Is Adoption The Problem OR is Relinquishment The Problem?

I received a comment on the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page a few days ago. I had shared a post from my friend & fellow adoptee Anne Heffron and someone commented,

“Is Adoption the problem – or – relinquishment? Think about it, please.”

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I feel this comment was probably made by an adoptive parent, but I can’t 100% guarantee it. Adotpee’s don’t usually say things like that. We understand the dynamics of how it feels to be adopted. After my friend shares a blog post sharing her pain someone  felt the need to negate her real raw feelings and flip the coin and make it something totally different than what it really is.

This is what inspired this blog post.

RELINQUISHMENT = To renounce or surrender, a possession, right, etc. To give up; put aside or desist from; to relinquish a plan. To let go; to release; to relinquish one’s hold. Relinquishment is voluntary consent to the termination of one’s parental rights to a child.

ADOPTION = To choose or take as one’s own; to take and rear as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act. Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, from the biological parent or parents.

I think there are many people out there who would like to think adoptees have complex issues because of the relinquishment, but they couldn’t  possibly have all these issues with the adoption, right?

I mean what is there to fuss about, really?

Let’s talk about “RELINQUISHMENT”

For those of us who have done the research, and/or who have lived with being adopted most of us know that every time a mother and a child is separated a trauma occurs.  See The Adopted Child: Trauma and It’s Impact. and Nancy Verrier’s Website. Pick up a copy of The Primal Wound. Do the research yourself and you will see RELINQUISHMENT has it’s own set of issues.  For adoptees who might be reading this, you might not even understand that many of your issues could very well be linked to being adopted.

The only way I was able to come to a place of understanding about myself and my issues was to do the work in researching trauma from relinquishment, attachment disorder, addiction in adoptees, abandonment & rejection issues, separation of mother and baby, prenatal bonding and what happens when that bond is broken with the woman who carried us for 9 months. I researched postnatal bonding issues,  Complex-PTSD, Reactive Detachment Disorder, disenfranchised grief & loss for adoptees. Many of us struggle with depression, low self-esteem, worthlessness, anxiety and fear of being abandoned again. We have unwantedness attached to us because when our own families didn’t want us who else would want us? The list could go on and on. It’s taken me years to research all these areas, but each time I did it was “Aha” moments back to back.

If you are reading this I challenge you to do the same.

As well as researching all these areas, I started connecting with other adoptees online and I realized I’m not alone. RELINQUISHMENT has some severe issues attached to it and the relinquishment happens before the child is ever adopted. This is why I think many in adoption land want to think relinquishment is the problem, not the adoption. Please keep reading. Some of these issues are life and death for many of us adoptees.

Another avenue I explored is researching how birth mothers felt before and after relinquishment. I wanted to take myself from my shoes and put myself in hers so I could TRY to gain empathy and understanding of what she went through. This helped me with my healing and forgiveness towards her. I would be blind to not take these things into consideration while researching all the dynamics of relinquishment & adoption.

I could go into detail about each area listed above but it would take me all day to describe all the issues attached to each of these areas. If you do the research and read adult adoptee blogs you will be able to connect the dots yourself and see how relinquishment impacts us.

When I share in my writings I’m not speaking for all adoptees. I’m speaking from a place of my own experience and the fact I’m in contact with hundreds of adoptees all over the world and our stories line up with more similarities than you could ever imagine. I founded the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” Facebook page, as well as the “Ask An Adoptee” Facebook page. I see thousands of comments weekly from adoptees who are sharing the same stories in different context. I can’t UN KNOW what I know. I can’t turn a blind eye to all the heartache and pain that adoptees share on these pages.

Let’s talk about “ADOPTION”

The word “ADOPTION” is simply a cover up for the REALITY and TRUTH of what adoption really is. The WORD ADOPTION is glamorized in the world, agencies, churches, the institutions, etc and glossed over to be highlighted as something “Wonderful”. The truth is rarely recognized by the world, and the adoptee lives with the truth deep inside our entire lives. One day the fog will start to lift and the word “ADOPTION” isn’t seen as something wonderful, but it’s replaced with the reality and TRUTH of what adoption really is to us, the adoptee.

