Refresher On The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? – Page Guidelines & About Section

I have felt the need to share the details of why the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is PUBLIC and why it’s an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting Facebook “Like” page.

Below is what you will find under our “About” section of the page. This area of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page does a pretty good job at explaining things for our followers. After repeated requests to make this a “Private Group” I felt it would be a good idea to focus on a refresher as to why this page is set up the way it is.

PLEASE READ OUR ABOUT SECTION BELOW

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Bringing the truth to light one click at a time. As we grow closer by the click, this is a place for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted.

Please Read Before Posting…

THIS IS A PUBLIC PAGE. THIS MEANS WHATEVER YOU SHARE HERE WILL BE ABLE TO SHOW UP ON YOUR TIMELINE.


FYI: We are aware that this might cause a privacy concern for some but we also feel that the secrets of adoption have been kept a secret for long enough, and it’s not a secret anymore. We want this to stay public to help raise awareness about adoption from an adoptees perspective.

This page is founded for all adoptees that want to express how it feels to be adopted. Your views and opinions matter, and you are not alone. Anyone impacted by adoption can benefit from understanding adoptees better. This page is to help make that happen. We welcome potential adoptive parents, adoptive parents, and biological parents to learn from us because no one can express better than an adoptee, “HOW IT FEELS TO BE ADOPTED”.

Announcement: With some careful consideration we have decided to limit the open dialog of communication here to adoptees, and adoptees ONLY. Everyone is welcome here, and we hope you embrace the experiences share by those who have lived being adopted. Forward, questions from non-adoptees will no longer be posted and comments from non adoptees will be deleted.  We have set up http://www.facebook.com/askanadoptee1 for non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions. Things have gotten a little out of hand lately, and to all the adoptees who have been triggered by this we apologize. We desire to keep this a safe place for all adoptees.

For those who are adoptees AND adoptive parents or biological parents, you are welcome to share here but as we all should keep our sharing focused on our own thoughts and feelings based on our own experiences being an adoptee. We can’t speak for each other. We can only speak for ourselves. We can’t belittle adoptees because we have different views than them. This is a great learning platform for all and the WORLD is allowed to learn from us, this is why the openess of this page is so important. Bringing the darkness to light. Keep in mind we have to respect each others feelings no matter what they are. This change starts now.

FYI: Please keep in mind that not all adoptees journeys are those of a positive outcome. Some are just that. This is considered a “SAFE PLACE” for ALL adoptees regardless of how they view their adoption experience. This page is here to offer support, advice, encouragement for every one of us so please be understanding when adoptees have a different view than you. We are each entitled to our own feelings, and they deserve to be heard, and validated.

If you always felt alone, you are not alone anymore. This is a wide group of amazing adoptees, and others impacted by adoption. We are here if you need us!

Please:
•No personal insults to others.
•Respect each other and moderators
•Strong language and vulgarity are prohibited.
•Please use common sense and courtesy
• Please validate others feelings and allow the negative and positive feelings also to come to the surface, as identifying these issues is the only way we can begin to heal.
• Even if you don’t agree with someones opinion or view, please respect that its theirs to have. We all came from different places, and we have no idea what the other person has been through.

Feel free to inbox if you have any questions, suggestions, comments or concerns. Adoptees, Please feel free to send any questions you would like asked on the page to the inbox for the page. As many as you would like, and they will be kept anonymous. Also, please share your reunion stories with us! We would love to celebrate the discovery if your history with you!

It’s a huge blessing to have each of you here!

Each adoptees unique story has tremendous power to promote identity, relationship, and healing.

Blessings!

Admin: Pamela A. Karanova
Anyone impacted by adoption in some way,especially my fellow adoptees feel free to add me. Please send me an inbox sharing how you are impacted by adoption. Looking forward to connecting with you! ♥

Many people don’t read the about section of the page but we always encourage it.  We have also set up page guidelines for all our followers to read and this is pinned to the top of the page for easy viewing.

THE PAGE GUIDELINES LOOK LIKE THIS

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How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Page Guidelines

The purpose of this page is to create a space for adoptees to share how it feels to be adopted. To ensure that this is a safe space for all adoptees we would like to use the following guidelines:

●Only adoptees are allowed to comment here. No exceptions.

●Adoptees, Please keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings based on your own experiences.

●There is NO piggy backing. This when one adoptee comments in his/her safe space (usually responding to a question asked by the poster) and another adoptee comes and disagrees or disregards their experiences. Most of the time this creates a dialog between the two adoptees. If you disagree with what an adoptee says, that’s your right but please refrain from commenting in another adoptees “Safe Space”.

