Beauty from Ashes

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The scripture says, “God will give you beauty for ashes.” Ashes represent our broken dreams, our failures, our disappointments and our hurts. Here’s the key: you have to let go of the ashes before you can receive the beauty. If you won’t let go of the old, you can’t receive the new.

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It was 5 years ago today I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My adoptee issues were hitting me left and right and for 26 years alcohol numbed my pain. I ran from the painful reality of my beginnings and the trauma inflicted on me which I had no choice over.

I was an innocent baby torn from my mother.

ALL ADOPTIONS BEGIN WITH TRAUMA

I’ve lived a hard life.

Who’s hasn’t, right?

My adoptive parents divorced when I was a year old, my adoptive dad moved far away to raise his new family. I was left with my adoptive mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive. She tied us to chairs with dish towels, tried to commit suicide in front of us, and suffered from severe manic-depressive episodes. She was also addicted to prescription pain pills. You could say my upbringing was everything but “Normal”.

I grew up angry and started to act out as a teenager. I wasn’t the “Good Adoptee” that they had bargained for. I was the “BAD ADOPTEE”. I wished I was sent back home to my real family. I wanted to be anywhere than where I was. I dropped out of high school, got in fights A LOT. I ran away and was in the streets. I experienced more in the first 15 years of my life than most people do in their entire life on earth. I was in juvenile jail, detention, group homes and in therapy most of my childhood. I was sexually abused in my adoptive father’s home by an older step brother. I experienced a lot of traumatic situations out in the streets, rape, violence, breaking the law, etc.  At 12 years old running the streets was the beginning of my journey to find my way back home. I had no clue it would take me 26 years of searching, depending on alcohol to take the pain away, multiple abusive relationships to finally reach my destination. A lifetime of trauma, grief, pain and loss followed me everywhere I went. I never fit in anywhere and I was searching for my tribe, my people, my family.

I never stopped and it never left my mind.

I was broken & hurting.

Adoption was never talked about growing up but as a 43-year-old adoptee in recovery I am here to tell you ADOPTION IS THE ROOT of my issues and it always has been.

The pain of abandonment and rejection was impossible for me to tap into at an early age but as I grew up reality began to set in, and the fog began to lift. No one asked how it felt to be adopted.  I learned my greatest hurt in life, losing both of my birth mother and birth father and their families, and so much more was my adoptive families greatest gift. My greatest hurt was celebrated by society because adoption is such a beautiful thing, right?

How could I let anyone know I was brokenhearted inside and disappoint them?

My feelings didn’t matter.

I didn’t matter.

Anger and rage was simmering at the roots of my being. I began to hate who I was and looking in the mirror I hated what I saw. I was an ugly girl that nobody wanted. Every time I looked in the mirror I hated what was looking back. Year after year passed, and my hate for myself grew stronger and stronger. MY FACE WAS UGLY! The abusive relationships in my life just beat me down more and more.

WHO AM I?

WHERE THE HELL DID I COME FROM?

Was I even born or did I drop out of the sky like an alien?

Did I have a beginning?

WHO WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHERE WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHO ARE MY SIBLINGS?

WERE THEY LOOKING FOR ME?

WHO DO I LOOK LIKE?

 

My entire life, I wanted and NEEDED to know the TRUTH about these simple questions so many adoptees have that most of the world takes for granted. My mind was tortured every single day, wondering, fantasizing, dreaming, wishing, sad, hurt, angry, depressed, alone, isolated.  It’s impossible to know where we’re headed if we don’t know where we come from. The aching pain of the “UNKNOWN” plagued my life. It was all I could feel and all I wanted to know.

I never had any peace in my heart, because I was too busy searching for clues and information. I must have dug in my adoptive mother’s filing cabinet 100,000x searching for a clue growing up! Over and over, I searched through her papers as far back as I could remember.  If only I could find a clue, maybe I could find my birth mother and see this was all a big mistake and go back HOME.

I mean who gives their baby away and really means it?

ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE LOVES ME “SO MUCH?”

This must be some big mistake, right?

Fast forward to my adoptive mother coming “Clean” when I was 21 years old. She had the information I needed and wanted my entire life, she lied to me saying she didn’t know ANYTHING! Another devastating blow that the person I should trust the most. SHE LIED TO ME MY ENTIRE LIFE for her own personal gain. We’re raised to tell the truth, but somehow the truth is rarely brought to light regarding adoption.

Can someone explain that to me?

Am I nothing more than a piece of property?

Do my feelings not matter at all?

Over the next 16 years I meet both my birth parents. My high hopes in happy reunions turned into double rejection from both.

I waited my entire life for this?

I was crushed.

The aftermath was devastating.

It took me years to come to a place of acceptance of what was really happening. The pain was so great, I was running from the realities that the two people that created me and who I shared the same DNA with wanted nothing to do with me. This was and has been the biggest loss & heartache of my life.

Alcohol eased the pain.

If I take the original trauma or abandonment and add it to the trauma I experienced in my adoptive home and in the streets, with double rejection from my birth parents and failed reunions it equals a mixed bag of  ____________!!  < Fill in the blank.

My boxed wine was my best friend for 26 years but it was also standing in the way of me being who God created me to be…

ADOPTEE IN RECOVERY

But here we are August 13, 2017

It’s my “BIRTH”-DAY

I’m alive.

I’m physically well.

I have 3 amazing kids.

I have a wonderful career I love.

I have a place to live & a car to drive.

I’m generally extremely happy!

After finding both birth parents, I learned they were both alcoholics and it rocked me to my core.

HOW COULD I BE LIKE THEM BUT THEY DIDN’T EVEN RAISE ME?

WHAT IF I NEVER FOUND MY TRUTH, WOULD I STILL BE DRINKING?

Alcohol only made my problems worse. 5 years ago, today I had enough of myself and the way my life was going and I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking habit but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

My kids were my #1 motivation. They deserved a happy healthy mom, even if I didn’t feel I deserved to be happy and healthy myself.

I no longer wanted to run from the pain of my past abandonment, or the realities of rejection from my birth parents. I wanted to learn to process my pain in healthy ways.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD THIS WAS GOING TO BE!

No longer drinking was the easy part, it was processing the adoptee pain I carried my entire life that was the hardest part. Feelings I had run from for an entire lifetime came flooding in and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Where was the manual on how to process this pain?

The FOG began to lift.

FEELINGS BECAME REAL

I started to view things in life from a distinct perspective. I cried a lot, I felt feelings like I had never felt them before, I isolated myself in many aspects because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my sadness. That’s been a huge struggle for me, GUILT for feeling the way I do so I do my best to hide it from the world and do a pretty good job most days.

Adoptees, we’re good at hiding our pain because we are expected to be thankful and if we’re not thankful we’re labeled ungrateful.

I realized that my running from processing my adoptee pain, drinking alcohol to cope not only hurt me, but it impacted my kids in many ways as well. If anything, I knew at that moment I not only needed recovery for myself, but for my kids. They deserved a happy healthy mom so I set out on a long journey of recovery to become happier, mind, body & spirit. I wanted to make amends with anyone I had hurt and those who hurt me.

This was not easy.

I put my faith in God, and God alone.

I knew he had been with me the entire way on my journey. People, not so much. Being an adoptee, disappointments come and many of us seem to be hypervidilant when they do. I don’t handle disappointments well, so at all costs I try to avoid being set up to get disappointed. I built a wall higher than the one that was already built. I became extremely selective as to who I let in, and I also let go of most of my old relationships and friendships.

Over the last 5 years I’ve set out on a pursuit to find myself.

You have heard the saying; “You have to change your playground & your playmates”. There were many people, places & things I let go of and I gave no explanations as to why I walked away in many cases. I don’t have to explain myself. That’s the thing I’ve learned is I am taking full responsibility as to who I allow in my life, and so much was always controlled for me regarding my adoption journey, it’s now time I take some of the control back.

