Karen’s Story – Hope and Recovery

I want to write about a truly remarkable woman who means a lot to me – Karen, Bryce’s birthmother.

It makes sense to write about Karen. Without Karen, there is no Bryce and no story to tell. Without Karen, I would not have the life that I have. Karen is a big reason I am the person that I am today. And I like to think that I am part of the reason that Karen is the person that she is today as well.

When I met Karen, she had just given birth to Bryce and she was handcuffed to a hospital bed. She had just made me a mother and she was beautiful. She asked me to buy her a comb. That was all she wanted. Of course. I went down to the hospital gift shop and got her one. It was the least I could do. She gave me a son – I could give her a comb.

When Bryce was born, Karen was suffering from drug addiction and had been for years. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She had a completely different life than me. But she was a smart young woman. I could tell that when I met her. I could also tell that from the amazing letter she wrote to Bryce when he was born. In that letter she told Bryce about the difficult decision she made in choosing adoption, that she chose Terry and I to be his parents and that she loved him very much. They were words that any parent would want their son to hear. I could not have written a better letter if I tried.

Karen struggled with drug addiction for years. She was in and out of jail, hung out with a bad crowd and soon after giving birth to Bryce, lost her mother to a heart attack which just made things worse for her. But Karen did not give up. And I did not give up on her.

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Karen, Bryce and Tracy at the Hope Cottage Christmas Party.  Karen is still dealing with addiction at this time, but sees Bryce through the adoption agency

I cared so much for her for what she had given me, and I wanted to help her. Since we had an open adoption, I wanted to and was able to be in touch with her. Given her background, at first our contact was only through Hope Cottage, our adoption agency. I wished I could have done more for her. I wanted to take her in my arms and tell her how much I loved her and that anything she needed, I would give her. But I couldn’t do that. My responsibility was to Bryce, to do everything I could to take care of him. And at that time, Karen was using drugs and was in and out of jail. Having a close connection to her would not have been in the best interest of Bryce.

I wanted her to know I cared. She was Bryce’s birthmother. I called to check on her when she was in prison and found out I was on her visitor’s list. I had no idea she would put me on her list. It meant so much to me that she put me on her list, that I went and visited her in prison. I was like a fish out of water, but it was an incredible experience. She was so surprised to see me. I just needed to know how she was, and I needed her to know that I thought of her and loved her.

Karen and I stayed in touch. I would send letters to Hope Cottage, she asked for pictures of Bryce, and she wrote letters back.

Years later I found out Karen was clean. She tells me that one day she was in church and “the addiction just left her.” She says that when in jail, she voluntarily admitted herself into a rehabilitation program. She felt that she was only being “warehoused” in jail, and if she didn’t get help, there was no other hope.

When Karen was released, she held on to her Hope. She started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, got a sponsor and followed their step work. She did service work for others and kept going to church.

Karen has been clean for 7 years. She got a college degree, works full-time and is getting a Master’s in Addiction Counseling.

Karen is a true story of Recovery. It was not an easy road for her, and this does not begin to tell the details of it. But Recovery is possible.

Karen’s story is one of Hope. Mental illness and addiction can drag you down, but there is always a way back up.  We must continue to advocate for funding for recovery programs as well as funding for mental health as the two often go hand in hand.  Bryce’s birthmother is a true example of Strength and Recovery. I know that Strength and Hope have been passed on to Bryce.

Thank you Karen for allowing me to share part of your story. We love you. I know fate brought us together for so many reasons.

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Strength and Hope – Karen and Bryce two years ago during a trip to Dallas
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28 thoughts on “Karen’s Story – Hope and Recovery

  1. Teresa Alexandrou April 19, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    What a beautiful tribute. Both you and Katen are remarkable women. Thank you for sharing this story.

    Like

    • Tracy April 19, 2016 / 11:22 pm

      Thank you Teresa. Truly appreciate it.

