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

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6 Years Gained, 47 Years Lost

Being an adoptee in a closed adoption, I had no idea I had a brother until 2010. The minute I found out about Him was the minute I began searching- AGAIN.  I was ecstatic about this, but where was he? What did he look like? Would he accept my children and I? Would I ever find Him?

All I knew is that I was going to dye trying. At all costs I was going to find Him. Almost a year to the date my long anticipation of waiting was over.

November 2011 I found my brother.

Greg
Greg ❤

We spoke on the phone for the first time comparing notes on our lives. My birth father was His father. After seeing a picture of Him I was amazed at all of our similarities we shared. Our skin tone was almost the same, we were both very tall with the same natural hair color and it appeared we had more resemblances than His siblings he grew up with and was raised with. After comparing some of our baby pictures we both just knew we were siblings.

There was no question about it.

For me this was an outstanding discovery but the best part is my new found brother not only mirrored me, but he accepted me. Not only did he accept me, he accepted my children. Do you have any idea how much this means when I have been rejected by both my biological parents and their families?

THIS HAS MEANT EVERYTHING TO ME!

I was on top of the world!

I told everyone about my brother and in a very short period of time in my eyes, he hung the moon! He planned a trip to spend Christmas with my kids and I in Kentucky and we met for the first time December 24, 2011. It was a dream come true for me. This would be the first holiday in my life I spent with biological family.  We sat at the table and talked for hours and hours. We both agreed we had a lot of making up to do.

I always told everyone He was the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow for me and God always saves the best for last.

Greg will always be my pot of Gold & my TREASURE in my adoption journey!

My First Trip To Texas 2014
Greg & I -Texas 2014

Over the last 6 years we made many memories together. Greg flew to KY 2x to share Christmas with my children and I. We visited Texas 2x to attend His Annual Craw-fish Boil in 2014 and in 2015 I attended my very first Thanksgiving Dinner with Him. This was an amazing experience. Family gathering around to celebrate all things, especially one another. There aren’t enough words to express How wonderful Greg and His entire family has been to my children and I. I had 4 new found nieces & a nephew. I had a new sister and brother which were Greg’s siblings he grew up with.

In a blink of an eye I had a whole new family I could call my own.

Amazing.

Especially since so much has been lost in adoption.

Greg and I made a mutual attempt at having a relationship with one another from afar. It wasn’t easy but it seemed to come natural to both of us. We always looked forward to speaking to one another. He was in Texas and I was in Kentucky. He knew I loved the sunrises and sunsets so it was common for Him to send me early morning or evening pictures of the Texas sunset. This has always been a way to my heart because I see God in all things to do with nature and the sky. I looked forward to our long conversations on the phone catching up on how things have changed from the last time we spoke.  Greg was always a breath of fresh air in my life. He was a big brother who gave me advice when I needed it, and listened when he needed a listener. He was an awesome dad, and an outstanding human being who would have done anything for anyone. Our similarities were astonishing at times. We both loved nature and hiking. He gave me great advice on many areas including the best supplements to take, hiking safe, how to check for ticks (lol), and so much more. At the end of every conversation we never hesitated to tell one another we loved each other.

Until Next Time…

Greg, ” I love you, Sis!”

Me, ” I love you too! We will talk soon!”

You see as an adoptee, I don’t tell people “bye”.

I say “I’ll talk to you soon”.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

May 21st 2017 I received some tragic information that Greg was in an early morning motorcycle accident. He was going 60MPH on a Texas road and hit a cow that was laying in the middle or the road. His brain damage was so sever he was put on life support and the doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. Greg fought for His life for the next 3 days and on May 24, 2017 He went home to be with the Lord.

My heart is broken.

Not many non-adoptees get it but my fellow adoptees can understand the pain associated with something like this. Waiting our entire lives to find our people, and the emotions attached to having to search for them daily our entire lives. The pain attached to our never ending journey of wanting to fit in somewhere with our people. The roller coaster ride that comes with reunions. I remember visiting Greg and going to the bedroom to cry many times because I was so ANGRY I missed so many years with my brother! The grief of missing so much of Him in my life was inconsolable at times! I tried my best to hide it from everyone, but it would overtake my mind and I just couldn’t shake it sometimes. It sent me into depression episodes many times over the years.

How could I have a brother so amazing SOMEWHERE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD and because of the secrets & lies in adoption I had no clue he existed and he had no clue I existed? I was given up for adoption in 1974 without my birth fathers consent as if he didn’t exist- bullshit! And it’s still happening today in 2017!  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve struggled with this and struggled a lot. As if anyone in the adoption “triad” doesn’t ever think of these things? Birth father’s have rights too! I would have known about my brother much sooner if it wasn’t for the secrets & lies in adoption!

ADOPTION IMPACTS ADOPTEES FOREVER!

IT NEVER GOES AWAY!

PLEASE BELIEVE IT!

Because we didn’t know about one another until 2011 I only got 6 amazing years with my brother. I’m crushed and most people that aren’t adopted simply don’t get all the dynamics of it all. Honestly, I’m thankful they don’t. Means they don’t know what this pain feels like. Please don’t mistake me sharing my feelings here as not being grateful for those 6 years! I’m extremely grateful!

May 24, 2017 I was given the gift of saying a final good-bye to my brother over the phone. He was in a coma,  and on life support. They had made the decision to remove his life support because of the brain damage he suffered.  Did he hear me? I will never know but they say that you should assume people hear you because a lot of the time they do.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. My brother I just found was the same brother I had to say a final good bye too? This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I sobbed and sobbed and said, “Greg, I just wanted to tell you I LOVE YOU! I’m so so very sorry you were in the accident and you are in this situation! But I want to tell you it’s okay to let go because I know this might be too much for you to hang on. Please believe we will all be okay but we sure are gonna miss you!!!! I’ve had some of the best memories of my LIFE with you and I could never thank you enough for loving me and accepting my children and I. They love you and will miss you and I want you to know you will be so missed but I will see you in heaven one day! I love you Greg”

I hung up the phone and continued to sob.

That was it.

Within a few short hours he was gone.

Not enough words to express the sadness and emotions I am feeling.

