My Birth Mothers Shoes

I’ve experienced so many emotions when it comes to my birth mother, relinquishment, and rejection. Although I’m about 8 years into the “Coming out of the FOG” phase, I still grapple with emotions and feelings associated with my birth mother and her decision in relinquishment. I can say, without a doubt that with knowledge of some of the truth, hers and mine it’s allowed me to accept that truth to move forward with my life.

1994 I was a 21-year-old single mother of a beautiful daughter. This was the year I would find out who my birth mother was, where she was, and I heard her voice for the first time. Eventually I saw her face.

After spending 21 years being lied to by my adoptive mom, I finally found her. My adoptive mom held the key to this information my entire life. Did she think she was protecting me? Perhaps, but I don’t think I will ever “Get Over” the fact that every single time I asked about my birth mother, who she was, where she was, and how I could find her, she lied to me. That’s another blog post.

Spending a lifetime and childhood filled with fantasies about “HER” I had always hoped that one day she was going to come back to get me. I visualized a car pulling up in the front yard, a woman getting out walking up to me saying, “Hi Honey, it’s me, your momma… It’s time to go home now… This was all a big mistake”. Many of you already know about my obsession with THE SKY AND I. It was my baby blanket growing up, and a safety net for me because I knew she was under the same sky I was.

As you can guess, my fantasy turned to reality and she never showed up. I waited and waited and waited. Today, I am extremely triggered by waiting on anyone for anything. Something deep in my soul takes me back to waiting my entire childhood waiting on my birth mother to show up, and I panic. I do my best to plan things in my life where I don’t have to wait on people. It’s hard for me to separate my responses to waiting on people as a memory of waiting on my birth mother, yet I know it to be true. I do my best to acknowledge it, yet I believe it will be a piece of the little girl in me always wanting my birth mother.

I remember around the time I found out I was adopted, (5ish) I started to have dreams about searching for my birth mother. I was a little girl in a hospital gown around 5 years old, running up and down the hallways of the maternity ward at St. Francis Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. There wasn’t a single person in sight, just me. I was LOST. Everything was white. I kept running down a hospital hallway, ripping the white curtains back one by one, searching for HER. The hallway went on forever and ever and ever… I kept running, and running, and running. This dream has come and gone many times in my life.

Today, if I feel left, or lost at all, I panic. The little girl in me associates the current with the past, and it’s extremely hard to navigate. It feels like a PTSD episode.

Adoption- The “beautiful gift” that keeps on giving.

Searching for her was an everyday part of my life all through my childhood, teen years and adult life. As you can imagine when I finally found HER, it was the best day of my life. I wrote a poem that day, “My dream finally came true, the day that I found you.” I still have it somewhere, in a box tucked away.

I made the call. The call I had been waiting to make my entire life, and I said, “Hi Eileen, my name is Pam, I was born Aug 13, 1974 – does that date mean anything to you?”

CLICK.

I said, “Hello? Hello?”

She hung up the phone.

I called back, I hear her answer and say “Hello, Yes I am the woman you are looking for”.

I said, “I can assure you I don’t want anything from you. I would love to learn more about you, your life and I have some questions for you if that’s okay?”

She replied, “I have always thought about you each year on your birthday. You have a sister, she doesn’t know anything about you and I don’t want her too”.

We spoke a few more minutes and she agreed she would write me, and I said I would write her and send some photos. I was DYING inside not knowing what she looked like. We ended our conversation and said we would be in touch.

I prepared a photo album for her, and a letter with the poem in it. Mailed them off within 24 hours.

The wait began…

24 hours

48 hours

1 week

3 weeks

5 weeks

I met the mailman at the mailbox daily.

Waiting

Waiting

Anticipating

2 months

4 months

5 months

Did I mention I hate WAITING on people to this day?

This is why.

I called her.

No answer.

I called her again.

No answer.

I was totally in the fog and I had no idea what was really happening.

I decided after 6 months I had nothing to lose in contacting my biological half-sister. The one my birth mother said she didn’t want to know about me. I mailed her a letter, and within days I was on the phone with my half biological sister. This was also a dream come true. She was receptive and excited to speak to me and we ended up meeting not long after.

She spoke to my birth mother and convinced my birth mother she needed to meet me. Yes, I said that right. She CONVINCED my own biological mother to want to meet me. I still hadn’t accepted the truth.

A month later I pulled up in the driveway of my birth mothers house. A surreal experience. I remember her coming to the door and laying eyes on her for the first time. She looked nothing like I imagined but it was her, none the less. She gave me what I would describe as a “Distant Hug”. It wasn’t the real embrace I expected from the woman that gave me life after 21 years apart. She invited me in and we sat around her dining room table. It was my birth mother, her sister (my aunt), my birth mothers best friend, my sister and me. She got a drink, and I got a drink. (alcohol) No one else was drinking but us.  As soon as we sat down, the question started flying.

My birth mother said, “So, how was your life?”

