How Adoptees Feel About Birthday’s

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This blog post was inspired because I know first hand how hard birthday’s can be for adoptees. There is healing in sharing how we feel so I wanted to seek input from my fellow adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthdays.

I was blown away to see so many of us feel similar ways about this day and the days leading up to the “Birth” day. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well.

Some adoptees have no issues with this day.

No matter what experiences are shared here, I’m excited so share the feelings of so many of my fellow adoptees no matter how they feel. Each and every one of you matters, your story matters and your voice matters.

If you would like to add how you feel about your birthday please reply to this thread and I’ll add it to this blog post. Feel free to share with your online communities to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

Adoptee Voice #1.

  • My birthday month is August. I wish the month could go away. My birthday is the 10th. I don’t ever recall looking forward to my birthday. It feels weird when people wish me happy birthday. I don’t even know what the normal feeling is supposed to be.

Adoptee Voice #2.

  • It’s not your birthday. It’s your cake day., eat cake.

Adoptee Voice #3.

  • August 21st is my birthday so in the back of my mind counting down to the day. Not sure what plans are. I usually try stay positive but by evening the mind tends to take over a bit. I used to think it was the one day she would be thinking of me but found out she never remembered my birth date.

Adoptee Voice #4.

  • My birthday is December 21. So I get the holiday blues wIthiBONUS birthday blues. My mom passed just over a year ago, my dad has had a super rough time (wrecked the tractor last fall, other medical problems, depression) and I’m already dreading this holiday season.

    I’m actually thinking about taking a road trip. I could use the solitude and the break and it just might be the perfect time and place for the crying jag I never seem to let myself have.

    Last year I turned 50 and my aunt (my mom’s only sibling) surprised me at work with a big cake. It was nice of her, but it was also sort of surreal.

Adoptee Voice #5

  • It’s the time of the year I can’t “not think” of my birth parents. (BF is deceased) My birth mother lives less than 15 miles from me and a mile away from where I was raised. She pretends I don’t exist. If there is one day a year she thinks about me, that should be it, right? I do write her letters and send them, even though I never get anything back.

Adoptee Voice #6

  • I have an August birthday (the 28th). I HATE my birthday… As a child, it was never a happy occasion. Adoptive father was a violent drunk, and his drinking never took a vacation, no matter the day.. holidays, birthdays, weddings…. Adoptive monster was an enabler, and fed into his violence and never protect myself or adoptive brother. Birthdays were “family” parties until I was 10. Every year less and less people came, and I finally realized it was due to him. I always wondered what I did wrong.. But why in the world would you subject yourself to that disaster if you didn’t have to? And since I wasn’t blood to them, they just stopped coming. The final straw was at 16. Adoptive monster talked up a Sweet 16 party for years. Told me we would rent a hall, get a DJ, I could invite anyone I wanted… When it came down to it, it didn’t happen. It was downgraded to a house party in my garage. The day of ,I spent HOURS getting ready. Sat outside waiting and waiting. Hours after start time, I heard the adoptive monsters arguing. Adoptive father admitted the night before he called the entire guest list and told them it was cancelled…. NO JOKE. This is the deranged behavior I lived with my entire childhood. That was the last birthday I spent with them. Shortly after this, I fled in the middle of the night and was emancipated.

Adoptee Voice #7

  • My birthday is Nov 1 and I always got depressed and angry as it got closer. I’m 53. A few years ago I decided to start making it about others. I’d invite a couple of good friends to go out to a really nice dinner just to celebrate the friendships I have.
    I have a loving husband and family who wanted to bless me so I quit being a stick in the mud & let them and chose to enjoy what I have now instead of what I don’t have. Gratitude and choosing to bless others changed how I anticipate my birthday now.

    This was before I met my sister this past spring, and learned a lot about my birth parents who have passed. I am now looking forward to this year’s birthday.
    It’s all in perspective – I am here, alive, and have many things to be thankful about.

Adoptee Voice #8

  • Birthdays are hard for me. I have spent more than one birthday listening to John Lennon’s song “Mother” on repeat…

Adoptee Voice #9

  • I know some adoptees hated this, but I loved it. It made me feel special. My Adoptive Mom celebrated my adoption Birthday by taking me out and often giving me a special gift.

Adoptee Voice #10

  • The older I got the more I dreaded it. I only want to hear it from my son who I know loves me. And my boyfriend who I know loves me also. Everyone else I still wonder what they really think of me. No matter their loyalty or not….I still question it. It took me awhile to believe my boyfriend really loved me.