      Like

  2. Kara Pokras April 19, 2016 / 11:49 pm

    Thank you

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  3. Kara April 19, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    Thank you! That’s it, just thank you for sharing and for allowing me be oresent for this part of your story, Karen’s story and Bryce’s.

    Like

    • Tracy April 20, 2016 / 12:05 am

      Thank you Kara. Thank you for everything you do and for reading. Please feel free to share.

      Like

  4. Melissa Taylor April 20, 2016 / 12:06 am

    What a beautiful story of unconditional love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tracy April 20, 2016 / 12:08 am

      Thank you Melissa! sent you a text

      Like

  5. Joyce Bortnick April 20, 2016 / 12:45 am

    Another beautiful story Tracy. I stand in awe about your connection to Bryce’s mom. You have an unlimited well of compassion. Bryce is lucky to have you for a mom. Keep that strength but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. So happy you can share your thoughts this way.

    Like

    • Tracy April 20, 2016 / 1:08 am

      Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

      Like

  6. Gayle greenberg April 20, 2016 / 8:41 am

    Another amazing story. Thanks for sharing and giving hope to others. We attended the funeral today of one if the founding ladies if the Cystic Fibrosis foundation. She had 3 sons with CF. when I met her, I thought if she had three sons and could smile and be involved, then I could do that with one son! She gave me hope, encouragement and direction. Not just to me but hundreds of CF moms. Your stories will do the same.

    Like

    • Tracy April 20, 2016 / 11:12 am

      Thank you Gayle. You are a true inspiration as is Mary. Her legacy will leave on forever. 65 hugs and kisses to you.

      Like

  7. Pepi April 20, 2016 / 10:53 pm

    Amazing Recovery for her. I remember those stories in the early days. She really came so far. Again, Amazing!

    Like

    • Tracy April 20, 2016 / 11:05 pm

      I know Pepi. She truly has. So have our boys from those cute little early days!! xoxox

      Like

  8. Veronica Zorrilla April 21, 2016 / 1:29 am

    Tracy: I have been reading your blog from the beginning and wanted to let you know how proud and inspired I feel after everything I’ve read. Your family’s story is truly remarkable and I just know you are going to be reaching and helping countless people with your kindness, compassion and open heart. Please keep writing and telling your story. I look forward to following along. Much love, your freshmen year roomie, Veronica

    Like

    • Tracy April 21, 2016 / 1:39 am

      Thanks Vero. I really appreciate it. I hope to help others with our story. Please feel free to share! xoxoxo love back to you.

      Like

  9. Leslie April 23, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    The tears are welling up. There must have been so many times when it would have been easier to not stay in contact, but you persevered. Thank you for that and thank you for sharing your story.

    Like

    • Tracy April 23, 2016 / 2:06 pm

      Thank you so much for all of your support.

      Like

  10. Brennan August 7, 2016 / 11:09 am

    Well done Karen! The world needs to hear more stories like these! The majority of the time we only hear about how people dont recover from addictions. Stories like this could just be the difference to inspire someone and impact their lives forever!!

    Like

    • Tracy September 10, 2016 / 2:40 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment!

      Like

  11. heavenswrapstar14306 August 21, 2016 / 11:43 am

    What an awesome story! Karen I’m so proud of you! I’ve been using for over half of my life but have been clean for almost a week now. Yes! It’s hard! But my children are worth me being sober & so am I! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Like

    • Tracy August 21, 2016 / 12:33 pm

      Thank you for your comment and kind words. And best to you. Keep it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. kit for scuba diving October 28, 2016 / 7:01 am

    Hey, I think your website might be having browser
    compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up!
    Other then that, very good blog! http://mocarny.eu/dive1

    Like

    • Tracy November 3, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      Thanks. I will look into it. It is hosted on wordpress, so I am not sure what I an do??

      Like

  13. secretsinssite December 31, 2016 / 2:10 am

    Wow!!!! That was truly an amazing story and actually gave me small hope!!! 💖

    Like

    • Tracy January 3, 2017 / 3:19 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      Like

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