Adoptee Pain

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.  I do not claim to, nor make an effort to speak for all adoptees. – p.k. 

 

“I want you to be healed in Jesus Name!”

“Will the pain every go away?”

“Will the pain get easier?”

“You have to let go, and let God!”

“Oh she just had a bad adoption experience!”

“Adoption is a gift from God, sorry you had a bad experience!”

“Aren’t you thankful you weren’t aborted? You got life!”

The list could go on and on of things I’ve heard people say, and even things I’ve said myself. Over the last 8 years of coming out of the fog, I have learned so much and God has shown me so much about my personal experience and journey. I felt I needed to share some of it with my followers.

ADOPTEE PAIN

2010 I started the healing process. Healing from what? A lifetime of brokenness, heartbreak, grief, loss and trauma some of which is from my adoption experience, some is from other things that have happened in my life. Back in 2010 I was still drinking to numb my pain. I was a functional drinker, I went to work everyday and loved my career. I raised 3 kids, paid my bills, had fun and enjoyed my life to the best of my abilities.

I quickly learned that alcohol and the healing process didn’t work well together, and actually it was pretty catastrophic if I’m being honest. Mixing alcohol with trauma?  I learned that alcohol had actually stalled my healing, it made me not process my pain. It was my great escape. I was a runner, alcohol was my magic carpet and for 27 years I rode it ducking and dodging anything remotely painful. One thing I wasn’t doing was FEELING ADOPTION GRIEF, LOSS & TRAUMA.

When August 13, 2012 came rolling around I had enough of myself. At this point I spent 27 years running from the pain from my past and my adoption experience. August 13, 2012 was also my birthday. The day I came into this world, and the day my birth mother abandoned me and left me. It doesn’t matter who else was around to substitute HER. No one ever has, nor will they ever replace HER. They tried, but didn’t succeed!

I soon started a recovery ministry called Celebrate Recovery and spent the next 4 years working the 12 steps, mentoring other women, leading a women’s chemical dependency group and processing my pain! You read that right. Processing my pain. How do I do this? I never learned how to process my pain. Adoptee pain is ignored and denied to us by the entire WORLD!

Adoption is wonderful!

Adoption saved you!

Adoption gave you LIFE!

If I left it up to this world to help me, I would be dead right now. This world has never had any help for broken, hurting adult adoptees. We don’t fit the narrative of how adoption is perceived by society. Not only do many of us not fit in with our adoptive families, but many of us don’t fit in with our birth families. We don’t fit in with the world which leaves us more isolated and alone than you could ever imagine.

One by one, I started working on my adoptee issues. Triggers, memories, grief, loss, trauma, C-PTSD, abandonment, rejection, mother wound, father wound, sadness, depression, anxiety, aloneness, isolation, and the list could go on. ADOPTION IMPACTS EVERY AREA OF OUR LIVES. As my drinking came to a screeching halt my adoptee reality came rolling in like a ton of bricks. Smacked me straight in the face. Knocked me dead in my tracks.

The fog began to lift, and things got real and fast. Celebrate Recovery was somewhat of a safe space for me, but no one understood me. They didn’t get what I was saying, and they too had the idea that adoption was all wonderful so I was some ungrateful little brat for not appreciating the fact I wasn’t aborted. I had a small handful of close friends who were always there to listen and support me, but they didn’t understand it because they aren’t adopted. I was still isolated and alone in many ways and because Celebrate Recovery was a ministry the goal was to BE HEALED IN JESUS NAME!

Well, I showed up and I did the work. Day after day, week after week and year after year I kept going back and guess what? I still have the pain I did when I walked through the doors. I still am broken. I still have a broken heart, and I still have MAJOR ADOPTEE ISSUES. I remember feeling like I was doing something wrong and like I had to hide like I really felt because this healing everyone was talking about just wasn’t working for me!

“You are choosing to hang onto the pain!”

“You aren’t praying enough!”

“I think you need to fast!”

“Stop thinking of the negative and think of the positive!”

