People Leave. They Walk Away. Pictures Stay.


A photo is more than just a photo to me.

It’s proof…

Captured proof that something actually existed in my life.

Something happened.

It’s a reflection of a time and a moment in my life. It’s remembrance of a moment that no one can take from me.

For adoptees, there are so many memories that aren’t memories at all.

They simply don’t exist.


Not just one family but two families.

When your birth parents abandon and reject you it’s hard to believe people wills stay. Most of the time I’ve found they don’t so capturing the moments is essential to me.





Birthdays, Holidays, Births, School Days, Growing Up, Faces, & Smiles.

Moments in pictures last a lifetime.

Pictures are free.

I have plastic bins filled with photos from my life. I take pictures of as much as possible, as many people as possible and of as many things as possible.

My experience with losing so much has given me a unique perspective of the value of a memory because so many special and symbolic memories for me in my life simply don’t exist. As for most adoptees.

I always tell people the things I need in life are free.

Time & Memories.

I can never duplicate any memory exactly like it was the original time the memory took place. This is where a PICTURE comes in. It’s the closest thing I will ever have of the proof I can pull out at anytime and reminisce on old times I hold close to my heart.


Never to return.

I don’t want to lose any more.

People leave.

They walk away.

Pictures Stay.

This is very important to me.

Pictures are very important to me.

They are ties to my heart.


Can any of my fellow adoptees relate to being obsessed with taking photos? Have you ever contributed it in with being adopted?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Pamela Karanova



Beauty from Ashes


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.


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.


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.



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

Did I have a beginning?







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?


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…


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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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

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! ❤




The Gift of a Grandmother

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears” – Mark Anthony

I wonder if anyone who has their grandmother in their life ever wonders what it’s like to never have one? Are they thankful for her? Same for a grandfather…

I’ve lived with many types of fear in my life, as we all have but I’ve also been working at freeing myself from fear so I can live a happier more prosperous life. Some people say FEAR stands for “FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL” but my reasons for FEAR are real.

There has been nothing false about them.

FEARan unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

I always had a dream of meeting my biological grandmother who resides in Leon, Iowa. I found out she was alive and well in 2010 and during that time my mind has been tormented on wishing I could go see her and meet her at least one time.

I have never met a biological grandparent and she is the only one who is still living. I made 2 attempts to go see her in the past and both failed at the hands of my biological father.  He made the choice for himself to reject me after 2 meetings. At one point he promised me he would take me to meet her in 2011. I drove all the way to Leon, Iowa from Kentucky and arrived only for Him to tell me he changed His mind. He said he thought it would “Kill Her”. I was crushed, and the words “Kill Her” stuck with me all these years which has kept me away from trying to meet her on my own accord. Reality is, he didn’t want his secret from 1974 of infidelity to his wife to get out. He was ashamed and it was easier for him to reject me than face His mistakes. He wasn’t letting the cat out of the bag. I was still a dirty little secret. After all I was conceived out of an affair while he was married.

After this huge disappointment in my life I had some years to think longer and harder about Him making this choice for my grandmother. It never settled well with my spirit, which is quite fierce by the way. People can make choices for themselves but I find it totally unfair when someone makes a choice for another person, only thinking of themselves. Does anyone who does this understand they are robbing other’s of memories that can never be replaced? This has caused me more grief & anger in my entire lifetime than you could imagine, not to mention the pain from THIS played a HUGE part in my addiction issues for 27 years of my life.

Perhaps this is why TIME is so important to me?

Time Spent is more valuable than anything.

Visiting my grandmother continued to nag at my spirit.

I have felt like all these years God was whispering, Just GO, Just GO“…


Another attempt I was able to call my grandmother and speak to her about coming to visit her. She was okay with the idea, and I told her I would come around Easter 2014. I suspect my birth father stood in the way of that visit because she stopped answering my phone calls and the phone number ended up disconnected soon after. It’s hard to tell if he did it out of spite, or if it was when she had to move from independent living at her own apartment to assisted living. Either way my 2nd attempt had failed.

A few more years passed.

During this time I would check Google at least once a month, sometimes weekly to see if she was still alive all the while searching for her obituary. This is something many adoptees do, especially when we’ve been shut out.  My mind would wander about how I would respond if she had passed  away and I never got to meet her. I would visualize being really angry, filled with rage, crying and screaming, even falling into a deep depression.