I could have lied, or sugar-coated things but I chose to be honest.

“I’ve had a really hard life, I never bonded with my adoptive mom. My adoptive parents divorced when I was a year and the home I grew up in was extremely chaotic and abusive in many ways”

She got quiet.

I asked her if she could tell me who my birth father was.

She said, “He didn’t know about you and he wouldn’t want too”.

That was the end of that topic. She really didn’t share much about herself but a few details. We took a few pictures together and wrapped the visit up. I was there about 2 hours. I was later told my birth father was dead by my birth mothers x- husband, but that was a lie. 

In my mind this was the beginning of a hopeful relationship. I wrote her. I called her. She avoided me at all costs. My half-sister had even cut off all contact as well.

Year after year passed and I waited and waited for something, anything. What did I do wrong? I mean I only told her the truth.

What I did get was a Facebook message in 2010 from my half-sister 20 years later that my birth mother had passed away, and my birth sister NEEDED me to be there at the funeral to support her. I showed up. This was one of the hardest experiences of my life. Not only was I introduced multiple times as, “This is Pam, the daughter my mom gave up for adoption” but I was also totally omitted from the obituary. I was there, in real life but I didn’t exist to them.

I was able to speak to a few of my birth mother’s friends in attempts to understand her life, and to gain empathy for this woman that brought me into the world who abandoned me not once, but twice. I wanted to know more details on why she made these choices, so I began to ask her close friends some questions.

I learned that my birth mother was never seen without a drink in her hand, even throughout her pregnancy with me. She was considered an alcoholic by those close to her and they told me stories about her life that helped me gain a better understanding about her. During the 20 years of silence from her, I was angry. I was hurt. I was rage filled, and alcohol was the only thing that made a bit of a dent in navigating through this pain. It didn’t help me process anything, but it helped me not feel the truth.

It was fascinating to me that even though she didn’t raise me, I picked up this “alcohol thing” anyway.  Alcoholism was something I picked up on not only through my DNA but in utero, before I was even born I was exposed to alcohol in the womb. It’s no wonder I spent 27 years addicted to it.

While learning more about my birth mother, her best friend shared with me that she was pregnant at the same time as my birth mother although she kept her baby. August 13, 1974 I was born. My birth mothers best friend said she sent flowers to the hospital for my birth mother when she gave birth to me, but they were returned to her because my birth mother used an alias in the hospital. She did not want to be found or discovered. They were never able to be delivered because of this. She said my birth mother worked up until the day she had me and went back to work the next day and she hid the pregnancy from everyone around. Her best friend is who told me she never saw her without a drink in her hand, even throughout her pregnancy. I was startled by this truth. I wondered how this impacted me in utero, although I guess I will never know?

Another one of my birth mothers friend shared with me that after my birth mother met me that one time and shut me out forever back in 1995, had expressed to her how upset she was that my adoptive parents got a divorce when I was 1 year old. She told her she wanted me to have a “better life” like she was promised, yet I was raised on welfare, food stamps in a single parent household. Not to mention the abuse I experienced at the hands of my adoptive mother and adoptive step brother. She said my birth mother never “Got Over That” and said many times if she would have known that was going to happen she would have kept me.

Adoption can’t promise a better life, only a different one.

My birth mother’s sister, who was my biological aunt is the one who upped the information as to who my biological father was because my birth mother wasn’t going to tell me. She explained that he was a pall barrier in my grandfather’s funeral and a friend of the family. He was approximately 10 years older than my birth mother, and he was married at the time of my conception. I was supposedly conceived out of a drunken one-night stand, after my grandfather’s funeral.

My birth sister said it was traumatic growing up in a household with an alcoholic mother. She said she never attended her school events, and that she wasn’t a good mother at all. She suggested to me multiple times that she wished she was the one given up for adoption, in other words I should be thankful I was! If she knew all about my experience growing up in an abusive adoptive home, I don’t think she would have said that.

I have sympathy for my birth sister, because of her upbringing. She’s expressed multiple times wishing that she was the one given up for adoption, and her views adoption was a “better life” so I automatically must have gotten the better life than her? Sadly, she too has surrendered a child for adoption, so her views are at the opposite end of the spectrum regarding adoption, and sadly because of our opposing viewpoints and a few other issues, we have no relationship today.

Every little piece of information has been an extremely valuable piece to me completing my puzzle. Every clue helped me understand better. Spending so many years numbing my pain with alcohol, running from the TRUTH I wasn’t in a place to process anything. Alcohol didn’t do anything for me to process my pain in healthy ways, and I can say now I had no idea how to process emotions in a healthy way. There was no living example of someone I could mirror, growing up on how to process feelings in a healthy way.

One day in 2012 it all came tumbling down on me like a TON of BRICKS.

I was just like my birth mother.

I didn’t want to be like her in the alcoholic area!

This meant I was going to die like her if I didn’t make any changes. I wanted my kids to have a happy healthy mom because that’s something I never had. I wanted my future grandkids to have a happy healthy grandma which is something my kids never had.