Bottom line is we all experience grief & loss in our lives. We handle it be best way we know how. All the way back to 5 years old and I found out I was adopted I have been grieving the unknown. My life has been a long road of grief between searching for my way back home, searching for my birth parents, and being rejected by them both I have experienced this grief & loss my entire life. This was the main reason alcohol was my escape. It did the trick, but now almost 5 years into living a sober lifestyle I am not running from the pain. I’m feeling it.

It hurts and hurts like hell.

Not long before the passing of my brother I have been writing about finding myself in nature, outside the 4 walls of the church. I have finally found my happy place and I know in my heart of hearts my brother would want me to continue to explore the world and go hiking and watch the sunrises and sunsets. He loved all these things as well! He would want me to continue to try to find happiness in the world we live in. I’m going to do that but I will never forget the brother that came into my life for 6 short years who was my treasure in my adoption journey.

47 years lost

6 years found

I will always hate adoption because of so much it’s taken from me and other adoptees. But I will always be grateful for the 6 years with my brother that some adoptees will never get. My heart breaks for them, like it breaks for the loss of my brother.

Today, I’m thankful for the 6 amazing years and I have 6 years of memories to hang onto. Non-adoptees don’t get it. For adoptees, memories are EVERYTHING because almost always we have none to hang onto, this is why many of us clench the pain so tight. There is nothing else to put in its place when you have no memories with your people! This is why there should be no secrecy and lies in adoption- EVER.

 At this place in my life the less attachments and less people I have in my life, the less chance there is to lose them. I’m just tired. Tired of losing people. Tired of being rejected. Tired of being abandoned. Tired of the grief process. It’s taken a toll on me as it does all adoptees.

At least I’m not drinking to cope.

I’m writing.

Today, I will continue to live life because my brother would want that. Last time we spoke I told Him about my bucket list of visiting all the waterfalls in Kentucky and falling in love with hiking. He was proud of me for finding something I have a passion for. Every hike I take I will take in memory of my brother. I know he’s always with me and I know he’s shining down on us all from Heaven.

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I will never get to hear his voice again, but I have 6 years of amazing memories to clench onto. Thank God for those memories. There isn’t enough material items in this entire world that is worth those memories that no one can take from me. Praise God.

Thanks for reading. If you receive anything from this post please never leave a chance to tell someone you love them empty! You never know when it will be your last time. If you’re in the adoption triad please let my post ring true to your ears and understand that adoptees experience grief, trauma, loss, sadness, pain our entire lives. It never goes away. It’s a lifelong battle. Please don’t deny us the right to grieve our losses. This is why I’ve been grieving on my own my entire life, there was no place for it when I was growing up. I could go on forever, but I will stop here.

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.

 

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.

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Adoptee Healing Tools

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I’ve been on a healing journey for 5 years.

I should be DEAD right now! 

A good friend sang this song at church today, and it blew me away!

Listen Up. It’s for you too!

“You thought I was worth saving, You came and changed my life. You thought I was worth keeping, You cleaned me up inside. You thought I was to die for, So you sacrificed your life so I could be FREE, so I could be whole, so I could tell everyone I know!” -Anthony Brown

I’m telling everyone I know God get’s the GLORY!

Over that 5 year period little by little tools that have helped me heal have been brought to my attention. I have yet to find a place where  many of them are listed in one space for easy accessibility.

 What am I healing from?  Abandonment, rejection, grief, loss & trauma from my adoption experience and from LIFE. With little to no resources available for adoptees I was on my own in finding healing tools that would work for me.  I decided I would share the tools I have found to help me in hopes these tools can enlighten and help other adoptees somewhere out there.  I have come into contact with hundreds of adoptees all over the world who are seeking  HEALING & FREEDOM. I ask them all the time, “What has helped you heal?” Sadly most of the time I hear, “Nothing!” Some are completely hopeless but I am here to give you a message of HOPE.I find it takes HOURS for me to share all the resources and most of the time I never can share them ALL.  Now they are in one spot in hopes to sharing with MORE adoptees.

 I will share by stating the tool used and how it helped me. I will also share the link where you can find this information when applicable. Please share with your fellow adoptees and in your online communities. Please note I am not speaking for all adoptees as a whole. I say “Many of us” to eliminate categorizing all adoptees as having struggles. Some of us do and some don’t. It’s that simple. I’m sharing these healing tools for those adoptees that do struggle. I will also share, this is a lot. Please take your time and know that what has worked for me might not work for you.

To my fellow hurting adoptees-

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 This post is dedicated to you! ❤

We all deserve healing and freedom & Its available to each and every one of us!

I realize not all those who might read this will have the same spiritual Christian beliefs I do and that’s okay. I love you all the same.  ❤

Last but not least, if you are NOT an adoptee and you come across this page, feel free to apply these suggestions to any area of your life where applicable.These resources are definitely not limited to adoptees only. Please share with your communities because there are adopted people everywhere who could benefit. I know this is A LOT of information. Take baby steps. One at a time. Be easy on yourself.

