Why Adoptees Connect Isn’t A Ministry

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During my time doing ministry work, being in leadership on many ministry teams and spending years in a church atmosphere I learned a few things about this environment.

I was a small group leader for a ministry called Celebrate Recovery for 3 years and during this time I was welcomed with a variety of people of who stumbled into the doors of this ministry which was held inside a church. Some were believer’s in God and some weren’t. We were instructed to tread very carefully in how we interacted with the attendees because just because we believed in God didn’t mean they did. We didn’t’ want to scare them away and overwhelm them with too much “churchy talk”. This ministry was rooted and grounded in prayer, so it was no surprise to the attendees that yes, it was a ministry, but they could take or leave the prayer part, and many times they did just that.

I saw people come in the doors and walk right back out again.

I sat in a small group with many women and much of the time many didn’t believe in God at all, and they didn’t mind sharing it. I saw leadership go against the “direction” of the core guidelines of the ministry and make it their choice to “lay hands” on someone even when they have been instructed to not do this. The reason they usually said was “God told me to do it”. So many times, people would be so disturbed by this practice they would walk out the door and never return. After all, if they aren’t believers in God what good would this “ministry” do for them anyway? For a non-believer to have a Christian lay hand on them from the instruction of “God” it can be quite traumatic. I saw it happen over and over even after being instructed to not do this.

I believe many of them we’re turned off by this aspect, and made the choice to never return. Obviously, this “place” wasn’t for them if they didn’t believe in God and there were many reasons why I’m sure they could FEEL this as they walked in or out of the doors of this ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I love Celebrate Recovery and all they stand for, but I also see another light to ministry work that I hadn’t seen before.

 I can’t ignore it and I can’t unknow what I know.

Those that believed in God we’re right at home. They belonged there. They fit in. They quickly found their clique and began to work the ministry and the 12 steps to work towards healing. I was one of those people. I grew as much as possible while in this ministry, so much so that within a year I was in leadership training which resulted in me being the leader of the Women’s Chemical Dependency Group.

I was honored and humbled to be trusted with this position, and was always cautious to tread very carefully about what I said and how I said it because I never knew who was a believer in the group and who wasn’t. I never laid hands on anyone because God never told me to do that. He told me to listen objectively and not judge anyone and at all costs make everyone feel welcome. I had a gift, and was even assigned as the “Welcome Greeter” for the time I was there. I love meeting people being the first impression they saw walking in the doors, hugging on them and welcoming them to our community.

Taking the step to start Adoptees Connect I knew I had to decide between it being a ministry or not because my time during church, I was told that for God to bless whatever you are doing it needed to be a ministry. I struggled with this, and it’s a piece of the reason I held off on starting Adoptees Connect for so long.

I wanted God to bless Adoptees Connect, but I know being an adoptee we have no safe space. In my heart of hearts, I couldn’t help but wonder, what about the Adult Adoptees who aren’t believers? Would they not feel welcome here? Would they not feel like they belong because we have different beliefs?

It became apparent to me after a lot of prayer, and seeking God in my own understanding that because of Jesus’s heart for the hurting people, ALL THE HURTING PEOPLE I wanted all adoptees to feel welcome at all costs. If I made Adoptees Connect a ministry there would be a lot of adoptees that would feel turned away. We’ve already been turned away our entire lives, and this is not something I want to happen with Adoptees Connect.

I learned that a ministry can separate and divide, and this isn’t what I wanted for Adoptees Connect. Jesus loves everyone, even the non-believers so I wanted to make sure as I pursued Adoptees Connect coming to life that our community would make sure that every adopted adult felt welcomed. You didn’t have to be a believer to come and receive the community.

We decided we wanted to love everyone exactly as they are and believe that’s what God would want. That said, is Adoptees Connect MY ministry? Yes, it’s my ministry. Without a doubt God has me on an assignment and that’s to set out to form as many Adoptees Connect Small Groups as possible around the USA, as well as facilitate my own in my city. God is who I give the glory to and I am not ashamed to share it in my story. Will I push my beliefs onto others?  Absolutely not, but I can without a doubt share where I get my strength and hope from and that’s Jesus Christ. I can only share what’s worked for me and hopefully be a light to someone, somewhere.

I want all non-believers to know that they are welcome to our groups. They are at home in our community.  They don’t have to have a religious preference, a spiritual background or belong to a church community to belong at Adoptees Connect.

I think that’s what Jesus would want, don’t you?

The opinions and views expressed in this article are mine alone, and they do not represent any Adoptees Connect Support Group as a whole. I hope this helps those out there who are curious if Adoptees Connect is a ministry or not. I believe that to do what God calls us to do, it doesn’t always have to be a ministry for it to receive His blessing and for it to be “GOOD”.

Thanks for reading.

Founder, Adoptees Connect

Pamela Karanova

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Bowling Get Together Friday Jan 26th 2018

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Don’t forget we’re going bowling on Friday January 26th. We will meet from 7:00P-10:00P at Southland Bowling Alley.. This event is open for our group attendees to bring friends and family so we can get to know one another.

I’m excited to see you all! We have an invite on Facebook you can RSVP to or CLICK HERE.

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See you FRIDAY! 🙂

Love & Shalom

Pamela Karanova

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January 13, 2018 Will Go Down In History!

