Beauty from Ashes

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The scripture says, “God will give you beauty for ashes.” Ashes represent our broken dreams, our failures, our disappointments and our hurts. Here’s the key: you have to let go of the ashes before you can receive the beauty. If you won’t let go of the old, you can’t receive the new.

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It was 5 years ago today I decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. My adoptee issues were hitting me left and right and for 26 years alcohol numbed my pain. I ran from the painful reality of my beginnings and the trauma inflicted on me which I had no choice over.

I was an innocent baby torn from my mother.

ALL ADOPTIONS BEGIN WITH TRAUMA

I’ve lived a hard life.

Who’s hasn’t, right?

My adoptive parents divorced when I was a year old, my adoptive dad moved far away to raise his new family. I was left with my adoptive mother who was emotionally and mentally abusive. She tied us to chairs with dish towels, tried to commit suicide in front of us, and suffered from severe manic-depressive episodes. She was also addicted to prescription pain pills. You could say my upbringing was everything but “Normal”.

I grew up angry and started to act out as a teenager. I wasn’t the “Good Adoptee” that they had bargained for. I was the “BAD ADOPTEE”. I wished I was sent back home to my real family. I wanted to be anywhere than where I was. I dropped out of high school, got in fights A LOT. I ran away and was in the streets. I experienced more in the first 15 years of my life than most people do in their entire life on earth. I was in juvenile jail, detention, group homes and in therapy most of my childhood. I was sexually abused in my adoptive father’s home by an older step brother. I experienced a lot of traumatic situations out in the streets, rape, violence, breaking the law, etc.  At 12 years old running the streets was the beginning of my journey to find my way back home. I had no clue it would take me 26 years of searching, depending on alcohol to take the pain away, multiple abusive relationships to finally reach my destination. A lifetime of trauma, grief, pain and loss followed me everywhere I went. I never fit in anywhere and I was searching for my tribe, my people, my family.

I never stopped and it never left my mind.

I was broken & hurting.

Adoption was never talked about growing up but as a 43-year-old adoptee in recovery I am here to tell you ADOPTION IS THE ROOT of my issues and it always has been.

The pain of abandonment and rejection was impossible for me to tap into at an early age but as I grew up reality began to set in, and the fog began to lift. No one asked how it felt to be adopted.  I learned my greatest hurt in life, losing both of my birth mother and birth father and their families, and so much more was my adoptive families greatest gift. My greatest hurt was celebrated by society because adoption is such a beautiful thing, right?

How could I let anyone know I was brokenhearted inside and disappoint them?

My feelings didn’t matter.

I didn’t matter.

Anger and rage was simmering at the roots of my being. I began to hate who I was and looking in the mirror I hated what I saw. I was an ugly girl that nobody wanted. Every time I looked in the mirror I hated what was looking back. Year after year passed, and my hate for myself grew stronger and stronger. MY FACE WAS UGLY! The abusive relationships in my life just beat me down more and more.

WHO AM I?

WHERE THE HELL DID I COME FROM?

Was I even born or did I drop out of the sky like an alien?

Did I have a beginning?

WHO WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHERE WERE MY BIRTH PARENTS?

WHO ARE MY SIBLINGS?

WERE THEY LOOKING FOR ME?

WHO DO I LOOK LIKE?

 

My entire life, I wanted and NEEDED to know the TRUTH about these simple questions so many adoptees have that most of the world takes for granted. My mind was tortured every single day, wondering, fantasizing, dreaming, wishing, sad, hurt, angry, depressed, alone, isolated.  It’s impossible to know where we’re headed if we don’t know where we come from. The aching pain of the “UNKNOWN” plagued my life. It was all I could feel and all I wanted to know.

I never had any peace in my heart, because I was too busy searching for clues and information. I must have dug in my adoptive mother’s filing cabinet 100,000x searching for a clue growing up! Over and over, I searched through her papers as far back as I could remember.  If only I could find a clue, maybe I could find my birth mother and see this was all a big mistake and go back HOME.

I mean who gives their baby away and really means it?

ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE LOVES ME “SO MUCH?”

This must be some big mistake, right?