Blessings & Love,

Pamela Karanova

Lexington, KY

  • First Thing First- You are STRONG! Please believe and know in your heart of hearts. I am here to tell you that YOU ARE STRONG. There is not one adoptee on the planet that isn’t a strong person. What we have experienced in life is nothing that a sissy could handle. IJS! I’m so serious about this. Write it down, put it all over your house. “I AM STRONG”. Repeat, Repeat, REPEAT. ❤ 🙂
  • You are NOT Alone!- I hear this from adoptees from almost every single one that crosses my path. I felt this way most of my life. I am here to tell you today that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. That is one of the enemys # 1 tactics to make people feel alone. Well it is a lie. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly”. There are an army of adoptees out here to support you! You just hadn’t found them yet. We are here. We aren’t going anywhere. Please believe you are not alone. Start using hashtage #adoptee and you will see. We are here, and God is ALWAYS with you! ❤ Which brings me to my next point.
  •  God- God and His word have been the biggest and greatest healing tool I have yet to discover. He get’s the #1 spot in my world and he always will. This means I believe GOD is who He say’s He is, and He’s going to do what He said He was going to do. Why you might ask? Let me share a little of what it costs to me ME.  If you only knew all the places I’ve been in life. By looking at me now, YOU WOULD NEVER BELIEVE IT! I was abandoned by my birth mother when I was born, I was kept as her dirty little secret even from my own birth father. SHAME & REGRET I was raised in a home where I witnessed my adoptive mother trying to commit suicide in front of me multiple times. More Trauma She also tied us to chairs with dish towels, just to make us “behave”. Prescription pain pill addiction plagued this home. My adoptive mother had  manic depressive episodes and deep rooted depression that resulted in me being mother-less even when I was adopted. My needs were never met, I was her caretaker my entire life. Until I escaped in 2005. This resulted in feeling like the mother daughter bond was always broken, because it was. I had no security or safe place. I was stuck in this home with no way out. I was angry, rage filled as a teenager and many of my adult years. Sexually abused when I visited my adoptive dad every other weekend by a older step brother.  I was raped as a teenager. I ran away as a teenager, was in and out of alcohol and drug rehab, in group homes and learned very destructive patters at a very young age by being in the streets. I fought A LOT. Went to juvenile jail A LOT. I lost a baby at 15 because of the abusive relationship I was in. I was in many physically abusive relationships as an adult because I had no self love. I had a fractured chest bone, black eyes, a broken nose, stitches between my eyes, all from men.  As an adult I was in jail for assault for fighting,  I got a DUI and I was in the streets. I experimented with many drugs in my life, but alcohol was my thing.  That DUI cost me $355.00 a drink that night! I hated the world and everyone in it. I hurt people and people hurt me. I depended on alcohol to take all the pain away for 26 years of my life. Partying was the only escape for me.  [Only sharing because I want you to see I HAVE BEEN PLACES! DARK PLACES!]  BUT GOD- God saved me!  He has RESTORED ME! HEALED MY HURT! ERASED MY PAST! I live a brand new life now. 2 Cor 5:17 He wants the same for YOU! ❤ I’ve been living a SOBER LIFE on August 13, 2012.  I have made the choice to receive my Hope and Faith from God and the Holy Spirit and HIS WORD.  God has changed my life, forever!  I gave my life to Christ in 2009 and it was the best decision I have ever made. That was the first most important step. Many of us have baggage from past life’s hurts. It’s critical to HEAL those hurts, no matter what they are BEFORE we will ever be able to live the happy prosperous life God has for all of us! We can put a band-aid on it but that’s a temporary fix. It always creeps back. Healing takes HARD WORK and DEDICATION. You have to go THROUGH the pain again but God can help you do this. The only way to receive this help is by believing in Him and receiving Him today.  If you would like to receive Christ to live in your heart it’s the best decision you will have ever made. Healing and HOPE is possible. This is the ONLY way Healing is possible in my humble opinion. After this decision, God placed other tools, and resources available for me to work on my issues but receiving Him as my Lord & Savior is the #1 tool to move towards healing. It’s not about the religion, it’s about the RELATIONSHIP.

If you are interested in receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior please reach out to me! Here is a helpful link with some great information in taking that very important step. Prayer of Salvation

