Is Adoption The Problem OR is Relinquishment The Problem?

I received a comment on the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page a few days ago. I had shared a post from my friend & fellow adoptee Anne Heffron and someone commented,

“Is Adoption the problem – or – relinquishment? Think about it, please.”

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I feel this comment was probably made by an adoptive parent, but I can’t 100% guarantee it. Adotpee’s don’t usually say things like that. We understand the dynamics of how it feels to be adopted. After my friend shares a blog post sharing her pain someone  felt the need to negate her real raw feelings and flip the coin and make it something totally different than what it really is.

This is what inspired this blog post.

RELINQUISHMENT = To renounce or surrender, a possession, right, etc. To give up; put aside or desist from; to relinquish a plan. To let go; to release; to relinquish one’s hold. Relinquishment is voluntary consent to the termination of one’s parental rights to a child.

ADOPTION = To choose or take as one’s own; to take and rear as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act. Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, from the biological parent or parents.

I think there are many people out there who would like to think adoptees have complex issues because of the relinquishment, but they couldn’t  possibly have all these issues with the adoption, right?

I mean what is there to fuss about, really?

Let’s talk about “RELINQUISHMENT”

For those of us who have done the research, and/or who have lived with being adopted most of us know that every time a mother and a child is separated a trauma occurs.  See The Adopted Child: Trauma and It’s Impact. and Nancy Verrier’s Website. Pick up a copy of The Primal Wound. Do the research yourself and you will see RELINQUISHMENT has it’s own set of issues.  For adoptees who might be reading this, you might not even understand that many of your issues could very well be linked to being adopted.

The only way I was able to come to a place of understanding about myself and my issues was to do the work in researching trauma from relinquishment, attachment disorder, addiction in adoptees, abandonment & rejection issues, separation of mother and baby, prenatal bonding and what happens when that bond is broken with the woman who carried us for 9 months. I researched postnatal bonding issues,  Complex-PTSD, Reactive Detachment Disorder, disenfranchised grief & loss for adoptees. Many of us struggle with depression, low self-esteem, worthlessness, anxiety and fear of being abandoned again. We have unwantedness attached to us because when our own families didn’t want us who else would want us? The list could go on and on. It’s taken me years to research all these areas, but each time I did it was “Aha” moments back to back.

If you are reading this I challenge you to do the same.

As well as researching all these areas, I started connecting with other adoptees online and I realized I’m not alone. RELINQUISHMENT has some severe issues attached to it and the relinquishment happens before the child is ever adopted. This is why I think many in adoption land want to think relinquishment is the problem, not the adoption. Please keep reading. Some of these issues are life and death for many of us adoptees.

Another avenue I explored is researching how birth mothers felt before and after relinquishment. I wanted to take myself from my shoes and put myself in hers so I could TRY to gain empathy and understanding of what she went through. This helped me with my healing and forgiveness towards her. I would be blind to not take these things into consideration while researching all the dynamics of relinquishment & adoption.

I could go into detail about each area listed above but it would take me all day to describe all the issues attached to each of these areas. If you do the research and read adult adoptee blogs you will be able to connect the dots yourself and see how relinquishment impacts us.

When I share in my writings I’m not speaking for all adoptees. I’m speaking from a place of my own experience and the fact I’m in contact with hundreds of adoptees all over the world and our stories line up with more similarities than you could ever imagine. I founded the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” Facebook page, as well as the “Ask An Adoptee” Facebook page. I see thousands of comments weekly from adoptees who are sharing the same stories in different context. I can’t UN KNOW what I know. I can’t turn a blind eye to all the heartache and pain that adoptees share on these pages.

Let’s talk about “ADOPTION”

The word “ADOPTION” is simply a cover up for the REALITY and TRUTH of what adoption really is. The WORD ADOPTION is glamorized in the world, agencies, churches, the institutions, etc and glossed over to be highlighted as something “Wonderful”. The truth is rarely recognized by the world, and the adoptee lives with the truth deep inside our entire lives. One day the fog will start to lift and the word “ADOPTION” isn’t seen as something wonderful, but it’s replaced with the reality and TRUTH of what adoption really is to us, the adoptee.