Fast forward to my adoptive mother coming “Clean” when I was 21 years old. She had the information I needed and wanted my entire life, she lied to me saying she didn’t know ANYTHING! Another devastating blow that the person I should trust the most. SHE LIED TO ME MY ENTIRE LIFE for her own personal gain. We’re raised to tell the truth, but somehow the truth is rarely brought to light regarding adoption.

Can someone explain that to me?

Am I nothing more than a piece of property?

Do my feelings not matter at all?

Over the next 16 years I meet both my birth parents. My high hopes in happy reunions turned into double rejection from both.

I waited my entire life for this?

I was crushed.

The aftermath was devastating.

It took me years to come to a place of acceptance of what was really happening. The pain was so great, I was running from the realities that the two people that created me and who I shared the same DNA with wanted nothing to do with me. This was and has been the biggest loss & heartache of my life.

Alcohol eased the pain.

If I take the original trauma or abandonment and add it to the trauma I experienced in my adoptive home and in the streets, with double rejection from my birth parents and failed reunions it equals a mixed bag of  ____________!!  < Fill in the blank.

My boxed wine was my best friend for 26 years but it was also standing in the way of me being who God created me to be…

ADOPTEE IN RECOVERY

But here we are August 13, 2017

It’s my “BIRTH”-DAY

I’m alive.

I’m physically well.

I have 3 amazing kids.

I have a wonderful career I love.

I have a place to live & a car to drive.

I’m generally extremely happy!

After finding both birth parents, I learned they were both alcoholics and it rocked me to my core.

HOW COULD I BE LIKE THEM BUT THEY DIDN’T EVEN RAISE ME?

WHAT IF I NEVER FOUND MY TRUTH, WOULD I STILL BE DRINKING?

Alcohol only made my problems worse. 5 years ago, today I had enough of myself and the way my life was going and I decided to throw in the towel on my drinking habit but I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

My kids were my #1 motivation. They deserved a happy healthy mom, even if I didn’t feel I deserved to be happy and healthy myself.

I no longer wanted to run from the pain of my past abandonment, or the realities of rejection from my birth parents. I wanted to learn to process my pain in healthy ways.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW HARD THIS WAS GOING TO BE!

No longer drinking was the easy part, it was processing the adoptee pain I carried my entire life that was the hardest part. Feelings I had run from for an entire lifetime came flooding in and hit me like a ton of bricks.

Where was the manual on how to process this pain?

The FOG began to lift.

FEELINGS BECAME REAL

I started to view things in life from a distinct perspective. I cried a lot, I felt feelings like I had never felt them before, I isolated myself in many aspects because I didn’t want to burden anyone with my sadness. That’s been a huge struggle for me, GUILT for feeling the way I do so I do my best to hide it from the world and do a pretty good job most days.

Adoptees, we’re good at hiding our pain because we are expected to be thankful and if we’re not thankful we’re labeled ungrateful.

I realized that my running from processing my adoptee pain, drinking alcohol to cope not only hurt me, but it impacted my kids in many ways as well. If anything, I knew at that moment I not only needed recovery for myself, but for my kids. They deserved a happy healthy mom so I set out on a long journey of recovery to become happier, mind, body & spirit. I wanted to make amends with anyone I had hurt and those who hurt me.

This was not easy.

I put my faith in God, and God alone.

I knew he had been with me the entire way on my journey. People, not so much. Being an adoptee, disappointments come and many of us seem to be hypervidilant when they do. I don’t handle disappointments well, so at all costs I try to avoid being set up to get disappointed. I built a wall higher than the one that was already built. I became extremely selective as to who I let in, and I also let go of most of my old relationships and friendships.

Over the last 5 years I’ve set out on a pursuit to find myself.

You have heard the saying; “You have to change your playground & your playmates”. There were many people, places & things I let go of and I gave no explanations as to why I walked away in many cases. I don’t have to explain myself. That’s the thing I’ve learned is I am taking full responsibility as to who I allow in my life, and so much was always controlled for me regarding my adoption journey, it’s now time I take some of the control back.

I’m in charge.

I make the choices regarding my life.

I walk away from people, places & things that don’t serve a purpose.

I walked away from my church that was extremly controlling.

This control I have gained is healthy in my eyes.