  • God’s Word– The Bible has been an amazing tool for me in my healing process. I know I mentioned it above, but aside from my relationship with Jesus Christ the word of God is something I have stood on. It’s brought me great healing knowing that God knows my hurt, my pain and my tears. It gives me Faith and Hope that in His word he says we will all be healed and made whole AND he knows our pain. When we believe His word we must RECEIVE His word. This means everything in the Bible is true. I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried EVERYTHING this world has to offer to fill the void, ease the pain, numb my soul. Sex, drugs, alcohol, people, places and things; NOTHING has been  fulfilling aside from God and His word. The more you dive into the word, even when you don’t understand it the more you will begin to understand it. Here is a link to purchase a Bible that I have found to understand the best- The Message Version. The Message Bible The other GREAT thing, You can find this same version for FREE on the Bible App. Here is the link. The Bible App They even have audio! 🙂
  • Prayer- Prayer is simple. It’s communication with God. Sometimes pictures are painted where you have to pray a certain place and a certain way but God wants a relationship with you SO BAD, he will take prayer any way any time of day.  Prayer is very important. We must give God thanks through our prayers, share our hearts desires, what we are believing for and pray for others and our world. There really is no right or wrong way. Prayer has been a major healing tool for me and IT WORKS! Here is an article I found extremely helpful and it’s from the legendary Billy Graham. This will give you some more details on how to communicate with God. How Do I Talk To God?
  • Church Home- One of the most amazing healing tools I have found so far aside from the 3 listed above is my church. My church is a safe place for me. I am not a religious person, nor do I participate in any denomination. I believe religion separates and divides, that is not of God. IMHO My church is a place filled with love and most importantly God and the Holy Spirit. If you aren’t at a church where you have the presence of the Holy Spirit I am here to tell you that you are missing out on something more than wonderful! I don’t attend church for anyone other than God because I want to honor Him, and grow closer to Him and receive His word. I love my Pastor Marion Dalton and because of all His sermons I have finally been able to see things in a different light than what I ever have before. I am so thankful for my church and my pastor! If you don’t have a church home, I truly believe it will be an amazing healing place for you. It only takes some action on your part. I used to be one of the lukewarm Christians and I said, “Oh, I don’t need to go to church to have a relationship with God!” I am here to say it’s almost impossible to have a growing relationship with God and flourish in his Kingdom if we don’t find a church and attend and learn and grow. The Bible says the Church is the Bride of Christ so I KNOW the CHURCH is very important to God. We must go to honor Him and get planted so we can grow. The alternative is to become stagnant and not be rooted anywhere. When the crap hits the fan the devil will have a field day with us. So IMHO Church is extremely important and it’s a Hospital for the hurting people. IT IS A HEALING PLACE!  We’re ALL hurting people! ❤
  • Church Family- I know, I know.. All this churchy Christian advice. I promised I would tell you what has worked for me. ALL OF IT. So this is what has worked for me. These things have brought me healing. If you have never had a real true church family I promise you that you are really missing out. My church family is a VERY important part of my life and my kids lives. I promise I wouldn’t lie to you. I have spiritual mothers and father and spiritual brothers and sisters. They have been there when the crap hits the fan and came through when no one else was anywhere in sight. They have prayed relentlessly when crisis’s come and I have been able to build some of the most amazing life long relationships with them and that’s a GOD SEND. A church family is CRITICAL to healing. What’s your experience with a church family? Are you searching? What kind of church are you looking for?
  • Ask for Prayer from Spiritual Warriors & Elders in Your Church- It took me years to do this. I was living in a great deal of FEAR. I guess I liked living in the pain too much? I don’t know but finally when my misery outweighed my FEAR I reached out to my spiritual momma. Deanie Cinnamon prayed over me that the spirit of unwantedness & shame be removed from my body. I had to BELIEVE this prayer was going to work. I had to RECEIVE IT. And it worked. Another time I was expressing an agony about a situation regarding my adoptive mom. She prayed the spirit of TORMENT be removed from my body. I had to believe it and it worked! When I went forward to receive prayer from my pastor I had to BELIEVE IT AND RECEIVE IT. I had to go forward, God was not going to chase me down. I share this because God gives us tools in the Bible and we all have the availability to use these tools to help hurting people! We all have the choice to go find our spiritual warriors and spiritual family and ask them to pray for us! Healing is POSSIBLE to those who believe. I believed it and it’s brought me GREAT HEALING! It can do the same for you!
  • Praise & Worship- This might be way out of the field for some people, and that’s okay. Remember, I’m just sharing what has worked for me. I have my praise and worship music on 24/7 where ever I am at making the CHOICE to tune into the Holy Spirit.  It is never turned off. Every room I am in, driving my car and even at work I listen to my Spotify Praise & Worship Playlist. It keeps the enemy at bay and he doesn’t stand a chance at getting into my thoughts as much as he would otherwise. This is a HUGE part of my life. I even play it when I go to sleep at night. Keeps bad dreams away.  I promise you it has brought me LOTS of healing, and it works!
  • Willingness & Surrender- If you truly want to heal you will have the WILLINGNESS to do whatever it takes to embark on a journey of healing. You will have the willingness to say “Okay God, I can’t do this on my own and I need your HELP! I surrender!”. We must all have the willingness or healing is not possible. For me, my pain became so great that I was desperate to do whatever it took to heal. I didn’t want to live with a broken heart my whole life.  I didn’t want to be sad forever. I didn’t want to be angry. So I had the WILLINGNESS to do whatever God put in my path and I started asking for help. Then God put more tools in my life. In order to heal the pain we have to feel the pain. This is for every hurt, habit or hang-up in life. Are you ready for that? Is your misery that bad? Mine was! I am not ashamed. I needed HELP! Are you willing to do ANYTHING to heal? Is your pain that great?
  • Faith- What is Faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” – Hebrews 11:1. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that faith is a gift from God, not because we deserve it, have earned it, or are worthy to have it. It is not from ourselves; it is from God. We must have Faith that God can and will heal our hurts. If we believe it we will receive it. If you are at a place with no faith, I am here to tell you I have faith for you and I will stand in the gap for you until you are at a place of Faith. I believe we can all receive God’s healing. But Faith is a pivotal step in this process. How’s your faith these days?
  • Forgiveness- This is a major healing part of our journeys. I was angry at my birth mother, my adoptive mother and I absolutely despised 99% of adoptive parents I came into contact with. I had a deep seeded resentment against them. Why? For many reasons I won’t get into here. See Adoptees, Why Are You So Angry?  for a look at why I and other adoptees might feel this way.  I’m being TRANSPARENT here because I know there are other adoptees that struggle with some if not all of these things. I HATED ADOPTION and THE ADOPTION INDUSTRY. I still struggle with much of this today.  Hey, I’m working on it and at least I can be transparent here.  I never said I was perfect, only moving daily towards making progress. I am in recovery and healing for the rest of my life. I do know forgiveness has been a HUGE key factor in my healing. WE HAVE TO FORGIVE! Have you read the links where unforgiveness and bitterness is linked to CANCER and SICKNESS?  Read This: The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness Not to mention the Bible commands us to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us. WE MUST FORGIVE. Here is an EXCELLENT and highly recommended article on Forgiveness and what it means.
  • Acceptance- Have you accepted LIFE on LIFE’S terms? When we can’t accept things for what they are, we don’t truly process the emotions that go along with whatever it is we need to accept.  In order to TRULY FEEL IT TO HEAL IT. I had to accept it. It HURT but this was a KEY STEP in my healing process. No matter what happened in the past I can’t change the fact that I was adopted, or anything else for that matter. I would give anything to be NOT adopted but that’s impossible. I spent most of my life HATING it and being ANGRY and still feel that way sometimes.But my hate was/is only hurting myself and I didn’t want to carry that burden anymore. Adoption is rooted and grounded in LOSS then comes GRIEF and TRAUMA. It happened. The sooner we can accept it is a part of our lives and there is NOTHING we can do to change it the sooner we can move forward to heal from the pain adoption has caused. This promotes healing. Where are you on this topic?
