A Whirlwind But Coming Out On Top

What does “On Top” mean?

Well for me it means I’ve decided in my mind I’m working on moving forward from this previous season of my life.

My whirlwind has been more like a tornado.

It’s been a difficult season, but life is difficult right? What I’m finding out that yes, life is difficult but having things happen in life that are difficult are HARD for many people but this adoptee “thing” is also hard. So for me being in recovery and dealing with this adoptee “thing” and the “life in general” thing it’s extremely difficult and the last few months it’s been extra heavy.

I found myself slipping into a depression after I came back from Iowa from meeting biological family for the first time on my birth fathers side. My amazing cousin was so welcoming and it’s honestly the first time anyone on my birth fathers side welcomed me. I was overwhelmed with emotions not so much during the 2 trips to Iowa, but after I returned and settled back from the trip.

It’s strange to me that my entire life I have dreamed of being welcomed by them, someone, anyone and when that dream happens I’m overwhelmed with emotions I didn’t expect… The journey has been pain for me all the way back to being a 5 year old child learning of my “adoption status”. Confusion and mental torment took over and essentially, it’s never left.

So finally I’m embraced by my cousin, her father and his wife, (my aunt and uncle). On the flip side my birth father still refuses to acknowledge me and has disregarded I’m his daughter. Mixed emotions about this. I’m so thankful for my new found cousin, but reality is I still have to process what was lost.

This is easier said than done.

I know my fellow adoptees get it.

I’ve shared in a previous blog post Being Born a Burden my experience on my trip so I won’t share all the dynamics.

Basically a few months ago, when I returned from these trips depression began to set in. No motivation, and other life issues just took me down. I didn’t drink, thank God but at times I felt like I wanted too. Not for the alcohol, just to not feel all the pain I was feeling. The surrealness of seeing my grandmothers house she lived in when I was a child was an overwhelming emotional experience for me. Something felt like I had never been there physically but my spirit had been there. It was almost like an out of body experience, hard to describe.

Finding out I have a sister out there, and my new Ancestry DNA sample and test didn’t bring any good hits on making a connection. This was another major disappointment for me that mixed with my emotions of finding I have a sister to begin with who knows nothing about me, and I have no information on her.

I called my birth father to see if he would tell me any information on this long lost sister. He said he didn’t know her name, her mothers name and he didn’t remember my mothers name! He said “She doesn’t bother me like you do!” and the conversation quickly fizzled. More disappointment and hurt of losing more from adoption.

Why the world things adoption doesn’t impact adoptees for a lifetime is beyond me.

It’s heartbreaking. 

NAAM17 Has been triggering! I literally had multiple adoptees lash out at me on social media!!! This is tragic! Hard to grasp and understand!

So emotions have been swirling, I’ve been taking sleeping pills to just sleep things off and obviously that’s not going to work for very long. Sleeping pills slowly turned into a cocktail of pills, anti depressant, muscle relaxer, and an anxiety medication all non-narcotic because my doctor knows I’m in recovery and I have a very addictive personality. Yet I slowly started to take more pills and more of these same pills just to be able to go to sleep and not feel things. I’ve been stuck in this depressive cycle for a few months now. I thankfully learned this was an unhealthy pattern I was experiencing and I needed to do something about it. Emotionally eating has taken hold. Seasonal Depression has set in, and holidays are EXTREMELY hard for many adoptees, including me.

There is no help for adoptees, not yet anyway.

Soon Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY will connect and a support system will be built in my area.

I woke up a few days ago and decided if I was being honest with myself, and those close to me I needed to talk to my doctor about this issue I was having and tell her I wanted to discontinue all medications. I did just that.

Now, I’m weaning myself off a anti-depressant and stopped the other medications with no desire to take anymore.

Now I will be feeling again.

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This is daunting for a person who internalizes everything and a very deep thinker. All I can do is take one day at a time. I decided to share THIS because I know some people have missed me, missed my Facebook posts but I tend to isolate when I’m going through things but I’m always with God. He’s my sidekick working things out behind the scenes. I don’t want to burden people with my pain, sorrow or tormenting thoughts.

In recovery we learn we are only as sick as our secrets. My secrets are in this blog and this is why I write. I have to release these things somewhere, especially when there are very few adoptees in my local area I can talk too. I do have fellow adoptees far away and they have been lifesaving! But again, I don’t want to seem like a Debbie Downer, yet this is what my life feels like much of the time.

To be quiet honest, I’m tired of the struggle. I believe I could handle life issues better, if all the adoptee “STUFF” wasn’t also overflowing on my plate. This is why I always will say adoptees are STRONG, yet much of the time we don’t feel like it.

Today, I’m excited to stop taking these medications and hopefully have my life back a little bit. Adoption triggers so many emotions for adoptees, and when multiple things hit all at once it can be paralyzing.

This is all for now, but I wanted to share where I’ve been and what’s been going on. I know many of you can relate. Have you experienced anything like this before?

Blessings,

Pamela K.

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Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY

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Finally I’m putting my long time dream and vision into action and I’m starting a Adoptee Support Group in MY CITY!

This is seriously a long time coming.

I remember back in 2012 when I first started my recovery journey I put a few posts up online seeking other adoptees in my area who wanted to start a support group. I searched the internet HIGH & LOW for one already established.

N O T H I N G

What I did find was Celebrate Recovery which was a wonderful tool in many ways. I started this ministry and received some healing and I came to terms with abandonment & rejection being the root cause of my issues. I shared my testimony many times. I was able to receive Leadership Training and be the Women’s Chemical Dependency Group Leader for close to 4 years. This training I received in this ministry was priceless. I grew in so many ways.

ADOPTEES ARE THE EXPERTS IN ADOPTION.

Over my lifetime I’ve been disappointed over and over at the lack of knowledge in the professional communities such as therapists and psychiatrists regarding all the complexities adoption causes for the adoptee. Some “adoption experts” understand some of the dynamics but it’s geared more towards what the adoptive parents experience than the adoptee. They seem to be clueless of the real truth of all the dynamics of what adoptees live with. Most of the time I feel like I’m theryping the therapist and it’s emotionally and mentally exhausting, especially when we are supposed to be the ones to get help.

Over the years, I did find a few “ADOPTION SUPPORT” groups in the area where members of the triad were present. The only issue with this for me is, this is not considered a safe space for adoptees in my opinion. For many of us, our entire lives adoptees have been told how to feel from others in the triad. We should be “thankful” and “grateful” and happy go lucky adoptees who only share happy stories. With this happening all around it’s a form of gas lighting and it’s done great damage to adoptees all over the world.

Including Me.

Adoptees need there own safe space. Our stories are important and we are important. We deserve to have our own community who can support us, encourage us, and even listen to us when we cry. It’s CRITICAL to our lives and healing that we have our own safe space. Community with those who understand is essential to our journeys.

