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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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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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“…

But FEAR.

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?

LIES AND SECRETS ARE NEVER OKAY- EVEN IN ADOPTION

LIES HURT

THIS HURTING IS LIFELONG FOR ADOPTEES

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.

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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!

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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

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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.

Nauseous.

Fear.

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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.

BUT GOD…

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…

WISH

DO

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Pamela A. Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Left Out of the Obituary- Again

Adoption is Messy.

MORE THAN MESSY!

Inconsolable Grief Consumed Me…

The feelings overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my face for hours. There was nothing that eased the pain I was feeling when I learned my brothers family left me out of His obituary.

His death was one thing.

Leaving me out of the obituary was another.

HEARTBROKEN

AGAIN, AGAIN, & AGAIN…

There are really no words to describe how this has felt to me. I experienced the same thing when my birth mother passed away. My birth sister asked me to come and said she needed me to be at the funeral so I went. Why did I have it in my mind that maybe, just maybe I would be listed in her obituary as her daughter? She rejected me. She didn’t want a relationship with me, yet I still had this HIDDEN HOPE that I would be in her obituary.

I guess adoptees are good at fantasizing & dreaming about who, what, when & where did I come from? From the moment we find out we’re adopted we start seeking and searching for our people. HIDDEN HOPE is something I always carried with me. Tucked away in my back pocket wishing and hoping things would change with my birth mother, that one day she would change her mind and want me in her life.

20 years passed and it never happened, yet I was supposed to be there for my birth sister to support her?

On November 7, 2010 I & experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I sat in the front row of my birth mothers funeral service, along side of my sister- you know where the “VIP Family” sits? Yet, I glanced at the funeral service, and looked at the obituary and I was no where to be found.

So who the hell am I?

Am I invisible?

Do I not count for shit?

Am I a human being who has no feelings at all?

Again, inconsolable grief that grew to be larger than the grief of the loss in itself. Just heart-wrenching & I still tear up thinking about it. The pain was and is overwhelming.

So here we have it May 20, 2017- I’ve been working on building a relationship with my img_5247new found brother which I found in 2011. We’ve actually been working together to build that relationship. I had visited Texas multiple times with my kids, and my brother had come to Kentucky multiple times. We both made an effort. We talked on the phone every few weeks, and we text one another pictures of the sunrises and sunsets on occasion. The last time I heard form Him was Mother’s Day…

Sadly, I will never hear from Him again but our last words were happy, cheerful, fun and full of LOVE.

He was my brother.

When I read the obituary and saw I was not included, my heart dropped. I was at the park doing laps for some exercise and it stopped me in my tracks. Tears rolled down my face as I began to weep. Weeping turned into sobbing and there was nothing I could to to ease this pain. The truth is the truth. This hurt like hell. More than anything. It hurt.

I sobbed for hours that night… a few close to me could feel my pain by the tone of my voice, my sadness, my tears and for once in my life I wasn’t hiding it. THEY SAW IT. I sat in the dark of my living room for what seemed like hours. My dogs gave me comfort and one of my daughters stopped by to lend me some support. She hugged me, and held my hand and told me how sorry she was that happened.

What now? I text my brother’s sister and asked her “WHY” I was left out of the obituary. Oh it was a mistake, blah blah blah… Right. I wonder how many adoptees in the world have heard that same crap? Millions I’m sure. All I know is it showed me their true colors on how they really feel about me, but I can tell you one thing my brother didn’t feel that way about me. We have 6 years of amazing memories that no one can take. We had a great relationship that can’t be erased. This was the last photo we took together & a photo of Him and my kids on our first trip to Texas.

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Perhaps I set myself up for this pain? One thing I’ve always done is try to see the best in everyone, to look at things in a positive light, to pull out something good in every situation. There has to be a lesson here right? I mean isn’t there a lesson in everything?

For me the only lesson I can pull from this heartache is to stop investing in so many relationships because in the end, it’s always pain. It’s happened my entire life. I know my fellow adoptees get it, especially those in reunion… Reunion is rocky at times, it’s hard and it takes a lot of work especially when so much time has been missed. It’s hard to build relationships with people from afar when you have no shared history. It’s awkward, its overwhelming sadness of what was missed, it’s joy and fun at times. I’ve learned as time passes in my life less is good. The less people, less commitments, less ties to people, places & things the better for me. I love to be by myself, and that’s where I’m the happiest because it’s just God and I.

I must connect with someone extremely well before I make the choice to let them in. I know many adoptees experience the same. I think it’s natural for a not natural situation. I’m very cautious who I allow to enter my life, and at this point I’m extremely happy with the small group of friends I have, my children & very few family members. I have a special man in my life, he knows who he is. I’m also happy with a fairly wide circle of fellow adoptees. If any of you should read this, please know you are a safety net for me and so many others. When I disappear from social media,  or the world I know I don’t even have to explain it. You guys are right there to pick up where we left off when things circle back around. And they always circle back around.

No matter what I do in life, I still find myself processing the pain from adoption.

Praise God for this safe space where no one can interrupt me or shut me down from sharing how I feel. Those days are over. I will not make any apologies for how I feel nor will I deny how I feel to make other’s feel comfortable. Healing from this journey will take an entire lifetime, because so much was lost and there are so many dynamics to it. Thankfully I live a happy life aside from my adoptee issues. I have amazing kids, a great job I love, I have found myself in nature and searching for waterfalls. I’m free from running in circles at churches, and recovery meetings. I’m seeking God in all things but the rules and regulations brought on by man are things I’m no longer interested in in my life. Life is good. I’m happy generally speaking.

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Somehow adoption always has a way of creeping its head back up trying to take more of my joy. Many adoptees feel the same way, its not just me! It’s always something. The greatest part about sharing these feelings when they come is once I share them it takes the load off my shoulders and I release it so it’s not weighing me down. We have to share our hurts! If you are an adoptee reading this, please find someone safe you can talk to who will listen without judgement. If you are not an adoptee who might be reading this, please JUST LISTEN when adoptees share. Please listen with the intent to LEARN, not the intent to REPLY. Please understand that not all adoptees “Have a bad experience” because their pain doesn’t line up with the worldly views of how wonderful adoption is. Just because we have pain because of adoption, doesn’t mean we aren’t happy people.

So today, I am moving forward. I’m not getting stuck in this pain but I’m processing it in healthy ways as it comes. Today I’m not drinking, I’m writing. I’m living my life the way I see fit. If you want to know why I always seem happy and bubbly, I get my joy from those I’m close to and from the Lord! I’m resting in God’s hand and I’m pretty comfortable there.

Until Next Time…

❤ P.Karanova

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Tick-Tock, Times Moving on the Clock

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

WHY?

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?

A STRUGGLE!

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.

Searching.

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.

TODAY & FUTURE DAYS I WANT TO LIVE THE LIFE GOD CREATED FOR ME ALL ALONG.

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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