By Pamela Karanova
As the founder of Adoptees Connect, Inc. I’ve been significantly transparent about being an Adoptee in Recovery and I’ve spent years of my life documenting this journey at www.pamelakaranova.com
As I began to come out of the fog, I decided writing was a therapeutic healing tool for me where no one could silence me or tell me how I should feel. Using a pseudonym was comforting to me at that time because in the beginning, I didn’t have enough strength or courage to write as the real true me, Pamela Karanova. It takes time for adoptees to come to a place of empowerment to be able to share their stories.
It takes even more time to share those stories with the world publicly.
As I navigated my journey and moved forward with my healing, I have many years of articles that have documented my personal journey. I look back and can hardly believe how much has changed and how different my life is now. For so many years I was STUCK. My first article posted was an open letter to my birth mother. Sharing my journey is a way to help myself heal but also to help other adoptees know they aren’t alone.
This was long ago but being an Adoptee in Recovery is still a very significant piece of my life today. Without it, there is no Pamela Karanova. One of the core reasons Adoptees Connect, Inc. was founded was to serve as a resource for all adult adoptees. But it was also for adoptees like me, Adoptees in Recovery. It was my service work; it was my way to give back to my community and to my fellow adoptees. It was part of my step work. I didn’t shout it from the rooftops but my monthly small group Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY meeting was and is my recovery meeting.
After a few years of writing under the pseudonym, “Adoptee in Recovery” I finally came to a place of empowerment and I was able to share the real true me and Pamela Karanova was born. For me, my adoption journey has run parallel to my recovery journey. For most of my life, I couldn’t make the connections as alcohol and being in the fog was blocking me from processing my adoptee pain which lasted 27 years of my life. August 13, 2012 is my sobriety date. That was the day everything changed and the walls came crumbling down. My adoptee reality was sitting on my front doorstep and it wasn’t going anywhere until I decided to unpack it piece by piece and put in the work to become a happier, healthier version of me.
My kids deserve it, and so did I.
The last 7 years haven’t been easy.As I say, recovery isn’t for sissies, nor is being adopted! This combination of my experiences gives me a unique view of what adoptees need, and my recovery journey allowed me to understand I still have work to do. I always say, “I’m in recovery from LIFE, for the rest of my life!”
I’ve noticed so much stigma attached to the word “Recovery”. Many times, people have already made their mind up about you if they learn you are someone in recovery. I keep talking about my recovery and I never will stop because I aim to create conversations, even when they are difficult and awkward as a way to normalize the experience of being in recovery. I also create conversations that are specifically tied to being an Adoptee in Recovery. We need to talk about these things because adoptees are dying if we don’t. These topics are important and they very much run parallel to one another. I know there are a lot of hurting adoptees out there, many of whom could use a lifeline of hope.
For those that aren’t aware, adoptees are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees, and adoptees are overrepresented in prisons, jails, mental health facilities and treatment facilities. We can’t afford to remain silent and do nothing!
Adoption is rooted and grounded in loss which is compacted with root issues regarding the primal wound, separation trauma, abandonment, rejection, grief, fear, complex PTSD, attachment disorders, identity issues, as well as the many times that our adoptions are shrouded in secrecy and lies. And we wonder why so many adult adoptees are overrepresented in these spaces? As a society, we must step out of denial and create change for the adult adoptee population and their experience. I was once one of those broken and hurting adoptees and to this day, I still deal with struggles regarding being adopted. The sooner I stepped out of denial and started to work on these things, the sooner I started to heal.
In order to heal it, we must feel it.
I’ve had years of experience with AA and Celebrate Recovery and they are huge pieces of my journey. As Adoptees Connect was founded, things have changed. At 7 years into my sobriety journey, I realized something was missing and that was my community of others who are in recovery. I had my adoptee community, which has been my saving grace, but in recovery we must be very specific with who we spend time with and where we allow ourselves to be present. Being surrounded by others in recovery is invaluable to the recovery experience! I knew there had to be other adoptees out there who were also in recovery like me!. I decided to take some advice of my good friend, Maria, and I attended my first Voices of Hope – Lexington, KY recovery meeting. I’m so thankful I did! Thank you Maria!
Knowing these alarming statistics and knowing what it’s like to be an Adoptee in Recovery, we’re exceptionally excited to announce our first “Adoptees in Recovery” group that will be launching here in Lexington, KY on Wednesday, October 2, 2019. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is to be able to have an opportunity to not just create a safe space for our monthly small group meetings for all adoptees, but also add an additional resource by creating a space for Adoptees in Recovery.
My hope is that, one by one, Adoptees in Recovery will come find us so that we can allow them a safe space to share their hearts and hurts and in return, maybe we can offer them some hope. As we hold the torch by creating the first space for Adoptees in Recovery powered by Adoptees Connect, we believe our vision for this resource will reach many in our community and beyond.
Our Adoptees in Recovery meeting will be hosted at an amazing local non-profit here in Lexington, KY called Voices of Hope – Lexington, Inc. Voices of Hope promotes life-long recovery from the chronic disease of addiction through recovery support services, advocacy, research, and education. They have been kind enough to open their doors to our cause and we will be forever grateful. Visit our Facebook page to learn of all our events.
Our facilitators for this group will be Harris Coltrain, Maria Gatz and Pamela Karanova as we are all adult adoptees in recovery residing in Kentucky. As we move forward planting a new resource for the adult adoptee community, please help us celebrate!
Adoptees in Recovery – We’re Planting Seeds of Hope!
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Adoptees Connect Inc. is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) public charity. Donations to Adoptees Connect are tax deductible as allowed by law. Please consult your tax advisor regarding deductibility. EIN: 83-1862971. Thank you for your generosity in helping our vision move forward.