My hope and prayer is that “Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY” is just the beginning. I have a dream of seeing “Adoptees Connect” be born in every city and every state in the USA. This brings me great hope for adoptees all over the USA who feel alone, isolated and have no where to turn.

IT’S TIME YOU GUYS!

WE NEED OUR OWN SAFE SPACE!

AWESOME NEWS: I already have my first fellow adoptee who is committing to starting his very own “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lancaster, PA” and I can’t even tell you how excited I am!!! YAY KEVIN! WOO HOO! I’m so excited for Kevin and his community! We’re in this together!

If you’re an adult adoptee interested in starting an “Adoptees Connect” in your city please message me and we can chat! I can share with you the details and send you the logo with your city and state and you can get things started. I’ve purchased the main domain for “Adoptees Connect” so we can share information on how to get the group started, and a LOG of all the groups that are active, and details about them.

2018 is GOING TO BE AWESOME!

Fear has been in the way for YEARS for me! I am not letting FEAR stop me anymore. I don’t have the blue print for this thing, I just know how valuable my adoptee community is online and I desire that in real life in my community as well. There is power in numbers and community with those who GET IT. Meeting my fellow adoptees online and in real life has been a miraculous & magical all mixed together. We all deserve this community and safe space.

If you are an adoptee you have the qualifications to start your own support group in your community. You have more experience than ANYONE and the most valuable experience at that.

Please message me if you are interested but allow a little time for me to get back to you. I’m currently working 2 jobs and have no days off so I respond to messages in the evenings and early mornings. Just be patient with me. I will get back to you ASAP!

Please celebrate with me as “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lexington, KY” is launching, followed by “ADOPTEES CONNECT- Lancaster, PA” down the road.

Hugs and LOVE to all!

Please Check Out Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY Here

Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY Facebook

Find Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY Twitter

And you can also find us on Instagram @adopteesconnectlexky

XOXO

Pamela Karanova

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JUST BECAUSE…

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Seeing adoption as a beautiful thing would mean I would have to ignore the original separation between mother and child before the adoption took place. It would mean I would put on a happy face about a mother and child being separated. It would mean I would celebrate children being taken from their homelands to AMERICA where they feel like aliens, and they had NO CHOICE in the matter. I have a very soft spot in my heart for every single adopted person because I KNOW that JUST BECAUSE WE ARE ADOPTED WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GRATEFUL FOR LIFE AND WE AREN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE ANY PAIN ATTACHED TO IT.

BUT WE DO AND MANY OF US STRUGGLE WITH SIMPLY BEING ALIVE!

IT’S HARD TO FEEL ALIVE WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE NEVER BORN!

For every adoption to take place, that child FIRST HAD TO LOOSE THEIR ORIGINAL IDENTITY, BIOLOGICAL FAMILIES, MEDICAL HISTORY ,and much more.

 I cannot ignore this and I will not ignore the loss, grief & trauma attached to adoption so the world can feel “comfortable” it doesn’t equate me as a mean angry person.

It just means I’m HONEST and I choose to look at the whole pie not just a piece of it.

I HAVE CHOSEN TO TAKE THE BLINDERS. YOU CAN DO THE SAME. 

IF ONE MORE NON-ADOPTEE STOPS AND LISTENS AND TRIES TO LEARN I AM COMPLETING WHAT I NEED TO HERE ON EARTH. Not to mention being there for my fellow adoptees!

My life has many beautiful aspects to it but being adopted is not one of them. I am thankful for many things in life but being adopted is not one of them.

The Sky is beautiful. Nature is beautiful. Colors are beautiful.

I’m thankful for my recovery. I’m thankful for my kids. I’m thankful God has rescued me. I’m thankful for the amazing people in my life.

But I don’t think adoption is beautiful and I am not thankful I was adopted.

My pain is too great to be able to celebrate that “thing” that is the cause of my pain. If you experienced the pain adoption brings to an adoptee you might agree. If you aren’t an adoptee, you have no idea.

JUST BECAUSE…

I searched and was reunited with my biological family doesn’t mean I love my adoptive family any less.

We are each born with a natural instinct to want to know who we are and where we come from. I believe it is inside each and every one of us, some stronger than others. For me, this desire was so strong it haunted me my entire life. It was torture not knowing. But my decision to search and find had absolutely no waver on loving or not loving my adoptive family. The 2 are totally separate. Unfortunately most adoptees feel we have to keep the 2 separate to make everyone feel “comfortable” when reality is we all have enough love to go around and we should be able to be comfortable blending our 2 families together because they are ALL a part of us. Sadly being born somewhere in the middle of 2 families many of us feel we can’t do that. We are made to feel guilty and from a very early age we are shamed in many ways about our first families. Mine was split. My adoptive dad is AMAZING, and his wife also. They have always been 100% honest about everything regarding my adoption. They are supportive but I have always felt I had to keep things separate, but this is not just my case. Many adoptees feel this way.  I have no relationship with my adoptive mom so she is not in my equation. My adoptive siblings and cousins who I communicate with are ride or die and I love them all. They have been supportive and I love them for that.

For those who are in my “family” whether it is biological or adoptive whom might be lurking on my page but we have no relationship- “HI, I hope life is treating you well!”

What if adoptees could have a family reunion with both our adoptive and biological families together?  Family reunions are another sad spot for me, but I won’t go there today. We could introduce everyone and share stories with each person on how life was, and talk about fun happy times and new beginnings. WOW. That is a rare find for us. I’m not sure if that has ever happened with my fellow adoptees? Has it? It certainly hasn’t for me.

 

JUST BECAUSE…

I share my story doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past, focused on the negative and one ungrateful angry adoptee.

I share my story so I can let my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone like I once was. I share it for them. I share it because I want the world to know where God has rescued me from. GOD ALWAYS GETS THE GLORY IN MY STORY! Please believe I wouldn’t be here today without my Heavenly Father! I share this because I am no longer a victim but I live in VICTORY. I share it because adoption hurts and I am on a healing journey. I share it because there is freedom in sharing. I share it because my story matters and your story matters. Why don’t you share your story so you can tell the world what God has done for you? I share it because the most painful thing in my life happens to be from being adopted and I never had ANY resources available to ME to help me work through my pain until I found Celebrate Recovery in 2012 and I started writing in 2011.  Find a Celebrate Recovery; they are all over the WORLD! This ministry saved my life!  I share my story because for 37 years I drank alcohol to “COPE” with the pain because I had absolutely no tools to work through abandonment & rejection issues adoption has caused me. Today I live a sober life in recovery and I am not ashamed! I share my story because adoption is portrayed as a beautiful thing, and there has never been any room for my pain. I share it in writing because no one can interrupt me here, and tell me how to feel or that I should just be grateful I wasn’t aborted. I’m angry but I have every right to be, as so many of my fellow adoptees.