I was still angry at my birth mother, so I did a lot of praying about my anger towards her. She was dead for God’s sake. My anger was only hurting me. I was angry she abandoned me 2x. I was angry she kept me a secret from my birth father which resulted in me being given up for adoption without his consent. I was just flat out angry!

I knew if I was ever going to get to a place of forgiveness, I needed to try to FEEL what she FELT when she decided to make the decision to surrender me for adoption. I had to have empathy for her during that time, and even the years to follow. Why did she make that decision? What happened to her in her childhood to make her the way she was? What did she reject me for the second time?

To do this, I had to put myself in MY BIRTH MOTHERS SHOES. I had to TRY to understand her position in all areas of our journey. I started to ask a few birth mothers some questions, to try to understand better. I read “The Girls that Went Away” at an attempt to try to understand her better. Each area I learned about what a birth mother goes through was healing to me. Every area I began to understand more about why she made the decision she did, and I tried to objectively see things from her view, from her shoes.

It would be incredibly inaccurate of me to lump all birth mothers in one category, saying they all feel this way or that way. On the other hand, I’ve had a ton of people try to speak on behalf of MY BIRTH MOTHER in attempts to make me “feel better”. I see a lot of people speak for adoptees as well. No adoptees or birth mothers, or even adoptive parents all have the same cookie cutter situations or experiences. I had birth mothers tell me, “I’m sure she was broken hearted just like you” and “I’m sure your birth mother loved you and wanted you in her life, it was the pain she was rejecting, not you”.

Bottom line is, no one can speak for her. NO ONE. I was told she was a very cold person. Her neighbors would come try to bring her food, or cookies, or shovel her sidewalk and driveway and she would tell them “Leave her alone” and they said she flat out didn’t want to be bothered. She had a mean spirit, and if she was anything like me as a drinker alcohol only made it worse.

After reading “The Girls that Went Away” I learned how relinquishment might impact birth mothers and this helped me understand this could have easily impacted my birth mother. They mentioned how things stood still, like everything remained the same as if frozen in time, around the time of relinquishment. It was interesting to learn this because when my birth mother passed away, I asked my sister to take me to her house. The same one I went to 20 years earlier and met her that one time. She said, “Oh, trust me you don’t want to go to mom’s house, it’s horrible”. I assured her that yes, yes, I did. I needed to see it. November 7, 2010, I pulled up in her driveway, and went inside. Everything was dark, curtains drawn with dark floral colored drapes almost looking like they were from the 70’s. It didn’t look like anything had changed from when I saw her the one and only time, although things were much darker and dirtier. Dust was extremely thick, she had oxygen tanks lined up in her living room. Darkness was everywhere. She died on her sofa, with COPD, smoking, on oxygen and an alcoholic who had shut everyone out. I needed to see this, so I could see what her last days were like. It broke my heart, but I was told that she didn’t only shut me out, but she had shut everyone else out too. Her closest friends hadn’t seen her in along while, neighbors said she wasn’t very friendly. My birth sister hadn’t seen her in many years, nor talked to her. She was estranged from everyone and died in that dark, sad, lonely place.

I wanted to know everything I could about my birth mother. I needed to know. Every piece of information about her and her life was like salve to my wounds. Healing to my spirit. It was hard to learn all these things, it wasn’t easy at all, but the truth is always better than secrecy and lies. I need to share that most of the information I found out about my birth mother was from other people who knew her, and experienced life with her. I didn’t get that privilege, but I hold all the information close to my heart from those who shared it with me.

You might say “privilege? She doesn’t sound like she was a privilege to know!” Anyone can easily say that, just like my adoptive mom told me one day, “You act like your life would have been so better with her!” I don’t care how mean she was, or how much of an alcoholic she was. I don’t care how many married men she slept with, or how many babies she surrendered for adoption – she was still my mother! I don’t care what she was or wasn’t. And it is entirely possible I feel this way about her because I sought her my entire life, searching, seeking, looking, dreaming, fantasizing about HER that it’s so hard for me to see the bad in her. I see a broken woman who was hurting. She was an alcoholic, and I know from my own experience alcohol is something people use to run from pain. To mask the pain, to not feel it. She was an alcoholic way before I was born, all her life from what I was told.

I learned this I wanted to learn about what her childhood was like, and what had happened to her in her younger days to make her the way she was. Instead of damn her for having sex with a married man, I wanted to learn what happened to her. I had to have the willingness to take myself out of my shoes and put them in her shoes. It was easy for me to have sympathy for her because her alcohol problem was a huge factor in the decisions she made. My alcohol problem was a huge problem in the decisions I made. If I threw her under the bus, I needed to throw myself under the bus and guess what? I did that most of my life. To forgiver her I had to forgive myself vice versa.

