6 Years Gained, 47 Years Lost

Being an adoptee in a closed adoption, I had no idea I had a brother until 2010. The minute I found out about Him was the minute I began searching- AGAIN.  I was ecstatic about this, but where was he? What did he look like? Would he accept my children and I? Would I ever find Him?

All I knew is that I was going to dye trying. At all costs I was going to find Him. Almost a year to the date my long anticipation of waiting was over.

November 2011 I found my brother.

Greg
Greg ❤

We spoke on the phone for the first time comparing notes on our lives. My birth father was His father. After seeing a picture of Him I was amazed at all of our similarities we shared. Our skin tone was almost the same, we were both very tall with the same natural hair color and it appeared we had more resemblances than His siblings he grew up with and was raised with. After comparing some of our baby pictures we both just knew we were siblings.

There was no question about it.

For me this was an outstanding discovery but the best part is my new found brother not only mirrored me, but he accepted me. Not only did he accept me, he accepted my children. Do you have any idea how much this means when I have been rejected by both my biological parents and their families?

THIS HAS MEANT EVERYTHING TO ME!

I was on top of the world!

I told everyone about my brother and in a very short period of time in my eyes, he hung the moon! He planned a trip to spend Christmas with my kids and I in Kentucky and we met for the first time December 24, 2011. It was a dream come true for me. This would be the first holiday in my life I spent with biological family.  We sat at the table and talked for hours and hours. We both agreed we had a lot of making up to do.

I always told everyone He was the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow for me and God always saves the best for last.

Greg will always be my pot of Gold & my TREASURE in my adoption journey!

My First Trip To Texas 2014
Greg & I -Texas 2014

Over the last 6 years we made many memories together. Greg flew to KY 2x to share Christmas with my children and I. We visited Texas 2x to attend His Annual Craw-fish Boil in 2014 and in 2015 I attended my very first Thanksgiving Dinner with Him. This was an amazing experience. Family gathering around to celebrate all things, especially one another. There aren’t enough words to express How wonderful Greg and His entire family has been to my children and I. I had 4 new found nieces & a nephew. I had a new sister and brother which were Greg’s siblings he grew up with.

In a blink of an eye I had a whole new family I could call my own.

Amazing.

Especially since so much has been lost in adoption.

Greg and I made a mutual attempt at having a relationship with one another from afar. It wasn’t easy but it seemed to come natural to both of us. We always looked forward to speaking to one another. He was in Texas and I was in Kentucky. He knew I loved the sunrises and sunsets so it was common for Him to send me early morning or evening pictures of the Texas sunset. This has always been a way to my heart because I see God in all things to do with nature and the sky. I looked forward to our long conversations on the phone catching up on how things have changed from the last time we spoke.  Greg was always a breath of fresh air in my life. He was a big brother who gave me advice when I needed it, and listened when he needed a listener. He was an awesome dad, and an outstanding human being who would have done anything for anyone. Our similarities were astonishing at times. We both loved nature and hiking. He gave me great advice on many areas including the best supplements to take, hiking safe, how to check for ticks (lol), and so much more. At the end of every conversation we never hesitated to tell one another we loved each other.

Until Next Time…

Greg, ” I love you, Sis!”

Me, ” I love you too! We will talk soon!”

You see as an adoptee, I don’t tell people “bye”.

I say “I’ll talk to you soon”.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

May 21st 2017 I received some tragic information that Greg was in an early morning motorcycle accident. He was going 60MPH on a Texas road and hit a cow that was laying in the middle or the road. His brain damage was so sever he was put on life support and the doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. Greg fought for His life for the next 3 days and on May 24, 2017 He went home to be with the Lord.

My heart is broken.

Not many non-adoptees get it but my fellow adoptees can understand the pain associated with something like this. Waiting our entire lives to find our people, and the emotions attached to having to search for them daily our entire lives. The pain attached to our never ending journey of wanting to fit in somewhere with our people. The roller coaster ride that comes with reunions. I remember visiting Greg and going to the bedroom to cry many times because I was so ANGRY I missed so many years with my brother! The grief of missing so much of Him in my life was inconsolable at times! I tried my best to hide it from everyone, but it would overtake my mind and I just couldn’t shake it sometimes. It sent me into depression episodes many times over the years.

