How Adoptees Feel About Birthday’s

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This blog post was inspired because I know first hand how hard birthday’s can be for adoptees. There is healing in sharing how we feel so I wanted to seek input from my fellow adoptees and find out how they felt about their birthdays.

I was blown away to see so many of us feel similar ways about this day and the days leading up to the “Birth” day. Many of us are impacted as the days lead up to the month as well.

Some adoptees have no issues with this day.

No matter what experiences are shared here, I’m excited so share the feelings of so many of my fellow adoptees no matter how they feel. Each and every one of you matters, your story matters and your voice matters.

If you would like to add how you feel about your birthday please reply to this thread and I’ll add it to this blog post. Feel free to share with your online communities to help raise awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

Adoptee Voice #1.

  • My birthday month is August. I wish the month could go away. My birthday is the 10th. I don’t ever recall looking forward to my birthday. It feels weird when people wish me happy birthday. I don’t even know what the normal feeling is supposed to be.

Adoptee Voice #2.

  • It’s not your birthday. It’s your cake day., eat cake.

Adoptee Voice #3.

  • August 21st is my birthday so in the back of my mind counting down to the day. Not sure what plans are. I usually try stay positive but by evening the mind tends to take over a bit. I used to think it was the one day she would be thinking of me but found out she never remembered my birth date.

Adoptee Voice #4.

  • My birthday is December 21. So I get the holiday blues wIthiBONUS birthday blues. My mom passed just over a year ago, my dad has had a super rough time (wrecked the tractor last fall, other medical problems, depression) and I’m already dreading this holiday season.

    I’m actually thinking about taking a road trip. I could use the solitude and the break and it just might be the perfect time and place for the crying jag I never seem to let myself have.

    Last year I turned 50 and my aunt (my mom’s only sibling) surprised me at work with a big cake. It was nice of her, but it was also sort of surreal.

Adoptee Voice #5

  • It’s the time of the year I can’t “not think” of my birth parents. (BF is deceased) My birth mother lives less than 15 miles from me and a mile away from where I was raised. She pretends I don’t exist. If there is one day a year she thinks about me, that should be it, right? I do write her letters and send them, even though I never get anything back.

Adoptee Voice #6

  • I have an August birthday (the 28th). I HATE my birthday… As a child, it was never a happy occasion. Adoptive father was a violent drunk, and his drinking never took a vacation, no matter the day.. holidays, birthdays, weddings…. Adoptive monster was an enabler, and fed into his violence and never protect myself or adoptive brother. Birthdays were “family” parties until I was 10. Every year less and less people came, and I finally realized it was due to him. I always wondered what I did wrong.. But why in the world would you subject yourself to that disaster if you didn’t have to? And since I wasn’t blood to them, they just stopped coming. The final straw was at 16. Adoptive monster talked up a Sweet 16 party for years. Told me we would rent a hall, get a DJ, I could invite anyone I wanted… When it came down to it, it didn’t happen. It was downgraded to a house party in my garage. The day of ,I spent HOURS getting ready. Sat outside waiting and waiting. Hours after start time, I heard the adoptive monsters arguing. Adoptive father admitted the night before he called the entire guest list and told them it was cancelled…. NO JOKE. This is the deranged behavior I lived with my entire childhood. That was the last birthday I spent with them. Shortly after this, I fled in the middle of the night and was emancipated.

Adoptee Voice #7

  • My birthday is Nov 1 and I always got depressed and angry as it got closer. I’m 53. A few years ago I decided to start making it about others. I’d invite a couple of good friends to go out to a really nice dinner just to celebrate the friendships I have.
    I have a loving husband and family who wanted to bless me so I quit being a stick in the mud & let them and chose to enjoy what I have now instead of what I don’t have. Gratitude and choosing to bless others changed how I anticipate my birthday now.

    This was before I met my sister this past spring, and learned a lot about my birth parents who have passed. I am now looking forward to this year’s birthday.
    It’s all in perspective – I am here, alive, and have many things to be thankful about.

Adoptee Voice #8

  • Birthdays are hard for me. I have spent more than one birthday listening to John Lennon’s song “Mother” on repeat…

Adoptee Voice #9

  • I know some adoptees hated this, but I loved it. It made me feel special. My Adoptive Mom celebrated my adoption Birthday by taking me out and often giving me a special gift.

Adoptee Voice #10

  • The older I got the more I dreaded it. I only want to hear it from my son who I know loves me. And my boyfriend who I know loves me also. Everyone else I still wonder what they really think of me. No matter their loyalty or not….I still question it. It took me awhile to believe my boyfriend really loved me.

Adoptee Voice #11

  • Birthday, the day of happiness from all… Ugh it’s just a dreaded day of wanting to be alone.

Adoptee Voice #12

  • My birthday is in May and I just think of it as the day I was given to the universe rather than the day I lost my whole family.

Adoptee Voice #13

  • I have hated every single birthday I can remember. Everyone always thought I should love them and celebrate them! It never felt like my day or my birthday. Long story short at the age of 38 I found my birth mother 1 week ago. The day I had always celebrated my birthday was not the day I was born! I have no idea how I will feel for the next one….Feb always thought, March actual!
    Life literally changed overnight and upside down. I thought being adopted was hard, at this stage being reunited is even harder. My birth mother seems lovely and kinda “gets me” more than my adoptive mother. Huge journey/roller coaster ride about to begin.

Adoptee Voice #14

  • Growing up my birthdays were a mixed deal. The birthday party or events my parents had lined up were always fun things I really liked. But there is just something about the day I was born and always feeling like my biological mom did not even love me enough to keep me. Once I got into what my parents had planed it was always a fun day. But the lead up was bad for years. After I became an late teen and adult the day got worse. For years I would just ignore it, spending the whole day doing yard work, even mowing a relatives or a neighbors yard just things to keep my super busy and my mind off my birthday. The last few years have been better. I have dealt with my life much more working through it instead of burying it. I am beginning to feel I deserve to be happy or at least not sad on my day. Like others have sad feelings I have put in the work to earn my day. Wanting to show my biological mom this stubborn, loud, fussy baby turned out just fine!!!!

Adoptee Voice #15

  • It didn’t really seem much different than any other non-adoptees birthday, until I found out last year that by birth mother and I share the same birthday. I must have been the worst birthday present ever.

Adoptee Voice #16

  • For me I used substances for 26 years, so I didn’t have to process the pain of the realities of adoption. Birthdays were always a dreaded day filled with pain, loss, unconscionable grief and having to celebrate it was possible but only with alcohol in my life. 8/13/12 I decided I wanted to live a sober lifestyle and all the REALITIES of adoption came flooded in. I truly wasn’t prepared for it all. When you run for so many years how can you prepare. In the last 5 years I’ve worked towards handling these emotions in a healthy way. I am not gonna lie, there were birthdays I just couldn’t even get out of bed and it goes the same for the weeks leading up to that day. It was a dreaded day for many years, but recently I’ve given myself permission (because no one else in the world has) to be sad on that day, cry and share my feelings in my blog. I’ve learned it’s perfectly normal to be sad on the day I was separated from my birth mother. I wanted to erase the entire day and erase myself in the process! Thank God it wasn’t possible but I would have done it 100x over if it was. Today after almost 5 years of recovery and sobriety, my sessions of the pain of my birthday is still there, but each year I process and share my feelings and others validate them (THIS IS CRITICAL FOR US!) things get easier. This year, I will wake up on my birthday (Aug 13) and prob play a song that reminds me of my birth mother (My Way- By Frank Sinatra) and cry awhile. Why? Because it’s okay to cry awhile. Once I get that out of the way I might write about what I’m feeling and share it with those who understand, and get on with the day. I plan to go hiking with my kids and go see a waterfall and enjoy the rest of the day. You see, it’s critical we are able to process the pain because leaving it inside only KILLS us inside! Adoptees grow up, and they don’t stay babies forever. I wish someone would have told me it was okay to be sad on this day. If you are an adoptee who struggles with your birthday please know you aren’t alone!

Adoptee Voice #17

  • Birthdays for me, are somewhat hollow. There is an entire person who has never been acknowledged, celebrating his birthday, but as a different person. There is sadness and pain in any holiday for me. I still enjoy it. Just is different for me.

