Actions Speak Louder Than Words…

Is it me?
Or do other adoptees experience similar emotional issues? Is there someone out there that can relate to me?
I spent my entire life dreaming and fascinating about my first family. I had no information about them and no one in my life was willing to share anything and I never knew if they knew anything at all. I never have found out the truth. From the moment I found out I was adopted and another woman “Loved me so much she gave me away” my view of “Love” and “Life” was distorted. How does someone LOVE SOMETHING and GIVE IT AWAY? I don’t think I’ve ever truly grasped what it feels s like to be loved by someone. The most recent incident with my oldest daughter has caused a whole new set of emotions that stem from my adoption experience. Maybe I can explain the best way I know how.
No matter what happened with my adoption, It has left me feeling totally alone, and unworthy of accepting love from others. Even being a Christian woman, I sometimes struggle even believing that God loves me. I have some people in my life who I am close to, and I love them and I love my kids, but when people tell me they love me I just can’t grasp it and believe it. The word LOVE in response to me is just another word. I feel like I merely exist on this earth. What’s the purpose?  After all, as far back as I can remember the ACTIONS of my birthmother that were supposed to be so loving have left me feeling like I don’t even deserve to be on this earth. Her actions of having me and giving me over to strangers are not love in my mind. Everyone always says “She loved you so much, what a selfless act”. I think that’s complete bull crap. Not one single person telling me that has had a 5 minute conversation with my birth mother. Not even a one minute conversation. So for me to believe it all these years have just added to my pain and agony and to the lies in the adoption industry. I believe people say those things to make us adoptees feel better but for me it’s made it worse.  Those WORDS and her ACTIONS contradict one another and at almost 40 years old I am finally able to express my feelings about it and uncover the TRUTH. This has had a major impact on every single area of my life, even how I raise my own kids.
The TRUTH I have uncovered has been put together by my observations and experiences over the last 20+ years of my life. I found out my birth mother had an affair with a married man, and he was a friend of the family who was 10 years older than her. When she found out she was pregnant, she hid it from everyone and was completely ashamed of her actions. I was told she was an alcoholic and drank the entire pregnancy. In 1974 abortion was legal. I believe she would have aborted me, but her experience with abortion was horrific. Her mother tried to abort her first born child every way imaginable on her own, and she failed giving birth to a very deformed older sister. This older sister (who would be my biological aunt) was in a nursing home her entire life where she later died in her late 50’s. This is why I believe my birth mother didn’t choose abortion, although I wish she would have. My pain would not even exist.  So for those who always want to say “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted”, I guess you know my very sincere answer now. Thanks for your thoughtful question. Let me ask; are you thankful you weren’t adopted?
My point in bringing up the TRUTH is because it’s impossible to HEAL unless you acknowledge the TRUTH about what you are struggling with. Being in denial is not going to help anyone. It seems that this adoptee journey has many layers like an onion. They just keep being pealed and uncovered one by one. But from my experience being an adoptee the onion doesn’t’ have a center or an end. It just goes on forever and ever.  I truly don’t feel the pain is ever going to go away. My experience is that when your birth mother can discard you, anyone can. The one place I thought I was “Safe” was with my own children. I have always felt we had a very close relationship but things took a turn in that area this past weekend. I believe that our kids will always test the waters, and push parents to the limits on occasion. I have expected this from raising my kids on my own and now I have 3 teenagers, one who lives alone across the street in her own apartment and my twins that still live at home. They will be 16 soon. I have taken so much pride in being able to be sober for close to 2 years, commit myself to my recovery journey so I can be a better mom and one day a fabulous grandma. I have been hit smack dead in the face this past weekend. Maybe I am just fascinating again; we adoptees seem to get five stars in that area.