Adoptee Voice #11

  • Birthday, the day of happiness from all… Ugh it’s just a dreaded day of wanting to be alone.

Adoptee Voice #12

  • My birthday is in May and I just think of it as the day I was given to the universe rather than the day I lost my whole family.

Adoptee Voice #13

  • I have hated every single birthday I can remember. Everyone always thought I should love them and celebrate them! It never felt like my day or my birthday. Long story short at the age of 38 I found my birth mother 1 week ago. The day I had always celebrated my birthday was not the day I was born! I have no idea how I will feel for the next one….Feb always thought, March actual!
    Life literally changed overnight and upside down. I thought being adopted was hard, at this stage being reunited is even harder. My birth mother seems lovely and kinda “gets me” more than my adoptive mother. Huge journey/roller coaster ride about to begin.

Adoptee Voice #14

  • Growing up my birthdays were a mixed deal. The birthday party or events my parents had lined up were always fun things I really liked. But there is just something about the day I was born and always feeling like my biological mom did not even love me enough to keep me. Once I got into what my parents had planed it was always a fun day. But the lead up was bad for years. After I became an late teen and adult the day got worse. For years I would just ignore it, spending the whole day doing yard work, even mowing a relatives or a neighbors yard just things to keep my super busy and my mind off my birthday. The last few years have been better. I have dealt with my life much more working through it instead of burying it. I am beginning to feel I deserve to be happy or at least not sad on my day. Like others have sad feelings I have put in the work to earn my day. Wanting to show my biological mom this stubborn, loud, fussy baby turned out just fine!!!!

Adoptee Voice #15

  • It didn’t really seem much different than any other non-adoptees birthday, until I found out last year that by birth mother and I share the same birthday. I must have been the worst birthday present ever.

Adoptee Voice #16

  • For me I used substances for 26 years, so I didn’t have to process the pain of the realities of adoption. Birthdays were always a dreaded day filled with pain, loss, unconscionable grief and having to celebrate it was possible but only with alcohol in my life. 8/13/12 I decided I wanted to live a sober lifestyle and all the REALITIES of adoption came flooded in. I truly wasn’t prepared for it all. When you run for so many years how can you prepare. In the last 5 years I’ve worked towards handling these emotions in a healthy way. I am not gonna lie, there were birthdays I just couldn’t even get out of bed and it goes the same for the weeks leading up to that day. It was a dreaded day for many years, but recently I’ve given myself permission (because no one else in the world has) to be sad on that day, cry and share my feelings in my blog. I’ve learned it’s perfectly normal to be sad on the day I was separated from my birth mother. I wanted to erase the entire day and erase myself in the process! Thank God it wasn’t possible but I would have done it 100x over if it was. Today after almost 5 years of recovery and sobriety, my sessions of the pain of my birthday is still there, but each year I process and share my feelings and others validate them (THIS IS CRITICAL FOR US!) things get easier. This year, I will wake up on my birthday (Aug 13) and prob play a song that reminds me of my birth mother (My Way- By Frank Sinatra) and cry awhile. Why? Because it’s okay to cry awhile. Once I get that out of the way I might write about what I’m feeling and share it with those who understand, and get on with the day. I plan to go hiking with my kids and go see a waterfall and enjoy the rest of the day. You see, it’s critical we are able to process the pain because leaving it inside only KILLS us inside! Adoptees grow up, and they don’t stay babies forever. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to be sad on this day. If you are an adoptee who struggles with your birthday please know you aren’t alone!

Adoptee Voice #17

  • Birthdays for me, are somewhat hollow. There is an entire person who has never been acknowledged, celebrating his birthday, but as a different person. There is sadness and pain in any holiday for me. I still enjoy it. Just is different for me.

Adoptee Voice #18

  • We didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or holidays while growing up. So, it’s still just that…not a big deal. A few people wish me happy birthday, but other than that it’s just another day.

Adoptee Voice #19

  • I always thought that the day I was born was the ultimate irony. I came into this world on Mother’s Day. I could never wrap my head around how that must have felt for my birth mother. My feelings towards my birthday fluctuate with the feelings I have for my biological parents. When I was younger, I had deep anger & spent my birthday wondering if they were thinking of me, hoping they were & hoping that it hurt like hell. My anger morphed into depression and my birthday has since caused me a deep sense of sadness & it is the time when I feel the greatest sense of abandonment.

