When Adoptive Parents Have the Willingness to Listen…

 

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Let me explain my recent change of heart on this topic.

I’ve discovered over the last few months I’ve been selling myself short in speaking to adoptive parents. For those who know me, they know I’ve always said my passion and gifting is for adult adoptees. The ones who are broken, hurting, isolated, and alone. They need someone who understands them, and they are my motivation, my reason to keep sharing and keep writing.

On the other hand, I’ve also backed it up on many occasions that my gifting is NOT in speaking with Adoptive Parents. I’ve shouted this loud and clear and let the adoption/adoptee community know that it’s just not my strong suit. It’s not my area of expertise.

Why you might ask?

Because I find them to be triggering to the max on many fronts. A lot of crossing paths with them have been in online settings, and it’s hard to tell if I was inserting my option when it was asked for or if I was simply sharing my views. Most all times it’s been triggering is when they refuse to listen, learn and acknowledge my truth, even if they don’t understand it or agree with it.

Over the last 7 years of sharing my journey, I’ve found that more times than not Adoptive Parents don’t have the willingness to LISTEN & LEARN from Adult Adoptees which defeats the purpose of sharing all my knowledge based on lived experiences being an adoptee. This has caused me to put my wall up with them and retreat solely with networking and focusing on my fellow adoptees. The wall has been up for years!

Something amazing happened a few months ago. I will leave names out for privacy, but a long-time friend reached out to me and said she would love if we could meet so we could talk about some things. She’s now an adoptive mom. At first, I was a little reluctant because in my mind, I don’t have a gifting for speaking to Adoptive Parents. But there was something different about her. Not only did I know her and have known her for along time but she actually WANTED TO LEARN AND LISTEN.

What I had based my views on regarding not having gifting to speak to adoptive parents is because so much of my experience is them wanting to talk over me, shut me down, silence me, or better yet have no intention to LISTEN, but always wanting to be heard. Sadly, these experiences outweigh the good experiences in interacting with adoptive parents in my world. Unfortunately, this is the reason I have excluded Adoptive Parents from my inner circle. They have only caused more damage to me by the attitude they have, and I can no longer allow those type of people to be inside my very valuable space.

My views have shifted after meeting with my friend who is now an Adoptive Parent. I love her. She loves me. We have a mutual respect for one another and have known one another for at least 25 years. She genuinely wanted some advice, and I was honored and elated she would seek me out to receive it.

RECEIVE IT.

Let’s say it again…

RECEIVE IT…

That’s right. It’s been highlighted to me that my friend wanted to receive what I had to share, and this is exactly what the difference is between her and so many other Adoptive Parents I’ve come across. So many of them don’t want to receive what Adult Adoptees have to say even when we hold the most valuable experience in the adoption equation. There is no therapist, or counselor who understands this thing like we do, unless they are adoptees themselves. I promise you this is the TRUTH!

In my 7 years of being out of the fog, networking in the adoption/adoptee community I have only come across a small handful of Adoptive Parents who have reached out to me and supported me, who have had the willingness to listen and learn. A VERY SMALL HANDFUL. If you are one of them, I will share I appreciate you more than you know and thank you for having the willingness to listen and learn to help understand your adoptive child better.

I say to myself all the time, “If only ALL adoptive parents were that way, adoptees wouldn’t be 4x more likely to attempt suicide. Adoptees wouldn’t be over populated in the prisons, jails, treatment facilities and mental health facilities. If only more adoptive parents had the willingness to LISTEN AND LEARN from Adult Adoptees they could HELP US, adoptees all over the world wouldn’t be so broken” And yes, adoptees all over this world are broken, hurting and they have no where to turn. Some of them are in their 60’s and 70’s and they’ve lived their entire lives suffering in silence because our world won’t acknowledge the pain they have had to carry their entire lives.  I’ve seen too much, and I know too much. I can’t unsee what I’ve seen or unknow what I know.

If you don’t believe me visit my Facebook pages Ask an Adoptee and How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? You could also visit the website I created for adoptees to share their stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? If you have networked with as many as adoptees as I have and heard their stories, listened to them and validated them you would see why the adoptee community is so important to me and my number one focus and cause in life. You would understand why we need Adoptive Parents to listen & learn.

Having many years of experience and my new turn of events in having the grace and willingness to share with my friend who is an adoptive parent, it’s helped me realize that I DO HAVE THE GIFT to talk to adoptive parents but there is a stipulation. It’s the adoptive parents who have the willingness to listen and learn.

I’ve found that it’s not my job to educate adoptive parents because I simply don’t owe anyone anything in that area. On the other hand, when an adoptive parent comes to me like my friend did, and they sincerely want to listen and learn I will do my best to share my experience with the utmost respect and truth and present it with the most understanding way possible. I appreciate my friend coming to me more than she will ever know, and she was so brave to have the willingness to listen and learn. I hope and pray the same for all Adoptive Parents all over the world. When the Adoptive Parents want to listen and learn, it helps their Adoptive Child because they begin to understand better.