 I was put in a situation where it was tough love, but I had to tell my oldest daughter “NO” on something. She got upset with me, and deleted me and blocked me from her Facebook. There are more details to the story than that, but I don’t want to go into all the details because it would take forever. As a parent and a person who had a very rough teenage life, I expect these things. When this happened it triggered a whole new set of emotions. It made me realize that not only did my birth mother discard of me, but at any given moment my children will do the same. The feelings of sadness I have felt this week due to the cancelation of meeting my biological grandma (see previous post) and the emotions from the disagreement with my daughter have really sent me into sadness. I went to church Sunday and got up and left. It was too hard to pretend everything was just wonderful. I had to leave. Some might say “Teenagers stay mad at their parents”. I agree. They do but my kids and I have always had such a close relationship and I have always hung onto hope that it would continue that way, and one day I would have grandkids and that would be the beginning of my family tree and things would be wonderful. Another fantasy. I feel like my whole life is one big fantasy. It started the moment I found out I was adopted.
During the disagreement with my daughter she brought it to my attention she has “NO ONE” as in family to rely on in times of need. As sad as this makes me, I feel her pain because I don’t have anyone either aside from a few far away cousins, that I hold dear to my heart. My adoption has caused a major division between my kids and me & most all of my immediate family.  I had to move my kids across the country to protect them from my very emotionally twisted and mentally sick adoptive mother. This was for their benefit, but it also left them with no grandmother and this impacts them. Adoption not only impacts me, but it impacts my children and it will impact their children and their children. This decision and institution made up by people has negatively impacted my life in every way possible. I struggle with that. I have a hard time with that. This is why I drank alcohol and searched in some very dark places for love for 25 years of my life. I didn’t want to face the truth, and I had no help in discovering the truth because my adoptive parents were so brainwashed and convinced that if they didn’t talk about it, and if they just tell me I should be grateful everything would be just fine.  This is totally opposite of how I have healed and what many adoptees feel help bring them healing.  Adoption in the 1960’s and 1970’s was very different than adoption today, but then why are the laws still the same and many adoptive parents still blinded by the fact that the original trauma can’t go ignored and unrecognized? WHY? Because they don’t want to face the truth, that’s why. The hard core truth upsets their feelings of “Were doing a good deed by adopting an unwanted orphan.”  All because the bible tells them so.  Let me share something with you. Adoption is a manmade industry, and entire entity made up to make profit off vulnerable mothers and their babies, and it’s blown up to be a major industry all over the world. I can honestly say the experience I have had from my adoption has no good involved. Every single day I wake up trying to find my place in this world. Every single day I look in the mirror and I’m reminded that the 2 people who should love me the most don’t.  Yes, I’m thankful I found my birth parents and got to see them very few times. But they rejected me. What’s happy about that? What’s good about that? I will never forget this. The pain doesn’t get easier. I had to accept this because it’s the TRUTH!
How do you think it makes adoptees feel when adoption is praised all around the world? Something that caused us so much pain and inconsolable grief is constantly thrown up in our faces and brought to our attention adding salt to the open wounds. This is not okay. Those people in society that want to speak how amazing and wonderful adoption is have never walked one footstep in an adoptees shoes. We are finally starting to break out of “The Fog” and when we grow up we learn the TRUTH about adoption. As a child I was brainwashed and told I couldn’t feel bad about losing my first family and my birth mother. She loved me so much she gave me away, TO STRANGERS! To people she never laid eyes on, or met in her life. How is that love? The “Better” life I was supposed to have wasn’t better at all. It was just different.
I will be writing soon about how I feel when society and people in general speak for birth mothers, and birth parents. More of the lies that are a part of the adoption industry.  Finally at almost 40 I have come to a place of more TRUTH in my life. I will share in my next post.