How would you feel if you were lied to your whole life about how you came into this world and simple answers to your history were kept a secret from you? Oh that’s right; you can’t imagine that because you aren’t adopted. And then to have the people who love you most or all the adoption supporters turn a blind eye to your heartache and pain because they simply can’t comprehend what you are experiencing not knowing your TRUTH or REALITY IS THEY DON’T WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR PAIN because it’s simply uncomfortable to talk about grief, loss & trauma. Anger can be used in a healthy way and it can activate change depending on how you use it. Anger is a part of the grieving process so before you label me as an angry adoptee, please understand that we have much reason to be angry.

Am I really focused on the negative or are many aspects of adoption TRULY negative if you take your blinders off and quit pretending that the grief, loss & trauma is not there for adoptees? Can you take your blinders off and realize that secrecy and lies are NEVER OKAY? You can say I’m focused on the negative, or you can understand and stop denying that secrecy, shame, lies and all the grief, loss & trauma adoptees endure ALONE are very heavy burdens to bear making it a negative experience. Yes, it is negative! Unless you have experienced this, YOU HAVE NO IDEA at our day in and day out heartache and pain we carry. So please stop being so judgmental.

It just so happens I have stepped out of DENIAL and I have identified where my biggest source of pain has come from=ADOPTION. You can call it negative. I call it healing my hurts. In order to heal I have to share and be HONEST and I suggest everyone go through that process in life. GET HONEST.

Where does your biggest hurt come from?

Share it with the world. No better way to heal than share untold truths and have those who understand and get it know they aren’t alone.

One thing I know is I will always share the TRUTH.

MY TRUTH

No Lies. No Secrecy. No Half Truths.

JUST BECAUSE…

I keep you at a distance doesn’t mean I don’t love you or want you in my life. It just means I have spent my life so highly misunderstood and I have had to suffer through the pain, grief, loss & trauma 100% on my own ALONE I learned very young to be independent and to self soothe my hurts.

It’s different for me to call on people for help, but God is working on me in this area. I learned very young to self soothe when it comes to grief, loss and trauma and I am the most comfortable alone with God. I love being with my kids but I am not a needy clingy person and this is because of my adoption experience. I have experienced many symptoms of RAD & usually don’t share it much but I have some attachment issues I care to not make public. But they are there and they have always been there. Adoption is TRAUMA. Every time a mother and child are separated a trauma happens. Left untreated and unrecognized by society only adds to the trauma. If you see me you would never know, because God has given me a gift as he has with many of my fellow adoptees and that gift is to be able to put on a show and to be a giver in support for everyone around. I have an encouraging gift where I love to support people, and let them know God loves them and he’s never left them! By looking at me, and talking to me you would never know my struggles are invisible, internal very deep rooted that no one around can see. There is NO ONE on this earth besides my fellow adoptees that understand this pain. God understands it all. My blog is a reflection of the inside of my invisible wounds, inside my heart and this is a place where I can take my mask off and stop pretending that everything is perfect.

Life isn’t perfect for any of us, but what are you doing with your pain? Are you letting God use you so you can help others?

ALL IMPACTED BY ADOPTION PLEASE PURCHASE:

The Primal Wound- Understanding the Adopted Child

I was alone as a child suffering through the complexities of being adopted and I am still that way when it comes to my adoption experience. Thankfully I have some close friends who don’t understand but they support me and they TRY to understand. They are irreplaceable to me. I have a few close adoptive family members that try, and then there is my fellow adoptees that follow my blog and follow me on social media.

I live for you all!

I know you get it!

You all inspire me to keep sharing the complexities of this journey. Every time one of you reaches out to me and says, “WOW! You hit the nail on the head of exactly how I have felt my entire life but I just couldn’t share it!” you all inspire me to keep writing.

Remember feeling all alone as an adoptee?

Well those days are over. Every time an adoptee finds my blog they will hopefully know they aren’t alone after reading some of it. This is why I write, for my fellow adoptees.

JUST BECAUSE…

I share my adoptee journey doesn’t mean I don’t understand sometimes adoptions are 100% necessary. I base my opinion because I am adopted and I have more knowledge on the realities of many adoptions today than most people do. Because of this I can’t just leave that knowledge out of the equation to make the world feel comfortable.

I know that adoptions are sometimes necessary but I also know the trauma involved in each and every adoption so while the “world” celebrates “Gotcha Day” and “Homecoming Day” for adoptees I cry silent tears for that adoptee because I know what they had to lose to gain a family. I don’t deny the trauma involved in adoption while so many want to celebrate it. It’s like salt to a wound when our loss is celebrated. It’s hard for many adoptees and the pain is indescribable.

How would you feel if the WORLD celebrated the very thing that HURT YOU THE MOST? You would feel very isolated, alone and HURT!

I also know that yes, sometimes adoptions have to happen. But let me ask, was everything done to exhaust all options of this child being able to stay with its mother? Can someone in the family step up and take the child? Why does the name and birth certificate have to be falsified and changed? Did we have family preservation counselors trying to encourage her to keep her baby and that she is strong and good enough to raise her baby and material “goods” could never replace her love. Do we have someone in her corner encouraging her that YES SHE CAN do this! Is anyone encouraging her that she will be a great mother, and here are the resources to help her?  For the mothers on drugs or incarcerated can a family member step up and take this child until the mother gets her life together? If an adoption is necessary why do we have to change the child’s name and identity?  THIS HURTS!

What I see a lot of the time…

We have adoption counselors sowing seeds in this mother or doubt and disbelief that she can provide for her child and a stable “Adoptive Family” will be better? Does she have adoption agencies or pregnancy crisis centers using manipulation & coercion tactics on her because let’s just face it- There is big money to be made in adoption. It’s a business and people are profiting on mothers and babies being separated.

I am so sorry I find this “business” to be the most evil on the planet and

JUST BECAUSE…

I share my voice that I believe ALL MOTHERS AND BABIES should stay together doesn’t mean I’m a mean angry person. It means that I stand on

Mark 10:9- “Therefor what God has joined together, let no one separate”

But somehow because the adoption industry is a multi-billion dollar industry it’s okay for adoption agencies to prey on young vulnerable mothers and coerce them into giving their babies up? I can’t imagine having to go to bed each night living with that! They will have to answer to that one day! So will society and the world who supports and glorifies adoption as it has been transformed into today when they REALLY have been subjected to the rainbow farts and Kool-Aid of the adoption industry! They really know nothing about adoption but they support mothers and babies being separated?

Adoption TODAY is nothing like the Bible portrays adoption to be. There was no profit being made. There was no closed records, or secrecy and lies.

JUST BECAUSE….

Some adoptions have to happen doesn’t mean there needs to be a profit made. It doesn’t mean adoptees names have to be changed and their identities sealed in closed adoptions hidden away from them for centuries. It doesn’t mean the trauma doesn’t happen.

I saw this amazing article I wanted to share.

I Don’t Want My Name on My Daughter’s Birth Certificate

WHY ARE WE LYING AND FALSIFYING LEGAL DOCUMENTS?

WHY ARE WE IGNORING THE TRAUMA?