Adoptee Voice #18

  • We didn’t make a big deal out of birthdays or holidays while growing up. So, it’s still just that…not a big deal. A few people wish me happy birthday, but other than that it’s just another day.

Adoptee Voice #19

  • I always thought that the day I was born was the ultimate irony. I came into this world on Mother’s Day. I could never wrap my head around how that must have felt for my birth mother. My feelings towards my birthday fluctuate with the feelings I have for my biological parents. When I was younger, I had deep anger & spent my birthday wondering if they were thinking of me, hoping they were & hoping that it hurt like hell. My anger morphed into depression and my birthday has since caused me a deep sense of sadness & it is the time when I feel the greatest sense of abandonment.

Adoptee Voice #20

  • As a kid, I never thought twice about it. In the last 20 years it weighs on me, heavily. I’m now 42. My adopted father left as soon as the adoption was finalized leaving my mom and I. She passed away 4 years ago and I always think she loved me when no one else did. The date before the actual birthday is the toughest. Now that I have my own family I can remember every nuance of that day leading to their birth. Every year seems to be harder than the previous.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • I would never think twice about my birthday until I turned 16. I don’t know whether It’s because it’s an important milestone in our culture, or whether it’s because I was finally mature enough to understand the implications of adoption. From then on, a pattern began to develop. Each birthday would start off happy..until it didn’t. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing but out of nowhere I suddenly become overwhelmed with thoughts of my birth mother. Is she thinking about me? Does she get as sad as I do on this day? Has she been longing for me as much as I have been? Etc. Unfortunately, this feeling of loss has only continued to grow with each birthday.

Adoptee Voice #21

  • It’s my birthday, that’s all there is to it. I don’t have huge blowout gatherings or what have you, but I’ll do something to enjoy it. I feel blessed that people contact me in whatever manner they do to wish me well on that day!

Adoptee Voice #22

  • I remind people who love me it is an anniversary loss day, my body is grieving. I noticed a pattern likely in my childhood, usually crying on my birthday at the end of the day and not knowing why, had a full panic attach at age 19, and generally feeling sad for about 4-6 weeks around my birthday despite the happy celebrations. I love getting older but the loss does not seem to lessen with time, now almost 50, even after a happy reunion.

Adoptee Voice #23

  • It’s supposed to be such a happy day and every one wants you to be happy. But for me there’s always been something, something that spoils it. Something underlying that prevented me. It was only when I grew old enough to relate that it was the day “she” gave me away and chose never to see me again. To severe that 9 month bond and drastically change the course of my life without my consent.

Adoptee Voice #24

  • Like always, going through the motions, pretending to be happy because that is what everyone expects. Now, I am older, I choose to spend it alone with as little fuss as possible. This was a hard lesson for my natural siblings to learn on my first birthday post-reunion, they staged a birthday bash which I did not attend. It was always a painful period leading up to the actual day but it feels worse now, post-reunion. I was 5 years too late to meet my Mother and now, it just feels like the anniversary of when I lost her.

Adoptee Voice #25

  • My birthday doesn’t really bother me. I get really irritable around it, but on the day it’s always the best day. I try to make that day as happy as I can.

Adoptee Voice #26

  • I wonder if my ” mother ” thinks about me on my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #27

  • I can go into a full blown PTSD episode just because it’s that anniversary.

Adoptee Voice #28

  • It is simply the worst day of the year. Nothing fits.

Adoptee Voice #29

  • A yearly reminder that I was brought into this world to be given away, nothing more.

Adoptee Voice #30

  • I hate my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #31

  • It’s the saddest day of the year for me.

 

As you can see many adoptees share similar feelings regarding our birthdays. If you are an adoptee reading, please know you aren’t alone.

You matter and your feelings matter.

To all the adoptees who were brave in sharing their voices, THANK YOU for helping the world understand how it feels to be adopted. Keep sharing, keep using your voice!

If you are a non-adoptee reading this, thank you for making it this far. Your courage in having the willingness to want to learn how we feel is amazing alone. Please share this post in our online communities to help us raise awareness of how it feels to be adopted.

If you are an adoptee and would like to add how you feel about your birthday, please reply to this post and I’ll add it for you.

Blessings to all & thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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Tick-Tock, Times Moving on the Clock

The last few weeks of my life have been sort of a blur in many ways.

WHY?

Because I’m finally LIVING LIFE!

One thing I’ve learned is that time isn’t standing still for anyone. It appears most of my life has been a struggle, and a hard one at that. Isn’t that what it is for most of us? I mean isn’t that LIFE?

A STRUGGLE!

I don’t feel I’m set aside from everyone else or that my struggle has been worse or easier than anyone’s. We all go through things. I feel I’ve always been in survival mode never taking time to actually enjoy life. To be honest, the journey I’ve had it’s a miracle I’m alive. This is where God comes into my story, and I give him all the PRAISE & GLORY!

Living most of my life with a broken heart from adoption, I have learned that it’s okay to feel that way and it’s important to share my feelings. This is what my blog is for.  This is true for us all or healing won’t happen. I’ve been on the recovery road for almost 5 years now and it hasn’t been easy to work on all my past JUNK! But one thing I am not going to do is take it all to the grave with me or make others pay for my issues! This is what has given me the motivation to work on SELF! For my kids, future grand kids and those close to me.

I want to be WHOLE, HAPPY & HEALTHY!

Recently, I’ve been reminded of how quick life is and how our lives can be gone in the blink of an eye. It’s so important to open our eyes and see the beauty God has placed all around us in people, places & things. We can’t wait my friends. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in pushing our way through LIFE and being in survival mode but I would like to challenge you to pause on the hustle & bustle of LIFE and start finding things that make you tick.

What brings you true happiness?

What is healing to you?

For me, I describe my journey in this area finding my way back home. Adoptees get the search I am speaking of. We spend our entire lives searching for our people, places & things.

Every. Single. Day.

Searching.

For me, it’s all said and done. There is no more searching for my biological family. I’ve searched and found them. It turned into more heartbreak for me but at least now I know.  They were not “home” for me but I’ve heard many adoptees say they were home for them. So for me, my search to fill that void continued. Yes, God is living in my heart but please believe there is still a void not having my biological family in my life. It will always be there, especially the mother part. But I’ve moved on the best I can and process emotions when they come.

But I would like to ask WHERE IS HOME FOR YOU?

For me, It’s with my kids and in nature with God.

I’ve floated around my entire life like a lost soul trying to attach to people, places & things to fill that void but I’ve discovered it’s impossible for me. I’m okay with that but I understand time is passing by and I can’t get back any of the time I have spent working on myself in recovery or the time I have spent living life with alcohol in it.

TODAY & FUTURE DAYS I WANT TO LIVE THE LIFE GOD CREATED FOR ME ALL ALONG.

Time doesn’t wait for any of us so I would like to encourage you to do the same.

What are you waiting for?

Here are some recent pictures of my most recent adventure into the wild.

This is home for me my friends.

God’s presence is HERE more than anywhere for me.

Adventure Awaits, We Have to Reach Out & Grab It.

Much Love,

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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Adoptee in Recovery-Turning the Pages

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It’s hard to believe it has been 4 years since I’ve been on this recovery journey!

WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?

It’s amazing when I think about where I was 4 years ago. I had found out a few years earlier that both my birth parents were alcoholics, and drinking alcohol was something I did for an entire lifetime. WHY?

Because the pain….

The pain of the realities of my adoption were just too great. I couldn’t handle them. I couldn’t process them. The pain from my childhood growing up and earlier years in life, were huge and alcohol seemed to be the only thing available to ease the heartache. Due to this lifestyle I attribute it to many other things that happened as a result of MY CHOICES! I could sit and play the blame game here, but I learned real quick in recovery I have to take responsibility for my actions, choices, etc. I have done that. I don’t blame anyone for my choices.

Back on Aug 13, 2013 it was not only my birthday but it was the day I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking habit. I was scared, all alone and pretty frightened on how I was going to do this. I was praying and God kept giving me the word “MULTIPLY MULTIPLY MULTIPLY“. What did this mean? He told me he was going to remove all the toxic people, relationships and things that weren’t his plan for my life, but if I just held onto HOPE- HIS HOPE he was going to multiply my life in every area possible. Friends, Finances, Spiritually, Emotionally, Etc.

It seemed I was about to transition from an OLD LIFE to a NEW LIFE. The NEW LIFE GOD had planned for me All along.