●Share your feelings regarding the question by clicking “Reply” to the original question asked. Please do not “Reply” on other adoptees responses unless it’s agreeing and understanding them. Why? When you come against them it’s creating an immediate violation of the safe space created for them to share their feelings.

●This kind of communication can be difficult in the best of times, because of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and differences. When this communication takes place it has the potential to be extremely negative, even leading to destructive outcomes. It can also be very triggering for many adoptees.

●There are no right or wrong answers on this page. Each person is free to express his or her feelings without interruptions in the “Safe Place” created just for them. When you reply to the question asked that is considered your safe space.

We are here to support one another, not “fix” another.

●If you are an adoptee and an adoptive parent or an adoptee and a birth parent, we value your dynamic experience. We ask you reserve this safe space to share your adoptee experience ONLY. There are other places you can share your adoptive/birth parent experience.

●It’s okay to agree to disagree. We must respect one another’s views even if we don’t agree with them.

If anyone doesn’t follow these guidelines we will have no choice but to delete any comments made if they are violating their fellow adoptees “Safe Place”.

Thank you for reading our guidelines. Together we want to make this the safest space possible so all adoptees can share how it feels to be adopted. – ♡ Admin.

So here we have it…

Page Guidelines & our “About” section of the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page listed here for us all.

Let’s unpack this a little bit.

First things first, this page is not a group. It’s a public “Like” page. It clearly states this in the ABOUT section of the page. The reason this page was originally set up this way is because (as shared in the about section of the page) there is so much secrecy in adoption already I wanted to let the world see our real, raw feelings because our feelings matter, we matter. I get tons of requests to make this a PRIVATE GROUP but it’s impossible to switch a public like page to a private group. Yes, I could make a private group for this page specifically but for me, and the purpose I have in this lifetime I only have a desire to keep things public because I’m tired of being a secret. I’m tired of non-adoptees running our show. I understand fully that some adoptees aren’t able to comment as they wish because they have fears of their adoptive and biological families seeing their truth. I totally understand and I totally get it. I’ve been there. I recommend creating a “Pen Name” (An anonymous name used for writing purposes). I used a pen name for 3 years when I didn’t feel strong enough to share my real true feelings for FEAR of __________ <—- Insert a million reasons here! I get it, I promise I do!

That said, there are thousands of adoptees who DO feel comfortable in sharing their truth on this public “Like” page. By all means I suggest any adoptees who are in need of a private group to start one of  your own or join one of the many that is already out there and available. There are TONS! Here is a link to one that is moderated by a friend of mine and fellow adoptee, Lawrence Proctor. Make sure you answer the question on why you want to join the group or he won’t accept the invitations. Click this link! Adoptees Anonymous? Who Are We?

ADOPTEE ONLY COMMENTING

Why is this page adoptee only commenting? It’s simple. Adoptees are tired of the rest of the world speaking for us, silencing us and not having any safe space to share our feelings.

Let me share a little about how the page was created. On October 20, 2012 I was attending a Celebrate Recovery group meeting in Lexington, KY. I was 60+ days in my sobriety journey and I had no where to turn. AA is a wonderful program but it wasn’t what I was looking for because I needed a safe place where I could share my feelings about being adopted and all the hurt and pain I was running from for 27 years. A friend recommended Celebrate Recovery so beginning October I went and continued on a weekly basis. It took me a few weeks to open up and get familiar with the people in my group. I remember like it was yesterday, I started to share something regarding my biological mother and tears began to flow. I started sharing my pain from losing her and a lady to my left whom happened to be an adoptive mother, interrupted me and said, “YOU DON’T KNOW ADOPTION LIKE I KNOW ADOPTION!!!” and she began to tell me her experience with adoption. I was cut off, I was silenced.

IT WAS CLEAR THAT ALTHOUGH THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE PLACE FOR ME ADOPTION WAS THE EXCEPTION. I left in tears, hopeless and even having thoughts of suicide. I was feeling like if this was a Christian Ministry and I was silenced sitting in a small group that was supposed to be a safe space, but not for me the adoptee I had no where to turn. There was no help for me. I went into a depression, was sad and upset for weeks after this. Eventually, after about 3 weeks I went back and I let them know how that impacted me. I let them know it hurt, and it took me to a really dark place. After this, some changes were made regarding cross talk so other peoples feelings weren’t invalidated like mine were, and I spent the next 4 years working through my adoptee issues via Celebrate Recovery. I went on to get leadership training, small group training and I was the small group leader for Women’s Chemical Dependency for almost 3 years. I shared my adoption journey many times by giving my testimony and I was able to get to the root issues of abandonment and rejection from my adoption experience so I could begin to address my issues, and move towards acceptance and healing. This process was critical to my healing process. I learned the dynamics of creating a safe space for everyone to share and how important it is.