How could I have a brother so amazing SOMEWHERE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD and because of the secrets & lies in adoption I had no clue he existed and he had no clue I existed? I was given up for adoption in 1974 without my birth fathers consent as if he didn’t exist- bullshit! And it’s still happening today in 2017!  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve struggled with this and struggled a lot. As if anyone in the adoption “triad” doesn’t ever think of these things? Birth father’s have rights too! I would have known about my brother much sooner if it wasn’t for the secrets & lies in adoption!

ADOPTION IMPACTS ADOPTEES FOREVER!

IT NEVER GOES AWAY!

PLEASE BELIEVE IT!

Because we didn’t know about one another until 2011 I only got 6 amazing years with my brother. I’m crushed and most people that aren’t adopted simply don’t get all the dynamics of it all. Honestly, I’m thankful they don’t. Means they don’t know what this pain feels like. Please don’t mistake me sharing my feelings here as not being grateful for those 6 years! I’m extremely grateful!

May 24, 2017 I was given the gift of saying a final good-bye to my brother over the phone. He was in a coma,  and on life support. They had made the decision to remove his life support because of the brain damage he suffered.  Did he hear me? I will never know but they say that you should assume people hear you because a lot of the time they do.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. My brother I just found was the same brother I had to say a final good bye too? This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I sobbed and sobbed and said, “Greg, I just wanted to tell you I LOVE YOU! I’m so so very sorry you were in the accident and you are in this situation! But I want to tell you it’s okay to let go because I know this might be too much for you to hang on. Please believe we will all be okay but we sure are gonna miss you!!!! I’ve had some of the best memories of my LIFE with you and I could never thank you enough for loving me and accepting my children and I. They love you and will miss you and I want you to know you will be so missed but I will see you in heaven one day! I love you Greg”

I hung up the phone and continued to sob.

That was it.

Within a few short hours he was gone.

Not enough words to express the sadness and emotions I am feeling.

Bottom line is we all experience grief & loss in our lives. We handle it be best way we know how. All the way back to 5 years old and I found out I was adopted I have been grieving the unknown. My life has been a long road of grief between searching for my way back home, searching for my birth parents, and being rejected by them both I have experienced this grief & loss my entire life. This was the main reason alcohol was my escape. It did the trick, but now almost 5 years into living a sober lifestyle I am not running from the pain. I’m feeling it.

It hurts and hurts like hell.

Not long before the passing of my brother I have been writing about finding myself in nature, outside the 4 walls of the church. I have finally found my happy place and I know in my heart of hearts my brother would want me to continue to explore the world and go hiking and watch the sunrises and sunsets. He loved all these things as well! He would want me to continue to try to find happiness in the world we live in. I’m going to do that but I will never forget the brother that came into my life for 6 short years who was my treasure in my adoption journey.

47 years lost

6 years found

I will always hate adoption because of so much it’s taken from me and other adoptees. But I will always be grateful for the 6 years with my brother that some adoptees will never get. My heart breaks for them, like it breaks for the loss of my brother.

Today, I’m thankful for the 6 amazing years and I have 6 years of memories to hang onto. Non-adoptees don’t get it. For adoptees, memories are EVERYTHING because almost always we have none to hang onto, this is why many of us clench the pain so tight. There is nothing else to put in its place when you have no memories with your people! This is why there should be no secrecy and lies in adoption- EVER.

 At this place in my life the less attachments and less people I have in my life, the less chance there is to lose them. I’m just tired. Tired of losing people. Tired of being rejected. Tired of being abandoned. Tired of the grief process. It’s taken a toll on me as it does all adoptees.

At least I’m not drinking to cope.

I’m writing.

Today, I will continue to live life because my brother would want that. Last time we spoke I told Him about my bucket list of visiting all the waterfalls in Kentucky and falling in love with hiking. He was proud of me for finding something I have a passion for. Every hike I take I will take in memory of my brother. I know he’s always with me and I know he’s shining down on us all from Heaven.

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I will never get to hear his voice again, but I have 6 years of amazing memories to clench onto. Thank God for those memories. There isn’t enough material items in this entire world that is worth those memories that no one can take from me. Praise God.