No one told me I was about to grieve the loss of the old life. I figured this out on my own. Old ways, old habits, old friends, and all the things that were familiar to me for the first 37 years of life! 

So here I go…. This process was frightening at first…

MULTIPLY! 

I continued to go to church and I started attending the most amazing ministry ever, Celebrate Recovery. This ministry is not for sissies! I always say adoptees aren’t sissies, we are some of the strongest people on the planet! We couldn’t handle this journey if we weren’t strong! ALL OF US, even if you don’t feel that way!

YOU ARE STRONG!

Over the last 4 years I have grieved my losses regarding my adoption experience. I have cried, I have been sad, I have been depressed, I have been heartbroken, I have been filled with hopelessness, fear and unbelief. I have gone through just about every emotion and feeling known to man regarding this journey, and my hopes in going THROUGH IT IS SO I WOULD HEAL IT! God knows my purpose in sharing my pain is to offer HOPE to someone else, another adoptee out there who might be feeling this way. I have always kept God in my life, sharing where he is who has given me hope and strength.

I am certain without my relationship with God I wouldn’t even be alive today! He gets the glory!

As 4 years have passed, I have gone all the way back to my childhood, pulled out ever skeleton in my closet, and with the tools from Celebrate Recovery I have set those things on the table, identified my root issues, and asked God to come into my life and do a mighty work on me. Abandonment & Rejection from adoption are the ROOT of my issues.

With these issues being so deep rooted, I have found to have triggers all over. I am in therapy now to work on triggers. I have to do what is best for me so I can be a happier healthier mother for my kids, and be of more support for my fellow adoptees, and so I can be a better friend, sister, and person.

I have had to make these choices for myself as well as the choice to move forward out of all the darkness the enemy has held me captive in for far too long! We all have this choice! 

During the last 4 years, I was not able to celebrate a birthday. When I was not in recovery it was easy, I drank to drown out the realities of what happened that day. It was simple. I wasn’t present. I was out of my mind. The last 4 years as my birthday approaches it’s been like dooms day, terrible and its impossible for me to describe it to non-adoptees. Most of my fellow adoptees get it. The visions I have of that day are gloomy, sad, and dark. It’s the day I lost my biological mother and family. It’s never a happy day to me, only sad. Deep dark sadness.

Well I have learned that is not from God. Yes, I have spent the last 4 years feeling that way, hiding my sadness form those around because I don’t want to hurt them by them seeing me hurt. I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. God has been working on me and the last 2-3 months many things have changed for me. My spiritual Mom, Ms. Deanie Cinnamon has prayed for me and I felt her prayers break some things off  of me. Slowly God has pulled me out of this sadness and darkness adoption has caused me. He’s been working on restoring my thinking, the way I feel about myself and life in general. He’s helped me realize that YES, the beginning of my life was tragic, brutal, heartbreaking and filled with extreme loss , grief, trauma and sadness…

BUT THE REST OF MY LIFE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE LIKE THAT!

ONLY IF I CHOOSE FOR IT TO BE!

Every single person on this planet has a choice. We can sit and wallow in the pain, or we can move through the pain and get to the other side of healing and true freedom. This is the same healing and freedom God has for all his children. YES I AM TALKING TO YOU! Yes, it’s important we feel the pain, because we have to feel it to heal it. I have spend the last 4 years feeling it and healing it. You can tell by my blog, the roller coaster of emotions, experiences, feelings that have followed me through this journey. I feel it’s this place has been a huge factor to my healing! A space all mine to share my heart.

This year as my birth day approaches something was different. It was like God was telling me, “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SIT AROUND AND BE SAD THIS YEAR! YOU ARE GOING TO CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE BECAUSE YOUR LIFE DESERVES A CELEBRATION!”

So for the first time in 4 years I planned a birthday dinner. Who did I invite? All the people I hold very close to my heart. The people God promised me he was going to MULTIPLY my life with, happier, healthier, amazing friends that I call family. A few old relationships, but mostly new. My amazing kids, and I can’t even express to you how excited and happy I am that God has put some amazing people in my life! He did what he said he was going to do, He MULTIPLIED! He’s still multiplying!

I had a step study sister say one time, “I try to remember God is who he says he is, He’s going to do what he said he’s going to do and I am who he says I am!”. Talk about POWERFUL! I try to remind myself of this daily and I want to ask you to remind yourself of this daily! We aren’t what we were born into. We aren’t what the world says we are. We aren’t what past relationships have said about us. WE ARE WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE!

That should put a smile on your face. I learned in the last 4 year I am not like my birth family, I am not like my adoptive family. NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT.

I AM WHO GOD CREATED ME TO BE!

SO ARE YOU!

The day before my birthday my adoptive cousin sent me a link to a song. I truly believe God was behind this because I don’t think my cousin even knew it was my birthday and she didn’t know the feelings I was having regarding my birth father, him not responding to my letters after I sent Him DNA proof I was His only daughter. I was feeling all kinds of ways, but behind it all God has given me a peace about it I have never had. The night before my birthday I played this song over and over but I applied “Mother and Father” to it and “All People Are Broken”…. I really want to ask you to take a moment and listen because as I laid in my bed and allowed myself the room to cry and go through the emotions the day before my birthday it left me with a space to grieve once again my losses that adoption has brought. I needed this for myself so I could put on a TRUE smiling face for my birthday and actually enjoy the people God has blessed me with!

Please listen to this song! It has changed some things for me and allowed me to look at things from a different perspective. It’s allowed me to have a compassion for my birth parents and adoptive parents I never had before. I hope it can do the same for you!

Click Here!

All Men Are Broken

Here are some pictures from my birthday celebration. Sending much love to my amazing kids, my friends and those who came to hang out with me and support me! The letters you all wrote touched my heart and the photos we took I will cherish forever! I am so blessed and thankful to have some amazing people in my life! GOD DID IT! HE MULTIPLIED!

I’m so thankful! I’m excited to see what the next chapter is! God knows my heart and he knows my passion for helping hurting adoptees! I’m praying he use me to share his love with each of them. I had to experience this life to be able to have this passion. It’s God’s plan for my life to use my pain for His Glory! He has this plan for all of us!

To my fellow adoptees who might be reading, God knows your tears, your pain and your heart! He says in His word he can and he will heal it! We have to allow ourselves the space to FEEL IT! Please know you are not on this journey alone and I am here for you if you need me! Find a safe place to share your feelings, start a blog, share your story! REACH OUT TO ME! I have a message of HOPE FOR YOU! God is HOPE! He is TRUTH! He is LOVE! I love you all!

Blessings! Here are some of my birthday photos!

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The Ailing Adoptive Mother

When you’re adoptive mom is ailing and you have no relationship with her…

I always knew this day would come.

I fill with FEAR even thinking about it!

11 years ago I packed my kids up in a 22 foot U-HAUL with all our belongings and we moved across the country far away from my adoptive mom where she couldn’t spin her sick and twisted mentality on my children and on my life any longer.

I consider it an escape.

I will never forget July 2, 2005

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If you knew all I know about my life, my child hood, and the pain and anguish this lady has caused me you would consider it an escape also.

ALONE

I was alone when I made the biggest, hardest decision of my life. This one decision would impact the rest of my life and the rest of my kids’ lives. I had to make a choice. Move away and have no family ties in the state we were moving too, or stay and my kids would experience all the trauma, emotional manipulation and mental sickness that my adoptive mother is filled with.

If you are curious of all the dynamics please read The Narcissistic Adoptive Mother . I won’t go into all the details here because it would take too long.

This decision is one my kids still don’t quite understand because they escaped, and they didn’t experience all I did. I AM SO GLAD THEY DIDN’T EXPERIENCE ALL I DID! What they understand is they left the only grandmother they would ever know and one that they spent a lot of time with the first part of their lives. Because of this it has created a space of confusion for them and I hate being adopted because of this. Why should my kids have to suffer just because I got dealt a raw deal in the mother area?