Adoptees Connect – Lexington, KY launched our first meeting on Saturday January 13th, 2018. We met at Wild Fig Coffee & Books from 5:00P-7:00P. It’s a cute little house remodeled into a coffee shop here in Lexington, KY off of Limestone Street. I was a little nervous of how the coffee shop vibe would go because at times they can be chaotic, depending on how busy they were. I thought this would be a good “Meet & Greet” spot to break the ice. Depending on how it went would depend on if we used it again but I also want us to try other places as well.

I think visiting different places would be fun. I’ve also discussed with the group, meeting in parks when it warms up, going hiking together, etc. We’re so excited for whats to come!

I had no idea how our meeting would go, but I had great anticipation to finally get to see my fellow adoptees, TOGETHER in real life. Arriving to the coffee shop there were a few people scattered around but as we met and settled it seemed those people dispersed and we ended up being by ourselves. How amazing is that?!  We sat at a table with 4 chairs, and as each adoptee arrived I was excited to see their faces, hug them and introduce them to one another. We each got a coffee, and settled in.

We sighed in on the sign-in sheet, filled out name tags and started promptly at 5:00P. I introduced myself, although they all knew me, smile. We read announcements, group guidelines, and began our open share time. Each person took some time to share a little about their journey. Aside from a conference I went to last April, this was the first time I sat in a circle of others who understand me and I understand them.

We speak the same language.

It was amazing to experience and I think we can all agree on us being able to feel what one another was feeling as we shared. The pain, the sorrow and even the joyful parts. To be in a “safe space” and be able to share our hearts regarding our adoptee journeys is something that is long over due for us all. I felt a closeness with other human beings in MY REAL LIFE like I never have before.

All in all, our group had a flow that was organic, natural and a peaceful vibe lingered over our group. Sharing came naturally it seems.

2 hours seemed like 30 minutes and I’m certain we could have gone on forever, but we thanked the coffee shop owners, cleaned our belongings up and said our “Good-byes” until next time.

A few of us decided to head over to Applebee’s on Leestown Road and the conversations just continued. on. I remember mentioning something regarding adoption regarding my journey that I was angry about.  My fellow adoptees just listened, and agreed that they would be angry too. It’s nice to be around a group of others who understand me and I understand them. It’s nice to be able to share things I’ve kept inside for far too long.

I always feel this magnetic connection when meeting my fellow adoptees in real life, and I’m always honored and excited to learn about them, hear their stories and JUST LISTEN.

Isn’t that what most of us need?

Is for other’s to JUST LISTEN & LEARN

All in all I feel our first Adoptees Connect group went amazing and I can’t wait until next time. Within 24 hours of our first meeting I received inquires from 2 more adoptees who want to attend our next meeting. Exciting times ahead!

NEXT OUTING

Friday, January 26th 2018 – Southland Bowling Alley 7:00P-10:00P – Family & Friends welcome to join you so we can meet one another.

NEXT MEETING

Saturday, February 10th, 2018 – Meeting at Common Grounds on High Street in Lexington, KY 5:00P-7:00P  We will go somewhere to eat following the group. (location TBA)

We’re meeting the 2nd Saturday of every Month. Location will always be announced on an invite on Facebook. We will visit different venues until our group finds a suitable spot where we feel comfortable. Then we will more than likely stay at that venue until it warms up. At that time we can visit outside venues, parks, etc.

I think that’s it for now.

I hope to see you all Friday at Southland Bowling Alley.

Love & Shalom,

Pamela Karanova

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Our First Meeting, Our Next Meeting & Beyond…

I know you all might be like, “Okay she’s a little obsessed with talking about our first meeting!” Right? LOL

I’m honestly just so excited and all these little things keep popping into my mind that I need to share. This website will hopefully become a portal of information for not only adoptees in the Lexington, KY area but others who inspire to start there own group near and far.

Most of you know our first meeting is:

Saturday, January 13th at Wild Figs Coffee & Books off Limestone.

We will meet from 5:00P-7:00P.

After our support group meeting we’re heading over to Applebee’s on Leestown Road to get a bite to eat and spend some more time getting to know one another. I figured we might as well end the night sharing some food together because breaking bread together is another way to build relationships with others.

Our next meeting will be Saturday February 10th from 5:00P-7:00P

MEETING LOCATION: TBA

Please check our social media for updates regarding meeting places for our next support group. I would like to get input from my fellow adoptees on comfortable meeting spaces and receive suggestions from everyone. Hopefully we can try a few places together and get a feel of what is preferred by the group.

Friday January 26th we’re going bowling!

We’ll meet at Southland Bowling Alley from 7:00P-10:00P

This is a time to bring husbands, wives, friends or family, or children to our group. Everyone is invited!

I think this is it for now. Please check back often. As changes come I’ll be sure to update the website and social media.

Blessings,

Pamela K.

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A Week Away… Adoptees Connect Lexington, KY is along time coming! Let me explain…

I’m so excited we’re just a week away from our first Adoptees Connect- Lexington, KY meeting!

This has been such a long time coming for Lexington, KY.

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.

No resources.

No nothing.

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”.

WOW…

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.

It’s here!

Blessings,

Pamela Karanova

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