All of these things only made me feel worse about my situation and myself. It made me feel like I was the exception. I was the one that was never going to get the healing. I was the one God was punishing because I’m one ungrateful little b**ch and I’m not thankful I’m adopted. I hate being adopted. I heard people say, “There are reasons people don’t get there healing!”

What in the actual F*CK does that even mean?

*pardon the curse words, but I’ve come to the realization from some close friends that cursing can be therapeutic and it’s not all that bad. It feels really good to say a curse word every now and then and as part of my unconditioning out of the church, I’m allowing myself to say a curse word when I want. 🙂 

Do the people who say these things know how damaging this can be to people? I found myself running a rat race trying to BE HEALED in Jesus name and it never worked! What did work is the moment I left out of the church and began to process my REAL PAIN away from all the HOOPLA that the church pushed on me, I became much more free than I had ever been! I found healing in that freedom more than I ever did inside the doors of the church or inside Celebrate Recovery.

Now that I’m an outsider looking in I’ve learned so much in gaining a better understanding in my truth, the truth and God’s truth. Let’s dissect that for a moment. What does that even look like?

The more I share my truth, the more uncomfortable it is for non-adoptees to hear, read and learn about the damage adoption causes an adoptee. They want me to be healed so I shut up. They want me to “get over it” so they stop hearing about it. They want me to move on with my life, because they are done hearing the truth. Reality is adoption is damage and some of the damage can never be undone.

I’ve learned many times the truth hurts, and it’s hard to swallow. Of all the adoptee activism I’ve done in my 8 years of coming out of the fog, I’ve heard HUNDREDS of adoptee stories! If not thousands. I have put in the time, energy and work to learn from so many adoptees from all over the world and guess what. The MAJORITY of them have heartbreaking stories where adoption has negatively impacted every area of their lives, for an entire lifetime. I wouldn’t make this stuff up! I can’t unknow what I know.

If God is the way, the truth and the life, then GOD IS TRUTH. Let’s be truthful for a moment. What about the broken, hurting and lost adoptees? Who is looking out for them? Who is speaking for them when they don’t feel strong enough to speak for themselves? Where are the resources for them?

Because being a broken, hurting and lost adoptee myself I have only found that for myself in creating it for not only myself, but other adoptees in Adoptees Connect.

Do you think my fire and passion for this Adoptee “thing” came from nothing? No, it came from a very dark and painful place where I have had no choice but to reside for most of my life because of no resources for adoptees.

What if I become “Healed in Jesus Name”?

What does that look like?

Will my spark die?

Will my purpose dissolve?

Will my fire die for Adoptee City?

Will I walk off into the sunset as a “Healed Adoptee” feeling WHOLE and leaving all the broken adoptees behind to figure it all out on their own? Will I finally be happy inside and outside and the dark cloud be gone? Will I forget all about being adopted and how much it’s impacted every area of my life? Will my triggers be dissolved into none at all? Will my mother wound go away? Will my trauma disappear? Will my grief and loss be non-existent? Will my heart finally be WHOLE? Will my truth disappear?

If I answer all these questions, and if I’m REAL about it and if I share the TRUTH, if I let all these things go, what will I have? What will my purpose be?

If God heals, and he wants us to be whole, what about those of us who try that, and we don’t get our healing? How do you know it’s not for a good purpose or a God purpose instead of a punishment? please be careful what you say to people!

What if I’m alive here today so I can share the pain of what it’s like growing up in an emotionally and mentally abusive adoptive home, so that hopefully other adoptees who have experience this won’t feel alone? What if I’m here to bring light (truth) to the reality of the damage that happens anytime a mother and a child is separated? How do we know that my story, my pain hasn’t gone away because God wants the world to know that adoption TODAY isn’t what he intended for it to be? How do we know if all the secrecy and lies in adoption that impacted me in negative ways, is something God wants brought to light because HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE?

Why is this so hard for some people to accept about ADOPTION? Adoption is rooted and grounded in grief, loss and division! Secrecy and lies follow suit. What if I’m not “Healed in Jesus Name” so I can share my truth that is the same TRUTH thousands and thousands of adoptees have all over the world?

