My Adoptee Community

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 BIO: Pamela resides in Lexington, KY although she was adopted in Waterloo, IA. She has a passion for connecting with adoptees all over the world, sharing her story so they know they aren’t alone and giving a message of hope. She’s a mother of 3 awesome kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She’s a private caregiver and loves working with elderly. She loves nature, writing, the sky and Jesus!

 

 

I remember back in 2011 I was in a desperate place and I had nowhere to turn. My life had seemed to reach an all-time low. For me it’s always been more of an internal struggle with being adopted, one that rarely ever seems to leave my mind. I would describe it like a mental and emotional torment, but it’s an invisible wound and others have no idea it’s there.

Being adopted can bring a spirit of aloneness and unwantedness with it. Most non-adoptees don’t understand and I’ve found some adoptees aren’t even aware of why they always feel unwanted and alone. This journey is a lonely one and for many of us we feel like we were born a burden and living a normal day to day life can be challenging, at best.

I remember in 2010 making the connection with my first adoptee online and the awakening process that followed. For the first time in my life, someone understood me. Someone else was speaking and sharing feelings I had tucked away inside in a deep dark space, never to be revealed to the world around me. Someone else was speaking my language. Although I could feel a deep sense of connection to this adoptee, it was next to impossible for me to verbalize my feelings. Writing seemed much easier for me. No one interrupted me and no one tried to silence me. I’ve found writing about my pain and experiences has been one of the biggest healing tools to date.

In 2010 fear was at the forefront and it navigated all areas of my life. My fear of what others would think who were close to me and hurting them overpowered all areas of my life regarding sharing my feelings on how it felt to be adopted. I was in fear of being labeled “Angry” or “Ungrateful” or better yet, “She just had a bad adoption experience”. You see, adoptees tend to always put others first. Many of us are taught from a very early age that our biggest loss and heartache is our adoptive parents dream come true. We learn early on our adoptive parent’s feelings come before our own, and we learn to be silent about something that matters deeply to many of us, our feelings being adopted.

As I began to explore social media more and more adoptees surfaced out of the woodworks. Connections were being made online. I began to build relationships with adoptees all over the world. I decided to share my real true feelings, but I felt I had to hide behind an alias. That worked for me for 5 years but I learned I wasn’t being true to myself or my fellow adoptees by hiding my real identity. By connecting with my fellow adoptees, I came to a place of empowerment and acceptance that I no longer needed to hide who I really was. I didn’t need to apologize for how I felt. I mattered and my feelings mattered. I didn’t need to continue to put everyone else’s feelings before my own.

In 2015 I came out of the “Anonymous Adoptee Closet”. It was a liberating yet terrifying moment for me. All I knew was that I needed to be true to me, no matter who could see. I had to share my truth but I knew there would be a price to pay. I was willing to pay the price not only for me but my fellow adoptees.

I struggled to navigate this online adoptee personality with my real-life personality. I desired to connect the two but the division between be writing about pain in adoption and the world celebrating adoption was clear. Most people in my real life want no part of it and they certainly wouldn’t celebrate my important moments with me. I found most people who were not adopted not only didn’t understand my cause, but they really wanted nothing to do with it.

I have a deep compassion for others and have the willingness to want to try to learn other’s perspectives and views.  That said; I’ve concluded not all people are like me. A few friends & family members close to me have listened to me, cried with me, and have done their best to try to understand. I’m appreciative of them. They know who they are. My children have had their share of listening to me express my feelings, cry my tears and celebrated milestones with me when they arise. I’m thankful for them. I know they can’t truly understand because they aren’t adopted. I do appreciate them trying. On the other hand, I have had many people try to silence my work, silence my passion and silence my cause simply because they don’t agree with it. Even some family members. Some days I could just cry at the lack of empathy people have in this world today. Again, I had to realize not everyone has compassion and kindness in them nor do they have the willingness to want to learn other experiences, no matter if they agree with them or not. The sooner I came to a place of acceptance of this the easier things became.

I’ve recently come to the acceptance that being adopted is always going to be a lonely journey in real life but I’m so thankful for my adoptee community online. There have been times where I disappear for 6 months at a time and they totally understand why I had to leave, and they are there waiting for me when I return. We all have this understanding for one another. I have received countless amounts of positive encouraging messages from followers of my blog and they all let me know they can relate and they no longer feel alone. I finally feel like my pain isn’t going in vein but being adopted is still a lonely journey.

I’ve found a safe space within myself that allows me to share my heart so that others may receive it. Each blog post I share I take the chance of offending someone, or someone rejecting me and this is a real fear many adoptees face daily. I’m willing to take that chance, not only for me but for my fellow adoptees. Especially the adoptees that feel alone and are hurting. My hope is that my sharing my journey can be healing words for others to read. This is healing to me as well.

No matter what we do in life we must be true to ourselves and not apologize for how we feel. Sadly, for many adoptees our feelings of aloneness follow us where ever we go. Many of us will always have those missing pieces, that empty void, that broken heart from losing so much in adoption. I’ve found the sooner I come to a place of acceptance of this life, this pain, this loss the sooner I begin to be able to grasp my reality and the truth of it and move forward with healing.

For many adoptees, they don’t have their truth and without their truth they can’t heal. Keep in mind there is no healing from secrecy, lies and half-truths.

John 8:32

As I grew in my ability to share my real raw feelings regarding being adopted my circle of fellow adoptees grew, and grew and grew. I realized that they were such an important part of my life and my walk that I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. There were times in my life where I was having thoughts of suicide, and they swooped in and became a place of rescue for me. I LOVE YOU ALL! All because they listened, understood and acknowledged my feelings. I understand that to truly understand how it feels to be adopted one must be adopted, but I also understand that adoptees need non-adoptees to have the willingness to listen to us, to want to try to understand and learn from us. WE REALLY NEED THIS FROM NON-ADOPTEES, more listening to learn and less listening to comment.

In April of 2017 I decided to make a trip to Indiana to the Indiana Adoptee Network Conference. This was my first ever adoptee conference and I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was this was my first-time meeting so many far away friends and faces in real life I was ecstatic to have this opportunity.

Between the emotions that came with all the workshops, the time spent talking to each adoptee and the memories that were made this was honestly a chance of a lifetime. It was like a family reunion that I’m never going to get otherwise. To be able to sit and talk, see faces, hug, listen to each other’s journeys and have that connectedness that I’ve never felt elsewhere was awe-inspiring. To be quite honest, I was rather taken back by it all. Not in a bad way, in a healing tears kind of way. I wouldn’t change this experience and being able to connect with my fellow adoptee community in real life for anything.

If you are an adoptee reading this I would love to encourage you to reach out to me and other adoptees online and begin to build your adoptee support community. This is a critical step in your healing journey is to understand you aren’t alone and to make those connections with other’s who understand you. My adoptee community has been my saving grace in good times and bad. We all deserve healing and freedom and sharing our truths no matter how positive or negative it is, is essential to our healing process.

I’ve had to weed out the relationships in my life that are only seasonal and get alone with God and discover who I really am. Adoption is a piece of my pie, but it isn’t all of it. I’ve gotten peace in being alone and I’m working on accepting it as a blessing. Only after I have peace being alone will I have peace being with others.

I would love to extend a special invitation to all reading to consider attending the 2018 Indiana Adoptee Network Conference. The more of us that get together the more community is built. Please visit their website at http://indianaadopteenetwork.org/ to keep up with the planning of this event. My dream is that I get to see you all there IN REAL LIFE! Always remember there’s an army of adoptees out here to support you, encourage you and LIFT YOU UP! You are not alone.

Thanks for reading.

Many blessings and love,

Pamela A. Karanova

www.adopteeinrecovery.com

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

Ask An Adoptee

 

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Refresher On The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Page Guidelines & About Section

I have felt the need to share the details of why the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is PUBLIC and why it’s an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting Facebook “Like” page.

Below is what you will find under our “About” section of the page. This area of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page does a pretty good job at explaining things for our followers. After repeated requests to make this a “Private Group” I felt it would be a good idea to focus on a refresher as to why this page is set up the way it is.

PLEASE READ OUR ABOUT SECTION BELOW

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Bringing the truth to light one click at a time. As we grow closer by the click, this is a place for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted.

