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.
Being an adoptee in a closed adoption, I had no idea I had a brother until 2010. The minute I found out about Him was the minute I began searching- AGAIN. I was ecstatic about this, but where was he? What did he look like? Would he accept my children and I? Would I ever find Him?
All I knew is that I was going to dye trying. At all costs I was going to find Him. Almost a year to the date my long anticipation of waiting was over.
November 2011 I found my brother.
We spoke on the phone for the first time comparing notes on our lives. My birth father was His father. After seeing a picture of Him I was amazed at all of our similarities we shared. Our skin tone was almost the same, we were both very tall with the same natural hair color and it appeared we had more resemblances than His siblings he grew up with and was raised with. After comparing some of our baby pictures we both just knew we were siblings.
There was no question about it.
For me this was an outstanding discovery but the best part is my new found brother not only mirrored me, but he accepted me. Not only did he accept me, he accepted my children. Do you have any idea how much this means when I have been rejected by both my biological parents and their families?
THIS HAS MEANT EVERYTHING TO ME!
I was on top of the world!
I told everyone about my brother and in a very short period of time in my eyes, he hung the moon! He planned a trip to spend Christmas with my kids and I in Kentucky and we met for the first time December 24, 2011. It was a dream come true for me. This would be the first holiday in my life I spent with biological family. We sat at the table and talked for hours and hours. We both agreed we had a lot of making up to do.
I always told everyone He was the pot of Gold at the end of the rainbow for me and God always saves the best for last.
Greg will always be my pot of Gold & my TREASURE in my adoption journey!
Over the last 6 years we made many memories together. Greg flew to KY 2x to share Christmas with my children and I. We visited Texas 2x to attend His Annual Craw-fish Boil in 2014 and in 2015 I attended my very first Thanksgiving Dinner with Him. This was an amazing experience. Family gathering around to celebrate all things, especially one another. There aren’t enough words to express How wonderful Greg and His entire family has been to my children and I. I had 4 new found nieces & a nephew. I had a new sister and brother which were Greg’s siblings he grew up with.
In a blink of an eye I had a whole new family I could call my own.
Especially since so much has been lost in adoption.
Greg and I made a mutual attempt at having a relationship with one another from afar. It wasn’t easy but it seemed to come natural to both of us. We always looked forward to speaking to one another. He was in Texas and I was in Kentucky. He knew I loved the sunrises and sunsets so it was common for Him to send me early morning or evening pictures of the Texas sunset. This has always been a way to my heart because I see God in all things to do with nature and the sky. I looked forward to our long conversations on the phone catching up on how things have changed from the last time we spoke. Greg was always a breath of fresh air in my life. He was a big brother who gave me advice when I needed it, and listened when he needed a listener. He was an awesome dad, and an outstanding human being who would have done anything for anyone. Our similarities were astonishing at times. We both loved nature and hiking. He gave me great advice on many areas including the best supplements to take, hiking safe, how to check for ticks (lol), and so much more. At the end of every conversation we never hesitated to tell one another we loved each other.
Until Next Time…
Greg, ” I love you, Sis!”
Me, ” I love you too! We will talk soon!”
You see as an adoptee, I don’t tell people “bye”.
I say “I’ll talk to you soon”.
I know my fellow adoptees get it.
May 21st 2017 I received some tragic information that Greg was in an early morning motorcycle accident. He was going 60MPH on a Texas road and hit a cow that was laying in the middle or the road. His brain damage was so sever he was put on life support and the doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. Greg fought for His life for the next 3 days and on May 24, 2017 He went home to be with the Lord.
My heart is broken.
Not many non-adoptees get it but my fellow adoptees can understand the pain associated with something like this. Waiting our entire lives to find our people, and the emotions attached to having to search for them daily our entire lives. The pain attached to our never ending journey of wanting to fit in somewhere with our people. The roller coaster ride that comes with reunions. I remember visiting Greg and going to the bedroom to cry many times because I was so ANGRY I missed so many years with my brother! The grief of missing so much of Him in my life was inconsolable at times! I tried my best to hide it from everyone, but it would overtake my mind and I just couldn’t shake it sometimes. It sent me into depression episodes many times over the years.
