I’m so excited we’re just a week away from our first Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY meeting! We will also Launch in Lancaster, PA
This has been such a long time coming!!!
Let me do a little explaining…
In 2011 I was at a breaking point in my life. I honestly had no where to turn regarding my adoptee issues, and this was the beginning of me starting (or trying to start) an Adoptee Support Group in Lexington, KY.
My first step was to search my heart out for a group that was already available for adoptees. I started to make a few calls around and doing some research in Lexington. I thought if anyone would have some resources for adoptees it should be the adoption agencies. I mean they are up front and center regarding adoptions, they certainly should have some resources for adoptees, right?
I’m sure you can guess where this search lead?
A dead end.
There is nothing for adoptees.
No support group.
Let me share, after contacting several of the cities TOP adoption agencies, I was left discouraged to say the least. One of them responded to an email with a link.
Here it is… Adoptee Support Group, Lexington, KY
Would you be shocked if I told you she sent me the link to an online add I posted in 2012 searching for adoptees in my area, and starting an adoptee support group in Lexington, KY. IT WAS MY ADD!! This adoption agency had no idea the information she was sending me was my own information. I was blown away that the biggest adoption agencies literally are in the business to “help provide homes to adoptees” yet they literally have no resources for those adoptees when they grow up and may or may not have issues regarding being adopted.
I’m not going to lie, I was discouraged. I thought they should be able to help me. TO HELP US! I didn’t give up. I decided to reach out to some others who are in the Kentucky Adoption Arena (not agency affiliated). I thought sure they would be able to help me/us.
I’m leaving names out of these places for many reasons. After asking multiple places, I was left with the same persons response, “Support Groups don’t work anymore. People don’t have time to meet up. Everyone is doing everything online these days. There are no resources for you, and I don’t recommend starting one. We’ve had them over the years and no one comes. You will spend a lot of time and money and be disappointed. I’m sorry I don’t recommend starting one”.
I was left with more discouragement. This person was representing a business that was supposed to be advocating for adoptees in the state of KY, yet this was the response I received. Not once but twice by the same person who represented different areas in the adoption/adoptee community for Kentucky.
I spoke to someone at the church I was attending at the time, and the only way they would support me and my mission was if I came under them and the church would then be in charge of what I was trying to do
It was apparent I was on my own and I knew it.
In August 2012 I became involved in a ministry called Celebrate Recovery here in Lexington at a local church. My main focus was to have a safe place, (or what should have been a safe place) to share my adoptee issues because as I began to work on myself I learned abandonment, rejection and abuse of any kind was the root issues to the behaviors and trauma that had followed me my entire lifetime. This impacted every area of my life!
The very first time I sat in a small group setting I began to share about my birth mother, and tears began to flow. Next thing you know I was sobbing and filled with emotions that have never allowed myself to feel before, let alone share them in a small group setting filled with strangers. I was in a very vulnerable place and within moments I was interrupted…
“You don’t know adoption like I know adoption! I have adopted children and the hell their mother put them through is something they should have never had to experience.”
After this, I really lost touch with what was happening. I was shut down, silenced and didn’t share anymore regarding my birth mother at that time. I left in shambles. If I was suicidal I probably wouldn’t be typing this right now. It appeared to me that this “SAFE PLACE” might be safe but for adoptees. If your adopted apparently we have no safe space. I left feeling more discouraged than I ever have. If I couldn’t share my heart regarding MY STORY, was I ever going to recover? Was I ever going to feel safe enough to share anywhere else? Oh, that’s right there was no where else! This was it, the last straw for me.
To make a long story short, I left Celebrate Recovery and in a 3 week period I was contacted by some of the leaders and attendees who wanted me to come back. I gave them another chance, thankfully because I ended up moving forward in this ministry serving 3 years as the women’s chemical dependency small group leader and focusing on my own issues regarding adoption. The adoptive mother who interrupted me and shut me down actually took me to the side and apologized to me. I forgave her.
I still felt like the odd ball out, I mean how dare I complain about ADOPTION?! The very thing celebrated by the world and put on a pedestal by churches all around the world. It wasn’t easy to navigate this feeling all alone. I mean there weren’t any other adoptees talking about the primal wound, abandonment and rejection issues, and crying about the mother they never knew. I was it.
I was solo.
Somehow adoptees find a way, and make a way SOLO.
During this 3 years I was able to share my testimony numerous times, holding a place on the floor with everyone’s undivided attention. It was MY TIME to share the truth, my truth about the damage adoption had done to me. It was hard, but I did it. It was healing and empowering not having anyone interrupt me. After 3 years I stepped down as leadership, and exited the ministry. WHY? Well life changed, things happened and it appeared to me that I had done all the growing I was going to do at Celebrate Recovery. I left knowing my life had changed for the better, and so many people who I grew close to had a new view on adoption. For many of them, who were adoptive parents they said my story and testimony changed their lives forever. They were able to gain knowledge from me, and apply it to their situations with their adoptive children. I was humbled and honored.