Please Read Before Posting…

THIS IS A PUBLIC PAGE. THIS MEANS WHATEVER YOU SHARE HERE WILL BE ABLE TO SHOW UP ON YOUR TIMELINE.


FYI: We are aware that this might cause a privacy concern for some but we also feel that the secrets of adoption have been kept a secret for long enough, and it’s not a secret anymore. We want this to stay public to help raise awareness about adoption from an adoptees perspective.

This page is founded for all adoptees that want to express how it feels to be adopted. Your views and opinions matter, and you are not alone. Anyone impacted by adoption can benefit from understanding adoptees better. This page is to help make that happen. We welcome potential adoptive parents, adoptive parents, and biological parents to learn from us because no one can express better than an adoptee, “HOW IT FEELS TO BE ADOPTED”.

Announcement: With some careful consideration we have decided to limit the open dialog of communication here to adoptees, and adoptees ONLY. Everyone is welcome here, and we hope you embrace the experiences share by those who have lived being adopted. Forward, questions from non-adoptees will no longer be posted and comments from non adoptees will be deleted.  We have set up http://www.facebook.com/askanadoptee1 for non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions. Things have gotten a little out of hand lately, and to all the adoptees who have been triggered by this we apologize. We desire to keep this a safe place for all adoptees.

For those who are adoptees AND adoptive parents or biological parents, you are welcome to share here but as we all should keep our sharing focused on our own thoughts and feelings based on our own experiences being an adoptee. We can’t speak for each other. We can only speak for ourselves. We can’t belittle adoptees because we have different views than them. This is a great learning platform for all and the WORLD is allowed to learn from us, this is why the openess of this page is so important. Bringing the darkness to light. Keep in mind we have to respect each others feelings no matter what they are. This change starts now.

FYI: Please keep in mind that not all adoptees journeys are those of a positive outcome. Some are just that. This is considered a “SAFE PLACE” for ALL adoptees regardless of how they view their adoption experience. This page is here to offer support, advice, encouragement for every one of us so please be understanding when adoptees have a different view than you. We are each entitled to our own feelings, and they deserve to be heard, and validated.

If you always felt alone, you are not alone anymore. This is a wide group of amazing adoptees, and others impacted by adoption. We are here if you need us!

Please:
•No personal insults to others.
•Respect each other and moderators
•Strong language and vulgarity are prohibited.
•Please use common sense and courtesy
• Please validate others feelings and allow the negative and positive feelings also to come to the surface, as identifying these issues is the only way we can begin to heal.
• Even if you don’t agree with someones opinion or view, please respect that its theirs to have. We all came from different places, and we have no idea what the other person has been through.

Feel free to inbox if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or concerns. Adoptees, Please feel free to send any questions you would like asked on the page to the inbox for the page. As many as you would like, and they will be kept anonymous. Also, please share your reunion stories with us! We would love to celebrate the discovery if your history with you!

It’s a huge blessing to have each of you here!

Each adoptees unique story has tremendous power to promote identity, relationship, and healing.

Blessings!

Admin: Pamela A. Karanova
Anyone impacted by adoption in some way,especially my fellow adoptees feel free to add me. Please send me an inbox sharing how you are impacted by adoption. Looking forward to connecting with you! ♥

Many people don’t read the about section of the page but we always encourage it.  We have also set up page guidelines for all our followers to read and this is pinned to the top of the page for easy viewing.

THE PAGE GUIDELINES LOOK LIKE THIS

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Page Guidelines

The purpose of this page is to create a space for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted. To ensure that this is a safe space for all adoptees we would like to use the following guidelines:

●Only adoptees are allowed to comment here. No exceptions.

●Adoptees, Please keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings based on your own experiences.

●There is NO piggy backing. This when one adoptee comments in his/her safe space (usually responding to a question asked by the poster) and another adoptee comes and disagrees or disregards their experiences. Most of the time this creates a dialog between the two adoptees. If you disagree with what an adoptee says, that’s your right but please refrain from commenting in another adoptees “Safe Space”.

●Share your feelings regarding the question by clicking “Reply” to the original question asked. Please do not “Reply” on other adoptees responses unless it’s agreeing and understanding them. Why? When you come against them it’s creating an immediate violation of the safe space created for them to share their feelings.

●This kind of communication can be difficult in the best of times, because of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and differences. When this communication takes place it has the potential to be extremely negative, even leading to destructive outcomes. It can also be very triggering for many adoptees.

●There are no right or wrong answers on this page. Each person is free to express his or her feelings without interruptions in the “Safe Place” created just for them. When you reply to the question asked that is considered your safe space.

We are here to support one another, not “fix” another.

●If you are an adoptee and an adoptive parent or an adoptee and a birth parent, we value your dynamic experience. We ask you reserve this safe space to share your adoptee experience ONLY. There are other places you can share your adoptive/birth parent experience.

●It’s okay to agree to disagree. We must respect one another’s views even if we don’t agree with them.

If anyone doesn’t follow these guidelines we will have no choice but to delete any comments made if they are violating their fellow adoptees “Safe Place”.

Thank you for reading our guidelines. Together we want to make this the safest space possible so all adoptees can share how it feels to be adopted. – ♡ Admin.

So here we have it…

Page Guidelines & our “About” section of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page listed here for us all.

Let’s unpack this a little bit.

First things first, this page is not a group. It’s a public “Like” page. It clearly states this in the ABOUT section of the page. The reason this page was originally set up this way is because (as shared in the about section of the page) there is so much secrecy in adoption already I wanted to let the world see our real, raw feelings because our feelings matter, we matter. I get tons of requests to make this a PRIVATE GROUP but it’s impossible to switch a public like page to a private group. Yes, I could make a private group for this page specifically but for me, and the purpose I have in this lifetime I only have a desire to keep things public because I’m tired of being a secret. I’m tired of non-adoptees running our show. I understand fully that some adoptees aren’t able to comment as they wish because they have fears of their adoptive and biological families seeing their truth. I totally understand and I totally get it. I’ve been there. I recommend creating a “Pen Name” (An anonymous name used for writing purposes). I used a pen name for 3 years when I didn’t feel strong enough to share my real true feelings for FEAR of __________ <—- Insert a million reasons here! I get it, I promise I do!

That said, there are thousands of adoptees who DO feel comfortable in sharing their truth on this public “Like” page. By all means I suggest any adoptees who are in need of a private group to start one of  your own or join one of the many that is already out there and available. There are TONS! Here is a link to one that is moderated by a friend of mine and fellow adoptee, Lawrence Proctor. Make sure you answer the question on why you want to join the group or he won’t accept the invitations. Click this link! Adoptees Anonymous? Who Are We?

ADOPTEE ONLY COMMENTING

Why is this page adoptee only commenting? It’s simple. Adoptees are tired of the rest of the world speaking for us, silencing us and not having any safe space to share our feelings.

Let me share a little about how the page was created. On October 20, 2012 I was attending a Celebrate Recovery group meeting in Lexington, KY. I was 60+ days in my sobriety journey and I had no where to turn. AA is a wonderful program but it wasn’t what I was looking for because I needed a safe place where I could share my feelings about being adopted and all the hurt and pain I was running from for 27 years. A friend recommended Celebrate Recovery so beginning October I went and continued on a weekly basis. It took me a few weeks to open up and get familiar with the people in my group. I remember like it was yesterday, I started to share something regarding my biological mother and tears began to flow. I started sharing my pain from losing her and a lady to my left whom happened to be an adoptive mother, interrupted me and said, “YOU DON’T KNOW ADOPTION LIKE I KNOW ADOPTION!!!” and she began to tell me her experience with adoption. I was cut off, I was silenced.

IT WAS CLEAR THAT ALTHOUGH THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE PLACE FOR ME ADOPTION WAS THE EXCEPTION. I left in tears, hopeless and even having thoughts of suicide. I was feeling like if this was a Christian Ministry and I was silenced sitting in a small group that was supposed to be a safe space, but not for me the adoptee I had no where to turn. There was no help for me. I went into a depression, was sad and upset for weeks after this. Eventually, after about 3 weeks I went back and I let them know how that impacted me. I let them know it hurt, and it took me to a really dark place. After this, some changes were made regarding cross talk so other peoples feelings weren’t invalidated like mine were, and I spent the next 4 years working through my adoptee issues via Celebrate Recovery. I went on to get leadership training, small group training and I was the small group leader for Women’s Chemical Dependency for almost 3 years. I shared my adoption journey many times by giving my testimony and I was able to get to the root issues of abandonment and rejection from my adoption experience so I could begin to address my issues, and move towards acceptance and healing. This process was critical to my healing process. I learned the dynamics of creating a safe space for everyone to share and how important it is.