CLOSED ADOPTION stood in the way of me knowing this woman who I shared DNA with. Not our choice, but the choice made for us by others.  I visualized myself having a complete mental and emotional breakdown if she had passed and I found her obituary on Google. My birth father didn’t even know I existed because of the lies my birth mother told- “FATHER UNKNOWN”. I was given up for adoption without my birth fathers consent and because of this my grandmother didn’t know I existed for most of my life.

Why should we be robbed of knowing one another because of other peoples actions?




I’m almost 43 and the pain continues.

See here- When a birthmother lies & keeps secrets.

Non-adoptees wouldn’t have a clue about understanding this.

Adoptees, I know you get it.

They always say the 3rd time is a charm, so here it is. After much praying, seeking advice and counsel from those close to me and from adoptees near and far I decided to make the trip to see and meet my grandmother for the first, and possibly last time. I knew if I didn’t just pick a date I would never do it so June 24, 2017 was the day I was driving to meet her and lay eyes on her.

A Road Trip I Would Never Forget…

I must admit my fear was still so great. I need to share I work with elderly for a living and I have been working with them for 12+ years. I see how they sit and wait on their loved ones to come visit them. Most of them never get the visits they wait for, but they keep waiting. I knew in my heart of hearts I was going to bring nothing but love to my grandmother, but what if something more was waiting for me?

I drove to Iowa on June 23rd and was able to see and hang out with one of my favorite cousins from my adoptive family. She was definitely a light for me at this emotional time. She took me to her dads flower farm and he helped me hand pick a special bouquet of flowers to take to my grandmother the next morning. It was beautiful to be able to do this. As the evening of June 23rd hit and I was ready to go to sleep the racing increased and thoughts of “What if…” took over my mind. I actually ended up taking something to help me sleep because I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep at all. My mind was racing with thoughts like, “What if they have me on the block list and I can’t see her?” or “What if my birth father is there and he throws me out?”. The fear wasn’t from God. I know this but it took over and it was extremely difficult for me to move through the fear and do this anyway.

At 6:15AM on Saturday June 24th my alarm went off. 

Today was the day I had waited for for YEARS!


I was all the way across the country and I was going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time. No, she didn’t know I was coming. I woke up and started to get ready. My anxiety was through the roof, and more fear was setting in. My stomach started to hurt and it felt like it was in knots.

The FEAR was so great at one point I almost said “Forget it”.  I almost didn’t go, even after I drove all the way to Iowa FOR THIS. This might sound crazy but it was like God was giving me the PUSH to just do it and push through my fear and go anyway. I seriously couldn’t have done it without God in my life.

My cousin said, “There is no way I would do what you are about to do!”.

“Her soul is fierce, her heart is brave, her mind is strong” – R.H. Sin

I continued on, packed up my car and left Iowa City, Iowa about 7:30AM. Leon, IA was 3 hours south of Iowa City< IA so I had another 3 hour drive to get to the nursing home my grandmother was at. That drive seemed like a 100 hour drive. My mind was racing on what I was going to do if my birth father was there, or another family member. Not one of them has been accepting to me. I’ve only received rejection from my birth fathers entire family so what would be different about my grandmother? Would she reject me too? Had my birth father ever talked to her about me? I actually talked to her on the phone 2x over the years and shared with her who I was but it’s hard to tell if she really understood what I was saying, but if I was to guess she received a pretty big clue I was her granddaughter.

The closer I got to Leon, Iowa the the more nervous I became. At one point I almost vomited when I stopped to use the restroom. The feeling I had is hard to describe but I was able to make a connection to this feeling is the same way I felt as a child when I was in and out of the hospital for stomach aches. SAME EXACT FEELING! I’ve heard lots of adoptees have had stomach issues! I was honestly taken back by this. The fear, anxiety and nervousness is the exact feeling I had growing up in my adoptive home which landed me in the hospital many times. I couldn’t believe that I was feeling this same way going to meet my grandmother. It was triggering to be feeling the feeling that took me back to my childhood but…

 I continued on.

I felt like God was saying “GO SEE HER! GO SEE HER!”