Some of us are hit with this reality sooner than the others, but it usually comes out in certain places of our lives, and sometimes we don’t even know our issues are tied to being adopted, but most of the time they are. They are intertwined, tight and deep in our souls. I’ve done the research and I know hundreds of adoptees all over the world who all agree, adoption has impacted every area of our lives.

For the adoptee, if we are going to be truthful adoption is rooted and grounded in loss & trauma. Loss of our identity, medical history, genetic mirroring, ancestry, relationships, memories, connection to our roots, and the list could go on. The word ADOPTION is simply a cover up for all our pain. If the world removed the word, and took a look at what it costs for adoptees to be adopted, they would recognize our trauma, grief and loss much earlier on so we would get help much sooner. They would ACKNOWLEDGE we have every right to feel the way we do.

The WORD ADOPTION is filled with secrecy, lies, hidden agendas, corruption, and put in place to simply avoid the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH.  Half-truths seem to spin webs of lies in the adoption industry, and this causes many issues when adoptees search for their truth.

Adoption causes countless issues for adoptees and we are talking about things that happen AFTER relinquishment takes place. We’re handed over the genetic strangers, whom we share no DNA with. We don’t mirror anyone. Expectations are set HIGH as to how we are supposed to be, depending on what our adoptive parents have in mind for the child they want. We come with countless differences than the adoptive family we are raised in, yet many times our differences are dismissed because it might not line up with what our adopters want. We don’t blend in, yet we’re expected to act as if we do. Our feelings are silenced with sentiments of gratitude for our adoptive parents for “Saving Us” from the life we would have had before being adopted. We’re expected to be grateful someone wanted us when our own biological families didn’t want us. We never become NOT ADOPTED and these negative impacts are things that reoccur at different times in our lives. Our trigger list are a mile long, holidays and birthdays never stop coming. Searching is a daunting task filled with highs and lows, followed for some of us reunions that bring the same impact.

ADOPTION HURTS!

ADOPTION IS TRAUMA!

Many times our adoptive parents greatest joy is a result of our biggest loss. How do we disappoint them and let them know how we really feel?

We don’t…

This leads to internalized feelings of shame, guilt, grief, loss, trauma, abandonment and rejection issues. As children we learn to internalize everything and all our pain stays deep inside until we reach adult hood. Many of us start acting out in our teen years because our hormones are raging, and we have no healing outlet or tools to work through our issues. Anger, rage, anxiety, depression are all issues adoptees face AFTER RELINQUISHMENT. 

If anyone wants to read up on the statistics of adoptees over populating the prisons, jails, treatment facilities there is a lot of information out there. Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. Here are a few articles to read.

Toward Preventing Adoption Related Suicide By Mirah Riben

We Need To Talk About Adoptee Suicide By Angela Barra

Keep in mind these issues happen AFTER THE RELINQUISHMENT…

Adoptees can have the most wonderful adoptive parents and adoptive homes and many times still have severe issues. Help is lacking for adoptees, and therapist seem to be oblivious to the fact that ADOPTION is the ROOT cause of most of our issues. Adoptive parents are not prepared to handle all our issues and most of the time the adoption industry hides the TRUTH about what adoptees face, because they are in denial themselves and because adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry. Selling babies is their paycheck. That’s the TRUTH.

I’m not saying adoption is 100% the ONLY issue but it is the root cause of many areas of our struggles. The sad part is adoptees most of the time don’t even understand adoption has played such a significant role in all these areas. When they finally figure it out is when the connect with other adoptees. Then and only then do they know they aren’t alone in feeling the way they do.

