Being Adopted: When Your Truth is Held Hostage
Fires, Floods & Falsehoods are utilized to discourage adoptees from discovering our truth.
"When can I find my birth mother?" says my five-year-old self to my adoptive mom. I asked over and over and was never going to stop asking. The truth is, I was adopted in a closed private adoption through an adoption attorney and Dr. Richard Miller in Waterloo, Iowa.
"We can't find your biological mother, but one day we will get the sealed records opened by hiring an attorney. Right now, we don't have enough money." - Says my adoptive mom every single time I ask about who my birth mother was and where I could find her.
We were never going to have enough money, we didn’t even own a car!
Looking back, this was a pacifier statement. How many of my fellow adoptees have experienced these types of roadblocks?
So how would I describe a pacifier statement?
This short sentence shuts me up and soothes my curiosity about asking many questions like a pacifier for a baby or infant. You put it in their mouth, and they simmer down quickly.
In many experiences, my truth was held hostage:
I was born in Iowa, which was a closed state. No amount of money in the world would allow me access to my original birth certificate or information about who my birth mother was. The government prohibited me from ever knowing, finding, or seeing the face of the woman that brought me into the world. The Iowa adoption law was holding my truth hostage, along with almost every other adoptee in the state.
My adoptive parents knew all along who my birth mother was. I learned at 21 that when I was going to be adopted, the attorney gave my adoptive parents the wrong paperwork to sign, and they saw my birth mother's legal name. They held my truth hostage for as long as they wanted, even when they knew I was in agony!
In my early 30s, I was told my birth father was deceased, which never sat well with my spirit. So I told myself and the world, "If he's deceased, then I want confirmation of who he is via DNA, and I want to stand over his grave." I don't think that's much to ask, considering. But, again, my truth was held hostage, and I was told this unethical lie to throw me off from ever searching and finding my truth.
I called Dr. Richard "Dick" Miller's (the OBGYN who delivered me) office in my 20s to dig for information on my biological parents. I was told the records were destroyed in a flood back in the 80s. It was a complete dead end. They refused any help or assistance in me locating my biological parents. They co-signed, holding my truth hostage.
I called the records department at St. Francis Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, where I was born, to see if I could find any information. They instructed me that the records had been destroyed many years earlier. I was shit out of luck because they, too, would hold my truth hostage.
Anytime I brought up wanting to find my birth mother, my adoptive mother would say, "I will always love your birth mother for her sacrifice in giving you to me. It's my greatest dream come true to be a mother. She loved you so much and wanted you to have a better life." Meanwhile, back at the ranch, she was engulfed with extensive mental health issues suffering from the loss of being unable to have her own children (infertility), her and my adoptive dad divorcing, and manic depressive episodes. She was suicidal and lay in the street, wanting to die while we watched in terror. A better life? Hardly, only a different one. This taught me that her feelings were the only ones that mattered, and my grief, loss, and truth were irrelevant. Again, my truth was held hostage.
Once I found my birth mother, I asked her who my birth father was, and her response was, "He didn't know anything about you, and he wouldn't want to!" Again, my truth was held hostage.
Once I found my birth father, he refused to acknowledge I was his daughter even when DNA proved I was his daughter. He never consented to my adoption and didn't know I existed. Him never acknowledging the truth, I continued to be held hostage.
These are only a few barriers I have experienced when searching for my biological family and truth. I could go on forever if I listed them all. As I grew up, the pacifier statements no longer worked. I wanted my truth, and I was going to ANY and EVERY length to get it! I was not taking NO for an answer, and the fight against the world, my adoptive parents, and the closed adoption industry was ON!
Consider Reading: The Fight of My Life by Pamela A. Karanova
Over the years, I have navigated countless searches and reunions with fellow adoptees, and the level of obstacles and deception we face at every turn is horrendous!
Can you imagine spending your entire life searching for your own information and experiencing conspiracies and roadblocks every step of the way? And the world gaslights you into being THANKFUL for such injustices? The more we push for wanting our truth, the bigger the risk is that we are thrown to the wolves by our adoptive families. If you think this doesn’t happen, think again. It happens all the time!
We’re forced to live a double life being completely split between many worlds. One we have shared history with but we share no DNA and the other we share DNA but we have no shared history.
Talk about a mental mind fuck! The secrecy, lies and half-truths that deny adoptees from knowing who we are and where we come from are inhumane, monstrous and heartless.
A lot of the time, outrageous fees are implemented to obtain non-identifying information (paperwork about the biological family where all identifying information is whited out), as well as considerable fees to access information that non-adoptees usually take for granted. We are met, more than not, with floods, fires, and natural disasters destroying our records, only to find out it’s a complete falsification.
How would you feel if you had to pay a hefty expense to find your mother's name?
How would you feel if the government outlawed you from ever locating her or seeing her face one time?
How would you feel if the individuals that adopted you co-signed for all of this to transpire?
It’s unimaginable to comprehend!
