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

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You Don’t Own Me Just Because I’m Adopted

Adoptees are different and we come with special needs.

I can’t speak for every single adoptee, but I feel safe saying I know MANY adoptees all over the world and I know for certain many of us are offended and hurt when adoptive parents refer to us as “MINE“.

“She was placed in our home and raised by us and we are her REAL PARENTS! We might not share her DNA but she is OURS!” – Adoptive Parent.

Where does this attitude come from? It sends chills all through my body to hear this type of language from adoptive parents, not to mention having my own experience with it.

Let me share a little of my experience with this possessiveness from my adoptive mother.  I didn’t understand the dynamics as a child but as an adult I see how controlling and manipulative it was and how it impacted me. My adoptive mom would say things like “You’re MY daughter!” but put emphasis on the MY.  She said over and over “Your life is MY LIFE because I’m your mother!”

First of all, we are NOT a piece of property and many of us take offense to this because of the dynamics of adoption and how we came to be in our adoptive families to begin with. Let’s be honest, most of the time THERE WAS A CASH TRANSACTION. We were PAID FOR! Someone made some money off us being adopted. When adoptive parents use terms that refer to them having “Ownership” over us honestly it makes me feel totally disrespected, almost as if I am some form of modern day slavery.  I feel like I’m not even a live person. It’s disgusting and I honestly needed to share my feelings about it because it needs to STOP. I’m not saying all adoptive parents are meaning to come off this way, I am saying this is how many adoptees interpret it.

Please take note and consider changing the language you use towards us and while referring to us regarding adoption.

We are no more YOUR CHILD than we are our birth parents. Our birth parents will always be a part of us no matter what the circumstances, and no words of ownership can put any different spin on this. These are the facts. Take it or leave it. For whatever reason they are not raising us and we are adopted doesn’t change the fact that we have 2 mothers and 2 fathers.

NOTHING CAN CHANGE THE TRUTH.

Please stop using words of ownership regarding adoptees, it hurts us. We are our own person and we are tired of being treated like perpetual children. If you adopted us,  we know who you are. We know you took us in when our own families didn’t want us but you don’t own us.

Please stop acting like you do.

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The Sky & I

The Sky & I

We go way back you see.

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…

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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.

We go way back you see…

The sky + me = ❤

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Pamela A. Karanova

Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother…

That word.

M. O. T. H. E. R.

Appears everywhere all the time.

MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER

I’m so sick of that word.

I HATE THAT WORD!

How does an adoptee feel on that day?

Mother’s Day?

Well, I certainly can’t speak for all adoptees but I can speak for myself.

Mother’s Day & the days leading up to it,  is a time of mourning for me.

How do you mourn what never was?

It’s simple.

Just like mourning what was, I mourn what never was. But usually what was has some memories for someone to hang on to.

Mourning what never was is a much deeper grief & loss…

For me anyway…

I’m writing about it!

Remember I’m only speaking for myself.

To celebrate Mother’s Day is a difficult task not only for me but for many people on earth. Many people didn’t get the mother’s they deserved or maybe they did and their mother’s have passed away and left them feeling hallow and empty with a loss they might never recover from.  We are each able to process our pain as we see fit.

Today I’m not drinking!

I’m WRITING!

It’s a mixed bag for me. I’ve tried to celebrate the fact that I’m a mother and I hope and pray I have been a better mother to my kids than what I was given in that area. For many reasons I don’t feel like I have given my kids what they have deserved because how can I give them something I don’t have? Something that was never given to me?

I try.

Everyday, I try.

But parts of me are hollow inside.

MOTHER LESS

I’m just floating through life doing the best I can with what I have.

I think most of us do that don’t we?

We make lemons out of lemonade and do the best we can with the cards we are dealt.

Deep down “Mother’s Day” is the 2nd most painful holiday aside from my “Birth Day”. From an adoptee perspective who was dealt a crap shot not only once in the mother area but twice I have nothing to celebrate on that day. If I’m completely honest I wish it never existed.