What if my pain is here to stay because I have work to do?

Should I trade my pain for complicity?

Nope.

Not me.

I will continue to hold it, keep it tight so I can continue to share the truth about the jacked up adoption industry and how negatively adoption has and will continue to impact adoptees in a negative way all around the world.

What a hefty price to pay, to carry this burden that has been placed upon my shoulders. At least in the process I’m being true to me, who I am and my experience. I’m being true to my fellow adoptees who are all over the place hurting, some on the edge of suicide, isolated and all alone. At least I’m doing something positive with this pain. At least it won’t go in vein. At least I’m sharing my truth as I see it. I’m not drinking to numb my pain any longer. This is the reality of being an adult adoptee. This is my reality.

Another reason I’ve hung onto this pain so tight is because it’s all I have of my birth mother. That’s extremely hard to comprehend to some people but for me, meeting her once, and her slamming the door shut left me with a lifetime of questions, pain, hurt and more severe abandonment and rejection issues than anyone on this earth can imagine or comprehend.  I wrote about the pain associated with my birth mother one time, and you can read that here; Mother May I but even after this writing it’s been impossible for me to let go of the pain associated with HER, my birth mother.

I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because it’s all I have of her. I don’t have the memories, I don’t have the lessons learned, I don’t have the relationship other people have or had with their mother. I have nothing of her, but the pain. The balloon at the top of this photo is a symbol for me that if I let go of the pain I will be sitting in an empty chair. I’ll disappear into a world of nothingness, more alone than before.

How do I let the pain (her) go?

For me, this has been one of the hardest things to do, that’s easier said than done. Mother’s Day I’m reminded of her, everyday I look in the mirror I’m reminded of her.  I’m her daughter weather she wanted me or not. I have her fingers, her feet, her skin tone, her alcohol issues, her stubborn spirit. I am her. If I let her go, I let myself go.

Does this make sense to anyone?

Anyway, as the poem “Mother May I” says, “But if I let it go, what will I have? There are no memories to remember, no future, and no forever. I thought of saving a piece, folding it up and putting it away. Then I can take it out on a rainy day. Because then you will know I never forgot you. I never want you to think I forgot about you”

Who would have ever thought that out of the fog, into recovery being an adoptee this MOTHER WOUND would be so deep and a wound that is such a mixture of emotions filled with grief, loss and pain. Even if I try to let the pain go, and let her go the wound is still there.

MOTHER LESS is what I’ll always be.

That impacts every day of my life in it’s own way.

For me acceptance has been key, and that is acceptance of the pain as well. If I get on the bandwagon of “Being Healed” that will go against my acceptance of the pain and this journey and it will only hurt me more. Have I healed in some regards? Absolutely. I’ve grown and healed a lot over the years and I believe I will grow and heal some more. It’s taking out the expectation that one day I will be totally be healed is something that’s been extremely important in my journey. There is too much pain from all different angles to ever believe I will wake up healed one day. For me, learning how to navigate the triggers when they come and sharing my pain in my writings has been healing for me. Knowing I’m not alone by networking with my fellow adoptees has also been a important part of my journey.  Validation has been critical to my acceptance and healing as well.

Because I have adoptee pain, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to find some beauty in my life. I have a million things I’m thankful for, and there are things I love about my life. There are things that bring me great joy, and comfort. Please don’t mistake my blog post as I’m someone sitting around mad, angry and mean all the time. That’s farthest from the truth. This happens to be part of my therapy, and part of my healing space. This is where I share my adoptee pain. #healingthroughwriting

Sharing my views on Adoptee Pain from my experience is something I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. For the adoptees reading, how have you handled your pain? How have you processed it? What has worked for you and what has that process been like for you?

Many Blessings,

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Pamela Karanova | Adult Adoptee

Our Greatest Pain Will Be The Launching Pad For Our Greatest Calling In Life. Don’t Give Up!