  • Putting it on the SHELF- What in the world could this mean? LOL Well… I have a analogy I use. When something comes my way and I have no control over it and I can’t change it I take it and I visually put it up on the shelf. I do this daily, sometimes hourly!  It’s an imaginary shelf don’t judge me!  but for whatever reason the visualization of doing this HELPS ME A LOT. Why a shelf? Well the shelf is me giving it to God. I put it up there, it never gets filled up but it keeps going higher and higher and higher. I put “things” on the shelf ALL THE TIME! Things meaning issues, people, hurt feelings, decisions I can’t make, things out of my control, other peoples problems, etc.  Maybe another analogy will work better for you? I needed an action step behind praying and giving things to God. This has been great healing for me. You should try it! Do whatever works for you? Kick it in the closet? Throw it out the window? Put it in the dresser drawer? We are not designed to carry burdens without God helping us. Giving things to God has helped me tremendously.
  • Turning Anger into Something Positive- Anger is a natural response to many things in life. Grief, Loss, Trauma, Hurt, Pain can all cause anger. If you are quick to label an adoptee as an “Angry Adoptee” please stop. Many of us are hurting and we don’t  know of the tools to heal or have resources available. Try being understanding and listening without judgement. You just might learn something. Many people think anger is a negative force, but I must share I believe it to be a negative force when we respond to anger in a negative way. We all have a choice on what we do with this emotion. It can be a very motivating force to create change, promote healing and to push towards goals and fixing problems in our lives. We must understand that anger isn’t always bad, as long as its used for a positive purpose. I was angery most of my life, and still do sometimes but I also never had anyone pouring into me trying to HELP ME use it for God’s glory. TODAY things are different. I had to pray and ask God to help me do something positive with this anger. Many things were birthed because of this prayer and step in my life. We must find out what God wants to do to turn our anger into something positive. It’s critical to our healing process.
  • DNA Testing- The next time someone says “What do you want for your birthday or Christmas?” tell them a DNA kit from Ancestry DNA. I am telling you so many adoptees are finding out so many truths with DNA testing. I highly recommend it and found this to be an amazing avenue towards healing. I lived my entire life not knowing my nationality. I never knew my medical history. I had no DNA connections to anyone.Getting my DNA tested provided me with the answers my heart always desired. After you get your DNA testing done, you can download your raw data and upload it to Promethease and obtain a genetic testing report for $5. That’s IT! $5 can get you answers you have waited your entire life for. This brings major healing to find out our truth.
  • Transparency- Being adoptees, many of us are groomed by society in general that we shouldn’t be sad or upset about our adoption experiences. Some of us are in denial.  For many of us, there is no room for our grief, loss and sadness. Deep down many of us feel a deep unshakable sadness and a longing to know who we are and where we come from. As we reach our adult lives, many things can trigger us. Some adoptees aren’t bothered a bit, and some like me are bothered a lot. I have seen all variations. Holding things in and not sharing how you really feel is not healthy at all. Honesty and transparency on how we feel is critical to the healing process. Jeremiah 6:14 says “You can’t heal a wound by saying it’s not there!” Please believe this is true. You are not alone in your feelings and being transparent is the ONLY way you will be able to heal.
  • Celebrate Recovery- Celebrate Recovery is the World’s leading Christ-centered Recovery Ministry and it’s designed to assist someone in overcoming life’s hurts, habits and hang-ups. This means abandonment, rejection, physical, sexual, emotional abuse, co-dependency, anger, rage, divorce, sexual issues, drugs, alcohol, control, self-esteem and any other issue big or small you can imagine. This means this ministry is an umbrella ministry that works miracles for everyone. I learned that abandonment, rejection and abuse of any kind are the root issues for peoples dysfunctional lifestyle habits and behaviors. For me, being adopted was one of my root sources of pain, alcohol use was just a symptom of that pain. The difference between Celebrate Recovery (CR) and many other recovery outlets available is CR names their higher power, Jesus Christ. CR is rooted and grounded in prayer. This ministry literally saved my life! It helped me with the tools I needed to be able to work on my issues and met me with love, compassion and acceptance and understanding. You can find a Celebrate Recovery ministry near you by clicking this link. Celebrate Recovery Locator
  • Blogging/Writing/Journaling- This has been a major healing tool for me and I hope and desire it will be a healing outlet for you as well. We all need a “Safe Place” to share our feelings on how it feels to be adopted. We need our OWN space. It can be a notebook, a private online blog, a public blog, writing a book or a memoir. I highly recommend blogging. What has blogging done for me? It’s created a healing place where I can read back in time and see how far I’ve grown. I can share it with other adoptees and they will know they aren’t alone. I will see I’m not alone. It’s a space where no one can tell me how to feel this is important to adoptees! and they can’t interrupt me. They can’t silence me with silencer statements. It’s a place of control for me which is another topic many adoptees struggle with. I can control all things that go in and out of my blog and what I share and don’t share. I actually use all 3 blogging, writing and journaling as healing tools. I recommend WordPress as a FREE online blogging source and it also has a wonderful APP that is easy to use from your cell phone. Templates are easy. Please consider setting up your own blog. I also have a blog/journal that’s my communication with God. This is one of my most healing and freeing places. WE MUST WRITE!  It’s a major healing source for many of us. See the Adoptee Blog Roll here on my page. I have listed over 6o adult adoptee bloggers and adding daily!  You aren’t alone!
  • Please Understand that If Someone Isn’t Adopted, They Don’t Understand Us- The quicker we can come to a place of acceptance of this the easier things will become. I remember back when I started my healing recovery journey. I was so frustrated that I would share my experience, pain, sadness, grief and loss and all I got from those around me was silencer statements like “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted?” or “Aren’t you thankful she chose life?”. Adoptees understand this is adding insult to injury and avoiding the fact that we are TRYING to share a deep part of our lives but non-adoptees have no clue how they are hurting us. What’s a symptom of grief & loss? Anger, if the grief and loss aren’t acknowledged then it can come out in anger and rage.  That said; if someone isn’t adopted they can’t understand us because there are too many dynamics and without the experience it’s impossible.  Therapist that have years and years of training can’t truly understand us unless they are adopted. Adoptive parents or Birth Parents who “THINK” they know all there is to know about adoption can’t understand us. I am not saying they can’t TRY because there are some that TRY to sympathize and TRY to understand us. To fully understand us they would have to be one of us. I get great comfort in knowing that GOD understands us and knows our pain. It’s helped me be content with other’s not knowing or understanding. This brought me healing.  Most people (not all) honestly don’t know what to say to us. They have been groomed by society that adoption is a wonderful thing and sometimes it can be  but what they fail to acknowledge is that it is rooted and grounded in loss. Many non-adoptees don’t know what to say or what to do. People want us to feel better so without understanding they are hurting us further by not just listening, but offering unsolicited advice from a topic they simply can’t relate too they try to “FIX” us. I gave up many moons ago to try to get a non-adoptee to try to understand me UNLESS they are interested and WILLING to learn. There are very few! It’s sort of like me not knowing what its like to be divorced, because I have never been divorced. I have accepted this and forgiven them in advance. It was only hurting me to try to get them to understand, and acceptance they never possibly can has brought me healing.

