truly know that the KEY for me, and been the TRUTH. While so many others are celebrating valentine’s day, I’m celebrating the fact that I no longer hate what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m celebrating the fact that now that I can see myself as a reflection of my biological parents, I no longer feel the hate for myself that I always did. I’m celebrating that now that I can see myself, in the MIRROR and love what I see, that allows me to be able to love others the way they need to be loved. I’m celebrating the fact that when I look in the mirror today, I see a strong, independent woman who’s gone through a lot in life, who fought every step of the way. I see a woman who is alive, even when adoption tried to kill me with secrecy and lies. 

Mirror, Mirror – Mi Amor. 

Today I look in the mirror and I see MY LOVE looking back at me. The one who’s always been there, the one who I should have been searching for all along, MYSELF. I see the one who’s never left me, the one who’s been 110% dependable, the one who keeps me company in the dark moments. I see the one who I love to be alone with, and the one who’s pretty. I see a woman who’s a mom, who loves her kids. I see a woman who wants to be happy and healthy so her kids and future grand-kids will never experience what she did in the mom area. I see imperfections, maybe even a dirty mirror and messy hair? But most importantly I see the imperfect truth.  I’m no longer looking in the mirror at secrecy and lies, looking at an adoptee internally dying. 

Mirror, Mirror – Mi Amor come and see. 

The truth is what I needed to see I’m not like any of them & I learned to love me. 

Happy Valentines Day to YOU and to ME!

EVERY ADOPTEE DESERVES TO KNOW THEIR TRUTH, EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM!

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! 

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Adoptee in Recovery – When Forged Forgiveness Becomes Fatal 

1f6ae293-fe8e-4e1f-903b-0e9d69324cafTo my friends, David Bohl and GRH –   Thank you for giving me the courage to write about this! 

As I continue on my recovery and healing journey, so many things are coming to the light about different areas I’ve navigated over the years. One of those areas is the topic of forgiveness. This is going to be lengthy, so get a cup of coffee and be prepared. 

The world says “If you let go, by forgiving others you don’t have to hold onto resentment and anger” It’s said that forgiveness is necessary for personal growth. I can see this might be true in some circumstances and for minor hurts, but my thoughts shared here are relating to forgiveness towards traumatic events and situations because of someone else’s harmful actions. 

What is considered traumatic? That’s for each person to decide. What’s traumatic to me, might not be traumatic to you. My role in sharing this information is to shine a light about a topic that’s significantly complex, with many layers from the perspective of an adult adoptee in recovery. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what forgiveness is, or isn’t and this is usually in alignment with the experiences that person has gained over their lifetime. 

I’ve heard about forgiveness over the years, but I was never in a position to apply it to my life, nor did I see a need for it when I was young. It wasn’t a topic of conversation but I also wasn’t on a healing journey as a child either. In 2012 I started my healing journey and things changed. This sparked a significant experience with forgiveness as I got involved with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and I started working the 12 Steps. Not long after I learned of Celebrate Recovery, and forgiveness was talked about even more but it was in a religious setting because Celebrate Recovery is a ministry. 

Although I have an appreciation for both of these programs and the concept of forgiveness, I’m now an outsider looking in because I no longer attend either of these programs and I’ve been reflecting on my experiences with both. 

Let me back things up to give you a little history. 

When I was 15 years old, I was lost, alone, broken, rage filled and I had no hope in life. Not only was I experiencing abuse in my adoptive home, but my fantasy of my birth mother coming back to get me was shattered, and reality was beginning to set in. 

SHE WAS NEVER COMING BACK. 

SHE was constantly on my mind, but where was she? Who was she? I acted out in every way possible and began using substances daily at 12 years old.  My struggles were 100% adoption related, but adoption was never talked about and never mentioned so I turned to substances, because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t know how to feel. Most days I wanted to die, but somehow I found myself committed to drug and alcohol rehab in a locked facility at 15 years old. 

I will never forget being locked in an all white room, and a nurse came in and handed me the big book. I had no clue what the big book was, but for those who don’t know it’s the story of Bill W. who’s the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he shares how to recover from alcoholism. It’s focused on the 12 Steps and 8 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

I asked myself, “did I hit rock bottom at 15 years old?” I hadn’t even begun to live my life yet. I had barely made it out of Jr. High, and I found myself locked in rehab, with a big book in my hand. I will never forget reading the first few pages, and the first few chapters. So let me get this straight, finding GOD was the cure all to this recovery thing? The only way I was going to graduate this drug and alcohol treatment program, and get out was finding GOD? And working these 12 steps. Today, I ask myself, ‘what were my other options?”  

I had none. 

So this huge gigantic responsibility was placed on me, TO FIGURE IT OUT. The entire treatment program and my recovery depended on it because the effectiveness of the entire AA program will depend on this decision to “turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood Him.”  

Let’s break that down a little more, “AS I UNDERSTOOD HIM.” I had no clue what this even meant, but I was either going with the punches, working these 12 steps or never graduate this program. Let me be honest. I didn’t care about any of it, because I just wanted to go drink and use again. I had no choice in this and I was forced to play along. I asked a few of the inmates (it was like jail so that’s what I will call them) what god they turned their wills and life over to in hopes to gain a better understanding. They expressed the God that created the earth, the bible was the word, and that was the only way this thing was going to work. 

I remember having experiences with that same God when I was growing up. My adoptive mom had us read devotionals, we went to church, performed in church plays, and she made us say prayers before meals. 