If we lived in a perfect world all mothers and babies would stay together. Why am I so obsessed with mothers and babies staying together? Because I lost my mother! That’s why. I know what it feels like and I know the deep rooted impact this has had on my life and it has been the biggest hurt you could imagine. THIS IS WHY I BELIEVE ALL MOTHERS AND BABIES SHOULD STAY TOGETHER! I had to experience losing my mother to experience the pain of it. If you haven’t lost your mother the minute you were born, you simply can’t relate.

Sadly, I know the world is not a perfect place but I believe whole heartedly that the world should try to support mothers and babies staying together at all costs before they even entertain the thought of supporting them adopting the child out to a “needy couple who wants to be parents”. There shouldn’t be adoption counselors encouraging separation of mother and child before there is someone stepping up trying to HELP that mother keep her baby, regardless of the circumstances. Finances should be the last reason a mother and child are separated. I always say I would have rather be with my birth mother dirt poor living in a card board box than handed over to a woman I didn’t know nor did I bond with. THAT IS REAL!!!!! Finances are temporary and things get better! Who is sharing with the birth mothers the reasons for adoption are a permanent solution to most of the time a temporary problem? Who is in her corner cheering her on, helping her and supporting her providing her with resources to KEEP HER BABY?

JUST BECAUSE…

I share my grief, loss, trauma and hurt and pain regarding my adoption doesn’t mean God is not healing me. Do you realize I went from an alcoholic mean, angry and very bitter adoptee who hated the world and everyone in it to a clean and sober adoptee that is almost 4 years in recovery who loves Jesus, who gives God the glory who is now filled with His grace in being able to share my story? I’m healing daily!

Never underestimate my blog posts or what I share just because you simply have a formed opinion about adoption and my story doesn’t line up with the beautiful picture you have painted.

Just so happens, MOST ADOPTEES STORIES don’t line up with the beautiful picture the world has painted about adoption, most of us have been shamed our entire lives and NEVER FELT WORTHY TO SHARE OUR STORIES because the WORLD only allows happy rainbow filled stories about adoption.

Well I am here today because my God is a GOD of truth and he knows my heart and he has been with me on my journey of life every step of the way. He WANTS me to share my story! Just because it doesn’t line up with yours doesn’t mean I should keep quiet! It means I should keep shouting until the world understands there is another side to adoption MOST ALL ADOPTEES FACE! A painful side, filled with grief, loss and trauma.

GOD HEALS!

But he can’t heal it if we aren’t allowed to feel it. The world might not care about my story, but God cares and when I share my story more and more adoptees are coming forward with sharing theirs. They are beginning to heal!

I had to step outside of the box and understand

MY STORY IS WORTH TO BE TOLD!

MY FELLOW ADOPTEES STORIES ARE WORTHY TO BE TOLD!

The next time an adoptee starts to share how they feel, how about cut it out with the silencer statements like “Aren’t you thankful you were given life?” or “Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted?”

I’m constantly silenced with scriptures, and spent many years being silenced because of it but today I have grown enough in my spiritual journey I will never be silenced by scripture because GOD is a God of TRUTH and he’s given me scriptures to throw right back!

IF YOU CAN’T ACKNOWLEDGE MY PAIN PLEASE DON’T SILENCE ME WITH YOUR SCRIPTURES!

Most of us struggle majorly LIVING LIFE and many of us would rather have been aborted! The pain is THAT GREAT! I know this because I’m in touch with thousands of adoptees! I spent 37 years angry at my birth mother because she chose life!

So please STOP and JUST LISTEN!

“Pamela is just angry and she just had a bad adoption experience. Most adoptions are nothing like hers!”

REALLY?

Visit: How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?

Don’t forget the adoptee suicide rate is 4 xs more likely than non-adoptees!

WHEN IS THE WORLD GOING TO WAKE UP AND JUST LISTEN?

I bet if your child was one of the adoptees who committed suicide you would have WISHED YOU LISTENED CLOSER! My heart aches for anyone who has experienced this, but take it from an adoptee who has contemplated suicide MANY TIMES!

WE NEED THE WORLD TO LISTEN!

 

JUST BECAUSE…

You made it to the bottom of this post it means you are genuinely trying to learn and listen. Maybe you are an adoptive parent or a birth parent or impacted by adoption in some way?

Maybe you are an adoptee and you can relate too much of what I have shared?

Either way, I commend you for reading, listening and trying to take in what you can. I know this is not your average story but I am committed in sharing my truth as I see it and letting all my fellow adoptees know they aren’t alone.

WE JUST NEED PEOPLE TO LISTEN!

WE NEED EQUAL ACCESS & OPEN RECORDS!

WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO SHARE OUR STORIES WITHOUT BEING JUDGED AND WITHOUT PEOPLE TRYING TO SILENCE US, AND WITHOUT THEM MAKING US FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING WHATS RIGHTFULLY OURS; OUR BIRTH RIGHT.

JUST BECAUSE WE APPEAR TO BE FINE DOESN’T MEAN WE ARE.

JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE OUR PAIN DOESN’T MEAN WE DON’T HAVE IT.

JUST BECAUSE MANY ADOPTEES DON’T SHARE THEIR STORIES DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T SUFFER SILENTLY.

JUST BECAUSE OUR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES MAY OR MAY NOT BE THE BEST MOST AMAZING FAMILIES IN THE WORLD DOESN’T MEAN WE STILL DON’T HAVE PAIN AND WANT ANSWERS TO OUR BEGINNINGS.

JUST BECAUSE MANY ADOPTEES ARE STRIVING TO FIND THEIR ANSWERS TO THEIR HISTORY DOESN’T MEAN THEY DON’T APPRECIATE WHO RAISED THEM NOR DOES IT WAVER ON HOW MUCH WE LOVE THEM.

JUST BECAUSE…

I’m adopted and I am on a healing journey doesn’t mean I can’t pull some positive areas I have gained strengths from due to my adoption experience. I’m 100% independent, never ask for help. I have had to suffer alone my entire life. Why ask for help now? I can pretend really well. My heart can be ripping in shreds, but I can put my hurt and pain up on the shelf and help my fellow adoptees because God has given me this gift, as he has many of us.  I know the true value of time and memories when so many were lost, stolen never to return. I know the true value of creating our own “safe place” letting go of toxic relationships and situations. I’m a very strong person and I’m a huge fighter. I’m not weak AT ALL and although the devil tried to take me out God had big plans for me! God has given me the gift of compassion for my fellow adoptees where there is NO ONE ELSE that can be in my shoes who has experienced all I have in life aside from ME. I consider these things gifts from God. I have been able to pull good things out of my biggest tragedy in life. So please don’t think that JUST BECAUSE I’m sharing my journey God isn’t doing huge things in my life. God is the way to healing and freedom! I know the true value of TRUTH and how much damage secrecy and lies can cause someone, especially when they are from the people that are supposed to “Love you the most!”

JUST BECAUSE…

I share my pain doesn’t mean God is done with me yet!