Lord knows I couldn’t do something like this on my own strength and will.

I was a HOT MESS!

I pulled up at the nursing home, I grabbed the items I was taking into her, hand picked

Uncle Ed- Cardinal Flower Farm. Iowa City, IA

flowers, a card and a letter, a photo album with pictures of me all the way back to my baby years. I prepared these things because if I was turned away at least I would have something to leave her. I had been praying all morning, Jesus take the wheel of this dream of mine and guide my steps.

I walked to the doors which took me straight to the dining room. I was greeted by some nursing assistant aides as well as many of the residents. I asked politely if they could tell me which way Tenie James room was and they pointed down the hallway and off I went.

The closer I got to finding her room, the more anxious I felt.

What if my birth father was there? What if one of my uncles was there? What if they threw me out? What if she didn’t want to see me?

Mind Racing.




I quickly found her room with her name on the door. There was no turning back now. I knocked softly, then I turned the door knob and slowly opened the door. I peeked my head inside and saw the sweetest little lady who was relaxing in her automated recliner. I smiled big, and she smiled back. She saw the flowers and my smile and I’m pretty sure it was a comfort to her. Lord knows, all I wanted to do was bring her peace, love and comfort. As I opened the door further, I realized she was all alone and no one else was in the room with her. All the fear that has tormented me all these years and up until this moment lifted off me, and God’s presence was all over that place. I continued to walk slowly towards her.  I shut the door behind me so we could have some privacy and let her know I brought her some flowers and wanted to introduce myself.

“Be the light for all to see”- Matthew 5:16

I got down on the floor so I could be close to her, I held her hand and I said, “Hi there, I wanted to introduce myself, I’m Pam- Jimmie’s daughter. (Jimmie is her son) I’m your granddaughter. I have always wanted to come meet you. I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long but distance has kept me far away. (reality the secrets and lies in adoption have kept me away!)  I hope you don’t mind but seeing you has always been a dream of mine. I was in Iowa and wanted to swing by to visit on my way back to Kentucky.”

She had a smile on her face, almost as if she couldn’t believe it was anyone’s DREAM to meet HER. I pulled out a small photo album which had pictures of me when I was a baby, up until now. One by one she began to look at the pictures. She didn’t turn them fast, she was taking her time. She smiled at many of them and when she made it to the last page, she said “Where is this?”.  The photo was of me sitting by a waterfall in Kentucky and I let her know I had to hike many miles to reach it and that it was a hobby of mine. She said, “I love to hike too!”…

I smiled really big and I said, “It must be in our DNA” and she said “You’re right, it must”. I asked her a few questions and shared some about myself. She was a hard working woman and raised her family all while living off the land to survive. All my biological family on her side are gamers and hunters and loved nature. This makes total sense to me as to why I’ve always loved being outdoors more than anything in this world.

I held my grandmother’s hand and we compared our fingers. I began to take note of her condition, her characteristics and features. Her vision was so good, she is still reading small print books. She didn’t have any hearing aides and could hear all the words I shared because her responses were accurate most of the time. She was using a walker to walk, and seemed fairly independent. She will be 98 years old on August 10th, 2017. My birthday is 3 days after hers. She showed me a quilt she was in the process of making, bright squares of all different patterns and colors. Can you believe she’s still quilting at 97?

As I got down beside her in her chair I knew that this might be the only time I get to see her in this lifetime. After all 97 years erased off the map because of other peoples decision for my life, other peoples decisions for our relationship. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone in the adoption equation thinks about the long term impacts about adoption trauma, separation, loss, etc. Adoption impacts every area of the adoptees life, for their entire life. Some days the grief and loss has been so great I didn’t think I could continue on.

My grandmother received my visit, it was one of the most amazing happiest moments of this lifetime. She shared about her life, and I shared about mine. She was a bit tearful in parts of what she was sharing but I just held her hand and listened to her words.

Here I was, meeting my biological grandmother for the first and only time. I’m 43, and I can’t help but share that God has always known my deep desire to lay eyes on this woman at least one time. It’s always something that has nagged at my spirit and it’s never stopped. My greatest HOPE was also my greatest FEAR.


