Adoptee Pain

img_4644

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.  I do not claim to, nor make an effort to speak for all adoptees. – p.k. 

 

“I want you to be healed in Jesus Name!”

“Will the pain every go away?”

“Will the pain get easier?”

“You have to let go, and let God!”

“Oh she just had a bad adoption experience!”

“Adoption is a gift from God, sorry you had a bad experience!”

“Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted? You got life!”

The list could go on and on of things I’ve heard people say, and even things I’ve said myself. Over the last 8 years of coming out of the fog, I have learned so much and God has shown me so much about my personal experience and journey. I felt I needed to share some of it with my followers.

ADOPTEE PAIN

2010 I started the healing process. Healing from what? A lifetime of brokenness, heartbreak, grief, loss and trauma some of which is from my adoption experience, some is from other things that have happened in my life. Back in 2010 I was still drinking to numb my pain. I was a functional drinker, I went to work everyday and loved my career. I raised 3 kids, paid my bills, had fun and enjoyed my life to the best of my abilities.

I quickly learned that alcohol and the healing process didn’t work well together, and actually it was pretty catastrophic if I’m being honest. Mixing alcohol with trauma?  I learned that alcohol had actually stalled my healing, it made me not process my pain. It was my great escape. I was a runner, alcohol was my magic carpet and for 27 years I rode it ducking and dodging anything remotely painful. One thing I wasn’t doing was FEELING ADOPTION GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA.

When August 13, 2012 came rolling around I had enough of myself. At this point I spent 27 years running from the pain from my past and my adoption experience. August 13, 2012 was also my birthday. The day I came into this world, and the day my birth mother abandoned me and left me. It doesn’t matter who else was around to substitute HER. No one ever has, nor will they ever replace HER. They tried, but didn’t succeed!

I soon started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery and spent the next 4 years working the 12 steps, mentoring other women, leading a women’s chemical dependency group and processing my pain! You read that right. Processing my pain. How do I do this? I never learned how to process my pain. Adoptee pain is ignored and denied to us by the entire WORLD!

Adoption is wonderful!

Adoption saved you!

Adoption gave you LIFE!

If I left it up to this world to help me, I would be dead right now. This world has never had any help for broken, hurting adult adoptees. We don’t fit the narrative of how adoption is perceived by society. Not only do many of us not fit in with our adoptive families, but many of us don’t fit in with our birth families. We don’t fit in with the world which leaves us more isolated and alone than you could ever imagine.

One by one, I started working on my adoptee issues. Triggers, memories, grief, loss, trauma, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, mother wound, father wound, sadness, depression, anxiety, aloneness, isolation, and the list could go on. ADOPTION IMPACTS EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES. As my drinking came to a screeching halt my adoptee reality came rolling in like a ton of bricks. Smacked me straight in the face. Knocked me dead in my tracks.

The fog began to lift, and things got real and fast. Celebrate Recovery was somewhat of a safe space for me, but no one understood me. They didn’t get what I was saying, and they too had the idea that adoption was all wonderful so I was some ungrateful little brat for not appreciating the fact I wasn’t aborted. I had a small handful of close friends who were always there to listen and support me, but they didn’t understand it because they aren’t adopted. I was still isolated and alone in many ways and because Celebrate Recovery was a ministry the goal was to BE HEALED IN JESUS NAME!

Well, I showed up and I did the work. Day after day, week after week and year after year I kept going back and guess what? I still have the pain I did when I walked through the doors. I still am broken. I still have a broken heart, and I still have MAJOR ADOPTEE ISSUES. I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong and like I had to hide like I really felt because this healing everyone was talking about just wasn’t working for me!

“You are choosing to hang onto the pain!”

“You aren’t praying enough!”

“I think you need to fast!”

“Stop thinking of the negative and think of the positive!”

All of these things only made me feel worse about my situation and myself. It made me feel like I was the exception. I was the one that was never going to get the healing. I was the one God was punishing because I’m one ungrateful little b**ch and I’m not thankful I’m adopted. I hate being adopted. I heard people say, “There are reasons people don’t get there healing!”

What in the actual F*CK does that even mean?

*pardon the curse words, but I’ve come to the realization from some close friends that cursing can be therapeutic and it’s not all that bad. It feels really good to say a curse word every now and then and as part of my unconditioning out of the church, I’m allowing myself to say a curse word when I want. 🙂 

Do the people who say these things know how damaging this can be to people? I found myself running a rat race trying to BE HEALED in Jesus name and it never worked! What did work is the moment I left out of the church and began to process my REAL PAIN away from all the HOOPLA that the church pushed on me, I became much more free than I had ever been! I found healing in that freedom more than I ever did inside the doors of the church or inside Celebrate Recovery.