Regardless, I do not regret moving them/us away so they could have a better life. I understand they might not fully understand because they didn’t experience the other side as much as I did but when I noticed my adoptive mom starting to make them rub her back, massage her body and do inappropriate things I knew it was time to go. We raise our kids to have compassion, and to be kind and to love others, especially their grandparents. Well it’s hard for them to understand and it’s something that I struggle with because I don’t ever want them to fully understand because that means they didn’t experience as much as I did. I’m thankful for that. The flip side is that in there little sweet hearts, they just want their grandma minus all the BS! It hurts them, and it hurts me to see them hurt. I had to make this choice for my kids and I and now that they are adults they can make their own choices. It was my job as their mother to PROTECT THEM. That’s exactly why I moved far away.

My adoptive dad and his wife have always lived far away and I have a little bit of a relationship with them. When I was 1 my adoptive parents divorced and my adoptive dad remarried.   As an adult in my 40’s I can’t help but question WHY. Why did he leave us with this lady and HE KNEW how crazy she was? THAT’S WHY HE DIVORCED HER! He KNEW what she was capable of, but to this day most of the trauma and drama that we experienced was kept hidden from him. Within the last few years I had a talk with him. I was curious what the beginning of my life was like. I said, “How was she as a mother when I was a baby?” If you do the research you will know how critical the bond between baby and mother is ESPECIALLY at the beginning of life. When the original bond is broken, a trauma occurs. For me, I always wondered if I bonded with her, because I didn’t feel like I bonded with anyone, especially not a mother figure. He said, “When we got the call for you to be adopted, you should have never been adopted. (He wasn’t being mean, he was just being truthful!) Your “Mother” couldn’t even take care of the first baby (my adoptive sister that was 11 months older) but she wanted another baby. She had to undergo a psychological evaluation but somehow she passed. And we were able to adopt you. After that everything went to hell in a hand basket!” — WOW. It’s unbelievable that this woman was able to adopt even after she couldn’t take care of the first adopted child.  And then my adoptive dad left got remarried and moved over an hour away.

My adoptive sister and I were left ALONE with this MANIC DEPRESSIVE NARCISSISTIC WOMAN who not only tied us to chairs with dish towels, but tried to commit suicide over and over and made us her personal slaves taking care of her day in and day out.

Through my child hood I went to my adoptive dad’s house to visit every other weekend for the duration of my child hood.  He took us on vacations; we camped and traveled a lot. He let me be a kid. He was always amazing in my eyes, aside from one thing. I remember about my adoptive dad’s house was that they have always favored and I have experienced the pain from this first hand. I was on the opposite side of the one child that was always favored, as well as the rest of my adoptive siblings. IT HURT!  I never wanted my kids to feel the pain from being favored. If you favor kids or grandkids you need to stop! It causes lifelong pain and trauma! STOP STOP STOP!  I was an adopted step child and many times I was treated as such. There always has been and always will be a favorite in their eyes, even with the grandkids. I spared my kids the pain from experiencing this and made the choice not to move where this was happening. I wanted better for them.

If we were in Kentucky all alone with no family I could protect my kids, give them a better life than what I had, no family drama and manipulation. We have a church family here. We have a church home. God has put some amazing people in our lives who are our family. We are thankful.

But there is this piece inside of me, and I’m certain my kids who are deep down sad we have no family here to spend holidays with, to have relationships with and to invite over for Sunday dinners. I still would rather have escaped than deal with the adoptive mother, but look at the alternative. WE ARE ALONE IN KENTUCKY WITH NO FAMILY. Yes, I chose that. I have to always remind myself I chose that. But I also am reminded what the alternate was…

Again, refer back to the Narcissistic Blog post.

There is no point in taking my mind to “I wish, I wish”. There is no wishing in this game of adoption. Not for the adoptee anyway! We have no wishes, no choices, and no say so. We have no rights. I had no choice in moving away if I wanted better for my kids.

Today I have 110% control over my life, and who I allow in it and who I allow to manipulate me and hurt me. I teach my kids the same thing.

My adoptive mom is at the top of the list of people who has hurt me, way before I grew up and started acting out on my pain and I began to hurt others out of hurt, anger and pain from my child hood traumas I experienced growing up. My adoptive mom is the biggest trigger I have in my entire life. I think of her coming close to me or my kids I fill with a fear I can’t even describe. The last time she was here it was literally like the devil showed itself up at my doorstep. I am not kidding either. She brought her pill addicted self to my home and tried to create drama and a wedge between my kids and I and was full force into her manipulation tactics, manic depressive episodes, and craziness that I grew up in. This was August 2012. When she left my home at this time I told her she was never welcome in my home again and if she wanted to see her grandkids she would need to get a hotel room. I NEVER want my kids to see their grandmother lying around lethargic clinging to her prescription pill bottles tighter than she is clinging to anything in this lifetime.

WHY CAN’T SHE JUST BE A HAPPY HEALTHY NORMAL GRANDMA?

I always have hope that people can change, but she is someone I don’t believe ever will. Her mental illness, pill addiction and manic depression is too severe and she has never been treated for any of the root issues regarding all these things or these things in general. Growing up I didn’t understand! Now that I am grown up I understand! She’s SICK. And in the process she has just kept destroying lives, and somehow in the middle managed to adopt 2 kids!

She always said, “Your birth mother made my dreams come true to be a mommy”.  Talk about a mental mind F$%K for a child. I wanted to know my birth mother, to see her to be near her. I wanted my birth mother to be my mother. But my biggest loss was my adoptive mother’s biggest gain. I hated her for many years of my life because of all the hell she put me through. She was never a mother, and I never bonded to her at all. She made my skin crawl and still does. I was always the one who took care of her, telling her “It’s going to be okay mommy!” as she cry day in and day out about everything you could imagine.

Let me share, I remember my entire life her having “Talks” with me about never wanting to go to a nursing home. These talks go back all the way to me being a little girl. I never understood how random this was until I grew into my adult life. One year after my escape, she drove to my door to visit my kids. She wanted to have another “talk” with me. She was only 60 years old at the time. She wanted to know if I would be her POA and agree to take care of her in her elderly years. She was trying to have this “serious” talk with me and try to manipulate me into being her POA. Does she even understand what that might look like coming from me? That’s a whole different blog post!

First of all, I have 3 SMALL children and I am a single mother barely making it back in 2005! I was on public assistance, welfare, didn’t even have a car at the time. BUT SHE- THE ADOPTIVE MOTHER drove all the way to KENTUCKY to have this “TALK” with me about HERSELF and HER ELDERLY CARE WHEN SHE WAS 60 years old! I was blown away! I told her there was no way under God’s green earth that I was going to agree to ANYTHING regarding her care! We shouldn’t even be talking about this with her being 60 years old. I was 30 for God’s sake! With 3 small children! I quickly caught on to her scheming and manipulation tactics. We hadn’t even had a relationship since I escaped! My hands were full with my kids, and I found it extremely offensive she never took anything into consideration but HERSELF.

I shut her down and her topic of conversation back in 2005. I believe wholeheartedly that as parents age, things happen naturally and one of your kids who you have a great relationship with should be the one to step up and WANT to be the POA for the ailing parents. I never have or never will expect my kids to “TAKE CARE OF ME!” as I get older! If they choose to than I would be forever thankful, but if they don’t all I ask is they make sure the nursing home where I am is providing me with the care I need, and they be a voice for me if I am unable to be a voice for myself. IT’S VERY SIMPLE but I am thinking about them and their lives and I don’t want to impose on whatever they might have going on. They might be married, raising kids, or even raising grandkids for all I know. They might be in college, or not in a financial position to take care of me. I AM OKAY WITH THAT! Truth be told, if we do what we are supposed to do in the parenting area, our kids should WANT to take care of us if they are able! We shouldn’t have to manipulate and force them at all!  I believe with my entire being that my adoptive mother ONLY ADOPTED KIDS FOR HER OWN SELFISH DESIRES AND NEEDS AND A BIG PART OF THAT WAS TO LOCK ONE OF THE 2 KIDS SHE ADOPTED INTO BEING HER POA AND MANIPULATING US TO CARE FOR HER IN HER DYING DAYS…

Not only did she get a ticket to “mother hood” by adopting, she got a ticket out of being in a nursing home when she got into her dying days…

OR THIS IS WHAT SHE THOUGHT

It has taken me 37+ years to forgive this woman. I have forgiven her back in 2012. I refuse to carry any hate towards her. I feel sorry for her. I pity her. She’s an addict and she’s mentally sick. Her doctors have completely failed her and she has manipulated every single person she has come into contact with, even churches and pastors! I have seen it with my very own eyes growing up and as an adult. I learned as a child to disassociate my child self to a grown up self. I had no choice. When I was dealing with a hysterical manic depressive “Adoptive Mother” what choice did I have?