I would like to share with my fellow adoptees reading that God knows our hurts, he knows our hearts, and to never give up HOPE in finding your family. Be persistent and don’t give up in reaching the people and places you believe are so far away. The fact I was able to meet my grandmother is nothing short of a miracle and dream come true for me. I urge you to take your own steps and making your dreams come true because no matter how it turns out it’s up to me and you. Action must follow our desires, and God knows our hearts.

If he did it for me, he can do it for you…

Dreams really do come true…



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Pamela A. Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Tick-Tock, Times Moving on the Clock

The last few weeks of my life have been sort of a blur in many ways.


Because I’m finally LIVING LIFE!

One thing I’ve learned is that time isn’t standing still for anyone. It appears most of my life has been a struggle, and a hard one at that. Isn’t that what it is for most of us? I mean isn’t that LIFE?


I don’t feel I’m set aside from everyone else or that my struggle has been worse or easier than anyone’s. We all go through things. I feel I’ve always been in survival mode never taking time to actually enjoy life. To be honest, the journey I’ve had it’s a miracle I’m alive. This is where God comes into my story, and I give him all the PRAISE & GLORY!

Living most of my life with a broken heart from adoption, I have learned that it’s okay to feel that way and it’s important to share my feelings. This is what my blog is for.  This is true for us all or healing won’t happen. I’ve been on the recovery road for almost 5 years now and it hasn’t been easy to work on all my past JUNK! But one thing I am not going to do is take it all to the grave with me or make others pay for my issues! This is what has given me the motivation to work on SELF! For my kids, future grand kids and those close to me.

I want to be WHOLE, HAPPY & HEALTHY!

Recently, I’ve been reminded of how quick life is and how our lives can be gone in the blink of an eye. It’s so important to open our eyes and see the beauty God has placed all around us in people, places & things. We can’t wait my friends. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in pushing our way through LIFE and being in survival mode but I would like to challenge you to pause on the hustle & bustle of LIFE and start finding things that make you tick.

What brings you true happiness?

What is healing to you?

For me, I describe my journey in this area finding my way back home. Adoptees get the search I am speaking of. We spend our entire lives searching for our people, places & things.

Every. Single. Day.


For me, it’s all said and done. There is no more searching for my biological family. I’ve searched and found them. It turned into more heartbreak for me but at least now I know.  They were not “home” for me but I’ve heard many adoptees say they were home for them. So for me, my search to fill that void continued. Yes, God is living in my heart but please believe there is still a void not having my biological family in my life. It will always be there, especially the mother part. But I’ve moved on the best I can and process emotions when they come.

But I would like to ask WHERE IS HOME FOR YOU?

For me, It’s with my kids and in nature with God.

I’ve floated around my entire life like a lost soul trying to attach to people, places & things to fill that void but I’ve discovered it’s impossible for me. I’m okay with that but I understand time is passing by and I can’t get back any of the time I have spent working on myself in recovery or the time I have spent living life with alcohol in it.


Time doesn’t wait for any of us so I would like to encourage you to do the same.

What are you waiting for?

Here are some recent pictures of my most recent adventure into the wild.

This is home for me my friends.

God’s presence is HERE more than anywhere for me.

Adventure Awaits, We Have to Reach Out & Grab It.

Much Love,

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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My Happy Place- I’m Movin On!

Just because I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day doesn’t mean I’m not going to live my life. I’m not sitting around on the pitty potty depressed, sad, mad or angry.  There was a time for that and my healing process was filled with those seasons of grief & loss. I’m not saying I still don’t have those moments but I’m moving forward and living my life in a pretty magical way I would say.  I did need to share my feelings about Mother’s Day but make no mistakes-


I’m outside the box.

Traveling around.

Looking for adventure.

The sky is the limit.

Finally I’ve found my HAPPY PLACE!

Hiking, Nature & Waterfalls.

God is so close to me in nature, more so than any church I have ever stepped foot into.

I like to be free.

Free to be me, happily.

No strings attached.

Wandering in the woods. 

How could I have missed this for so long?

Today I’m thankful I’ve found what makes me happy.

It’s not people or possessions.

They only cause my tribulation.

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Where I can dream again.

Where I can be a kid again.

Vitamin N.


Walking Away…

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more “FREE” in my life.