So now as I have been trying to work things out with my daughter, it will always be in the back of my mind that she too will one day reject me, and leave me. It’s so crazy but I always had a feeling that was coming. Some don’t realize that when you have experienced the extent of abandonment and rejection adoptees have it changes everything! Every single biological family member I have I have pictures saved in a special file on my computer, titled “Bio Fam”. Why you may ask? Because I KNOW they will disappear one day! It’s just a matter of time. I better hurry up and save their picture before they do. It’s not that the pictures are everything but they sure are when all the memories you SHOULD have had don’t exist.  I learned this when I met my birth mother for the first time, and it was the last. I fantasized my entire life about this woman, and POOF… She’s gone just like that. With no explanation, no nothing. This experience has impacted every area of my life. Adoption has impacted every area of my life. When I realized that I was also saving my children’s pictures off the computer I learned that my wounds go even deeper than I realized. I am also fearful my own children will leave me.  This is very sad to me. I realize it but I can’t do anything about it. That fear is still there and this recent upsetting with my oldest daughter triggered emotions that I hadn’t ever faced before. My fantasizing how perfect life was because I had 3 amazing kids in my life could come to a crashing halt at any given moment. They too could get mad at me for something and abandon me and reject me. This has left me feeling like no matter what I do, the reality is the outcome could be as devastating as it has been with my biological parents. It opened the wounds I have tried to hide of the tragedies and trauma of not only being separated from my birth mother at the beginning of life, but her rejecting me when I did find her.  What do I do with that? Continue to deny the realities of what has happened? Continue to pretend my kids won’t do the same thing one day? I’m pretty sure non adopted people can’t even relate to this language. It probably sounds pretty ridiculous to them.  And that’s okay. My goal in writing my feelings is to #1) Let other adoptees know they aren’t alone. #2) For any adoptive parents who can face the fact that their adoptive children can and most WILL have emotional issues due to their adoption can come here as a place to try to understand better.
If any adoptive parents are reading this, and I’m sure many will I wouldn’t expect you all to understand how we feel but you can TRY to understand by reading what we have to say. But please be open to the realities of how adult adoptees feel and what has hurt them and what has helped them handle the pain and realities of adoption. For me, and I will say this until the day I die, THE TRUTH has helped me more than anything. Telling my birth mother “Loved me so much she gave me away” didn’t help me. Telling me I was the “Chosen” one didn’t help me. Telling me I was a “Gift from God” made me feel like someone’s property and God was in charge of all this pain. Telling me I should be thankful didn’t help me. Saying “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted” definitely hasn’t helped me; all of these things have made it worse. Denying the trauma that was experienced at the beginning of life has hurt me. Pretending my first family didn’t exist hurt me. Not supporting my search and reunions hurt me. Having insecurities about my first family hurt me. Lying to me hurt me. Seeing me search and not offering the information you KNEW hurt me! I could go on and on and on.
The bottom line is that adoption lies no matter how big or how small has got to stop. Lying to the adoptee for any reason is not healthy nor is it the right thing to do. It’s very wrong and lying or as the adoption industry likes to convince people “Protecting the child” is terminology used centuries ago when adoption first became legalized. Take it from an adult adoptee that is in recovery from my adoption related issues. LYING WILL DESTROY THE ADOPTEE and it will destroy the relationships the adoptee has with the adoptive families. We already have a major issues regarding having no choice in being separated from our first families and facing the truth about the woman that should love us the most in life not wanting to parent us, for whatever reason. Cant’ you see that the REASON doesn’t even matter…. The root issue is abandonment, from her handing us over to strangers. That is where the dysfunction comes from. Being denied to grieve the root issue and having to pretend our whole lives that our biggest PAIN is in our imagination, we shouldn’t love our first mother nor should we ever think about her when this “Wonderful, amazing, family” has “Adopted” us and they have all the love in the world to give. Let me share, loving ME is also loving my HISTORY. When you try to erase my HISTORY you are erasing a part of ME. What makes you think I believe you love me when you have no problem erasing part of me? My HISTORY and I are a total package. And until adoptive parents can willingly embrace this, adoptees all over the world will continue to be hurt and devastated due to their adoption experience.