So please know I have taken careful thought and consideration into creating this page and running it with the flow it has. I realize not everyone will like it and not everyone will agree. I am open to suggestions and feedback, but I’m also limited to what I can do regarding my commitment to the page, and my personal life, etc.

For the non-adoptees who might be reading this, don’t you think adoptees deserve a safe space where they can share without you all interrupting us or silencing us? My commitment is 110% to the adoptees, and creating a safe space for THEM to share their feelings. I want them to share whatever level of feelings they feel comfortable with. Have you noticed the other places online where ALL members of the adoption equation are participants how much chaos goes on and how adoptees are silenced by non-adoptees? I refuse to be a part of those pages because they are extremely triggering to me, and I’ve had countless amounts of adoptees say the same thing. I consider it a privileged that non-adoptees are able to sit back and LEARN from us. They can read and reflect and learn.

It’s about time don’t you think?

That said, I have also received over the years a high amount of non-adoptees who want to ask adoptees questions. The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is not set up for this to happen. After many months of requests from non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions I created ASK AN ADOPTEE. This page has been an amazing tool in the adoption community.  It’s not only given non-adoptees a space to ask questions, but it’s given adoptees the space to share their insight regarding the question, based on their experience living adopted. Please visit the “About Section” for details on the flow of the page. Again, this is an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting space for the same reasons How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Is.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?  and ASK AN ADOPTEE are the ONLY FACEBOOK LIKE PAGES (that I’m aware of) that is set up where the moderator (me) only allows adoptee only commenting. This is because ADOPTEES DESERVE THIS SPACE. 

Again, I fully understand the way these pages are conducted it might not work for everyone, but I also know it’s working for thousands of adoptees and non-adoptees who want to learn how we feel without commenting, all across the world.

I hope this sheds some light on all those who are inquiring about why this isn’t a private group and why adoptees are the only ones who can comment.

Thanks for reading,

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova

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The Girl in the Grocery Store

I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to write about this but it’s been on my mind pretty heavy dd3b937b1788b74f542f5891f1128b73--drawings-of-eyes-crying-sad-face-drawing-sketchesso I decided to get it off my chest. I’m also curious if any of my fellow adoptees have experienced anything similar?

Let me share, I’m a 43 year old adult adoptee. I’ve been single for many years, I’ve raised my kids as a single mom. I’ve had a lot of alone time and I’ve embraced it and I actually love to be alone because it seems to be the safest space for me. After many years I recently ventured out into the dating world and I’m currently seeing someone. As we’ve gotten to know one another over the last few months, I have shared a little of my adoption experience with Him. He’s listened and taken in what I have shared, but he doesn’t seem to have much to say in response which seems to be the norm for most non-adoptees. I can dig it because what is there to say? Usually one has to be able to relate to an extent so a conversation dialog is created and there the conversation goes.

In all honesty I haven’t shared all the dynamics of what it’s like to date an adopted person, me specifically. I have only shared with him a few details and some of the things on my list of “Special Needs”. O_O

One of the main things is COMMUNICATION. I made sure in the beginning I let him know how important communication is to me because areas of UNKNOWN are a area of FEAR for me. Maybe I didn’t say “Communicate with me at all times because if you don’t I start to freak out inside and my mind goes haywire and I need you to communicate with me!”… But chances are I said similar, but in a nicer way that said “Hey, communication is important to me so please communicate with me as much as possible”.

Do you have any idea how daunting it is to explain to someone all your adoptee issues? The great thing about this handsome man is I haven’t even had to tell Him all of these issues and one by one they seem to play themselves out. I want to be honest with him, yet what is too much especially in the beginning of a dating relationship? Again, FEAR of sharing too much is always at the forefront and wondering if he will leave like everyone else has, is on my mind so not saying much at all until the situation arises seems safer?

I think in time things reveal themselves so the need for me to vomit all my adoptee issues all over his lap is not necessary. I must say I’m rather sad and somewhat depressed I can’t seem to just forget all about this adoptee crap and get on with my life. As soon as I feel like I’m on top of the world, boom I crash and fall. If you read my blog years back you will see I have done the work! I have tried EVERYTHING! The highs and lows from this adoption thing seem to follow me all over and chances are they will follow me for the rest of my life.

It’s sad and depressing to me.

When I get to this “Space” all I want to do is sleep. I lose my MOJO and go into what I call a “FUNK”.

I never know when the sadness is going to rear it’s ugly head. All I know is when it comes I have to embrace it and KNOW that my response to current situations that might happen are based on the little girl that was abandoned as a baby and child. A non-adoptee reading might have no clue what I’m taking about and might just think I need to check myself into a mental ward, which might not be a bad idea. BUT I promise you if you do the research like I have, and understand that many of our responses to current situations are based on unprocessed stored memories from the beginning of conception and on, you will see that my responses as well as many adoptees aren’t all that “OFF” for the situation at hand.

I know this is A LOT.

Being adopted is A LOT

I hate being adopted.

“Well why are you so negative and why can’t you find the good in being adopted?”

I will save that answer for a totally different blog post because I’m not trying to go off today.  Stay tuned.

Back to the girl in the grocery store…

I turned into a little girl in the grocery store!

Laugh while you can!

It was humiliating!

I went with my guy to the grocery and I had to use the rest room. He was just getting a few things and we walked to the back of the store and found the rest room. I said “I’ll be right back” and walked on in. A few minutes later I came back out and I didn’t see Him. Where did he go? I just knew he had to be right around the corner. I walked a few steps and didn’t see him. I walked a few more steps and didn’t see him.

WHERE WAS HE AND WHY DID HE LEAVE ME HERE?

I TOLD HIM I WOULD BE RIGHT BACK.

My heart starts to do some flips because now I know he’s gone. I didn’t see Him anywhere. My mind starts racing and I started to walk up and down the isles and as I passed each isle, my panic button was being triggered more and more. Every step I took where I couldn’t see Him my fear increased. I felt like I was split in two. The real me KNEW he had to be there somewhere, but the little girl in me knew I was lost. The FEAR from the little girl was much MUCH stronger than the reality of Him being there somewhere.  I was in a full blown panic episode at 43 years old in the damn grocery store!

I walked to the front of the store, and even looked out the front window and thought, “Maybe he went to the car and he’s waiting on me?” or “Maybe he’s hiding around one of these corners trying to play a trick on me?”.

Up and down the isles, faster and faster, searching… I was so upset that he left me. I got tears in my eyes, and I kept looking for Him. In my mind he left me. I continued to search, but I hated the way I was feeling. As I walked all the way to the opposite side of the store I got tears in my eyes. I kept searching. I was frantic.

After many minutes and a dissecting the store in search of HIM I finally laid eyes on Him. A sigh of relief came over me.

He’s here after all and he didn’t leave me…

By this time my mind was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I’m pretty sure I was pouting as I got closer to Him and my eyes were tearful. I’m pretty sure if I said what I was feeling he would have been totally taken back by my reality and considerably shook at my revelations.

I remember saying, “Why did you leave me?” He said, “I told you I was going to find the milk and chicken”. Obviously I didn’t hear that part.  I’m pretty sure he could tell I was visibly upset. I told him I didn’t hear him.  I’ve been beating myself up ever sense then and I am still upset about it because I feel like as far as I am on my healing journey I should have been able to flip the switch on that one.

He said, “Do you really think I would leave you?”. I just looked at Him. I couldn’t even say anything after that because me feeling what I felt at that moment I felt LEFT & LOST. Knowing he would never leave me in the grocery was at a parallel ends of the spectrum of how I was feeling at that moment.   I  had the feeling like I had been abandoned in the grocery at 43 years old by my BOO! WTF! At that time, I either wanted 1 of 2 things to happen. I wanted Him to hug me tight and tell me he’s never gonna abandon me or leave me in the grocery store or ever for that matter, OR I wanted to go crawl in my bed and pull the covers up and never come out again.