Thanks for reading. If you receive anything from this post please never leave a chance to tell someone you love them empty! You never know when it will be your last time. If you’re in the adoption triad please let my post ring true to your ears and understand that adoptees experience grief, trauma, loss, sadness, pain our entire lives. It never goes away. It’s a lifelong battle. Please don’t deny us the right to grieve our losses. This is why I’ve been grieving on my own my entire life, there was no place for it when I was growing up. I could go on forever, but I will stop here.

Thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother…

That word.

M. O. T. H. E. R.

Appears everywhere all the time.

MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER

I’m so sick of that word.

I HATE THAT WORD!

How does an adoptee feel on that day?

Mother’s Day?

Well, I certainly can’t speak for all adoptees but I can speak for myself.

Mother’s Day & the days leading up to it,  is a time of mourning for me.

How do you mourn what never was?

It’s simple.

Just like mourning what was, I mourn what never was. But usually what was has some memories for someone to hang on to.

Mourning what never was is a much deeper grief & loss…

For me anyway…

I’m writing about it!

Remember I’m only speaking for myself.

To celebrate Mother’s Day is a difficult task not only for me but for many people on earth. Many people didn’t get the mother’s they deserved or maybe they did and their mother’s have passed away and left them feeling hallow and empty with a loss they might never recover from.  We are each able to process our pain as we see fit.

Today I’m not drinking!

I’m WRITING!

It’s a mixed bag for me. I’ve tried to celebrate the fact that I’m a mother and I hope and pray I have been a better mother to my kids than what I was given in that area. For many reasons I don’t feel like I have given my kids what they have deserved because how can I give them something I don’t have? Something that was never given to me?

I try.

Everyday, I try.

But parts of me are hollow inside.

MOTHER LESS

I’m just floating through life doing the best I can with what I have.

I think most of us do that don’t we?

We make lemons out of lemonade and do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.

Deep down “Mother’s Day” is the 2nd most painful holiday aside from my “Birth Day”. From an adoptee perspective who was dealt a crap shot not only once in the mother area but twice I have nothing to celebrate on that day. If I’m completely honest I wish it never existed.

I hate it.

Oh I already said that didn’t I?

MOTHER- MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER!!

I just want it to be over!

“ACCEPT IT!”

Oh I have but because of Mother’s Day it never goes away!

MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER!

It’s like digging up the dead!

I don’t have a happy picture to put on my Facebook profile of my “Mother” and I. I don’t have a happy story to tell. I am sharing my story here, and then I will be moving on with my life.

One day at a time.

One foot ahead of the other.

I will always have that aching piece inside of me yearning for MY MOTHER.

But she’s not coming back.

She’s never coming back.

“Why are you so negative?”

I’m just keeping it real!

This is my reality!

Inside my head every single day!

**Smile for the camera!**

**Smile for the world**

Everyday I cry inside wishing I had my mother.

Maybe I will write her a letter and let her know how her leaving has hurt me so.

“Look on the bright side”- The World Says So!

Oh, of course.

THE BRIGHT SIDE.

I am a mother to 3 amazing children.

They are my life.

THEY ARE THE REASON I’M ALIVE!

What an honor it is to be a mother to them!

Do you not understand how hard it is to be a mother when you never had a mother?

Does anyone ever think of that?

I hope I’m half the mother they deserve.

I will let them celebrate “ME” because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

 I have some women in my life who are mother figures to me. I adore them to heaven and back again.

Deanie. Patsy. Jan.

They know who they are.

I thank God for them everyday.

But on the other hand.

MOTHER

MOTHER

MOTHER

MOTHER

I hate that word

but…

it feels so good to be h e a r d.

P. Karanova

Healing Through Writing

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Adoptees On Podcast-Pamela Karanova

Yesterday was an awesome day for me!

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I was interviewed for Adoptees On Podcast by friend, fellow adoptee AND Sister in Christ Haley Radke. I was honored and humbled to be able to share my story with the world.

You might ask my reasoning?

Well…

God gives us ALL a testimony, a story. It’s up to US to share it with those around us. I took this opportunity for many reasons, but the main reason was to share with my fellow adoptees and the WORLD what GOD has done in my life. How he’s transformed me and healed my broken heart. I was so stuck and in such a deep dark hole and I know many of my fellow adoptees are still stuck! I was stuck for 41 years!

God has literally saved me from myself.

I wanted to share this message of HOPE! 

