What do I mean by “For all the people in the back?” It’s saying “SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK” aka for the people on the sidelines, in the shadows and/or for the people who refuse to acknowledge the sentiments in this article. It’s been used over the years to put an emphasis on an important topic, but specifically to those who turn a blind eye, or refuse to listen or acknowledge something. In other words, I don’t need to say it louder for some as they are actively involved for the cause, but I’m saying it LOUDER for the people in the back who continue to turn a blind eye. This is my meaning behind it.
Soon we will be honoring our 3rd annual Adoptee Remembrance Day – on October 30th around the globe. This is a day to reflect on the side of adoption that’s almost always ignored. I would love to ask for the support of all who care to take the time to listen and learn that there is more to the adoptee and adoption experience than what society portrays.
If you have an open heart and an open mind, please proceed with the willingness to listen and learn from a well-versed adult adoptee with some essential things to share that could be life-saving for adoptees worldwide. Thank you in advance.
First things first, before any adoption takes place, every adopted person experiences a life-altering loss first. This loss is so profound that it can and does impact every area of our lives. If you can evoke empathy for another human being, I am asking you to briefly place yourself in the shoes of an adopted person so I can take you on a journey of what our experiences can be like. Let’s put the “adoption” piece on the shelf and rewind how our lives unfold before we’re ever adopted.
No matter why adopted people are separated from their biological mothers, families, cultures, and beginnings, we all have a [His]-Story and a [Her]-Story. Yet, a lot of the time, our beginnings are swept under the rug as if our beginnings don’t exist. The reality of this being a traumatic experience is ignored by all, and adoption is viewed as a win, win for all in the adoption constellation.
The agony that many adoptees face, not knowing who we are or where we come from, is an agony that some adoptees can’t survive. Sometimes our pain is too great. As an adoptee suicide attempt survivor, I take this cause to heart in a very significant way.
Not only did I try to end my life when I was a teenager, but I have also struggled with suicidal ideation throughout my life. I almost ended my life again in 2017 due to many adoptee-related situations and issues happening all around the same time that almost took me out. However, I found enough strength to turn things around and take a lifetime of pain, and I found purpose in it. Not all adoptees can find this strength. They are the reason I share my story and voice.
We must acknowledge and understand that separation trauma is separate from us being adopted, and with that, we can learn to understand each dynamic more profoundly. Please read The Vital Contrast Between Relinquishment Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Adoption Trauma and Why We Should Know The Difference to learn more.
The separation from our biological mothers is a preverbal trauma tucked away in our subconscious memory that, for many of us, has a way of visiting us throughout our lives. Some adoptees struggle significantly in life, and some don’t struggle as much. I am sharing my voice for those who struggle because my heart can feel their pain because I am one of those adoptees.
Building relationships with adoptees worldwide for over a decade, dedicating countless hours to hearing their stories, I can say that every single adoptee I have had contact with has struggled with being adopted, EVERY SINGLE ONE. Even the ones with the “picture perfect” adoption story still have had difficulties with it to some degree. To ignore this reality would be a travesty to adoptees everywhere. When they hurt, I hurt. When they cry, I cry. I feel their pain because I have carried the same pain.
When separation trauma is swept under the rug and never acknowledged by the adults in our lives, it hurts the adoptee. Adoptees can’t find the language to articulate how they feel in our childhoods, and we can’t heal from secrecy, lies, and half-truths. However, when the adults in our lives acknowledge this reality, it helps us heal when we have the adults in our lives facilitate helping us find the language to process our complex emotions. It also helps at great lengths when they help us find our truths and support us along the way.
The sooner we can start this process, the better and I recommend an adoptee-competent therapist on deck to help facilitate this process at age-appropriate times. This is a lot of work; however, when anyone wants to adopt a child or newborn, they should automatically take this into account because the complexities from relinquishment trauma compacted by adoption trauma run deep.
When we are adopted and our separation trauma is ignored, it can set the adoptee up for a lifetime of abandonment, rejection, grief, loss, anger, rage, and addictions. The list could go on forever. When we know that separation trauma is different than adoption trauma or the adoption experience, we can acknowledge the different feelings each adoptee might have about their own lived experience.
It’s totally okay that we feel different feelings, and we all seem to have different degrees of struggles. No two adoptee story is the same. We can have fantastic and loving adoptive parents and also feel deep grief, loss, sadness, and sorrow for all that was lost before the adoption took place. Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day we would love others to acknowledge the loss that every adoptee experiences before they are adopted.
Adoptee Remembrance Day is a day to step outside our level of understanding and into the lens of adopted people worldwide, with the willingness to listen and learn from their experiences. It’s a day to acknowledge that separation trauma and adoption trauma come with unique layers that need understanding.
We are urging everyone to get involved because the reality is that adoptees are DYING, and we can’t afford to stay silent or turn a blind eye. You don’t have to be adopted to participate. Maybe you know and love an adoptee or had a wonderful adoption experience, but you know many of your fellow adoptees did not. Whatever your role is inside or outside the adoption constellation, you have a much-needed voice within Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th.
How can you get involved?
Listen to adoptees! Visit the Adoptee Remembrance Day Info tab and learn more about how to put your hand on this critically important day in the adoptee community. Below are valuable articles and videos about Adoptee Remembrance Day and the adoption experience. I encourage you to tap into each resource, share them on October 30th and add your thoughts based on what you have learned.
You will find acknowledgments and thoughts from individuals and organizations worldwide who have something to say about Adoptee Remembrance Day. Please read and share these resources on your social media platforms. A little willingness goes a long way, and you could be saving an adoptee’s life!