I couldn’t do either. I had to just pretend that this episode didn’t happen and I didn’t share with him my feelings about it because I thought it would be just too much for anyone to take in. I do love to communicate and I would like to share it with Him. This is one of the many “Special Needs” that many adoptees might face that our significant others need to know about so they know how to help us and handle us better.

REALITY= I was at the grocery store in the town where I live. I knew where I was. I wasn’t lost but that isn’t how I felt.  I felt abandoned and lost, like the little girl I always was searching for her birth mother.

My thing is who the hell wants to deal with this crap? Seriously? It’s something so small to so many but to me it was a huge deal. I’m disappointed and I’m sad in myself for responding this way, although I feel had no control over it. It was a much deeper psychological episode than I felt I could control. I’ve been working on triggers and how to respond when I have them which is ALL THE TIME but this one swooped up on me and I felt helpless in my response. It was almost like the feeling of coming down on a drug, terrible terrible feeling.

I would rather DIE than feel this way!

I’m not freaking kidding either!

 

THE DREAM

 I was about 5 years old around the time I found out I was adopted.

After this I had a reoccurring dream as a little girl and through much of my life. I was in a hospital around 5 years old wearing a hospital gown. I remember the long hallways going on forever and ever and I was running up and down the hallways looking for my birth mother. I could very vividly remember being frantic, running and pulling the curtains back on each hospital room searching for HER. It went on forever, and I never did find her in the dream. Again, I had this dream over and over through out my life.

This searching FEAR is the exact same way I felt in the grocery when I felt like I was LEFT & LOST.

I’ve always been triggered by feeling lost, and I definitely associate this to adoption. If I can’t find my car parked coming out of the grocery store and I have to walk all over looking for it, I feel lost and I start to panic inside and get tears in my eyes. Worst feeling ever.

The feeling of your mother abandoning you and never coming back, ever. A deep homesick feeling and nothing or no one can help it.

That’s how it feels.

Let’s turn the coin and talk about living real life searching for my biological mother everywhere I went my entire life. Most adoptees can relate 100%. This isn’t a dream. This is real life. I mean today, September 7, 2017 I know where my birth mother is.

She’s dead.

I no longer search for her  but these episodes sparked by FEAR of being abandoned and rejected, LEFT & LOST take me back to the unresolved emotional wounds that are under the surface from being an adoptee.

It’s scary!

It’s complicated.

Adoption is complicated.

All adoptees are different.

Not all adoptees can sympathize with this type of issue, yet some can.

It seriously messed me up and I still haven’t gotten myself back right yet.

I want to tell my guy, but I don’t want to burden him or anyone else with my issues so I have shared it here instead. Maybe one day I’ll get up enough courage to share this blog post with him, until then I will keep it to myself for fear of……

To me, this is one example of so many I could share how adoptees are tormented by emotional and psychological issues we carry regarding being adopted. It might seem small to some, but this type of thing happens daily for many adoptees, and sometimes hourly and more. It’s a constant mental struggle and it’s exhausting just to be alive most days.

Adoption is a permanent solution to what is most of the time a temporary problem and adoptees are the ones doing the life sentence. We pay the price for life, while the rest of the world glorifies how they think we should feel, gratefulness.

I’m sick of adoption. Because of all the real true dynamics, I know and feel and live regarding all the pain, grief, loss and trauma that happens when a child is adopted is why I am deeply saddened anytime a child is adopted and separated from their first families. I am me alone, yet I see and hear the pain and heartache from hundreds of adoptees all over the world that I’m acquainted with. Please believe I am not singing this tune all alone. We create our own army and support one another and validate one another.

If you are an adoptive parent and you have made it this far I commend you for reading. I appreciate it. It takes courage to make the choice to try to learn from adult adoptees. Please look up my tab that says “Adoptee Blogs” and save it as a favorite and you will have never ending knowledge based on real TRUE experience from those who know adoption the most- The Adoptee.

Adoptees, can you relate?

Have you ever had anything like this happen?

How did you diffuse out of it?

Thanks for reading,

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Pamela A Karanova

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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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Secrets & Lies in Adoption EXPOSED.

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I asked my fellow adoptees to chime in and share some of the secrets and lies they have experienced regarding their adoption experiences as a way to bring awareness to the realities of what many adoptees face in adoption. 

I also asked them to share how these secrets and lies impacted them. 

Here are their responses. 

All entries are kept anonymous. 

