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.
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