I’m in charge.

I make the choices regarding my life.

I walk away from people, places & things that don’t serve a purpose.

I walked away from my church that was extremly controlling.

This control I have gained is healthy in my eyes.

FREE AT LAST!

So many aspects of being an adoptee between the C-PTSD, trauma, complicated grief & loss, abandonment, rejection and a lost sense of self. I could go on all day about the issues I have because of adoption, but the ones that impact me the most today seem to be that everyone is going to leave, so DON’T let them get too close! Always in my mind I’m waiting on the shoe to drop, and when people want to get too close to me I panic, and have anxiety. All of this is rooted and grounded in abandonment and fear. This is one example of many issues I’m working on but during my recovery I’ve could identify the triggers, such as ALL HOLIDAYS, the word “MOTHER” and seeing other people with their mother’s, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, I can acknowledge my pain, share it in my blog and use different techniques to make it through the episode. EMDR has been a good help. If you only knew how I process things and the triggers I experience every single day you would be in awe. They never end, but the sooner I accepted they were here to stay the sooner I started working on my responses to the triggers and how to process them. Connecting with my fellow adoptees has been my saving grace so many times! I love you all and wouldn’t be here where I am without you!

You know who you are!

 On a side note, for the life of me I can’t figure out how I can spend a lifetime in and out of therapy and not one therapist acknowledge ADOPTION as being a root issue, a trauma, and a huge part of my pain. This is one of the many reasons I keep sharing my journey because I know for certain adoptees all over this world are being let down, and no one truly seems to get the pain we carry unless it’s a fellow adoptee.

For anyone that is not an adoptee who might be reading, I would like to ask you to open your heart to the fact that not all adoptees are happy with being adopted, and to consider how you might feel if you were to lose 2 entire families, your ancestry, medical history, relationships with your siblings, the roots to WHO YOU ARE. It’s time people wake up and step out of denial about the damage adoption inflicts on adoptees, and address the very real trauma of the primal wound. With the adoptee attempted suicide rate 4x more likely than non-adoptees, we can’t afford to keep quiet.

TODAY I LIVE

After searching for an entire lifetime I’m still learning who I am. I know I operate best independently because I have control issues regarding my life because others controlled so much of it. I’m working on allowing others in, even if it’s just a little bit so I can attempt to have meaningful close relationships with a few people but I won’t lie, it’s a daily struggle for me. I run from needy & clingy people. I think growing up processing LIFE & ADOPTION all alone, I got used to it. No one was there for me, so I’ve learned how to adapt to being alone and I receive great solitude from it. Whatever I’m doing in life, I will always need my alone time.

FREEDOM

I’ve learned that I’m the happiest when I’m out in the woods, in nature. This is the closest thing I’ve found that feels like HOME. I remember being at my adoptive dads growing up and the woods being a safe place for me. I would run wild and free, pretend and fantasize I was a super hero and dream about my birth mother. I climbed trees, built forts, played in creeks, played hide and seek in the corn fields of Iowa and it was safe. Safer than any of the homes I grew up in. And a lot of the time I was alone. I love being alone.

BUCKET LIST

Naturally when I created my bucket list the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to visit all the waterfalls in Kentucky. I must admit, the last 6 months of my life have been the best and happiest 6 months of my life. My mind is moving forward ready to explore NEW THINGS. My adoptee journey has played itself out and although so much of it has been extremely painful I would not change knowing my truth for the world. Knowing my truth has allowed me to accept it, and be able to move forward towards healing. Therefore, all adoptees need our TRUTH so we can heal. 43 years of carrying that pain and being weighed down with alcohol dependency has been nothing short of a bad dream in many aspects. Many days I feel guilty for feeling defective with attachments and feeling like people care about me or love me. I feel like I’m alone on an island most of the time, and I know people say they love me but I never feel it. I think this has to do with the primal wound and the bond with my birth mother being broken. It saddens me, but at my age I have come to terms with the fact that it’s just how I am hardwired and I’ve learned to adapt to this part of me. I had someone tell me once, “Well I think that makes you more genuine of a person because you aren’t doing things for love, you’re doing them out of the goodness of your own heart”. This might be a gift in many ways but the cost to have it is a high price to pay.

I feel something is still missing and the adoption trauma will always impact me in this way. I feel like I have a hole in my heart, and the sooner I came to a place of acceptance that IT JUST IS, the sooner I could move forward with healing. Not accepting this only stalled my healing.

I’VE LEARNED A LOT

Adoptees are some of the strongest people I know. To experience what we have and to be silenced by the world regarding our trauma- WE ARE SURVIVORS!

Every single one of us!

I believe I’m someone who will always hold a unique value of time and memories because so much was lost in adoption I’m able to cling tight to time and memories with those I’m close too. Objects of material gain mean nothing to me unless they have some symbolic aspect to them, and being adoptees usually we’re left out of receiving anything of meaning from our birth families, at least I have been anyway. I’ve learned to love people in a way that they hopefully always remember the person I was and how I treated them. I’ve always tried to treat people with the love and acceptance I always wished I received.

SOBRIETY & RECOVERY

I will always be in recovery because the moment I’m not I could very easily slip back into old patterns that I have broken free from and that won’t be good. My kids have been my number one fans on my journey and my biggest motivation. They inspire me to be better, to love others more, and to think outside the box. They keep me young and they are, and always will be the biggest joys of my life. They are the reason I’m still alive today and I’m certain if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be here. Recovery isn’t easy at all, but it’s so worth it.

I don’t have a desire to drink anymore and don’t even think about it. It’s no longer a part of my life. Today is 5 years since I’ve drank my last drink of alcohol and that’s something to be proud of. While my “BIRTH” day brings pain, I am working on celebrating my life from a new perspective. Regardless of the trauma that happened the day I came into the world, I’m something to celebrate. It’s taken me 43 years to get to a place where I’m thankful for being alive but healing from knowing my TRUTH is the only thing that has gotten me this far.

I pray for the same truth and healing to be revealed to all my fellow adoptees. We all deserve to be able to heal from whatever we find, and we all deserve our truth.

Today I have a zest for life, I have someone special in my life who I have a lot in common with. We are enjoying getting to know one another and you never know what God has in store. My mind is crystal clear and I’m freed by the truth.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.

Today I celebrate 43 years ALIVE on this planet, I celebrate 5 years sobriety, I celebrate being a MOM to 3 amazing kids, I celebrate my TRUTH no matter how painful it has been.  I celebrate all those who have supported me near and far. I celebrate all my fellow adoptees who I have built relationships with that I love very much! I celebrate the future. I celebrate having my voice among the adoptee community and the GRACE God has given me to share the TRUTH on how it feels to be adopted. I celebrate nature and all the healing it has brought my way. I celebrate all the waterfalls I’m going to see and all the ones I’ve already seen. I celebrate the future hikes and working out at the gym. I celebrate once being an angry, bitter, rage filled person to someone with compassion, love, understanding and forgiveness.

So today and the days to come I’m working on making new memories, with new & old friends, moving forward and resting in the fact that I’ve made it.

I’m alive.

I survived.

The beginning of MY STORY isn’t a happy one, but that doesn’t mean the rest of my days can’t be the best of my days.

To God be the GLORY.

Thanks for reading my adoptee in recovery story.

“If it wasn’t for the struggle than I wouldn’t be me” – 2 chainz

XOXO

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How Adoptees Feel About Birthday’s

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This blog post was inspired because I know first hand how hard birthday’s can be for adoptees. There is healing in sharing how we feel so I wanted to seek input from my fellow adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthdays.

I was blown away to see so many of us feel similar ways about this day and the days leading up to the “Birth” day. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well.

Some adoptees have no issues with this day.

