Adoptee City

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

We’re ALIVE.

We Survived.

We have a story to tell.

Adoptees ONLY.

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

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

What would we do without one another, really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADOPTEE CITY…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We MUST Keep pushing, keep moving forward.

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

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

For 2018 Let’s bring visions to life!

Thanks for reading, XOXO

P.K.

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

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

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

Thank you Rebecca, I love you!

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

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

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

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

Until Now…

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

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

HIS GRACE.

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

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

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

What did this even mean?

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

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

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

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

JUST DO IT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

You are needed.

Your gifts, visions and talents are wanted.

Do not let anyone discourage you!

Kind Regards,

Pamela Karanova

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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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