But now, my entire life depended on turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him. What did this even mean? To be honest, I didn’t understand him but I did what I had to do to get out. I finally worked all the 12 steps, and after about 8 weeks I graduated the program. During my time in this locked treatment facility, I never once worked on or talked about any of my root adoptee related issues, like relinquishment trauma, grief, loss, abandonment, the primal wound, etc. I got out, went and got high and drunk again as soon as I was free. 

I did NOT want to feel adoption, and at all costs and I didn’t.

 Of course, if the tools were present and I had help, I’m sure I would have been able to process but that’s not how things worked for me. I had no tools, no one opening up conversations about my adoptee reality,  it was a taboo topic. The less we talked about it, the better for everyone else. I felt truly alone in the world, but it wasn’t a happy alone. It was a deep, dark sad alone. I spent the next 27 years drinking alcohol, and using as many drugs as I could get my hands on as a way to numb my reality.  So many times in my life, I just wanted to die because my adoptee pain has been that great. Reality, I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore and I had no tools to work on my issues. In my mind, the only way to get rid of it is to go to sleep and never wake up again. Two times as a teenager I was unseccessful at trying to commit suicide, taking a hand full of pills each time, only waking up later regretful that the pills didn’t work. My adoptive parents never knew, and they still don’t. I just wanted out.  The next 27 years was a roller coaster of a ride. 

As 2012 hit, so did my next attempt at recovery and the 12 steps once again smacked me straight in my face. Here we go again. What other options were presented to me or available? 

None.

Even after seeing dozens of therapists all the way back to being 5 years old into my adult life.

NONE. 

The only way to get healing is turning my life and will over to God, and making sure I forgive all those who have harmed me, even if they aren’t sorry, and even if I hadn’t even worked on the issues at all. I also had to forgive God, and forgive myself, which was the hardest part.  As I set out on my recovery journey, I learned the rules to forgiveness in the religious realm are, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14

I remember my time heavily in the church, surrounding myself with Christian’s and church people the advice and information I was getting was solely from them and I also researched forgiveness. As they shared, and the bible shared, I knew that forgiveness was such an important part of healing, and the 12 steps so I worked on figuring out the true meaning of forgiveness and what it meant to me. I knew it was something for me, not the other person. The more I learned, I applied this to my life, but I also shared it with others on many occasions, especially during the 4 years I served in leadership for the women’s chemical dependency group in Celebrate Recovery. I remember internally struggling with the fact that I had forgiven someone like I was told to do by the 12 steps, but I still had major issues with the situation or the person I had forgiven. This only made me feel more defective than I already felt. It made me feel worse, because I must not be doing something right. It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head, combined with my heart torn into shreds. It was a horrible life for many of my years on earth. 

I learned that in order for us to be forgiven by God, we had to forgive others who had harmed us. It’s said this “deal” could potentially send us to hell, and it would always keep us in bondage if we didn’t make the choice to forgive others, God and ourselves. I learned that once we make the choice to forgive others for them harming us and when we forgive ourselves, we then had to consciously decide to never bring it up again, and never discuss it or tell others about it, otherwise it wasn’t true forgiveness. Even when we thought about it again, we weren’t to speak about it, at all. 

In my mind, this is more like coerced and mandatory forgiveness, (forged) but not true from the heart and it’s also ABUSIVE.  Writing this today, I’ve come to the realization of how I personally feel this can be extremely damaging and even fatal for some people. I know in the AA Big Book, it says to find “God as I understood Him” and the forgiveness rules are possibly a little different than in the religious settings. But both of these ideas of forgiveness ignited the fact that I had to forgive others in order to make it out alive and complete these 12 steps. And what about there truly being no other choice towards healing, aside from working these 12 steps? 

Why wasn’t I given anymore options? 

Let me make this clear, I wholeheartedly believe that the 12 steps in AA and Celebrate Recovery have worked wonders and saved the lives of many individuals, and for that I’m very thankful. However, this topic is a critical thing, and it’s important it’s shared, especially with Adoptees in general, but specifically my fellow Adoptees in Recovery. 

I’m not addressing forgiveness for minor or petty offenses. I’m not talking about when someone TRULY makes a mistake, and they are sorry they did something and us forgiving them and giving second chances.  I’m not talking about those that don’t intentionally hurt us. We can easily say, “That person didn’t know what they were doing” but many times forgiveness is extended to people who knew what they were doing. Improper forgiveness can keep us in bondage, and it can set the forgiver up to be victimized again, and again, and again with the offender never being truly sorry or remorseful. This is ABUSIVE. THIS IS BONDAGE. 

Do you ever feel like forgiveness defends the abusers? I do. Do you ever feel like forgiveness feels like giving our abusers a free pass? I do. When someone has root issues that are trauma based, the whole idea of forgiveness can be very damaging, and oftentimes deadly. I can share this, because this is how forgiveness has impacted me, when it’s been presented in a way it has throughout my lifetime. Forced upon me by scriptures backing it up, and through programs I had to complete to LIVE, it’s clearly had me backed in a corner with nowhere to turn. It manipulated me to the core of my being. 

Until Now…

I realize that there are more resources today than there were when I was 15 years old, and even when I started my recovery journey in 2012. Today I’m thinking for myself, and I’m not being backed into a corner with no options.  I realize that I possibly didn’t have all the tools for recovery in my recovery tool box and there are more possibilities today than there was before. The more I learn about forgiveness, and all the different dynamics of it, the more I’m informed if it works for me or if it doesn’t work for me. 

I resent the fact that from the biblical concept of forgiveness and the world’s standards, I’ve felt 100% manipulated and duped into forgiving others, God and myself. What I wonder is, if I’m supposed to forgive all those who hurt me, myself and God and if I don’t God won’t forgive me, but he sends so many people to hell, so where is his forgiveness for others? Isn’t this quite the double standard and mental mind manipulation?  It’s lead me to question God all together, and rethink my entire approach on what I believe and what I don’t believe. I’m going to save that for another article, but it’s coming. 