No matter what experiences are shared here, I’m excited so share the feelings of so many of my fellow adoptees no matter how they feel. Each and every one of you matters, your story matters and your voice matters.

If you would like to add how you feel about your birthday please reply to this thread and I’ll add it to this blog post. Feel free to share with your online communities to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

Adoptee Voice #1.

  • My birthday month is August. I wish the month could go away. My birthday is the 10th. I don’t ever recall looking forward to my birthday. It feels weird when people wish me happy birthday. I don’t even know what the normal feeling is supposed to be.

Adoptee Voice #2.

  • It’s not your birthday. It’s your cake day., eat cake.

Adoptee Voice #3.

  • August 21st is my birthday so in the back of my mind counting down to the day. Not sure what plans are. I usually try stay positive but by evening the mind tends to take over a bit. I used to think it was the one day she would be thinking of me but found out she never remembered my birth date.

Adoptee Voice #4.

  • My birthday is December 21. So I get the holiday blues wIthiBONUS birthday blues. My mom passed just over a year ago, my dad has had a super rough time (wrecked the tractor last fall, other medical problems, depression) and I’m already dreading this holiday season.

    I’m actually thinking about taking a road trip. I could use the solitude and the break and it just might be the perfect time and place for the crying jag I never seem to let myself have.

    Last year I turned 50 and my aunt (my mom’s only sibling) surprised me at work with a big cake. It was nice of her, but it was also sort of surreal.

Adoptee Voice #5

  • It’s the time of the year I can’t “not think” of my birth parents. (BF is deceased) My birth mother lives less than 15 miles from me and a mile away from where I was raised. She pretends I don’t exist. If there is one day a year she thinks about me, that should be it, right? I do write her letters and send them, even though I never get anything back.

Adoptee Voice #6

  • I have an August birthday (the 28th). I HATE my birthday… As a child, it was never a happy occasion. Adoptive father was a violent drunk, and his drinking never took a vacation, no matter the day.. holidays, birthdays, weddings…. Adoptive monster was an enabler, and fed into his violence and never protect myself or adoptive brother. Birthdays were “family” parties until I was 10. Every year less and less people came, and I finally realized it was due to him. I always wondered what I did wrong.. But why in the world would you subject yourself to that disaster if you didn’t have to? And since I wasn’t blood to them, they just stopped coming. The final straw was at 16. Adoptive monster talked up a Sweet 16 party for years. Told me we would rent a hall, get a DJ, I could invite anyone I wanted… When it came down to it, it didn’t happen. It was downgraded to a house party in my garage. The day of ,I spent HOURS getting ready. Sat outside waiting and waiting. Hours after start time, I heard the adoptive monsters arguing. Adoptive father admitted the night before he called the entire guest list and told them it was cancelled…. NO JOKE. This is the deranged behavior I lived with my entire childhood. That was the last birthday I spent with them. Shortly after this, I fled in the middle of the night and was emancipated.

Adoptee Voice #7

  • My birthday is Nov 1 and I always got depressed and angry as it got closer. I’m 53. A few years ago I decided to start making it about others. I’d invite a couple of good friends to go out to a really nice dinner just to celebrate the friendships I have.
    I have a loving husband and family who wanted to bless me so I quit being a stick in the mud & let them and chose to enjoy what I have now instead of what I don’t have. Gratitude and choosing to bless others changed how I anticipate my birthday now.

    This was before I met my sister this past spring, and learned a lot about my birth parents who have passed. I am now looking forward to this year’s birthday.
    It’s all in perspective – I am here, alive, and have many things to be thankful about.

Adoptee Voice #8

  • Birthdays are hard for me. I have spent more than one birthday listening to John Lennon’s song “Mother” on repeat…

Adoptee Voice #9

  • I know some adoptees hated this, but I loved it. It made me feel special. My Adoptive Mom celebrated my adoption Birthday by taking me out and often giving me a special gift.

Adoptee Voice #10

  • The older I got the more I dreaded it. I only want to hear it from my son who I know loves me. And my boyfriend who I know loves me also. Everyone else I still wonder what they really think of me. No matter their loyalty or not….I still question it. It took me awhile to believe my boyfriend really loved me.

Adoptee Voice #11

  • Birthday, the day of happiness from all… Ugh it’s just a dreaded day of wanting to be alone.

Adoptee Voice #12

  • My birthday is in May and I just think of it as the day I was given to the universe rather than the day I lost my whole family.

Adoptee Voice #13

  • I have hated every single birthday I can remember. Everyone always thought I should love them and celebrate them! It never felt like my day or my birthday. Long story short at the age of 38 I found my birth mother 1 week ago. The day I had always celebrated my birthday was not the day I was born! I have no idea how I will feel for the next one….Feb always thought, March actual!
    Life literally changed overnight and upside down. I thought being adopted was hard, at this stage being reunited is even harder. My birth mother seems lovely and kinda “gets me” more than my adoptive mother. Huge journey/roller coaster ride about to begin.

Adoptee Voice #14

  • Growing up my birthdays were a mixed deal. The birthday party or events my parents had lined up were always fun things I really liked. But there is just something about the day I was born and always feeling like my biological mom did not even love me enough to keep me. Once I got into what my parents had planed it was always a fun day. But the lead up was bad for years. After I became an late teen and adult the day got worse. For years I would just ignore it, spending the whole day doing yard work, even mowing a relatives or a neighbors yard just things to keep my super busy and my mind off my birthday. The last few years have been better. I have dealt with my life much more working through it instead of burying it. I am beginning to feel I deserve to be happy or at least not sad on my day. Like others have sad feelings I have put in the work to earn my day. Wanting to show my biological mom this stubborn, loud, fussy baby turned out just fine!!!!

Adoptee Voice #15

  • It didn’t really seem much different than any other non-adoptees birthday, until I found out last year that by birth mother and I share the same birthday. I must have been the worst birthday present ever.

Adoptee Voice #16

  • For me I used substances for 26 years, so I didn’t have to process the pain of the realities of adoption. Birthdays were always a dreaded day filled with pain, loss, unconscionable grief and having to celebrate it was possible but only with alcohol in my life. 8/13/12 I decided I wanted to live a sober lifestyle and all the REALITIES of adoption came flooded in. I truly wasn’t prepared for it all. When you run for so many years how can you prepare. In the last 5 years I’ve worked towards handling these emotions in a healthy way. I am not gonna lie, there were birthdays I just couldn’t even get out of bed and it goes the same for the weeks leading up to that day. It was a dreaded day for many years, but recently I’ve given myself permission (because no one else in the world has) to be sad on that day, cry and share my feelings in my blog. I’ve learned it’s perfectly normal to be sad on the day I was separated from my birth mother. I wanted to erase the entire day and erase myself in the process! Thank God it wasn’t possible but I would have done it 100x over if it was. Today after almost 5 years of recovery and sobriety, my sessions of the pain of my birthday is still there, but each year I process and share my feelings and others validate them (THIS IS CRITICAL FOR US!) things get easier. This year, I will wake up on my birthday (Aug 13) and prob play a song that reminds me of my birth mother (My Way- By Frank Sinatra) and cry awhile. Why? Because it’s okay to cry awhile. Once I get that out of the way I might write about what I’m feeling and share it with those who understand, and get on with the day. I plan to go hiking with my kids and go see a waterfall and enjoy the rest of the day. You see, it’s critical we are able to process the pain because leaving it inside only KILLS us inside! Adoptees grow up, and they don’t stay babies forever. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to be sad on this day. If you are an adoptee who struggles with your birthday please know you aren’t alone!

Adoptee Voice #17

  • Birthdays for me, are somewhat hollow. There is an entire person who has never been acknowledged, celebrating his birthday, but as a different person. There is sadness and pain in any holiday for me. I still enjoy it. Just is different for me.