Don’t think for a moment we haven’t already thought about THIS. We wake up with the realities of adoption and go to bed with them. We can try to escape this TRUTH but it’s part of who we are. What I would like to ask the readers to do is THINK ABOUT listening to adult adoptees next time they share their heart with you. THINK ABOUT acknowledging their pain when they share their pain. THINK ABOUT the reality to this thing is a reality you really can’t understand because you aren’t adopted. THINK ABOUT gaining the WILLINGNESS to want to learn and try to understand adult adoptees. THINK ABOUT reading adult adoptee Blogs and Adoptee Stories.

We’re the ones who have lived being adopted, yet we’re the most silenced in the adoption equation.

So here you see, ADOPTION & RELINQUISHMENT are very much intertwined in the fabric of an adoptees experience. To say one or the other hasn’t impacted us is not acknowledging a very critical part of our stories. ADOPTION comes with it’s own set of issues and so does RELINQUISHMENT. TOGETHER they make life extremely difficult for adoptees, especially when non-adoptees want to assume the issue is really with relinquishment and adoption is just a wonderful thing!

I haven’t even talked about adoptees who have HORRIBLE adoption experiences piled on top of relinquishment. I haven’t mentioned adoptees who have had HORRIBLE reunions on top of HORRIBLE adoptions. For us, it’s a life sentence filled with grief, loss, trauma and no acknowledgement in the real world from most non-adoptees that we should have any issues at all with adoption or relinquishment which is a trauma in itself. How would you feel if you had cancer and the world all around you celebrated that cancer? Well that’s how adoption is for us.

The world has no problems GLORIFYING the act of ADOPTION, yet the FAIL time and time again to address the real root issues of what adoptees experience before and after the adoption takes place.

This is a HUGE part of why the adoptee attempted suicide rate is 4x more likely than non-adoptees. This is why I keep writing. This is why many adoptees keep sharing. We have a moral obligation to think of our brothers and sisters who are adopted and who are stuck in a hopeless and helpless place.

If you are a non-adoptee reading, or someone who is impacted by adoption in some way please understand RELINQUISHMENT and ADOPTION go hand in hand with their own set of issues. ADOPTION is simply a WORD that masks the TRUTH of what ADOPTION really for adoptees. The SOONER we can remove this glorified word and be HONEST about what the realities are THE SOONER ADOPTEES will begin to share their real raw feelings of the damage adoption has caused, and the sooner they will begin to heal.

Half-truths, secrecy and lies stall our healing.

Hopefully this cleared up some confusion regarding adoption, relinquishment and how both of these areas impact adoptees. Please never think for a moment we aren’t already THINKING about these things. We think of them every single day all day long. I challenge the non-adoptees reading to THINK about learning from adult adoptees. We have lived adoption. We hold the most valuable experiences, yet for many years we have been silenced by the world.

Not today.

Today I share.

Today WE share.

I WILL NEVER BE SILENT.

Thanks for reading!

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Pamela believes all adoptees deserve to know their truth. She writes, blogs, and she reaches out to other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. Thanks for reading Pamela’s blog and please let her know you were here.

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova, Lexington, KY

You can look her up by email pamlakaranova@gmail.com

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Pamela Was Nominated for the Best Articles for Adoptees 2015 Check this link out!

 

LOVE IS NOT ALL WE NEED

We’ve heard it all for centuries, especially in the adoption community.

“ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”

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Well I’m here to express my desire to not only have love but my truth. Love wasn’t all I needed.

I needed my truth

THE TRUTH MEANS NOTHING HIDDEN

Yes, you guessed it. I’m an adult adoptee who has grown into my own woman. I have developed my own opinion, and I have been on a healing journey for 3 years now, attempting to heal from the lifelong struggles being adopted have brought my way. When I was growing up you weren’t supposed to talk about it. The less adoptive parents talked about it the better. Well, that was probably the worst advice that could have ever been given to adoptive parents.

TODAY…

I don’t have to be quiet, because it’s not a secret anymore. It might have been in the 1970’s but those days are over.