Thanks for reading!

The Adoptee Pendant

I can’t even begin to express  my excitement about Tracy Hammond making this beautiful pendant for adoptees.

I was blessed to say that I was one of the first to purchase this as a 20 limited edition collection. Since making these Tracy has had an overwhelming amount of responses of adoptees and birth mothers requesting for her to make more.

This pendant symbolizes so much. Finally. I have seen “Adoption” pendants so many times over the years. Adoption symbols, and none of them fit my feelings about my journey. I believe there is a triangle with a heart in it, symbolizing that adoption is based on the “Triad” where there are 3 equal sides. That’s the birth family, the adoptive family and the adoptee. This symbol doesn’t not fit me or my experience. Nothing about the adoptee’s loss is EQUAL to the adoptive parents. We loose an entire family, and for me (and many other adoptees) that leaves us feeling broken in many ways. Tracy mentioned being “Beautiful inside and out BUT broken”. This describes it perfectly. This is reality, and the truth about what my adoption experience has brought me.

Some people have mentioned us focusing on the negative, but let me just say. The REALITY is, it is a negative experience for so many of us. Why should we have to continue to hide our true feelings about how we feel? If someone lost their entire family in a tragic car wreck and they wore this necklace as a symbol of the family they lost, and their heart being broken because of it, I believe no one would give them any static about wearing this necklace. It’s the same for adoptees. This doesn’t mean we are pondering or focused on the “Negative”. For me it means that I have stepped out of denial, and the guilt that my adoptive parents have made me feel for having any feelings about my first family. I have come to terms that my adoption TRUTH is this very damaged tainted, broken heart. That is the TRUTH.

It’s important to know that you can’t heal a wound by denying it’s there. When we have been told our whole lives to be grateful and our right to express love for our first families has been taken from us. How do you think we will feel? BROKEN. I am feeling an extreme sense of loss today more than ever. Why? Because I’m finally grown up, and an adult who has developed my own feelings, and it’s clear to me that I’m just now grieving my loss because my adoptors denied me that right. I have forgiven them. But I hope for future adoptive parents they can learn by reading books, blogs, adoptee journeys that the way adoption has been handled in the past is just that, a thing of the past. You will destroy your adoptive children if you deny them the right to grieve their losses of their first families. You will destroy them if you keep secrets from them. You will destroy them if you speak negatively of their first family. There is so much more, but TODAY I’m totally ecstatic that I finally have something that represents an outward expression of how my adoption has impacted me.

Tracy Hammond, I will always be grateful for you and your creativity in this pendant. Thank you from the bottom of my broken heart for sharing this with adoptees. It means so much.

Thanks for reading!

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

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

Lies Are Never Okay, Everyone Deserves To Know Where They Come From..

Why is lying okay when it comes to adoption? In some cases adoption isn’t part of the equation, but children are constantly lied to about who their biological family is and people actually think that’s okay.
It’s NOT okay to LIE to a child period. It’s NOT okay to lie to them about who their biological family is. Lies destroy and they ruin relationships. How would you feel if you were lied to about something so important? You wouldn’t like it.
Unless this has happened to you, you can’t comprehend how it makes you feel but you know how it feels to be lied too right? It hurts, imagine someone lying to you about who your mother or father is, or withholding such personal information.  I can only speak for my experience and how it made me feel. My adoptive mom lied to me my whole life about finding my birth family. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to find my birth mother. She lied over and over and said “Once we get enough money for an attorney we will get the sealed records opened and we will find her”. This gave me comfort in knowing that one day it might really happen. I might find my birth mother. When I was in my early 20’s that all changed. My adoptive mother told me she had been keeping something from me. She knew who my birth mother was, and my adoptive dad had her name. So all those years she lied to me and I would never trust her again. She put her insecurities about not wanting me to find my birth mother in front of my needs and wanting to know. She knew it tore me up deep down and she didn’t care. I know what you’re thinking. “You should be glad she told you at all!”. Yeah? Well I am glad she told me, but she didn’t need to tell me a LIE all those years! She could have just said the truth or just expressed that she understood my feelings and consoled me in some way. But no, she lied to me over and over. I have forgiven her, but I will never forget it. One more list to add to the things she took from me, along with my child hood. Thank God I can make up for it and be a better mom for my kids.

I know a lot of people who are keeping secrets from their kids so they can cover up their irresponsible actions, and people that are lying to their kids because they don’t want to tell the truth. Because they will have to face reality and it will be too hard on them. Let me just say, the truth is ALWAYS better than discovering that you are living a LIE. Lying destroys people. It tears them down and lies hurt people. When people keep secrets and they are ashamed of the truth it will always come out in the end. 9 X out of 10 it’s always so much harder to discover you are living a lie, than if someone would have told you to begin with.

 

If you are keeping a secret or lying to a child or a person about their identity, who they are, who their REAL parents are, or where they come from, I beg you to reconsider and tell the truth. I suggest some counseling so you can get some advice on how to make it right. Its never too late to make it right! No matter how painful, the truth is always better than pretending and living a lie. Everyone deserves to know where they come from, and their history. 
Pamela Karanova

What I Wished My Birth Mother Wrote To Me.

