I remember finding out I was adopted at 5 years old and my life would never be the same. I started to fantasize about this woman…
The woman that gave me life.
Who was she?
Where was she?
Fantasy turned to obsession.
I was told she “Loved Me So Much” she wanted me to have a better life, so she surrendered me to my adoptive parents. This in turn was the best gift they could have been given- they were parents now. My loss and my birth mothers loss was my adoptive parents gain.
How could I be sad when they were so happy?
Thoughts of my birth mother never left my mind.
I remember very vividly I would escape what was going on inside, which was usually a manic depressive episode brought on by my adoptive mom so I could be outside. I say escape because that’s what it felt like. I would ask my adoptive mom if I could go outside to play and she almost always had chores for me to do. Getting outside was something I had to sneak to do on most days. At my dads house it was different. He always let us play outside so we could be free.
If I was to sneak out and my adoptive mother would learn I was gone, usually not 5 minutes would pass and she would be hollering for me at the door to get back in the house. On a rare occasion she would give me 30 minutes to play, or maybe 15.
During my time outside, I remember feeling free. I didn’t understand it as a child, but I can look back and understand it now.
I HAD A TIE TO THE SKY…
It was like my baby blanket growing up. In some strange way it made me feel closer to my birth mother, although I had no idea who she was or where shes was I knew in my heart of hearts she was under the same sky I was.
I remember laying in the grass, looking up. Dazing off wondering about HER. I would see a cloud that looked like a tree, and I wondered if she saw the same cloud. I would see a falling star and I wondered if she saw the same falling star. I would see how bright the sun was and beautiful rainbows and I wondered if she saw them too. Rainbows were my favorite and every time I saw one I would think of her…
I always fantasized she was going to one day come back and get me, so the more time I spent outside the better chance she was going to have at finding me. I would sit outside on the front porch and wait…
LOOKING AT THE SKY…
I remember being in the country of Iowa, climbing trees all the way to the top. I was so high I couldn’t get any higher but I would reach up and put my hand towards the clouds in attempts to be closer to my birth mother…
After all I knew that she was under the same sky I was…
The sky was my comfort.
It was my hope that one day I would see her again.
Did she see what I saw in the sky?
The sky and I became very close.
As I walked out the front door as a child it was like the sky was hugging me. Bringing me peace and comfort that I didn’t experience elsewhere.
It was my greatest escape.
THE SKY WAS MY FIRST LOVE.
No one can take the sky away…
Daydreaming about HER. What did she look like? What were her eyes like? Was she tall like me? Did she think of me like I was thinking of her? Was she looking for me like I was looking for her? Did she really love me like they said? If she loved me how did she give me away?
This must all be a big mistake…
She must be looking for me…
But until she comes the sky will comfort me.
Days turned into years and she never came.
By the time I was a pre-teen my hope faded but my love for the sky did not.
As an adult I still have the same love for the sky, but it’s much different now. I see sunrises and sunsets, rainbows and gorgeous clouds and I am in awe at God’s amazing beauty and creations. I believe God was the one comforting me through the sky the entire time as a child, and he is still doing this today. I’m constantly in AWE at God’s beauty, the hues, and colors and designs. It reminds me of HER. The mystery woman, my birth mother.
THE SKY & I
We will always have a special bond.
There isn’t much else on this earth that can comfort me like the sky does.
Well, I certainly can’t speak for all adoptees but I can speak for myself.
Mother’s Day & the days leading up to it, is a time of mourning for me.
How do you mourn what never was?
Just like mourning what was, I mourn what never was. But usually what was has some memories for someone to hang on to.
Mourning what never was is a much deeper grief & loss…
For me anyway…
I’m writing about it!
Remember I’m only speaking for myself.
To celebrate Mother’s Day is a difficult task not only for me but for many people on earth. Many people didn’t get the mother’s they deserved or maybe they did and their mother’s have passed away and left them feeling hallow and empty with a loss they might never recover from. We are each able to process our pain as we see fit.
Today I’m not drinking!
It’s a mixed bag for me. I’ve tried to celebrate the fact that I’m a mother and I hope and pray I have been a better mother to my kids than what I was given in that area. For many reasons I don’t feel like I have given my kids what they have deserved because how can I give them something I don’t have? Something that was never given to me?
Everyday, I try.
But parts of me are hollow inside.
I’m just floating through life doing the best I can with what I have.
I think most of us do that don’t we?
We make lemons out of lemonade and do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.