Baby steps, I am a work in progress.

Adoptees, Remember you aren’t alone in feeling the way you do. The way you feel is natural for a not natural situation! It’s never natural to be separated from your biological families at any time in life!

Adoptees, Can you relate to any of my post? How do you feel people respond to you when you share your adoptee experience? Are you labeled ungrateful or told you are living in the past?

mystory

2016-01-10 18.04.25

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In Adoption There is No Healing from Half Truths

I always pray about what I write about before I write it.

I say, “God, what would you like me to write about today?” Usually he highlights something clear as day and lately the highlight has been:

“TRUTH TRUTH TRUTH”

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It’s simple

1/2 Truth + 1/2 Truth = A WHOLE LIE!

When we are given HALF TRUTHS about where we come from we are ONLY able to HALF WAY HEAL. When we are given HALF TRUTHS we are only able to HALF WAY FEEL WHOLE. We are only able to feel like HALF a human being. We feel LESS THAN because our TRUTH is being kept hidden from us. When we are denied our basic human birth rights, and those close to us SUPPORT that it HURTS US.

Do they not understand that we can’t heal a wound by denying it’s there? Do they not understand that until we receive our entire TRUTH we can NOT fully heal? We can NOT heal from half truths, secrets, shame and lies.

I can NOT even give half truths, secrets, shame and lies over to GOD because I don’t know what I am giving him!! I can’t say, “Hey God, here is a lie I am giving you today, I don’t know what that lie is or what I’m going to ask for healing for but God here’s the lie!” Yet so many of us are put in positions where the WORLD acts like it’s so simple that we should just be able to heal from lies, secrets and half truths and because we are not releasing these things to God we are making the CHOICE to be STUCK in this spot.

Well let me tell you that healing is IMPOSSIBLE unless we know our TRUTH! 

My God is a God of TRUTH. We need our entire truth so we are able to move towards healing. I’m still fighting for my truth. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for adoptive parents, birth parent and all of society that supports adoption to understand that we have a right to know ALL OF OUR HISTORY. We have a right to know ALL OF OUR ANSWERS our heart desires as to how we came into this world.

WE HAVE A RIGHT TO ALL THE KNOWLEDGE REGARDING OUR MEDICAL HISTORY, ANCESTRY, HERITAGE, GENETICS, FAMILY SURNAMES, PHOTOS OF OUR BLOOD RELATIVES, A CHANCE TO GET TO KNOW THEM, OUR SIBLINGS, BIOLOGICAL PARENTS, OUR FAMILY TREES. The list could go on and on, I think you get my point.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way,  the TRUTH, and the Life. No one comes through the Father except through me.”  – John 14:6

If Jesus is the TRUTH, and he is the way and the life, I can only believe that he stands for TRUTH. This lying, deception, manipulation, half truths and secrecy in adoption is NOT from GOD.

THE TRUTH MEANS NOTHING HIDDEN.

So why are adoptive parents, birth parents, and all who are involved with adoption supporting secrecy and lies? Why are the adoption agencies not telling the adoptive parents the TRUTH about the lifelong impacts and deep trauma adoptees face for their entire lives? Why are the adoption agencies ignoring the facts that the adoptee suicide rate is 4x more likely than non-adoptees?  Why are the adoption agencies not providing adult adoptees with resources on how to handle the trauma involved with being adopted?  

One word sums it up clear.

PROFIT

When I think of the word “Truth” I like to examine the pages of God’s word- The Holy Bible. This has helped me learn the truth of any subject of importance or significance. If you ask yourself what is “Truth” and use God as a source of truth through his word you find the word TRUTH in the Bible 228 times (NIV) 224 times (KJV) 269 times (NLT) 

WOW!

Knowing the truth is wonderful, but it is not enough! God expects us to act on the truth as He helps us learn it. More important than knowing the truth is living the truth—walking in truth. God already knows if we are walking in truth to the best of our ability! He knows EVERYTHING!

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“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” -3 John 4

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:7

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” – John 16:13

“But there is nothing [so carefully] concealed that it will not be revealed, nor so hidden that it will not be made known. For that reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops.” – Luke 12:2

So my question is, for all those who might be reading who are involved in adoption, a part of the adoption equation or the adoption industry, for adoptive parents and biological parents:

ARE YOU WALKING IN TRUTH IN ALL AREAS OF LIFE REGARDING YOUR ADOPTION EXPERIENCE? 

Are you hiding the TRUTH in anyway and operating on HALF-TRUTHS? 

I can not and will not support the secrecy and lies in adoption today. None of them!  I urge anyone that is impacted by adoption to please pray about it and get alone with God. Ask him to search your heart and give you the courage to come clean in all areas of your life, not just the adoption equation. SECRECY & LIES IN ADOPTION STALLS OUR HEALING. THE ADOPTEE SUICIDE RATE IS 4X MORE LIKELY THAN NON-ADOPTEES FOR MANY REASONS. THIS IS ONE OF THEM. We have to fight the world for our truth, and spend most of our lives trying to figure this mess out on our own, because we have no resources. THIS HURTS!

GOD HEALS! 

But I can assure you from living with experience it is impossible to heal a wound by denying it’s there and by half truths and secrecy and lies.

WE NEED THE ENTIRE TRUTH TO BE ABLE TO ACCEPT IT AND MOVE FORWARD AND ASK GOD TO COME INTO OUR LIVES IT HEAL IT.

Please think twice before you keep secrets from adoptees, hid our history and feed us with half truths, secrets and lies. Please think twice before you participate in activities that keep secrets and hide our histories from us. When you participate in this YOU are only participating in prolonging our healing.

WE ALL DESERVE OUR TRUTH. WE ALL DESERVE TO BE ABLE TO HEAL. 

mystory

2016-01-10 18.04.25

A Weekend Away

I can write for hours about what the last 6 months of my life has been like. It has truly been the hardest 6 months of my life.

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It was clear to me I needed to take a weekend break away from the internet all together. It was clear I needed to get alone with God and restore some of what I had lost over the last 6 months. I don’t write much about some personal areas of my life but I do generally write about my life being adopted. That is my gift, it is my ministry, it’s been my biggest hurt in life. So that is what I write about. That doesn’t mean I don’t have other struggles, strengths, and hopes!

This past week I felt myself slowly sinking on a ship to NOWHERE! 

God put it on my heart to take a break from the internet! 

ALL OF IT!

I didn’t even go anywhere! I just stayed off the internet!

I’m so glad I was obedient to what God was telling me to do! 

It actually felt like a mini vacation not being pulled in 100 different directions which is what the internet seems to do these days. I am praying about whether I’m doing too much or whether I just needed a break to recoup.

My break really helped.IMG_20160215_084337

I know my fellow adoptees can relate to the heaviness we can sometimes feel regarding our adoption experiences. It seems the emotions, situations, and triggers come in waves. We never know when they are going to come, and we never know how sever they are or how high the wave might be. I wish it would all just go away, but so far I’m still working on finding out my truth so I can once and for all accept it and move forward with my life. Being stuck in limbo is no fun. Learning to ride the waves is the key, and keeping my eyes focused on God is a huge part of being able to do this.