I don’t know about you, but the idea that a person that has been victimized has a responsibility placed on them to forgive their perpetrator/s is pretty disgusting and a topic I’ve found to be very disheartening. Anyone who is pushing forgiveness onto others is doing it for their own gain, and their own agenda, not yours. A lot of the wounds people care are inner child wounds, and being forced or coerced to forgive others is extremely toxic and damaging!

For me, where I am today, what if I personally don’t believe in forgiveness based on my experience with it, but I believe in holding people accountable for their shitty actions? What if I make the choice if I want to allow them in my life or not without being manipulated into forgiving them? What if MY WAY isn’t the WORLDS WAY but who gives a shit, because it’s what works for me? Would you believe me if I told you that I’m at peace with things, but I haven’t forgiven anyone by the world’s standards? That doesn’t mean I still don’t have traumatic memories, or have trauma work to do.  What if I take forgiveness and everything about it and toss it in the trash? Shouldn’t we want to consciously and organically in our hearts want to give people second chances, be better people or come to peace with things on our own time without an entire belief system manipulating us into doing so? This manipulation with forgiveness has actually hindered me, kept me in bondage, and held me back from true authentic and organic healing. This is life or death for many of us. 

 Forced and Forged Forgiveness can add layers of shame onto victims, for not “getting over something” or for “sharing their trauma.” Once you forgive someone, you’re supposed to get over it, and move on with your life. What if you don’t get over it or move on? “Here you are talking about it again” … Shame comes in after we’ve said to forgive someone,  when you are simply having natural and very legitimate feelings associated with a very real situation for you. This isn’t helping people, only hurting them worse. I’ve had people09be5a42-2952-4e14-810c-0c40893545c9 silence me with scriptures, when I share very real feelings with them. “You’ve already forgiven yourself for that, the devil is only bringing it up again because he wants you to live in condemnation.”  Talk about BONDAGE and MENTAL MIND F&^KS. It’s becoming apparent to me that this belief system can cause great amounts of harm, and even become fatal to some. (I plan on writing about that later) 

Let’s touch on the our society’s “positive culture” that surrounds our lives today. Positive vibes, clearing any and all negative energies from our sacred spaces, and much of the time we’re denying our own feelings, stuffing them down and bypassing processing them just to fit into the mold of the world and the preaching of positive vibes. You see motivational speakers kicking into high drive, and spiritual circles silencing you with scriptures all to keep the positive vibes going.  Have you learned what Spiritual Bypassing is? I suggest you research it, and it’s a real thing. Also research Religious Trauma Syndrome. Your life will never be the same. 

As adoptees, it’s so important we understand that anger, and feelings of grief, loss and sadness are perfectly legitimate feelings, and they come in waves for many of us. Are you leaving room for these feelings within your friends and family and within your circle? If not, please reconsider because it’s life and death. I don’t have time to preach positivity when adoptees are dying! Once we are in a position to process these feelings, in natural ways we then start healing. When positive culture is shoved down our throats, like it is in churches, spiritual settings, and in society as a whole it leaves no room for us to share our pain. Just like forged forgiveness, this can be fatal. We really need to rethink our approach, and stop forcing this culture on everyone. We have to do better. 

Anger can be a very positive thing when used the right way. Anger can be used to fuel change, create visions, and put action behind them. We have to stop silencing people when they share it, and stop trying to dish out feel good juice, and learn to sit with people in their pain. I’m not talking about ANGER that abuses and hurts other people which is HUGE as well. This is when anger is toxic to others and it isn’t productive. We can each set our own boundaries if this type of anger influences our lives, or the lives of others. But before we get to the other side of healing starting, we have to process the anger FIRST. 

If you step out of the box filled with influences from your lifetime, please know It is entirely possible for someone to get to a place of acceptance, and peace about a situation and forgiveness has never been extended. Please know forgiveness culture can be very damaging when it’s forged and forced in anyway.   

What if I have been on a healing journey, and I’ve decided on my own that my goal is to come to peace with things in my life, and for me that process happens by accepting things are the way they are and there is nothing I can do to change them? What if forged forgiveness does more harm than good? What if expecting others to FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HARMED US actually retraumatised us and damages us more than the actual offense itself? What if we’re placing an unrealistic and damaging burden on those who we expect to forgive who are perpetrators and those who hurt us and it only adds to our pain and trauma? 

“Forgiveness is for you, and no one else and it should never be forced on anyone” – Says the world.

Yes, this is true yet the world is set up as the opposite, especially in religious circles. The 12 steps are focused around forgiveness, and for me I was giving FREE PASSES TO PEOPLE WHO ABUSED AND TRAUMATIZED ME. Is anyone manipulating me into “coming to a place of peace?” No, no they aren’t. It’s something I do on my time, through healing (whatever that looks like to me), and trauma therapy, and TONS OF TRAUMA work. Not because GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES SAY SO. 

For me, forged forgiveness (a huge burden and responsibility) to forgive those who have traumatized and hurt me, was actually BONDAGE. Not the other way around. Forged Forgiveness feels like gaslighting to me, and that’s only adding trauma on top of trauma. It’s up to each of us to decide on our own, without any influences if we want to forgive someone or not. It should be from our hearts, not because of manipulation or to complete a program. If forgiveness has worked for you, that’s wonderful but we must understand what works for some doesn’t always work for everyone. Have you spent as much time sitting with someone, listening to them in their grief and pain like you have encouraged them to forgive their perpetrator/s? 