 I’ve spent a lot of time lately walking away from people, places and things that no longer serve God’s purpose for my life. It’s an amazing time for sure!

I’m walking away. I’m moving forward. I’m letting go.  I’m leaving all those things behind that are no longer designed to benefit me or progress me in life. I must say things have changed drastically over the last few years but even more so the last few months.



I’ve learned I’m more content this way. I’m not so “Out there” trying to belong in places I will never fit in at. I spent so many years trying to fit in when God hasn’t designed me, (or YOU) to ever fit in. I’m happier on the outside far away from all the drama and craziness. That life is overrated in my humble opinion. I’ve seen a lot in my life. I’ve experienced so many highs and lows you wouldn’t even believe it all if I told you. One thing I know is I’m a survivor- ALL ADOPTEE’S ARE SURVIVORS! Even if we spend most of our lives feeling abandon & rejected the fact that we are alive is HUGE! We must give ourselves some credit when it’s due!

I’m going to start writing about my life from some other dynamics, not just an adoptee in recovery dynamic. I have other things to share like how it’s been being a single parent for 23+ years, what it was like being extremely involved in a church and then feeling like I had to walk away to protect my kids & more. I’ve seen how people can become co-dependent on the church so much they don’t even know who they are outside of the church. This was me for 4 years! I want to share what my life is like now that I’m not in a recovery program or ministry and how my recovery journey is at this point. I want to share how life is after pulling back from “Adoptee Land” for the last few months. I want to share what it’s like with all my kids adults now. I want to share how it is that I hear God in the midst of all of these transitions. Don’t think I’ve walked away without God by my side- He’s been with me the entire way!

For now, I will share that walking away for me is gaining peacefulness like I have ever known. The less people, places and things in my life the better. The smaller my circle the better. Life’s circumstances have made me this way and I don’t feel it’s a heartbreaking thing-I feel it’s a remarkable thing. It’s taken me awhile to get to this conclusion but trusting God has been key to keep my sanity.

Now it’s time I live my life and discover ME…


Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Lexington, KY



Learning to Dream Again



All the way back to around 5 years old I was DREAMING about Finding my birth family.

My mind was so consumed with THIS. There was no room for regular dreaming. As a little girl I was obsessed with finding THEM. My birth mother, my birth father, any siblings I might have. MY FAMILY. My dreaming followed me everywhere I went. Fantasizing took over my mind. I thought about them morning, noon and night and I was in La-La Land more often than not.  Sometimes I would say it was more of a haunting than a dream. When people speak about dreams sometimes they are speaking of dreams in your sleep, or dreaming about particular things to happen in the future. It seems we don’t dream of the negative as dreams are usually more rounded with happy positive vibes. But this dreaming of my biological family never ended and it took the place of what a normal little girl would be dreaming of. I don’t even know what dreaming like a normal little girl looks like but what I do know is what other people share. This followed me to my pre-teen years and through my entire life.

From learning from others, little girls dream about what they want to do in life. Places they want to visit, who they want to be when they grow up. They dream about having kids and how many and what they want to name them. They dream about a husband, a wedding and where they want to live. They dream of goals, and make plans in their dreams of things they want to do in life.


I never dreamed about anything other than my birth family, who they were, where they were and were then looking for me. Lord knows I was searching for them everywhere I went.

The other thing that took the place of DREAMS in my lifetime is PAIN. The pain I experienced in all my life from abandonment, rejection and trauma has taken over most of my days here on earth. Non-Adoptees would never understand THIS. They just can’t. But I know my fellow adoptees get it. I feel like I’ve missed SO MUCH in life because of the pain and the obsession of wondering, wishing, dreaming and searching…

The outcome of my experience has been a broken heart, or more so a shattered heart.  All the way around the search, reunion, and post reunion and back again.  From the dreams, hopes, fantasies, longing to know them has turned into sadness, loss, grief, and nothing but heartache. Does this change the fact that I searched? No, now at least I have my truth. While the first part of my life was obsessed with finding the truth, the last part has been sorting through the trauma of what the truth was. I will never regret searching. I’ve been working on healing for 4 years now, and stopped running to alcohol to numb the pain.

Reality hit me like a ton of bricks and smacked me right in the middle of my face.