I learned that my birth mothers mother was mentally ill, and she tried to abort one of her first child on her own in 1942. Rumor has it that she (my grandmother) might have been pregnant by her father, but I don’t know this to be entirely true. I do know that the abortion attempt was a failed one, and my birth mother had a sibling that was born mentally handicapped who lived in a nursing facility her entire life who was 5 years older than her. She died in her 50’s. I always wonder how this impacted my birth mother? What other family secrets were there that I had no clue about. Whatever they were, I wonder how they impacted my birth mother? Was that what drove her to drink? Did she have some pain she was running from? Did something happen to her in her childhood?

Those questions remain questions today, but I can imagine she was drinking running from some pain just like I was for 27 years. The only difference is her drinking killed her. Mine is not going to kill me. She made mistakes, I made mistakes. I don’t have any hate in my heart for her, only hurt. I did hate her for many years, but it was only hurting me.

I’ve come to my own conclusion that many women who have children don’t have a maternal bond with that child, nor do they have the desire to be a mother. I personally believe based on the information that I know about my birth mother is that she rejected the pregnancy, and she was ashamed of her actions in having an affair with a married man. This was the reason she chose to give me up for adoption. Who would want to be reminded of such an event day in and day out?

I think about what if she would have kept me and what my life would have been like. A few years ago, I saw a lady on Dr. Phil and she was in bad shape on the show because she was conceived out of an affair with a married man who was her father, but her mom kept her. Her father and his wife divorced, her half siblings held grudges against her simply for being alive and being the product of her parents “affair” and this woman was a WRECK! She was hysterical at times crying and sobbing that she hates that she was born causing so many problems and ruining a family because of her parent’s actions. It was clearly a HUGE burden placed on her shoulders the minute she knew the truth. My heart ached for her, and I couldn’t help but realize that could have been me if my birth mother kept me.

Without the truth I wouldn’t be where I am today. Without the knowledge regarding my birth mother, especially her alcoholism I would have never made the choice to stop drinking. August 13, 2012 was my birthday, and the last drink I had. I was determined to NOT die like my birth mother. My kids deserve more, and I deserve more.

Learning all this information about my birth mother, has helped me form my own conclusion about her. Some days I feel like she just wanted to get rid of her problem, “ME” because I was a reminder of her irresponsible actions. Part of me believes she truly wanted me to have a better life, because that’s what the adoption industry and our society feeds birth mothers so they guilt them into making the choice to surrender. Part of me believes that she was destroyed after I met her that one time, learning the truth. The other part of me feels like she’s just a cold-hearted woman who’s in a lot of pain. I have done my best to take myself out of my shoes and put myself in her shoes to bring healing to my spirit and understand her decision better.

Her decision has impacted every area of my life.

Although I’ve gained a better understanding, I still hurt – daily. My “Mother Wound” is a very deep wound. Like many adoptees, I struck it out in the mother area not once, but twice. When I dreamed my entire life about this woman, for that reunion to fail it’s left me devastated. I don’t believe it’s something I will ever forget or get over. It’s something I am learning how to process the best I can while I live a sober life. I don’t run and go drink 5 glasses of wine anymore or a 12 pack of beer to NOT FEEL IT! I must feel it to heal it. Some days I ponder how much more fun life was when I was drinking. This handling “feelings” business when it comes to all this adoptee trauma is no damn joke! Before in my drinking life, I would skate through life with never processing anything.

Alcohol was only a band aide on my wounds. Knowing my birth mother was an alcoholic her entire life, helped me understand her coldness and decision making. Alcohol was a major factor in some terrible decisions I made in my days. How can I look down on her, when I am no different? Really none of us are, we all make mistakes and have issues.

I guess for me, being born and causing so many people so much pain in the process is something I have carried deep in my soul for 43 years. I’m working on finding my worth aside from causing so many people so much pain but it’s a struggle daily.

Once I was able to put myself in my birth mother’s shoes, I then was able to meet and find my birth father. I had more questions, needed more answers. I won’t go into all I learned about him at this time, but one thing I learned is that he’s a raging alcoholic which rocked me to my core. So, you mean BOTH my birth parents are alcoholics, and I picked this alcohol thing up and they didn’t even raise me? This was another aspect of the driving force behind my decision to stop drinking. I didn’t want to be anything like Him in the alcohol area.

I wanted to break the chains of this generational curse and the chains of this cycle of alcoholism because if I didn’t do it who was going to do it? That was an always has been one of the hardest yet best decisions I ever made for myself, my kids, and my future grandkids for generations to come.

As I end, I would like to share that I would never be able to put myself in my birth mother’s shoes, if I hadn’t learned the TRUTH about who she was. When we don’t have our truth, we can’t heal. No more secrets. No more lies. Every adoption person deserves to know their truth, because we all deserve the chance at being able to put ourselves in our birth parents shoes to gain a better understanding of WHY?

WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?

WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BIRTH MOTHER?

WHY WAS I ABANDONED BY THE WOMAN THAT SHOULD LOVE ME MOST?

NOT ONCE BUT TWICE?