My dearest sweet Pamela,
I am so sorry for all the pain I have caused you. After reading your letter I wanted to answer a few of your questions.
I want you to know that as many times as you dreamed about me, I dreamed about you. Not one day or one hour went by that I didn’t have you in my mind. I always wondered what you looked like, who you looked like, and what your life was like. I always had you close in my heart, even if you were physically far away. I am so sorry for all the pain that being adopted has caused you. That was not in the plan or my intentions, not even for one minute.
I need you to know that I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. My mother and father were alcoholics, and my life was anything but a normal one. We were poor, and we didn’t have much. My mother was in mental institutes many times throughout my life. She did some very horrible things but I will just say we didn’t have it easy.
I married my first husband and had your half-sister. She was born in 1970. Her father and I started to have problems, and we soon ended up divorcing. He was the love of my life. I always drank alcohol to cope with things in my life and it always seemed to make things much easier to deal with. I never realized until it was too late how much alcohol took from my life and how much of an impact it had on my life. Now looking back I see it controlled everything. My life never would be the same after we divorced.
Even thoe I always had alcohol in my life and things just seemed to get worse after my divorce. My father began to get sick, and soon passed away in 1973. At this time I was a single mother of your older sister and alcohol was a big part of my life. There were pall barriers at my father’s funeral, and one of them was Jimmie Jones, whom was 10 years older than me. He was a close family friend, and he was close with my father, and my brothers. After the funeral he asked me if I wanted to go have a few drinks with him, and even when he was married at the time, I didn’t think there was any harm in having a few drinks. Alcohol seemed to make everything so much better and it helped ease the pain I was facing with my father’s passing. The night of my father’s funeral was the night you were conceived and after this night, my life would never be the same. Jimmie and I both were lonely and ended up getting a hotel room that night after we left the bar, and one thing led to another. After this night, I never saw him again. This was a very poor decision on my part, but there was nothing I could do to take this night away, and to take the pain away from my father passing away Jimmie consoled me, as he was 10 years older than me, he knew all the right things to say.
Soon after I found out I was pregnant with you. I did continue to drink during my pregnancy, and I am so sorry for that. It is one of the many regrets in my life I have. You see alcohol had a control over me, like nothing else ever did. It was all I knew to get by, and ease the pain I was about to endure. There is no way I could have made it through a pregnancy and know I was going to give my baby away, and not have alcohol to help me cope with those emotions. I am so sorry for what that has done to you. Please know I never wanted to hurt you. I could say I would do anything to take that night back, but if I did that you wouldn’t be where you are today with your beautiful children. What I can say is that I want to let you know I am so sorry for your pain and I hope someday you can forgive me so you can let go of the pain you have in your heart so you can truly be happy. I understand your anger towards me, and I am so sorry I have caused this. You have every right to be angry.
When I made the decision to give you up for adoption, I want you to know abortion just wasn’t an option. My mother tried to abort her first child in every way possible, and didn’t succeed. My oldest sister was born mentally retarded and lived in a nursing home her whole life until she passed away in her 60’s. Abortion never was an option for me, because this situation tore our family up on many levels. When I got pregnant with you, the reason I decided not to keep you was because your biological father was married and I didn’t want to bring you into the world under those circumstances. You see, if I would have kept you then you would have felt like a mistake, or a product of an affair and I didn’t want you to have to endure that type of pain. I felt like it would have ruined you, and I also was so ashamed of my behavior I just couldn’t deal with the pain. This is my reason in choosing adoption. Never did I ever mean for you to grow up harboring such pain that you have. I have carried the shame from my actions deep inside, and I never have forgiven myself for what I have done. Having an affair with a married man is just not in my character, and I have had to live with that my entire life. The only thing that seemed to ease my pain is to drink alcohol because no one ever taught me about healing, or God, or how to pray. We never grew up in church, nor did I have a church family to be close to. All I knew is alcohol took the pain away, but of course it was temporary. As soon as I got sober, I would begin to think of my past, my life, my guilt, and about you. The pain was unbearable.