4 years into healing I am learning all the dynamics of what I missed because I was left to process all of the above on my own. Just now at 42 years old trying to find a dream. Why? Because God says it’s time! I’m going to be honest.

I’m struggling.

How does someone start dreaming at 42? I’m praying about it. At this stage in my life, I really feel I’m only here to do what God has called me to do but I also know that he calls us to enjoy our lives, and live life to the fullest. Have fun and dream! Let me be clear, I enjoy my career, my amazing kids, and what I do in my life. But dreaming has been null and void. At this point I’ve started to navigate creating a bucket list. It’s really the only thing I’ve thought of over the last few years living in recovery. I have no dreams for myself, other than being a happy healthy mother for my kids, and future grand-kids. Living my life to make memories with them, which is something I never had in my life with my biological family.

Another thing that comes to my mind is the fact that without knowing my truth I didn’t know who I was as a person. I was clueless when I looked in the mirror as to what or who I was looking at. The truth, no matter how hard it was has helped me find ME. It’s given me the chance to see who I’m like, or who I’m not like rather. It’s helped me understand I’m working on being who GOD created me to be and it’s nothing like any of my biological or adoptive families. It’s like God. It seems I might be right where I need to be I suppose. I mean, it’s impossible to dream when you don’t even know who you are to form or focus on dreaming. Can I get an AMEN from my fellow adoptees?

I was asked in a training group for a job recently what country I would want to visit. Honestly I never thought about visiting any other country. My dreams only took me as far as finding my birth family, when shattered my dreaming stopped and was replaced with a shattered heart. So I made something up. I said “Hawaii”. Although I wouldn’t mind visiting Hawaii I really have never thought about it. I’ve been too busy sorting through adoptee mess.

635994013904870577-56153521_e9536de3b1175cb1602f1418a708b6c2My point in sharing this post is to ask my fellow adoptees if any of you can relate to this? And to share that at 42 years old God has guided me to pull back from navigating so many windows open in my life so I can figure out my dreams. He’s instructed me to close some windows so he can do some amazing things. Not only with my kids, but for me in my life. I’m not sure what it is yet. I honestly don’t even know what dreams I have at this stage in my life but as I listen to what God says I plan to figure it out.

Now that I’ve come full circle in my life, before search, after search and working on healing I’ve decided I need to start living life and living it more abundantly. John 10:10 says:

tapestry-of-truth-john-10-10-wall-and-home-scripture-lettering-quotes-images-stickers-decals-art-and-more-tot3644_28078762IT’S TIME WE START DREAMING!

Now for my bucket list. Here are some things I have so far.

  1. I will visit churches by taking road trips to visit them all over the U.S.A. Starting with Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C.
  2. I will visit waterfalls in Kentucky.
  3. I will take my kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
  4. I will write my memoir.
  5. I will go to the park and fly kites.
  6. I willclimb a tree again. [This was the #1 place I would dream about my birth mother]
  7. I will go camping with good people.
  8. I will go to Yogi Bear Park and stay with my kids. [Great childhood memory with my adoptive dad]
  9. I will take my kids to Gatlinburg, TN and stay in the cabins.
  10. I will visit Truittsville, KY which was founded by my ancestors. [ Located in Greenup, KY]
  11. I will visit Linda in Oregon. She’s a cousin I found via DNA. We’ve never met, YET!
  12. I WILL visit CANADA to see my friend, fellow adoptee & sister in Christ, Haley Radke! 😀

That’s about all I have so far. Hopefully as I move forward in my life I will think of more things I want to do. As for actual dreams, I really don’t have any but a bucket list is a start.

3 of the Waterfalls I want to visit in KY.

I would like to ask my fellow adoptees if you’ve taken the time to dream for yourself? Has your adoption experience stood in the way of this? Have you found ways to work around it? Did you dream as a child? What were your dreams? Can you relate to any of this post?

Thanks for reflecting with me.

Many blessings from my dreaming to yours!

Pamela Karanova




God has revealed to me it’s time to make some moves in my life. It’s time to make some changes. Not any little changes either. BIG CHANGES. These changes will impact the rest of my life, and my kids lives.