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  • Back to the Womb Ministries-  OMG OMG OMG! I can’t even begin to express how AMAZING this healing exercise was for me! My spiritual momma Deanie Cinnamon came to my aide one day in 2015. I was in a state of misery. I was seriously suffering from a GREAT mother wound and a HUGE broken heart regarding my adoption experience. I had this huge feeling of wishing I was never born and being angry I was, wishing I was aborted. THE PAIN WAS THAT GREAT! I had a feeling of unwantedness attached to me that I was born with due to my birth mother not wanting me, rejecting the pregnancy and handing me over to strangers to raise. I lived with this most of my life. I obsessed with wondering if my birth mother ever held me when I was born, what was the room like that day and if she named me. I wondered if she cried or if she was happy to get it over with.  I know adoptees get it. Non-adoptees can’t possible understand. To them it’s just a “CHOICE” we choose to feel this way and ponder on the negative and past. In all honesty when traumas happen some people have to go through extensive therapy to work toward healing so until that happens for many people (not just adoptees) we feel like we are at a dead end and healing isn’t possible. Depression and Anxiety can set in ESPECIALLY when we don’t have any tools or the right ones that work for us. Nonetheless this HEALING TOOL was the most amazing experience. Ms. Deanie happened to get back from a training conference for 2 Hours to Freedom by Dr. Charles Kraft. She shared all the enlightening information with me about 2 Hours to Freedom and when I told her my feelings of the deep mother wound and I just couldn’t get out of this deep dark pit I was in she shared an exercise with me. This exercise is about 15 minutes long and I kid you not, after this exercise my life was changed! I don’t want to give it all away but I am sharing the link with you because hope and PRAY you are able to get the same healing as I did. Here is the link. Back to the Womb I also recommend purchasing Dr. Charles Krafts Books Here. He’s amazing and works a lot with healing. Please let me know if you watch the video and if it impacted you even a little bit. How did it make you feel? I will write about my experience soon in a blog post.
  • How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Community- I will never forget a moment in October 2012 where I was in a small group setting and it was the very first time in my life I spoke out loud about my birth mother. As I let the words “Birth Mother” come out of my mouth I immediately began to weep and cry. Before you know it snot was slinging and I was a hot mess. I had never shared with other people how it felt being adopted and my heart break for the loss of my birth mother. Before I could finish saying what I was going to say an adoptive mom interrupted me and said loudly “YOU DON’T KNOW ADOPTION LIKE I KNOW ADOPTION!” I was floored. I was not in any shape to battle or even discuss things any further. I shut down and never said another word. I left in tears. Distraught because it seemed to me all the equations in the adoption “triangle” seem to be able to share their voice EXCEPT the ADOPTEE. Our voice is silenced, shut down, and not welcomed and we are labeled “Angry” or “An adoptee that just had a “BAD EXPERIENCE“.We are treated like perpetual children in the world for many reasons. Although this experience was extremely difficult for me it sparked me to create a safe place for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted.  This community has grown to close to 4000 “Likes” and its a very active online community. The unique thing about “How Does it Feel to Be Adopted” is that its a “ALL ADOPTEE COMMENTING ZONE” meaning adoptees are the only ones welcome to comment because we are the only ones who know how it feels to be adopted. The world can see and read our comments and how we feel which helps them LEARN from us, but they are no allowed to comment. This is the only setting I am aware of that is set up this way. It’s an open dialog for adoptees to ask other adoptees for support regarding certain topics regarding our adoptee journeys. It’s been a MAJOR source of healing and networking for adoptees all over the world. I know this because I have received countless amounts of messages, emails and communication with adoptees and they tell me how much this community means to them and how it’s helped them heal.  The more we band together with those who “Get It” the more we understand we aren’t alone. If you haven’t joined this community yet PLEASE do so today!
  • Share Your Story on the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Blog- We have a blog just for YOU! I created this blog because there are places adoptees have to share their stories, but there are guidelines or some are turned away. I have felt many times that being turned away was rejection and I know that hits pretty hard for adoptees. I decided to create the How Does it Feel to Be Adopted? – Blog so no adoptee is turned away. Click that link and it will take you to the about section. You will find a few very minor guidelines and what I would need. The next step is to get to writing. Your story matters and you matter. This page is set up for YOU!
  • The Primal Wound- Understanding the Adopted Child by Nancy Newton Verrier- This book is a MUST READ for adoptees. Really anyone impacted by adoption in anyway will greatly benefit but especially adoptees. I will never forget reading this book and all the “Aha” moments I had  as I turned the pages. It was the first time in my life where everything finally made sense. It made so much sense I had to put the book back down and pick it back up many times because I was so overwhelmed in a good way. When you spend your entire life not even understanding all the dynamics yourself it is extremely moving to finally have some understanding and clarity. It brought me a HUGE amount of healing. You can purchase this book on Amazon for under $10 used here: The Primal Wound- Understanding the Adopted Child
  • Adoptee Books & Memoirs- As a suggestion consider making an investment in starting a collection of adoptee books and memoirs. I have done this and not only am I supporting my fellow adoptees but I am also reading each one, understanding and absorbing each one. Every single story I have read so far I can resonate with much of it. It helped me realize I’m not alone, I’m not crazy for feeling the way I do and it gave me a broader perspective of what many other adoptees experience, not just myself. Lots of healing doing this. Soon I will have Adoptee Books & Memoirs listed here.
  • Use Your Experience to Help Non-Adoptees Who Seek Advice from Adoptees at “Ask An Adoptee”– I created Ask An Adoptee after How Does it Feel to be Adopted.  This page was ignited because we have a small population of non-adoptees who WANT TO LEARN FROM US. What better way to use our pain than to help adoptive parents and birth parents understand our perspective? We separated the 2 pages because questions from non-adoptees can be triggering to some adoptees. To create a safe place for adoptees this is also an “All Adoptee Commenting Zone”. Please check it out and read the “About Section” to learn more. If you are a non-adoptee reading please feel free to inbox us your questions. We are here to help.  Sharing our feelings and offering support to those who need it is part of the healing process. Here is the link to this page.Ask An Adoptee
  • Therapy- I highly suggest therapy from a therapist who understands complicated grief, loss and trauma and disenfranchised grief. Reach out to Nancy Verrier and she’s quick to get back to you in reference to adoptee therapists in your area.
  • Find Someone Who Will Listen Without Silencing You- I have found that through my journey most people who aren’t adopted can’t understand it nor comprehend it so when we share about it they don’t know what to say. That said, the quickest way to get out of the conversation is to either shut us down and most the time they don’t even realize they are doing it or they change the subject, or use silencer statements. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! But we all need that ONE PERSON or that ONE FRIEND that will listen without judgement. I had to research “Active Listener” because I came to a place where I desperately  needed someone in my life who would JUST LISTEN! We don’t need anyone to try to FIX US. I’ve found many people listen with the intent to reply and we really need them to listen with the intent to learn. It’s so frustrating for adoptees because no one wants to talk about uncomfortable topics so we shut down and keep everything inside. When that happens we feel extreme feelings that are not good. Sadness, anger, rage, low self esteem because we feel we aren’t important and our pain doesn’t matter. Anxiety and depression can set it.  PLEASE TRY TO FIND THAT ONE PERSON, THAT ONE FRIEND that will let you SHARE your heart without judgement. Ask someone if they will be your accountability partner regarding this topic. Of course if you could find an adoptee you would be winning all the way across the board, but sometimes that’s not possible.
  • Twitter & Social Media- I have a list on my Twitter of over 500 Adoptees. Why? Because we MUST connect with those who understand us and can relate to our journeys    Click Here= 500+ Adoptee List  Every time I connect with another adoptee I am able to tell them”YOU AREN’T ALONE!” I was alone for most of my life in this journey and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy. The first adoptee I ever connected with online was Jessenia Arias You can find her on Twitter at @iamadopted I can’t even express how much it meant for me to find another living human being that GOT IT. She brought me out of my deep hidden shell and taught me it’s okay to feel the way I do. We all must do this for one another. Now, I am returning the Gift God has given me in finding Jessenia and reaching out to other adoptees all over the world. You can use hashtag #adoptee #adopted #adoption and connect with adoptees everywhere. You can find me on Instagram under @howdoesitfeeltobeadopted OR @pwishes. Social Media, especially Twitter are great places to connect with your fellow adoptees. Connecting with those who “Get It” is HEALING.
  • Start A Support Group- You notice I say “Start A Support Group” vs. “Find A Support Group”. This is because adoptee support groups are very rare to find. I have searched all over my area and there are none. I haven’t even found any in my state. We have got to change this. God has given me a vision and I am in the process of activating it. He told me over a year ago that I was not only going to have an online ministry reaching out to adoptees all over the world, I was going to reach out to them right here in my own community. Adoptees Connect-Lexington, KY is in the process of being rooted right here on my own comunity. You don’t need any qualifications to do it. Being adopted in itself is enough. You understand things that no one else understands. Read this over and over and consider starting an all adoptee support group in your city. If I can do it, so can you! I believe in you!