Deep down “Mother’s Day” is the 2nd most painful holiday aside from my “Birth Day”. From an adoptee perspective who was dealt a crap shot not only once in the mother area but twice I have nothing to celebrate on that day. If I’m completely honest I wish it never existed.
I hate it.
Oh I already said that didn’t I?
I just want it to be over!
Oh I have but because of Mother’s Day it never goes away!
It’s like digging up the dead!
I don’t have a happy picture to put on my Facebook profile of my “Mother” and I. I don’t have a happy story to tell. I am sharing my story here, and then I will be moving on with my life.
One day at a time.
One foot ahead of the other.
I will always have that aching piece inside of me yearning for MY MOTHER.
But she’s not coming back.
She’s nevercoming back.
“Why are you so negative?”
I’m just keeping it real!
This is my reality!
Inside my head every single day!
**Smile for the camera!**
**Smile for the world**
Everyday I cry inside wishing I had my mother.
Maybe I will write her a letter and let her know how her leaving has hurt me so.
“Look on the bright side”- The World Says So!
Oh, of course.
THE BRIGHT SIDE.
I am a mother to 3 amazing children.
They are my life.
THEY ARE THE REASON I’M ALIVE!
What an honor it is to be a mother to them!
Do you not understand how hard it is to be a mother when you never had a mother?
Does anyone ever think of that?
I hope I’m half the mother they deserve.
I will let them celebrate “ME” because that’s what I’m supposed to do.
I have some women in my life who are mother figures to me. I adore them to heaven and back again.
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!
I don’t think I’ve ever felt more “FREE” in my life.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately walking away from people, places and things that no longer serve God’s purpose for my life. It’s an amazing time for sure!
I’m walking away. I’m moving forward. I’m letting go. I’m leaving all those things behind that are no longer designed to benefit me or progress me in life. I must say things have changed drastically over the last few years but even more so the last few months.
GOD IS IN CONTROL.
I TRUST HIM!
I’ve learned I’m more content this way. I’m not so “Out there” trying to belong in places I will never fit in at. I spent so many years trying to fit in when God hasn’t designed me, (or YOU) to ever fit in. I’m happier on the outside far away from all the drama and craziness. That life is overrated in my humble opinion. I’ve seen a lot in my life. I’ve experienced so many highs and lows you wouldn’t even believe it all if I told you. One thing I know is I’m a survivor- ALL ADOPTEE’S ARE SURVIVORS! Even if we spend most of our lives feeling abandon & rejected the fact that we are alive is HUGE! We must give ourselves some credit when it’s due!
I’m going to start writing about my life from some other dynamics, not just an adoptee in recovery dynamic. I have other things to share like how it’s been being a single parent for 23+ years, what it was like being extremely involved in a church and then feeling like I had to walk away to protect my kids & more. I’ve seen how people can become co-dependent on the church so much they don’t even know who they are outside of the church. This was me for 4 years! I want to share what my life is like now that I’m not in a recovery program or ministry and how my recovery journey is at this point. I want to share how life is after pulling back from “Adoptee Land” for the last few months. I want to share what it’s like with all my kids adults now. I want to share how it is that I hear God in the midst of all of these transitions. Don’t think I’ve walked away without God by my side- He’s been with me the entire way!
For now, I will share that walking away for me is gaining peacefulness like I have ever known. The less people, places and things in my life the better. The smaller my circle the better. Life’s circumstances have made me this way and I don’t feel it’s a heartbreaking thing-I feel it’s a remarkable thing. It’s taken me awhile to get to this conclusion but trusting God has been key to keep my sanity.
That’s a wonderful place to be IMHO. I’ve come to a cross roads in life. I feel like I’ve come to many cross roads over the last few years, but none quite like this one. I feel a total peace about the place I am, and this is why I know it’s from God.
I’ve learned over time it’s so easy to become co-dependent on people, places and things. I am striving to be free of codependency of people, places and things. The more I let go of people, places and things the more free I become. The more free I feel. Free to me is a “Safe Space” for me to be in. The less people, places and things the less drama, hiccups and nonsense I have that comes my way.
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Facebook for quite some time now. I am learning that Facebook is just a tool used for everyone to be up in your business, when reality is most of those people aren’t even in my life. It’s almost as if I’ve noticed Facebook has a sort of control over me. I have made the choice to “Opt-Out” of allowing Facebook to have this control over my life, at least for the time being. It’s apparent in my life anyway, something can happen spur of the moment and I make the choice to log back in and there I go… Wasting time, very valuable precious time on meddling in what others are doing. I put up a status that is heartwarming for those who read it and go about my merry way. There is much more to Pamela Karanova than what I share on Facebook. I have many layers as we all do.