Adoptee Voice #18

  • We didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or holidays while growing up. So, it’s still just that…not a big deal. A few people wish me happy birthday, but other than that it’s just another day.

Adoptee Voice #19

  • I always thought that the day I was born was the ultimate irony. I came into this world on Mother’s Day. I could never wrap my head around how that must have felt for my birth mother. My feelings towards my birthday fluctuate with the feelings I have for my biological parents. When I was younger, I had deep anger & spent my birthday wondering if they were thinking of me, hoping they were & hoping that it hurt like hell. My anger morphed into depression and my birthday has since caused me a deep sense of sadness & it is the time when I feel the greatest sense of abandonment.

Adoptee Voice #20

  • As a kid, I never thought twice about it. In the last 20 years it weighs on me, heavily. I’m now 42. My adopted father left as soon as the adoption was finalized leaving my mom and I. She passed away 4 years ago and I always think she loved me when no one else did. The date before the actual birthday is the toughest. Now that I have my own family I can remember every nuance of that day leading to their birth. Every year seems to be harder than the previous.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • I would never think twice about my birthday until I turned 16. I don’t know whether It’s because it’s an important milestone in our culture, or whether it’s because I was finally mature enough to understand the implications of adoption. From then on, a pattern began to develop. Each birthday would start off happy..until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing but out of nowhere I suddenly become overwhelmed with thoughts of my birth mother. Is she thinking about me? Does she get as sad as I do on this day? Has she been longing for me as much as I have been? Etc. Unfortunately, this feeling of loss has only continued to grow with each birthday.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • It’s my birthday, that’s all there is to it. I don’t have huge blowout gatherings or what have you, but I’ll do something to enjoy it. I feel blessed that people contact me in whatever manner they do to wish me well on that day!

Adoptee Voice #22

  • I remind people who love me it is an anniversary loss day, my body is grieving. I noticed a pattern likely in my childhood, usually crying on my birthday at the end of the day and not knowing why, had a full panic attach at age 19, and generally feeling sad for about 4-6 weeks around my birthday despite the happy celebrations. I love getting older but the loss does not seem to lessen with time, now almost 50, even after a happy reunion.

Adoptee Voice #23

  • It’s supposed to be such a happy day and every one wants you to be happy. But for me there’s always been something, something that spoils it. Something underlying that prevented me. It was only when I grew old enough to relate that it was the day “she” gave me away and chose never to see me again. To severe that 9 month bond and drastically change the course of my life without my consent.

Adoptee Voice #24

  • Like always, going through the motions, pretending to be happy because that is what everyone expects. Now, I am older, I choose to spend it alone with as little fuss as possible. This was a hard lesson for my natural siblings to learn on my first birthday post-reunion, they staged a birthday bash which I did not attend. It was always a painful period leading up to the actual day but it feels worse now, post-reunion. I was 5 years too late to meet my Mother and now, it just feels like the anniversary of when I lost her.

Adoptee Voice #25

  • My birthday doesn’t really bother me. I get really irritable around it, but on the day it’s always the best day. I try to make that day as happy as I can.

Adoptee Voice #26

  • I wonder if my ” mother ” thinks about me on my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #27

  • I can go into a full blown PTSD episode just because it’s that anniversary.

Adoptee Voice #28

  • It is simply the worst day of the year. Nothing fits.

Adoptee Voice #29

  • A yearly reminder that I was brought into this world to be given away, nothing more.

Adoptee Voice #30

  • I hate my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #31

  • It’s the saddest day of the year for me.

 

As you can see many adoptees share similar feelings regarding our birthdays. If you are an adoptee reading, please know you aren’t alone.

You matter and your feelings matter.

To all the adoptees who were brave in sharing their voices, THANK YOU for helping the world understand how it feels to be adopted. Keep sharing, keep using your voice!

If you are a non-adoptee reading this, thank you for making it this far. Your courage in having the willingness to want to learn how we feel is amazing alone. Please share this post in our online communities to help us raise awareness of how it feels to be adopted.

If you are an adoptee and would like to add how you feel about your birthday, please reply to this post and I’ll add it for you.

Blessings to all & thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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August is here.. Now what?

The “birth” day month has arrived.

I want to make a video for you all regarding this time of the year and how it feels being an adoptee celebrating this day and how it feels when the month is here.

I’ll be sure to share it as soon as it’s ready.

I’m okay right now. But the word ” A U G U S T ” is a word I hate. Kind of like mother, but that’s a whole different blog post.  But I’m trying to embrace it. I’m working on it. It’s a constant thought that never leaves my mind.

I’m working on a new life, and discovering a new me. I want the rest of my days to be the best of my days, but somehow I have to process this pain attached to this month and this day. Writing is always a huge help and releasing my feelings to the world is the most validation I’ve received regarding my adoption experience.

It works for me.

For now, I’m already fighting off the dark cloud that’s trying to take over that follows me all the way up to that dreaded day- August 13th.  My plan is to write as much as possible, stay busy and try to process my pain in a healthy way. Sharing my feelings with those who get it. – My fellow adoptees. I do have some celebrating to do this year, and I want to share that as well!

I’ve decided to propose my fellow adoptees to share their experiences and feelings about how they feel about their birthdays and their birthday months. I will then compile a blog post about it and share it with the world. This way it’s not just me and my story, it’s OUR STORY about how our birthdays make us feel, how we survive them and what helps us get through them. This will be validating to us all and I can’t wait to complete this project.  Find the original question

If you are an adoptee and you would like to share how your birthday makes you feel please comment on this thread or feel free to email me at pamelakaranova@gmail.com

Many blessings from me to you! Remember, healing comes from sharing untold feelings to find someone you trust and SHARE YOUR FEELINGS! You matter and your feelings matter! ❤

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Adoptee in Recovery-Turning the Pages

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It’s hard to believe it has been 4 years since I’ve been on this recovery journey!

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?

It’s amazing when I think about where I was 4 years ago. I had found out a few years earlier that both my birth parents were alcoholics, and drinking alcohol was something I did for an entire lifetime. WHY?

Because the pain….

The pain of the realities of my adoption were just too great. I couldn’t handle them. I couldn’t process them. The pain from my childhood growing up and earlier years in life, were huge and alcohol seemed to be the only thing available to ease the heartache. Due to this lifestyle I attribute it to many other things that happened as a result of MY CHOICES! I could sit and play the blame game here, but I learned real quick in recovery I have to take responsibility for my actions, choices, etc. I have done that. I don’t blame anyone for my choices.

Back on Aug 13, 2013 it was not only my birthday but it was the day I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking habit. I was scared, all alone and pretty frightened on how I was going to do this. I was praying and God kept giving me the word “MULTIPLY MULTIPLY MULTIPLY“. What did this mean? He told me he was going to remove all the toxic people, relationships and things that weren’t his plan for my life, but if I just held onto HOPE- HIS HOPE he was going to multiply my life in every area possible. Friends, Finances, Spiritually, Emotionally, Etc.

It seemed I was about to transition from an OLD LIFE to a NEW LIFE. The NEW LIFE GOD had planned for me All along.

No one told me I was about to grieve the loss of the old life. I figured this out on my own. Old ways, old habits, old friends, and all the things that were familiar to me for the first 37 years of life! 

So here I go…. This process was frightening at first…

MULTIPLY! 

I continued to go to church and I started attending the most amazing ministry ever, Celebrate Recovery. This ministry is not for sissies! I always say adoptees aren’t sissies, we are some of the strongest people on the planet! We couldn’t handle this journey if we weren’t strong! ALL OF US, even if you don’t feel that way!

YOU ARE STRONG!