  • Way too many lies to list here but the biggest ones that have hurt me the most. I always asked my adoptive mom about my birth mother growing up. I don’t think a day passed I didn’t ask about her! In a way to detour me she always said “When we get enough $ for an attorney we will get the sealed records open but right now we don’t have enough $” This went on for 21 years then she decided to “Come Clean” and admit she knew my birth mothers name. Trust forever broken.
  • My adoption was illegal because my birth father did NOT consent to anything. I was kept a secret from him. His rights were stolen. My adoptive parents and adoption attorney must have not even asked any questions about him because he wasn’t even considered a factor in my adoption.
  • I was told my birth father was dead! That was a cruel lie. I found him and met him. He knew nothing about me! Fathers have rights too!
  • I was told my birth father was married when I was conceived this is why adoption was “chosen” for me. That was a lie. He was not married. Truth is WE ALL DESERVE TO KNOW THE TRUTH! ALL THINGS IN DARKNESS WILL COME TO LIGHT. Get right with GOD and COME CLEAN! Adoptees are HURTING because of all the lies. John 8:32.
  • Here’s the deal. I can handle the truth; it is the secrecy and withholding that is thoroughly egregious.
  • People can say anything to me; but If it’s a lie… (as a closed adoption adoptees), I can detect bullshit to the ‘enth’ parts per million.
  • Yes, I was lied too. We all were in some way that is what adoption is/was predicated upon in the first place. It has fundamentally always been assumed that we couldn’t handle the truth.
  • While I always knew I was adopted, my adopted mom had told me that my birth mother and father couldn’t afford to keep me and didn’t want to have kids. Once I found my birth family last year, I discovered the truth. My birth mother wasn’t given a choice. Her parents sent her to a home for unwed mothers to have me. Since finding out the truth, I’ve dealt with a lot of anger towards my adopted mom for keeping all this from me. She had to have known at least some of this info. Truth is I believe she was scared and afraid of losing me and that’s why she hid information from me. What all that has done to me is it made me very guarded with other people and it takes a long time for me to trust others. Feelings of abandonment and loneliness have been a struggle.
  • The adoption agency lied to me and my adoptive parents. The adoption agency told us that my birth mother never went to try and get me back, I did not have any other biological siblings that were also adopted, my birth mother never tried contacting me over the years. We found out all those things to be false. A week after I was born my birth mother went back for me, I have a younger biological brother that was also adopted through the same agency, and my birth mother went back three times over 25 years to try and get information about me. Even when I was reunited with my birth mother and learned all these facts, the adoption agency still denied them.
  • My adoptive parents didn’t tell me I was adopted, even when I asked after the birth of my first child. I was 34 when my birth mom found me and I discovered the truth. My adoptive parents told me everything they knew…the young and unmarried story… They also gave me paperwork which was accurately filled out by my birth mom when I was 16 and everything on my OBC (which I requested last year) was exactly the same as my amended one (except, of course, for parents names). So, the truth was always told. HOWEVER, the biggest and most damaging lie is that a 19 year old isn’t a fit parent. Or that money is a factor. The industry is perpetuating lies which are believed by vulnerable women and that is where the problems lies. There will always be actual orphans and kids who honestly don’t have fit parents. Let’s be stewards of these needy children, and stop creating ‘needy’ children with lies.
  • I believe I found my father after 13 years of searching. 29 years I grew up thinking he had passed away before I was born. Got my non-Identifying information and it also said the same thing. That he passed. So for an additional 13 years I accepted the fact that he’s passed but I may find his family. Well. 3 days ago we believe we found the family. Yesterday morning I get a message saying “You might be my daughter, get back to me”. WHAT!!!???? Yea. Everything about him in my paperwork has so far been a complete lie. I spoke to him and I said “well, you’re supposed to be dead”. We had a good laugh about it, but we were both stunned with the lies that were told from the birth mom and how the agency let it happen. I guess this is the reason why she never wanted to reunite. She couldn’t face me because she knows she lied.
  • Only an adoptive father left, we’re estranged. One of the reasons I’d because he still lies, even knowing how important it is for me, while at the same time, scoffing at me why I just don’t leave it alone and move forward. I want the truth. I’m so over lies and I want a chance to be whole! No agency, I was handed over on the street. There was a birth mother, her father, and a lawyer for both sides. Don’t even know what nationality I am. My mom’s favorite threat was sending me away to boarding school. She killed me. ..I didn’t kiss them on the mouth, drink from their glass or look at them in the eye. I hate the sad fog that covers me every day.
  • Though my parents were pretty honest with me about my adoption there was a “lie by omission” in my case. I found out at 16 years old, the first time I ever had the guts to really ask questions, that there had been a 2 legal sized paper, back and frontboth sheets, letter from my birth mother that came with me. My adoptive mother burned it so I never got to see it. I eventually found my birth parents and happened to get a copy of that letter in my file. If only I’d had the info growing up, it would have gone a long way to helping me sort out who I was, even if it gave no identifying info for search.
  • I was lied to way too much to write about here I guess the biggest were when I was youngest and was told natural mum didn’t want me or love me but I was also told adoptive mom had a hysterectomy which she never did. I was told that she had remarried had other kids and moved on why would I ruin that for her. I was even told I was found under the gooseberry bush and that was some of adoptive parents lies. Then my natural half-brother lied to me for a year about knowing natural moms whereabouts. The social service reports said I had two brothers when I had a brother and a sister.  There’s a lot of conflict between the stories I got from my social service reports compared to what my natural mum has told me but she also told me she is so traumatized in my first five years she doesn’t remember frown emoticon.  My truth is still elusive to me even after reunion. I did try to contact my dad but no answer there yet. The lies did a lot of damage to my life and they also prevented me from searching when I was 16 and took off the travel and be abused around the world. I could of found my Mum sis and Bro all in contact at that time instead I took off round the world searching for something and I didn’t even know what it was. Now my brother is missing and no one seems to know what happened with him. I found my sister with mum though even they have lied to me too. Adoption is all about deception in my eyes and my trust is shattered.
  • I was 21 when I learned that I was adopted. I had hunches but it was only confirmed when my foster mother died. I felt like my whole life back then was a lie and it didn’t help that my real parents were unloving and uncaring up until now I still feel the stigma of being adopted which is synonymous to being unwanted I guess. The worse part was being lied to.
  • Let us not forget about the secrecy in our birth families. If they don’t tell us something and they know about it, that is a lie in my book.
  • My birth mother kept me a secret from her younger two sons.
  • My birth father kept me a secret from his wives and my paternal brothers.I think part of the reason I don’t have a close relationship with my maternal brothers is they did not know about me. I met one paternal brother in 2011 and the other in 2015. The youngest one I was afraid to meet because of his mental and rage issues. Sadly he committed suicide in November 2015. I was not encouraged to attend the funeral because my birth father won’t acknowledge me. Meeting him at the service could have been an explosive situation. I wanted to go but I value the relationships with my paternal family who has accepted me.
  • My birth mother didn’t bother to tell anyone that I was allergic to milk. I spent years being forced to drink milk. Later in life, after I found her, she lied to me about my birth father. She told me his family were all dead and that he was a “dangerous man” that I shouldn’t try to find. He’s pretty harmless, and it turns out she lied to him, too.
  • The only truth is my birth mother placed me for adoption at birth.
  • My adopted parents lied outright and by omission. Adoption was a hugely taboo subject so was not discussed. I had a memory of it being mentioned once when I was about 4, so when I was an adult I searched for information on my own. I was adopted in theUK so was able to get my OBC and some information from the adoption. I told my adoptive parents about this at the point when I had searched and found my birth siblings and was about to meet them. I asked them at that time to share what information they had but they denied having anything at all, including my original name. According to standard practice at the time, they would have been given my original name as it was my legal name until the adoption was finalized which was several months after they had custody of me. I was given their copy of my medical records which started immediately after the adoption finalization date. When I asked about the previous records they said they were ‘lost’. Actually they must have tossed them as they would have been under my original name. My younger sister, also adopted was never told at all about her adoption, I didn’t know either if she was adopted but assumed she would know. I tried to find her birth/adoption record so found out that way. Later, I realized she didn’t know so I told her. At that point we realized the extent of the lying to support the fact that they hadn’t talked about adoption. Like on her passport they put their home town instead of her true birth place and when asked about medical history by the doctor they gave theirs instead of saying they didn’t know.
  • I was adopted in 1959, born in May of 1958. The lie, well one of the many lies was about my race. I was told that I was some kind of Native Indian. They never told me what nation I came from but that I was an Indian. Turns out my mother is German and according to her, my father is Puerto Rican! This is not true either. I’m lost. I am just so desperate to know the truth. Who am I? Where did I come from? Whose blood do I share?
  • Catholic Charities lied to my adoptive parents saying my mother had died and I was the only child. In other words move on never look. But what I found out was that my birth mom was 22 and was raped on a street corner in St. Louis by 8 men. She wrotea letter to the agency saying she wanted to connect with me if I ever contacted them. They refused to give me info until I got a court order. My adoptive parents wanted me to know her.
  • More than half of my non identifying information was a lie. It was my birthmother. Not the agency I have discovered. Very disappointing.
  • My real mother was lied to, coerced, and forced to give me up. Let’s start with the lies related to breaking down a vulnerable young pregnant woman with the nonsense that she wasn’t good enough to raise me, that she would be selfish to keep me. That theripping apart of a willing mother and her child was the best and only option. The women, who lost their children in the 60 era, and their children, seem the saddest to me. Very decent but vulnerable women treated like criminals, begging to keep their children and having them stolen from them for no good reason. No good reason at all. What happened to them is way beyond cruel, yet our society ignores this complete unethical injustice, and the same practices continue today with a carefully calculated new spin. They use fear and shame to manipulate the mothers. I’m an adoptee and the same fear and shame was used to manipulate me. What is the reason behind all this lying? Why was it necessary? Who did it benefit? Well there were these infertile people that just really, really needed a newborn and would do anything to get it and keep it. Including denying me of any personal information or history. Including denying a dying woman’s request to see a non-identifying photo of her young daughter just one time before she died. Including ignoring a lost little girl’s needs, and criticizing her all her life because she wasn’t like her adoptive parents. I didn’t need to be adopted. I wasn’t unwanted at all, I was desperately wanted. My adoptive parents weren’t secure enough to tell me the truth. My adoptive mother cruelly denied me information that could have made my life better, even as an adult. But sadly my true life story didn’t suit her adoption fantasy, so I suffered the loss, for my adoptive mother’s emotional comfort. Her comfort was the reason for all these lies. She needed to own and control me, and I didn’t turn out like she hoped. In fact I turned out just like my real mother as it turns out. Some adoptions are truly needed. Mine wasn’t, and the treachery and lies involved in taking a child from a perfectly good mother and selling me off to someone who wasn’t very good for me caused a great deal of damage to myself and my real mother. All for another woman’s need to acquire an infant and so her feelings weren’t hurt. She needed someone’s baby to fix her problem. The fact that it was all so unnecessary and all the focus is on not hurting the adoptive mother feelings that is the deepest wound to me. It probably sounds like I hate her for adopting me and I have felt that at times because she has been quite cold and cruel to me. But I still love my adoptive mother and father very much. I understand that they didn’t realize the sinister nature of the baby scoop era. The wanted to be parents. The fact that I still feel the need to tack on this disclaimer that I love my A parents, is a true testament to how incredibly much focus is put on the feelings of the adoptive parents. I do wish my feelings and interests had been considered as much, and that I had at least been provided with all the information they knew. Keeping it from me caused the deepest issue between my adoptive parents and me by far.

 

  • What’s the saying? Knowledge is power! When important facts are hidden or lied about to the adoptee it can have disastrous consequences. I didn’t find out the truth until I was almost 45 years old and let me tell you it has been really tough. There wereseveral things my adopted mom kept hidden from me or lied about. She has been deceased for over 10 years so its not like i can confront her about any of this. I fight the battle over guilt, shame and abandonment. Telling the adoptee the truth not matter how hard it may be in my opinion is always the best path to choose. Let the adoptee decide whether or not to pursue any kind of reunion.
  • I am sad I was lied to and manipulated by my adoptive family and the government and even members of my natural family I am sad they thought it was ok to poison me against and alienate me from my natural mom.