So please know I have taken careful thought and consideration into creating this page and running it with the flow it has. I realize not everyone will like it and not everyone will agree. I am open to suggestions and feedback, but I’m also limited to what I can do regarding my commitment to the page, and my personal life, etc.

For the non-adoptees who might be reading this, don’t you think adoptees deserve a safe space where they can share without you all interrupting us or silencing us? My commitment is 110% to the adoptees, and creating a safe space for THEM to share their feelings. I want them to share whatever level of feelings they feel comfortable with. Have you noticed the other places online where ALL members of the adoption equation are participants how much chaos goes on and how adoptees are silenced by non-adoptees? I refuse to be a part of those pages because they are extremely triggering to me, and I’ve had countless amounts of adoptees say the same thing. I consider it a privileged that non-adoptees are able to sit back and LEARN from us. They can read and reflect and learn.

It’s about time don’t you think?

That said, I have also received over the years a high amount of non-adoptees who want to ask adoptees questions. The How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page is not set up for this to happen. After many months of requests from non-adoptees to ask adoptees questions I created ASK AN ADOPTEE. This page has been an amazing tool in the adoption community.  It’s not only given non-adoptees a space to ask questions, but it’s given adoptees the space to share their insight regarding the question, based on their experience living adopted. Please visit the “About Section” for details on the flow of the page. Again, this is an ADOPTEE ONLY commenting space for the same reasons How Does It Feel To Be Adopted Is.

How Does It Feel To Be Adopted?  and ASK AN ADOPTEE are the ONLY FACEBOOK LIKE PAGES (that I’m aware of) that is set up where the moderator (me) only allows adoptee only commenting. This is because ADOPTEES DESERVE THIS SPACE. 

Again, I fully understand the way these pages are conducted it might not work for everyone, but I also know it’s working for thousands of adoptees and non-adoptees who want to learn how we feel without commenting, all across the world.

I hope this sheds some light on all those who are inquiring about why this isn’t a private group and why adoptees are the only ones who can comment.

Thanks for reading,

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova

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Is Adoption The Problem OR is Relinquishment The Problem?

I received a comment on the How Does It Feel To Be Adopted? page a few days ago. I had shared a post from my friend & fellow adoptee Anne Heffron and someone commented,

“Is Adoption the problem – or – relinquishment? Think about it, please.”

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I feel this comment was probably made by an adoptive parent, but I can’t 100% guarantee it. Adotpee’s don’t usually say things like that. We understand the dynamics of how it feels to be adopted. After my friend shares a blog post sharing her pain someone  felt the need to negate her real raw feelings and flip the coin and make it something totally different than what it really is.

This is what inspired this blog post.

RELINQUISHMENT = To renounce or surrender, a possession, right, etc. To give up; put aside or desist from; to relinquish a plan. To let go; to release; to relinquish one’s hold. Relinquishment is voluntary consent to the termination of one’s parental rights to a child.

ADOPTION = To choose or take as one’s own; to take and rear as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act. Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting of another, usually a child, from that person’s biological or legal parent or parents, and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities, from the biological parent or parents.

I think there are many people out there who would like to think adoptees have complex issues because of the relinquishment, but they couldn’t  possibly have all these issues with the adoption, right?

I mean what is there to fuss about, really?

Let’s talk about “RELINQUISHMENT”

For those of us who have done the research, and/or who have lived with being adopted most of us know that every time a mother and a child is separated a trauma occurs.  See The Adopted Child: Trauma and It’s Impact. and Nancy Verrier’s Website. Pick up a copy of The Primal Wound. Do the research yourself and you will see RELINQUISHMENT has it’s own set of issues.  For adoptees who might be reading this, you might not even understand that many of your issues could very well be linked to being adopted.