John 8:32 Says, “We shall know our TRUTH, and our TRUTH shall set us free”.

This scripture is what I stand on for all adoptees all over the world that are fighting to find their truths.

Love is good. Love is great.  Love isn’t everything. Love definitely wins. But Love isn’t all I needed.

I believe all adoptees are different. Some are perfectly content with not knowing who they look like or where they come from. They don’t need to know their answers. A lot of times adoptive parents come to me and say, “Jonny is fine with being adopted, I ask him how he feels and he says “Fine”, and he never brings it up. He appears to be happy.”

I think parents, adopted or not naturally want to protect their kids. I find this to come natural as a parent of 3 children. I would never want my poor kid’s hearts broken, but the truth is when you adopt a child, you adopt their broken, tainted, tore history while you adopt them. You also adopt the beautiful history some of us have.  It’s a part of them. I believe when you adopt a child, you have to accept this as a part of the child, and learn that there will be a day that child will start asking questions about their first family. They deserve to know their truth.

If LOVE was all I needed I would have been in great shape growing up. I believe with my entire heart that my adoptive parents and family LOVED me with everything they knew how. I have always been closer to my adoptive dad, yet he has always been so far away. But he’s been amazing. His wife, my step mother of over 35 years has also loved me the best way she knew how. We’ve all had a roller coaster ride over the years, but at the end of the day I know they have loved me, and they haven’t lied to me to gain anything. I respect them for that.

I still needed all the answers to my history. I needed my truth. I needed to know who my siblings were. I wanted to meet my biological grandparents. I have searched for every clue to WHO I AM and learned that I’m not like anyone of them! I’m the child God created me to be, but I needed to know and see this for myself. I needed to make the choices on my own, without everyone telling me and making the choice for me.

Saying “Love is all we need” is like putting a band-aide on our wounds. They are still deep down there and will surface as root issues later on in life.

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 THE TRUTH HAS HURT MORE THAN ANYTHING ON THIS PLANET.

I experienced failed reunions and rejection from both birth parents, yet I am happy every day I got one AMAZING brother out of the deal, and his AWESOME siblings have accepted me as their own.  I will always be grateful for them, and their relationships. ALTHOUGH THE TRUTH HURT, I WOULD RATHER KNOW IT, ACCEPT IT, AND BE ABLE TO HEAL THROUGH JESUS AND MOVE FORWARD WITH MY LIFE!!!!

We can’t heal if we don’t know our truth.

If I can share something with all my fellow adoptees out there, I would like to say to never give up hope in finding your truth and as much as it hurts to say, be prepared for anything. Most of the time relinquishment isn’t a “Pretty Story”.  I most certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from searching, but reach out to another adoptee that can pray for you, or help walk you through the emotions of the reunion and search experience.

My reunion doesn’t define me. My biological parents don’t define me. My adoptive parents don’t define me. My history doesn’t define me.

They are indeed a part of my Her [Story] – History! 

WHO I AM IN JESUS DEFINES ME!

I learned I’m really not like anyone, yet God made me (and YOU) special and unique in his own way. After learning what I know about my birth parents, TODAY I’m extremely thankful I’m not like any of them. The difference is, I know JESUS and neither of them did/do. I have his peace. I don’t have to drink today to handle these emotions, and the pain that goes along with this journey. Being adopted is a lifelong thing, it doesn’t just go away. This is something I will be working through for the rest of my life.

LOVE IS GREAT & LOVE WINS

But LOVE isn’t all I needed.

I needed my TRUTH

I thank GOD today, I’m no longer fighting for my truth.

How do my fellow adoptees feel?

Is love all you need?

Pamela A. Karanova,

Adult Adoptee Reunited

http://www.facebook.com/howdoesitfeeltobeadopted

http://www.facebook.com/askanadoptee1

Please read “About” section of both pages

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Photo By: Salvatore Vuono @freedigitalphoto.net

Pamela Karanova: Welcoming the REAL TRUE ME!