Thank you to all the adoptees, relinquishees, non-adoptees, organizations, and supporters near and far. A collaboration of our voices coming together for this critical cause is a powerful message to send to the world! People are finally starting to listen! Thank you for your time reading; your support means everything to me and adopted people worldwide!
President, Adoptees Connect, Inc.
Founder, Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th
100 Heartfelt Adoptee Quotes that Honor the Truth of Adoption by Pamela A. Karanova & 100 Adoptees Worldwide
Adoptee Recommended Resources by Adoptees Connect, Inc.
Recommended Resources by Adoptees On
Understanding Why Adoptees Are At A Higher Risk for Suicide by Maureen McCauley | Light of Day Stories
Suicide Amongst Adoptees by Hilbrand Westra
Adoptee Centric Therapist Directory – Grow Beyond Words
Adoptee Remembrance Day: Today by Light of Day Stories
Toward Preventing Adoption- Related Suicide by Mirah Riben
Adoptee Books- Visit adopteereading.com where you will find a comprehensive list of adoptee books recommended by adult adoptees.
Adoption and Suicide Prevention: Adult Adoptees Speak Out by United Survivors
Still Grieving Adoptee Losses, What My Adoptive Parents Could Have Done Differently by Pamela A. Karanova
Adoptee Remembrance Day by InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV)
Adoptee Remembrance Day by Adoptees On
Adoptee Remembrance Day Presentation by Brenna Kyeong McHugh
Adoption, DNA and the impact on a concealed life Tedx by Ruth Monning
Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th by Bastard Nation
It’s Hard to Smile Today – My Tribute to Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th by Pamela A. Karanova
Adoptee Suicide by Layla Schaeffer
Adoption BE-AWARENESS and Remembrance By Mirah Riben
Adoptee REMEMBRANCE Day by Janet Nordine, Experience Courage
Considering Adoption? What Adoptees Want You To Know by Pamela A. Karanova
Facing the Primal Wound of Transracial Adoption by Naomi Sumner
Adoptee Remembrance Day – October 30th YouTube Poetry Hosted By Liz Debetta
Listeners Acknowledge Adoptee Remembrance Day by Adoptees On
Adoptee and Identity by Just Jae
Adoption and Addiction by Paul Sunderlund
The Trauma of Relinquishment- Adoption, Addiction, and Beyond by The OLLIE Foundation
Adoptee Suicide in the Media by Jeanette-ically Speaking
An Adoptees Nightmare by Cryptic Omega
6 Things You Should Know About Adoptees and Suicide by Jennifer Galan
InterCountry Adoptee Memorial by ICAV
I’m Adopted: You Can’t Fix Me or Take My Pain Away. Please Stop Trying by Pamela A. Karanova
Transracial Adoptee Voices of of Love and Trauma by Mikayla Zobeck
What is Gaslighting and How Does it Impact Adopted Persons by Dr. Chaitra Wirta- Leiker
Creating Space To Find Who I Am – Pamela Karanova – Who Am I Really Podcast? Damon Davis
The Secret Identity of An Adopted Child: Catharine Robertson at TEDxBaltimore
Article on Light of Day Stories about Adoptees Connect, Inc.
Bringing Adult Adoptee Issues to Light by Angela Burton of Next Avenue
These Adoptees Refuse to Be Christian Pro-Life Poster Kids by Kathryn Post of Religious News Service
Adoption Decision Making Among Women Seeking Abortion
Mental Health and Psychological Adjustment in Adults Who Were Adopted in Their Childhood: A Systematic Review
Substance Use Disorders and Adoption: Findings from a National Sample
Dealing with Adoptee Suicide by Lynelle Long
Adoptees, Why Are You So Angry? Over 100 Adoptees Share Heartfelt Feelings by Pamela A. Karanova & Adoptees Worldwide
We Should Be Fighting for a World Without Adoption by Michelle Merritt
When Your Biggest Blessing Invalidates My Greatest Trauma by Pamela A. Karanova
Where darkness resides: suicide and being adopted – is there a connection of elevated risk?
Adoption as a Risk Factor for Attempted Suicide During Adolescence
What it Costs to be Adopted by Michele Merritt
The Mental Health of US Adolescence Adopted in Infancy by Margaret A Keyes, PhD.
Relationship Between Adoption and Suicide Attempts: A Meta Analysis
Risk of Suicide Attempt in Adopted and Nonadopted Offspring
Behavioral Problems in Adoptees
Risk of Eating Disorders in International Adoptees: A Corhort Study Using Swedish National Population Registers
Cancelling My Adoption by Netra Sommer
Risks of Suicide Attempt in Adopted and Nonadopted Offspring
Rediscovering Latent Trauma: An Adopted Adults Perspective by Michele Merritt
Adopted Children Have Twice the Risk of Abusing Drugs if Biological Parents Also Did
On Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Adoptees Don’t want to Be A “Pawn” in Abortion Debates
Adoptees 4 Times More Likely to Attempt Suicide by Jenny Laidman
Infant Adoption is a Big Business in America by Darlene Gerow
Adoption and Trauma: Risks, Recovery and the Lived Experience of Adoption
Give Me Back My Name by Michele Merritt
Stop Weaponizing Adopted People for Your Anti-Choice Agenda by Michele Merritt
Adopted Children at Greater Risk for Mental Health Disorders by Madison Park
Understanding Why Adoptees Are at Higher Risk For Suicide