Knowing all the above information has helped me make the choice to come to a place of acceptance. I have to be honest, as long as my birth mother was alive on this earth I always had a tiny piece of hope she would change her mind about me. It’s only after she died was when the reality set in and I knew there was no more hope at all in us having a relationship. Please don’t judge adoptees for feeling the way they do. You have no idea how much adoption hurts us, along with the secrecy and lies involved in most adoptions today.

Withholding the truth, no matter who it is, (birth parents, adoptive parents, etc.) is wrong. The truth is everything to adopted people.  It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt but it’s always better than living a lie.

Love, Love

Adoptee City

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Adoptee City is my online community of adult adoptees who I have come into contact with over the years. Some live in the USA, and some across the world. Adoptee City filled with all different versions of adoptees, who all come from so many different experiences, yet line up with a common denominator of being ADOPTED.

We’re ALIVE.

We Survived.

We have a story to tell.

Adoptees ONLY.

I entered ADOPTEE CITY online in 2011. It was a whole new world to me. Finally, others who could understand me. If you’re not adopted, you are the outsider looking in of ADOPTEE CITY, finally we are in control of something. We have a bond, we have a heart for one another’s pain, experiences and visions. We can FEEL what one another is going through when we go through things. We know how critical listening is, because for many of us we’ve waited our entire lives for someone to listen. We know how important listening is!

I have learned over the years, I have my fellow Adoptees back, at all costs because I know what it feels like to be them. To be silenced by a world that glorifies adoption.  I’ve always given them favor, because it’s about time someone be on our side, right? I’ve spent years encouraging them, lifting them up and letting them know they aren’t alone. So many of them have returned this same love to me when I have been down and out. I will be forever grateful.

What would we do without one another, really?

I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without you all, THANK YOU! I love you!

My heart has never been set on educating adoptive parents, or birth parents and I haven’t made it a mission in my life to do so. I simply do not have this gift. You can see by the thread I was tied into yesterday I don’t have this gift. HAHA. If I’m honest I don’t appreciate the burden that’s been placed on my shoulders, OUR shoulders that it’s our job to teach them how it feels to be adopted like it’s expected of us.  It’s not that I don’t’ want to help them, it’s because my focus and heart has always been on reaching the hurting Adoptees who are in really sad and dark places. I was once that Adoptee, and still have moments like this. If I’m honest, I have them frequently. I am learning that sometimes God puts us in positions where we are going to be uncomfortable, and in this uncomfortableness is when we grow.

I believe God gives us each gifts and it’s up to each of us to tap into those gifts, and use them in a way that helps other people. For me, my gift was relating to and making safe spaces for Adult Adoptees to share their stories. How have I done this? I’ve created numerous platforms online where adoptees feel safe in sharing their stories and I’ve founded an adult adoptee support group that is being planted all over the USA soon to be in another country. I’ve done this by sharing my story via my blog, and being interviewed by podcasts and having my story featured in other online safe spaces. Not saying because I want any credit, just saying because THIS IS MY CALLING. I’m walking it out and sometimes I still feel alone, even when I have an amazing supportive ADOPTEE CITY behind me cheering me on. I believe it might be because my vision isn’t anyone else’s vision and they don’t see what I see?

“Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created for”- Esther 4:14

I remember about 2 years ago, I felt like God was telling me that YES, I’m going to continue my online Adoptee City work, but I’m also going to do something IN REAL LIFE, IN MY COMMUNITY which I will call my real-life Adoptee City. I had no idea what this would look like, but it’s been in the back of my mind for years, festering but God always reveals his plans for us.

Sadly, the world can discourage us and even some of those who are in our ADOPTEE CITY can discourage us. I’ve encountered backlash because Adoptees Connect is adoptee only and not open to adoptive parents and birth parents. I’ve received a very small amount of backlash for creating Adoptee Merch. as well and I’ve learned it’s okay, as I already said my vision isn’t everyone’s vision. We will always have critics but navigating this a few things have come to my attention.

Most of the time when an adoptee from Adoptee City comes out of the woodwork and tries to shut down other Adoptees ideas, it’s for 2 reasons. 1.) They have a vision of something they want to create themselves, and they are seeing another adoptee create this vision, but not exactly like the vision they have. In other words, they have an idea in mind, but instead of pursuing it they are shooting down other adoptees for doing something similar because it’s not exactly like the idea they have in mind. 2.) Lack of support in sharing their own ideas and fear of the unknown sets it, so they lash out at others who do have support and ideas that are prospering in the online adoptee city movement, and even reaching outside the online Adoptee City movement into the real adoptee cities in our communities in real life.

Fear is crippling. Fear of those who are in the same adoptee city as you is even more crippling and it paralyzes us from pursuing the calling God has on our lives. If you don’t believe in GOD, it still paralyzes you from the calling that has been placed on our lives. I believe each and every adoptee in this world has come equipped with a special gift and ability that will not separate or divide our community but bring us closer together. Does that mean we will all agree with those visions or gifts? Absolutely not, but this is a question I have for you.

