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 MOVING ON!

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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Today…

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Where I can dream again.

Where I can be a kid again.

Vitamin N.

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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.

GOD IS IN CONTROL.

I TRUST HIM!

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…

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Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Lexington, KY

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Learning to Dream Again

 

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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 MISSED IT.

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.

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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

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If I Die Tomorrow, What I Want You To Know Today

Let me first say this is in NO WAY a suicide letter or anything of that nature. I promise you and give you my word. I’m a Christian and I value my life and look forward to any days I have on earth to spend with my amazing children, and one day grandchildren.
It’s REALLY been on my mind and in my heart lately so I wanted to write about it. Maybe it will give me some comfort in sharing my feelings.  I wake up daily, with the weight of the adoptee emotions at the front of my brain. It sometimes seems impossible to get through a single day. Some of those following my blog know my journey. For those who don’t, basically I ran from processing any abandonment and rejection issues from my adoptee situation and drank alcohol to cope my entire life because the pain was so deep; I didn’t know what to do with it. My adoptive parents denied that I should feel any kind of way about my first family, or have any adoption related issues. From the time I was 12 I was drinking and at 37 years old I decided I didn’t want to live that life anymore and I started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery. It’s been a life changing journey for sure! I’m 39 now, and I have been living a sober lifestyle for a year and a half TODAY. This has definitely been a tough year and a half. I have made the choice to dig deep and pull out all my skeletons from my past and put them out on the table and work on them. I’ve asked God to come in and help me heal from these hurts, habits & hang ups.  I’ve came so far in this little bit of time. I no longer have the desire to drink, he’s taken it. That’s a huge victory in itself.
Image Courtesy of Master Isolated
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Let me just tell you a little about my life. I have 3 amazing kids. They are my world. They are the reason I wake up every day and push past the feelings of abandonment and rejection and all the emotional issues being adopted has brought me. They are the reason I’m alive today, because without them I have no reason to be here.  I truly mean that. I have a wonderful career, caring for the elderly. I make handmade soap and get great joy from coming up with new creations, and sharing them with others. I have a WONDERFUL church home, and an amazing church family. I’m very active at my church; I am there 2-3 times a week trying to fill my life with positive, happy things. I spend my days trying to give back because so much has been given to me. Having 3 healthy amazing children is HUGE in my eyes. They are all great kids too.  I live in a fairly nice home. I’ve been blessed with a new car recently, and to the outside world life would appear to be picture perfect.  I don’t have a man in my life, and quite frankly I’m not sure if I ever will again. I find it very difficult to explain my deep rooted emotional adoptee issues to people that don’t understand what we go through, and it’s just easier to keep things simple and be alone in that area. I get more frustration or grief from sharing my feelings with someone and they just look at me like I’m crazy, or assume I’m just stuck on the past and I need to just “LET IT GO”. Trust me, if it was that easy, I would have just LET IT GO a long time ago. Let me mention, that when an adoptee is sharing their feelings most of the time we just want someone to listen. You can’t fix us, only we can fix us and this traumatic situation we have been put into. SO please just listen! I stay very busy so I can keep my mind off my adoptee reality. When I sit, I think. Writing has been a way for me to process my emotions and feelings in a healthy way. I may not be the best writer in the world, but these feelings and this place is all mine and I feel I finally have a place to share with no interruptions. Do you know how many times in my life I’ve tried to speak about my adoption feelings and someone interrupts me, or they say something ridiculous like “Aren’t you glad you weren’t aborted? Or “You were a gift, God planned you before you were born” Just about every single time in my life I have had someone interrupt me, or say something very insensitive about how I feel so I learned I had to hide my feelings until recently. I’ve broke out of my hidden shell in the adoptee world. I speak out, and I’m not scared to share how I feel. Do I have to hide it from my adoptive family or my biological family? YES I DO. Although some of them try to understand, in no way do I want to hurt their feelings by speaking how I feel. It’s created an awkward situation because I feel I have to live a double life, and that everything is still so much of a secret.  But at least I’m sharing my feelings with the rest of the world, and it does bring me comfort.
Enough about me and back to the topic of me sharing my feelings for this blog post.