FREE AT LAST!

So many aspects of being an adoptee between the C-PTSD, trauma, complicated grief & loss, abandonment, rejection and a lost sense of self. I could go on all day about the issues I have because of adoption, but the ones that impact me the most today seem to be that everyone is going to leave, so DON’T let them get too close! Always in my mind I’m waiting on the shoe to drop, and when people want to get too close to me I panic, and have anxiety. All of this is rooted and grounded in abandonment and fear. This is one example of many issues I’m working on but during my recovery I’ve could identify the triggers, such as ALL HOLIDAYS, the word “MOTHER” and seeing other people with their mother’s, Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, I can acknowledge my pain, share it in my blog and use different techniques to make it through the episode. EMDR has been a good help. If you only knew how I process things and the triggers I experience every single day you would be in awe. They never end, but the sooner I accepted they were here to stay the sooner I started working on my responses to the triggers and how to process them. Connecting with my fellow adoptees has been my saving grace so many times! I love you all and wouldn’t be here where I am without you!

You know who you are!

 On a side note, for the life of me I can’t figure out how I can spend a lifetime in and out of therapy and not one therapist acknowledge ADOPTION as being a root issue, a trauma, and a huge part of my pain. This is one of the many reasons I keep sharing my journey because I know for certain adoptees all over this world are being let down, and no one truly seems to get the pain we carry unless it’s a fellow adoptee.

For anyone that is not an adoptee who might be reading, I would like to ask you to open your heart to the fact that not all adoptees are happy with being adopted, and to consider how you might feel if you were to lose 2 entire families, your ancestry, medical history, relationships with your siblings, the roots to WHO YOU ARE. It’s time people wake up and step out of denial about the damage adoption inflicts on adoptees, and address the very real trauma of the primal wound. With the adoptee attempted suicide rate 4x more likely than non-adoptees, we can’t afford to keep quiet.

TODAY I LIVE

After searching for an entire lifetime I’m still learning who I am. I know I operate best independently because I have control issues regarding my life because others controlled so much of it. I’m working on allowing others in, even if it’s just a little bit so I can attempt to have meaningful close relationships with a few people but I won’t lie, it’s a daily struggle for me. I run from needy & clingy people. I think growing up processing LIFE & ADOPTION all alone, I got used to it. No one was there for me, so I’ve learned how to adapt to being alone and I receive great solitude from it. Whatever I’m doing in life, I will always need my alone time.

FREEDOM

I’ve learned that I’m the happiest when I’m out in the woods, in nature. This is the closest thing I’ve found that feels like HOME. I remember being at my adoptive dads growing up and the woods being a safe place for me. I would run wild and free, pretend and fantasize I was a super hero and dream about my birth mother. I climbed trees, built forts, played in creeks, played hide and seek in the corn fields of Iowa and it was safe. Safer than any of the homes I grew up in. And a lot of the time I was alone. I love being alone.

BUCKET LIST

Naturally when I created my bucket list the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted to visit all the waterfalls in Kentucky. I must admit, the last 6 months of my life have been the best and happiest 6 months of my life. My mind is moving forward ready to explore NEW THINGS. My adoptee journey has played itself out and although so much of it has been extremely painful I would not change knowing my truth for the world. Knowing my truth has allowed me to accept it, and be able to move forward towards healing. Therefore, all adoptees need our TRUTH so we can heal. 43 years of carrying that pain and being weighed down with alcohol dependency has been nothing short of a bad dream in many aspects. Many days I feel guilty for feeling defective with attachments and feeling like people care about me or love me. I feel like I’m alone on an island most of the time, and I know people say they love me but I never feel it. I think this has to do with the primal wound and the bond with my birth mother being broken. It saddens me, but at my age I have come to terms with the fact that it’s just how I am hardwired and I’ve learned to adapt to this part of me. I had someone tell me once, “Well I think that makes you more genuine of a person because you aren’t doing things for love, you’re doing them out of the goodness of your own heart”. This might be a gift in many ways but the cost to have it is a high price to pay.

I feel something is still missing and the adoption trauma will always impact me in this way. I feel like I have a hole in my heart, and the sooner I came to a place of acceptance that IT JUST IS, the sooner I could move forward with healing. Not accepting this only stalled my healing.