Aside from my adoptee issues, what happens when regular life issues come and they come all at once or around the same time? We have no choice but to be strong, stronger than anyone can imagine. When life tries to knock us down, we have to make the choice to be STRONG and get back up and keep moving forward. Sometimes that means evaluating people, places and things we have in our lives or around us that are bringing us down and letting them go.

It’s not easy to let people go, but for our own peace of mind it’s critical. How can we heal from our adoptee experiences with negative situations around us? How do we even live life with negative or toxic people around us?

It’s impossible!

I’m on a healing journey and have been for over 4 years now. I have eliminated toxic people and worked really hard at not being a toxic person. It’s been critical that I really evaluate relationships in my life and gain an understanding if they are helping me or hurting me? This change hasn’t happened overnight. It’s taken a lot of dedication, hard work and sacrifice but if I ever wanted my kids and future grandkids to have a better life than what I did, it was essential I start to work on my deep rooted abandonment & rejection issues from my adoption experience. It’s been important to me I don’t continue to keep it a secret of where my pain has come from.

How can we help others if we keep it to ourselves?

How can I help anyone if I don’t take care of myself? 

For some of my readers who aren’t adopted, who simply can’t relate I commend you for reading this far. It means either you are interested in trying to learn or maybe you are a personal friend of mine? Not sure, but glad you are here.  That’s amazing in itself.  I know for most non-adoptees they simply can’t relate because they aren’t adopted but there are people out there who are generally interested in learning. I recently had a non-adoptee comment on comparing my life to theirs, when really there is no comparison. Their story is theirs, and mine is mind. No two stories are alike. I just chose to share my journey with the world, mainly to help my fellow adoptees understand they aren’t alone.

I WAS ALL ALONE!

For me, when life hands me lemons I have had to make the choice to get alone with God and work it on out! Besides my online adoptee community who I adore, there is no one in my real life close to me who can relate to my struggles. If they can, not many of them share or talk about it. I talk about it because I want to heal. I’m not keeping my feelings a secret anymore.

Taking a break from LIFE is sometimes necessary. Taking a break from the internet is a vacation long overdue. I need to do it more.  Cutting toxic people out of our lives is necessary. Not feeling bad about setting boundaries is critical. If you are adopted, you have already lost so much. It’s really important you take time for you to heal and be alone with God. He is where I get my strength and he is my comforter. I don’t get comfort in things of the world.  I get my comfort in the Lord.

With that being said, I’M BACK!

Thank you for being patient with me, supporting me and for reading!

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The Waiting Game Lasts a Lifetime for Adoptees

I guess when you spend 41 years waiting on a piece of mail from your biological parents, waiting on an Catholic Priest to deliver DNA results should be a cake walk?

I’m 41 and I’m still waiting…

Which means I haven’t given up yet!

I am extremely thankful for Father Felix and his desire to have the willingness to help in this matter. I can’t even imagine how he is handling this or approaching it. All I know is he has ALL the information and God has him on an assignment. I am nervous. This is my last shot at ever having a chance at any of my biological family acknowledging me. With DNA proof they have 2 options. They either accept me and acknowledge me or they don’t. I can imagine it might take some time, but hasn’t enough time already been lost?

IMG_20160204_073344It reminds me of spending so much time waiting on my birth mother to keep her word in writing me. I spent over 20 years checking the mail and anticipating her letters and pictures. I wanted to read her feelings, see her hand writing, see a photo of her. In 1994 when I found her she PROMISED me she would write me. I wrote her. Would I be wrong for having a resentment about having to check the mail every day and being disappointed when I open the box and there never has and never will be anything from my biological mother or father? They have known my address but they had no desire to have a relationship with me but I still always had hope one day I would open the mailbox and get a letter from them. Sadly, every time I check the mail I still get disappointed.

Waiting, Waiting and more Waiting…

Praying, Praying & more Praying…

Adoptees, Never give up hope in finding your family & seeking your TRUTH! 

2016-01-10 18.04.25

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.

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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.

 

Grief & Loss & Adoptees

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This picture kinda sums up my mood at this point in my life.

I was up late last night researching “Grief & Loss” and all the stages of this process.

It was amazing to me that if I inserted the word “ADOPTEES” into all of the areas that take you through the grief & loss process it describes how I have felt all of my life regarding my adoption experience.

Putting in some work and research I have identified that this process is the grief and loss process, vs. depression. I’ve compared the 2, and from what I’ve read and learned, the grief & loss process is like an emotional roller coaster, up and down. It’s said that you can still see the beauty in areas of your life, and the thankful for certain areas, but in this particular area (ADOPTION) I (and hundreds of thousands of other adoptees) are stuck in this grieving and loss process.

Why are so many of us stuck?

My opinion is based on living my life being an adoptee. I believe I am stuck at this point in my life because my grief & loss was never acknowledged growing up, ever. I’ve been 100% alone on this entire journey, until now. I know I have people who support me, especially my fellow adoptees. Growing up, no one ever told me it was okay to be sad about the biggest loss of my life, let alone cry about wanting to know who my birth mother was. Emotions, and sad feelings were tucked deep inside, with no way to come out.

I remember my adoptive mom telling me I was adopted, and how my birth mother loved me so much she “gave me away” to have a “better life”. She followed this by saying, how HAPPY she was, that her dreams finally came true to be a mother. She said she couldn’t have her own babies, so when she adopted me, God gave her the gift of being a mother, so I was so special to her.

Let me ask… I wonder how my feelings of sadness would fit into this equation? I remember being a little girl, thinking, “Wow.. She sure is happy I’m here, to be her daughter” and I knew at that moment, for her to keep her happiness I can’t share my sadness. Did anyone else experience this? In a way I feel like it was a form of gas lighting. But she was also someone who always made us feel like we were responsible for the way she felt, which is not true. I grew up with the mindset (because of her upbringing) her happiness and sadness depended on me. She would always say things like, “You made me feel this way, or you made me feel that way”… I always remember counselors always telling us, “You aren’t responsible for her feelings”. When we would say that to her, she insisted we made her “feel” a certain way.

It’s interesting to me to finally figure this all out and my attempts to do this research are to work towards healing, because truthfully although I’m on the other side of my healing journey, I still have a long way to go.

Let me share some of the top areas that society might consider areas we might grieve our losses over in our life:

  • Divorce/Relationship Breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • Selling the family home

Of course we can add to that list. It amazes me that losing ones mother at the beginning of life is no where on this list. Nor is losing an entire family in adoption.

What if, just what if the WORLD started opening their eyes to the adoptees side of view, and they stepped out of denial and we started to grieve our very VERY real loss at a very early age?  What if the world started treating adoption loss like they do other losses? What if the WORLD got educated on the grief & loss process, and adopees started sharing their feelings at a much earlier age? What if we saw adoptee therapists who specialized in complicated grief and loss at a early age?