Today, I’ve decided I’m withdrawing my forgiveness claims, and reevaluating each and every situation on my own terms, in my own time. Right now, I have a clean slate and I have forgiven no one. From this day forward, as situations arise and thoughts come to my mind, I will process them organically either alone or with someone I trust and I will REMOVE any forged and forced idea of forgiveness from my mind. This is freedom to me. 

 If the idea of forgiveness comes naturally, then I will apply it to that situation. If it doesn’t, and I can come to a place of peace, then wonderful. Maybe I’m not at a place of peace yet about certain things, which means I still have trauma work to do. Maybe I will never get to that place, because trauma impacts us all in different ways. It can change our brain wiring, it can change our memory and our mobility. Trauma can change everything and not all trauma just goes away.  Sometimes acceptance that the trauma and it’s symptoms are here to stay is what’s needed to be able to cope. 

No two stories are the same, and we all need and want different things in life. This article is long, and it’s filled with a lot of thoughts. I’m sharing because this is a HUGE topic, and recently having someone tell me “MAYBE YOU SHOULD FORGIVE THEM” even after I shared many traumatic situations with that person, really rubbed me the wrong way. It made me reevaluate forgiveness all together, and made me really think how abusive it can be. It also made me realize how forged forgiveness has impacted my life, and how I’m the only one who can change things for my future. 

After reading ALL THIS, I’m not here to tell you forgiveness isn’t productive and it’s not for you. I’m here to share my truth, as my experiences back it up. I’m here to share there is a damaging side to forgiveness and I hope each person reading is given more tools than what I was given. I hope for each of you, forgiveness is a CHOICE that you choose.

I’m glad I got to share this, and I feel even more free than when I started typing it. I’m thankful I’m at a place of freedom where I can recognize the abuse behind certain areas that are portrayed to be positive things. The healthier we get, the more BS we can recognize. I hope to continue to share what’s worked for me, and what hasn’t worked for me. My hope is, it helps someone out there, specifically my fellow adoptees. Please understand, if you can’t bring it in your life to FORGIVE others, for ANY REASON please don’t allow others to place that BURDEN on you. You don’t deserve it, and it’s not yours to carry. You don’t owe anyone, I MEAN IT!

No matter who it is.

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! 

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Love, love. P.K.

P.S. I know some might mean well, but if you feel the need to send me scriptures about forgiveness, please spare yourself the time. I’m not interested.

Boundaries | Adoptionland | Minimizing | Into The Wild: KY | 2020

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Boundaries, Boundaries & More Boundaries

What is Adoptionland to me?  – The online adoption community. 

Rolling into 2020 I continue to set boundaries for myself, in my personal and professional life.

What do these boundaries look like? 

I’m no longer opening up my personal facebook to Adoptionland like I always have. As I continue to get dozens of friend requests weekly, I apologize in advance to the adoptees who send me friend requests that I don’t accept, or I deny. I know how sensitive adoptees can be, and I totally understand why many of us have that sensitivity.

 I live with it everyday. 

However, I have to put the safety of myself and my family first. If you had seen what I have seen in the last 2 years in Adoptionland, you would understand a bit more why I have set these boundaries. I have shared some articles on my website so if you are keeping up with me, you already have some ideas about why I’ve made this choice. If you are close to me, you are aware. The dynamics of my online experience has shifted significantly, and because of this, I need to protect my space. 

Let me take a moment to recap my Adoptionland experience for you. 

When I came out of the fog approx 10 years ago, Adoptionland was a space of refugee. It was a space where adoptees were on deck to help one another by extending a hand of grace, walking with you out of the deep dark waters of being in adoption fog. It was a safe space and I have connected with adoptee friends online near and far, all around the world. I cherish many of these friendships, and always will. We’re still waking it out together. 

I had adoptees that lead the way for me and so many others like Deanna Doss Shrodes, Jessenia Arias, and Rebecca Hawks. These ladies will never understand how much their kindness, compassion and dedication to the adoption community has helped so many adoptees. Once I emerged out of the fog, I made a commitment to do everything in my power to give back to Adoptionland in hopes to help other adoptees to give back to a community that had so freely given to me. 

Like many adoptees, I poured my heart and soul into this mission and I’ve spent many years now not only transforming my life, but in that process I’ve been able to help others which has also helped me. 

I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey. But things have changed in Adoptionland and they are no longer what they used to be. 

This has created a significant upset in Adoptionland and I’ve been clear all the way back to the article I wrote in January 2018, I’m Not Co-Signing for Online Bullying & Harassment. That was a year ago, and things have only gotten significantly worse. 

What I’ve seen is the supportive adoptees that created the community that was once safe, only to be taken over by trolls, cyber bullies, and impostors who conceal their identities, spew evil, hate and rage throughout the online adoption community aka Adoptionland. They feel it’s perfectly okay to publicly shame, call out, and attack anyone that doesn’t fit into the mold they’ve created. This could be adoptees, adoptive parents and biological parents, or anyone for that matter. They hold no bars on who they attack, vilify and cyber bully. I could list a HUGE list of names, but that’s not my style. They know who they are. 

It’s become a common theme that these trolls believe they are “Educating Adoptionland” but they have no remorse of the hate and evil they are spilling or the way they are doing it is actually causing more harm to adoption than they could ever truly understand. It’s ABUSE in every form. I’ve seen with my own eyes, these trolls create so many online identities that they talk to themselves and carry on conversations with their different online personas. Yes, I said that right! I’ve seen them create so many identities that their goals is to get on your Facebook page, so they can steal your information and create Adoptionland drama, stir the pot and set you up to be cyber attacked. They are professionals at twisting words, being deceptive by acting like they are your “friend” and then throwing you out to the wolves while their followers rip you to shreds. While they hide behind the pseudonym name, they reveal the true identities of people, which can cause a real safety concern, not to mention the damage and hurt they are doing to the specific person they are cyber targeting. 