I’VE LEARNED A LOT

Adoptees are some of the strongest people I know. To experience what we have and to be silenced by the world regarding our trauma- WE ARE SURVIVORS!

Every single one of us!

I believe I’m someone who will always hold a unique value of time and memories because so much was lost in adoption I’m able to cling tight to time and memories with those I’m close too. Objects of material gain mean nothing to me unless they have some symbolic aspect to them, and being adoptees usually we’re left out of receiving anything of meaning from our birth families, at least I have been anyway. I’ve learned to love people in a way that they hopefully always remember the person I was and how I treated them. I’ve always tried to treat people with the love and acceptance I always wished I received.

SOBRIETY & RECOVERY

I will always be in recovery because the moment I’m not I could very easily slip back into old patterns that I have broken free from and that won’t be good. My kids have been my number one fans on my journey and my biggest motivation. They inspire me to be better, to love others more, and to think outside the box. They keep me young and they are, and always will be the biggest joys of my life. They are the reason I’m still alive today and I’m certain if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be here. Recovery isn’t easy at all, but it’s so worth it.

I don’t have a desire to drink anymore and don’t even think about it. It’s no longer a part of my life. Today is 5 years since I’ve drank my last drink of alcohol and that’s something to be proud of. While my “BIRTH” day brings pain, I am working on celebrating my life from a new perspective. Regardless of the trauma that happened the day I came into the world, I’m something to celebrate. It’s taken me 43 years to get to a place where I’m thankful for being alive but healing from knowing my TRUTH is the only thing that has gotten me this far.

I pray for the same truth and healing to be revealed to all my fellow adoptees. We all deserve to be able to heal from whatever we find, and we all deserve our truth.

Today I have a zest for life, I have someone special in my life who I have a lot in common with. We are enjoying getting to know one another and you never know what God has in store. My mind is crystal clear and I’m freed by the truth.

John 8:32 “Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”.

Today I celebrate 43 years ALIVE on this planet, I celebrate 5 years sobriety, I celebrate being a MOM to 3 amazing kids, I celebrate my TRUTH no matter how painful it has been.  I celebrate all those who have supported me near and far. I celebrate all my fellow adoptees who I have built relationships with that I love very much! I celebrate the future. I celebrate having my voice among the adoptee community and the GRACE God has given me to share the TRUTH on how it feels to be adopted. I celebrate nature and all the healing it has brought my way. I celebrate all the waterfalls I’m going to see and all the ones I’ve already seen. I celebrate the future hikes and working out at the gym. I celebrate once being an angry, bitter, rage filled person to someone with compassion, love, understanding and forgiveness.

So today and the days to come I’m working on making new memories, with new & old friends, moving forward and resting in the fact that I’ve made it.

I’m alive.

I survived.

The beginning of MY STORY isn’t a happy one, but that doesn’t mean the rest of my days can’t be the best of my days.

To God be the GLORY.

Thanks for reading my adoptee in recovery story.

“If it wasn’t for the struggle than I wouldn’t be me” – 2 chainz

XOXO

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August is here.. Now what?

The “birth” day month has arrived.

I want to make a video for you all regarding this time of the year and how it feels being an adoptee celebrating this day and how it feels when the month is here.

I’ll be sure to share it as soon as it’s ready.

I’m okay right now. But the word ” A U G U S T ” is a word I hate. Kind of like mother, but that’s a whole different blog post.  But I’m trying to embrace it. I’m working on it. It’s a constant thought that never leaves my mind.

I’m working on a new life, and discovering a new me. I want the rest of my days to be the best of my days, but somehow I have to process this pain attached to this month and this day. Writing is always a huge help and releasing my feelings to the world is the most validation I’ve received regarding my adoption experience.

It works for me.

For now, I’m already fighting off the dark cloud that’s trying to take over that follows me all the way up to that dreaded day- August 13th.  My plan is to write as much as possible, stay busy and try to process my pain in a healthy way. Sharing my feelings with those who get it. – My fellow adoptees. I do have some celebrating to do this year, and I want to share that as well!