How could I have a brother so amazing SOMEWHERE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD and because of the secrets & lies in adoption I had no clue he existed and he had no clue I existed? I was given up for adoption in 1974 without my birth fathers consent as if he didn’t exist- bullshit! And it’s still happening today in 2017! I’m not gonna lie, I’ve struggled with this and struggled a lot. As if anyone in the adoption “triad” doesn’t ever think of these things? Birth father’s have rights too! I would have known about my brother much sooner if it wasn’t for the secrets & lies in adoption!
ADOPTION IMPACTS ADOPTEES FOREVER!
IT NEVER GOES AWAY!
PLEASE BELIEVE IT!
Because we didn’t know about one another until 2011 I only got 6 amazing years with my brother. I’m crushed and most people that aren’t adopted simply don’t get all the dynamics of it all. Honestly, I’m thankful they don’t. Means they don’t know what this pain feels like. Please don’t mistake me sharing my feelings here as not being grateful for those 6 years! I’m extremely grateful!
May 24, 2017 I was given the gift of saying a final good-bye to my brother over the phone. He was in a coma, and on life support. They had made the decision to remove his life support because of the brain damage he suffered. Did he hear me? I will never know but they say that you should assume people hear you because a lot of the time they do.
I couldn’t believe this was happening. My brother I just found was the same brother I had to say a final good bye too? This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.
I sobbed and sobbed and said, “Greg, I just wanted to tell you I LOVE YOU! I’m so so very sorry you were in the accident and you are in this situation! But I want to tell you it’s okay to let go because I know this might be too much for you to hang on. Please believe we will all be okay but we sure are gonna miss you!!!! I’ve had some of the best memories of my LIFE with you and I could never thank you enough for loving me and accepting my children and I. They love you and will miss you and I want you to know you will be so missed but I will see you in heaven one day! I love you Greg”
I hung up the phone and continued to sob.
That was it.
Within a few short hours he was gone.
Not enough words to express the sadness and emotions I am feeling.
Bottom line is we all experience grief & loss in our lives. We handle it be best way we know how. All the way back to 5 years old and I found out I was adopted I have been grieving the unknown. My life has been a long road of grief between searching for my way back home, searching for my birth parents, and being rejected by them both I have experienced this grief & loss my entire life. This was the main reason alcohol was my escape. It did the trick, but now almost 5 years into living a sober lifestyle I am not running from the pain. I’m feeling it.
It hurts and hurts like hell.
Not long before the passing of my brother I have been writing about finding myself in nature, outside the 4 walls of the church. I have finally found my happy place and I know in my heart of hearts my brother would want me to continue to explore the world and go hiking and watch the sunrises and sunsets. He loved all these things as well! He would want me to continue to try to find happiness in the world we live in. I’m going to do that but I will never forget the brother that came into my life for 6 short years who was my treasure in my adoption journey.
47 years lost
6 years found
I will always hate adoption because of so much it’s taken from me and other adoptees. But I will always be grateful for the 6 years with my brother that some adoptees will never get. My heart breaks for them, like it breaks for the loss of my brother.
Today, I’m thankful for the 6 amazing years and I have 6 years of memories to hang onto. Non-adoptees don’t get it. For adoptees, memories are EVERYTHING because almost always we have none to hang onto, this is why many of us clench the pain so tight. There is nothing else to put in its place when you have no memories with your people! This is why there should be no secrecy and lies in adoption- EVER.
At this place in my life the less attachments and less people I have in my life, the less chance there is to lose them. I’m just tired. Tired of losing people. Tired of being rejected. Tired of being abandoned. Tired of the grief process. It’s taken a toll on me as it does all adoptees.
At least I’m not drinking to cope.
Today, I will continue to live life because my brother would want that. Last time we spoke I told Him about my bucket list of visiting all the waterfalls in Kentucky and falling in love with hiking. He was proud of me for finding something I have a passion for. Every hike I take I will take in memory of my brother. I know he’s always with me and I know he’s shining down on us all from Heaven.
I will never get to hear his voice again, but I have 6 years of amazing memories to clench onto. Thank God for those memories. There isn’t enough material items in this entire world that is worth those memories that no one can take from me. Praise God.
Thanks for reading. If you receive anything from this post please never leave a chance to tell someone you love them empty! You never know when it will be your last time. If you’re in the adoption triad please let my post ring true to your ears and understand that adoptees experience grief, trauma, loss, sadness, pain our entire lives. It never goes away. It’s a lifelong battle. Please don’t deny us the right to grieve our losses. This is why I’ve been grieving on my own my entire life, there was no place for it when I was growing up. I could go on forever, but I will stop here.
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!
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