I hate it.

Oh I already said that didn’t I?

MOTHER- MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER!!

I just want it to be over!

“ACCEPT IT!”

Oh I have but because of Mother’s Day it never goes away!

MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER-MOTHER!

It’s like digging up the dead!

I don’t have a happy picture to put on my Facebook profile of my “Mother” and I. I don’t have a happy story to tell. I am sharing my story here, and then I will be moving on with my life.

One day at a time.

One foot ahead of the other.

I will always have that aching piece inside of me yearning for MY MOTHER.

But she’s not coming back.

She’s never coming back.

“Why are you so negative?”

I’m just keeping it real!

This is my reality!

Inside my head every single day!

**Smile for the camera!**

**Smile for the world**

Everyday I cry inside wishing I had my mother.

Maybe I will write her a letter and let her know how her leaving has hurt me so.

“Look on the bright side”- The World Says So!

Oh, of course.

THE BRIGHT SIDE.

I am a mother to 3 amazing children.

They are my life.

THEY ARE THE REASON I’M ALIVE!

What an honor it is to be a mother to them!

Do you not understand how hard it is to be a mother when you never had a mother?

Does anyone ever think of that?

I hope I’m half the mother they deserve.

I will let them celebrate “ME” because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

 I have some women in my life who are mother figures to me. I adore them to heaven and back again.

Deanie. Patsy. Jan.

They know who they are.

I thank God for them everyday.

But on the other hand.

MOTHER

MOTHER

MOTHER

MOTHER

I hate that word

but…

it feels so good to be h e a r d.

P. Karanova

Healing Through Writing

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Walking Away…

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more “FREE” in my life.

 I’ve spent a lot of time lately walking away from people, places and things that no longer serve God’s purpose for my life. It’s an amazing time for sure!

I’m walking away. I’m moving forward. I’m letting go.  I’m leaving all those things behind that are no longer designed to benefit me or progress me in life. I must say things have changed drastically over the last few years but even more so the last few months.

GOD IS IN CONTROL.

I TRUST HIM!

I’ve learned I’m more content this way. I’m not so “Out there” trying to belong in places I will never fit in at. I spent so many years trying to fit in when God hasn’t designed me, (or YOU) to ever fit in. I’m happier on the outside far away from all the drama and craziness. That life is overrated in my humble opinion. I’ve seen a lot in my life. I’ve experienced so many highs and lows you wouldn’t even believe it all if I told you. One thing I know is I’m a survivor- ALL ADOPTEE’S ARE SURVIVORS! Even if we spend most of our lives feeling abandon & rejected the fact that we are alive is HUGE! We must give ourselves some credit when it’s due!

I’m going to start writing about my life from some other dynamics, not just an adoptee in recovery dynamic. I have other things to share like how it’s been being a single parent for 23+ years, what it was like being extremely involved in a church and then feeling like I had to walk away to protect my kids & more. I’ve seen how people can become co-dependent on the church so much they don’t even know who they are outside of the church. This was me for 4 years! I want to share what my life is like now that I’m not in a recovery program or ministry and how my recovery journey is at this point. I want to share how life is after pulling back from “Adoptee Land” for the last few months. I want to share what it’s like with all my kids adults now. I want to share how it is that I hear God in the midst of all of these transitions. Don’t think I’ve walked away without God by my side- He’s been with me the entire way!

For now, I will share that walking away for me is gaining peacefulness like I have ever known. The less people, places and things in my life the better. The smaller my circle the better. Life’s circumstances have made me this way and I don’t feel it’s a heartbreaking thing-I feel it’s a remarkable thing. It’s taken me awhile to get to this conclusion but trusting God has been key to keep my sanity.

Now it’s time I live my life and discover ME…

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Pamela Karanova

Adult Adoptee

Lexington, KY

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