I’ve decided to propose my fellow adoptees to share their experiences and feelings about how they feel about their birthdays and their birthday months. I will then compile a blog post about it and share it with the world. This way it’s not just me and my story, it’s OUR STORY about how our birthdays make us feel, how we survive them and what helps us get through them. This will be validating to us all and I can’t wait to complete this project.  Find the original question

If you are an adoptee and you would like to share how your birthday makes you feel please comment on this thread or feel free to email me at pamelakaranova@gmail.com

Many blessings from me to you! Remember, healing comes from sharing untold feelings to find someone you trust and SHARE YOUR FEELINGS! You matter and your feelings matter! ❤

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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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Dear Birth Mother

Dear Arlene,

I have so much to say and figured I would write a letter to release some of the things on my mind and in my heart. Writing has been a major healing tool in my recovery journey.

So much floods my mind on what to say and how to say it. I guess I really wanted to write because it’s a few days before my birthday and I always get really sad around this time, thinking of you and the events that happened that day. As soon as August hits, it overwhelms me like a tsunami of emotions. Truthfully, I wish it would just go away. It has an impact on my life, and it’s not in a positive way. I was thinking if I wrote you a letter it might help. I can only try.

My feelings have been hurt for years about you not keeping your word when you promised me you would write me, and send me pictures. I waited for over 20 years and you never sent them. Every time I checked the mail, another disappointment. You lied. I’ve done a lot of research on mothers who have given their babies up for adoption, as a way to try to understand you better. I think I’ve learned quite a bit of things. I read “The Girls That Went Away” and it helped me understand the loss that some of the mothers felt after they were forced to give their babies up. My heart aches for them.

I guess the picture I painted of you when I was growing up is that “You loved me so much”, because that’s what I was always told. Your actions have proven me otherwise. I always believed growing up you would want a relationship with me, and want me in your life. After all if you loved me so much, why would you not want me in your life? I had such high hopes for our relationship and I always wanted to have a relationship with you. After I found you, 21 years ago and met you one time I learned that the picture I had painted of you based on what I was told by my adoptive mother, wasn’t the real picture at all. I’m not sure any adoptee would be able to expect their biological mother shutting them out after meeting just one time, because I’m still trying to figure out how someone prepares for that? I always blamed myself. The wound from being separated from you began the moment I was born, and over the years it got deeper and deeper. After I found you and you shut me out, (rejected me) it only felt like a deep gaping hole in my heart that caused me the biggest amount of heartache I could have ever imagined. How does a mother reject their own child? I have been heartbroken my entire life, and you left this world with no explanation as to WHY?!

You never did tell me why you couldn’t have a relationship with me. But I have asked other first mothers, and I’ve done research to try to understand. Some say you weren’t rejecting me, but you were rejecting the pain of relinquishment. Looking at the big picture, I know you were an alcoholic and at your funeral people told me they never saw you without a drink in your hand, even during your pregnancies. I believe alcohol took away your pain from relinquishment, as a temporary fix. I believe you never recovered from the shame you felt from being pregnant with me. I asked you who my birth father was, and you lied to me telling me he was dead, he didn’t know about me and he wouldn’t want too. Well… You were right about him not knowing about me and him not wanting to, but he wasn’t dead. Your lie stalled me from finding and knowing my biological brother by over 20 years. If you would have told me the truth, I would have seen my nieces be born. I wouldn’t have missed so many holidays away from MY family! You keeping me a secret from everyone, so you wouldn’t have to face the fact that you had an affair with a married man who was a friend of the family. Shame on you for your actions, but I believe you thought you were doing the right thing. I believe you thought I would have a better life, keeping my truth hidden, and pretending like I never was born, like your mistake never happened.

Well let me just tell you, I can’t judge you for your actions because if I’m honest I’m no different than you.  We all make mistakes. But I’m at a place seeking healing for my life. I’m seeking clarity, and understanding from all around the board regarding how I came into this world, and where I came from. You pretending I didn’t exist only harmed me even more than being separated from you at the beginning of life. I know in the 70’s things were different. But I needed to know my truth. I needed to know where I came from, and you kept the truth from me to protect yourself from your shame filled actions. Do you know that in order to heal, I needed my truth?