Over the last 4 years I have grieved my losses regarding my adoption experience. I have cried, I have been sad, I have been depressed, I have been heartbroken, I have been filled with hopelessness, fear and unbelief. I have gone through just about every emotion and feeling known to man regarding this journey, and my hopes in going THROUGH IT IS SO I WOULD HEAL IT! God knows my purpose in sharing my pain is to offer HOPE to someone else, another adoptee out there who might be feeling this way. I have always kept God in my life, sharing where he is who has given me hope and strength.

I am certain without my relationship with God I wouldn’t even be alive today! He gets the glory!

As 4 years have passed, I have gone all the way back to my childhood, pulled out ever skeleton in my closet, and with the tools from Celebrate Recovery I have set those things on the table, identified my root issues, and asked God to come into my life and do a mighty work on me. Abandonment & Rejection from adoption are the ROOT of my issues.

With these issues being so deep rooted, I have found to have triggers all over. I am in therapy now to work on triggers. I have to do what is best for me so I can be a happier healthier mother for my kids, and be of more support for my fellow adoptees, and so I can be a better friend, sister, and person.

I have had to make these choices for myself as well as the choice to move forward out of all the darkness the enemy has held me captive in for far too long! We all have this choice! 

During the last 4 years, I was not able to celebrate a birthday. When I was not in recovery it was easy, I drank to drown out the realities of what happened that day. It was simple. I wasn’t present. I was out of my mind. The last 4 years as my birthday approaches it’s been like dooms day, terrible and its impossible for me to describe it to non-adoptees. Most of my fellow adoptees get it. The visions I have of that day are gloomy, sad, and dark. It’s the day I lost my biological mother and family. It’s never a happy day to me, only sad. Deep dark sadness.

Well I have learned that is not from God. Yes, I have spent the last 4 years feeling that way, hiding my sadness form those around because I don’t want to hurt them by them seeing me hurt. I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. God has been working on me and the last 2-3 months many things have changed for me. My spiritual Mom, Ms. Deanie Cinnamon has prayed for me and I felt her prayers break some things off  of me. Slowly God has pulled me out of this sadness and darkness adoption has caused me. He’s been working on restoring my thinking, the way I feel about myself and life in general. He’s helped me realize that YES, the beginning of my life was tragic, brutal, heartbreaking and filled with extreme loss , grief, trauma and sadness…

BUT THE REST OF MY LIFE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT!

ONLY IF I CHOOSE FOR IT TO BE!

Every single person on this planet has a choice. We can sit and wallow in the pain, or we can move through the pain and get to the other side of healing and true freedom. This is the same healing and freedom God has for all his children. YES I AM TALKING TO YOU! Yes, it’s important we feel the pain, because we have to feel it to heal it. I have spend the last 4 years feeling it and healing it. You can tell by my blog, the roller coaster of emotions, experiences, feelings that have followed me through this journey. I feel it’s this place has been a huge factor to my healing! A space all mine to share my heart.

This year as my birth day approaches something was different. It was like God was telling me, “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SIT AROUND AND BE SAD THIS YEAR! YOU ARE GOING TO CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOUR LIFE DESERVES A CELEBRATION!”

So for the first time in 4 years I planned a birthday dinner. Who did I invite? All the people I hold very close to my heart. The people God promised me he was going to MULTIPLY my life with, happier, healthier, amazing friends that I call family. A few old relationships, but mostly new. My amazing kids, and I can’t even express to you how excited and happy I am that God has put some amazing people in my life! He did what he said he was going to do, He MULTIPLIED! He’s still multiplying!

I had a step study sister say one time, “I try to remember God is who he says he is, He’s going to do what he said he’s going to do and I am who he says I am!”. Talk about POWERFUL! I try to remind myself of this daily and I want to ask you to remind yourself of this daily! We aren’t what we were born into. We aren’t what the world says we are. We aren’t what past relationships have said about us. WE ARE WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE!

That should put a smile on your face. I learned in the last 4 year I am not like my birth family, I am not like my adoptive family. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

I AM WHO GOD CREATED ME TO BE!

SO ARE YOU!

The day before my birthday my adoptive cousin sent me a link to a song. I truly believe God was behind this because I don’t think my cousin even knew it was my birthday and she didn’t know the feelings I was having regarding my birth father, him not responding to my letters after I sent Him DNA proof I was His only daughter. I was feeling all kinds of ways, but behind it all God has given me a peace about it I have never had. The night before my birthday I played this song over and over but I applied “Mother and Father” to it and “All People Are Broken”…. I really want to ask you to take a moment and listen because as I laid in my bed and allowed myself the room to cry and go through the emotions the day before my birthday it left me with a space to grieve once again my losses that adoption has brought. I needed this for myself so I could put on a TRUE smiling face for my birthday and actually enjoy the people God has blessed me with!

Please listen to this song! It has changed some things for me and allowed me to look at things from a different perspective. It’s allowed me to have a compassion for my birth parents and adoptive parents I never had before. I hope it can do the same for you!

Click Here!

All Men Are Broken

Here are some pictures from my birthday celebration. Sending much love to my amazing kids, my friends and those who came to hang out with me and support me! The letters you all wrote touched my heart and the photos we took I will cherish forever! I am so blessed and thankful to have some amazing people in my life! GOD DID IT! HE MULTIPLIED!

I’m so thankful! I’m excited to see what the next chapter is! God knows my heart and he knows my passion for helping hurting adoptees! I’m praying he use me to share his love with each of them. I had to experience this life to be able to have this passion. It’s God’s plan for my life to use my pain for His Glory! He has this plan for all of us!

To my fellow adoptees who might be reading, God knows your tears, your pain and your heart! He says in His word he can and he will heal it! We have to allow ourselves the space to FEEL IT! Please know you are not on this journey alone and I am here for you if you need me! Find a safe place to share your feelings, start a blog, share your story! REACH OUT TO ME! I have a message of HOPE FOR YOU! God is HOPE! He is TRUTH! He is LOVE! I love you all!

Blessings! Here are some of my birthday photos!

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Bye Bye Broken Heart

I’ve been wanting to share it for a while now, but I have started 2 blog posts that were way too long, that I can’t complete for some reason…

I wanted to share something with my fellow adoptees. It’s a video! This video has literally changed my life. It made me feel differently about my adoption experience. In a nutshell, I’ve experienced a broken heart for 40 years of my life. When my spiritual momma, Ms. Deanie shared materials from Dr. Charles Kraft with me, it changed everything.

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Adoptees, look him up! Everyone look him up! He’s amazing. I suggest “2 Hours to Freedom” and also google “Back to the Womb”. This is a video Dr. Kraft has and it’s a healing exercise that takes us all the way back to our birth mother’s womb. I can go into major details why this video helped me so much, but it will take me forever to explain it all.

Let me summarize it for you…

 I will share that I always wondered if my birth mother held me when I was born. I obsessed with wondering what my birth was like. Did she hold me, or even look at me? Was the room dark and cold? I heard she was in the hospital under an alias, and flowers her best friend sent her were returned, because she used a fake name in the hospital. This leads me to believe she was alone. Was she sad? Was she happy to get the day over with? I was always mad at her for not aborting me. I was mad at my birth parents for being so irresponsible, and instead of keep me, they gave me away. Let me be truthful, I’ve spent most of my life being angry about my entire adoptee experience. When  I started working on my issues, and working on myself  I learned how deep and profound abandonment & rejection issues are! I learned how profound the primal bond and the primal wound is! Research it you all, this is REAL!

This is my TRUTH.. I will make no apologizes for it! 

I learned that the way I felt about myself all these years is the way my birth mother felt about me during her pregnancy. The spirit of shame, and rejection transferred tome in utero.  I TRULY BELIEVE THIS! If you do the research, you will learn that the way our birth mothers feel during pregnancy, we feel. We store memories in our subconscious memories all the way back to 2 months gestation. All adoptees stories are different, but I know my birth mother hid me from the world. She was ashamed she was pregnant by a married man who was a close family friend. She rejected the pregnancy, and drank alcohol the entire time. She wore baggy clothes, I was unwanted, unplanned, and given away at birth. This has made me feel unwanted, rejected, abandoned, and alone most of my life!