Today, I am at a place of peace with moving away although I will always have sadness regarding having to make this choice. WHY WAS I EVEN ADOPTED IF THIS WAS GOING TO BE A CHOICE I HAD TO MAKE? I feel like an adopted orphan and there comes a lot of pain with this! Not just for me but for my kids. I still get angry sometimes knowing my kids have to experience even a little of the pain I do. I get sad, and I hate adoption because of it. Yes, I have a hard story and so do many of my fellow adoptees! But I have had to make the choice to move forward with my life! When the sadness comes, I acknowledge it because trust me, NO ONE ELSE WILL! Adoptees are ALIENATED in how we feel! There is no one to share it with aside from one another adoptee.

The point of this blog post is to ponder what to do when my ailing adoptive mother is having issues, is in rehab and she is “ANGRY” my kids or I haven’t run to the rescue. By way of a 3rd party to one of my kids her POA has given multiple messages which I believe are somewhat manipulative and of course my kids want to know “WHAT DO I DO?” At this point my kids are all adults. I do not want that lady anywhere around my kids because she’s extremely dangerous with her manipulation tactics and she has many times tried to create a wedge and start drama between my kids and I, not to mention do everything in her power to guilt my kids into feeling sorry for her. WE DON’T HAVE DRAMA UNLESS SHE’S HERE! When she rolls up it’s like my child hood flashing back accept it’s with my kids in it! It’s BAD! Very VERY BAD!

You all know I am in RECOVERY! I will have 4 years soon. Even thinking of allowing her 461b8dc93aa7a7cd596ba3b9589fde5cback in my life causes me great grief and stress and anxiety! I WILL RELAPSE if I allow her back in my life. Drinking was my escape!  Yes, I still have so many memories from my child hood that I just can’t allow her back in my life for many reasons. Mainly because she’s still extremely toxic and I have gotten SO MUCH HELP for my issues, been working for years towards healing from my childhood which she robbed from me! I am still working on myself and doing everything I can to be a better mother to my kids than what I got…

And then here she comes out of nowhere expecting my kids and I to drop our lives and come running. I am blown away! There is NOTHING I can do for her because she has done NOTHING to help herself. She is still addicted to prescription pain pills, and manipulating everyone around by her hypochondriac sickness, manic depressive episodes, sleeping all day being awake all night.

If I tap into the little girl that so desperately wanted a mommy back in my child hood I get pretty sad and part of me wishes I could do something for her. I wish she was the mother I always dreamed of. If she was a “GOOD” adoptive mother I would love to move her here, take care of her, and make sure she was taken care of! BUT SADLY I never got the mother I deserved, as many people in life don’t. I was never comforted, protected, or loved the way I needed to be loved. She said she loved me but her actions showed the opposite so I grew up never knowing what LOVE felt like. After all, when you LOVE SOMEONE “SO MUCH” you hand them over to strangers to raise?  As soon as I tap into that little girl who wants and misses her mommy, HER REAL MOMMY, I remove myself and come back to REALITY. THE TRUTH IS MY ADOPTIVE MOTHER HAS NEVER BEEN A MOTHER. SHE ISN’T CAPABLE OF BEING A MOTHER.  SHE ADOPTED ONLY SO HER KIDS COULD TAKE CARE OF HER.

What I have considered doing is that when she gets to the stage of not being able to destroy lives anymore, and when she is out of her mind I would consider it then. But as long as her mouth piece keeps running and manipulation keeps flowing from her lips I will have no part of her life. I just can’t. The first 31 years of my life were catering to her, moving her, caring for her, cleaning for her, slaving for her, everything was about HER HER HER!

Today at 41 years old, almost 42 I am putting myself first and my kids first. I have for the last 10 years and moving away was the most freeing thing I have ever done in my lifetime. I do not regret it for one minute. What I do regret is ever being adopted in the first place. I hate every bit of being adopted. I’m on the outside of 2 family trees not belonging to either of them. It’s heartbreaking

BUT GOD!

I am here and alive. I have 3 amazing kids and one of the biggest joys of my future is having my kids grow up and having wonderful relationships with them and having grandkids in the future. We are our own family. I encourage my kids to surround themselves with HEALTHY PEOPLE and HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP! I encourage them to set boundaries with people if they aren’t healthy. If people can’t abide by your boundaries you have every right to cut them out of your life.

YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING!!!

I DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING!!!

I DIDN’T SIGN ANY ADOPTION PAPERWORK!

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I have prayed to God, asking Him if I am supposed to be the one to step up and do something to “CARE” for the woman who adopted me but never cared for me, only emotionally and mentally abused me I would like him to please SHIFT MY HEART back to the little girl who has compassion and love for this lady who stole so much. I have never felt FREER in my life than the moment I had that truck loaded, and drove all the way across the country and I had my babies with me. The FREEING feeling is something I can’t even describe. I believe the best way is the understand that I broke free from a toxic situation to FREEDOM but it was extremely difficult to get to that point. I had to have MUCH faith in God and put my hope and trust in him. When we arrived back in KY we had no home, no money, no bank account, no keys to anything, no car, no job, ONLY MY KIDS AND I AND OUR BELONGINGS! We stayed at my twin’s granny’s house for a few months; slowly God began to bless us. DON’T FORGET I HAD A LIFETIME OF TRAUMA DEEP INSIDE STILL BENEATH THE SURFACE. CHILDHOOD TRAUMAS SO DEEP I COULD MAKE A LIST! But GOD… He blessed us, I was able to get a job, a car, a place, and we have been doing well ever sense. I HAVE FINALLY ESCAPED AND MADE SOMETHING FOR MY KIDS AND MYSELF. On the outside things have been pretty good, but deep inside it’s taken me the last 4 years in recovery to scratch the surface on all the pain adoption has caused me! I am in acceptance mode that this recovery journey is going to last a lifetime and things might not get easier anytime soon. I have 31 years of conditioning I’m breaking FREE FROM. 31 years of anger, rage, hate, self-hate, abandonment, rejection, abuse, physical, sexual and emotional from my lifetime. 25+ years of my life I was a heavy drinker because I JUST COULDN’T FEEL THE PAIN OF MY PAST.

BUT GOD…

So today while my adoptive mother has fallen, gone to a rehab nursing home and she is making demands that she hates to be there and via a 3rd party is doing her best to manipulate my kids which in return she knows will get back to me I STILL FEEL NO OBLIGATION TO RUN TO HER AND START TO PICK UP WHERE I LEFT OFF WHEN I ESCAPED IN 2005 AND BEGIN TO TAKE CARE OF HER AGAIN. I TOOK CARE OF HER FOR 31 YEARS.

I am finally at a place where I am going to start living my life, all the life that was stolen when I was a child and up until I was 31 when I escaped. I have never started living life yet, and I have 3 amazing kids who are all adults now. I feel our relationships are about to get stronger and better. So far I’ve been mother and father to them, a role that is one that is TOUGH because a lot of times they don’t like me because I have to put boundaries into play. But if our kids like us all the time we aren’t doing something right! But I am already noticing a change in our relationships where we are getting closer because I’ve had to take a step back in some areas because they are ultimately going to choose what path they are going to take in life and now I believe we are going to become closer as friends, at least that’s what I feel and hope anyway. I PRAY A LOT FOR MY KIDS. GOD GETS THE GLORY EVERYDAY for bringing my kids and I where we are but I cannot and will not let the enemy come in and STEAL any more of my life than what he has already stolen! HE’S STOLEN A LOT! God is GOOD and GOOD things have happened since I escaped and he’s going to bring MORE GOOD as we move forward.

I pray for my adoptive mom and at this point that is truly what I feel God is leading me to do for her. Prayer is powerful and prayer changes things. I pray God help her heal from all the sickness she has had my entire life. I pray God change my heart if I am supposed to go help take care of her, or bring her where I am to take care of her. At this point even thinking about it causes me great stress, anxiety, and emotional and psychological wounds that aren’t fully healed come whaling back to my mind. I clearly don’t believe God is calling me to do anything at this point. She has blood family in Iowa. She has a sister, nieces and nephews; she has a power of attorney. She has friends, a pastor and the adoptive sister I grew up with has a relationship with her. So there are other people who have relationships with her who can step up and care for her.