Although Celebrate Recovery will always be a big part of my life and testimony leaving in 2015 I’ve gone back to feeling isolated and alone in my adoption journey. This journey isn’t for the weak. I’ve tried therapy as I’ve done all my life and mustered through 2016 and 2017 on my own yet so much was still missing. The safe space was missing. The space where I could share my heart in good times and bad regarding my adoption journey was missing. I knew I couldn’t be alone in
I think many times the world views adoption as a one time event. You adopt a baby, most of the time they are viewed as a blank slate, and adoptive parents do the best job they can with a focus on LOVE. Love should be the kicker that out stands any abandonment, rejection, grief, trauma and loss issues. I mean that’s what the agencies and attorneys tell them right? Sadly, these adoptive parents are misinformed and not given the TRUTH about what could happen as that adoptee grows up, and grows into an adult. Our issues are so great and so complex yet they pretend like they don’t exist at all.
We feel like we’re up against the world, at least myself and the adoptees I know do. IT’S HARD, especially on every day life issues.
June and September 2016 were big months for me. I’ve had a lifelong dream of meeting my biological grandmother who is still alive. After 3 failed attempts I decided to set off on a journey to Iowa and I visited her at the nursing home she lives at. Fear filled every ounce of my being. What if my birth father was there? He’s the same one that forbid me to ever see her! I went anyway. He can chose to reject me, but he can’t chose for others. I had never in my life met a biological grandparent, and I have never dreamed of something so big in my life. The trip in September was seeing her a 2nd time, and also being welcomed by a cousin, and an aunt and uncle who I had never gotten to meet before. I saw the place where my grandparents lived, where my cousins grew up, ate dinner and saw pictures of my family over the years. I also found out I have a sister out there somewhere. She knows nothing about me, and I don’t even have a name for her.
These trips were a dream come true but upon return reality of the trip set in. I went to bed and fell into a deep depression for weeks. I was barely making it to work but I did. I did my best to tend to my kids needs, and show up for work, tend to home needs but I withdrew form socializing and being around people and cried A LOT. I couldn’t believe I had a sister out there somewhere and now I was about to navigate a new journey of searching. I thought I was done with that? I didn’t even have her name, so my chances are slim in finding her. Thank God for DNA testing and my DNA being in every single database known to man.
Anyway, the moral of sharing this is that at this time I thought I was going to get back into therapy. But I just couldn’t stand the thought of “THERAPYING THE THERAPIST” all over again because that’s exhausting in its own way. I knew I didn’t have another round in me to do this but it was clear I needed to do something. My days were pretty dark through this time, and finding happiness as I’ve seen it before was almost non-existent. Most days I just wished I could die because the pain was that great. I will always tell the truth even when it hurts.
During those darkest times and feeling depressed is when ADOPTEES CONNECT- LEXINGTON, KY was ignited. I knew that I needed my own community of adoptees in my city and I also knew that they needed me. I knew I couldn’t possibly be the ONLY ADOPTEE in my city struggling! Then the holidays set in.. The struggle got even more real. During this time I began to PLAN and set a date and create all the social media for Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY. I knew that if something was going to happen to support adoptees I was on my own doing it. This became my new mission in life. It gave me hope not only for myself, but for all the other adoptees who are hurting out there.
Months ago a vision and a dream turned into a plan which which was followed by ACTION. Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY was launched. Next thing I did was ask on my personal Facebook page if any other adoptees wanted to start an Adoptees Connect – [insert your city here] and sure enough I’ve had several adoptees inquire, and one adoptee, Kevin Engle of Lancaster, PA is starting his group on January 13, 2018. Same date as ours. My hope and desire is that Adopees Connect will launch in every city and state in the USA and even worldwide. I know it seems kind of far fetched, but honestly we all have to have a dream and that is my dream. (one of them)
I desire to live in a world where adoptees no longer feel isolated and alone. We all deserve our on safe space where no one can silence us or shut us down. I suppose when it’s all said and done this perhaps might be one of my main purposes in life. Let me add my online adoptee community has been AMAZING and I cherish every one of them but I need adoptees in my real life also. Ones to hang out with, to connect with and share stories with. I’ve learned until we form our own communities by coming together, we the adoptee community really have no space or help in this world.
I’m looking forward to 2018, making connections with adoptees in my area and building relationships with those who understand how it feels to be adopted.
If you made it this far, YOU ARE A TROOPER! Thanks for reading a little about what’s been placed on my heart and all the complexities and years of TRYING to form Adoptees Connect. That day of trying is over.
If you are interested in starting an Adoptees Connect in your city visit the tab “How to start a group”. JUST DO IT! Don’t let any fear stop you!