AFTER WATCHING THIS VIDEO IT ALL CLICKED FOR ME! 

This video changed everything for me! I still struggle, I still have issues. Right now my birthday was the hardest to get past. 8/13 But I did it. After watching this video, and doing some writing exercises and traveling to The Natural Bridge here in KY, I released a whole bunch of things back on June 7, 2015.

This was the day my broken heart was mended!

It doesn’t mean I still don’t have sadness, but who has had a broken heart from their adoption experience? That pain is indescribable! 40 Years of that pain!

After watching this video, I haven’t had (aside from my birthday) the deep sadness I have always had regarding my birth mother. I know my fellow adoptees get it, and even when my birth mother didn’t want a relationship with me I always desired to have a relationship with her, and had that deep sense of connection to want to know her. Just because she rejected me, didn’t mean my loss wasn’t there. It was even greater.

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When I did the writing exercises, I also prayed to God that he help heal my broken heart. I wrote down all my broken hearted feelings associated with my adoption experience, and my birth mother. I cried. I had snot slinging and all. I wanted this deep sadness to be gone. After I wrote everything down, I flew paper planes off the Natural Bridge, and let go of it. I left different that day. The say you have to go through the pain in order to heal from it. I believe this to be true 110%. We never went through the grief and loss process when we were born, and it’s never too late.  If everyone say’s God heals ( I know he does) I refused to settle with living with this pain forever. For the last few years (you can see by my previous blog posts) that I had accepted this pain was here to stay.

WHAT A BUNCH OF CRAP! THE DEVIL IS A LIE! 

I should have known better. I want all my fellow adoptees to know that with God, healing is possible! Most people in this life that aren’t adopted can’t even comprehend what we are even trying to heal from. The best thing they have to go on is adoptees sharing their feelings on how it feels to be adopted, and if they chose not to engage in reading or learning, they will never know. I know that moving to this next level in my recovery and healing, I will be better equipped to help my fellow adoptees, and others impacted by adoption. I believe I needed to get to this place, so I could have a happy ending. Soon, I’ll continue writing my memoir, and there will be happiness at the end. There will be pages filled with sorrow, yet hope will be something all adoptees will get by reading my memoir. Because of this, my story will have a happy ending. Don’t get me wrong, I still have pain, everyday is painful because I’m reminded of all adoption has taken. I have deep rooted abandonment and rejection issues, BUT MY BROKEN HEART REGARDING MY BIRTH MOTHER IS GONE! That’s a big deal! Now I can continue to reach out to other adoptees, and not have this heavy hearted burden weighing me down.

I’m really not writing for non-adoptees but hopefully they can learn something as well. I’m writing for my fellow adoptees. I love you guys, and I remember being all alone, hopeless in this world. If I have one accomplishment in life, it’s to let my fellow adoptees know that God heals, he healed me, and he’s continuing to heal me.  I also want them to know they aren’t alone in this journey.

Here’s the video. Please let me know if it impacts you at all??

Back to the Womb- Dr. Charles Kraft

Leave me a message you were here!

To all my STEP STUDY AND CELEBRATE RECOVERY & BETHEL FAMILY! THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FOR ME AND LISTENING TO ME ENDLESSLY ABOUT MY ADOPTEE ISSUES! JUDITH & DEANIE! ❤ YOU TOO!<3

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee Reunited

http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

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Twitter: @adopteereality & @freesimplyme

FOLLOW ME! ADD ME TO YOUR FACEBOOK! ❤

Photo By: usamedeniz @ freedigitalphoto.net

What I Wished My Birth Mother Wrote To Me.