When you died, and I sat at your funeral I wasn’t listed in your obituary. Do you have any idea how much pain that caused me? I really don’t think you care, because you died a hurting woman. After asking to go visit your house, so I could see how you lived, and what your house looked like I gained some closure and a better understanding of what your last days on earth were like. I was told you shut everyone out, even your other daughter. You shut your friends out, even neighbors who came to check on you. Your house was filthy, and dust was an inch thick and it looked like everything in your house was from a scene from a 1970’s movie, which was when I was relinquished. I got the most eerie feeling when I was there. I truly believe your life never was happy after you relinquished me. Nothing changed. It was dark in your house. The drapes and couch were very dark, and a pattern from the 70’s and you died in 2010. I went upstairs to see your room, and again everything was like a scene from the 70’s. Being able to see this brought me some understanding that you indeed were a hurting woman. You died all alone, an alcoholic and with COPD as a long time smoker. It hurt my heart that you would rather die that way, than have me in your life… But it also tells me that’s how great your pain was. It was greater than you feeling like you could allow me in your life. It has made me sad for you.

I know you didn’t know Jesus, even when they mentioned him at your funeral. I know if I grew up in your home, I wouldn’t know Jesus either. That is the only reason I can say I’m thankful I was given up for adoption. I need to be real about that.. That’s a pretty important reason! I wish I could have lead you to the lord, so I would know you were in heaven but unfortunately that didn’t happen.  I think of you and I think of a sad, bitter, angry hurting woman. I think of someone that didn’t have any tools to heal her hurt, and I think of someone that died an alcoholic. The way you were inspired me to be better than that. I didn’t want to die an alcoholic and all alone. I wanted to be a happy healthy mom, for my kids and my future grandkids. I don’t want to be anything like you.

August 12, 2012 I quit drinking. After I found out you were an alcoholic, and then I found my birth father and he was an alcoholic I knew drinking wasn’t for me. I was upset at you for many years for lying to me about my birth father. I’m thankful your sister gave me his information 2 months before she passed away. If she wouldn’t have I never would have found my brother.  I drive to Jimmie’s door (my birth fathers) and he remembered you. He acknowledged the affair you all had in 1973, while he was married to Charlotte. He expressed never knowing you were pregnant or anything about you having me and giving me up for adoption. Do you realize you stole his rights at being a father? I’m his only daughter, and because he didn’t know anything about me he won’t accept me as his daughter! This has made me very angry over the years. Who do you think you are to play with people’s lives like this? Everyone on the planet deserves to know where they come from. It was so not fair for you to lie to him, and keep the pregnancy a secret to protect yourself from your irresponsible actions being exposed. You thought about yourself, not me.  You will never know how that has impacted me in my life. Never knowing who I look like or where I come from has been very traumatic for me and it’s been an entire lifetime. No one has ever understood my pain until I have recently connected with hundreds of adoptees who get it. I have always wished you choose abortion, and if anyone walked in my shoes even one day, they might wish the same thing. I’m working on being thankful for my life, but it’s really hard when you are brought into the world under such shame and secrecy, and the WORLD just expects you to be thankful for losing an entire family.

All I ever wanted was you. I didn’t want anything of material value, only you. I wanted to sit and talk to you and get to know you. I wanted to see what things you liked, and to spend time with you. I hear other people talk about their mothers, and the memories they have with them before they pass away and I get resentful because at least they have the memories. Then I hear people talk of the heirlooms they are passed from their mothers, grandmothers, etc. I get resentful because I wonder if they really valued those things. Being adopted you are robbed of all that. I could care less about the heirlooms; it’s the lost time and memories I have an extremely hard time with.  I was robbed of the memoires, and there is nothing on this earth I can do to get them back. If only everyone knew how valuable a memory was, they might be more thankful for them.