The only way I was able to come to a place of understanding about myself and my issues was to do the work in researching trauma from relinquishment, attachment disorder, addiction in adoptees, abandonment & rejection issues, separation of mother and baby, prenatal bonding and what happens when that bond is broken with the woman who carried us for 9 months. I researched postnatal bonding issues,  Complex-PTSD, Reactive Detachment Disorder, disenfranchised grief & loss for adoptees. Many of us struggle with depression, low self-esteem, worthlessness, anxiety and fear of being abandoned again. We have unwantedness attached to us because when our own families didn’t want us who else would want us? The list could go on and on. It’s taken me years to research all these areas, but each time I did it was “Aha” moments back to back.

If you are reading this I challenge you to do the same.

As well as researching all these areas, I started connecting with other adoptees online and I realized I’m not alone. RELINQUISHMENT has some severe issues attached to it and the relinquishment happens before the child is ever adopted. This is why I think many in adoption land want to think relinquishment is the problem, not the adoption. Please keep reading. Some of these issues are life and death for many of us adoptees.

Another avenue I explored is researching how birth mothers felt before and after relinquishment. I wanted to take myself from my shoes and put myself in hers so I could TRY to gain empathy and understanding of what she went through. This helped me with my healing and forgiveness towards her. I would be blind to not take these things into consideration while researching all the dynamics of relinquishment & adoption.

I could go into detail about each area listed above but it would take me all day to describe all the issues attached to each of these areas. If you do the research and read adult adoptee blogs you will be able to connect the dots yourself and see how relinquishment impacts us.

When I share in my writings I’m not speaking for all adoptees. I’m speaking from a place of my own experience and the fact I’m in contact with hundreds of adoptees all over the world and our stories line up with more similarities than you could ever imagine. I founded the “How Does It Feel To Be Adopted” Facebook page, as well as the “Ask An Adoptee” Facebook page. I see thousands of comments weekly from adoptees who are sharing the same stories in different context. I can’t UN KNOW what I know. I can’t turn a blind eye to all the heartache and pain that adoptees share on these pages.

Let’s talk about “ADOPTION”

The word “ADOPTION” is simply a cover up for the REALITY and TRUTH of what adoption really is. The WORD ADOPTION is glamorized in the world, agencies, churches, the institutions, etc and glossed over to be highlighted as something “Wonderful”. The truth is rarely recognized by the world, and the adoptee lives with the truth deep inside our entire lives. One day the fog will start to lift and the word “ADOPTION” isn’t seen as something wonderful, but it’s replaced with the reality and TRUTH of what adoption really is to us, the adoptee.

Some of us are hit with this reality sooner than the others, but it usually comes out in certain places of our lives, and sometimes we don’t even know our issues are tied to being adopted, but most of the time they are. They are intertwined, tight and deep in our souls. I’ve done the research and I know hundreds of adoptees all over the world who all agree, adoption has impacted every area of our lives.

For the adoptee, if we are going to be truthful adoption is rooted and grounded in loss & trauma. Loss of our identity, medical history, genetic mirroring, ancestry, relationships, memories, connection to our roots, and the list could go on. The word ADOPTION is simply a cover up for all our pain. If the world removed the word, and took a look at what it costs for adoptees to be adopted, they would recognize our trauma, grief and loss much earlier on so we would get help much sooner. They would ACKNOWLEDGE we have every right to feel the way we do.

The WORD ADOPTION is filled with secrecy, lies, hidden agendas, corruption, and put in place to simply avoid the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the TRUTH.  Half-truths seem to spin webs of lies in the adoption industry, and this causes many issues when adoptees search for their truth.

Adoption causes countless issues for adoptees and we are talking about things that happen AFTER relinquishment takes place. We’re handed over the genetic strangers, whom we share no DNA with. We don’t mirror anyone. Expectations are set HIGH as to how we are supposed to be, depending on what our adoptive parents have in mind for the child they want. We come with countless differences than the adoptive family we are raised in, yet many times our differences are dismissed because it might not line up with what our adopters want. We don’t blend in, yet we’re expected to act as if we do. Our feelings are silenced with sentiments of gratitude for our adoptive parents for “Saving Us” from the life we would have had before being adopted. We’re expected to be grateful someone wanted us when our own biological families didn’t want us. We never become NOT ADOPTED and these negative impacts are things that reoccur at different times in our lives. Our trigger list are a mile long, holidays and birthdays never stop coming. Searching is a daunting task filled with highs and lows, followed for some of us reunions that bring the same impact.

ADOPTION HURTS!

ADOPTION IS TRAUMA!

Many times our adoptive parents greatest joy is a result of our biggest loss. How do we disappoint them and let them know how we really feel?