All the years that passed, not one single birthday did I not shed a tears for you. You were always on my mind, and in my heart. I had always wondered what your life was like, if you had children, or got married. I hoped you were happier than the life I could have provided for you. I know you feel like my decision in giving you up for adoption was a selfish one and I can understand this but please know that my decision was based on what I felt would have been best for you at the time. If I had it to do over, and times were different I would have loved to have an open adoption, where I could have watched you grow over the years, and we could have exchanged letters and pictures, but back in the 1970’s there was no such thing as an open adoption.
When I received the very first phone call from you in 1995, I am so sorry my first response was to hang up the phone. This is not anything you deserved, nor did you do anything wrong. I was just completely shocked, and I wasn’t sure what to say. I am so sorry I hung up on you. When you called back, I had a little time to get myself together. I decided to let you know that “YES, I am the person you are looking for”, because I felt like you deserved to know the truth. For me it was facing my fears, because I was still so very ashamed of the circumstances that brought you into this world. I never forgave myself. An enormous amount of guilt went with me for my entire life after you were born, and for you to call, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt so sad deep down, but it had nothing to do with you personally. It was nothing I wanted you to feel. After hearing your voice for the first time, I was in complete shock, because after all those years, 21 at the time I always had you on my mind but I never knew what happened to you. I am so sorry I didn’t keep my word on sending you the letters and pictures I promised you. Again, the pain was so unbearable; I was doing well to get by day to day. I never mean to hurt you.
When I gave you up for adoption this created a lifelong pain deep in my heart that no one understood. I was not able to grieve because everyone I knew that knew about you kept saying, “You are doing the best thing for your baby, now it’s time to move on with your life”.  The pain was so deep, the only way to escape was by drinking alcohol, and it would get me by day to day. This was all I knew. Deep down I had a piece of my heart missing, and that piece was you.
When I spoke to you for the first time on the phone, and I promised to call you and send letters and pictures, I began to feel very overwhelmed and it was like a sense of darkness from my past came over me. This darkness wasn’t you, it was me and my poor decisions in bring you into this world under the circumstances you were conceived under. I felt such an incredible sense of guilt and shame; I just didn’t know what to say to you. This is the only reason I didn’t keep my word. I am so sorry because you didn’t deserve that. I don’t blame you for searching for your half-sister, and finding her and contacting her. I think I would have done the same if I was you. She knew nothing about you, but I am glad you all are building a relationship because you deserve to have her in your life, and she deserves to have you in hers. I really wanted to be the one to tell her about you, but you beat me to it, and that is okay.
When I got the phone call from her, saying you found her my heart sank. Now the secret was out, and I couldn’t back out of it or deny it. I know some might have just lied, but I didn’t. I confessed to her, “Yes, I had a child and gave her up for adoption”. Her first response was that she wanted us to both meet you. She told me she was flying to Kentucky to meet you, and I just told her I wasn’t quite ready yet. She didn’t understand why, but I didn’t feel I had to explain it to her. I was never good with my emotions, and I was never good at expressing myself. I just wasn’t ready yet. I needed some more time. I knew why, it was because I was still feeling such guilt and such a huge amount of shame that I just wasn’t ready yet.
When I became ready to meet you, and your sister set up the meeting I was a nervous wreck, but I came to a point where I knew I needed to meet you, not only for you, but for me too. I am so sorry when I saw you for the first time I didn’t reach out and hug you right away, I was so nervous and I didn’t know what to do. I wish now, I would have reached out and hugged you and never let you go, because after all that was what you deserved. This was such a painful time for me, as I know it was for you too. When we sat at my dining room table and you told me your adoptive parents divorced a year after you were born, it just crushed me. The overwhelming sense of sadness this brought to me was devastating. This was not what I had planned on for you. I gave you up for adoption so you could be raised in a two parent home, by a loving family that wanted to adopt a baby. Not for them to divorce a year later, and for you to have a very hard life as you mentioned.  This just added to my pain and guilt. I just couldn’t stand the fact that you had a hard life. When I gave you up for adoption I wanted you to have a better one. After you left from our visit when we met the first time, the sadness came back and it was overwhelming. It added to the already sense of guilt and shame I had from the beginning. Now I had to face the fact that I gave a baby up for adoption, and she didn’t have a wonderful life like I planned. This was the reason I never saw you again. It was just too much for me to bear. The guilt and shame was just too much.