Some of us are hit with this reality sooner than the others, but it usually comes out in certain places of our lives, and sometimes we don’t even know our issues are tied to being adopted, but most of the time they are. They are intertwined, tight and deep in our souls. I’ve done the research and I know hundreds of adoptees all over the world who all agree, adoption has impacted every area of our lives.

For the adoptee, if we are going to be truthful adoption is rooted and grounded in loss & trauma. Loss of our identity, medical history, genetic mirroring, ancestry, relationships, memories, connection to our roots, and the list could go on. The word ADOPTION is simply a cover up for all our pain. If the world removed the word, and took a look at what it costs for adoptees to be adopted, they would recognize our trauma, grief and loss much earlier on so we would get help much sooner. They would ACKNOWLEDGE we have every right to feel the way we do.

The WORD ADOPTION is filled with secrecy, lies, hidden agendas, corruption, and put in place to simply avoid the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH.  Half-truths seem to spin webs of lies in the adoption industry, and this causes many issues when adoptees search for their truth.

Adoption causes countless issues for adoptees and we are talking about things that happen AFTER relinquishment takes place. We’re handed over the genetic strangers, whom we share no DNA with. We don’t mirror anyone. Expectations are set HIGH as to how we are supposed to be, depending on what our adoptive parents have in mind for the child they want. We come with countless differences than the adoptive family we are raised in, yet many times our differences are dismissed because it might not line up with what our adopters want. We don’t blend in, yet we’re expected to act as if we do. Our feelings are silenced with sentiments of gratitude for our adoptive parents for “Saving Us” from the life we would have had before being adopted. We’re expected to be grateful someone wanted us when our own biological families didn’t want us. We never become NOT ADOPTED and these negative impacts are things that reoccur at different times in our lives. Our trigger list are a mile long, holidays and birthdays never stop coming. Searching is a daunting task filled with highs and lows, followed for some of us reunions that bring the same impact.

ADOPTION HURTS!

ADOPTION IS TRAUMA!

Many times our adoptive parents greatest joy is a result of our biggest loss. How do we disappoint them and let them know how we really feel?

We don’t…

This leads to internalized feelings of shame, guilt, grief, loss, trauma, abandonment and rejection issues. As children we learn to internalize everything and all our pain stays deep inside until we reach adult hood. Many of us start acting out in our teen years because our hormones are raging, and we have no healing outlet or tools to work through our issues. Anger, rage, anxiety, depression are all issues adoptees face AFTER RELINQUISHMENT. 

If anyone wants to read up on the statistics of adoptees over populating the prisons, jails, treatment facilities there is a lot of information out there. Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. Here are a few articles to read.

Toward Preventing Adoption Related Suicide By Mirah Riben

We Need To Talk About Adoptee Suicide By Angela Barra

Keep in mind these issues happen AFTER THE RELINQUISHMENT…

Adoptees can have the most wonderful adoptive parents and adoptive homes and many times still have severe issues. Help is lacking for adoptees, and therapist seem to be oblivious to the fact that ADOPTION is the ROOT cause of most of our issues. Adoptive parents are not prepared to handle all our issues and most of the time the adoption industry hides the TRUTH about what adoptees face, because they are in denial themselves and because adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry. Selling babies is their paycheck. That’s the TRUTH.

I’m not saying adoption is 100% the ONLY issue but it is the root cause of many areas of our struggles. The sad part is adoptees most of the time don’t even understand adoption has played such a significant role in all these areas. When they finally figure it out is when the connect with other adoptees. Then and only then do they know they aren’t alone in feeling the way they do.

Don’t think for a moment we haven’t already thought about THIS. We wake up with the realities of adoption and go to bed with them. We can try to escape this TRUTH but it’s part of who we are. What I would like to ask the readers to do is THINK ABOUT listening to adult adoptees next time they share their heart with you. THINK ABOUT acknowledging their pain when they share their pain. THINK ABOUT the reality to this thing is a reality you really can’t understand because you aren’t adopted. THINK ABOUT gaining the WILLINGNESS to want to learn and try to understand adult adoptees. THINK ABOUT reading adult adoptee Blogs and Adoptee Stories.