I am deeply saddened that even from her nursing home bed she is still trying to manipulate and make others, including my children feel GUILTY she is there. We live states away and last I knew when people made responsible financial decisions in their life they SAVED THEIR OWN MONEY for their care as they got elderly. They didn’t EXPECT THEIR CHILDREN TO PAY FOR IT. She is at a rehab! The point of rehab is for her to GET BETTER and get back on her feet so she can go back home. I suspect a major part of her problem is that they are monitoring her medications and she’s addicted to pain pills. I have seen elderly in this position and I have had 31 years + experience with her addiction and I KNOW she can become impossible to deal with. She will have the most sane person in the world PULLING THEIR HAIR OUT! So she really has no say in where she is, when she is in the best place possible getting recovery hopefully going back to her apartment. Even if I went there, THERE IS NOTHING I COULD DO! I have a job, kids and a life here in Kentucky. She is in IOWA.

Today I am at peace that God is calling me to pray for peace and healing for her. I have no obligation to RUN TO THE AIDE of someone who stole so much from me. I haven’t seen or spoke to her in over 2 years aside from a brief visit in Sept 2015 and this is a view of what we arrived to, and the sad part.. She knew we were coming. Imagine being raised in this mess? THAT WAS MY CHILDHOOD…

She stole my childhood, my chance at having a mother who REALLY loved me. I don’t even know what a mother is or what a mother does?? I don’t know how a mother is supposed to be. The only way I have seen it is through others, and every time I see it I cry inside. I can’t even grasp what it’s like to have that close relationship with a mother but the closest thing I will ever have is my relationships with my kids and for them I am forever thankful. Minus having a mother, I have done my best to be a good mother to my kids. YES, I’ve made mistakes. A LOT OF THEM. But I’m trying to do better for them than what was done for me and I’m  moving forward and for once I am putting myself and my kids first. My recovery depends on it!!

I have spent the last 4 years working on myself by working the 12 steps over and over and doing so many things to CHANGE my life, for the better. I have made amends to people I hurt and asked for forgiveness as well as extended forgiveness to those who hurt me.  My adoptive mother on the other hand, is never going to change and I’m 100% positive she will die the same way she is. She’s mentally sick, she ruins lives, and her own family says she was born with evil in her body.

I wish things weren’t the way they were but because they are I feel no obligation at this time in my life to go running to my adoptive mother’s aide. I feel if she was ever in a place where she could no longer try to destroy people’s lives I might be able to consider it, meaning the later stages of her life when she is no longer able to manipulate. Perhaps she will be bed ridden, and her memory will be gone? She won’t be able to control her pill addiction, and her memory won’t remember who I even am. Maybe then I would consider it, if God calls me to do that.

For now I will pass and know in my heart of hearts I can only give what I can give and right now all I can give is PRAYER! I am only 11 years into gaining my freedom back from being conditioned for 31 years of my life, and STUCK in a toxic disgusting relationship. I’m not ready to give my life up again for someone that took so much. I’m at peace with this decision. I do feel bad for my kids who have been robbed of a happy healthy grandmother, like I was robbed of a happy healthy mother. It never leaves my mind and I have deep rooted sadness regarding this loss, not only for myself but for my kids.

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For my fellow adoptees that have been in this situation, how did you handle it?

Thanks for reading!

Pamela Karanova

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Adoptee Voices- Why Do We Search?

I would like to compile a blog post about why adoptees make the choice to search with an emphasis on it not wavering how much we loved or didn’t love our adoptive families.

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Over and over I hear adoptive family members or non-adoptees discourage adoptees from searching because we should “Just be happy with the family we got” and “We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into” by searching. I would love input from my fellow adoptees to include in my blog post. All entries will be kept anonymous. I feel this is something that really needs to be brought to light. I’ll share here when I’m done and this will be shared publicly and online.

Here are the questions over 20 adoptees chimed in on. 

 

1.) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families?

2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching?

3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching?

4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search?

Here are their voices

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Adoptee Voice 1

  • Search is not about replacing your family, but about finding out who/where you came from and how you got to be who you are. While I always wanted to know more about my birth family, when I was pregnant with my first child the “want to know” became a “need to know”. While my birth family was not everything I hoped to find, I am so glad that I search. Not only was I able to have a 35 year relationship with my birth mother, but having all the facts of my adoption actually improved my relationship with my adoptive family. I was finally able to integrate my two family legacies.

Adoptee Voice 2

  • From the time I was little I knew I wanted to search when I got old enough. I waited until I was 28 to begin searching because I was busy w/ college, getting married, & having a family. It took over 20 years to find my bio. Family, & by that time my mother & both sisters had passed away. I have a half-brother still living & have had some contact w/ him, but he’s incarcerated in a federal prison, which complicates matters. I did get to meet my stepfather & my only living aunt, as well as talk to one of my uncles on the phone. We were planning to meet a few months later, but he died unexpectedly. I don’t regret searching. I only regret that I wasn’t able to find them until it was too late to meet my mother & sisters. My adoptive family was very supportive of me, but for adoptees whose adoptive families discourage them, I’d tell them that it isn’t about them. It’s about needing to know who you are, who you look like, where you get your quirks, etc. The best advice I can give those who are considering searching is to find a search angel. Don’t waste money on a private investigator when a search angel can do the same thing for free, & usually a lot faster.

Adoptee Voice 3

  • My need to search was about me as I needed to know who I was and where I came from. My parents knew this, and they totally supported my decision. 2. I have no regrets that I searched, because I found myself. 3. My biggest pieces of advice would be to have low expectations and a good support system. You’ll be disappointed if you expect too much, and it falls through, and you might run the other person off like I did with my brother. I wanted the relationship with him to undo the past, and there’s no way that was going to happen. I’d also say to do your own work before you even think of searching as reunion is filled with so many unknowns, and it’s good to have a therapist to process all that stuff with. Reunion is a roller-coaster, and you never know what’s going to happen, so it’s vital to have people that support you. 4. I’d respectfully say until you’ve walked in my shoes, you have no right to judge what I’m doing. This isn’t about replacing adoptive parents but about finding your identity. If people don’t understand that, then that’s their problem. Don’t let them stop you.

Adoptee Voice 4

  • I first felt the desire to search when I was in my early 20s, just a few years after I found out I was adopted. The decision to search was about finding my own history and filling in the holes in my life story and had nothing to do with my feelingsfor my wonderful adoptive family or their love for me. It always strikes me as strange that anyone would question why an adoptee searches when genealogy is such a popular hobby in this country. Isn’t a search for your birth parents really just the ultimate genealogy research? (Further complicated by closed records, of course!) 2. I will never regret searching. I ended up being found instead of finding and my birth mom and I are five months into a storybook reunion. But even if the outcome had been different, searching was something I needed to do for myself, to know my truth and my story. And now that I have it, I find it’s as priceless as I always imagined it would be. 3. To everyone searching, I would say, post your information everywhere, and, more importantly: never, never give up! You might be just one step away from finding what you’re looking for. 4. Non-adoptees or adoptive families who discourage an adoptee from searching are speaking from their own place of insecurity and fear. While adoptees who search need to be aware that things don’t always work out the way they might hope, they also need to remember that non-adoptees don’t have the same experience of life as they do and cannot understand. As Gertrude Stein said, “Let me listen to me and not to them.”

Adoptee Voice 5

  • 1). As a twice-adopted person, by two separate families, I grew up with ideas of searching for my biological mother. She was the woman I often dreamed about; the woman without a face. My decision to embark on my search occurred as a 20-year-old young man.

    I did not have the experience of growing up in good families as an adoptee. In both, the abuse of me took precedence, although, in the second family, it was intermingled with positive responses.

    So, by ultimately looking for my adoptive mother, it served as an attempt to create the loving family for which I never had as a child.

    2). While I ultimately found both biological parents, exactly 20 years apart, there were problems. Yet, I absolutely do not regret searching for doing so filled in the blanks for which I had wondered about for decades. In the end, my biological mother abandoned me for a second time, as an adult, and I would only meet my biological father as he was dying of stage 4 cancer.