I’m sorry you died all alone. If you would have let me in your life, I would have taken care of you. This hurt my heart deeply that you would rather die all alone, than have me in your life. For years I felt like I did something wrong, but I learned later that your shame is why you turned me away. When my adoptive parents divorced when I was one, and you found out about it after we met I was told by your best friend that it devastated you and you were extremely upset because if that was going to happen, you would have raised me in a single parent household like my adoptive mother did. I am sure that hurt you, because you were promised I would have a better life. I remember after you found this out, you never spoke to me again. I guess it might have hurt you that bad? When you asked about my life growing up, and how it was I was honest with you. I told you the truth and I believe it was hard for you to grasp. I think it was easier for you to shut me out, than to face the fact that the BETTER LIFE you were promised wasn’t better at all. Only different. I think this broke your heart, and it was easier for you to close the door on us ever having a relationship, and continue to drink alcohol to numb your pain, (oh boy do I know all about that!) and continue on with your life like I never existed.

You see, I can honestly say I can understand that the pain was too great for you. But I will never understand how a mother rejects their own child. I dreamed of knowing you my entire life. They lied to me and told me you LOVED ME SO MUCH! That was a lie. You didn’t love me. You wanted to forget all about me. You never wanted a relationship with me. Not all mothers love their babies, and that is the TRUTH! I hear people (especially adoptive parents) speak for birth mothers all the time, “She loved you so much, her decision was such a selfless decision, and she always has you in her heart!”… NO ONE, I MEAN NO ONE CAN SPEAK FOR ALL BIRTH MOTHERS! NOT ALL BIRTH MOTHERS LOVED THEIR BABIES! This was the lie that I believed my whole life, and that LIE caused me the most heartache ever. Her actions showed me the truth. I will never forget the lies in adoption. Such deception and manipulation and all for a family to be able to have a happy healthy baby with a clean slate. All at the cost of every single memory I would have had with my biological family. You see, why am I so mad the memories are gone when reality is YOU didn’t want me in your life anyway? Its heartbreak either way for me.

The reality is I never could accept anything when I didn’t know my truth. It took me 20+ years to find my truth, and I had to do it all on my own with no help and no support. Every single milestone of reunion I embraced solo, and every heartache I kept to myself. The reunion navigation is a VERY EMOTIONAL TIME. I’m still sending messages to “BIO” family members only for them to ignore me, and reject me because they had no idea I existed. I’m still facing rejection after all these years.

What this experience has left me is the fact that even when you didn’t plan me, I believe with my whole heart God did. I’m still trying to figure out WHY? And certain times when I’m at my low points, I get angry with God because if he knew I was going to be in this much pain, WHY AM I EVEN HERE? Then I remember, adoption of the world today isn’t the ADOPTION GOD SPOKE ABOUT IN THE BIBLE. MY PAIN IS FROM THE SECRETS AND LIES IN ADOPTION AND I KNOW SECRETS AND LIES AREN’T FROM GOD. GOD IS A GOD OF TRUTH SO I KNOW IT’S NOT HIS FAULT. IT’S THOSE WHO SUPPORT THE SECRETS AND LIES IN ADOPTIONS FAULT. Anytime a human beings identity is falsified, and names are changed, and birth certificates are changed, and a new born baby or a child is considered a blank slate, then deception kicks in and it’s nothing close to adoption as God intended it. I will never believe God intended for my heart to be broken my entire life, wondering and searching for my people! I have found everyone but the WORLD (Closed adoption Industry) still refuses to give me my original birth certificate.

So you see birth mother, you are long gone but the realities of my adoption experience impact my life in every way imaginable. I wish it was over that day you walked out of the hospital and forgot all about me. But the truth is, it’s stayed with me throughout my entire life.

Let me tell you I have done everything in my power to heal from this experience. I stopped drinking  August 12, 2012. So the pain was flooding in, the realities and the FOG lifted and my TRUTH became more real than ever. This was my first step in recovering from my adoption experience. Alcohol or drugs doesn’t do ANYTHING but prolong our healing and distort the truth. Now that I see my truth CLEARLY I can accept it, and move forward with healing. I started writing and sharing my adoptee feelings in 2011, before I ever stopped drinking. I was writing from a place of anger, and really deep hurt so my writing was very angry. Over the last 3 years, I’ve started a ministry called Celebrate Recovery, where I have been able to put every single issue I have out on the table and one of the main things I prayed for was GRACE. I needed God’s grace, to come into my life so my anger could turn to something positive. God has given me that grace.