Adoptee Voice #20

  • As a kid, I never thought twice about it. In the last 20 years it weighs on me, heavily. I’m now 42. My adopted father left as soon as the adoption was finalized leaving my mom and I. She passed away 4 years ago and I always think she loved me when no one else did. The date before the actual birthday is the toughest. Now that I have my own family I can remember every nuance of that day leading to their birth. Every year seems to be harder than the previous.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • I would never think twice about my birthday until I turned 16. I don’t know whether It’s because it’s an important milestone in our culture, or whether it’s because I was finally mature enough to understand the implications of adoption. From then on, a pattern began to develop. Each birthday would start off happy..until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing but out of nowhere I suddenly become overwhelmed with thoughts of my birth mother. Is she thinking about me? Does she get as sad as I do on this day? Has she been longing for me as much as I have been? Etc. Unfortunately, this feeling of loss has only continued to grow with each birthday.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • It’s my birthday, that’s all there is to it. I don’t have huge blowout gatherings or what have you, but I’ll do something to enjoy it. I feel blessed that people contact me in whatever manner they do to wish me well on that day!

Adoptee Voice #22

  • I remind people who love me it is an anniversary loss day, my body is grieving. I noticed a pattern likely in my childhood, usually crying on my birthday at the end of the day and not knowing why, had a full panic attach at age 19, and generally feeling sad for about 4-6 weeks around my birthday despite the happy celebrations. I love getting older but the loss does not seem to lessen with time, now almost 50, even after a happy reunion.

Adoptee Voice #23

  • It’s supposed to be such a happy day and every one wants you to be happy. But for me there’s always been something, something that spoils it. Something underlying that prevented me. It was only when I grew old enough to relate that it was the day “she” gave me away and chose never to see me again. To severe that 9 month bond and drastically change the course of my life without my consent.

Adoptee Voice #24

  • Like always, going through the motions, pretending to be happy because that is what everyone expects. Now, I am older, I choose to spend it alone with as little fuss as possible. This was a hard lesson for my natural siblings to learn on my first birthday post-reunion, they staged a birthday bash which I did not attend. It was always a painful period leading up to the actual day but it feels worse now, post-reunion. I was 5 years too late to meet my Mother and now, it just feels like the anniversary of when I lost her.

Adoptee Voice #25

  • My birthday doesn’t really bother me. I get really irritable around it, but on the day it’s always the best day. I try to make that day as happy as I can.

Adoptee Voice #26

  • I wonder if my ” mother ” thinks about me on my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #27

  • I can go into a full blown PTSD episode just because it’s that anniversary.

Adoptee Voice #28

  • It is simply the worst day of the year. Nothing fits.

Adoptee Voice #29

  • A yearly reminder that I was brought into this world to be given away, nothing more.

Adoptee Voice #30

  • I hate my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #31

  • It’s the saddest day of the year for me.

 

As you can see many adoptees share similar feelings regarding our birthdays. If you are an adoptee reading, please know you aren’t alone.

You matter and your feelings matter.

To all the adoptees who were brave in sharing their voices, THANK YOU for helping the world understand how it feels to be adopted. Keep sharing, keep using your voice!

If you are a non-adoptee reading this, thank you for making it this far. Your courage in having the willingness to want to learn how we feel is amazing alone. Please share this post in our online communities to help us raise awareness of how it feels to be adopted.

If you are an adoptee and would like to add how you feel about your birthday, please reply to this post and I’ll add it for you.

Blessings to all & thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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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

The Sky & I

The Sky & I

We go way back you see.

I remember finding out I was adopted at 5 years old and my life would never be the same. I started to fantasize about this woman…

The woman that gave me life.

Who was she?

Where was she?

Fantasy turned to obsession.

I was told she “Loved Me So Much” she wanted me to have a better life, so she surrendered me to my adoptive parents. This in turn was the best gift they could have been given- they were parents now. My loss and my birth mothers loss was my adoptive parents gain.

How could I be sad when they were so happy?

Thoughts of my birth mother never left my mind.

I remember very vividly I would escape what was going on inside, which was usually a manic depressive episode brought on by my adoptive mom so I could be outside. I say escape because that’s what it felt like. I would ask my adoptive mom if I could go outside to play and she almost always had chores for me to do. Getting outside was something I had to sneak to do on most days. At my dads house it was different. He always let us play outside so we could be free.