In talking to my friend I learned she was very rare Adoptive Parent in wanting to listen and learn. Our time together was priceless, and we shared from our hearts our experiences and we both welcomed questions and had the willingness to speak gracefully about the unexpected situations that come from raising an adoptive child, especially the ones the Adoption Agencies don’t tell you about.

I’ve decided that I do have the grace and the gift, but each situation in me connecting with an adoptive parent will be unique in my choosing in who I want to engage with. Being an adoptee, I lost all choices for most of my life, and still losing some today so today I CHOOSE.

For the Adoptive Parents who don’t have the willingness to listen and learn, I have absolutely no time for them nor will I waste my time on trying to connect because they are EXTREMELY triggering to me. It’s simple.

In the future I have a vision of incorporating a discussion panel into our Adoptees Connect Small Groups (separate from our monthly meetings) where Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents would be able to come ask Adult Adoptees questions. The key is, they are coming to RECEIVE what we are willing to share. I feel this will be a game changer for the Adoption Communities all over the place. I hope to put this vision into action Spring 2019 and Adoptees Connect will have been planted for a little over a year. By then I will have some Adult Adoptees who are on board for being on the Discussion Panel. Lot’s in the works for Adoptees Connect!

I’ve had it on my heart to share this article for some time, but life has been crazy, but things are slowing down a bit.

My question is, if you are an Adoptive Parent do you have the willingness to listen and learn from Adult Adoptees? If you answered “YES” to that question I commend you. Every time I get questions from Adoptive Parents & Birth Parents on the “Ask an Adoptee” page on Facebook I commend them! They are seeking the valuable voices of Adult Adoptees who have the lived experiences to back it up.

Things are changing, and things are looking up, but we still have so much work to do!

If you answered “NO” to this question I would like to encourage you to seek deep in your heart and ask yourself “WHY?”. Is it fear? Fear of the truth? It will eventually come to surface as all truth does, and I would much rather you be prepared and ready for whatever is to come than to live in denial and your adoptive child live a life like I did and so many other adoptees. Isolated. Alone. Disconnected. Hurt. Traumatized. Many Adult Adoptees have the willingness to share our perspectives with you, but you must meet us half way and have the willingness to listen and learn.

For my fellow Adoptees, how do you feel about speaking to Adoptive Parents? As I shared, it’s not our responsibility but if you have chosen to navigate this into your adoption/adoptee advocacy, do the adoptive parents you are speaking to have the willingness to listen and learn? I would love to learn your experiences?

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

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Small Circles

imageedit_2_6710274178From this day forward I am only allowing myself to be around a small circle of people. Chances are they will be different circles of people. Such as work & personal. I know a lot of people at work. I’ve been at the same job for 11+ years. But that doesn’t mean I’m close to all of those people nor do I want to have them close to me. I keep them at a distance. If you are an acquaintance of mine chances are you know it, and feel it. If you are a friend of mine you will hear from me on occasion. If you aren’t a friend of mine you won’t hear from me.

It’s simple.

I mean no harm in sharing these things. Just being honest at where I’m at in my life. I think it’s wisdom to be cautious of who we allow in our lives. I’ve spent my entire life opening up to people. Back in my party days I was always “Party Pam”. Party Pam always went over and above for everyone because I have always been that type of person. I have always loved people. I always took pride in having a wide circle of friends. Were they quality friends? About a 1/4 of them, if that. To this day I have maybe 2 still in my life.

After my Party Pam days I started making friends at church. I’ve realized over time that was all a bunch of shenanigans. More than I want to share here, at this time anyway. God told me when I started my “Recovery Life” he was going to give me new friends. I was in fear of the old me leaving and WHO WAS THIS NEW PERSON GOD CREATED ME TO BE? I honestly had no flipping clue! Still after all these years I’m figuring out what most adoptees struggle with- WHO AM I? Crazy part is, when I hit this phase I certainly have figured out I was nothing like my biological family or my adoptive family! NOTHING LIKE ANY OF THEM.

As I began the journey of recovery I was starting a new church. Feb of 2012 things were all new at this church. I quickly became sucked into many activities, ministries, and areas of this church where God was using me for His good. I remember him specifically saying “More, More, More”. He was going to weed out my old friends, and bring me new friends. I trusted this process and will always be thankful for it. However, I was served an illusion on a silver platter by this church all while making some of the most amazing friends I have ever had. You can see there would be pros and cons to this as there is in ever area of life. There are always risks involved in everything.

By the time I started recovery in August 2012 I had new friends. I had Celebrate Recovery which changed my life. This is where things got real. I was surrounded by imperfect people who knew that in order to live in recovery WE HAD TO KEEP IT REAL. WE HAD TO BE HONEST. WE HAD TO SHARE OUR ISSUES WITH OTHERS. TRANSPARENCY WAS KEY.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN EVER SINGLE CHURCH SHOULD WORK THIS MINISTRY! IF THEY DID, AND GOT TO THEIR ROOT ISSUES EVERY CHURCH WOULD BE A MUCH BETTER PLACE ESPECIALLY REGARDING THE LEADERSHIP!