Are you dividing Adoptee City or bringing it closer together? Whatever it is on your heart to pursue to advance Adoptee City, is that bringing us closer together or dividing us from one another? Do the words you use in online Adoptee city forums when communicating with your fellow Adoptees do you come from a place of compassion for those Adoptees who don’t think exactly like you, or are the coming from a place of anger and rage tearing one another down?

We’re all on the same team, and nothing saddens me more than seeing Adoptees fight with one another.

Please don’t mistake my above paragraph as if we don’t have a right to have anger and rage. WE ALL DO! We’ve all heard “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it”.

A few years ago when I was filled with anger and rage, it came out in every way possible. I had NO GRACE. I wrote out of anger and rage, I told people my feelings that were based in anger and rage, I was flat out ANGRY! I still am ANGRY. But the difference is, I had someone take me aside and say, “You know Pam, I understand your pain, I understand your hurt and broken heart, just remember whatever message you are trying to get across is going to be better received by those who you want to receive it if you can shape your message in a way that doesn’t scare people off and turn away from you all together. When you come off angry or rage filled it turns people away, and I know you have a powerful story to tell”

What did I do? I got mad, and angry. What CRAP THIS IS! Someone telling me I need to NOT BE ANGRY! I got an attitude, and didn’t really like what she said.

But then in time I began to really think about it and realize that she was correct. If I wanted to share my message, I needed Grace. I began to pray for GRACE. It took me YEARS and I still fall short daily. Adoptive parents and birth parents are in a category where it’s harder for me to show them grace, I can’t lie. I’m a work in progress.

But my fellow Adoptees that are in MY ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY…

Every day I wake up, and I want to show them grace. I want to show them grace even when I don’t agree with them. Even when we come from totally different spectrum’s in the Adoptee arena. I know the place of pain they speak from, so even when they are angry and rage filled shouting it all over ADOPTEE CITY, I get it. I understand because that was once me and some days it’s still me!

My question is, ARE YOU DIVIDING ADOPTEE CITY OR BRINGING IT CLOSER TOGETHER?

Do you respect the views of your fellow adoptees who are in the same Adoptee City as you or do you spit on them because their views aren’t the same as yours? Do you respond to posts in online Adoptee city with the stance of BEING RIGHT, or BEING UNDERSTOOD? What are your motives in sharing your voice in Adoptee City?

Is it possible we take away the mentality of “I’M RIGHT VS THEY ARE WRONG” and just show compassion and love for one another right where we are at?

Sadly, so much of ADOPTEE CITY is divided because we lack understanding for our fellow adoptees calling and visions to move ADOPTEE CITY forward. We are sometimes our own oppressors, and judge one another by being very harsh critics of one another.

ADOPTEE CITY…

Can we agree to disagree without being mean spirited to one another?

The last few months I have had my share of experiences with those who don’t support or agree with my visions and that’s totally okay. I love them anyway but I also refuse to allow those same people in my life who want to slander my name, talk about me behind my back and NEVER ONCE contact me to talk about my visions or to even see where they come from. Thankfully I have a HUGE following of adoptees and even some birth parents who support me, and they have outweighed any of those who want to slander me behind my back. If you have an issue with me, or what I’m doing, CALL ME!. Let’s talk about it in an adult manner where we can share our views and come to a common place of understanding. If you have never talked to me about my visions, you really have no place talking negative about my visions all over Adoptee City when you only know what you see, and not the truth. I’m willing to discuss anything I’m doing with anyone. LET’S TALK! But let me be clear, I don’t do drama! Talking negative about one another, shooting one another’s ideas down is only counterproductive to ADOPTEE CITY ever moving forward.

If you want to shoot me and my ideas down, let me ask you…

WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR ADOPTEE CITY? WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS, VISIONS AND GOALS TO MOVE OUR CITY FORWARD AND OUT OF A PLACE OF OPPRESSION? Is your gift legislation? Or helping hurting Adoptees? Or running an online safe space for adoptees? Starting a all adoptee support group? WHAT IS YOUR GIFT?

A lot of times when we can sit and focus on the negative aspects of what someone else is doing that WE DON’T LIKE we are lacking vision of our own. What are you doing to advance ADOPTEE CITY? I know you have a purpose here, what is it? I would love to hear about it! I challenge those who have this train of thought to RE-SHIFT their thinking and ask themselves, “WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? HOW AM I GOING TO BE USED TO ADVANCE ADOPTEE CITY?”

I think part of the reason people are like this online is because that’s just it, it’s ONLINE. Someone can lash out at you and shut the computer down, or x out of an APP and go about their merry way, never having to take accountability for the actions they spill out against their fellow adoptees online. Some people don’t have a gift of understanding, or empathy. They just don’t. They are right at all times and this mentality only hurts our community. Let’s be honest none of us are right at all times. NONE OF US.