 

  • Without the truth how can we live? I mean really live? It’s like wearing a mask, all day, every day, forever. If Illinois did not change the law regarding OBC’S I would still be living with that mask. My reunion wasn’t the fairytale I had dreamed aboutfor 45 years, the rejection almost killed me. BUT, I know who I am! I no longer going through life like a ship with no anchor. All I ever wanted was the truth and I’d do it all over again even knowing it would be painful! No one should have to go through life wondering who they are. It’s a gaping wound that never heals. It touches every little piece of your life and robs you of the simplest of joys. Finding my truth has been the best thing that ever happened to me! The truth wins above all else!

 

  • I think many adoptive parents are insecure thinking that children will love the birth mom more. I believe it took all of them to give me life. One to bring my life into the world and the others to sustain my life. I live in total gratitude to all who made my life possible including those who got my mom to a safe place to give birth.
  • My own adoption was closed. My birth mom sent a letter to Catholic Charities telling them if I wanted to find her she wanted to connect. They NEVER gave me that letter NOR did they even want to give me any information. I had to get a court order and still they didn’t want to give it to me. I told them if they didn’t they would be in contempt of court. I showed up an hour after the phone call.The woman I spoke with was no happy. We talked for a while and then she said “if you’re going to find your mom you need to know about THE DAD!. Well I hadn’t given it any thought. She leaned over as if to throw up on me and angrily said “YOUR MOTHER WAS RAPED” While many might think it was better not to know God had and still has so many plans that humans can’t understand. My mother prayed for 48 years to one day meet me again. She loved me and placed me for adoption because her mother didn’t believe she was raped by 8 men and insisted on my death. My mother fought for me and I’m alive today with 2 married sons and 6 grandchildren.
    I’ve founded Choices4Life to help other moms pregnant or raising children after rape conception. YES I am very glad to know the TRUTH.
  • From a medical standpoint, you are assumed that every disease and cancer may run in your DNA since you have no family medical history. As an adoptee, I was subjected to extra testing and early detection (ie mammograms) because of it.

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If you are an adoptee and would like to add to this post to help raise awareness about the lies you were told and how this impacted you please feel free to inbox Pamela Karanova or send me an inbox on How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

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When the Wall Comes Tumbling Down…

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You make the choice to pick up all the pieces, try to put them back together again.

Most people who know me or who have followed my blog will be familiar with my story but for those who aren’t aware I’m adopted. I was born in Waterloo, IA in 1974. I spent 20+ years searching for my biological family. Over the years I spent time battling an alcohol addiction and I suffered from anger, rage, low self-esteem, and lived a completely hopeless life.  I had abandonment & rejection issues from my adoption experience and I grew up in an emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive adoptive home. It’s taken me years to move towards accepting and acknowledging the truth, and asking God to come into my life and heal me from all these different “things” I have faced in my lifetime. Today I live in VICTORY. The devil had his way with me for far too long and TODAY because of GOD my life is on the mends. I share my story so other adoptees know they aren’t alone and with the world because adoption is much more than the label “A beautiful thing!” I desire to bring hope to the hopeless adoptees because having someone that UNDERSTANDS is HUGE!

Being adopted isn’t for sissies!

We are strong, resilient and we are fighters.

With that being said, as I was reunited with both my birth parents, they both met me and then rejected me. I hear people say, “You know, what feels like rejection is God’s way of protection!” I believe that to be true, but I also know in life especially in adoption I have always found people to want to silence my pain with reasons I should just be thankful for the circumstances I was born into. Let me just share that with this mentality I was never able to heal growing up. My healing was stalled, because the WORLD didn’t want to hear my pain, or acknowledge it in anyway.

Even the 20 counselors I saw growing up NEVER ACKNOWLEDGED MY ADOPTEE GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA!

Not even a little bit.

All I hear is, “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted?” or “Aren’t you at least thankful for your life?” If you want to know the TRUTH, I spent 37 years being angry my birth mother didn’t abort me and I STILL struggle being thankful for my life! If I hear that one more time I think I might lose it.

Being transparent is the only way I can share things. I refuse to be marginally deceptive to make other people feel comfortable.

Spend some time RESEARCHING Complicated Grief, Loss & Trauma for adoptees. GOOD LUCK finding it because there are no resources ANYWHERE for us but if you find any please share them with me! A few books here and there and on a rare occasion one of us might come across a therapist that specializes in adoptee issues but that’s very rare. They aren’t common at all but there are adoption therapists for adoptive parents on every corner, not to mention agencies.

When you silence our pain with comments like that and refuse to acknowledge our pain you cause us more pain!

What does this mean?

When the walls come crumbling down we are left to figure it out on our own!

I have quickly learned that those close to me who WANT to learn how adoptees feel will make the choice to actively listen and try to understand that there is more to adoption than just a pretty little story.

JUST LISTEN!

As I was rejected by my birth parents, I was reunited with a half adoptive sister that relationship fizzled. She hated that I shared my less than perfect feelings on how adoption has impacted me and she has given a baby up for adoption. This caused an immediate clash between us and there seems to be no middle understanding. Her story is her story and mine is mine but she HATED that I shared adoption has been painful because she refuses to acknowledge her pain regarding losing her son to adoption. She lashed out on me and that was the end of that relationship.

I have had 3 biological family reunions and 3 fizzled reunions. Words can’t even begin to express the pain involved with these losses. I spent MANY years in denial, and really angry. Today I have gained acceptance but I had to step out of denial and the only way I could step out of denial is by learning my TRUTH! Shame and secrets stepped in the way so this is why I’m healing so late in life. The younger we learn our TRUTH the earlier we begin to heal. Secrecy and lies prevented me from healing. Today, as heart breaking as it has been at least I have my truth at least I’m healing!

Today I’m not as angry as I used to be but what fuels my anger is that society still fails to realize that adoption is loss & trauma which causes complicated grief, sadness, anger, rage and a lot of pain! Until this pain is acknowledged and understood on a deeper level the adoptee suicide rate will ALWAYS be 4 x more likely than non-adoptees. Check this article out if you don’t believe me. Preventing Adoptee Related Suicide

I have written for the last 5 years about how God saved the best for last. I didn’t find out I had a brother until 2010. I searched for him for a year in November 2011 I finally found my brother. We shared the same father. December 2011 was the first Christmas I ever spent with a biological family member. I can’t even tell you at the excitement and happiness to have finally found the BEST PART of my adoption search and the reunion was a great one. My brother was accepting, his siblings were accepting, and his children were accepting. We spent the next 5 years making up for lost time. I can tell you that he was and is the first person I ever felt like I had a biological connection besides my own kids. It was something only my fellow adoptees could appreciate because you had to grow up being denied that right, in order to understand how important it is.

FINALLY GOD SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST. MY BROTHER WAS AND IS THE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF THE RAINBOW FOR ME.

Adoptees know that desire, that need to just feel like they belong, that deep desire to have that deep connection with their blood kin. Non-adoptees can’t relate because they haven’t gone without. It’s something most people take for granted.

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My brother has given me hope, that finally I will have some biological connections with someone somewhere. I imagined that one day when I get married he will be there at my wedding and he can meet all my adoptive family and they can finally see someone else that looks like me, acts like me and who has similarities as me. They will be able to see how awesome he is. I’ve been elated because my niece had her first baby, and I got a card in the mail that said “Auntie” with a Christmas picture with him in it. She kept me up to date about her pregnancy, and it’s been fun slowly building relationships with all of my brothers 4 kids and his siblings. They have all accepted us, loved us, and warmed us into the family. We traveled back and forth to Texas to his crawfish boil. He has been to Kentucky many times and celebrated a few Christmas’s with us. This past Thanksgiving 2015 we drove to Texas and my kids and I spent the first Thanksgiving in 41 years of my life with biological family. For me this has been a dream come true to a pretty tragic story.

God saved the best for last!

Indeed!

What feels like REJECTION is God’s way of protection might be true, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have pain, grief & loss associated with the situation. I know that God understands the pain because he too can feel the deepest parts of my heart, every little broken piece.