I am unsure if these feelings I’m having are so strong because this is the first time in my life I have soberly processed all these emotions, or if I’m stuck with feeling this way until I get out of this hell on earth we live in. I knew this would be a difficult journey when I began, the day I quit drinking, August 12, 2012. I know God is with me, I know I have friends that fellow adoptees that support me. I thought by now it would get easier. It’s been a year and a half. Why am I not feeling some sense of peace with my adoption journey? I have peace with almost everything else, but not this. I’m at a limbo with coming to the conclusion that I very well may feel this way for the rest of my life here on earth. I guess I can describe it as an aching, deep sadness that never leaves. It’s always there; it hangs over my head, every minute of every day. It’s always there. I’ve learned to put on a smile for those around me, especially my kids. I never want them to be burdened with my issues like I always was growing up. My adoptive mother made it a point to cry daily, and express her unworthiness of being a mother as well as self-medicate with prescription pain pills. This made me want to keep as much of my emotional issues from my kids, because let’s face it. Why should our kids have to deal with our emotional issues? They shouldn’t. They do listen when I speak about certain things, but sometimes I sit and wonder. “I wonder what they would say if they knew how broken my heart really was?  I wonder if they really knew that they are the only reason I’m alive today.” Of course I never say a word about those feelings. I just keep it to myself and keep moving. I never want them to think they have anything to do with it. They bring me more joy in my life than words can even express and because of them, I have a reason to let my feet hit the floor every morning.
I guess I will wrap this up by saying what I wanted to say all along. If I were to die tomorrow, I would want everyone close to me to know that I am no longer suffering. I’m no longer in pain. I no longer have this deep dark sad wound deep in my soul from being separated from my first family. I no longer have to make hard decisions in the reunion process. Recently I’m being faced with the decision of going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time that’s 94 or not going, she lives 13 hours away. You might think that’s an easy decision to make. But for me, I am grieving daily about the loss of relationships with my first family. Do you know how hard it will be to see my biological grandmother for the first time in my life and know it will more than likely be the last and only time I ever get to see her? Words can’t even describe my thoughts on that. What may seem like something amazing to some and I feel is amazing as well, but that’s not all. Knowing that I missed so much with her, and it will never be replaced, and that the one and only visit will be the last is just flat out depressing for me to think about. And I think about it daily. I grieve the losses of my first family daily. I wish, I wish, I wish runs through my mind daily. If only things were different or maybe if I was different they would have accepted me. Yes, both my biological parents rejected me and this has caused me the most amount of grief you could ever imagine. I don’t think that pain will ever go away, but I do hope and pray it will get easier. Today I want the world to know, that when my time is up on earth, and when God takes me home to be with him this pain will all be gone. I look forward to that day and I’m extremely grateful that I believe in heaven and hell because if I didn’t I wouldn’t have that place of pure peacefulness to look forward too. I long for the day that my heart is whole, and peacefulness takes over my mind. Some may say, “Well you have a choice now what you do with your current situation”. You are so right, I sure do. I’m sorry that I can’t just wake up one day and make the pain all be gone. It’s feels like a knife slicing my heart or a constant loss and grieving feeling that is always there. I pray for God to make it easier for me and other adoptees that are going through the same emotions that I might be. During the rest of my time here on earth I will continue to work on healing, and grieve in healthy ways. I will continue to speak about my feelings. I will continue to reach out to adoptees. I will continue to wear the mask that I have had to wear my whole life, ever since the moment I found out I was adopted. Why wear the mask you ask? Well, because it’s simply easier than letting everyone know my heart is literally ripped into shreds and I struggle daily with my feelings of self-worth, abandonment & rejection. If I appear to have it all together at least I don’t have people thinking I’m some ungrateful, angry adoptee.
I believe God can definitely heal our broken hearts about so many things in life. But I have come to accept the fact that my root issues of abandonment & rejection are here to stay.  This has been a big thing for me to accept. I have always used alcohol to take the pain away, but today it’s as raw as it was the first day I stopped drinking. You would think that time would heal, but the truth is when a piece of your heart is missing, or shredded sometimes it never heals. It’s leaning on God in times of despair and trusting that he has a purpose and a plan for me and my life is my main focus in my life today. I realize all adoptees are different, and we are all at different places with our journeys. Some adoptees are at total peace with their journeys, and I would give anything to feel that way about mine.
But let me just say one more time, if I were to die tomorrow please know that my life is far better than the one I have lived here on earth because my broken heart will be healed. My abandonment & rejection issues will be gone. It will be sad for my kids to loose me, but at least they will have some amazing memories with me to remind them of our time together. Adoptees get absolutely none of that when it comes to our first families. I hope that one day if they will read this and know how much I loved them, and how I thank God for them every day. I do look forward to the future with my kids, and my future grandkids but I also look forward to the day where my heart is whole. They will be the beginning of my family tree and that brings joy to my heart.  I hope this letter would bring them peace to know that I’m in a better place where no suffering occurs. Every single day is a struggle and every single day I suffer mentally with my adoptee issues. I hate the thoughts I have, and look forward to the day they are all gone, the day I go to heaven.
For any adoptees that may be reading this, can you share some of the healthy ways you cope? Or some of the things you think of or remember in your mind that get you through another day? Do you share some of the same pain I do?
Pray for me and I’m going pray for you too!