Elevation Church is starting a new series tomorrow called “Work Your Window”. I will be tuning in from afar but I’m suspecting it’s going to be about talking about advantage of the area’s God gives us to improve and move forward, grow in the kingdom and in our personal lives, etc.





I’ve made the decision to discontinue the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” Facebook page and the “Ask An Adoptee” Facebook page. I don’t feel like God is leading me to continue these pages. I will however continue my personal blog, and the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? blog where my fellow adoptees share their stories. I’m praying to find someone to take over the 2 Facebook “Like” pages because they have been more than what I can manage.

I’ve found ADOPTEE LAND to be a painful place for me. It’s like a weight holding me down. It’s heavy. Adoptee issues that I have area heavy on their own. It’s like ADOPTEE LAND adds fuel to the issues which has consumed me for many years now. I have felt like I have spent as much time as I can working hard to network, and I still want to do this a little bit. Just not like before. I am in retreat mode, not just in adoptee land, but in life.

It’s called SELF CARE.

We all need to do this for our sanity. 

As I’ve stated in many recent blog posts God has given me the insight to evaluate relationships, people, places and things where I invest my time. There are many things that are about to MOVE in my life. After many months of prayer, my family and I have decided to leave our church home, We will spend some time being churchless for awhile. During this time we are spending a season of healing from church hurt which is not an easy thing to do. I don’t believe in hopping from church to church. I believe in healing first. Just like a relationship we must heal so we don’t take old church hurt to new places.  I do know that when we pray and ask God to reveal HE DOES IT. He also HEALS! This decision has not been made lightly but I know God has said our season is up. This can be sad, devastating, and down right painful. It has been. But God has also given me a peace about it so I’m standing on this peace and looking forward to the MOVE he is about to do.

So many things in life are really not what they always seem. I’ve learned it’s critical to get in tune with the Holy Spirit to be able to see what God says about all areas. It’s pretty amazing to be able to have such guidance when making life’s decisions. I’m zooming in on such a wide “circle” to making my “circle” small and tight. I’m done with having a wide circle. It’s SO OVERRATED!

I’m experiencing a peace about making these MOVES in my life. 

Everything God re-MOVES from our lives he will replace with more amazing MOVES!

I’ve decided to start a weigh loss journey! I’m sharing to hopefully give someone else some hope who might be struggling in this area. Weight Watchers is one of the area’s God is MOVING in my life! This is a huge step for me. Ever sense being in recovery, FOOD has been one of the only pleasures. I’ve started scratching the surface on how someone can begin to emotionally eat. I desire to be healthy not only my spirit and mind but my body as well. So in order to do this I have to pull back on some of my commitments and focus on my health. I gained 20 lbs which isn’t much to some people. But I can assure you I can feel it all over my body. I can feel a 5 pound difference! So January 2nd I began this weight loss journey! It’s been amazing so far. Easy? NO! But in order to MOVE in some areas with my health it takes action. As of today I have lost 8 pounds in in 11 days! Weight Watchers WORKS! I’ve walked quiet a bit, but some days aren’t as much as others. I’m terrible at getting to the gym, but I love to walk. So I have lost by the Weight Watchers program eating all the food I want! I have a goal of loosing 30 pounds in 6 months. I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT!

Next thing is I’m starting a part time job on top of my full time job working as a Remote Reservation Customer Care Agent for Hilton Worldwide. The best part is IT’S FROM HOME! I can still be home with my kids and I will be able to set my own hours after training. Training is 4-6 weeks. I’m excited. I don’t do well with idol time, as many people in recovery don’t. My goal is to pay some bills on my credit, and create a emergency fund if anything ever happened we would have back up. It’s hard with no family. There is no security for me in ever being able to call a family member for anything, especially if I ever needed anything financially. I have learned to depend on my self and God has always made a way. This is another reason I’m going to work a part time job. Saving money!

While God is making major MOVES in my life, I see transitions coming about for the BETTER. My time will be more limited, and things might be hectic on occasion juggling 2 jobs and a home, and still being a mom. I want to use the little spare time I will have with my kids, and my few close friends and with God. My oldest daughter is in college, and I want to do as much as I can to help her!  Just because we have decided to MOVE churches, doesn’t mean God isn’t close by. He’s with me daily, and I seek Him first and foremost in my life. Pulling back from LOTS of social media has been a HUGE life off my shoulders. MAKING MOVES! I thought it was going to be temporary, but as the days pass the more free I feel. The more time I have for things that are really important like the things listed above.