I’m coming out of the anonymous ADOPTEE CLOSET!

Yesterday was a BIG day for me!

For those that don’t know, I’ve always blogged under an Alias. My reason is because I have never wanted to hurt my adoptive family, or biological family’s feelings by sharing my truth.

Let’s just face the facts. Growing up in a closed adoption is everything  but normal!

I’ve been working through my second step study in Celebrate Recovery, a ministry I’m very involved in. Through this ministry God has moved mountains in my life! I’ve been able to work through some deep rooted things I thought I was going to take to my grave. But God had other plans for me. I don’t know what I would do without my step study sisters! They are amazing and they have helped me so much.

By working through these “things” I’ve been given a new confidence about myself. I’ve been given more of God’s grace to work through my issues. I’ve been able to feel strong enough that I don’t have to hide behind an alias anymore. This is a PRETTY FREEING FEELING!

Ever since I’ve been sharing my adoptee feelings, I’ve basically been living a double life. “Pamela Jones” was the adult adoptee, hurt, broken, angry, and very wounded from her adoptee experience. Pamela is my adoptive first name. Jones was the “Pen Name” I chose. I picked Jones because it was my biological father’s last name. His rights were stolen in the 70’s and my birth mother signed me over, without his consent. I have always had a strong disliking for my adoptive last name, it just never fit me. It actually despised it. It linked me to a whole lot of pain growing up. As I chose “Jones” to write under, it had a nice ring to it. It was my TRUE last name, but there is one problem. My birth father never accepted me as his so why would I really want his last name? It worked for 3 years. I hid behind it for 3 years. I made a lot of adult adoptee friends behind “Pamela Jones”, hundreds to be exact. I created an anonymous online name for myself, and it was a way of protecting my true self from those who might not agree with me. It was a way to hide behind my TRUTH. I had many adoptive and biological parents lash out at me for creating “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” so the “Pen Name” protected me from a lot of things. The most important to me, it protected my adoptive parents, specifically my adoptive dad whom I adore from every finding out how I truly feel. I have never wanted to break his heart.

I woke up a few days ago, realizing that if I desire TRUTH in adoption for all adoptees, I owe myself, my fellow adoptees, and the WORLD to know who I truly am! No more hiding. No more secrets. No more being scared of what those close to me will think. This has been a huge decision for me. But without God and his grace, I never would have been able to make this decision. His Grace, has brought a whole new perspective to my life. I believe Pamela Jones was there for me to process my anger, rage, and really deep raw feelings. I HAD TO GO THROUGH IT because you CAN’T HEAL unless you do. I don’t want to erase Pamela Jones. She was part of my life. She helped me get through some really deep dark times. All you have to do is look over the last 3 years of blog posts. You will read heartache after heartache in my writings. But if I could tell my fellow adoptees one thing, it’s going THROUGH the pain, CAN AND WILL bring you freedom. But we have to go through the pain.

As I write to my blog readers and the world today, I’m here to share my REAL TRUE identity. I’m here to tell you where I REALLY live. I’m here to invite you all to join me in the next level of my adoptee healing, and recovery journey. The one to FREEDOM. One of my favorite quotes is:

“You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it!”.

WOW WOW WOW! To all my fellow adoptees reading this, WE MADE IT! WE SURVIVED! How amazing is that in itself!

My true identity is “Pamela Karanova”. On my 40th Birthday I made the decision to legally change my last name. The name I was given at birth- I hated it! It was nothing personal against the family who gave me the name but it never fit me. It tied me to the city and town I grew up in, where I have so many bad memories. I just didn’t want the name anymore. So I prayed and asked God to help me come up with a new last name. I wanted it to be unique and pretty, just for me!

He gave me the verses, Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”

The word “PURE” stood out.

Then he gave me the verse. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!”

The word “NEW” stood out.