My dearest sweet Pamela,
I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused you. After reading your letter I wanted to answer a few of your questions.
I want you to know that as many times as you dreamed about me, I dreamed about you. Not one day or one hour went by that I didn’t have you in my mind. I always wondered what you looked like, who you looked like, and what your life was like. I always had you close in my heart, even if you were physically far away. I am so sorry for all the pain that being adopted has caused you. That was not in the plan or my intentions, not even for one minute.
I need you to know that I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. My mother and father were alcoholics, and my life was anything but a normal one. We were poor, and we didn’t have much. My mother was in mental institutes many times throughout my life. She did some very horrible things but I will just say we didn’t have it easy.
I married my first husband and had your half-sister. She was born in 1970. Her father and I started to have problems, and we soon ended up divorcing. He was the love of my life. I always drank alcohol to cope with things in my life and it always seemed to make things much easier to deal with. I never realized until it was too late how much alcohol took from my life and how much of an impact it had on my life. Now looking back I see it controlled everything. My life never would be the same after we divorced.
Even thoe I always had alcohol in my life and things just seemed to get worse after my divorce. My father began to get sick, and soon passed away in 1973. At this time I was a single mother of your older sister and alcohol was a big part of my life. There were pall barriers at my father’s funeral, and one of them was Jimmie Jones, whom was 10 years older than me. He was a close family friend, and he was close with my father, and my brothers. After the funeral he asked me if I wanted to go have a few drinks with him, and even when he was married at the time, I didn’t think there was any harm in having a few drinks. Alcohol seemed to make everything so much better and it helped ease the pain I was facing with my father’s passing. The night of my father’s funeral was the night you were conceived and after this night, my life would never be the same. Jimmie and I both were lonely and ended up getting a hotel room that night after we left the bar, and one thing led to another. After this night, I never saw him again. This was a very poor decision on my part, but there was nothing I could do to take this night away, and to take the pain away from my father passing away Jimmie consoled me, as he was 10 years older than me, he knew all the right things to say.
Soon after I found out I was pregnant with you. I did continue to drink during my pregnancy, and I am so sorry for that. It is one of the many regrets in my life I have. You see alcohol had a control over me, like nothing else ever did. It was all I knew to get by, and ease the pain I was about to endure. There is no way I could have made it through a pregnancy and know I was going to give my baby away, and not have alcohol to help me cope with those emotions. I am so sorry for what that has done to you. Please know I never wanted to hurt you. I could say I would do anything to take that night back, but if I did that you wouldn’t be where you are today with your beautiful children. What I can say is that I want to let you know I am so sorry for your pain and I hope someday you can forgive me so you can let go of the pain you have in your heart so you can truly be happy. I understand your anger towards me, and I am so sorry I have caused this. You have every right to be angry.
When I made the decision to give you up for adoption, I want you to know abortion just wasn’t an option. My mother tried to abort her first child in every way possible, and didn’t succeed. My oldest sister was born mentally retarded and lived in a nursing home her whole life until she passed away in her 60’s. Abortion never was an option for me, because this situation tore our family up on many levels. When I got pregnant with you, the reason I decided not to keep you was because your biological father was married and I didn’t want to bring you into the world under those circumstances. You see, if I would have kept you then you would have felt like a mistake, or a product of an affair and I didn’t want you to have to endure that type of pain. I felt like it would have ruined you, and I also was so ashamed of my behavior I just couldn’t deal with the pain. This is my reason in choosing adoption. Never did I ever mean for you to grow up harboring such pain that you have. I have carried the shame from my actions deep inside, and I never have forgiven myself for what I have done. Having an affair with a married man is just not in my character, and I have had to live with that my entire life. The only thing that seemed to ease my pain is to drink alcohol because no one ever taught me about healing, or God, or how to pray. We never grew up in church, nor did I have a church family to be close to. All I knew is alcohol took the pain away, but of course it was temporary. As soon as I got sober, I would begin to think of my past, my life, my guilt, and about you. The pain was unbearable.
All the years that passed, not one single birthday did I not shed a tears for you. You were always on my mind, and in my heart. I had always wondered what your life was like, if you had children, or got married. I hoped you were happier than the life I could have provided for you. I know you feel like my decision in giving you up for adoption was a selfish one and I can understand this but please know that my decision was based on what I felt would have been best for you at the time. If I had it to do over, and times were different I would have loved to have an open adoption, where I could have watched you grow over the years, and we could have exchanged letters and pictures, but back in the 1970’s there was no such thing as an open adoption.
When I received the very first phone call from you in 1995, I am so sorry my first response was to hang up the phone. This is not anything you deserved, nor did you do anything wrong. I was just completely shocked, and I wasn’t sure what to say. I am so sorry I hung up on you. When you called back, I had a little time to get myself together. I decided to let you know that “YES, I am the person you are looking for”, because I felt like you deserved to know the truth. For me it was facing my fears, because I was still so very ashamed of the circumstances that brought you into this world. I never forgave myself. An enormous amount of guilt went with me for my entire life after you were born, and for you to call, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so sad deep down, but it had nothing to do with you personally. It was nothing I wanted you to feel. After hearing your voice for the first time, I was in complete shock, because after all those years, 21 at the time I always had you on my mind but I never knew what happened to you. I am so sorry I didn’t keep my word on sending you the letters and pictures I promised you. Again, the pain was so unbearable; I was doing well to get by day to day. I never mean to hurt you.
When I gave you up for adoption this created a lifelong pain deep in my heart that no one understood. I was not able to grieve because everyone I knew that knew about you kept saying, “You are doing the best thing for your baby, now it’s time to move on with your life”.  The pain was so deep, the only way to escape was by drinking alcohol, and it would get me by day to day. This was all I knew. Deep down I had a piece of my heart missing, and that piece was you.
When I spoke to you for the first time on the phone, and I promised to call you and send letters and pictures, I began to feel very overwhelmed and it was like a sense of darkness from my past came over me. This darkness wasn’t you, it was me and my poor decisions in bring you into this world under the circumstances you were conceived under. I felt such an incredible sense of guilt and shame; I just didn’t know what to say to you. This is the only reason I didn’t keep my word. I am so sorry because you didn’t deserve that. I don’t blame you for searching for your half-sister, and finding her and contacting her. I think I would have done the same if I was you. She knew nothing about you, but I am glad you all are building a relationship because you deserve to have her in your life, and she deserves to have you in hers. I really wanted to be the one to tell her about you, but you beat me to it, and that is okay.
When I got the phone call from her, saying you found her my heart sank. Now the secret was out, and I couldn’t back out of it or deny it. I know some might have just lied, but I didn’t. I confessed to her, “Yes, I had a child and gave her up for adoption”. Her first response was that she wanted us to both meet you. She told me she was flying to Kentucky to meet you, and I just told her I wasn’t quite ready yet. She didn’t understand why, but I didn’t feel I had to explain it to her. I was never good with my emotions, and I was never good at expressing myself. I just wasn’t ready yet. I needed some more time. I knew why, it was because I was still feeling such guilt and such a huge amount of shame that I just wasn’t ready yet.
When I became ready to meet you, and your sister set up the meeting I was a nervous wreck, but I came to a point where I knew I needed to meet you, not only for you, but for me too. I am so sorry when I saw you for the first time I didn’t reach out and hug you right away, I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to do. I wish now, I would have reached out and hugged you and never let you go, because after all that was what you deserved. This was such a painful time for me, as I know it was for you too. When we sat at my dining room table and you told me your adoptive parents divorced a year after you were born, it just crushed me. The overwhelming sense of sadness this brought to me was devastating. This was not what I had planned on for you. I gave you up for adoption so you could be raised in a two parent home, by a loving family that wanted to adopt a baby. Not for them to divorce a year later, and for you to have a very hard life as you mentioned.  This just added to my pain and guilt. I just couldn’t stand the fact that you had a hard life. When I gave you up for adoption I wanted you to have a better one. After you left from our visit when we met the first time, the sadness came back and it was overwhelming. It added to the already sense of guilt and shame I had from the beginning. Now I had to face the fact that I gave a baby up for adoption, and she didn’t have a wonderful life like I planned. This was the reason I never saw you again. It was just too much for me to bear. The guilt and shame was just too much.
I want you to know that it was nothing that you did to deserve this situation you were dealt. You didn’t ask to be born, and you most certainly didn’t ask to be given up for adoption. I always hoped you had the best life out there, which was more than what I could give. I never realized until now the pain that being adopted has brought you. I am so very sorry you have felt that you were abandoned. This is not what I planned for you. Please my sweet daughter; know that deep in my heart I just wanted what was better for you. 
Sometimes in life things don’t go as planned, and when your adoptive parents divorced that was not in the plan. I know you never had a bond with your adoptive mom as you mentioned, and I am so sorry for that. I hoped she would be a wonderful mother, and love you with her whole heart. That is what I had planned for you. I am so sorry you have always felt like you didn’t fit in, or that you were alone in this world. That breaks my heart, and that is not what I want for you. Please remember you were always in my heart, and you have never left it. Not even for a minute.
You said you wondered if I knew if you were at my bedside when I was in the ICU, after I fell down the steps. Yes, I knew you were there. I never contacted you to tell you, but I knew you came to Iowa to see me. They thought I was going to die, but I made it. I never intended for that to be the last time you saw me alive. I wish I could have told you “I love you”, but I was in a coma and I couldn’t say a word. I don’t even remember falling down the steps, because alcohol had such a hold on me, I was in a deep black out when this happened. I want to say “Thank You” for coming to the hospital, because I never got to tell you before.
17 years passed, and you reached out to me, and I never reached back. I got your letters, and pictures and cards in the mail, but I could never get up enough courage to respond. This is nothing you did, I just felt so guilty about the situation, and I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. You didn’t deserve this, and you deserved more than what I allowed myself to give. I am so sorry for that.
At the end of my life, in 2010 I hadn’t spoken to your sister in over 3 years. I had developed COPD, and I became very sick. I was on oxygen 24/7, I was less than 100lbs, I smoked and I was all alone in my home. I was unable to care for myself, or my home, and I became someone that was just alone and I didn’t even let those that wanted to help me come inside. I was too embarrassed of my home, as over years it developed such a sense of darkness, and sadness I never wanted anyone to see what my life was really like. My home didn’t have any running water, I had holes in my windows with plastic and tape to cover the holes, and I hadn’t had anything new in my home sense the 1970’s. I kept it completely dark, with all the curtains drawn, because this way I couldn’t see how filthy and dirty it was. At the end of my life, I had no energy to tend to it, so the dust and filth became unbearable. I didn’t want anyone to see that, so I shut everyone out, even those that tried to help me. The only comfort I had at the end of my life was alcohol. I kept it close at hand, and it got me through each day of sadness I felt.
I want you to know that I didn’t mean for your feelings to get hurt when you weren’t listed in my obituary. I am so sorry they did. I had my funeral planned out to a tee, and I didn’t list you as my daughter or your children as my grandchildren because so many people didn’t know about that painful part of my life. I did my best to hide it, because I was afraid of what people might think. You see Pamela; I took that pain to my grave. Never once did I forgive myself for the events that happened to bring you into this world. I was so filled with shame and guilt but it was nothing to do with you. It was the decisions I made before you were even born and I have never forgiven myself for that. I know you drove 10 hours to be at my funeral, and even if I wasn’t ready to accept you in my life, you were always in my heart.
As I close this letter, I would really like you to know that I’m so very sorry that you didn’t have the chance to know your biological father because of my irresponsible decisions. I am so sorry you didn’t get to know your biological siblings growing up, and I am so very sorry you felt such a loss your whole life. From the bottom of my heart I would like to ask for you to forgive me for my decision in placing you up for adoption. I would like for you to try to understand where I was coming from, and please understand that I never have or never will stop thinking about you. You are in my heart, and always have and always will be.
I also want to tell you how very proud I am of you that you made the decision to stop drinking alcohol and start a 12 step program. I know this is the best thing you could ever do for yourself, and your kids, and grandkids. I might still be alive right now if alcohol wasn’t such a big part of my life.
 No one deserves to carry the pain you have been carrying. As I learn to forgive myself I would like to ask you if you have it in your heart to forgive me? 
I love you, always have and always will.
Your First Mom, Arlene

8-12-13 —-> Happy “LIFE” Day to me!