As the story unfolds, my biological father doesn’t claim me and he shared doubts with me about my half-brother. My brother is 10 years older than me. He was always told growing up that J.J.; our birth father is his father. Our birth father even acknowledged him at a few different times in his life but they hadn’t had a relationship in many years. I found my birth father in 1999 and mailed him a letter sharing with him who I was. I waited every day for the mail and had high hopes he would respond but after giving him 11 years I never had confirmation he received my letter, so I decided to drive to Iowa to see his face at least one time in my lifetime. 2010 was the year my birth mother died and we had only met one time. It was also the year I laid eyes on my birth father for the first time. During this visit he shared with me I had a half-brother, He said he had some doubts he was his or not, but he was believed to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, he gave me his name and off I went. The search was on.

In my heart I felt that if my birth father didn’t claim me, and he wasn’t for sure claiming my brother I would leave it up to my brother and I to determine if we were siblings because as soon as we saw one another’s childhood pictures, and pictures through life we just knew we were siblings. We spent some time together and our similarities are astonishing! We have so many of the same mannerisms, we’re both tall, we have the same complexion and if my hair was natural we would have the same hair color. We are so much alike, and in my heart I finally felt a connection to someone I shared DNA with, which was a connection I had never felt in my lifetime aside from my relationships with my kids. It was amazing to finally feel like I connected with someone! So over the years building this new found relationship has been challenging due to the distance, but we have made many phone calls and visits back and forth. We have done the best with the circumstances. I have struggled in my own personal way I know my fellow adoptees get this  with the fact that so much time has been lost. I get angry regarding this matter. I missed EVERYTHING with my brother, and I get emotional about it, thinking of missing his weddings, his kids being born, having that brother/sister relationship bond that is indescribable and PEOPLE chose to take our relationship away from us. Time is the most valuable thing in the world and 38 years gone, never to return. This has been one of the deepest parts of my hurt, and of course these feelings aren’t welcome anywhere because non-adoptees just don’t understand and they all say “Well aren’t you just thankful you found him and you having the future to look forward too?” Yes, yes of course I am but that doesn’t change the facts which have caused me a great deal of pain.

Thanksgiving 2015 I asked my brother if he would consider doing a DNA test so that I could present it to our birth father. Over the years he has said numerous times, “What are we going to do, get a blood test 40 years later?!” Well, actually that’s a great idea. If PROOF I am his child and my brother is his child might sway him into letting me meet my grandmother for the first time before she dies than for me it would be worth the hassle and cost of 2 DNA tests. (Mine was already uploaded to 23andme and GedMatch) My brother understood in my needs in wanting to do this due to my circumstances regarding my “Story”.  My only purpose was to upload my brothers DNA to GedMatch and we would be able to use the “One to One” compare feature comparing our KIT #’s and BOOM… I could print this out, and compose a letter and mail it to my birth father. Once and for all we would have proof and he couldn’t say we weren’t his. DNA doesn’t lie. Now that doesn’t mean anything would change with him, but I hung on to the little piece of hope that maybe DNA PROOF would maybe change something, after all he said over and over, “What are we going to do, get a DNA test 40 years later?”.

Well, as a matter of a fact…

 I mail my brothers DNA off to AncestryDNA and the waiting begins. 2 days after Christmas his results come in. Dec 27th I uploaded his DNA to Gedmatch and I waited a day to make sure they results were fully uploaded and in the system.

As I compare the “One to One” feature I couldn’t believe what I found.

“No shared DNA segments found”

I tried it again, and again and again.

“No shared DNA segments found”

I got the same thing every time.

“No shared DNA segments found”

NO WAY!

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My first thoughts were, “There is no way I’m believing this. This has to be a mistake” but deep down my heart sunk. I reached out to a few ladies I’m close with that were more familiar with DNA than I am and they both confirmed that the results are true.

I refused to accept this.

I called my brother a few days later, and I shared the news with him. HONESTY IS EVREYTHING EVEN IF IT HURTS! He also refused to accept this. We did not believe these results. I had many people say, “The DNA test could have been faulty”. Well, if there was even a TINY chance the DNA test was faulty I was running with that, and so was my brother.

I mean we are NOT ACCEPTING THIS!

All the adoptee “fears” come rushing in. Thoughts like “I knew I was going to lose him too” and “I always knew he was going to disappear too”. The enemy was having a field day with me. I was NOT accepting this.

It was obvious that the next move was the prove weather his test was faulty or not. So in order to do that, I started to contact his highest DNA matches on Ancestry DNA to find out some of their surnames and see if I can make connections to his mother’s side. If I was able to make DNA connections to his mother’s side, than that would mean the test is not a faulty one.

Of course we want the test to be faulty!!!

As a few days pass, and I explain to my brother what I’m doing and make sure he is okay with it, I uncovered his DNA has many ties to his mother’s side which indeed was proof his DNA was not a faulty one.

HEARTBROKEN AGAIN!

EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS TAKEN FROM ME! EVERYTHING REGARDING MY ADOPTION EXPERIENCE EQUALS GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA!

Deep down I was…

And I still am…

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This is the most devastating news to me, and it seems there isn’t anyone in the world at this point that can relate to the deep level of pain and sadness I am experiencing regarding this matter. I cried for 3 days straight before I could even tell my brother.

So what does this mean? I was able to trace my DNA connections to J.J. my biological father which means if I share DNA with J.J. and my brother and I share no DNA J.J. is not his biological father. What turns out to be something that started out so simple turned into something far more that what we ever expected. I was not only experiencing my own shock and sadness, but I was also feeling some major sadness for my brother because now I had to tell him the TRUTH and I know the TRUTH might hurt.

So many dynamics to this situation but the end result is that the TRUTH is ALWAYS better than living a LIE.

I have sat and tried to figure out what God has taught me in this situation… I know there had to be a lesson and some areas I am going to grow in regarding many dynamics to this. One thing that comes to mind is that I have never experienced a DNA felt connection with anyone aside from my kids until I met my brother. Now, knowing he’s not actually DNA connected I can TRULY say I still have a connection to him and for me that’s a big deal. It has helped me learn that I can have a close connection with someone I am not DNA connected too. I had a few close connections growing up with a few of my adoptive family members I was close too, but I never felt similar to anyone until I met my brother.

The other thing that I feel God was teaching me is to share with ALL MY FELLOW ADOPTEES that DNA TESTING IS CRITICAL! Don’t just assume and go off of what you are told. Even if the reunion seems to be the PERFECT FIT like mine did with my brother, GET DNA TESTING ANYWAY!

I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH! GOD HAS THIS HEAVY ON MY HEART TO SHARE! SO MANY LIES AND SECRETS IN ADOPTION, DNA TESTING IS CRITICAL TO CONFIRM! NO MATTER WHAT!

As far as I’m concerned he’s still my brother. I cried and was really upset for about 3 days, and I had to get myself together so I could share this information with my brother. I prayed and I called him.

My fellow adoptees understand the FEARS associated with reunions, and it seemed one of my greatest fears of my brother leaving might be coming true, but I knew I still have to share the truth. I have heard many people say, “Family isn’t always blood, family is what we make it!” and I find this to be true. But as an adoptee that has already lost so much it’s hard to not fear abandonment again. It has happened with every “reunion” I have experienced with ALL biological family members. I have LOST every single one. So naturally based on my experience I am in fear. Maybe my brother will not want to be my brother anymore? Maybe my nieces and nephews won’t want to be in my life anymore, even if they are all far away. I will once again feel all alone in life, and that happy ending wasn’t happy at all. My pot of gold at the end of the rainbow has been snatched away and God didn’t save the best for last, he took the best part of my reunion away. I have felt like this was some evil trick someone played on me.

I had to think about this for a few days. Process everything. I had to feel the emotions and allow myself the room to feel them. I had to cry. I had to cry out to God and ask him to SHOW ME what he is trying to teach me here. I knew there had to be some reasons. 

All those years of my hopes being high for these WONDERFUL DNA relationships, these fantasies of these AMAZING people that I would look like and act like and have so much in common with are really nonexistent and I can’t begin to describe the sadness and loss attached to this disappointment. Of course I had no other options than to believe it would be all wonderful to connect with DNA “Family” because I hadn’t ever experienced it and I always had such a longing to see where I came from and who I looked like. I had HIGH HOPES ALL MY LIFE! After all, “Your birth mother loved your so much” left the imprint deep in my mind all the way back to the first time I heard it that my biological family loved me, and why would they be anything less than wonderful?