Now that I’m an outsider looking in I’ve learned so much in gaining a better understanding in my truth, the truth and God’s truth. Let’s dissect that for a moment. What does that even look like?

The more I share my truth, the more uncomfortable it is for non-adoptees to hear, read and learn about the damage adoption causes an adoptee. They want me to be healed so I shut up. They want me to “get over it” so they stop hearing about it. They want me to move on with my life, because they are done hearing the truth. Reality is adoption is damage and some of the damage can never be undone.

I’ve learned many times the truth hurts, and it’s hard to swallow. Of all the adoptee activism I’ve done in my 8 years of coming out of the fog, I’ve heard HUNDREDS of adoptee stories! If not thousands. I have put in the time, energy and work to learn from so many adoptees from all over the world and guess what. The MAJORITY of them have heartbreaking stories where adoption has negatively impacted every area of their lives, for an entire lifetime. I wouldn’t make this stuff up! I can’t unknow what I know.

If God is the way, the truth and the life, then GOD IS TRUTH. Let’s be truthful for a moment. What about the broken, hurting and lost adoptees? Who is looking out for them? Who is speaking for them when they don’t feel strong enough to speak for themselves? Where are the resources for them?

Because being a broken, hurting and lost adoptee myself I have only found that for myself in creating it for not only myself, but other adoptees in Adoptees Connect.

Do you think my fire and passion for this Adoptee “thing” came from nothing? No, it came from a very dark and painful place where I have had no choice but to reside for most of my life because of no resources for adoptees.

What if I become “Healed in Jesus Name”?

What does that look like?

Will my spark die?

Will my purpose dissolve?

Will my fire die for Adoptee City?

Will I walk off into the sunset as a “Healed Adoptee” feeling WHOLE and leaving all the broken adoptees behind to figure it all out on their own? Will I finally be happy inside and outside and the dark cloud be gone? Will I forget all about being adopted and how much it’s impacted every area of my life? Will my triggers be dissolved into none at all? Will my mother wound go away? Will my trauma disappear? Will my grief and loss be non-existent? Will my heart finally be WHOLE? Will my truth disappear?

If I answer all these questions, and if I’m REAL about it and if I share the TRUTH, if I let all these things go, what will I have? What will my purpose be?

If God heals, and he wants us to be whole, what about those of us who try that, and we don’t get our healing? How do you know it’s not for a good purpose or a God purpose instead of a punishment? please be careful what you say to people!

What if I’m alive here today so I can share the pain of what it’s like growing up in an emotionally and mentally abusive adoptive home, so that hopefully other adoptees who have experience this won’t feel alone? What if I’m here to bring light (truth) to the reality of the damage that happens anytime a mother and a child is separated? How do we know that my story, my pain hasn’t gone away because God wants the world to know that adoption TODAY isn’t what he intended for it to be? How do we know if all the secrecy and lies in adoption that impacted me in negative ways, is something God wants brought to light because HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE?

Why is this so hard for some people to accept about ADOPTION? Adoption is rooted and grounded in grief, loss and division! Secrecy and lies follow suit. What if I’m not “Healed in Jesus Name” so I can share my truth that is the same TRUTH thousands and thousands of adoptees have all over the world?

What if my pain is here to stay because I have work to do?

Should I trade my pain for complicity?

Nope.

Not me.

I will continue to hold it, keep it tight so I can continue to share the truth about the jacked up adoption industry and how negatively adoption has and will continue to impact adoptees in a negative way all around the world.

What a hefty price to pay, to carry this burden that has been placed upon my shoulders. At least in the process I’m being true to me, who I am and my experience. I’m being true to my fellow adoptees who are all over the place hurting, some on the edge of suicide, isolated and all alone. At least I’m doing something positive with this pain. At least it won’t go in vein. At least I’m sharing my truth as I see it. I’m not drinking to numb my pain any longer. This is the reality of being an adult adoptee. This is my reality.

Another reason I’ve hung onto this pain so tight is because it’s all I have of my birth mother. That’s extremely hard to comprehend to some people but for me, meeting her once, and her slamming the door shut left me with a lifetime of questions, pain, hurt and more severe abandonment and rejection issues than anyone on this earth can imagine or comprehend.  I wrote about the pain associated with my birth mother one time, and you can read that here; Mother May I but even after this writing it’s been impossible for me to let go of the pain associated with HER, my birth mother.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because it’s all I have of her. I don’t have the memories, I don’t have the lessons learned, I don’t have the relationship other people have or had with their mother. I have nothing of her, but the pain. The balloon at the top of this photo is a symbol for me that if I let go of the pain I will be sitting in an empty chair. I’ll disappear into a world of nothingness, more alone than before.

How do I let the pain (her) go?