My experience in being a voice in ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY for approx. 7 years is that there are good parts and not so good parts about adoptee city. It’s up to each of us to navigate our own lives, dictate who we allow in our lives and who we don’t. Today I am not dealing with those who want to shoot my ideas down in a negative way, talk about me behind my back instead of come to me and talk like an adult. I don’t have time for it. I have way too many positive things going on than to focus on who has a problem with what I’m doing. I’m not saying I’m not going to talk to anyone that doesn’t agree with me or support me. I’m saying I will not talk to those who attack me. As I said, CALL ME IF YOU WANT TO TALK. We will always have those who don’t agree with us, and that’s part of life. I accept it and I’m okay with it. I know my visions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea but I won’t deal with vicious attacks from anyone. You will be shut down and you won’t get a response from me. My visions will continue to move forward to BETTER ADOPTEE CITY in ways that bring us closer together. I have no time for those who want to divide.

Dedicating 7 years of my life to ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY, it’s been a whirlwind as it has for most of us. Some days I want to run and hide, and I do. I’m sure we all do!  Other days, I want to share my voice no matter where it comes from, a place of pain, a place of purpose or even a place of victory! What I have decided is that for 2018 I’m at a place where God is doing MORE in my life than ever before. Not for me, but for my REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY community. I feel a shift coming on and that’s one that is going to navigate how to incorporate REAL LIFE ADOPTEE CITY into ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY. I feel spread thin, and like I have a ton of doors open all at once, and that’s probably because I do. I feel that in the near future I will need to think about handing over some of my online adoptee city responsibilities that are a great resource to the online adoptee city world and release certain things to adoptees I know, love and trust to do a good job because I can only do so much. In the coming days, weeks I will have to make a decision to minimize my load in ONLINE ADOPTEE CITY which will free up my time for my REAL LIFE ADOPTEE CITY. Stay tuned.

My focus now is Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY, and Adoptees Connect support groups that are so desperately needed in every city in every state in the USA and even around the world. This is very time consuming, lots of networking and sharing information, etc. Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY is REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY to me, and it’s a place I want to build relationships, stories, experiences, to empower one another. I have made the decision to make this priority in my life because the feeling of aloneness, so many adoptees feel needs to be a thing of the past. Online Adoptee City is wonderful, but REAL-LIFE ADOPTEE CITY is a much deeper connection with your fellow adoptees and I feel we all need that as well as online adoptee city. In a perfect would I could handle both full fledged and never have any issues navigating them all together. That’s not the world I live in, we live in.

I want to say I hope and pray that 2018 is the year of ADOPTEE CITY coming together to support one another, lift one another up and encourage each other no matter what visions we have in life regarding Adoptee City.  You don’t have to necessarily agree with someones vision in order to offer them a blessing of support as they navigate new territories. If you are adopted I will do whatever I can to support you in your visions!

If you are an adoptee reading this, and you’ve been in fear of starting something to bring us closer together I encourage you to step outside of that fear and put your visions, dreams and goals into action. Adoptees will either support you or they won’t. I’ve learned from my own experience those who support me are FAR MORE than those who don’t.

We MUST Keep pushing, keep moving forward.

My purpose of writing this article is to share my experience and let all my fellow Adoptees know who have been along this ride with me that I love you all, I appreciate you all and you mean the world to me. We’ve been through some crazy things together. Your support means so much!

Bottom line is we’re STRONGER TOGETHER and I’m calling 2018 to be the year we come together like never before. Online and offline. It’s the year we support one another so we can all use the gifts that have been instilled in us, based on our very personal stories in ways that will grow Adoptee City. In return we will be a light to help other Adoptees who can relate and in return they will be able to use their gifts, and grow, etc.

For 2018 Let’s bring visions to life!

Thanks for reading, XOXO

P.K.

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Our Greatest Pain Will Be The Launching Pad For Our Greatest Calling In Life. Don’t Give Up!

I remember in 2011 I came across Rebecca Hawkes  online and she was one of the first animal-2029681_960_720adult adoptees I had ever spoken too regarding my adoption experience. She was a light for me at that time in my life and I will never forget the words she spoke to me.

I recall back in 2011-2012 I was ANGRY, BITTER, MAD AT THE WORLD. I was still drinking alcohol to numb my reality and I had just began exploring with Twitter, and using the Hashtag #adoptee. This discovery took me to an entire online world of adoptees who spoke the same language as I did and I believe this had a big impact that essentially saved my life.

Thank you Rebecca, I love you!

I will never forget the feeling of other adoptees validating my experiences, my anger, my rage, my pain.

This is something I have never gotten in the world. Rebecca was always very gentle with me, and I remember a particular conversation I had with her and she said,

“Don’t worry friend, you are like a moth in a cocoon right now, but just wait until that beautiful butterfly emerges”

I don’t think she will ever know how much that one statement meant to me. I always hung onto hope that even in my anger, rage and pain I would eventually become a beautiful butterfly. Over the last 6 years I’ve felt so many things, but not much of those feelings were that of a beautiful butterfly.