I want you to know that it was nothing that you did to deserve this situation you were dealt. You didn’t ask to be born, and you most certainly didn’t ask to be given up for adoption. I always hoped you had the best life out there, which was more than what I could give. I never realized until now the pain that being adopted has brought you. I am so very sorry you have felt that you were abandoned. This is not what I planned for you. Please my sweet daughter; know that deep in my heart I just wanted what was better for you. 
Sometimes in life things don’t go as planned, and when your adoptive parents divorced that was not in the plan. I know you never had a bond with your adoptive mom as you mentioned, and I am so sorry for that. I hoped she would be a wonderful mother, and love you with her whole heart. That is what I had planned for you. I am so sorry you have always felt like you didn’t fit in, or that you were alone in this world. That breaks my heart, and that is not what I want for you. Please remember you were always in my heart, and you have never left it. Not even for a minute.
You said you wondered if I knew if you were at my bedside when I was in the ICU, after I fell down the steps. Yes, I knew you were there. I never contacted you to tell you, but I knew you came to Iowa to see me. They thought I was going to die, but I made it. I never intended for that to be the last time you saw me alive. I wish I could have told you “I love you”, but I was in a coma and I couldn’t say a word. I don’t even remember falling down the steps, because alcohol had such a hold on me, I was in a deep black out when this happened. I want to say “Thank You” for coming to the hospital, because I never got to tell you before.
17 years passed, and you reached out to me, and I never reached back. I got your letters, and pictures and cards in the mail, but I could never get up enough courage to respond. This is nothing you did, I just felt so guilty about the situation, and I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. You didn’t deserve this, and you deserved more than what I allowed myself to give. I am so sorry for that.
At the end of my life, in 2010 I hadn’t spoken to your sister in over 3 years. I had developed COPD, and I became very sick. I was on oxygen 24/7, I was less than 100lbs, I smoked and I was all alone in my home. I was unable to care for myself, or my home, and I became someone that was just alone and I didn’t even let those that wanted to help me come inside. I was too embarrassed of my home, as over years it developed such a sense of darkness, and sadness I never wanted anyone to see what my life was really like. My home didn’t have any running water, I had holes in my windows with plastic and tape to cover the holes, and I hadn’t had anything new in my home sense the 1970’s. I kept it completely dark, with all the curtains drawn, because this way I couldn’t see how filthy and dirty it was. At the end of my life, I had no energy to tend to it, so the dust and filth became unbearable. I didn’t want anyone to see that, so I shut everyone out, even those that tried to help me. The only comfort I had at the end of my life was alcohol. I kept it close at hand, and it got me through each day of sadness I felt.
I want you to know that I didn’t mean for your feelings to get hurt when you weren’t listed in my obituary. I am so sorry they did. I had my funeral planned out to a tee, and I didn’t list you as my daughter or your children as my grandchildren because so many people didn’t know about that painful part of my life. I did my best to hide it, because I was afraid of what people might think. You see Pamela; I took that pain to my grave. Never once did I forgive myself for the events that happened to bring you into this world. I was so filled with shame and guilt but it was nothing to do with you. It was the decisions I made before you were even born and I have never forgiven myself for that. I know you drove 10 hours to be at my funeral, and even if I wasn’t ready to accept you in my life, you were always in my heart.
As I close this letter, I would really like you to know that I’m so very sorry that you didn’t have the chance to know your biological father because of my irresponsible decisions. I am so sorry you didn’t get to know your biological siblings growing up, and I am so very sorry you felt such a loss your whole life. From the bottom of my heart I would like to ask for you to forgive me for my decision in placing you up for adoption. I would like for you to try to understand where I was coming from, and please understand that I never have or never will stop thinking about you. You are in my heart, and always have and always will be.
I also want to tell you how very proud I am of you that you made the decision to stop drinking alcohol and start a 12 step program. I know this is the best thing you could ever do for yourself, and your kids, and grandkids. I might still be alive right now if alcohol wasn’t such a big part of my life.
 No one deserves to carry the pain you have been carrying. As I learn to forgive myself I would like to ask you if you have it in your heart to forgive me? 
I love you, always have and always will.
Your First Mom, Arlene