For me, this has been one of the hardest things to do, that’s easier said than done. Mother’s Day I’m reminded of her, everyday I look in the mirror I’m reminded of her.  I’m her daughter weather she wanted me or not. I have her fingers, her feet, her skin tone, her alcohol issues, her stubborn spirit. I am her. If I let her go, I let myself go.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Anyway, as the poem “Mother May I” says, “But if I let it go, what will I have? There are no memories to remember, no future, and no forever. I thought of saving a piece, folding it up and putting it away. Then I can take it out on a rainy day. Because then you will know I never forgot you. I never want you to think I forgot about you”

Who would have ever thought that out of the fog, into recovery being an adoptee this MOTHER WOUND would be so deep and a wound that is such a mixture of emotions filled with grief, loss and pain. Even if I try to let the pain go, and let her go the wound is still there.

MOTHER LESS is what I’ll always be.

That impacts every day of my life in it’s own way.

For me acceptance has been key, and that is acceptance of the pain as well. If I get on the bandwagon of “Being Healed” that will go against my acceptance of the pain and this journey and it will only hurt me more. Have I healed in some regards? Absolutely. I’ve grown and healed a lot over the years and I believe I will grow and heal some more. It’s taking out the expectation that one day I will be totally be healed is something that’s been extremely important in my journey. There is too much pain from all different angles to ever believe I will wake up healed one day. For me, learning how to navigate the triggers when they come and sharing my pain in my writings has been healing for me. Knowing I’m not alone by networking with my fellow adoptees has also been a important part of my journey.  Validation has been critical to my acceptance and healing as well.

Because I have adoptee pain, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to find some beauty in my life. I have a million things I’m thankful for, and there are things I love about my life. There are things that bring me great joy, and comfort. Please don’t mistake my blog post as I’m someone sitting around mad, angry and mean all the time. That’s farthest from the truth. This happens to be part of my therapy, and part of my healing space. This is where I share my adoptee pain. #healingthroughwriting

Sharing my views on Adoptee Pain from my experience is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. For the adoptees reading, how have you handled your pain? How have you processed it? What has worked for you and what has that process been like for you?

Many Blessings,

img_4447

Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

What NAAM17 Means To Me…

images

I’m still recovering from NAAM16

I’m not even lying. I totally overdid it last year and as a result I dropped off the face of “Adoptee Land” for 6 full months. I was too overwhelmed with it all I had to spend 6 months of self care to nurture my adoptee self back to life again. Then, I tippy toed my way back in but made a promise to myself.

I was not going to overdue it again! For my own mental health and sanity. And also so Adoptee Land wouldn’t lose me again, for 6 months or  maybe longer.

I wanted to share what NAAM17 meant to me.

NAAM17 is a time where the world celebrates adoption, yet adoptee voices have always been an after thought. As the years have passed adoptees are breaking out of the fog and coming together and raising our voices to the world on how it feels to be adopted. Finally, we have a space and our voice matters. On the other hand as November approaches I almost get this sick feeling in my stomach like someone punched me in the gut. It’s an unnerving feeling. Unsettling for adoptees and this is why many of us feel the need to raise our voices. Seeing the adoption agencies and those in the adoption arena celebrate adoption is sorrowful for many of us. It brings triggers that we have to learn to navigate. It’s difficult and there is no way to escape it.

For me, this month is a month I’m putting my long time vision of starting an all adoptee support group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY into action on the ground here in Lexington, KY where I live. This is my contribution to NAAM17 this year, as well as guiding some of my fellow adoptees around the USA to start their own Adoptees Connect in the city and state they live in.

IT’S OUR TIME!

I still have my Facebook “Like” pages to run, as well as my own blog so my plate is already full. For my fellow adoptees, please take care of yourself this month. Go treat yourself to something you want, buy a massage or get your nails done. Buy an ice cream cone or go to the gym and work out to burn steam off. Whatever calms your spirit and brings you job, make sure you’re doing that this month in the middle of your commitment to raising awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

I love you all.

Please, take care of yourselves.

P.K.

 

 

 

Withdraw & Retreat

I don’t consider it isolation. 

I consider it me getting alone with God. 

That’s a wonderful place to be IMHO. I’ve come to a cross roads in life. I feel like I’ve come to many cross roads over the last few years, but none quite like this one. I feel a total peace about the place I am, and this is why I know it’s from God. 

I’ve learned over time it’s so easy to become co-dependent on people, places and things. I am striving to be free of codependency of people, places and things. The more I let go of people, places and things the more free I become. The more free I feel. Free to me is a “Safe Space” for me to be in. The less people, places and things the less drama, hiccups and nonsense I have that comes my way.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Facebook for quite some time now. I am learning that Facebook is just a tool used for everyone to be up in your business, when reality is most of those people aren’t even in my life. It’s almost as if I’ve noticed Facebook has a sort of control over me. I have made the choice to “Opt-Out” of allowing Facebook to have this control over my life, at least for the time being. It’s apparent in my life anyway, something can happen spur of the moment and I make the choice to log back in and there I go… Wasting time, very valuable precious time on meddling in what others are doing. I put up a status that is heartwarming for those who read it and go about my merry way. There is much more to Pamela Karanova than what I share on Facebook. I have many layers as we all do.