About a week ago I got some super awesome news, and I am so excited to share it with you all!

If you don’t know by now, I am pretty vocal on my adoption views and have expressed in my blog much of my view point because I finally feel like I have a voice in my world. A voice of an adult adoptee. This voice has been an amazing healing tool for me. Finally I am figuring out who I am, and what I stand for, but this didn’t take place before 37 years of loss of identity and total chaos and confusion took place. Why? Because I’m adopted. Adoption is loss. Adoption is pain. Adoption is hurt. Adoption is lies.

In the last year, I have met many other adult adoptees via the Internet, and made some very special friends in the process. We share a bond that no one else can share. It has helped me in so many ways. I am not alone in feeling the way I feel. Sense discovering this, I have also discovered the Adoptee Rights Coalition. They are a group of amazing adopted individuals that stand for adoptees having equal rights like non adopted people. The meet each year at a certain destination and protest in a peaceful demonstration that Adoptees deserve to have access to their original birth certificates. It’s unfair treatment and laws that are taking place when a small handful of states allow this, and the rest don’t. Only very few states in the U.S. allow adoptees to gain access to their original birth certificates, the rest aren’t so fortunate. For an adult adoptee, this is a critical piece of our lives to find out who we REALLY are, and where we REALLY come from. If you aren’t adopted it might never cross your mind that almost all adopted individuals have a falsified birth certificate which makes us feel like our lives are based on lies. These falsified birth certificates are not real, they are not really who we are, and this is a huge injustice to us because we can’t truly know WHO WE ARE, until we know the TRUTH. Some adult adoptees go to their grave with never knowing who they really are. They never piece together their puzzle, for whatever reason. Some scared of rejection, or some because of lack of identifying information to complete the search. Whatever the reason, and there are a million. We all deserve to know where we come from, and to see our original birth certificates.

This realization taking place in my life has helped me understand a few things. I need to get active with The Adoptee Rights Coalition. I need to be there for the 2013 Demonstration because for me, this means so much! If you haven’t read my previous post about my falsified birth certificate, please check it out. But my birth certificate is falsified, and it is nothing more than a piece of lies to me. The dates don’t match up, and I have been told lies over the years but I do feel I deserve to see my original birth certificate because WE as adoptees deserve equal rights!

After deciding that no matter what happens I am going to be at the ARC -Adoptee Rights Coalition for the 2013 Demonstration I also decided a few other things in my life. One is that I am no longer celebrating my “birth” day. It is such a hard time and month in my life. I experience heart wrenching grief from all the thoughts that come with my “birth” day, and me being given away on that day. I have another post titled “Blue August Birthday” if you want to learn more about these feelings of grief. So deciding I’m not celebrating my birthday is one thing, but I know in my heart of hearts I must replace this day with another day, but I will call it my “HAPPY LIFE DAY”. I just hadn’t figured out when this day would be. I have done a lot of praying about all these things, and asking God to show me the way.

Another thing that has changed is me deciding I am no longer going to drink alcohol, and I have joined a 12 step program and Celebrate Recovery to help me do this. Sense finding my biological parents, and them both being alcoholics, I feel very strong that if I don’t stop drinking all the way, I am going to die like my birth mother. In a house that should have been condemned, all alone. She was a horrible alcoholic, and she smoked, had COPD, and was on oxygen. Her house was in horrific conditions. I know that if I don’t stop drinking I am going to end up like her. So I have made the decision to seek help, and guidance from Alcoholics Anonymous, and Celebrate Recovery. Today is 23 days sober. I can’t wait until I get to 30 days. Then 60..

My whole life has revolved around drinking. I started drinking alcohol sense I was 12. Stopped drinking the day before my 38th birthday. August 12, 2012 was my last drink of alcohol. For me to stop drinking is so much more to me than just “STOPPING DRINKING”. You see, to me it’s the beginning of my LIFE. The life that God intended for me to live. I sit and look over my life, and how many terrible choices I made where alcohol was related, and I just get sick with myself. I know that growing up with a total loss of “SELF” not knowing who I was, or where I came from caused me great grief from the time I found out I was adopted. Alcohol mad the pain go away, but only until I got sober, and then I would have to drink again. Alcohol distorted my life in so many ways I can’t even begin to tell you. But one thing I know now, TODAY is alcohol is no longer in my life. I can say I couldn’t do it alone. I need support from other alcoholics that can give me guidance, support and advice when I need it. Abusive relationships have been the head of my life, along with alcohol from the ages of 13-31. At 31 I was brave enough to get out of the last relationship, and it has taken me years to get to where I am today.The root of my issues with alcohol partly stem to my step brother molesting me when I was little, I would drink to numb the memories I have from him when I was intimate with whatever boyfriend I had at the time. This has gone on my entire life. I am sure I need consoling for this, but at this time I am working through these things with God as my guide, and other support from those who are close to me, and healing through writing of course. The abusive relationships play over and over in my head, like flashes of the memories. They never seem to go away, but I am not going to let those things define me anymore. I cant be the VICTIM and live in VICTORY. It’s impossible. I am so ready to live in victory it’s insane. As long as alcohol is in my life, it will take me back to being the victim, and block my blessings, and halt me from being the person God wants me to be.

So my reason for expressing all of these things is to get to some AMAZING SUPER AWESOME NEWS! As I stated before I am going replace my “birth”date with a different very special day called My Happy “Life” Day. I have made the decision to make this day on August 12, 2013 because that is the one year sobriety birthday and it will honestly be the one year celebration of me living the life God intended for me to live. August 12, 2013 is one day before the day I was born into this world which for me is a very tragic day. (Aug 13, 1974).
I am so excited about this I can’t even express how much this is going to mean to me, and this is why I say drinking alcohol is “LIFE OR DEATH” to me. If I drink, I can’t celebrate my one year sobriety birthday at all. It will not count. It will be disqualified to nothing. I won’t have a “birth” day, or a “Life” day or a sobriety “birth”day.. I will have nothing. So AUGUST 12, 2013 is HUGE for me.. But wait until you hear the rest!!!!!!!!!!!
I found out about a week ago that The Adoptee Rights Coalitions demonstration is in Atlanta next year and GUESS WHAT DAY IT’S ON?????????????????????????????????????????
AUGUST 12, 2013!!!!!!!!!!
I honestly don’t know when I have been so excited in my life!!! This is going to be HUGE for me,and you honestly can’t tell me GOD isn’t doing his thing with this one! I am in complete AWE at the amazing work he is doing in my life. He knows how important this date is to me. He knows how bad I wanted to be at The Adoptee Rights Coalition Demonstration in 2013! He knows how important my sobriety is to me. THIS DATE IS HUGE!!! Aside from the births of my kids, at this point in my life this is going to be the most important thing to date in my life’s history. I have such a passion for adoptees and the right for us to be able to obtain our original birth certificates. Now I will have a whole new focus on my depressing, sad, and horrific “birth”date. I will have a whole new day to celebrate.!
LIFE—SOBRIETY—ADOPTEE RIGHTS
CHEERS TO AUGUST 12, 2013!! 
GOD GETS THE GLORY!!!
If anyone in my area is interested in attending or getting to know a fellow adoptee contact me! Lexington, Ky