During the fight of my life, finding out who my birth family was and perusing them with everything I had in me only to have them slam the door in my face, all the way to making new friends at this church I was attending I can honestly say I have always been someone who keeps it real. Knowing how much the truth matters, and how much HURT comes from people NOT BEING TRUTHFUL one thing about me is I will always tell the truth. NO MATTER WHAT.

As I grew in this church, thank God He was there and he was present. I am more than thankful for that.  I grew to have this wide circle of friends. Back to Popular Pam. I loved everyone and they loved me, or so I thought. I went into this place with a pure heart, pure intentions. God showed up and showed out. I underwent a major reconstruction phase of my life. It was hard. 2012-2016 was a very heavy time because I finally started working on my adoptee issues and so much more! There were a small handful of people from that church who supported me. VERY SMALL. Let’s be honest, adoption is glorified worldwide. “She just had a bad story” is what I was labeled. I learned who I could talk to about this, and who I couldn’t. It was simple. I still wouldn’t change anything about this journey! It’s part of my story!

Over time I learned that all these “Relationships” of “MORE” really weren’t real true genuine relationships at all. They were forged relationships bombed by the “Love Team” “Love bombing is an extreme example of something that turns out to be relatively common—something I call “toxic affection.” If affection is the expression of love and fondness, then toxic affection is any such expression that has an ulterior motive.” by people who probably had good intentions. This is NOT REAL PEOPLE! It’s very deceptive! I learned that most of these relationships only took place as I passed these people by while inside the doors of the church. I learned that they actually were only REAL if I go to the same church as them.  I learned that inside the church is just as dysfunctional and toxic as all the situations I have fought to leave in my life.

So many people have said – IT’S NOT ALL CHURCHES!

IT’S THAT CHURCH!

(I will not reveal the name. I have more respect for them than they have for me or or my family!!)

I know “THAT CHURCH” served a purpose in our lives for a time being. To be honest we planned on staying there forever. You can only see and know about so much dysfunction and toxicity and not take action when people are getting hurt IN THE CHURCH. Take action meaning walk out the door for me and my family. ESPECIALLY AFTER MY KIDS ARE BEING SHUNNED AND HURT. You can play with me all day, but play with my kids it’s a different story.

Over the last year the big circle of “Family of Choice” is what they called it began to shrink and shrink. My kids apparently weren’t fitting inside the “Box” this church wanted to put them in. My kids are great kids and have always been great kids. But the moment the wouldn’t conform to be how the leaders in this church wanted them to be they were tossed out, literally. I have seen this church use a person as a mastermind manipulator to deceive the congregation into thinking they are getting “Lay Counseling Services” for FREE but this service isn’t by a legal counselor, nor is it kept confidential like others think it is. After requesting my file, they have denied me the right to my very personal information they had no permission to retrieve from me in the first place.

Who needs the drama?

Not me. Not my kids.

I am not giving up on getting my file and I’m going to request it one more time before I decide on taking legal action. I have confronted this church in an 8 page email and received one phone call by one person, it was ignored by all else involved. I shared very valid concerns and was ignored! Is that the “CHRIST-LIKE” AKA CHRISTIAN WAY TO DO THINGS? Last I knew they should have wanted to make things right. Or is that just THIS CHURCH?  So building this “Family of Choice” -(marketing tactic) all these years is only “Family of Choice” if you are doing things their way. Bringing a legitimate issue to them and you are ignored, and cast aside. Your labeled with a big fat red stamper on your forehead “SPIRIT OF OFFENSE!” and they toss you to pit. They label it as a “Spiritual Attack” yet fail to acknowledge the TRUTH in all aspects of what is really going on? I have seen no accountability at all!

You can mess with me all day, but messing with my kids is another story!

So there you have it. Small circle filled with real true genuine friends & GOD! I prefer my friends to be there for me when I’m down and out AND when I’m on top of the world. Not just sometime friends who I only see when I walk through the doors of the church. I don’t need friends who expect me to fit in their box. Sorry, I’m not ever going to fit inside anyone’s box. I am not like anyone! I am unique and set aside who God created me to be. I think so much hurt in my life by UNTRUTH has helped me realize how THE TRUTH is so important. Recovery has taught me we have to confront the truth and NOT IGNORE IT! It’s not going anywhere and I am not going anywhere!

FYI: When people leave YOUR CHURCH and you tell them “Good-Bye” I question that. If you spent all that time building a REAL RELATIONSHIP with them why would you tell them good-bye? F A K E ! !

I have so many eye openers God has helped me reveal about people and healthy and unhealthy church! THANK GOD FOR HIM! I will keep writing. My motto, people should really think about the way they treat you if they expect you to write warmly about them! My intentions are not to hurt anyone, only to share the TRUTH!

SMALL CIRCLE!

BIG CIRCLES ARE OVERRATED!

THIS IS LIFE!

Thank you God for helping me see things for what they really are! Thank you for blessing me with the real true friendships I have. Thank you for helping my family with the healing process from so much hurt!  Amen.

*I know churches are full of imperfect people. I know there are no perfect churches. I know the difference.

P.K.

 

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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