Most of the time I wonder who is REAL in my life and who ISN’T. Who will even notice I’m gone? Hardly anyone ever does. I find it so interesting. The people who I REALLY have in my life I’m close to and we talk on the phone, text, and see one another and don’t need Facebook to tie us together. I’m clinging to those REAL relationships with my REAL friends. If we have a relationship in “real life” I don’t need Facebook to have that. I am keeping my “Like” pages up and going, as well as sharing adoptee stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Website

Many transitions are taking place in my life. I’m in a discovery phase of WHO I AM and listening what God is going to do next in my life. I’m going through emotional highs and lows in LIFE in general. God is weeding out people, places and things who don’t serve a purpose in my life anymore.

 John 5:8 says, “”Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

And so it is… 

I’m happily embracing on a season of self discovery moving forward while acknowledging all that has been might not be a part of what will be. I’m okay with this. I don’t feel the need to explain my journey to everyone. Most people only want to hear warm fluffy stories anyway! I feel those who will really want to know will take the time to reach out to me and find out how I am, what I’m doing in my life. 9 x out of 10 they won’t have time to meet you for coffee with their busy schedule, so WHY would I share my life with them? Real relationships takes real action. I don’t believe in telling people “Good-Bye”. If you were ever a real part of my life there will be no “Good-Byes” only more “Hello’s”. If you weren’t a real part of my life, you might consider saying “Good-Bye” but may I suggest you save it for the next person you would like to have a “Fake Relationship” with?  Why would you tell someone “Good-Bye” if you have a real relationship with them? I sure wouldn’t.

I’ve seen a lot in my little 42 years of life here on earth. I’ve been in large groups of people who say you are a part of their life, and I’ve been in small groups of people who say the same. I’ve been naive for many years of my life. I’ve wanted to be accepted and belong somewhere for so long, that I’ve been blinded many times over at synthetic relationships that come my way. Just because I speak to you and see you as we pass by one another doesn’t mean you are my friend. Friendships take work. They take time. They take sacrifice to put your friends before yourself. Friendships take intention. I try to see the good in people, and for most of my life I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea of so many people who “love me” or “accept me” and those who say they WANT TO BE MY FRIEND.

It’s take 42 years for me to be OKAY with the idea that people are full of it. They can say words like “Family of Choice” so easily. In the next breath they denounce the very words they spoke the week before.  What is “Family of Choice” anyway? To me it sounds like something that separates and divides us away from our family of origin or our adoptive family or whoever we have close to us we call family. Family is a variety of things. Family is those who you invest in, you take time to reach out to them and you make it a POINT to be in their life. This can even happen from a distance! Family isn’t something that I take lightly. I’ve had blood and adoptive family and church family. People can say they are family and back stab you or betray you in a heartbeat.  One thing I don’t do is FAKE. If I don’t like you or want to be around you, you will not hear from me. I won’t respond to you and I will always try to do this in the most elegant & graceful way possible. Just because I’m a CHRISTian doesn’t mean I have to allow everyone on God’s green earth to see inside my life. I am called to love people, and that I will do. It doesn’t mean I need to continuously let my guard down, allow people to come into my life only to dismiss me in the next segment of this thing we call “Life”.

It’s a freeing feeling to CHOOSE who I allow in my life.

 I can honestly smell bullsh*t a mile away! 

Relationships are reciprocated.

If I don’t reciprocate I don’t want a relationship with you.  

If you don’t reciprocate a relationship with me, I KNOW you don’t want a REAL relationship with me. 

It’s SIMPLE. 

End. Of. Story.  

I remember the days where I would allow people in, and they flat out didn’t deserve to be in my life. I wanted and needed to be accepted SO BAD, I was blinded by so much.

Those days are over. 

Today, the title of this post is “Withdraw & Retreat” for a reason. I’m not all alone. God is with me! My close friends know pieces of what’s going on in my life, and the REAL friends I have are on this ride with me. My kids are with me. They are the most important thing TO ME! So today I’m at a peaceful place filled with many transitions taking place. God is weeding things OUT and I believe with my entire heart he will replace all those things with better things.

It’s critical I trust Him.

Growing in my relationship with God is something I put at the front of my life, each and every day I’m committed to THIS. For my fellow adoptees; I will always be around for YOU!  Please believe this is no good-bye letter. Only a post explaining some things are changing in my life, for the better and I’m excited to share it.

God is about to use me in a new way because it’s a NEW DAY in this thing we call LIFE.

Thanks for reading.

I’m going to try to write more in the near future.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee