Just because I’m not a fan of Mother’s Day doesn’t mean I’m not going to live my life. I’m not sitting around on the pitty potty depressed, sad, mad or angry. There was a time for that and my healing process was filled with those seasons of grief & loss. I’m not saying I still don’t have those moments but I’m moving forward and living my life in a pretty magical way I would say. I did need to share my feelings about Mother’s Day but make no mistakes-
I’m MOVING ON!
I’m outside the box.
Looking for adventure.
The sky is the limit.
Finally I’ve found my HAPPY PLACE!
Hiking, Nature & Waterfalls.
God is so close to me in nature, more so than any church I have ever stepped foot into.
I like to be free.
Free to be me, happily.
No strings attached.
Wandering in the woods.
How could I have missed this for so long?
Today I’m thankful I’ve found what makes me happy.
Pamela A. Karanova found out she was adopted when she was 5 years old. She spent 20 years searching for her biological parents. Her first post is an open letter to her birth mother, in which she describes dreaming of their blissful reunion and how that contrasted with reality. This soul-baring post lays the groundwork for the other content on her blog.
Anytime something like this happens it’s a encouragement to me to KEEP SHARING! I’ve been gone from adoptee land for many months but I’m working on creating the balance between living the life I have missed out on living and also continuing to share my adoptee journey. Let me just be honest- I MADE IT AND I AM ALIVE!!! I have so much to share about how I got to where I am. GOD GET’S THE GOLRY- AMEN!
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL MY FELLOW ADOPTEES WHO ALSO MADE THE LIST! YOU GUYS ROCK!
ADOPTEES: KEEP Sharing! If you haven’t already shared your story at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? please send me a message!
This is what Healthline had to say:
“We’ve carefully selected these blogs because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information. If you would like to tell us about a blog, nominate them by emailing us at email@example.com!
The state of Massachusetts passed the nation’s first adoption law in 1851. Since then, the rules and regulations — not to mention the cultural significance — of adoption have changed dramatically in the United States.
Today, roughly 135,000 children are adopted in the United States every year. Even though the term “adoption” carries less stigma than it did 40 or 50 years ago, many children who are adopted carry a litany of emotions as a result. While not all adoptees feel this way, many face feelings of abandonment and unworthiness that can persist for years, if not a lifetime.
Often the cultural narrative of adoption is told almost exclusively from the side of the adoptive parent — not the adoptees themselves. The blogs we’ve listed are changing that. They include a diverse range of voices shining a light on the issues, concerns, and experiences of the adoptee community.”
I am honored to be a recipient of this award and I am blessed to be a positive light and resource for the adoption community worldwide!
The weekend of April 21st & 22nd I had the honor of going to my first ever adoptee conference. It was an experience of a lifetime for me and I enjoyed so much of it. My favorite part was meeting my fellow adoptees near and far.
Other parts were simply overwhelming. Emotions I had stuffed for years came flooding back. It was tough on many aspects.
I left the conference with a ton of emotions way up at the surface. I didn’t quite know how to process it all. My plan was to come home and spend some time writing about it in the days to come.
That plan was halted by some news…
Within a few short hours of being back in Kentucky from the conference I found out my adoptive mother had passed away some time over the weekend.
It could hardly believe it.
I took all things I was feeling regarding the conference and put them on the shelf. (a safe space I will return to deal with later.) The emotions and feelings associated with my adoptive mother’s passing had taken over me.
My cell phone rang and on the other line it was my adoptive father whom never calls me for anything unless its sad news or a health issue. I had been working a double shift that Monday April 24th. I was at the tail end of the last shift when I got the call.
Adoptive Father- “Hi Pam- How are you?”
Me- “I’m good Daddy, at work. How are you?”
Adoptive Father- “I have some sad news for you. Your mother has died at some point over the weekend”.
Me- “Wow I don’t really know what to say. What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to do something?”
Adoptive Father- “No, I don’t think anyone wants you to do anything.”
Me- “I just wish she was different and things were different but at least she’s at peace now and hopefully she will finally be happy. I know for certain she was never happy here on earth.
Daddy- “Well your sister is taking it pretty hard. (Haven’t had contact with her in many years)
Me- “Well she still had a relationship with Her, I didn’t so that would make sense I suppose. I had to let go for my own sanity but thank you for sharing the news. I appreciate it”.
My mind was racing a mile a minute. What would they want from me? What would my responsibilities be in this thing? Would I have to travel back to Iowa? Would I be expected to DO SOMETHING? I was a mess thinking of all these things. I just wanted to run and hide.
Interesting that I was not able to process losing my “Mother” because I have done that every single day for the last 42 years. How was this any different?
You see, back in 2012 when I decided to get sober a lot of things changed for me. I learned that to fully live in recovery I had to get honest about all areas of my life. During that process and over the last 5 years I realized that I was forced to be in this family with dysfunction but as I got sober I learned I could make my own choices in all areas. In that time, I had discontinued my relationship with my adoptive mom because of the toxicity she brings to my life. I had accepted the fact that I will never have a mother because she has never been one. I was always the one taking care of her, not her taking care of me. I tried to set boundaries and she wouldn’t abide by any of them.
For my own mental health, sanity and recovery I had to close the door and keep it closed. I had learned in 42 years if I even cracked the door a tiny bit her toxicity impacted me in negative ways and I didn’t want anything to do with that anymore.
It’s awesome when we figure out that YES, we have that choice!
NO MATTER WHO IT IS!
My entire life I have been petrified about what is she going to do next? What area of my life is she going to come back and haunt me. She’s tried hard to use my kids as a manipulation tool and it infuriated me. Aren’t the horrible memories of her trying to commit suicide by laying in the street enough? Or the memories of her tying us to chairs as kids? The manic-depressive episodes- they weren’t enough?
Fear was always on my mind when it came to HER. Fighting off bad memories from my childhood has been a daily struggle. Thank GOD, I have God in my life or I wouldn’t be here! I have forgiven her but I have also closed the door and moved on with my life.
So now what?
I struggled with feeling inhumane for not FEELING LIKE I LOST A MOTHER WHEN SHE DIED. I felt guilty for not feeling any sorrow like someone should feel when their mother dies.
One more thing adoption has stolen from me. Not only 2 entire families but my mother too! If I had a good mother would things be different for me?
I will never know.
I came to the realization I DIDN’T LOSE A MOTHER WHEN SHE DIED. She was never a mother to me. She took more than anyone could ever imagine.
If I was to weigh the pain of losing my first mother and being rejected by her later in life to the pain of my adoptive mother passing there is no comparison at all. What I am trying to say is that the pain I have felt every single day of my life is the worst pain I have ever felt and that’s because I lost my birth mother at the beginning of life. It’s because I’ve lost 2 entire families because of adoption.
I have accepted THIS.
But it still hurts.
If you aren’t adopted, we are triggered by essentially EVERYTHING IN LIFE!
My adoptive mother dying has no comparison to me. I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh but I am being transparent here. What I did feel was a sadness and sorrow for her that she never found happiness or wholeness here on earth. I felt sorry for her she was in addiction, had gone her entire life never being diagnosed with mental illness therefor she tore through people’s lives like a destructive tornado and she never relented. If it wasn’t a family member (who almost all cut her off) it was someone where she worked, where she lived and her own children. I felt sorry for her that the adoption industry set her up for a fairy tale and I was never the daughter she wanted or needed.
Our adoption story is a flat our disaster!
I was her caretaker.
She was never mine.
Until I turned 31 and packed up a 22 foot U-Haul and moved myself and my kids across the country. I have never felt freedom before like I have sense I moved.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD IT WAS!! I HAD NO HELP & NO SUPPORT aside from my best friend. I had 3 small kids and was a single mother making this decision.
IT WAS THE HARDEST YET BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE.
I had to do this not only for myself, my mental health and sanity but for my children! When I saw her doing some of the same things with my kids I knew it was time to go. GOD KNEW!
Life has never been more peaceful for me because I moved far away. Now it was time to recovery from the first 31 years of life! I tried to have a long-distance relationship with her but that didn’t work either. She would come visit and it was like the devil himself was showing up at my door step. I had to put an end to it. There comes a time when we must put ourselves FIRST.
I was unsettled on how this was going to play out. For some reason, I thought they were going to need something from me or I was going to have to go back to Iowa to clean her apartment out. I was petrified! Given the circumstances I had dreaded this more than anything in the world and the scene played over and over in my mind all these years. I had visions of this day coming. FEAR! Fear of facing something I ran from tormented me all these years.
I just wanted the nightmare to end and for it all to go away.
It was like a dark cloud hanging over my head.
I certainly didn’t expect it to happen within 24 hours of connecting with my fellow adoptees in real life. I hadn’t even been able to process the conference yet!
After my conversation with my adoptive father (him and adoptive mother divorced when I was 1) He asked me to call my adoptive sister. I hadn’t spoken to her in years and years. I believe my adoptive mom used triangulation tactics our entire lives and played us both against each other. We never stood a chance at being sisters because of her.
Now I was supposed to call her?
All I wanted to do was the right thing considering the circumstances.
I called. We spoke about 5 minutes. She was tearful and crying. I was the opposite = Emotionless. She hadn’t let go yet, and I had many years earlier. I didn’t make my decision lightly. I prayed and contemplated and received some guidance from people I’m close to. I felt sorry for my adoptive sister but I know she will be okay.
It comes down to this. If you don’t bring happiness and positivity into my life you must go. I am not making any apologies these days for cutting toxic people, places or things out of my life. Neither should you.
Do I feel any regret for making this decision? No I don’t. I prayerfully made this decision and many tears were involved for along time. I had to do what I had to do to survive. I had to put my recovery and mental health first for once. I didn’t regret moving across the country and I don’t regret cutting her off with this unhealthy tie legally attaching me to this toxicity. It was a strange feeling at the end of her life being someone who had to sign her cremation paperwork.
As if the beginning was an adoption transaction.
The end was a cremation transaction.
I didn’t sign any adoption paperwork.
But I had to sign her cremation paperwork.
There is supposed to be a memorial at a later date. I decided it would not be in my best interest to go back to Iowa to help with her apartment. I experienced massive anxiety and fear even contemplating it. I didn’t have peace about it at all and peace comes from God. This spoke to me. I helped with some of the cremation costs and will be sending more money asap to go towards expenses my sister has had to face regarding this manner. Neither of us asked to be in this situation. It’s certainly not all her fault. I will not attend a memorial at this point unless my children want to attend. Being an adoptee loosing 2 entire families with no funerals, no nothing I’ve learned to say good-bye without funerals!
I know my kids are sad and I can respect and understand that because they are in a different position than I am. They didn’t experience what I did and I never want them too- THANK GOD! I respect the need for them to process the grief and loss they might be experiencing. After all, legally she was their grandmother.
Out of every darkness in life God will turn around and use it for His good. I am content knowing that even when my adoptive mom brought so much darkness to my life she’s in a happier place now. I know she believed in God and I know her mental illness was left untreated. I know she’s in heaven healed, happy and whole. Finally, she’s in a place where she could receive all God has for her and it wasn’t here on earth. Heaven isn’t 2nd place you know! Her infertility and not being able to have her own children haunted her and I was adopted to fix the problem. What a heavy burden to carry. I’ve forgiven her. She was sick. I am sad she lived such a miserable life.
John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Today I choose to live life & live it more abundantly. I am excited to move forward to receive all God has in store for me. I’m looking forward to taking back all the enemy has stolen from me as the days move forward in life. I have a bucket list now and I’m moving forward with those people in my life who love me for me and are real, true, genuine and sincere.
I still haven’t even processed the conference yet. I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that but hopefully I will be able to write about it soon. It was tough on many levels. My favorite part was meeting all my fellow adoptees who GET IT!
I love you all.
Say a prayer for me and I’ll say a prayer for you too!
All the way back to around 5 years old I was DREAMING about Finding my birth family.
My mind was so consumed with THIS. There was no room for regular dreaming. As a little girl I was obsessed with finding THEM. My birth mother, my birth father, any siblings I might have. MY FAMILY. My dreaming followed me everywhere I went. Fantasizing took over my mind. I thought about them morning, noon and night and I was in La-La Land more often than not. Sometimes I would say it was more of a haunting than a dream. When people speak about dreams sometimes they are speaking of dreams in your sleep, or dreaming about particular things to happen in the future. It seems we don’t dream of the negative as dreams are usually more rounded with happy positive vibes. But this dreaming of my biological family never ended and it took the place of what a normal little girl would be dreaming of. I don’t even know what dreaming like a normal little girl looks like but what I do know is what other people share. This followed me to my pre-teen years and through my entire life.
From learning from others, little girls dream about what they want to do in life. Places they want to visit, who they want to be when they grow up. They dream about having kids and how many and what they want to name them. They dream about a husband, a wedding and where they want to live. They dream of goals, and make plans in their dreams of things they want to do in life.
I MISSED IT.
I never dreamed about anything other than my birth family, who they were, where they were and were then looking for me. Lord knows I was searching for them everywhere I went.
The other thing that took the place of DREAMS in my lifetime is PAIN. The pain I experienced in all my life from abandonment, rejection and trauma has taken over most of my days here on earth. Non-Adoptees would never understand THIS. They just can’t. But I know my fellow adoptees get it. I feel like I’ve missed SO MUCH in life because of the pain and the obsession of wondering, wishing, dreaming and searching…
The outcome of my experience has been a broken heart, or more so a shattered heart. All the way around the search, reunion, and post reunion and back again. From the dreams, hopes, fantasies, longing to know them has turned into sadness, loss, grief, and nothing but heartache. Does this change the fact that I searched? No, now at least I have my truth. While the first part of my life was obsessed with finding the truth, the last part has been sorting through the trauma of what the truth was. I will never regret searching. I’ve been working on healing for 4 years now, and stopped running to alcohol to numb the pain.
Reality hit me like a ton of bricks and smacked me right in the middle of my face.
4 years into healing I am learning all the dynamics of what I missed because I was left to process all of the above on my own. Just now at 42 years old trying to find a dream. Why? Because God says it’s time! I’m going to be honest.
How does someone start dreaming at 42? I’m praying about it. At this stage in my life, I really feel I’m only here to do what God has called me to do but I also know that he calls us to enjoy our lives, and live life to the fullest. Have fun and dream! Let me be clear, I enjoy my career, my amazing kids, and what I do in my life. But dreaming has been null and void. At this point I’ve started to navigate creating a bucket list. It’s really the only thing I’ve thought of over the last few years living in recovery. I have no dreams for myself, other than being a happy healthy mother for my kids, and future grand-kids. Living my life to make memories with them, which is something I never had in my life with my biological family.
Another thing that comes to my mind is the fact that without knowing my truth I didn’t know who I was as a person. I was clueless when I looked in the mirror as to what or who I was looking at. The truth, no matter how hard it was has helped me find ME. It’s given me the chance to see who I’m like, or who I’m not like rather. It’s helped me understand I’m working on being who GOD created me to be and it’s nothing like any of my biological or adoptive families. It’s like God. It seems I might be right where I need to be I suppose. I mean, it’s impossible to dream when you don’t even know who you are to form or focus on dreaming. Can I get an AMEN from my fellow adoptees?
I was asked in a training group for a job recently what country I would want to visit. Honestly I never thought about visiting any other country. My dreams only took me as far as finding my birth family, when shattered my dreaming stopped and was replaced with a shattered heart. So I made something up. I said “Hawaii”. Although I wouldn’t mind visiting Hawaii I really have never thought about it. I’ve been too busy sorting through adoptee mess.
My point in sharing this post is to ask my fellow adoptees if any of you can relate to this? And to share that at 42 years old God has guided me to pull back from navigating so many windows open in my life so I can figure out my dreams. He’s instructed me to close some windows so he can do some amazing things. Not only with my kids, but for me in my life. I’m not sure what it is yet. I honestly don’t even know what dreams I have at this stage in my life but as I listen to what God says I plan to figure it out.
Now that I’ve come full circle in my life, before search, after search and working on healing I’ve decided I need to start living life and living it more abundantly. John 10:10 says:
IT’S TIME WE START DREAMING!
Now for my bucket list. Here are some things I have so far.
I will visit churches by taking road trips to visit them all over the U.S.A. Starting with Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C.
I will visit waterfalls in Kentucky.
I will take my kids to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
I will write my memoir.
I will go to the park and fly kites.
I willclimb a tree again. [This was the #1 place I would dream about my birth mother]
I will go camping with good people.
I will go to Yogi Bear Park and stay with my kids. [Great childhood memory with my adoptive dad]
I will take my kids to Gatlinburg, TN and stay in the cabins.
I will visit Truittsville, KY which was founded by my ancestors. [ Located in Greenup, KY]
I will visit Linda in Oregon. She’s a cousin I found via DNA. We’ve never met, YET!
I WILL visit CANADA to see my friend, fellow adoptee & sister in Christ, Haley Radke! 😀
That’s about all I have so far. Hopefully as I move forward in my life I will think of more things I want to do. As for actual dreams, I really don’t have any but a bucket list is a start.
I would like to ask my fellow adoptees if you’ve taken the time to dream for yourself? Has your adoption experience stood in the way of this? Have you found ways to work around it? Did you dream as a child? What were your dreams? Can you relate to any of this post?
I hope you are all doing well and the New Year is treating you right!
As some of you know I’ve decided to back away from much of “Adoption Land” and the “Adoptee Arena”. If you didn’t know I’m sorry. I’m not disappearing but I have found I have pull back on some areas of my life for my own sanity as I know many of my fellow adoptees can relate to making this move. From what I thought might be a temporary break has seemed to turn into more of a long term event.