The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief we experience.

Adoptee loss is complicated!

In adoption, our loss is so extremely great, yet it’s almost always ignored. We’re told the be thankful, to be grateful and to be happy we were given life when we could have been aborted. We’re told we were a GIFT FROM GOD and God knitted us in our mothers womb and we were planned before we were ever born. Scriptures are thrown at us to back it up.

How do these comments help us grieve our loss? To me, they have always been silencer statements as a way for someone to try to make me “FEEL” better. How about as a society we come to a place where we just can’t make adoptees feel better, we let them grieve their losses by acknowledging them and we listen to their feelings when they share them?

What if those close to us were to say, “It’s okay to be sad” or “It’s okay to want to know where/who your first mommy is. She’s your mommy and you have every right to love her and ask questions about her”. What if the world said “I’m so sorry for the pain adoption has caused you, and acknowledged our feelings of loss” instead of “Oh your adopted?! How wonderful!”.

There is nothing wonderful about losing our mothers and an entire family. I’m so sorry, but there just isn’t anything wonderful about that.

I’ve written a few blog posts earlier about God healing my broken heart regarding my birth mother. Amazing, yes this did happen! What I’m continuing to experience is processing grief & loss regarding my adoptee experience. I have accepted that it is here to stay, and the more I feel it the more God will heal it. So this is my safe place to write about what I’m FEELING regarding my adoptee experience, and each time I write I’m healing.

I would like to encourage all adoptive parents to reach out for help on assisting your adoptive child in starting the grief and loss process as early as possible. I had to figure all this out on my own. I still have people that are close to me who think I should have “just gotten over it” by now. Don’t you think if I could I would? Who really wants to go through the grief and loss process their entire life? Sad thing is, sometimes it takes us an entire life to process this grief and loss especially when we aren’t starting until our 20’s-30’s-40’s & 50’s. If society would step out of denial, and begin to understand how great our loss truly is, by reading adoptee blogs, reading The Primal Wound-Understanding The Adopted Child and take off their rainbow colored glasses regarding adoption, we wouldn’t spend such a long time grieving our losses.

Let me say there is no write or wrong way to grieve, or a time we are limited to ID-100265464grieve. Some of us grieve pretty quickly, some of us are perfectly fine and don’t need to grieve at all. Some of us experience loss so great, we will be grieving for the rest of our lives. Each adoptee is different and unique in that aspect. The point I’m trying to make is that once the WORLD steps out  of denial and starts to acknowledge our loss as a real and valid reason to grieve adoptees will begin to heal. We need non-adoptees to TRY to understand this, especially those impacted by adoption. What if we start doing this at as young of an age as possible the adoptee suicide rate will begin to go down? The prisons, and treatment facilities filled with adoptees will be less and less. The crime rate for adoptees will be less and less.

Study the grief and loss process, and add ADOPTEE LOSS everywhere you can. You will learn that “ANGER” is one of the stages of grief, and as an adoptee who has lived being adopted we have much reason to be angry. The question is, what are we doing with our anger? Are we using it to hurt ourselves, and other people or are we using it in a positive way? Are we helping others with it?

So many adoptees don’t know what to do with the feelings they are having. Talk about a mixed up bag of emotions. Every day continues to be a struggle, but because of my kids, God and my close family and friends, and because of my fellow adoptees I’m still here.   Many days I don’t want to be here, the pain is just too great and at 41 years old it continues on. I know my fellow adoptees get it!

Could it be I will experience this pain from grief and loss for the rest of my life? 

I will never know the answer to that, until I reach the end of my life but I have experienced it for 41 years now. Each and every day there are always reminders and each day is a struggle. I don’t believe I’ve ever truly lived LIFE because so much has always been weighed down. I’ve spent my entire life trying to survive and make it through the realities of what adoption really is.  Today, I can get comfort in knowing I have a purpose on this earth to share my story so other adoptees know they aren’t alone. I have hope in Jesus my pain will get easier. I have hope that future generations of adoptees will have things easier, because adoptive parents are reading and listening.

I’ve learned that most people just don’t want to read or hear what adoptees have to say because the truth in how we feel is pretty uncomfortable. It’s not usually a happy topic and I can understand this might be the case for any “hot topics”. Yet society is failing to “tune in” to a very flawed system of sealed records, and adoptees hurting all over the world because no one will validate our grief and loss. Society can do something about this. They can chose to tune in and try to understand from an adult adoptees perspective. They can stop pretending that our loss isn’t real or we aren’t impacted by loosing our entire first family. They can face the truth, because the truth is the only way we will be set free. I challenge you, to start tuning in today.

I know the adult adoptees sharing their stories is causing a ripple effect in the adoption communities, so all the future generations of adoptees will be able to be heard and not silenced. They will understand their loss is real, and it’s okay to grieve it. Hopefully it will start as early as possible. I pray adoptive parents out there are equipped on how to handle these very sensitive subjects, so they can better help their adoptive children. ( search for an adoptee therapist who specializes in complicated grief & loss) No matter what our biological parents were, or they weren’t we all deserve to know our truth, so we can grieve that truth and move forward with healing.

John 8:32 “We shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall set us free” 

For my fellow adoptees, what has helped you with grieving your losses during your journey? Do you have any suggestions for your fellow adoptees or those reading? What has your process been like? Has it gotten easier for you?

Pamela A. Karanova PamelaLee

Reunited Adult Adoptee

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Photo Credits By Witthaya Phonsawat  & Theeradech Sanin’s

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Open Hearts & Open Minds: Adoptive Parents

I had an adoptive mom say to me on twitter yesterday, “I read your blog,
I know from personal knowledge that many adoptees do not share your issues.”
And I replied with “I know from personal knowledge many adoptees DO share my issues.” I don’t understanding why society is so blinded about the realities of adoption. My adoptee issues and pain are very real and I will continue to always share my feelings with the world to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.
From this lady’s response to me, it leads me to believe she’s an adoptive mom or why would she care to comment? I find this comment to be disturbing. Half-truth, half lie? It was pointless to say the least. I find it appalling when an adoptive parent wants to stand up and speak about what adoptees go through when they are basing their opinion on their fantasy or what they wish their adopted child felt. The truth is, more than likely their adopted child hasn’t grown up and developed their adoptee voice yet.  This means as a child they just might not have any issues, and for the lucky adoptees maybe they never will. I have been blogging about my adoptee experience for almost 2 years now and I’m fairly active in the online adoptee community. I have yet to experience an overflowing amount of “EXCITED TO BE ADOPTED ADOPTEES!”
I really believe that all the adoptees with a voice need to keep voicing their experience so that any adoptive parents that stumble across their blogs, or tweets, or Facebook pages can truly open their hearts up and learn something. It’s the AP’s such as the one above that are blinded and don’t see REALITY who are not going to learn and benefit from the adoptees who have been in the shoes of the very ones they are raising. Even if they don’t agree with what they are hearing about how it feels to be adopted, they should really open their heart and eyes and ears up to the fact that, WOW, MY ADOPTED CHILD COULD FEEL THIS WAY. Not, “I know for certain many adoptees don’t feel the way you do”  With an attitude like that there will be no hope for future adoptees and for society to understand there is much more to adoption than 2 people completing their family by adopting an unwanted, abandoned child.
The reality of adoption is that before a child is adopted their own mother gives them away. However this is explained to the child leaves the child confused. After all, how does one love something and give it away? This can very well lead to low self-esteem, abandonment & rejection issues and fear issues that everyone is going to leave them. These issues are ALL root causes of many types of dysfunctional behaviors and adoptees have a very large chance of facing any of these root causes. Weather any adoptive parents want to admit it or not. I think the real question should be, “How do I help understand my adoptive child better?” VS. “I know from personal experience many adoptees don’t feel like you do”.
Open your eyes and ears, and be receptive to what adoptees have to say, especially if you have invested in adopted children. Of all people you should have an open heart and mind. You can learn a lot from someone who has been in your child’s shoes. Especially those who have healed from the trauma that being given up for adoption by their own mother.
To be continued…