Most of the time I wonder who is REAL in my life and who ISN’T. Who will even notice I’m gone? Hardly anyone ever does. I find it so interesting. The people who I REALLY have in my life I’m close to and we talk on the phone, text, and see one another and don’t need Facebook to tie us together. I’m clinging to those REAL relationships with my REAL friends. If we have a relationship in “real life” I don’t need Facebook to have that. I am keeping my “Like” pages up and going, as well as sharing adoptee stories at How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Website
Many transitions are taking place in my life. I’m in a discovery phase of WHO I AM and listening what God is going to do next in my life. I’m going through emotional highs and lows in LIFE in general. God is weeding out people, places and things who don’t serve a purpose in my life anymore.
John 5:8 says, “”Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”
And so it is…
I’m happily embracing on a season of self discovery moving forward while acknowledging all that has been might not be a part of what will be. I’m okay with this. I don’t feel the need to explain my journey to everyone. Most people only want to hear warm fluffy stories anyway!I feel those who will really want to know will take the time to reach out to me and find out how I am, what I’m doing in my life. 9 x out of 10 they won’t have time to meet you for coffee with their busy schedule, so WHY would I share my life with them? Real relationships takes real action. I don’t believe in telling people “Good-Bye”. If you were ever a real part of my life there will be no “Good-Byes” only more “Hello’s”. If you weren’t a real part of my life, you might consider saying “Good-Bye” but may I suggest you save it for the next person you would like to have a “Fake Relationship” with? Why would you tell someone “Good-Bye” if you have a real relationship with them? I sure wouldn’t.
I’ve seen a lot in my little 42 years of life here on earth. I’ve been in large groups of people who say you are a part of their life, and I’ve been in small groups of people who say the same. I’ve been naive for many years of my life. I’ve wanted to be accepted and belong somewhere for so long, that I’ve been blinded many times over at synthetic relationships that come my way. Just because I speak to you and see you as we pass by one another doesn’t mean you are my friend. Friendships take work. They take time. They take sacrifice to put your friends before yourself. Friendships take intention. I try to see the good in people, and for most of my life I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the idea of so many people who “love me” or “accept me” and those who say they WANT TO BE MY FRIEND.
It’s take 42 years for me to be OKAY with the idea that people are full of it. They can say words like “Family of Choice” so easily. In the next breath they denounce the very words they spoke the week before. What is “Family of Choice” anyway? To me it sounds like something that separates and divides us away from our family of origin or our adoptive family or whoever we have close to us we call family. Family is a variety of things. Family is those who you invest in, you take time to reach out to them and you make it a POINT to be in their life. This can even happen from a distance! Family isn’t something that I take lightly. I’ve had blood and adoptive family and church family. People can say they are family and back stab you or betray you in a heartbeat. One thing I don’t do is FAKE. If I don’t like you or want to be around you, you will not hear from me. I won’t respond to you and I will always try to do this in the most elegant & graceful way possible. Just because I’m aCHRISTian doesn’t mean I have to allow everyone on God’s green earth to see inside my life. I am called to love people, and that I will do. It doesn’t mean I need to continuously let my guard down, allow people to come into my life only to dismiss me in the next segment of this thing we call “Life”.
It’s a freeing feeling to CHOOSE who I allow in my life.
I can honestly smell bullsh*t a mile away!
Relationships are reciprocated.
If I don’t reciprocate I don’t want a relationship with you.
If you don’t reciprocate a relationship with me, I KNOW you don’t want a REAL relationship with me.
End. Of. Story.
I remember the days where I would allow people in, and they flat out didn’t deserve to be in my life. I wanted and needed to be accepted SO BAD, I was blinded by so much.
Those days are over.
Today, the title of this post is “Withdraw & Retreat” for a reason. I’m not all alone. God is with me! My close friends know pieces of what’s going on in my life, and the REAL friends I have are on this ride with me. My kids are with me. They are the most important thing TO ME! So today I’m at a peaceful place filled with many transitions taking place. God is weeding things OUT and I believe with my entire heart he will replace all those things with better things.
It’s critical I trust Him.
Growing in my relationship with God is something I put at the front of my life, each and every day I’m committed to THIS. For my fellow adoptees; I will always be around for YOU! Please believe this is no good-bye letter. Only a post explaining some things are changing in my life, for the better and I’m excited to share it.
God is about to use me in a new way because it’s a NEW DAY in this thing we call LIFE.
Thanks for reading.
I’m going to try to write more in the near future.