I remember in 2011 I came across Rebecca Hawkes  online and she was one of the first animal-2029681_960_720adult adoptees I had ever spoken too regarding my adoption experience. She was a light for me at that time in my life and I will never forget the words she spoke to me.

I recall back in 2011-2012 I was ANGRY, BITTER, MAD AT THE WORLD. I was still drinking alcohol to numb my reality and I had just began exploring with Twitter, and using the Hashtag #adoptee. This discovery took me to an entire online world of adoptees who spoke the same language as I did and I believe this had a big impact that essentially saved my life.

Thank you Rebecca, I love you!

I will never forget the feeling of other adoptees validating my experiences, my anger, my rage, my pain.

This is something I have never gotten in the world. Rebecca was always very gentle with me, and I remember a particular conversation I had with her and she said,

“Don’t worry friend, you are like a moth in a cocoon right now, but just wait until that beautiful butterfly emerges”

I don’t think she will ever know how much that one statement meant to me. I always hung onto hope that even in my anger, rage and pain I would eventually become a beautiful butterfly. Over the last 6 years I’ve felt so many things, but not much of those feelings were that of a beautiful butterfly.

Until Now…

I quit drinking on August 12, 2012 which was a HUGE thing for me. In came all the pain I was running from all those years. Feelings and emotions about adoption and life I simply had no idea how to process. It seems that every new chapter I would begin to process, a new revelation would come flooding in. I feel when I stopped drinking the fog began to slowly lift.. It took years but eventually I came out of the adoption fog, but it took time to process.

I had no idea what God was going to do with my life, but those close to me always reminded me that no matter what, my pain isn’t going to go in vein. It’s going to be worth something! I was still mad at the world, and everyone in it. I HATED ADOPTION (still do) but I learned quickly that if God was ever going to be able to use me, I needed GRACE.

HIS GRACE.

I began to pray for grace, every single day. Over a 5 year period as I began to process my adoptee pain, little by little my anger and rage began to life, mainly because I finally for once in my life felt heard. Other adoptees were listening to me. My feelings mattered. I mattered. In return, I was able to pour out the same love and acceptance to all my fellow adoptees, the same thing that was given to me so freely.

I can’t help but think of what would have happened in my life if those adoptees weren’t there to accept me and love me even in my darkest days? I’m reminded of this all the time, because I’m pretty sure I might not be alive right now. Because I was loved and accepted in the middle of my mess, anger, and rage I now have a mission in life to offer this to as many fellow adoptees as possible. It’s given me a reason to live (aside from my amazing kids)  and in a way only another adoptee can understand.

A few years ago, I felt like God was telling me that yes my online adoptee advocacy is going to flourish but that was not all he was calling me to do. He wanted me to reach adoptees in my city, in real life as well.

What did this even mean?

I can share I have never been given the gift of talking to adoptive parents or birth parents. Not that I won’t talk to them but I find them to be very triggering to me so it’s not something I feel where God is going to use me in that area.  At least not yet anyway. I haven’t prayed for that gift, nor am I seeking to change anything in this area. I feel some adoptees are better equipped to work with adoptive parents and birth parents, where other’s aren’t. I can admit, if I had to I would much rather speak and share with a birth parent. Adoptive parents, I simply just can’t. Praise God for the adoptees who CAN. I’m just not there yet. One day maybe I will be.

For now, my focus is and always has been my fellow adoptees. I feel such a connection with them, and mainly these connections have been made online and I’m so thankful for them in so many ways. After the last 2 years (2015-2017)of a roller coaster ride in my life, much of it being related to adoptee issues I had come to a breaking point, and if I’m honest a very dark place. I met some of my biological family for the first time, was actually accepted and welcomed and then… Emotions came flooding in that I had never experienced yet, and then a depression set in. It was a extremely hard season for me.