I looked up the meanings to “Pure” & “New” and “K A R A N O V A “ was born!

I wanted to make sure no one else had the name, or it wasn’t common so I Googled it, and didn’t find much at all aside from “Kara Nova” who happens to be a “Pole Dancer”. LOL

This change and the new name has a very BIG significant meaning to me. Not only in my adoptee world and journey, but in my Christian journey as well. Today I’m not the person I used to be. God has recreated me to be the person HE intends for me to be and I believe the new name is a symbol of the NEW ME.

My fellow adoptees can relate to the name change in the adoptee aspect. I feel so much was taken and stolen, lost never to be found again. PEOPLE made this choice for me. They erased my history! I had no choice! They gave me a new “fake” name & a new “fake” birth certificate! PEOPLE of the world have even tried to control how I feel about it, “JUST BE THANKFUL” using the WORD as a weapon to silence me from sharing my feelings. Sorry, but Christians are the worst! (Yes, I’m a Christian!) God has given me the grace to be able to use the WORD right back at them! Praise HIM!

The old me couldn’t have a conversation about adoption without getting angry, and wanting to scream or cry or throw something. Because people just don’t seem to “Get It” unless they are adopted. My fellow adoptees, my saving graces have taught me to stand up for myself, and God has taught me to do it with his grace. This has allowed me to feel like I’m in a confident place to be able to do this on my own, without hiding behind a “PEN NAME!”

So here I am. WAVING HELLO to the world! Sharing not only my real true feelings, but the REAL TRUE ME! So long to Pamela Jones. So long Pamela (____)

HELLO PAMELA KARANOVA!

From now on I will use my real name in my online adoptee world. I will sign my blog posts with my real information. I want all adoptees all over the world to reach out to me because only WE know HOW IT FEELS TO BE ADOPTED!

I have had to understand, that the WORLD has no idea how we feel or what we go through being adopted, and all the heartache that goes along with it. But my fellow adoptees get it. We have to be there to lift one another up, in times of crisis, and when we reach our all time lows, and they do come!

As for the few adoptive or biological family I am in fear of offending, I’m sorry in advance. If you find my blog, you find my true feelings. The feelings I’ve had to hide my entire life. One thing I can say is they are real. Living a lie wasn’t real. I know it wasn’t talked about in the 1970’s, but it’s talked about now. I think of the small handful of you all that might get offended compared to the HUNDREDS of adoptees I am in contact with that I have relationships with, and I KNOW I can help them by sharing they aren’t alone. Sorry, but my fellow adoptees are the reason God put me on earth. To help them break out of a lifetime of silence, and provide them with one person who GETS IT, who UNDERSTANDS, who LOVES THEM and doesn’t judge them anyway. While I navigate this journey in breaking out of hiding behind a pen name, I will be praying you all understand why I’ve had to do this. If I don’t do this, I have no purpose on this earth. That’s truly how I feel. I can’t worry about how other people respond to my decision, family or not. This is what God has called me to do, and I am going to spend the rest of my life reaching out to my fellow adoptees and sharing with them what God has done in my life, because he can do the same for them.

Living this double life has been painful. It started the moment I was forced to make a split between the REAL me, when I was born, and the NEW ME, when my adoptive parents erased the REAL ME, and falsified everything. As I’ve grown up into a woman who can chose for myself I’ve grown into the person God intended for me to be. It’s neither of the people from my past. So I’m no longer going to live the double life. I was forced to growing up, and have always felt like I had to protect others in my adoptive and biological families, but today I am living for God, and for myself, and my kids, and my fellow adoptees. No more double life.

I’m no longer hiding! Yay!

Signing off as PAMELA KARANOVA, Adult Adoptee

Lexington, KY

You can reach me at: pamelakaranova@gmail.com ßFellow Adoptees, add me to your Facebook by this email!

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www.howdoesitfeeltobeadopted.wordpress.com

Twitter: @pamelakaranova