We don’t…

This leads to internalized feelings of shame, guilt, grief, loss, trauma, abandonment and rejection issues. As children we learn to internalize everything and all our pain stays deep inside until we reach adult hood. Many of us start acting out in our teen years because our hormones are raging, and we have no healing outlet or tools to work through our issues. Anger, rage, anxiety, depression are all issues adoptees face AFTER RELINQUISHMENT. 

If anyone wants to read up on the statistics of adoptees over populating the prisons, jails, treatment facilities there is a lot of information out there. Adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. Here are a few articles to read.

Toward Preventing Adoption Related Suicide By Mirah Riben

We Need To Talk About Adoptee Suicide By Angela Barra

Keep in mind these issues happen AFTER THE RELINQUISHMENT…

Adoptees can have the most wonderful adoptive parents and adoptive homes and many times still have severe issues. Help is lacking for adoptees, and therapist seem to be oblivious to the fact that ADOPTION is the ROOT cause of most of our issues. Adoptive parents are not prepared to handle all our issues and most of the time the adoption industry hides the TRUTH about what adoptees face, because they are in denial themselves and because adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry. Selling babies is their paycheck. That’s the TRUTH.

I’m not saying adoption is 100% the ONLY issue but it is the root cause of many areas of our struggles. The sad part is adoptees most of the time don’t even understand adoption has played such a significant role in all these areas. When they finally figure it out is when the connect with other adoptees. Then and only then do they know they aren’t alone in feeling the way they do.

Don’t think for a moment we haven’t already thought about THIS. We wake up with the realities of adoption and go to bed with them. We can try to escape this TRUTH but it’s part of who we are. What I would like to ask the readers to do is THINK ABOUT listening to adult adoptees next time they share their heart with you. THINK ABOUT acknowledging their pain when they share their pain. THINK ABOUT the reality to this thing is a reality you really can’t understand because you aren’t adopted. THINK ABOUT gaining the WILLINGNESS to want to learn and try to understand adult adoptees. THINK ABOUT reading adult adoptee Blogs and Adoptee Stories.

We’re the ones who have lived being adopted, yet we’re the most silenced in the adoption equation.

So here you see, ADOPTION & RELINQUISHMENT are very much intertwined in the fabric of an adoptees experience. To say one or the other hasn’t impacted us is not acknowledging a very critical part of our stories. ADOPTION comes with it’s own set of issues and so does RELINQUISHMENT. TOGETHER they make life extremely difficult for adoptees, especially when non-adoptees want to assume the issue is really with relinquishment and adoption is just a wonderful thing!

I haven’t even talked about adoptees who have HORRIBLE adoption experiences piled on top of relinquishment. I haven’t mentioned adoptees who have had HORRIBLE reunions on top of HORRIBLE adoptions. For us, it’s a life sentence filled with grief, loss, trauma and no acknowledgement in the real world from most non-adoptees that we should have any issues at all with adoption or relinquishment which is a trauma in itself. How would you feel if you had cancer and the world all around you celebrated that cancer? Well that’s how adoption is for us.

The world has no problems GLORIFYING the act of ADOPTION, yet the FAIL time and time again to address the real root issues of what adoptees experience before and after the adoption takes place.

This is a HUGE part of why the adoptee attempted suicide rate is 4x more likely than non-adoptees. This is why I keep writing. This is why many adoptees keep sharing. We have a moral obligation to think of our brothers and sisters who are adopted and who are stuck in a hopeless and helpless place.

If you are a non-adoptee reading, or someone who is impacted by adoption in some way please understand RELINQUISHMENT and ADOPTION go hand in hand with their own set of issues. ADOPTION is simply a WORD that masks the TRUTH of what ADOPTION really for adoptees. The SOONER we can remove this glorified word and be HONEST about what the realities are THE SOONER ADOPTEES will begin to share their real raw feelings of the damage adoption has caused, and the sooner they will begin to heal.

Half-truths, secrecy and lies stall our healing.

Hopefully this cleared up some confusion regarding adoption, relinquishment and how both of these areas impact adoptees. Please never think for a moment we aren’t already THINKING about these things. We think of them every single day all day long. I challenge the non-adoptees reading to THINK about learning from adult adoptees. We have lived adoption. We hold the most valuable experiences, yet for many years we have been silenced by the world.

Not today.

Today I share.

Today WE share.

I WILL NEVER BE SILENT.

Thanks for reading!

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Pamela believes all adoptees deserve to know their truth. She writes, blogs, and she reaches out to other adoptees so they know they aren’t alone. Thanks for reading Pamela’s blog and please let her know you were here.