Yes, my online adoptee community was just a few clicks away but at this time in my life, I desired more. I needed real human beings in my real life that understood me. I thought about seeing another therapist, but the thought of “THERAPYING THE THERAPIST” was just something I didn’t feel I could do. I had done this many times before, and it’s extremely difficult to not only carry all these issues, but to explain all the dynamics to a therapist was just not in the cards for me. I had no where to turn.

At this moment, I felt like God was really tugging on my heart to start an adoptee centric support group in Lexington, KY and by any means necessary START THE GROUP.

JUST DO IT!

So I did, and this is when Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY was created. From my heartache and pain this group was formed for adult adoptees in my city! I knew in my heart of hearts I wasn’t the only Adult Adoptee who was having a hard time in my community. I knew there had to be other adult adoptees who were hurting like me.

If I had never experienced this season of deep sadness, Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY would have never been created. This is the truth.

My reason in sharing this today is because I know as adoptees, we can feel discouraged, defeated and in return become very isolated in our lives. This is for the birds and I will never give up on the mission God has placed on my life as long as I know there are hurting adoptees out there who feel isolated and alone.

After I started my group, a friend and fellow adoptee named Kevin Engle decided to start an Adoptees Connect – Lancaster, PA and I’ve had many other adoptees who are interested in starting a group in their city. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have one in every city in every state? It’s far away, but I’m never giving up on this dream happening. I have no blue print at all but what I do have is HOPE!  Hanging onto hope that one day all adopted people will have a safe space to share their hearts and truth because I know from my own personal experience THIS is what is needed for us to be able to move forward in our lives!

If you are an Adult Adoptee interested in starting an Adoptees Connect in your city, please leave me a message. I would love to chat with you and add your group information to our website which is Adoptees Connect .

There are so many FEARS that can stand in the way of us pursuing our hearts desires, dreams, etc. I think it’s time we tell FEAR to take a back seat because it’s 2018 and we’re moving past defeat. I encourage you all to step outside of the boat and put FAITH and HOPE into action to pursue whatever vision it is you have to help move the Adoptee Community forward, and closer together. YOU CAN DO IT! Don’t wait!

You are needed.

Your gifts, visions and talents are wanted.

Do not let anyone discourage you!

Kind Regards,

Pamela Karanova

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What NAAM17 Means To Me…

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I’m still recovering from NAAM16

I’m not even lying. I totally overdid it last year and as a result I dropped off the face of “Adoptee Land” for 6 full months. I was too overwhelmed with it all I had to spend 6 months of self care to nurture my adoptee self back to life again. Then, I tippy toed my way back in but made a promise to myself.

I was not going to overdue it again! For my own mental health and sanity. And also so Adoptee Land wouldn’t lose me again, for 6 months or  maybe longer.

I wanted to share what NAAM17 meant to me.

NAAM17 is a time where the world celebrates adoption, yet adoptee voices have always been an after thought. As the years have passed adoptees are breaking out of the fog and coming together and raising our voices to the world on how it feels to be adopted. Finally, we have a space and our voice matters. On the other hand as November approaches I almost get this sick feeling in my stomach like someone punched me in the gut. It’s an unnerving feeling. Unsettling for adoptees and this is why many of us feel the need to raise our voices. Seeing the adoption agencies and those in the adoption arena celebrate adoption is sorrowful for many of us. It brings triggers that we have to learn to navigate. It’s difficult and there is no way to escape it.

For me, this month is a month I’m putting my long time vision of starting an all adoptee support group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY into action on the ground here in Lexington, KY where I live. This is my contribution to NAAM17 this year, as well as guiding some of my fellow adoptees around the USA to start their own Adoptees Connect in the city and state they live in.

IT’S OUR TIME!

I still have my Facebook “Like” pages to run, as well as my own blog so my plate is already full. For my fellow adoptees, please take care of yourself this month. Go treat yourself to something you want, buy a massage or get your nails done. Buy an ice cream cone or go to the gym and work out to burn steam off. Whatever calms your spirit and brings you job, make sure you’re doing that this month in the middle of your commitment to raising awareness on how it feels to be adopted.

I love you all.

Please, take care of yourselves.

P.K.