Just updating my followers near and far where I’m at and what’s going on in my life. I hope the new year is treating you well and I pray God MOVES some things in your life so you work towards happiness, being healthy and whole in Him!

If you need to reach me, feel free to leave me a message here or email me:


Pamela K.

A Reflection About Christmas

Moving away so my kids and I could have a better life is something my kids, thankfully will never understand. If they understood this they would have to experience all the hell I went through growing up. I never wanted them to experience these things, so moving away to protect them was all I knew to do.

I am constantly hearing many people share experiences about their families, and the good and bad times. Many times I learn of dysfunction and toxic situations that people are in while they are grumbling and groaning about certain people. Many times they share situations about family members who have “crossed the line” or “got on their last nerve”.

This holiday season I was reminded on many occasions why I moved away. To me there are so many dynamics to this. There are pro’s and con’s. The sadness I feel from having to make this choice of moving away just to have some normalcy in my life, and my kids life really never leaves. Aside from all the other adoptee issues, this sadness is always in the background lurking, especially on the holidays.

All those around are sharing their holiday “CHEER”

I just can’t wait to get on with the new year!  

I never want to be a Grinch and spoil anyone’s holiday so I keep my opinions to myself. Holidays are painful! Triggers Triggers everywhere. Everyone is talking about their families, blah blah blah…

This year was different. I’ve found 2 of my 3 amazing kids are in relationships with significant others. This brought a new spin to our holiday season. 2 of my 3 kids were able to experience a “Family Setting” from other families and it brought them great joy and fun to experience this type of “Love & Welcoming” from other people, in other families.

It dawned on me that this is something I can’t give them and I never will be able to give this to them. 

There is little ole me.

I’m just mom.

I feel terrible about THIS but no one else would understand unless they were an estranged adoptee in a similar situation. I don’t have parents that are active in my life or my kids lives. They don’t have active grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. I could have stayed around all the toxicity and dysfunction and everyone would have been major damaged goods, just like I was. If I stayed in the situation I was in, I wouldn’t even be able to be “Mom” because I was so broken that drinking alcohol was all I knew to numb the pain.

Of all people to know how important a mother is, I know. I know because I have never had one so I know first hand the heartbreak and loss involved in this situation I have had no control over. My birth mother rejected a relationship and abandoned me twice. My adoptive “mother” should have never been given a chance to adopt. She was never a mother. My adoptive dad moved far away and LEFT US with the adoptive “Mother” who didn’t have the capabilities to be a “Mother” and my birth father has rejected a relationship with me. I’m trying to embrace family isn’t always blood, it’s who you make it and teach this to my kids.

How can an adoptee be adopted, yet be parentless in the parent area?

Back to CHRISTmas…

My 2 children were able to experience all the fun, love and excitement of being a part of another family. My heart was exceptionally excited for them to be able to experience something they should have never had to go without. I feel guilty as a parent, but I can’t change a thing about who our family is or isn’t. I have had no control over being adopted or the family I got in this deal.

One thing I know is that I pray daily for my kids to have significant others who have big wonderful families who love them, accept them and treat them with love and respect each of them deserves. I pray they gain a wonderful family in their significant others. I pray they are strong enough in life to be able to have healthy and happy relationships around them. I pray they are strong enough to let go of all things unhealthy and toxic no matter who inflicts this on them. I want them to find happiness in life. They deserve it.

It might have taken me many years to get my “stuff” together but one thing I am certain of is that my kids have me, adoptee in recovery. Holiday’s come and go and there are constant reminders of all that has been lost in my life because of adoption. Triggers come 100 X a day it seems. Adoption doesn’t only impact me, but it has greatly impacted my children. I know on many occasions they have expressed feeling alone like I do. It breaks my heart in another type of way.  I’m their mother and I’m not going anywhere but I never can or never will be able to give them the wonderful happy family they deserve. Not on Christmas, or any day of the year. It saddens me but at the end of the day…

We do have each other minus all the family drama!

That’s something HUGE to smile about! 

Thankfully we have each other.