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  • Paul Sunderland- Lecture on Adoption & Addiction- This lecture blew me away when I first watched it and continues to do so each time. It is a major eye awakening video and a must see by everyone who is impacted by adoption. Learning is healing. Here is the lecture: Lecture on Adoption & Addiction
  • Searching for Birth Families- This can be a frightening process for some adoptees. I could go on forever about this topic, but I wanted to share that every single person on this earth deserves to know who they are and where they come from. There are resources available to HELP YOU search for FREE. Never EVER EVER pay ANYONE TO HELP YOU SEARCH! Not even any adoptees. There are FREE resources available. Please reach out to Priscilla Stone- Sharp on Facebook AND Join Search Squad on Facebook. I will get a link together for some more search resources because there are too many for this space. Never give up HOPE in finding your family. In order to heal we must know our TRUTH.
  • Understanding or Circumstances- I made the choice to start researching what birth mothers, first mothers went through in the baby scoop era and the years moving past it. WHY? Because I wanted to understand WHY? Why did my birth mother make this choice? Why did she reject me after meeting her? Many of us spend our entire lives living in the unknown and many of us never have been given the TRUTH as to WHY. By researching adoption as a whole I was able to gain a better understanding. I was able to put myself in my birth mothers shoes to have compassion for her and the decision she mad way back in 1974. The book The Girls Who Went Away was a wonderful healing tool for me. It takes you through countless stories of birth mothers and the era, and how they felt relinquishing their babies. Many were stolen. Another site I recommend is [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum Healing happens when we are able to understand better.
  • Adoptees On- My great friend, fellow adoptee AND sister in Christ Haley Radke started her very own podcast called Adoptees On. This podcast is truly a gift to the adoptee/adoption community. Consider reaching out to Haley and sharing your story. Also, listen to your fellow adoptees podcasts. Yours truly will be aired sometime in November. Remember, Sharing is healing. We must share our stories. Your story matters and you deserve to be heard.
  • Write Letters to Your Birth Parents- This is a great healing exercise. Some of us don’t even know who our birth parents are, yet this exercise can still bring us healing. Share in the letter how their decision has impacted you and how you feel about it. Share your feelings no matter what they are, good or bad. You can share this letter with an accountability person, a close friend or family member you trust or a therapist. Generally, most adoptees don’t send the letters but it does do wonders just to get the feelings off our chest. I wrote one to my birth mother years ago. The emotions were overwhelming but that’s a good thing. Remember, in order to heal it we must feel it.
  • Research Abandonment PTSD- Again, in order to heal I wanted to learn as much as possible of the impact on a baby when a mother leaves us. Please check both these articles out. I am sure there are many more. Abandonment from our birth mothers is a real live trauma. The more we understand it’s impacts the more we can heal. PTSD of Abandonment Part 1 AND PTSD of Abandonment Part 2 I’m positive there are more resources out there so RESEARCH Abandonment & PTSD! This is REAL for MANY ADOPTEES.
  • Research Attachment Theory & RAD-  Many adoptees experience both or one or the other. It’s pretty complicating but there are resources available to help you understand better and learn. Learning about these things can bring healing in understanding WHY we are the way we are.
  • Process Grief & Loss- I wrote a blog post about this one time. Here it is. Grief, Loss & Adoptees This is an extreme critical part of our healing process. The hardest part for many adoptees is society doesn’t acknowledge we should even go through this process. WHY? Because the world only has room for the glorifying adoption stories. The fact is, that we have lost A LOT. We ALL need to grieve those losses. What ever that looks like to you. Everyone is different. It’s a process and it doesn’t have a time frame. If someone lost a husband or a wife in a car wreck or to a horrible disease we wouldn’t tell them “Okay, it’s time you get over that and move on!”. But people say it to adoptees ALL THE TIME, or label us as dwelling on the past. Let me tell you something no one ever told me. We lost not one ENTIRE FAMILY but TWO. Our maternal side and our paternal side. THAT’S A LOT OF LOSS AND A LOT OF PEOPLE! Take your time, be easy on yourself and know that it’s all a process and things will get easier. But remember, WE HAVE TO FEEL IT IN ORDER TO HEAL IT. What has the healing process looked like  to me? Writing, Crying, Crying and more CRYING. Talking to those who care to listen, more writing and more crying. The key is not getting STUCK. The enemy has tried his hardest to keep me stuck but he’s a lier and I refuse to spend the rest of my life grieving my losses. It’s a PROCESS. I can’t say it enough. We move through it. Read my blog post I shared above. Research the grief and loss process. IT WILL HELP YOUR HEALING.
  • Identify Your Triggers- This is something I’m working on as we speak in therapy. Not just identifying them but working on them. This is a must. It’s better when we have a better understanding of all the things I have listed in this post. When we have an understanding of WHY we are the way we are, the triggers don’t seem so bad. We are actually NORMAL for having these triggers considering what we have experienced by being abandoned & rejected. Identifying triggers is a great part of the healing process, working on them brings more healing. I suggest this for everyone.