I KNOW ADOPTEES WHO HAVE BEEN SO DEVASTATED BY BEING TARGETED AND TREATED THIS WAY THEY HAVE BEEN DRIVEN TO CONTEMPLATE SUICIDE, AND EVEN ATTEMPT IT. SOME ARE FRIENDS OF MINE.  

I’ve seen these trolls set targeted attacks on individuals, and use their entire following to cyber mob a person. Many of these individuals that have been targeted are personal friends of mine. I’ve seen them take confidential conversations that someone shared in private, and screen shot them and make them public to “call out” this person all in the name of “Educating in Adoption”. 

Whatever side of adoption you are on, no matter how you feel about it – this behavior is NEVER okay. It is not okay to treat people this way and if you are on the side of thinking this behavior is okay, have fun in your misery. Most of the time, I’ve learned that these are the adoptees who are stuck. I was once stuck and I have much compassion for adoptees who are stuck, however I didn’t use my valuable time tearing other adoptees down, cyber attacking or cyber mobbing them. But beware, these individuals are the very first to say you are gaslighting them, tone policing them, and holding them accountable for their delivery which they use as a full time defense for their abusive online behavior. Reality is, many of them are narcissists, and every time you feed into their toxicity, you fuel their fire.   I’ve never seen such disrespect, abuse and toxicity in my life. 

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There is so much more to “educating” someone about adoption, than sitting behind a computer screen hiding behind a pseudonym name while attacking and targeting others who have the strength and poise to share their real true identities. You can dish out the BS, but you can’t take the heat when it comes back full circle which is why you hide behind a fake name… I literally have no time for it, and I will not engage on any platforms or with people that aren’t legit, real true individuals. Aside from the platforms I manage, admin and moderate that I know are safe, I’m 100% done with Adoptionland. My time is way to valuable, and yours is too! 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN YOUR COMMUNITY ON THE GROUND TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? 

A huge part of why Adoptees Connect, Inc. was created was to counteract with what Adoptionland has become. Our goal is to take our online relationships offline, and create grassroots connections in our very own communities- in real life. This cuts out all of the cyber attacks, cyber bullying/mobbing and interaction with trolls in Adoptionland. 

What does this mean for Adoptionland in my world? 

I can only make changes and control my own life in attempts to create the safest space possible for MYSELF. In 2020 I’m making more changes to protect my space. One of the steps I’m taking is moving 99.9% of my Adoptionland interactions to LinkedIn. I haven’t seen the trolls on LinkedIn like I’ve seen them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I’m not saying they aren’t there, but I’m saying I feel LinkedIn is a safer space, based on it being rooted and grounded in us creating a professional network. I’m also not adding anyone to my LinkedIn who I don’t personally know. Under no circumstances am I adding anyone just because we have mutual friends. 

Those days are over. Adoptionland isn’t safe at all anymore and we all must protect our spaces, at all costs. For me, Adoptionland has always been about being a light for my fellow adoptees, no matter what space they are at I have always tried to embrace them, and walk with them out of the darkness into the light. Now, the tides are turning and I’m more interested in continuing this advocacy, but I prefer to pour my time and energy into the relationships I’ve built in my city, via my Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY group and those within the Adoptees Connect community where the connections are centered around real, true and genuine meetings and getting to know one another IN REAL LIFE. I no longer have the time or energy to pour into dozens of online conversations when Adoptionland has been consumed by trolls, and evil individuals who have no remorse for who they hurt, or how they do it. 

Let’s take Adoptionland and Adoption out of the equation for a moment and talk about being a kind human being. This behavior that’s increased online isn’t okay in any fashion. No matter what you are advocating for, if you aren’t trying to educate in a way that doesn’t hurt others, you should hang up your hat and go spend some time to work on some of your own pain before you continue to inflict your rage onto others. Reevaluate the way you are delivering your message, and consider making some changes where you are advocating for the truth in adoption, but you aren’t hurting people in the process. It can be done. 

FYI: YOU AREN’T EDUCATING IN THE NAME OF ADOPTION WHEN YOU ARE HURTING PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS!

If you’re an online troll, with one or multiple identities, who thinks it’s okay to set up cyber mobbing attacks, call others out, bully, and be hateful to others, I challenge you to make some changes in 2020. If you are someone who sits back and watches this type of behavior happen, I challenge you to rethink your approach in Adoptionland. Maybe you are someone who chimes in, and eggs this behavior on? You don’t set up these attacks, you just comment on them and like/love them on social media? 

Whatever your role is, in whatever communities you spend time online, I ask you to be kind to others. If you are creating a space in Adoptionland where only YOUR WAY or YOUR BELIEFS are allowed, you truly aren’t teaching anyone. You are creating a community of people who believe like you, leaving NO ROOM for teachable moments. The minute your RAGE flips into action, rooted from YOUR OWN PAIN – you are turning people away from receiving your message. You have LOST what could have been a wonderful message received by someone who truly wants to learn from others. I challenge you to get off the internet, stop spreading hate and pain and go work on yourself to get UNSTUCK before you continue to hurt others online and your personal life. 

Being adopted doesn’t give you a free pass to treat people like shit, and to dish out your rage filled hate in an abusive way while hurting others in the process. I revoke your free pass and call you on your BS, Narcissistic behavior and toxicity! 