If I was to sneak out and my adoptive mother would learn I was gone, usually not 5 minutes would pass and she would be hollering for me at the door to get back in the house. On a rare occasion she would give me 30 minutes to play, or maybe 15.

During my time outside, I remember feeling free. I didn’t understand it as a child, but I can look back and understand it now.

I HAD A TIE TO THE SKY…

It was like my baby blanket growing up. In some strange way it made me feel closer to my birth mother, although I had no idea who she was or where shes was I knew in my heart of hearts she was under the same sky I was.

I remember laying in the grass, looking up. Dazing off wondering about HER. I would see a cloud that looked like a tree, and I wondered if she saw the same cloud. I would see a falling star and I wondered if she saw the same falling star. I would see how bright the sun was and beautiful rainbows and I wondered if she saw them too. Rainbows were my favorite and every time I saw one I would think of her…

I always fantasized she was going to one day come back and get me, so the more time I spent outside the better chance she was going to have at finding me. I would sit outside on the front porch and wait…

LOOKING AT THE SKY…

I remember being in the country of Iowa, climbing trees all the way to the top. I was so high I couldn’t get any higher but I would reach up and put my hand towards the clouds in attempts to be closer to my birth mother…

After all I knew that she was under the same sky I was…

The sky was my comfort.

It was my hope that one day I would see her again.

Did she see what I saw in the sky?

The sky and I became very close.

As I walked out the front door as a child it was like the sky was hugging me. Bringing me peace and comfort that I didn’t experience elsewhere.

It was my greatest escape.

THE SKY WAS MY FIRST LOVE.

No one can take the sky away…

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Daydreaming about HER. What did she look like? What were her eyes like? Was she tall like me? Did she think of me like I was thinking of her? Was she looking for me like I was looking for her? Did she really love me like they said? If she loved me how did she give me away?

This must all be a big mistake…

She must be looking for me…

But until she comes the sky will comfort me.

Days turned into years and she never came.

By the time I was a pre-teen my hope faded but my love for the sky did not.

As an adult I still have the same love for the sky, but it’s much different now. I see sunrises and sunsets, rainbows and gorgeous clouds and I am in awe at God’s amazing beauty and creations. I believe God was the one comforting me through the sky the entire time as a child, and he is still doing this today. I’m constantly in AWE at God’s beauty, the hues, and colors and designs. It reminds me of HER. The mystery woman, my birth mother.

THE SKY & I

We will always have a special bond.

There isn’t much else on this earth that can comfort me like the sky does.

We go way back you see…

The sky + me = ❤

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Pamela A. Karanova

Left Out of the Obituary- Again

Adoption is Messy.

MORE THAN MESSY!

Inconsolable Grief Consumed Me…

The feelings overwhelmed me, and tears rolled down my face for hours. There was nothing that eased the pain I was feeling when I learned my brothers family left me out of His obituary.

His death was one thing.

Leaving me out of the obituary was another.

HEARTBROKEN

AGAIN, AGAIN, & AGAIN…

There are really no words to describe how this has felt to me. I experienced the same thing when my birth mother passed away. My birth sister asked me to come and said she needed me to be at the funeral so I went. Why did I have it in my mind that maybe, just maybe I would be listed in her obituary as her daughter? She rejected me. She didn’t want a relationship with me, yet I still had this HIDDEN HOPE that I would be in her obituary.

I guess adoptees are good at fantasizing & dreaming about who, what, when & where did I come from? From the moment we find out we’re adopted we start seeking and searching for our people. HIDDEN HOPE is something I always carried with me. Tucked away in my back pocket wishing and hoping things would change with my birth mother, that one day she would change her mind and want me in her life.

20 years passed and it never happened, yet I was supposed to be there for my birth sister to support her?

On November 7, 2010 I & experienced one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I sat in the front row of my birth mothers funeral service, along side of my sister- you know where the “VIP Family” sits? Yet, I glanced at the funeral service, and looked at the obituary and I was no where to be found.

So who the hell am I?

Am I invisible?

Do I not count for shit?

Am I a human being who has no feelings at all?

Again, inconsolable grief that grew to be larger than the grief of the loss in itself. Just heart-wrenching & I still tear up thinking about it. The pain was and is overwhelming.

So here we have it May 20, 2017- I’ve been working on building a relationship with my img_5247new found brother which I found in 2011. We’ve actually been working together to build that relationship. I had visited Texas multiple times with my kids, and my brother had come to Kentucky multiple times. We both made an effort. We talked on the phone every few weeks, and we text one another pictures of the sunrises and sunsets on occasion. The last time I heard form Him was Mother’s Day…

Sadly, I will never hear from Him again but our last words were happy, cheerful, fun and full of LOVE.