We’re the ones who have lived being adopted, yet we’re the most silenced in the adoption equation.

So here you see, ADOPTION & RELINQUISHMENT are very much intertwined in the fabric of an adoptees experience. To say one or the other hasn’t impacted us is not acknowledging a very critical part of our stories. ADOPTION comes with it’s own set of issues and so does RELINQUISHMENT. TOGETHER they make life extremely difficult for adoptees, especially when non-adoptees want to assume the issue is really with relinquishment and adoption is just a wonderful thing!

I haven’t even talked about adoptees who have HORRIBLE adoption experiences piled on top of relinquishment. I haven’t mentioned adoptees who have had HORRIBLE reunions on top of HORRIBLE adoptions. For us, it’s a life sentence filled with grief, loss, trauma and no acknowledgement in the real world from most non-adoptees that we should have any issues at all with adoption or relinquishment which is a trauma in itself. How would you feel if you had cancer and the world all around you celebrated that cancer? Well that’s how adoption is for us.

The world has no problems GLORIFYING the act of ADOPTION, yet the FAIL time and time again to address the real root issues of what adoptees experience before and after the adoption takes place.

This is a HUGE part of why the adoptee attempted suicide rate is 4x more likely than non-adoptees. This is why I keep writing. This is why many adoptees keep sharing. We have a moral obligation to think of our brothers and sisters who are adopted and who are stuck in a hopeless and helpless place.

If you are a non-adoptee reading, or someone who is impacted by adoption in some way please understand RELINQUISHMENT and ADOPTION go hand in hand with their own set of issues. ADOPTION is simply a WORD that masks the TRUTH of what ADOPTION really for adoptees. The SOONER we can remove this glorified word and be HONEST about what the realities are THE SOONER ADOPTEES will begin to share their real raw feelings of the damage adoption has caused, and the sooner they will begin to heal.

Half-truths, secrecy and lies stall our healing.

Hopefully this cleared up some confusion regarding adoption, relinquishment and how both of these areas impact adoptees. Please never think for a moment we aren’t already THINKING about these things. We think of them every single day all day long. I challenge the non-adoptees reading to THINK about learning from adult adoptees. We have lived adoption. We hold the most valuable experiences, yet for many years we have been silenced by the world.

Not today.

Today I share.

Today WE share.

I WILL NEVER BE SILENT.

Thanks for reading!

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Pamela believes all adoptees deserve to know their truth. She writes, blogs, and she reaches out to other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. Thanks for reading Pamela’s blog and please let her know you were here.

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova, Lexington, KY

You can look her up by email pamlakaranova@gmail.com

FOLLOW PAMELA’S BLOG!

Twitter: @pamelakaranova

Article About Pamela Featured on Adoption.com

Adoptee in Recovery Blog Post Featured on Huffington Post

Pamela Was Nominated for the Best Articles for Adoptees 2015 Check this link out!

 

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Adoptee Rights Rally Petition Signing Party!

$11 Could Change Everything!!! 

If we could all consider this, we would have our 100,000 signatures in no time.

We need 100,000 Signatures For the for the President to enact an Executive Order which would restore the Original Birth Certificate to every ADULT ADOPTEE in America in one fell swoop because it is a civil and constitutional right! This seems like such a HUGE number but if we break this down this is what it looks like.

We already have 15,000 signatures so we are only seeking 85,000 more.

I spent $11 yesterday making 100 copies of the petition, and 20 copies of the Adoptee Restoration Act. I purchased one small pack of file folders. I’m putting 1 Adoptee Restoration Act and 5 Petition sheets in each, along with my contact information via a business card, but could be as simple as a label or your name and number written across the top.

I’m also including a personal letter from me into each petition packet, because as we share a piece of our hearts it seems peoples heart strings get pulled and they are more likely to sign and even get on board with adoptee rights. Here is a sample of my letter. Feel free to use it or ask me for a copy and I can email it to you, and you can change it around to suit you and your experience. I will be hand signing each one and include one in each file folder with the Adoptee Restoration Act and 5 petition sheets.