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova, Lexington, KY

You can look her up by email pamlakaranova@gmail.com

FOLLOW PAMELA’S BLOG!

Twitter: @pamelakaranova

Article About Pamela Featured on Adoption.com

Adoptee in Recovery Blog Post Featured on Huffington Post

Pamela Was Nominated for the Best Articles for Adoptees 2015 Check this link out!

 

How Adoptees Feel About Birthday’s

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

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

Some adoptees have no issues with this day.

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

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

Adoptee Voice #1.

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

Adoptee Voice #2.

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

Adoptee Voice #3.

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

Adoptee Voice #4.

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

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

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

Adoptee Voice #5

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

Adoptee Voice #6

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

Adoptee Voice #7

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

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

Adoptee Voice #8

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

Adoptee Voice #9

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

Adoptee Voice #10

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

Adoptee Voice #11

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

Adoptee Voice #12

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

Adoptee Voice #13

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

Adoptee Voice #14

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

Adoptee Voice #15

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

Adoptee Voice #16

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

Adoptee Voice #17

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

Adoptee Voice #18

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

Adoptee Voice #19

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

Adoptee Voice #20

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

Adoptee Voice #21

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

Adoptee Voice #21

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

Adoptee Voice #22

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

Adoptee Voice #23

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

Adoptee Voice #24

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

Adoptee Voice #25

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

Adoptee Voice #26

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

Adoptee Voice #27

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

Adoptee Voice #28

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

Adoptee Voice #29

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

Adoptee Voice #30

  • I hate my birthday.

Adoptee Voice #31

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

 

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

You matter and your feelings matter.

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

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

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

Blessings to all & thanks for reading.

Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

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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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The Gift of a Grandmother

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears” – Mark Anthony

I wonder if anyone who has their grandmother in their life ever wonders what it’s like to never have one? Are they thankful for her? Same for a grandfather…

I’ve lived with many types of fear in my life, as we all have but I’ve also been working at freeing myself from fear so I can live a happier more prosperous life. Some people say FEAR stands for “FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL” but my reasons for FEAR are real.

There has been nothing false about them.

FEARan unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

I always had a dream of meeting my biological grandmother who resides in Leon, Iowa. I found out she was alive and well in 2010 and during that time my mind has been tormented on wishing I could go see her and meet her at least one time.

I have never met a biological grandparent and she is the only one who is still living. I made 2 attempts to go see her in the past and both failed at the hands of my biological father.  He made the choice for himself to reject me after 2 meetings. At one point he promised me he would take me to meet her in 2011. I drove all the way to Leon, Iowa from Kentucky and arrived only for Him to tell me he changed His mind. He said he thought it would “Kill Her”. I was crushed, and the words “Kill Her” stuck with me all these years which has kept me away from trying to meet her on my own accord. Reality is, he didn’t want his secret from 1974 of infidelity to his wife to get out. He was ashamed and it was easier for him to reject me than face His mistakes. He wasn’t letting the cat out of the bag. I was still a dirty little secret. After all I was conceived out of an affair while he was married.

After this huge disappointment in my life I had some years to think longer and harder about Him making this choice for my grandmother. It never settled well with my spirit, which is quite fierce by the way. People can make choices for themselves but I find it totally unfair when someone makes a choice for another person, only thinking of themselves. Does anyone who does this understand they are robbing other’s of memories that can never be replaced? This has caused me more grief & anger in my entire lifetime than you could imagine, not to mention the pain from THIS played a HUGE part in my addiction issues for 27 years of my life.

Perhaps this is why TIME is so important to me?

Time Spent is more valuable than anything.

Visiting my grandmother continued to nag at my spirit.

I have felt like all these years God was whispering, Just GO, Just GO“…

But FEAR.

Another attempt I was able to call my grandmother and speak to her about coming to visit her. She was okay with the idea, and I told her I would come around Easter 2014. I suspect my birth father stood in the way of that visit because she stopped answering my phone calls and the phone number ended up disconnected soon after. It’s hard to tell if he did it out of spite, or if it was when she had to move from independent living at her own apartment to assisted living. Either way my 2nd attempt had failed.

A few more years passed.

During this time I would check Google at least once a month, sometimes weekly to see if she was still alive all the while searching for her obituary. This is something many adoptees do, especially when we’ve been shut out.  My mind would wander about how I would respond if she had passed  away and I never got to meet her. I would visualize being really angry, filled with rage, crying and screaming, even falling into a deep depression.