He was my brother.

When I read the obituary and saw I was not included, my heart dropped. I was at the park doing laps for some exercise and it stopped me in my tracks. Tears rolled down my face as I began to weep. Weeping turned into sobbing and there was nothing I could to to ease this pain. The truth is the truth. This hurt like hell. More than anything. It hurt.

I sobbed for hours that night… a few close to me could feel my pain by the tone of my voice, my sadness, my tears and for once in my life I wasn’t hiding it. THEY SAW IT. I sat in the dark of my living room for what seemed like hours. My dogs gave me comfort and one of my daughters stopped by to lend me some support. She hugged me, and held my hand and told me how sorry she was that happened.

What now? I text my brother’s sister and asked her “WHY” I was left out of the obituary. Oh it was a mistake, blah blah blah… Right. I wonder how many adoptees in the world have heard that same crap? Millions I’m sure. All I know is it showed me their true colors on how they really feel about me, but I can tell you one thing my brother didn’t feel that way about me. We have 6 years of amazing memories that no one can take. We had a great relationship that can’t be erased. This was the last photo we took together & a photo of Him and my kids on our first trip to Texas.

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Perhaps I set myself up for this pain? One thing I’ve always done is try to see the best in everyone, to look at things in a positive light, to pull out something good in every situation. There has to be a lesson here right? I mean isn’t there a lesson in everything?

For me the only lesson I can pull from this heartache is to stop investing in so many relationships because in the end, it’s always pain. It’s happened my entire life. I know my fellow adoptees get it, especially those in reunion… Reunion is rocky at times, it’s hard and it takes a lot of work especially when so much time has been missed. It’s hard to build relationships with people from afar when you have no shared history. It’s awkward, its overwhelming sadness of what was missed, it’s joy and fun at times. I’ve learned as time passes in my life less is good. The less people, less commitments, less ties to people, places & things the better for me. I love to be by myself, and that’s where I’m the happiest because it’s just God and I.

I must connect with someone extremely well before I make the choice to let them in. I know many adoptees experience the same. I think it’s natural for a not natural situation. I’m very cautious who I allow to enter my life, and at this point I’m extremely happy with the small group of friends I have, my children & very few family members. I have a special man in my life, he knows who he is. I’m also happy with a fairly wide circle of fellow adoptees. If any of you should read this, please know you are a safety net for me and so many others. When I disappear from social media,  or the world I know I don’t even have to explain it. You guys are right there to pick up where we left off when things circle back around. And they always circle back around.

No matter what I do in life, I still find myself processing the pain from adoption.

Praise God for this safe space where no one can interrupt me or shut me down from sharing how I feel. Those days are over. I will not make any apologies for how I feel nor will I deny how I feel to make other’s feel comfortable. Healing from this journey will take an entire lifetime, because so much was lost and there are so many dynamics to it. Thankfully I live a happy life aside from my adoptee issues. I have amazing kids, a great job I love, I have found myself in nature and searching for waterfalls. I’m free from running in circles at churches, and recovery meetings. I’m seeking God in all things but the rules and regulations brought on by man are things I’m no longer interested in in my life. Life is good. I’m happy generally speaking.

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Somehow adoption always has a way of creeping its head back up trying to take more of my joy. Many adoptees feel the same way, its not just me! It’s always something. The greatest part about sharing these feelings when they come is once I share them it takes the load off my shoulders and I release it so it’s not weighing me down. We have to share our hurts! If you are an adoptee reading this, please find someone safe you can talk to who will listen without judgement. If you are not an adoptee who might be reading this, please JUST LISTEN when adoptees share. Please listen with the intent to LEARN, not the intent to REPLY. Please understand that not all adoptees “Have a bad experience” because their pain doesn’t line up with the worldly views of how wonderful adoption is. Just because we have pain because of adoption, doesn’t mean we aren’t happy people.

So today, I am moving forward. I’m not getting stuck in this pain but I’m processing it in healthy ways as it comes. Today I’m not drinking, I’m writing. I’m living my life the way I see fit. If you want to know why I always seem happy and bubbly, I get my joy from those I’m close to and from the Lord! I’m resting in God’s hand and I’m pretty comfortable there.

Until Next Time…

❤ P.Karanova

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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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