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Over the next week I’m building my own campaign team in my area reaching out to my fellow adoptees who are local first. I already have 3 signed up to help. Next I will be reaching out to my close friends (have no family here) but I have plenty of people who claim to “Love Me” so I plan on taking advantage of that and asking them to HELP ME! 🙂

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You can find both the petition sheet and the Adoptees Restoration Act sheet on the Adoption Alarm Website  website under “Document Library”

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If I find 20 people to help and ask them to fill 5 sheets each, that’s 50 signatures each. Multiply that by 20 and I will have 1000 signatures myself.  All I’m doing is reaching out to my local people and ask if the would like to get on board and help this cause. Even people that aren’t adoptees would like to help because they might have someone impacted by adoption in their life. Some businesses would like to help and maybe sponsor us.

If we need 85,000 signatures that means if 85 people step up and take on this challenge to create their own local teams we would have all our signatures in the next few months. If we can double that to 170 people taking this challenge we would only need to get 500 signatures each which would make it even quicker and faster to gain these signatures.

85 people is not a lot!

If we split that load in half  that would be 170 people. The price would be $6 each to print the supplies. 

WE CAN DO THIS! 

It cost me $11 and a little time, and networking locally but in the process I will get my name out there for a great cause, and hopefully inform more people about the rally and what’s is involved with it. Each person we contact is one person we can share our desire WHY this is so important to so many adoptees all over the world!

ALL WE CAN DO IS TRY!!!!!!! If we commit to trying, we can keep track of how many signature sheets we have here and motivate and inspire one another. We can share who we have targeted in our area and how their response was to helping.

I’m asking for all those reading if they would commit to getting on board and helping with the Adoptee Rights Rally from the comfort of your own home and town. This offer is for EVERYONE who is reading this. No one person is excluded. If we get more signatures, that’s even better.

If you would commit and join our Adoptee Rights Petition Signing Party PLEASE make a commitment, you can email me at pamelakaranova@gmail.com or comment on this blog post. You can send me a Facebook Message and you can also share this challenge with all those you know and love. Feel free to share it, copy and paste it or whatever you need to do to get the word out there.

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova, Lexington, KY

Adoptee Rights Rally 2016

Campaign Team, Media & PR

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You can look her up by email pamlakaranova@gmail.com

You will find thousands of adoptees at “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?”

Please visit:

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

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Twitter: @pamelakaranova & @adopteereality

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Please Don’t Tell Me How To Feel

I have felt the need to share something that’s been on my heart the last 24 hours since I shared my last blog post.
I had an adoptive mother tell me I should just think of my experience in a different way. It’s up to me to basically be thankful and grateful.  We’re all adopted into God’s Kingdom so what’s the difference right?
Let me just say, that it always seems to be the adoptive mothers who want to speak up and tell me how I should fell. I wonder why this is? If a child lost their mother in a car accident and they grieved this loss later in life would you tell that child how they should feel? I doubt it.
The truth of the matter is, I am just now grieving my losses and I am 8 days away from turning 40 years old. Do you know why that is? Because I spent 37 years of my life being brain washed by my adoptive mother, family and the rest of society on how I should feel. They always made me feel guilty for wanting to know my first family. For simply wanting to know WHO I AM. This not only denied me the right to share my true real feelings, but it denied me the right to grieve my loss until I became old enough to identify my real feelings, and be brave enough to share them.
I realize my blog isn’t full of fancy flowers and rainbow dreams. But my blog is full of the truth on what adoption has done to me and the pain it’s inflicted on me and in return my children, and one day their children. Instead of judge me, why don’t you look at where the source of my pain is coming from. The root issue is abandonment & rejection from my birth mother giving me up for adoption. All of the crazy stuff with my adoptive mother just adds to that root cause. But the ROOT CAUSE is from me being given away, tossed to the side by both my birth parents. Adding to that, they didn’t accept me when I finally did find them. The other side of that is my adopters telling me I should just be thankful that they took me in when my birth family didn’t want me. They took away my right to cry for missing my birth mother. They took away my right to know and make memories with my biological siblings and their children. Memories lost, never to be found.  They took away my right to grieve my loss. I could never share my feelings growing up, and this is why I share them now. They confused me because even when my feelings were of complete sadness and despair, they told me I had no right to feel that way. Now as an adult, I know I have a right to feel that way. If you lost your entire family in a car wreck wouldn’t you be sad about loosing them? Of course. Same thing but hopefully you had a chance to make some lasting memories with your loved ones. Adoptees don’t get that chance. 
It may be different for some adoptees, but I feel like I was adopted to fulfill my adoptive mothers desires to be a mother. I think she cares more about who’s going to take care of her when shes old, and the self-satisfaction she gets when someone calls her “Mother”. She still desires these things even when she’s never been a mother to me.
As for being adopted into God’s kingdom. I do believe I am adopted into Gods kingdom but there is a big difference. I had to make that choice to become a Christian and give my life to Christ. I had all the decision making into that factor of my life. I can say it was the best decision of my life, but I made it for myself. My church family is my family. I am thankful to God for them every day because they have shown me what REAL FAMILY Is all about. They have loved me unconditionally with no strings attached. They have taught me something that adoption hasn’t taught me. To love with no conditions. Adoption is the other way around.
I heard yesterday on the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” page ( www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted) one of my fellow adoptees said in response to adoptive parents and society telling her how to feel,