Recovery is a huge part of my adoptee journey. I know there are tons of hurting adoptees who are either in recovery, or in addiction as a result of abandonment and rejection from their adoption experience. Grief, Loss & Trauma go along with this.

THERE ARE SO MANY HURTING ADOPTEES OUT THERE!

(i love you and you are NOT alone!)

God has given me a message of HOPE for them and this is why I decided to do the podcast. Less than 24 hours after the podcast aired I’ve received tons of positive feedback from many who were impacted by this. Many tears have been shared and I know crying is healing. I’m so glad those listening are healing by crying! That’s a good thing! 🙂

Thank you all for the love, support, prayers and encouragement!

I hope and pray anyone listening is inspired in some way.

Please let me know your thoughts?

Blessings and LOVE.

Pamela Karanova

adopteeson

Here is the link.

Adoptees On Season 1 Episode 11- Pamela Karanova

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National Adoption Awareness Month- Adoptee Stories

National Adoption Awareness Month is in November. As a way to participate I’m encouraging adoptees from all over the world to share their stories on our How Does it Feel to be Adopted? website.

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I remember being turned away from telling my adoptee story and during that time I felt rejection and it wasn’t a fun experience. This pushed me to start a space for ALL adoptees to share their stories in hopes that they are able to feel validated, heard and healing can happen. No adoptee will be turned away. No story rejected. No censoring.

I asked a question on my Facebook the other day similar to this, “For my fellow adoptees, how important has it been for you to find someone that finally understands and get’s it? How important has it been that you have connected with your fellow adoptees?” You wouldn’t believe over 50 responses right away with ALL of them sharing how important it’s been to connect, share stories and experiences with one another and validate one another’s experiences and feelings. We also agree that if you aren’t adopted it’s impossible to understand our journey fully. This is where our stories come into play. Not only for us to share them but for the world to try to understand how we feel. It’s so they can read our stories and experience our journey, just for a moment. It’s for those who are not adopted who care enough to have the willingness to WANT to learn how it feels to be adopted. I’ve been in contact with MANY of you who have that willingness! Kudos to you!

I’m totally looking forward to sharing as many adoptee stories as possible and we already have over 45 commitments. We are not stopping in November. We are rolling on into December and forward. WHY? I never want any adoptee to be turned away and our stories deserve to be heart far beyond November. We will use NAAM as a kick off point but we are sharing some of our previous adoptee stories until then.

ARE YOU ADOPTED?

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SHARING YOUR STORY?

WE WANT TO HEAR!

IT’S EASY! CLICK THIS LINK FOR DETAILS.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted- Submission Details NAAM

SHARE THIS BLOG POST.

I look forward to hearing from you and remember no adoptee is turned away!

You matter and your story matters!

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When a “Birth” Mother Lies & Keeps Secrets…

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After 41.5 years I am still trying to fix the mistakes of my birth mother.

In her eyes “It was the best choice”.

In my eyes it’s been the biggest nightmare and loss of my life.

41 years ago I was a secret to everyone around. Her shame was too big. Her guilt probably enormous. I have tried to put myself in her shoes back in 1974. She made probably one of the hardest decisions of her life. I have accepted her decision. She did what the industry told her would be THE BEST FOR ME…

Hand me over to strangers.

But what they failed to tell her was the lifelong grief, loss, abandonment, rejection & trauma I would experience because of HER CHOICE.

I HAVE HOPE IN HEALING BECAUSE GOD IS MY HEALER!

Her choice was to keep who my biological father was hidden. Not just from me, but from HIM. She CHOSE FOR ME AND FOR HIM that we could never lay eyes on one another, never celebrate a Father’s Day or Holiday together. She CHOSE for us both that we would never have a relationship.

SHE DID THAT.

Because of her SECRET he knew nothing about me.

Naturally I want to know Him! I want to find him!

Because He knew nothing about me when I showed up at his door,

HE HAS DENIED I’M HIS DAUGHTER FOR THE 16 YEARS HE’S KNOWN ABOUT ME. 

WHY?

BECAUSE MY BIRTH MOTHER KEPT THE PREGNANCY A SECRET. I WAS GIVEN UP FOR ADOPTION WITHOUT HIS CONSENT.

“FATHER UNKNOWN”

WAS A LIE!