  • Get Involved in Adoptee Rights- Be an activist! We all deserve our OBC’s and we all should be on board for equal access for all adoptees all over to be able to have their OBC. Visit The American Adoption Congress and The Adoption ALARM Network to keep up to date with what’s going on. I know there are more sites out there. These just come to the top of my mind. GET INVOLVED. Use your pain for God’s GOOD.
  • Purchase Dr. Dan Siegel – The Developing Mind- Dan covers neurobiological reasons that early trauma affects our behavior, emotional responses, and neurological connections. It is hard for adoptees to know that we have suffered a trauma, when that trauma happened so early in our lives, and most of the world doesn’t recognize that trauma. This book was an eye opener for me. It also touched on nature vs. nurture topic. Please purchase a used copy for under $5 here. The Developing Mind- Dr. Dan Siegel. Understanding brings healing.
  • Adoption News & Events- This is a very informative page that shares national and international adoption news and events. It’s wonderful to get educated and learn all the things going on around the world on adoption. They share tons of helpful information. Please “Like” their Facebook page today. Adoption News & Events
  • Being Adopted is A Piece of Who We Are, But Not All Of It- Its so easy to get consumed with “Adoptee Land”. It’s critical to our healing, peace of mind and our overall happiness that we can pull away from our adoptee lives sometimes. Yes, we will always be adopted but God has also called us to LIVE LIFE and live it abundantly. We have to learn to be on our healing journey but also take time away for our families, for our selves and those close to us. I am 110% guilty and I’ve had to learn that adoption is just a piece of who I am, not all of me.Pulling away is sometimes a healthy thing and we must all do it.
  • Understand the Way You Feel is Normal for a Not Normal Situation- I remember the first time someone shared this with me, I was like “WOW!” So here I am sharing it with you. That’s right, being separated from our first families is NOT NORMAL. Our responses and how we feel are perfectly normal for experiencing such a trauma. Please believe this and be easy on yourself.
  • Purchase Baby’s Remember Birth- I remember hearing about this book and taking a leap of purchase. I was happy I did. I learned many things regarding being born and how babies store our memories in our subconscious memory and much more. I had a deep desire to put all the pieces together all the way back to before I was born. I wanted to learn everything possible about the mother and baby bonding and what happens when that bond is interrupted. Click here to order it used for $4.00 on Amazon. Baby’s Remember Birth by Dr. David Chamberland
  • Purchase The Secret Life of the Unborn Child- This book shares how mothers can give their babies wonderful lives in utero even before they are born. So what happens when our birth mothers mentally prepare to surrender the baby? When she mentally rejects the pregnancy? All of these things I wanted too research. I NEEDED TO KNOW all the details. This book helped me heal. I hope it helps you also. Click this link to purchase on Amazon used for $4. The Secret Life of the Unborn Child
  • Live Your Life- It’s so easy to get caught up in causes, our hurts, our pain. It’s easy to consume our lives with our struggles. I know first hand because I am in recovery and there is always work to be done on SELF! It’s a non stop journey of moving forward and improving ones self. I truly understand. I now look at my life as a pie. Why? Because I view my adoption experience as just a piece of the pie. For MANY years it was the entire pie. Why? Because I was in deep grief and loss processing through things I had never even touched before. That was a GOOD thing to go THROUGH it because remember we have to feel it to heal it. Do you see the letter “through” is KEY! I spent 4 years in that process and it’s 4 years I can never get back. I don’t regret it, WE ALL NEED TO DO IT in some form or fashion. It might take you 3 weeks but it took me 4 years. But God, he has shared with me recently that he’s ready for me to LIVE MY LIFE HE HAD INTENDED FOR ME ALL ALONG. The life he has intended for each of us. I will always be in recovery. I will always be healing. But it’s time for me to MOVE FORWARD and KEEP MOVING FORWARD. My Pastor & Spiritual Father Marion Dalton confirmed what God had put on my heart about a month ago. I went up to the altar for prayer and he prayed over me. He said many things but one of the things that stood out the most was, “God said the next PATH of your life is going to be NOTHING like the first part. NOTHING! It’s going to be a much easier path!” At that moment God gave me a vision of a beautiful path. This path was long and each side was filled with beautiful flowers in a bunch of greenery. Colors and green everywhere. It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I could see it very vivid. He continued to pray “YOUR BREAKING GENERATIONAL CURSES FROM FAMILY YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!!!!” It was AMAZING at the word I got that night. I am sharing this with you because 1 week after this prayer I went to a park, on a walk. I turned the corner and you will never believe what I saw….

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Unbelievable because this is the exact path I saw in the vision God gave me. SO at this point I have 2 choices. I receive the word or I reject it. WHO WOULD REJECT SUCH A GREAT GOD GIVEN WORD? Not me. Living 42 years with pain, agony, sadness, depression, fear, anger, hate and unwantedness from LIFE and ADOPTION, I am here to tell you I am ready to move forward with my life. I WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE and ENJOY the GIFT GOD HAS GIVEN ME IN MY LIFE. No person reading this is excluded from receiving the great Gift God has for you. Reach out to me. It’s time to go LIVE YOUR LIFE.

 I LOVE YOU! ❤

Please come back and share with me what has worked for you and what is familiar to you about these tools. Have any of them helped you?