CLOSED ADOPTION stood in the way of me knowing this woman who I shared DNA with. Not our choice, but the choice made for us by others.  I visualized myself having a complete mental and emotional breakdown if she had passed and I found her obituary on Google. My birth father didn’t even know I existed because of the lies my birth mother told- “FATHER UNKNOWN”. I was given up for adoption without my birth fathers consent and because of this my grandmother didn’t know I existed for most of my life.

Why should we be robbed of knowing one another because of other peoples actions?

LIES AND SECRETS ARE NEVER OKAY- EVEN IN ADOPTION

LIES HURT

THIS HURTING IS LIFELONG FOR ADOPTEES

I’m almost 43 and the pain continues.

See here- When a birthmother lies & keeps secrets.

Non-adoptees wouldn’t have a clue about understanding this.

Adoptees, I know you get it.

They always say the 3rd time is a charm, so here it is. After much praying, seeking advice and counsel from those close to me and from adoptees near and far I decided to make the trip to see and meet my grandmother for the first, and possibly last time. I knew if I didn’t just pick a date I would never do it so June 24, 2017 was the day I was driving to meet her and lay eyes on her.

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A Road Trip I Would Never Forget…

I must admit my fear was still so great. I need to share I work with elderly for a living and I have been working with them for 12+ years. I see how they sit and wait on their loved ones to come visit them. Most of them never get the visits they wait for, but they keep waiting. I knew in my heart of hearts I was going to bring nothing but love to my grandmother, but what if something more was waiting for me?

I drove to Iowa on June 23rd and was able to see and hang out with one of my favorite cousins from my adoptive family. She was definitely a light for me at this emotional time. She took me to her dads flower farm and he helped me hand pick a special bouquet of flowers to take to my grandmother the next morning. It was beautiful to be able to do this. As the evening of June 23rd hit and I was ready to go to sleep the racing increased and thoughts of “What if…” took over my mind. I actually ended up taking something to help me sleep because I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t sleep at all. My mind was racing with thoughts like, “What if they have me on the block list and I can’t see her?” or “What if my birth father is there and he throws me out?”. The fear wasn’t from God. I know this but it took over and it was extremely difficult for me to move through the fear and do this anyway.

At 6:15AM on Saturday June 24th my alarm went off. 

Today was the day I had waited for for YEARS!

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I was all the way across the country and I was going to meet my biological grandmother for the first time. No, she didn’t know I was coming. I woke up and started to get ready. My anxiety was through the roof, and more fear was setting in. My stomach started to hurt and it felt like it was in knots.

The FEAR was so great at one point I almost said “Forget it”.  I almost didn’t go, even after I drove all the way to Iowa FOR THIS. This might sound crazy but it was like God was giving me the PUSH to just do it and push through my fear and go anyway. I seriously couldn’t have done it without God in my life.

My cousin said, “There is no way I would do what you are about to do!”.

“Her soul is fierce, her heart is brave, her mind is strong” – R.H. Sin

I continued on, packed up my car and left Iowa City, Iowa about 7:30AM. Leon, IA was 3 hours south of Iowa City< IA so I had another 3 hour drive to get to the nursing home my grandmother was at. That drive seemed like a 100 hour drive. My mind was racing on what I was going to do if my birth father was there, or another family member. Not one of them has been accepting to me. I’ve only received rejection from my birth fathers entire family so what would be different about my grandmother? Would she reject me too? Had my birth father ever talked to her about me? I actually talked to her on the phone 2x over the years and shared with her who I was but it’s hard to tell if she really understood what I was saying, but if I was to guess she received a pretty big clue I was her granddaughter.

The closer I got to Leon, Iowa the the more nervous I became. At one point I almost vomited when I stopped to use the restroom. The feeling I had is hard to describe but I was able to make a connection to this feeling is the same way I felt as a child when I was in and out of the hospital for stomach aches. SAME EXACT FEELING! I’ve heard lots of adoptees have had stomach issues! I was honestly taken back by this. The fear, anxiety and nervousness is the exact feeling I had growing up in my adoptive home which landed me in the hospital many times. I couldn’t believe that I was feeling this same way going to meet my grandmother. It was triggering to be feeling the feeling that took me back to my childhood but…

 I continued on.

I felt like God was saying “GO SEE HER! GO SEE HER!”

Lord knows I couldn’t do something like this on my own strength and will.

I was a HOT MESS!