We all come from different experiences, and none of them are exactly the same. We all deserve to be heard, without being attacked, no matter what our stance in adoption is. If you disagree with someone or what their role is in the adoption community, have a trustworthy conversation with them, creating a safe dialogue in private over calling them out on social media, setting them up to be cyber mobbed. This is horrible behavior, and let me just tell you if you participate in it at all, YOUR TIME WILL COME. Wait until you get treated this way, or someone you love and you will rethink your approach. 

As I continue to set boundaries and back away from Adoptionland, I would love to encourage any of my followers to find me on LinkedIn, send me a message introducing yourself, and we can go from there. If you don’t have LinkedIn and you are an adoptee, or anyone in Adoptionland I encourage you to set up a LinkedIn profile, and start networking in a professional way. I truly feel this is the only way to continue to make connections online in the adoption community in a safer way. 

Wherever you are in your personal journey, I hope you set healthy boundaries for yourself in 2020 and in this process you find healthy online activities. You are the only one who can make these changes for YOURSELF.  

INTO THE WILD: KY

388f964a-8e76-4e5b-a234-8afed1e38e51For 2020 I’m not only setting these boundaries, but I’m focusing on spending less time online, less time on my cell phone, and electronics, and spending more time making plans to spend quality time with the small circle of people/friends/family who I feel close too. I’m working at setting boundaries for myself so my time isn’t so consumed in things at a level I’m not enjoying my life. 

We LIVE EVERYDAY, but we have to clear space in our personal lives, professional lives and everyday lives to make room for living life. I plan to spend 2020 minimizing to less THINGS, and upgrading by having more ADVENTURES. I want to spend more time in the wilderness and having more Into The Wild: KY – Kentucky Wilderness & Waterfall Adventures. I want to take my close friends, my kids and others who are interested in exploring nature because wilderness wellness is at the top of my self care toolbox. 

Time is something that can be more meaningful for adoptees than your average person.img_0073  Time is something I cherish, because when it’s all said and done it’s all I have and I don’t want to lose more TIME, when so much has already been lost because of ADOPTION. I’m 45 years old, and so much TIME has already gone, and I could possibly be at the halfway mark of my life here on earth, do I really want to use all my time up fighting with trolls on the internet? Or being consumed by social media?  I want to make wonderful memories with others, and I will not sacrifice five minutes of the most valuable thing I have for internet trolls, and cyber bullies. They will not get any airtime on my platforms, nor will those who support them. 

Some of my boundaries regarding social media/email/cell that will bring me quality of life starting January 2020 are: 

  • I am no longer using Facebook messenger on my cell and  I don’t have it on my phone. I will only check it occasionally from my laptop once or maybe twice a week.  
  • I’m going to try to start calling my friends more. Text has taken over the world and starting in January 2020 – I’m calling you! 
  • I’m no longer accepting friend requests on Facebook from people I don’t personally know, even if we have mutual friends. The internet has gotten extremely toxic and I will not chance allowing anyone into my space that I don’t know. Please know this isn’t personal, but boundaries I’m setting for myself. However, You can follow me on my public page at Pamela Karanova.
  • I don’t use inboxes on Twitter or Instagram for communications, nor will I be checking them. It takes up too much time, and I’m not giving more time to these inboxes. Email is a better way for me to communicate. 
  • I will consider adding people to my LinkedIn but only if they send me a direct message introducing themselves. Somebody’s momma always said don’t talk to strangers, yet the internet has ruined that. I’m always happy to have a discussion with someone, but introduce yourself first, please have some manners. 
  • I’m only checking email first thing in the morning, MON-FRI. I removed email apps from my cell, and I am no longer refreshing them 100x a day to see whos emailed me. 
  • If you text me, I will respond when I can but let’s work together to talk on the phone sometimes.  I’m going to be working on doing this as well. Maybe we can set up a time to talk via text? Let’s meet in the middle. 
  • I will not respond to drama on the internet. I’ve removed myself from ALL DRAMA ZONES FOR A MILLION VERY GOOD REASONS. Please don’t pull me into any messes and consider removing yourself from these spaces as well. 
  • I’m not on call for Adoptees Connect, Inc. As it grows, there is still only one me. Please direct all questions or concerns to the exclusive group on Facebook or email: adopteesconnect@gmail.com Please allow for appropriate time for me to get back to you. This is 100% volunteer and I have a MORE THAN FULL TIME CAREER that I’m on call for 24/7. 

 Let me be just completely honest. I’m not happy with the way everyone has become so disconnected with the real meaning of life, me included. True relationships that meet in real life and spending time with those you love is what I crave. Authentic organic connections are ones I enjoy the most. I’ve been working for some years to restore this piece of what so many have lost and moving into 2020 I will continue to work on this. 

 I always say the things I need in life, money can’t buy. Honesty, Truth, Transparency, Connection, Time, Adventure, Wilderness, Compassion, Kindness, and the list could go on. 

In attempts to create the life I would like, I have to make these changes and set these boundaries for myself. The greatest gift I have to give anyone is my time, because it’s something I can never give back. In 2020 I’m putting a focus on these things, along with people who mean the world to me. 

I hope you all continue to follow your hearts as we enter into a new year. We have a  new chance to rewrite our stories and a new 365 days to add some magic to our lives. I encourage you to make as many changes as you need to make to create the life you desire and deserve. Cheers to all we have learned in 2019 and all the lessons we’ve experienced along the way. Cheers to many more! 

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Love, Love. 

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Disclosure Statement: Online bullying, threats and personal attacks aren’t going to make Adoption any better. Usually it does the opposite. I continue to unfollow and block ALL accounts that endorse this content. I challenge you to do the same. 

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”.

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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. 

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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!