I am working on healing the way I feel about my dreaded birthday. Today is August 9, 2015. I will be 41 in a few days, and I really want to just be at a peaceful place with this day but all I think about is the loss associated with that day. The loss no one recognizes unless they are adopted.

I’ve been working hard at accepting that no matter how I came into this world, God was the ultimate planner of me being here. I WANT TO ACCEPT I’M HERE BECAUSE HE HAS A PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR MY LIFE. If I’m honest, my blog and being able to reach out to other adoptees is enough for me. My fellow adoptees make all my adoptee pain worth it. My kids give me a reason to be here, so I am trying to trust and believe God has a plan for my life.

Writing you has helped me release some things I needed you to know. I’ve written for years and I’ve written you 2 letters in the past, and they were both very emotional for me. This one not so much. I believe I’m accepting things for what they are. But the last part I need to share is that GOD has been my ultimate healer regarding my adoption experience. That doesn’t mean I will ever STOP SHARING MY PAIN! We all deserve to be heard, and just because I have the most hurt I have ever experienced from being adopted, and I’m working through my pain doesn’t mean I won’t continue to share my feelings. Do you realize I have never been able to release these feelings until recently? That’s 41 years of feeling the way society expected me to feel and it’s sure known in adoption that if you don’t have a “Happy Bubbly” story it’s just not welcome, or you are being negative, or better yet, “You just had a bad adoption experience!” Yeah I would say anytime a child is separated from their ROOTS & DNA it calls for a “bad experience” especially when the WORLD won’t allow us to grieve our loss. They make us feel like something is wrong with US for feeling the way we do. It’s a total and complete mind f–k to be adopted. I’m so serious about this!

I have figured out why this “Mother Wound” has been so extra deep for me. Mainly because of you handing me over to strangers to be raised. And the stranger you passed me to wasn’t capable of being a mother. I really have never had a mother. I was too busy taking care of “her”, and it scared me for life. But it’s easier to accept God as my heavenly father, and he takes the place of my earthly father. I can accept this. But I will say my adoptive dad was an amazing man. He was always great to me, so my “Father Wound” was never as big as my “Mother Wound”. It’s hard for me to replace my “Mother Wound” with God for some reason. I believe a mother sets the foundations for bonding and trust and so many other areas, and without a mother or with the mother bond being destroyed, as a person we miss so much. I’ve been left to figure it out alone and I think I do pretty well considering I didn’t have the mother I deserve. I have prayed about becoming a better mother to my kids than what I had, and I know I haven’t been perfect but I know I have tried my best with all I know how. It has been hard considering I never had a mother example or closeness with a mother ever in my life. It makes me sad. There is no one to go to or talk to like I should be able to. I’m turning to God more and more, but nothing in the world can replace our mother. I just wish you understood that before you decided to give me up.

So now, I have written you and told you how I feel. Your decision has impacted me every single day of my life, and I want you to know I’m working towards healing. I’ve accepted what I can’t change, and God has healed my broken heart. The thing I’m working on now is this “birth” day and the dark sadness that comes with that day. Let’s face it; the day I was born was not a happy day. I can think it was happy for you, because you got rid of your problem, but I know deep down you had to be sad that day.  It’s a major day of loss and sadness for me.  I look forward to the day I can be free from the sadness. I believe it will always be to an extent, but I have FAITH AND BELIEVE that the closer I get with God, the more he will heal all areas of my life. I know that no area is off limits when it comes to him & this is where I get my hope from.

I have always loved you, even when you didn’t love me. I would have given anything for a relationship with you, but now I will embrace my spiritual mothers God has put in my life. They don’t kick me to the curb or throw me away like you did. I refuse to believe there is something wrong with me, because God loves me just as I am, not as I should be. Too bad you couldn’t do the same. Your loss.

Signing Off,

Pamela,

<3The Daughter You Threw Away, But God Rescued Me & I’m Here To Stay.

p.s. I chose the term “Birth Mother” because she never gave me more than being the woman that gave birth to me. If we would have had a relationship, I might have chosen something different. First Mother, or Biological Mother, etc. To each his own on how we refer to the women that gave us life. I would love to just call her “Mother”. But she rejected that so “Birth Mother” it is…