I pulled up at the nursing home, I grabbed the items I was taking into her, hand picked

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Uncle Ed- Cardinal Flower Farm. Iowa City, IA

flowers, a card and a letter, a photo album with pictures of me all the way back to my baby years. I prepared these things because if I was turned away at least I would have something to leave her. I had been praying all morning, Jesus take the wheel of this dream of mine and guide my steps.

I walked to the doors which took me straight to the dining room. I was greeted by some nursing assistant aides as well as many of the residents. I asked politely if they could tell me which way Tenie James room was and they pointed down the hallway and off I went.

The closer I got to finding her room, the more anxious I felt.

What if my birth father was there? What if one of my uncles was there? What if they threw me out? What if she didn’t want to see me?

Mind Racing.

Nauseous.

Fear.

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I quickly found her room with her name on the door. There was no turning back now. I knocked softly, then I turned the door knob and slowly opened the door. I peeked my head inside and saw the sweetest little lady who was relaxing in her automated recliner. I smiled big, and she smiled back. She saw the flowers and my smile and I’m pretty sure it was a comfort to her. Lord knows, all I wanted to do was bring her peace, love and comfort. As I opened the door further, I realized she was all alone and no one else was in the room with her. All the fear that has tormented me all these years and up until this moment lifted off me, and God’s presence was all over that place. I continued to walk slowly towards her.  I shut the door behind me so we could have some privacy and let her know I brought her some flowers and wanted to introduce myself.

“Be the light for all to see”- Matthew 5:16

I got down on the floor so I could be close to her, I held her hand and I said, “Hi there, I wanted to introduce myself, I’m Pam- Jimmie’s daughter. (Jimmie is her son) I’m your granddaughter. I have always wanted to come meet you. I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long but distance has kept me far away. (reality the secrets and lies in adoption have kept me away!)  I hope you don’t mind but seeing you has always been a dream of mine. I was in Iowa and wanted to swing by to visit on my way back to Kentucky.”

She had a smile on her face, almost as if she couldn’t believe it was anyone’s DREAM to meet HER. I pulled out a small photo album which had pictures of me when I was a baby, up until now. One by one she began to look at the pictures. She didn’t turn them fast, she was taking her time. She smiled at many of them and when she made it to the last page, she said “Where is this?”.  The photo was of me sitting by a waterfall in Kentucky and I let her know I had to hike many miles to reach it and that it was a hobby of mine. She said, “I love to hike too!”…

I smiled really big and I said, “It must be in our DNA” and she said “You’re right, it must”. I asked her a few questions and shared some about myself. She was a hard working woman and raised her family all while living off the land to survive. All my biological family on her side are gamers and hunters and loved nature. This makes total sense to me as to why I’ve always loved being outdoors more than anything in this world.

I held my grandmother’s hand and we compared our fingers. I began to take note of her condition, her characteristics and features. Her vision was so good, she is still reading small print books. She didn’t have any hearing aides and could hear all the words I shared because her responses were accurate most of the time. She was using a walker to walk, and seemed fairly independent. She will be 98 years old on August 10th, 2017. My birthday is 3 days after hers. She showed me a quilt she was in the process of making, bright squares of all different patterns and colors. Can you believe she’s still quilting at 97?

As I got down beside her in her chair I knew that this might be the only time I get to see her in this lifetime. After all 97 years erased off the map because of other peoples decision for my life, other peoples decisions for our relationship. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone in the adoption equation thinks about the long term impacts about adoption trauma, separation, loss, etc. Adoption impacts every area of the adoptees life, for their entire life. Some days the grief and loss has been so great I didn’t think I could continue on.

My grandmother received my visit, it was one of the most amazing happiest moments of this lifetime. She shared about her life, and I shared about mine. She was a bit tearful in parts of what she was sharing but I just held her hand and listened to her words.

Here I was, meeting my biological grandmother for the first and only time. I’m 43, and I can’t help but share that God has always known my deep desire to lay eyes on this woman at least one time. It’s always something that has nagged at my spirit and it’s never stopped. My greatest HOPE was also my greatest FEAR.

BUT GOD…

I would like to share with my fellow adoptees reading that God knows our hurts, he knows our hearts, and to never give up HOPE in finding your family. Be persistent and don’t give up in reaching the people and places you believe are so far away. The fact I was able to meet my grandmother is nothing short of a miracle and dream come true for me. I urge you to take your own steps and making your dreams come true because no matter how it turns out it’s up to me and you. Action must follow our desires, and God knows our hearts.

If he did it for me, he can do it for you…

Dreams really do come true…

WISH

DO

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Pamela A. Karanova

Adult Adoptee