Adoption stole A LOT!

I could go on ALL DAY about what has been stolen!

So what do you do when the wall comes tumbling down?

I’M NOT LETTING THE DEVIL STEAL ANYTHING ELSE FROM ME!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” John 10:10

The devil is not taking my relationship with my brother, or my nieces and nephews. He’s not taking anything else from me. He’s taken my relationships with both birth parents and my birth sister and I’m NOT letting him take my relationship with my brother.

TO HECK WITH THE DEVIL!  HE IS A LIER!

I believe God started preparing this for me early, as I began to build my church family and I started to experience that type of “family” that I had never experienced before. There is nothing like it anywhere and I am not DNA related to any of them. Not DNA from the world anyway. I do share DNA with them regarding us being in the body of Christ together and I must say THEY HAVE SHOWED UP AND SHOWED OUT WHEN NO ONE ELSE HAS! They have shown me the true definition of love, loyalty and what a “Family” is all about. At my church, we call them “Family of Choice”. I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I never knew how special and awesome they were until I experienced it. I can share how empty my life was without them. But learning and building these relationships I have TRULY understood and realized family isn’t always blood, but I had to experience this and experience that latter to actually “Get It”. People just telling me that wasn’t helping me. I had to experience it myself.

WE ALL HAVE TO EXPERIENCE THINGS ON OUR OWN!

So today, with the new found results in my life, I can say I’m still sad and I still have fears that my brother is going to disappear being an adoptee I have that fear anyway about everyone   and maybe “Change his mind” about wanting to be my brother. But our last words to each other were, “IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING” And if I have Jesus in me, I have his hope in me too. I am making the choice to hang onto his word and I am NOT letting GO of my relationship with my brother. He is still my brother and I don’t care what DNA says. YES, I am glad we know the truth now because what that means I need to help my brother find his TRUTH!

 “Then you will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you FREE” –John 8:32 is the verse I stand on!

I can’t help but wonder if that is one more reason God put my brother in my life 5 years ago?

As adoptees we receive every little puzzle piece about our lives, any little clue we can get. We piece it together as one overall goal..

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This has let me know that not only adoptees deserve their truth, but EVERYONE deserves their truth. We all deserve to know the answers to the question

“WHO AM I?”

“WHERE DID I COME FROM?” 

I will share as I end, that secrets and lies hurt and they destroy lives. If you are holding back sharing the TRUTH with someone please know that God is a God of TRUTH. Truth means NOTHING HIDDEN. This is why the Adoptee Rights Rally 2016 is so critical!  We all deserve to know our truth no matter how painful it might be. This has literally crushed me, but I would still rather know the truth ANY DAY! What we choose to do with it is our business. I’m praying for everyone involved with adoption realize that secrecy and lies HURT and TRUTH HEALS. We all deserve to know our truth and we all deserve our BIRTH RIGHT so we can move forward and HEAL!

You see, adoption is far more than adopting a beautiful baby to complete a family or to make someones dreams come true to be parents. For adoptees, adoption is rooted in grief, loss & trauma. We have to deal with the life long consequences for decisions that were made for us, decisions we had no choice over and we have little to no support in processing the grief, loss & trauma we face. I have found that societies ignorance to this grief, loss & trauma has only stalled and prolonged adoptees in receiving truth & healing. I’m praying more and more adoptees speak up and speak out and society starts to open their eyes, ears and hearts to receive what adoptees have to say.

If there is anyone on earth that is for TRUTH & HEALING it’s

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Thanks for reading.

Twitter: @pamelakaranova

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Never give up hope in finding your family. You aren’t alone! Can you relate to this blog post? If so please comment, share and let me know your thoughts.

 

2 Years After The Healing Begins…

I wanted to write a little bit on the last 2 years of my life and all the healing that has taken place.
When I started my recovery journey 2 years ago, I couldn’t even let anything about my birth mother come out of my mouth without sobbing like a new born baby. I was angry and I was hurt when it came to her. I was expected to keep quiet my whole life so when I finally was sitting around a group of women in my Step Study for Celebrate Recovery, and everyone was going around sharing about their life and all of a sudden it was my turn it was very emotional for me. I remember everyone looking at me, and I shared with them that I wrote a letter to my birth mother as a healing exercise and in that letter I expressed all the hurt and pain I have experienced from her making the decision to give me up for adoption, to strangers, and to a woman that couldn’t raise me. I was angry with her, and the letter shares all of my anger. All of these years my anger was flaring in every way imaginable, and I was happy to finally be able to have the tools to get to the root issue, dig up the root and lay it down at the cross.
This doesn’t mean I don’t hurt, because every day I struggle. It just means that God has given me the gift of forgiveness and because of this gift, I’m able to begin to heal and move forward with my life. Acceptance has been a key for me but the question is, what am I accepting? You can’t accept anything if the truth is being kept from you. My entire life, I was lied too, the truth was covered to protect me, but in the long run it has caused me more harm than good. This is not fair for adoptees and I will never stop speaking about something that has hurt me the most in life.
I prayed for grace, and God has given me grace. I was someone who was mad at the world, and when you are told your entire life that the feelings you have about your first family, no matter what kind of people they were should be that of non-existence but you want so badly to know who they are and where you come from it definitely plays some tricks on you. How can I learn to share feelings in life, but never speak of those who are a part of me, my own flesh and blood, and my biological roots.  I will never be FOR adoption because it has taken so much for me and caused me so much pain and at the same time I see the need in certain situations that adoption is necessary. I believe adoption needs massive reform and every adoptee on this earth deserves to know where they come from. I believe the lies, secrets, and all the hurt that comes from adoption are based on man’s decisions and people on this earth and an industry that is very corrupt has caused unthinkable pain for adoptees who have their identities locked in a filing cabinet, never to be discovered. Why should we have to fight for something that is already ours?
When I was able to receive every bit of what was already mine to begin with, is when my healing began. I had to search alone, and fine all of my biological family alone. No one supported me, and no one helped me. No matter what the outcome, searching and finding everyone and seeing their faces on my own has been my ticket to healing and freedom. Instead of believe what everyone had been telling me all these years, (which was lies) I was able to be filled with peace in seeing things on my own, and being able to form my own conclusion about my biological family members.  This has been critical to my healing.
If you look at my writings 2 years ago, you will see the anger. You can read the letter to my birth mother and feel my anger. You can read her letter I wished she wrote back to me and see there was healing in writing that. Next, I will be writing a letter in response to what I wished she wrote me. I had to do the work and uncover the truth, so I could work on my deep seeded emotional issues with abandonment and rejection before I could write the next letter or move forward with my life. This healing journey is a process, and I had to accept the fact that this pain may never go away, but processing my feelings like I need to are helping me and I pray that in time things get easier, most important I need to believe with my heart that it will get easier.
I will be 40 in about 6 weeks. I wish I could figure out how to be happy on my birthday. Don’t you know if I could I would? I’m learning that now I can cry, and talk about my feelings and that’s okay.  Does anyone really want to hear it? I honestly don’t think so and that’s why I write. This is a healing place for me. I feel like if only I would have gotten that letter from my birth mother, like she promised I could take it out on my birth day and read it and maybe it would make me feel better.  But instead, I have nothing. I wish everyone close to me would write me letters for my birthday, but I wonder if they will think I’m crazy for this one simple request?  I feel like if I ask, it won’t be sincere or true so no need to bother. If I could open up a basket or a box full of letters I think I would ball like a baby. No one on earth but God understands the depths of my pain in this area. I’m so thankful I can share it with my blog readers.
Every day in every way I am reminded of the loss of my first family. I’ve accepted the loss, and I have recently accepted the pain that may never go away. I’m so thankful that my healing started before my kids moved out of my house. I don’t think I could do this alone, or without them here to take my mind off of it on occasion. Mother duties call daily, and this gets my mind away from reality.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Learning the TRUTH is the ONLY way to healing and freedom.
Now, as I go get ready for church I feel great I got all this off my chest and I’m thankful for this place that is healing for me.
Thanks for reading!