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The Wilderness is My Rehab, Nature is My Church, Mother Earth is My Mother, Waterfalls are My Worship

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It’s taken me 44 years to figure out what works for me and what pulls on my heart strings from the inside out. Some people spend an entire lifetime and never get to this point. My hope is, I can share a little about how I got here, in a way to help inspire others, specifically my fellow adoptees. I know so many of you are waking up daily, hurting and broken in a million pieces.

I’m sorry. I feel your pain.

All of the experiences I’m sharing are intertwined into my adoptee experience, my recovery journey, my leaving the church, and my lifelong mother wound from my adoptive mother and biological mother, failed therapy, chasing everything under the sun to attempt to feel whole and find happiness.

This is what worked for me.

The Wilderness is My Rehab – The wilderness has always given me the gift of freedom like I’ve never experienced in any other way. To fill the void from adoption, I’ve spent my entire life chasing different things and all the way back to my beginnings, the wilderness has always embraced me. It’s rolled out its beautiful red carpet, and touched me in a way that inspired me to come on in and explore. The wilderness has provided me with the gift of a greeting, a welcoming of sorts every single time I choose to visit.  It’s provided me with a secure escape away from all life’s problems, even if it’s only for a little bit. It’s life changing for me, ever time I go into the wilderness, into the wild. The birds sing to me as if it’s a song dedicated just for me.  The breeze of the trees provide a soothing tone I’ve yet to experience anywhere else. The dew drops in the early mornings remind me of a new day, a new chance to make a difference in this world. As the sun rises and kisses the tree tops, sparkles illuminate glimmering down over the beautiful green lush plants and shrubs grown in the wilderness.  Green is one of my favorite colors because it reminds me of the wilderness, and yellow is also a favorite because it reminds me of the sun. I escape into the wilderness as much as possible either alone or with someone else. It’s always a divine experience no matter how short or how long the visit. Practicing mindfulness in the wilderness has been a key factor to my healing and happiness.

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Nature is My Church. – I’ve finally found the church I’ve been searching for all these years! For most of my life, I’ve been told how I need to do certain things and one of them is finding and attending a church in my community. I’ve been conditioned to believe this is an extremely important part of one’s spiritual journey, to find the right building and visit every Sunday. One dynamic that keeps playing over like an echo is other’s telling em I need the “COMMUNITY” of believers in my life and how important that is. Why do they have to be believers? Over my experience, the community of believers is no different than a community of non-believers. My experience showed me that the only way that community is going to be real is if you attend the same church. Walking away from the church, I’ve learned those aren’t the relationships I want in my life. I want real, true and organic relationships and I won’t settle for anything less these days.

When I experience nature, a new found freedom takes over my mind, body and spirit. Suddenly I’m back to being the 3 year old little girl that would run free in the country of Iowa playing and laying in the fields. My memories of finding the closest creek come back, searching for crawdads and frogs. We would build tree forts, climb trees to the highest tip and shout as loud as we could with our voices echoing across the fields.

Nature has always made me feel safe and it’s always embraced me. It’s the place I run too to feel God’s presence therefor I feel nature is my church. I’ve finally found what it is I’ve been looking for. Nature is the only place I feel at home.

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Mother Earth is My Mother – This might be a little too deep for some people, but I feel most of my fellow adoptees will be able to understand and relate. Out of two chances in the mother area, I’ve never felt love, compassion, acceptance or valued in a healthy way. I’ve actually been one of the adoptees who’s experienced two very VERY deep mother wounds, that still impact me to this day. My biological mother surrendered me for adoption, and after spending a lifetime of searching for her she rejected a relationship with absolutely no explanation. She slammed the door shut, locked it up and threw away the key. My adoptive mother was never able to be a mother due to extreme mental health issues. I was her caretaker held captive for 31 years, until one day I got up enough courage to leave. I packed up a 22 foot uhaul and my kids, and moved across the country. I consider it my great escape and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my lifetime. Essentially, I started my life over so my kids could have a better life, and so I could one day become a happier, healthier mother to them which is something I never received.

I say Mother Earth is my Mother because when I look at the bigger picture, she’s been far more kind and compassionate to me than any mother I’ve came across here on earth. From a spiritual standpoint, I’ve always been a believer in God,  I’ve been able to look at God as my Heavenly Father where it helped ease my pain with my father wound. I was able to look at my brothers and sisters in Christ as spiritual family, but at the end of the day there was never any help with the MOTHER WOUND. None. Of all the things that have happened to me here on this earth, the Mother Wound has been by far the biggest wound I’ve experienced and for my specific journey I’ve experienced it two times. I think the hurt and pain from my experience has been the fueling fire for all my adoptee advocacy, because I know there are other adoptees out there like me who have gigantic mother wounds, and they have no idea how to heal them. I’ve purchased a host of books about healing the mother wound, I’ve tried therapy, etc. I’ve written about it until I’m blue in the face. The mother wound is DEEP.

Nothing has helped me until I mindfully started to explore nature going on healing nature walks and hikes. During these adventures, I set out to truly connect with nature, like I hadn’t done since I was a child. Some of my first memories and connection with nature were climbing trees to the top, reaching out and touching the sky because the sky made me feel close to my birth mother. It was the tree that assisted me in touching the sky, so my memories and connections to trees and nature have been a part of my life for most of my 44 years on earth. I write a story about feeling close to my birth mother by being closer to the sky. If you are interested in reading click here.