It seems that adoption is primarily rooted in secrecy, lies, and half-truths, and the brunt of the fallout is seated front and center in the adoptee's life. The manipulation and gaslighting we experience if we show signs of being anything but thankful and grateful is damaging to every one of us.
Our truth is held hostage, and we didn't sign any paperwork!
We're fighting the world for the puzzle pieces of our lives, being manipulated, gaslit, lied too & shut down. So many of us experience roadblocks at almost every turn. Between our biological parents, who don't want to be found, and our adoptive parents, who co-sign for the secrecy. We are turned away by the adoption agencies who always want to hold our truth hostage and attorneys who handle our adoptions. The hospitals won't share our truth, and many states still have closed adoption laws that hinder us from finding out who we are or where we come from!
EVERYONE DESERVES TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE AND WHERE THEY COME FROM!
Adoptees have countless reasons to be angry, rage-filled, and mad at the world. We all know (aren't we raised with a core value that lying is not okay?) that dishonesty, secrecy, lies, half-truths, and deception have damaging and devastating outcomes for the person on the receiving end. Adoptees are over-represented in prisons, jails, and mental health and treatment facilities. They are 4x more likely to take their own lives.
Who is going to be a voice for the voiceless?
Is anyone listening?
WHY IS ADOPTION THE EXCEPTION?
When is the world going to acknowledge that the adoption of the world today isn't rooted in honesty and transparency?
Why are so many people using God's word to promote adoption, but God's word holds a high measure for TRUTH (the word TRUTH is in the bible 235x), yet, the truth in adoption isn't essential?
I call bullshit for everyone who wants to use God’s word as a selling point for adoption and the sale of human babies!
When will we start seeing 100% truth & transparency in all adoptions?
When will YOU start advocating for 100% truth & transparency in adoptions?
When will those who advocate for adoption begin to take a stand and no longer support secrecy, lies, and half-truths regarding adoptions?
We have a moral obligation to support truth, honesty, and transparency. From an adult adoptee perspective, who has done a great deal of healing and networked with adoptees worldwide, I urge you to do the same and consider stepping into a new light that adoption isn't all it's cracked up to be. Unfortunately, the truth has yet to be fully presented, and there is much more to the REALITY of how adoption impacts adoptees for a lifetime.
We grow up.
We aren't babies forever.
We aren't blank slates.
We have [His]-Stories and [Her]-Stories, which are IMPORTANT TO US! I understand many think they are protecting us, however having our truth and ALL OF IT is the only way we can begin the healing process. We can’t heal from secrecy, lies and half-truths because we don’t know what we are healing from.
If you insist on adopting, please help us heal by HELPING US find our truth! If you aren’t up for this task, you shouldn’t adopt a child.
The aftermath of spending a lifetime searching and seeking our truth, up against the entire world, is highly destructive! Adoptees are perishing because they can't see a way out from all the pain. We can't afford to turn a blind eye.
Q & A
Adoptees, what’s the worst lie you have been told when it comes to your adoption stories?
How have you been able to navigate your search and reunion when it seems like the world is up against you?
What has been your driving force in finding your truth? Did you adoptive parents help you or discourage you? How has this impacted you?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Understanding is Love,
Pamela A. Karanova
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Here are some of the writing pieces I’m the proudest of:
The Vital Contrast Between Relinquishment Trauma, Separation Trauma, and Adoption Trauma and Why We Should Consider the Difference by Pamela A. Karanova
Still Grieving Adoptee Losses, What My Adoptive Parents Could Have Done Differently. by Pamela A. Karanova
Considering Adoption? What Adoptees Want You to Know by Pamela A. Karanova & Adoptees Worldwide
I’m Adopted: You Can’t Take My Pain Away, Please Stop Trying by Pamela A. Karanova
100 Heartfelt Transracial Adoptee Quotes that Honor the Truth of Adoption – 100 Transracial Adoptees come together to share feelings on how adoption has impacted them by Pamela A. Karanova & Adoptees Worldwide.
Adoptees, Why Are You So Angry? Over 100 Adoptees Share Heartfelt Feelings by Pamela A. Karanova & Adoptees Worldwide
How Adoptees Feel About Birthdays by Pamela Karanova
I Highly Recommend
Not My Adoptee, Yes Your Adoptee! by Sara Easterly
The Link Among the Brain, the Gut, Adoption, and Trauma by Maureen McCauley
5 Hard Truths About Adoption that Adoptive Parents don’t want to Hear by Louisa
Reckoning with The Primal Wound Documentary with a 10% off coupon code (25 available) “adopteesconnect”
ASK ME ANYTHING COLUMN
Each month, all subscribers receive an “Ask Me Anything” newsletter — which will answer one or two adoptee-related questions from paid subscribers. Think: What adoptee healing tools have been the most valuable to you? How have you navigated the grief and loss process? What made you want to search for your biological family? How was your reunion once you searched? Do you regret searching?
Would you happen to have a question for me? If you leave them in the comment section, I will consider answering them in my Ask Me Anything Column or email them to: email@example.com
Here’s Our Most Recent Question: When Talking to Adoptive Parents About Adoption