    3). Advice? Be prepared for the unexpected. It doesn’t always work out and yet, it may just work out. It can be the best time in your life, and the worst. It all depends upon the reception by the other side.

    4). A potential search is not about about wanting to abandon the family of your adoption. It is only about finding those missing puzzle pieces that can create the entire picture of a life still unfulfilled.

    Most people know their families, their parents, siblings and grandparents. Knowing of your origins is, in my opinion, one of the basic needs of being human. The adoptive family may feel threatened and yet, they should understand this is not about wanting to replace them by returning to the family of origin, but more, a gift they can offer by lending support, and clues, to their son or daughter’s early history.

    It is selflessness on the part of the adoptive family.

Adoptee Voice 6

  • I was found because I was too terrified of rejection to search myself. Thankfully my birth mom searched for me. From there, with her help, we found my birth father. I truly believe that it’s imperative to make the journey for the sake of self and descendants. The only advice I can give is to keep your eyes wide open, don’t expect good or bad outcomes as every situation is unique, and be brave. When you have a better grasp of who you are by way of your genetic links then you will understand fully why it’s so important.

Adoptee Voice 7

  • I’ll start with the last question first because that situation annoys me. It’s not anyone’s place to get in someone else’s business about why they are doing something. We don’t owe anyone an explanation. We don’t have to defend ourselves to the clueless or earn their blessing. Most people who question our search already have their minds made up anyway. I would just say I’m sorry you don’t understand. You could always bring up the general interest in genealogy as evidence of how many people are interested in their roots, but it’s not necessary. Also, there’s my own example – my sister told me my mother finally had peace for the first time in her life now that she knew what happened to me and that I was ok. So searching can actually be a kindness to our families, not just self-serving. And I would say to my fellow adoptees who are searching not to get discouraged or give up. I didn’t find my family until I was in my mid-50s.

Adoptee Voice 8

  • I was just getting out of an abusive relationship and I needed a distraction so I wouldn’t go back to him. Plus I was always curious about where I came from.
    No regrets.
    3. Don’t give up. But check your expectations at the door.
    4. In end, whatever you decide to do, it’s your story.

Adoptee Voice 9

  • My dad died and I just thought that life is short and better to search sooner than later. Also I didn’t want to hurt my dad’s feelings in any way. Zero to do with how much I loved my family!
    I don’t regret it even when some biological family rejected me.
    Just do it-it’s better to know the truth.
    It has nothing to do with you. You can’t fully understand the feelings of an adoptee unless you are one.

Adoptee Voice 10

  • I decided to search because I wanted answers, pure and simple. I didn’t need anything, didn’t expect anything beyond gaining knowledge. I gained so much more but I actually went into it prepared for the worst. My adoptive family had nothing to do withit except for the fact that my experience with them – and particularly with my a-mother – was so bad that it put me off searching for years. I just did not want a repeat experience. I had a real negative association with the word “mother.”  I do not regret searching. My search had a wonderful outcome but, even if that had not been the case, I had been so plagued with questions for so long it was just nice to have that settled and over and done with. Not that finding didn’t bring up a new set of questions but at least I learned the basic facts of my personal history.

Adoptee Voice 11

  • The first time I was aware that I wanted to search for my birth mom was when an adoptee friend told me she thought my b mom loved me and didn’t want to give me up. I remember feeling excited at the thought of finding my mommy that loved me. I was terrified to search because I knew it would mean being shut out of my adoptive mom’s life. She would stop talking to me if I did anything she didn’t like and that was absolute hell. When my adoptive mom handed over my non identifying information when I was in my early 30’s (I have NO idea why she chose to give this to me) I think I felt that was her permission to search.

    The journey to finding my b mom was a long one. I had lots of help from people who volunteered to find records on my behalf and that made the process so much easier and bore fruit much sooner!! I could write a book filled with the joys and pain of meeting my b mom. Without support from my husband I don’t think I could have done it, but I am NOT sorry I searched.

    My advice to fellow adoptees is making sure you have supportive people surrounding you when you search. Please DO NOT wait until your adoptive parents pass away to start this journey….you deserve to find YOU and that doesn’t just happen by being adopted into a new family. Finding out where I came from gave me such a sense of belonging. Did it heal all my wounds? No, only some. But I didn’t spend emotional energy wondering anymore.

For the adoptive families I would say find support for your own fears about this. I believe our fears keep us in a place of denying what is needed for healing. If you truly love your adopted child be the ADULT they need you to be. Remember no matter how much you wish they were your own, they are not. They belong to you AND another family. Consider this an opportunity to bring healing to your child’s life at the expense of it being painful and scary to you. I do not believe we can have an authentic relationship without looking at truth. Take their hand, and remind them you are not going anywhere!

Adoptee Voice 12

  • ) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families?

    I chose to find my natural family because it is my right to seek answers and know my heritage. I want the opportunity to bond with siblings, grandparents, cousins, and other family.

    I find it infinitely frustrating that adoptees are pressured into disregarding their own feelings about their first family because of the feelings of adoptive family and non-adoptees. Why do our feelings matter less? The love we feel for our adoptive family has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching?

    Not at all. I kept searching for 20 years until I found every single living relative.

    3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching?

    Don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings are less than. Keep an open mind, without expectations. Remember that your natural mother also suffered trauma because of the adoption, so she may have just as much of a hard time with reunion as you.

    4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search?

    Consider this: to an adoptee, our adoption feels like our entire family died in one day, and we are expected to be grateful for the situation we were forced into. We have the human right to mourn the loss of our first family just as if they had died. We are neither blank slates nor eternal children. We are forced to deal with the stress of living three entangled lives – the person we were born to be but never were the person whose life we assume but never fit into, and the person we create for ourselves as adult adoptees. It’s a very stressful and difficult to navigate life, regardless of how wonderful our adoptive families may be. We need your support! Denying our feelings will only push us away from you.

Adoptee Voice 13

  • I needed to know who I was and where I came from plus I was biracial I did actually find out my race from DNA testing before I searched or whilst I was searching but had not found…. I am glad for the prep work or healing I did before searching because I did uncover a lot of trauma and drama… I was also lied to by my adoptive family, social services and members of my natural family so I was misled a lot while searching but I had a great search angel that helped me. The info I received was almost like working through grief bit by bit and also the letters I wrote to natural mom were very hard to write but each time I posted one it got a bit easier, she never actually got any of them… I was sad to find so many traumas in my natural mom’s life stemming from the fact she herself was abandoned at nine years old and went from one abusive relationship to another after my dad left her to marry someone of his own race… My dad took my bro and she kept my sister…. she lost my sister and my half bro 7 years later trying to escape the abusive jerk that she left me for…she got with another abusive jerk after that who told her she could not keep my sister either but they reunited when my sister was 16… My mum tells me that I am lucky and should be grateful she didn’t keep me and I didn’t endure what my sister did , but none of them asked how my life was growing up with and abusive manipulative lying my adoptive family… My reunion is not going that great there is too much pain all around. My mum doesn’t answer my calls or phone when she says she will which triggers me into a three day meltdown mode. My sister is overflowing with love but for all the wrong reasons and I just keep walking my healing path because truly that’s what it’s all about reunion or no reunion we have to heal from the loss and reunion just shoves that loss right in your face so now you are face to face with all the years lost whether it’s with mum or siblings or whatever adoption is based on deception and loss and healing is possible but it takes years of work…reunions do not fix the pain of the loss …

Adoptee Voice 14

  • ) What made you decide to search and did this decision have anything to do with how much you loved or didn’t love your adoptive families? What made me decide? hmm sad occasion of someone showed me the realization that it’s time to do what I needed todo for years that I was ready for it
    2.) No matter what you found, do you regret searching? Not at all. It’s important to do
    3.) What advice can you share to your fellow adoptees that are searching or considering searching? Don’t expect miracles and acceptance from that moment on it’s not up to you alone
    4.) What can you share with the non-adoptees and adoptive family members who might be discouraging adoptees from search? I can only say this: it’s not about you and with all the respect you need to support or walk away

Adoptee Voice 15

  • 1) Curiosity. Who am I? And no, my family was amazing which made it even harder to talk about wanting to search because I felt like I was betraying them or something. 2) I do not regret searching. 3) I was actually found on fb by my birth mother. I had all the information that I thought could be helpful, full birthday and my full name (Irish + Romanian) 4) Helping someone get through something is easier than helping someone get through the unknown. In my opinion you can’t get closure until you know everything.