How do we teach our kids not to lie but adoption is filled with lies and deception?

Explain that to me?

I wonder how many women FALSELY put “FATHER UNKNOWN” on their child’s birth certificate knowing they were lying, being deceptive, keeping life changing information hidden for years to come?

My birth father has known about me since 1999. He’s had 16 years to get to the bottom of the truth. But because of MY BIRTH MOTHERS DECISION he is skeptical I show up on his door step and tell him I’m his daughter! Do you blame him? I don’t?

He has said over and over “what are we gonna do get a blood test 30-40 years later?!”

Actually DNA is so much more advanced now, I was able to get a DNA test without his DNA which linked me 2x to his family tree by his family surname.

BIRTH MOTHERS CAN LIE AND KEEP SECRETS ALL THEY WANT BUT DNA DOESN’T LIE!

THE TRUTH ALWAYS COMES TO LIGHT!

ALWAYS!

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.”- Luke 8:17

You can read my last attempt to deliver him the DNA confirmation here.

A follow up to that post is basically Father Felix stopped communication with me. 100% cold turkey.

Heartbroken All Over Again.

Regardless I never knew if he delivered the DNA Results. So I decided in one last attempts to FIX WHAT MY BIRTH MOTHER LIED ABOUT I needed to make sure my birth father knew the TRUTH that I am his daughter. I have decided to mail the DNA results on my own along with a letter and a photo.

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WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOOSE?

Absolutely NOTHING!

I went through a phase where I had given up. I lost all hope. I just couldn’t deal with any more rejection from my biological family but I prayed about it and something happened.

God gave me a fresh new wind to give it one last shot.

What am I expecting?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

But this is something I need to do for myself. There has always been that uncertainty as far as my birth father is concerned. He didn’t know if I was REALLY his or not! Think about it, he would have to face the past and take accountability for his actions. He fathered a child out of wedlock, in the 70’s. He might feel shame or remorse, he might not care at all! Either way I am not mad at him, but I can’t imagine not wanting to get right with my only daughter before I die! He’s 77 for God’s sake.

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Do we look alike?

Regardless of what he does or doesn’t do after he receives the TRUTH I have done my part. I have spent 41 years in agony and those days are over for me. If he knows I’m his only biological daughter and HE STILL DENIES ME

I AM FINISHED!

I will leave the door open, but I am walking away.

So what happens when a birth mother lies and keeps secrets?

IT ONLY HURTS THE ADOPTEE AND IT HURTS US GREATLY! IT DOESN’T JUST GO AWAY. IT’S A LIFE LONG STRUGGLE. IF THE ADOPTION AGENCIES AND ADOPTION COUNSELORS ARE TELLING YOU OTHERWISE THEY ARE LYING TO YOU. I AM ADOPTED AND I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE. I WOULDN’T WISH IT ON MY WORST ENEMY!

I MAILED THIS PACKET TO MY BIRTH FATHER TODAY. AFTER 42 YEARS IF HE STILL DENIES ME IT’S HIS LOSS. BUT PLEASE SAY A PRAYER FOR ME AND A PRAYER FOR HIM.

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE HAVING A FATHER OUT THERE THAT IS ALIVE BUT I CAN’T HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM BECAUSE ADOPTION STOLE HIS RIGHTS AND STOLE A CHANCE AT US GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER? LIKE GRIEVING THE LOSS OF SOMEONE WHO IS ALIVE. HAVE YOU EVER DONE IT? ADOPTEES HAVE TO LIVE WITH THIS DAILY AND THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS CAN PRETEND ITS NOT THERE BECAUSE WE DON’T TALK ABOUT IT…

LET ME SHARE YOU ALL ARE THE LAST PEOPLE I WOULD SHARE THESE FEELINGS WITH. THAT WOULD BE A TOTALLY DIFFERENT BLOG POST.

FOR ALL THE BIRTH MOTHERS/FIRST MOTHERS OUT THERE WHO MIGHT BE READING- IF YOU ARE KEEPING ANY SECRETS OR LYING PLEASE RECONSIDER.

EVERYONE DESERVES THE TRUTH NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS.

EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW WHERE THEY COME FROM.

WE CAN’T HEAL UNLESS WE HAVE OUR TRUTH!

ALL OF IT!

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