Until Now…

I quit drinking on August 12, 2012 which was a HUGE thing for me. In came all the pain I was running from all those years. Feelings and emotions about adoption and life I simply had no idea how to process. It seems that every new chapter I would begin to process, a new revelation would come flooding in. I feel when I stopped drinking the fog began to slowly lift.. It took years but eventually I came out of the adoption fog, but it took time to process.

I had no idea what God was going to do with my life, but those close to me always reminded me that no matter what, my pain isn’t going to go in vein. It’s going to be worth something! I was still mad at the world, and everyone in it. I HATED ADOPTION (still do) but I learned quickly that if God was ever going to be able to use me, I needed GRACE.

HIS GRACE.

I began to pray for grace, every single day. Over a 5 year period as I began to process my adoptee pain, little by little my anger and rage began to life, mainly because I finally for once in my life felt heard. Other adoptees were listening to me. My feelings mattered. I mattered. In return, I was able to pour out the same love and acceptance to all my fellow adoptees, the same thing that was given to me so freely.

I can’t help but think of what would have happened in my life if those adoptees weren’t there to accept me and love me even in my darkest days? I’m reminded of this all the time, because I’m pretty sure I might not be alive right now. Because I was loved and accepted in the middle of my mess, anger, and rage I now have a mission in life to offer this to as many fellow adoptees as possible. It’s given me a reason to live (aside from my amazing kids)  and in a way only another adoptee can understand.

A few years ago, I felt like God was telling me that yes my online adoptee advocacy is going to flourish but that was not all he was calling me to do. He wanted me to reach adoptees in my city, in real life as well.

What did this even mean?

I can share I have never been given the gift of talking to adoptive parents or birth parents. Not that I won’t talk to them but I find them to be very triggering to me so it’s not something I feel where God is going to use me in that area.  At least not yet anyway. I haven’t prayed for that gift, nor am I seeking to change anything in this area. I feel some adoptees are better equipped to work with adoptive parents and birth parents, where other’s aren’t. I can admit, if I had to I would much rather speak and share with a birth parent. Adoptive parents, I simply just can’t. Praise God for the adoptees who CAN. I’m just not there yet. One day maybe I will be.

For now, my focus is and always has been my fellow adoptees. I feel such a connection with them, and mainly these connections have been made online and I’m so thankful for them in so many ways. After the last 2 years (2015-2017)of a roller coaster ride in my life, much of it being related to adoptee issues I had come to a breaking point, and if I’m honest a very dark place. I met some of my biological family for the first time, was actually accepted and welcomed and then… Emotions came flooding in that I had never experienced yet, and then a depression set in. It was a extremely hard season for me.

Yes, my online adoptee community was just a few clicks away but at this time in my life, I desired more. I needed real human beings in my real life that understood me. I thought about seeing another therapist, but the thought of “THERAPYING THE THERAPIST” was just something I didn’t feel I could do. I had done this many times before, and it’s extremely difficult to not only carry all these issues, but to explain all the dynamics to a therapist was just not in the cards for me. I had no where to turn.

At this moment, I felt like God was really tugging on my heart to start an adoptee centric support group in Lexington, KY and by any means necessary START THE GROUP.

JUST DO IT!

So I did, and this is when Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY was created. From my heartache and pain this group was formed for adult adoptees in my city! I knew in my heart of hearts I wasn’t the only Adult Adoptee who was having a hard time in my community. I knew there had to be other adult adoptees who were hurting like me.

If I had never experienced this season of deep sadness, Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY would have never been created. This is the truth.

My reason in sharing this today is because I know as adoptees, we can feel discouraged, defeated and in return become very isolated in our lives. This is for the birds and I will never give up on the mission God has placed on my life as long as I know there are hurting adoptees out there who feel isolated and alone.

After I started my group, a friend and fellow adoptee named Kevin Engle decided to start an Adoptees Connect – Lancaster, PA and I’ve had many other adoptees who are interested in starting a group in their city. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have one in every city in every state? It’s far away, but I’m never giving up on this dream happening. I have no blue print at all but what I do have is HOPE!  Hanging onto hope that one day all adopted people will have a safe space to share their hearts and truth because I know from my own personal experience THIS is what is needed for us to be able to move forward in our lives!

If you are an Adult Adoptee interested in starting an Adoptees Connect in your city, please leave me a message. I would love to chat with you and add your group information to our website which is Adoptees Connect .

There are so many FEARS that can stand in the way of us pursuing our hearts desires, dreams, etc. I think it’s time we tell FEAR to take a back seat because it’s 2018 and we’re moving past defeat. I encourage you all to step outside of the boat and put FAITH and HOPE into action to pursue whatever vision it is you have to help move the Adoptee Community forward, and closer together. YOU CAN DO IT! Don’t wait!

You are needed.

Your gifts, visions and talents are wanted.

Do not let anyone discourage you!

Kind Regards,

Pamela Karanova

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