Adoptee Voice 16

  • I searched because when my oldest had a hidden medical condition.They tested me and I had it also! So I wondered what else might be hiding. #3) Don’t expect a Hollywood happy filled reunion. You were given up for a reason. You may or may not find that “missing piece of the puzzle”. Keep expectations very low and search for the right reasons

Adoptee Voice 17

  • My search began a month before my wedding day. I found out my birth name at the bank. My papers were in a vault along with my Savings Bond. I asked who is Linda Marie? Mom would not give me a straight answer. 2. I did not regret searching for the truth even though I ended up asking mom again for my truth 2 years later and mom’s reluctance to give me information. 3. If your mom has information continue to badger her and keep on asking.

Adoptee Voice 18

  • ) I decided to search because it’s a natural human instinct to want to know who we are and where we come from. It’s impossible to know where your headed if you don’t know where you come from. It was tearing me apart inside to not know. My wanting to search was natural for a not natural situation. My pain of the unknown was SO GREAT I was addicted to alcohol most of my life because I couldn’t handle adoptee grief, loss & trauma and not knowing my answers. With the world celebrating adoption they make no room for our pain so I NEEDED TO KNOW MY ANSWERS. Trust me if I didn’t have the deep desire to know I would have much rather chose that route but that’s not how it works for many of us. My decision had nothing to do with my adoptive family and them loving me or not loving me. Love has NOTHING to do with us wanting to search and everything to do with needing the TRUTH. Without the truth we can’t move forward with acceptance and healing. Give it to God? Let me ask… If I don’t search and have the answers and beginnings of how I came about how do I know what to give to God? Am I going to hand him a question mark? Don’t think so….

    2.) I faced double rejection from both birth parents. It gets no more painful than that yet I still would rather know than live in the unknown because that was pure inhuman torture in my mind living wondering who my mother was and who my people were. Don’t regret it for a minute.

    3.) Think about your desire to search and pray about it and ask yourself if your pain outweighs the peace in your life regarding not knowing. If you’re at total peace not knowing great for you. But if you are bothered by it or it torments you then search and really try not to think of everyone else’s feelings. You deserve your answers and you deserve your truth! Everyone else can put on their big boy and girl panties and deal with it. I know it’s hard because when we make the decision to search we are going up against the grain and most people who aren’t adopted can’t comprehend our NEED and how deep it is and why we need answers. It’s important to stop trying to get them to understand. Trust me, the very few non adoptees who WANT TO LEARN will listen. They are worth talking to. Those who try to shut you down are ones you should leave alone. Most non adoptees will never understand us so I choose to stick with those who do understand me, my fellow adoptees. There is an army of us out here so you are never alone. Do what is best for you and don’t wait. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

    4.) Please understand this isn’t about you and it had nothing to do with you. You could have been the best most amazing parents in the world but we still need our answers and truth. You can either support us and help us or we will do it around you. It’s much nicer when we have adoptive parents who aren’t manipulative who make it all about them every time we open our mouths. For once please know this isn’t about you. I can’t say it enough. And for you to say “Can’t you be happy with the family you got?” I would like to respond by saying until you are stripped of your basic human rights of wanting to know who you are and where you come from you really should keep your comments to yourself. If you can’t support me please leave me be. And when I find less than what I dreamed please don’t be quick to rub it in my face that I should have listened to you. The trauma of being an adoptee and living in the unknown is horrific in itself so please don’t make it worse on us with your unsupportive comments.

Adoptee Voice 19

  • Keep looking and do not give up.

Adoptee Voice 20

  • My decision to search was my own, and had no bearing on the opinions of others. I knew I was adopted before understanding what adoption was, and my desire to know/search was formed at the same time. The only considerations regarding my AP’s was around informing them about my actions, both in searching and reunion. Again, the decision was completely my own, even forgoing the concern of my then fiancé. This was MINE, something I wanted my entire life, and nothing was going to dissuade me. I waited until I met the age of independence to start, because I had to. There was no specific trigger that set me on the path toward finding; it was ALWAYS something I knew I had to do.

    I have regrets associated with my search/reunion, but none about searching. Again, the need to know was like breathing. I simply had to do it; there was no consideration or hesitation. As soon as I legally could search, I did. My birth mother received me well enough. In hindsight, she, like so many birth mom’s, was damaged from the experience. Had I been more informed, or more mature, more whatever, I may have been better prepared. Over the course of 20 years, I found & lost her 3 times. I don’t regret this, it is what it is. My only regret was waiting 10 years to find/contact my birth father, because my birth mother requested she make first contact with him. I felt I was being loyal, but in truth I was acting in fear. Fear that I would rock the boat, and damage relations with b-mom. A relation that never existed, and never formed. Even if it had, I was wrong to let someone hold me captive.

    Advice to those beginning a search… invest in your own search efforts. Searching may seem difficult, but the journey will build strength and knowledge. Both will be needed in reunion. I’m not suggesting the final goal of reunion is bad, but like any relationship, it requires work. Perhaps more work than another relation, as there is commonly much emotional and psychological baggage associated with adoption. The birth mother and the adoptee are damaged. And depending on their own journey, each may be in a different place of readiness for such a relation. And quite often, the adoptee must become the parent. By this I mean they must come to reunion prepared, offering both understanding and the voice of reason. It’s so very complicated; I’m not sure how to address it for the purpose of this project. In short, the adoptee should be an active part of the search. The adoptee should educate themselves on their legal rights to information, and reunion related issues. Understanding why they or the birth parent are acting as they are will help them navigate next steps. Final points related to searching; be honest in communications with birth parents, be honest with yourself, start a journal to help organize search efforts and log events/emotions after reunion, be kind to those who don’t have to help you and gently push those who do. Lastly, take action, do not wait, people die. Time is NOT on the side of us adoptees, so don’t let discomfort or indecision keep you from taking next steps. One of the hardest things is to find a grave at the end of your search.

    To the discouraging voices, they can all suck it. They don’t know, will never know, and so can’t advise. Some may be heartfelt, and with your best interests in mind, but only YOU can decide. And only another adoptee can truly understand. We had no voice in what happened to us. We don’t owe anyone anything as it relates to being adopted. Do what you need to. If that is to search, than do so unequivocally. Naysayers and alarmists be damned.

Adoptee Voice 21

  • My answers to the 4 questions… #1 – I have known I was adopted since around the age of 10. I always had letters written from my birth mother to my Mom. In those letters there was mention of two boys. I always felt a disconnect with my family even though they were always good to me and I was always more curious about the brothers more than anything. My love for my family always made me feel guilty for wanting to find them, but I was also very afraid of rejection. I have a very uncommon birth name, so actually finding my brothers was the easy part thanks to Facebook, getting the courage to contact them, not so easy. I just decided I was about to turn 50 and I needed to do this and I did not tell my family until after it was done. #2- I do not regret it at all. But only because I was not rejected. #3 – We had about 3 days AND nights worth of texting before we met in person. You just have to be careful of letting a complete stranger in your life. #4- you have no way of knowing how they feel if you aren’t adopted yourself. Let them do what their heart is leading them to do. In my case it literally filled my heart with joy and made me a happier person for my family to be around…not that I was that bad before, lol, but when it works out, it’s a feeling I just can’t describe.

 

This blog post was compiled for all those in the world who just can’t understand why adoptees put ourselves “out there” to search in the first place, what our thoughts are regarding this search and how difficult it is for many of us.

No adoptee “Story” is the same and we each have a unique story and desire to be heard. So many in society want to speak for us, but you will never ever fully understand adoptees unless you seek our voices and ask us how it feels to be adopted.

Thank you to all my fellow adoptees who chimed in and made this blog post possible. You matter and your voices matter. Keep sharing your voices!  If you are reading this and you would like to answer the questions please reply to this blog post. Your replies will stay with the history of the page. Reach out to me! I love connecting with my fellow adoptees! ❤ My heart is with you!

If you aren’t adopted and you made it this far CONGRATULATIONS! We appreciate you taking the time to read this post. You have made an attempt to try to understand how adoptees feel. Keep reading and keep sharing the voices that’s almost always ignored, the Adoptees!

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Email: pamelakaranova@gmail.com

Facebook: Pamela Karanova

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