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When I was a child it was innocently part of my life, but it was in my DNA from the very beginning. The forREST became a place of rest for me. It embraced me, took me in and was kind and compassionate to me like no Mother has ever been.  It was always there, with open arms and a dirt trail to meet me at whatever place I was in my life at the time. As my body would enter these sacred spaces, untouched by man of the earth my moods began to shift and change. I got happier inside. My spirit lifted, and joy would come strong and take over my mind. All the things in my life would fall to the side, while I had this time with Mother Earth, everything became relaxing and all my problems seemed to go away for that moment, with HER.

Over the last few years, I’ve been seeking HER more and more, and I’ve healed more and more. I have more internal peace than every before. When I escape into the wilderness, I find it to be extremely relaxing and restorative. Not only does it help my physical well-being, but my emotional and mental state as well. This has helped me in so many ways, and this is why I feel Mother Earth is my Mother.

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Waterfalls are my Worship – A few years ago when I decided to step down from my leadership position as a small group leader for a Women’s Chemical Dependency group for the ministry called Celebrate Recovery, I decided to focus on myself. What that looked like for me was finding out what Pam liked and loved. So many adoptees struggle with identity, and many other issues. Of all the issues adoptees can face, I believe I’ve struggled with every single one of them and then some. My family also decided to walk away from our church of four years due to many different dynamics that I don’t care to share in this article. Needless to say, we we’re all come to the ending of different chapters in our lives, but it’s also the start of something new which has a potential to be beautiful.

I’m rewriting my story. 

I had never taken time out of my busy life to look myself in the mirror and figure out who I am. First thing, adoption created such a void that my deep seeded issues we’re rooted in not knowing who I was or where I came from. I would not be where I am today without finding my truth, and all of it. When I discovered my love for waterfalls, I had no idea at the healing that would follow. In my process of self discovery, I decided to do something I had never done before. I decided to create a bucket list. In this process, I learned that my great state of Kentucky has over 600 waterfalls. I learned so many people add things to their bucket list that are sometimes so far away from achieving because of financial reasons. I set out to create a bucket list that was attainable for me, and as I did this I learned that so many adventures were in my own back yard, and the state of Kentucky had so many hidden gems, waterfalls, and beloved spaces in nature I set out to discover as many spaces as possible. Over the last 3+ years that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve seen dozens of waterfalls, all within a few hours from my front door. Most of them I’ve been to a half a dozen times, because I love taking friends and family on these adventures with me. That’s half the reward, is taking those you love to experience the solitude nature has to offer.

When I set out to find waterfalls, I experience an excitement I can’t describe. I’ve never experienced something so lovely, that it makes me forget all about my past, my future, and it allows me to focus on being present in the moment. Although I’m working on living a mindful lifestyle (focusing on the present moment)  daily, anytime I have a chance to run away to nature and soak up something that’s so beautiful, untouched by man makes me feel closer to God than ever before.  The water and the birds are the music, and the serenity of the surroundings fills my spirit like nothing else has ever done. This is why I seek out to find waterfalls, as they have been a huge part of my healing journey.

Below are some of the photos I’ve taken as a way to capture some of my most amazing moments, so I can share them with you and others. My hope is, I can inspire my friends, family and fellow adoptees to seek nature for healing because it’s worked for me, and it might work for you too!

To my fellow adoptees, what’s worked for you?

How are you rewriting your story?

 

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Sending Renewed Love & Light,

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Reclaiming. Recovering. Recreating. Retreating. Repeating. 

What NAAM17 Means To Me…

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I’m still recovering from NAAM16

I’m not even lying. I totally overdid it last year and as a result I dropped off the face of “Adoptee Land” for 6 full months. I was too overwhelmed with it all I had to spend 6 months of self care to nurture my adoptee self back to life again. Then, I tippy toed my way back in but made a promise to myself.

I was not going to overdue it again! For my own mental health and sanity. And also so Adoptee Land wouldn’t lose me again, for 6 months or  maybe longer.

I wanted to share what NAAM17 meant to me.

NAAM17 is a time where the world celebrates adoption, yet adoptee voices have always been an after thought. As the years have passed adoptees are breaking out of the fog and coming together and raising our voices to the world on how it feels to be adopted. Finally, we have a space and our voice matters. On the other hand as November approaches I almost get this sick feeling in my stomach like someone punched me in the gut. It’s an unnerving feeling. Unsettling for adoptees and this is why many of us feel the need to raise our voices. Seeing the adoption agencies and those in the adoption arena celebrate adoption is sorrowful for many of us. It brings triggers that we have to learn to navigate. It’s difficult and there is no way to escape it.

For me, this month is a month I’m putting my long time vision of starting an all adoptee support group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY into action on the ground here in Lexington, KY where I live. This is my contribution to NAAM17 this year, as well as guiding some of my fellow adoptees around the USA to start their own Adoptees Connect in the city and state they live in.

IT’S OUR TIME!

I still have my Facebook “Like” pages to run, as well as my own blog so my plate is already full. For my fellow adoptees, please take care of yourself this month. Go treat yourself to something you want, buy a massage or get your nails done. Buy an ice cream cone or go to the gym and work out to burn steam off. Whatever calms your spirit and brings you job, make sure you’re doing that this month in the middle of your commitment to raising awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

I love you all.

Please, take care of yourselves.

P.K.

 

 

 

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 ancestry.com 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.

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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.

ALL ADOPTEES NEED OUR TRUTH SO WE CAN GAIN UNDERSTANDING

WITH THIS UNDERSTANDING COMES ACCEPTANCE

THEN HEALING BEGINS

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!

DNA DOES NOT LIE EVEN WHEN PEOPLE DO.

DNA PROVES MY FAMILY TREE IS MY FAMILY TREE.

I WILL NOT LET ANYONE TAKE THAT FROM ME.

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.

FamilyTreeScreenShot
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

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