In 2012 I created the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? community on Facebook. In 4 years it’s grown to over 4000 “likes” and thousands of active adoptees. This page has reached adoptees all over the world. It’s been my honor to have been in touch with so many of you over the years, to build relationships with so many of you and to be a hopefully positive person for support. Not long after Ask An Adoptee was created in a little over a year it has over 800 “Likes”. If you would like to know details about these pages please visit the “About” section of both. I had no idea how big both of these pages would get, but I knew they were helping people, specifically my fellow adoptees. They were created for you all, yet impacting the entire adoptee arena. Finally a safe space for us to share our feelings, where no one else from the adoption equation could tell us how to feel.
Over the last 4 years I’ve rode through the highs and lows of life, navigating through the valleys all while managing these pages on my own. I loved being able to come up with such a healing place for my fellow adoptees. I’ve grown in so many ways just by being able to read so many similarities and bond with so many fellow adoptees near and far. I have thoroughly enjoyed so much of this. For some time now I’ve struggled with healing in my own journey with so much of my life spread out all over the place. It was clear to me that I was doing to much.
As I’ve posted before Facebook has become a huge non-stop trigger to me and has for quiet some time. As an adopted person who had to move across the country just to provide my children with some normalcy, away from all “family” it’s sombering. It’s hard to see everyone post about holidays, mother’s day, father’s day, family reunions, etc. It adds salt to the very real wounds that are still present today. I’ve found Facebook to be a breeding place for fake relationships. I’m not saying I don’t have relationships with many of you. I’m saying I want real true genuine relationships in my life. Not those who think they know me, but have no idea what’s really going on in my life because they base knowing me by what I post on Facebook. I’ve just grown to dislike it in every way. I deactivated my page a few months ago and I feel a HUGE weight lifted. We are all in control of our own lives. If something or someone isn’t serving is properly we must make changes to make things better. In recovery I’ve learned to avoid triggers. Being adopted, triggers are everywhere every day. Navigating what to “Let go of” vs. “What to work through” has been challenging at times. I know my fellow adoptees understand much of this.
I want to pick back up writing my memoir “Adoptee in Recovery- One Adoptees Journey from Heartbreak to Hope & Healing”. I have a story to tell and I want to share it with you all. This memoir will take readers on a journey of hope & healing, and focus on other areas of my life. I will still be managing the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Website where adoptees will be sharing their stories with the world. I will still be blogging here on my page. I still have twitter although I have a new name. Feel free to follow me! @therealpwishesI’m not totally dropping of the radar! Promise!
If you haven’t shared your story yet, please visit the page! You deserve to be heard!
A few months ago I feel God has put it on my heart to release my Facebook like pages to someone else, and my time was up in managing them. I gave it 4 years, which is a long time. I have felt sad about it because I feel like I’m letting so many adoptees down. I feel guilty for this. It’s either feeling guilty of letting my fellow adoptees down or the burden of carrying something God has clearly told me to let go of. The voice of God is something I have to put ahead of all things, even my own feelings, needs and wants. My heart was set on finding someone to manage them, who had a heart like me but the question was: WHO WOULD WANT THIS TASK?
I began to pray about it.
Well God seems to always have a plan! The key is to TRUST HIM to reveal and see us through. As I prayerfully awaited for God to move with this situation my fellow adoptee and sister in Christ Haley Radke reached out to me as she often does, to check in. She’s one of my favorite people on the earth! Over time we’ve built a special friendship and can relate to each other on so many levels. I would have never dreamed of asking her because she has her hands beyond full with her podcast AdopteesOn. My hope was to touch base with her and see if she had any ideas for me of who would be a good candidate to ask about taking over the pages.
After spending a little time talking to Haley I am here to announce to you today she has the willingness to manage the pages and take them over from here forward! Can you say EXCITING??? What a blessing for this! I never would have thought she would be interested due to her previous commitments, not to mention she’s a mommy and a wife, and has a busy life of her own.
I wanted to share this with the page readers so they are aware of the change, and aware that the pages are in the amazing hands of my friend, sister in Christ, & fellow adoptee- HALEY RADKE!!!
Haley, the adoptee community welcome’s you and we are honored to transfer these pages to such a sweet, amazing, warm and caring person such as yourself. THANK YOU for having the willingness to fit this task in your busy life to keep the legacy of the pages going for your fellow adoptees. Healing is so important and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do through you while you use Him to manage these pages! You are AMAZING!
Thank you siSTAR!
If anyone needs to reach me, feel free to tweet me, message me here or email: firstname.lastname@example.org