“If you shared the same history as me, you may share the same sentiments”

Thanks Alex Bird! ❤

That was beautifully said and I couldn’t have said it any better. As long as I’m walking out my recovery journey and healing from the pain from my past from my adoption experience, I will share my feelings and my story. I will grieve my losses how I need to, just like you will grieve your losses how you need to. I know that I’m reaching other adoptees who have always felt alone, and I’m also reaching those adoptive parents who want to receive what an adult adoptee has to say because I have lived in the shoes of what their child is living. I believe that in time things will get easier, and maybe one day my blog will taper off into sweet nothings, but right now when I’m FINALLY able to speak freely about how it feels to be adopted, and share my journey and insight with the world some of what you read will be very painful.  If I wasn’t denied the right to grieve my losses growing up, I may not be grieving them by blogging about my feelings at 40 years old. Instead of judge me, maybe say a prayer for me.  I will do the same for you.
Let me ask, since you made it this far. How do you respond when others tell you how you should feel about being adopted?  What seems to work for you?  

Thanks for being here and for being a part of my journey! 

Somewhere Between Here & There, Accepting the Pain

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m at a place where I need to accept this lifetime of adoptee pain. I don’t understand how on earth society doesn’t understand there is so much more to adoption that a cute little baby to complete a family.
I’ve done everything I can think of to work on healing from the pain I experience daily. I ran for 26 years because the pain was too great. I numbed myself with drugs, alcohol, sex and things that were a threat to my life and soul. I didn’t understand the depths of my pain because I spent 37 years being told to be thankful and grateful for someone taking me in when my own mother and biological family didn’t want me.  It was beyond confusing to know this pain was coming from the same place I was expected to be grateful. And they wonder why I drank to cope. What else was I supposed to do? I saw counselors from the time I was 5 years old until I was an adult. Never once was my “Adoption” brought up or spoke about. The counselors swept these issues adoptees face under the rug, just like my adoptive family did. My feelings were never to exist, never to be spoken of. My history was gone just like that.
I was in and out of juvenile jail, in so many fights I can’t even begin to count, I was a teenager full of pain and no one would acknowledge my real root issue, where the trauma began. That was being separated from my biological mother at the beginning of life. I can’t help but wonder why the psychologists and counselors never acknowledged this to be a root issue or a trauma? Did they truly not know? Or were they fed the propaganda the rest of the world has been fed. Keep quiet, pretend and lies are okay, because were actually protecting the child? Little do they know that child will one day grow up and have questions and more questions? We will want answers and when we feel like we’ve been duped or like a rug has been pulled over our heads we will truly not feel like we are a part of any family. Some days I feel like I’m an alien and I don’t’ even belong on this planet. I can’t figure out where I fit in, perhaps it’s somewhere between here and there? I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t’ fit in anywhere and it will solve me a lot of heart ache and grief for the future to come.