Take Notes…

One piece of advice I have for adoptees that have searched, and are about to be reunited with their biological parents or family is to TAKE NOTES. Everything they say and everything you see, take notes. Listen harder, and listen closer.
I say this because when I met both my biological parents, I didn’t expect for it to be the last time I saw them. I was sure in my mind that they wanted a relationship with me, because after all I dreamed about that my whole life. Why wouldn’t they want to get to know me? Or have me in their lives?
The first time I met my biological mother, we sat at her dining room table. She had her sister there, and her best friend. Her sister would be my biological aunt. My half biological sister was there, and she is the one who arranged the meeting. My birth mother didn’t really want to meet me, but my birth sister insisted. She knew how much it meant to me that I meet the woman that gave me life.
For those that don’t know. I found my birth mother in 1995 when I was 21 years old. My adoptive mom told me some information she had been keeping from me for a life time, so from that moment forward I had a name and there was nothing anyone could do to stop me from finding this woman. This was in my mind, but no way did I ever believe that she really never wanted to see me. After I found her, she hung up on me, and then I called back. The hang up hurt, but that wasn’t stopping me. I was very persistent in finding her, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer. Not yet. After she answered again, I made sure she knew I didn’t want anything from her. I only wanted to get to know her. After this, she spoke up and said “I am the woman you’re looking for”. I was ecstatic. The search was finally over! Finally! It’s been a lifetime of dreaming, and searching for faces in a crowd, wondering if everyone that had similarities as me just might be my biological family. We talked for a few minutes, and she told me she would respond to a letter if I write her. She said she would send me some pictures of herself so I could see what she looked like. So I could finally see who I look like. Of course I hung up the phone with extremely high hopes that I would get some mail from her in the near future. I quickly started to write her, and got an envelope to send with some pictures of me in it. I sent it off, and waited, and waited, and waited. Weeks passed into months. Every single day I would rush to the mail box, looking for the letter she promised. This turned into a very hard time in my life. Why didn’t she want anything to do with me? Why didn’t she keep her word? Did she realize how bad this hurt my feelings? I was crushed.
Finally it was made clear to me that she wasn’t going to keep her word. I knew from the first time I talked to her I had a half biological sister, but she told me she didn’t know anything about me, and she would tell her and be in touch. Obviously that was not the truth, so after I waited months on her reply I decided to set out on a search for my birth sister. I didn’t have a number but I did have an address. I figured I had nothing to lose at this point. No one’s dirty little secret was going to stop me from finding my roots. Whoevers genes I have they are some very persistent ones. I wrote my birth sister a letter, and within a few days I received a call from her, and within a few days after that she flew to Kentucky with her husband so we could meet. It was the first time in my life I finally had someone that was a biological relative that looked like me; besides my precious daughter that was 1 at the time. It was an amazing experience. We have a lot of similarities and you can tell we are sisters. We do have different fathers. She spent a week in Kentucky, and it was wonderful getting to know her. She flew back to Iowa where her and my birth mother lived and she insisted that when I come to Iowa a visit, that we arrange a meeting so I can meet my birth mother.  My birth mother agreed, even thoe we hadn’t had any more contact sense the original phone conversation. She never did write, or send pictures.
So the visit was arranged, and my life would never be the same. I just wish I would have absorbed more of what she was saying. I had no idea I would never be given that chance again. Never in a million years did I think I would never have a face to face conversation with her again. If I had it to do all over again, I would have taken notes on every detail she told me.
I must say I am VERY thankful that I was given the chance to sit down with her at her table that one and only time, because I know that so many don’t get that chance. I have spent so many years being angry at her for not giving me more, for not wanting me in her life, for shutting me out after this one visit. I have been angry for many years about many things to do with my adoption. I have to come to a point where I can get past the anger and I hope one day I will. Every single time I think of her and my birth father, I just whelp up and cry. It’s really hard for me to just act as if they don’t exist, or as if I’m not supposed to love them or have a bond with them.
If I could give one piece of advice to any adoptive parents that might be reading this it would be to give your adoptive child permission to grieve the family they had before you. And yes, no matter what way you want to look at it, they have a first family. If you try to cover this up, and ignore these facts you are only doing damage to your child. Please be realistic in this matter. Your child isn’t going to come to you and ask “Is it okay if I love my first mother?” or “Is it okay that I cry because I want to know my first family but I don’t know who they are? Please allow them permission to grieve this, because it is one of the biggest losses of their lifetime. It is over looked so much, and I’m positive that is why I am having such a hard time at this point in my life. Just now at 38 years old I am grieving what could have been, the lost relationships, my first family. This is not an easy journey. I beg for you to discuss these things with your adoptive child. It’s critical that you go to them and the words come out of your mouth as their adoptive parents. They will remember later in life that you expressed to them that it was OKAY to love their other mother, and their other family. Can you imagine living an entire lifetime having to keep such things “Secret”? This is why so many adult adoptees voice their journeys, because we can finally be heard.
With all that being said, yes I am going through the grieving process, yes I am still angry and I have every right to be. I will say that as I grieve, write, express myself and ask God for healing daily I am able to see things in a different light. But this can only happen if we are allowed to grieve the trauma, and events that have been so traumatic on us before we were adopted, and many of us after we were adopted. Acknowledging these traumas is the first step. I recommend any adoptive parents, or anyone touched by adoption to read “Primal Wound” by Nancy Newton Verrier. She explains the adopted child like no one ever has before.
 I pray that in a year you will be able to read my blogs, and go back to the very beginning and see the change that has been made. God is working, and he isn’t through with me yet.

P.S. When and if you ever get the chance to meet your biological family, take notes. My biological mother passed in 2010 and the only face to face conversation I ever had with her was the original one in 1995. Take notes.