Adoption With Love

Why adopting with love should never be a kept a secret…

In 1975 shortly after I turned fifteen, I learned that my father is not my biological father. My whole life and world were shattered by this discovery.

Recently someone shared her dear friend’s story with me. It broke my heart. This friend told her fifteen-year old son that his father was not his biological father, but that he was indeed adopted. This son was unable to bear the weight of this news and the emotional turmoil that it created. He ran away from home. This son’s mother recently passed away. She had never again heard from her son after he ran away. I am determined to do whatever I can to prevent other parents, adoptive or not, from ever going through something like this.

My best friend adopted her daughter. My friend asked me to consider the following topic which adoptive parents might encounter. So I ask, “Does your child experience issues with abandonment and betrayal even though they were adopted with love?” The number of people who say yes is truly shocking!

I’ve witnessed other stories where a fourteen year-old boy stopped returning his parent’s calls. I know exactly how both of these young adults felt. At age fifteen, I also wanted to run away. I told my mother to leave me alone. Each of these stories reminded me of my purpose and serve to strengthen my mission.

Throughout my twenty-nine years and the difficult lessons I have had to learn, I share how I gradually prevailed against feelings of betrayal, anger and abandonment. And I learned to forgive and love.

Well into adulthood, acceptance and peace arrived. Up until that moment, The question was always: Who/what defines my truth? I relied heavily upon my mantra: “Every child deserves to know the truth.” But my truth is based solely upon facts that I, as a child, had no power to control.

One might then ask, What defines your truth?  Or, do we each define our own truth in choosing how we live our lives.

As an adult, what mattered the most to me became: “I define my own truth in choosing how I live my life.”

The truth of who I am is not determined by the facts surrounding my birth; I determine my own choices in life.

My life-long struggle with my truth turned around the moment I was able to forgive my mother, and I felt it in my heart. But I was not able to forgive her until I truly loved myself.

I have to love myself first.

I look forward to sharing more of my story with you.

Warmly, Carina
Carina Sue Burns - The Syrian Jewelry Box CVR

Meet Carina Burns

For over two decades, Carina Burns traveled the globe throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia.

She enjoys all aspects of foreign cultures, including exotic cuisines, cultural history, and language. She studied writing at DeAnza College and Stanford and is a member of the California Writers Club South Bay Branch. A speaker and blogger on adoption-related issues. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and nature hiking. She lives in Palo Alto, California.

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I Was Adopted?

The Syrian Jewelry Box is the story of fifteen-year old Carina Rourke; a young American growing up in blissful innocence in the Middle East whose life is about to change dramatically. After crippling curiosity leads her to open her mother’s forbidden jewelry box, she discovers a shocking family secret.

On the heels of her discovery, she and her family pursue her father’s dream; an exotic drive through the Middle East and Europe, which serves as a metaphoric journey for the woman Carina becomes—a silent nomad searching for identity. The trip lands the family in Paris, where Carina becomes entrenched in delicious foreign foods and a mysterious foreign man.

Through Carina’s own struggles with betrayal, forgiveness, love, and trust, readers are able to relate and celebrate their own journey to self-discovery.Read More


A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. -Mohandas Gandhi.

Behold, Be Still, Believe = Be Heard Behold the beautiful person you are! You bring love and light into the world just by being you.-Carina S. Burns

Drawing from her own personal experiences, Carina Burns shares a journey of transformation. Having been adopted as a child by her father, and not discovering this history until she was fifteen, Carina Burns became well acquainted with the process of acceptance, healing, and learning to trust and love again.

The exotic journey through the Middle East and Europe portrayed in The Syrian Jewelry Box serves as a metaphor for her personal journey in overcoming the shock of betrayal by those she trusted the most. Inspired by her past, The Syrian Jewelry Box: A Daughter’s Journey for Truth chronicles a teenage heroine who triumphs over her identity crisis and learns the power of love.Read More

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 The Syrian Jewelry Box: A Daughter’s Journey for Truth lays the foundation for readers to embark upon their own journey of self-discovery, reconciliation and ultimately, self-love.
~ Scott Moore, Adult Education


 Carina Burns has looked within herself, faced her demons, and developed the courage to share her journey of love, perceived betrayal, angst, and regenerative love. I first knew Carina before she learned of her adoption. She was a typical carefree teenager enjoying the ‘good life’ of a third-culture expatriate kid. Only recently have I reconnected with her. She has quite a story, a gift she shares with passion. Carina Burns is truly ‘becoming’ in every way imaginable.
~ Richard Maack, Junior High School Principal, Saudi Arabia


One cannot expect to walk in on a life that is so private and has been like that for years and not find similarities that will taunt you and challenge you to resolve those issues that have long been contaminating your life. When you realize that the issues you have unpacked have left your life naked and painfully raw from the death of your natural beliefs, The Syrian Jewelry Box will become your anecdote.
~Barbie Lightbody


Carina! Thank you for sharing! I think what is most appealing about you and (for me) comes through in your writing is that you really, truly, speak from the heart. Especially from my perspective– being adopted, struggling with my own truths about my family and biological father, I know I can relate to much of your story. But even outside of that– reading your writing feels like a conversation, like I’ve known you for years– which is something I find to be one of the most important aspects of a writer. People want to feel connected and you have that grace that pulls your reader in and makes it intimate and comforting to read your story.
~ Nickcole W.


The Syrian Jewelry Box is a beautifully expressed story from an adopted child written in a manner which will help bring contentment and comfort to all adopted readers. It is skillfully blended into the journey of a child who in adolescence discovers she was adopted by her non-biological father when he married her biological mother. Her reactions to the emotional assaults of this discovery run the gamut from distraught anger to sublime forgiveness as she confronts them in a difficult but successful campaign. Her story combines her childhood memories of the family’s residences and travels throughout Europe and the Middle East into a travelogue augmented by many photos taken by her father.”
~ Anthony J. Zamarchi, Sr., Raytheon Middle East Systems


“Having lived through it herself, Carina understands the pain and shock that comes with our lives being turned upside-down. She also knows how to navigate the complexity of emotions and changes in day-to-day living that occur enabling others who’ve been in this place to finally be able to find peace and love within. Her compassion is matched only by her dedication to helping us all.”
~Kelsey George, Creative Services Manager and mother
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