As I have been on this healing journey, which started in 2011 so much has come to light for me. I knew I had a lot of feelings deep inside that needed to be acknowledged but as I began to write and uncover my feelings I was able to identify that my root issues to my low self-esteem, anger, rage, and feelings of abandonment and rejection stem back to being separated from my first family. The other side is my adoptive family pretending they didn’t exist and making me feel guilty for wanting to know them and love them, even if they didn’t want to know and love me. This has been heartbreaking! I started drinking at 12 years old and drank heavily my whole life because I didn’t want to face the pain. About a year into my healing journey I decided it was time to throw in the towel on my drinking habit and start a recovery program. The day before my “Birth”day (which feels like dooms day to me) I will celebrate 2 years of sobriety. This has been the hardest 2 years of my life. I keep waiting on something magical to happen. Okay, I got sober… NOW WHAT? I’ve been writing for 2 years, I’ve been mentoring and leading in a recovery ministry and I’ve been working really hard at identifying with my real adoptee feelings. I have stood up in front of approx. 100 people and read my testimony out loud which shares a lot of my adoptee experience which is a healing experience. I have worked on writing exercises and workbooks for adoptees. I help others search for their long lost family members because search and reunions will always have a special place in my heart.  I have been seeing a lay pastor for over a year about my life and my adoptee issues. I read adoptee books, I reach out to other adoptees online because they are the only ones that know how I feel and can relate. I wake up and pray daily and thank God for another day on earth with my kids. I pray and ask him to help me heal, to give me strength to get through another day. I ask God to help me find my purpose in this world. I go to work and take care of the elderly for a living and I absolutely love what I do. I surround myself with positive people and I’m very active in my church. I serve on the Emergency Response team and the Social Media Team. I’m in leadership in Celebrate Recovery, which is a ministry for those overcoming hurts, habits & hang-ups of any kind. I spend every moment I can with my kids.
Yet, My heart is broken, I am so sad deep down, and I just can’t seem to shake this feeling. I keep waiting and waiting, but perhaps it’s time I just accept this fate of the life I was given. Healing may be possible for certain areas for me. For instance, I have healed and forgiven my birth mother. I’m not mad at her anymore, but in order to heal from that I needed to discover the truth. I needed to know the truth about WHY she gave me up and WHY she decided not to tell my birth father about me. With my adoptive family holding these secrets from me and the rest of the world it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to heal. Now that I have fought tooth and nail and uncovering WHO I AM, I can move forward in certain areas.
I hear other adoptees say the pain never goes away, some much older than I. I am starting to believe this. I am a believer that GOD HEALS, but maybe the pain I’m experiencing is supposed to stay so I can fight and help other adoptees make it through what I have been through? So I can keep telling my story so maybe someone somewhere will realize that there I so much more to adoption than completing YOUR family. I’m almost 40 and the pain is so great now, even after I have found everyone and been in reunion some years. Now it’s heavy on my mind at what I missed with my siblings.
EVERY SINGLE HOUR OF EVER SINGLE DAY I THINK OF MY FIRST FAMILY AND HOW I WISH I WAS CLOSER TO THEM AND WHAT I MISSED.
I’m going to write a blog post about all the reminders I experience in a given day.
Accepting this pain is here to stay is something I’m working on and praying that God takes my pain and uses it for his gain. I am so sick and tired of feeling this way. I’m extremely thankful for all the adoptees at www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadoptedI created this Facebook like page in October 2012 and it’s been the best healing tool yet. I can see that I’m not alone, and the other adoptees can see they aren’t alone. If only more adoptive parents would read and try to understand how it feels to be adopted, maybe their kids would have a better chance at healing early on in life vs. never being given that chance like so many of us. My right to heal was stolen along with my history. This has to change. We can’t accept anything if it’s being kept a secret from us.
Thanks for reading!