Dancing Queens…

Dancing Queens at Two Left Feet

from left: Chelsea & Shianne; Savanna on far right at Two Left Feet dance studio in Gaithersburg

I don’t know about you, but I went into this whole parenting thing wanting to be as prepared as possible.  When it comes to personality, I am the ultimate ISFJ – turbulent a.k.a Type A perfectionist freak : -) Since we took the less-conventional path of public foster care, we had to complete multiple weeks of PRIDE training, have our house and every type of background cleared, meet with social workers, code enforcers, police officers, fire chiefs, CPR instructors, nurses, doctors, and parenting experts in order to become licensed.  While I often hear people say that parenting comes with “no manual”, let me assure you we were given loads of manuals – in the form of policies, procedures, rules, regulations, textbooks, pamphlets, guide books, training notes, websites, etc. We even signed a contractual agreement on how to care for children and be the most effective foster parents.  Due to the girls’ special needs, we eventually became licensed as therapeutic foster parents which came with EVEN MORE of the above.

Even though I have learned a lot through my career, I am very passionate and love every part of collecting, learning, and applying newfound knowledge and information.  Naturally, I have taken my job as a foster turned adoptive parent quite seriously.  Always striving for excellence and doing my best to live up to any and all standards.  Some days I find myself more successful than others. : -)  I think I’ve finally found a healthy balance where perfection is out of my all day, every day expectations.  These days I strive for “good enough” with rock star moments sprinkled in from time to time, and this seems to be working just fine.  I think a big part of reaching this point, and by far one of the coolest things about being a mom, is that while I try to teach my girls all about life, they end up teaching me what life is all about!  It is an honor, privilege, and blessing to be on this journey called motherhood.  I have learned SO much along the way.  As hard as it is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything and the lessons I have learned are some of my most valuable life treasures.   

One of the most important lessons this journey and my girls have taught me is:

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While I realize just seeing or hearing the words hope and faith may conjure up a bunch of big thoughts, feelings, and emotions for some, I hope you can set all of those big things aside for a minute and bear with me. Because this lesson that my girls have taught me has nothing to do with religious convictions, opinions, or definitions around the who, what, when, where, why, & how of faith and hope.  It is not about right, wrong, good, bad, same, or different.  It is not about more than, less than, the sinner, the saint, tolerance, resistance, patience, frustration, justice, or partiality.  It doesn’t depend on security, peril, appreciation, shame, honor, or criticism.  And, there is no need for concern about confidence, uncertainty, guilt, innocence, destruction, restoration, kindness, or cruelty…

It simply comes down to whether or not we are willing to trust and believe…in whatever it is that gets us up and dancing.  To me, it means that as long as we are dancing TODAY and believing that we will dance again TOMORROW…wherever tomorrow may be….it will all be well.  Yes, it will all.be.well. with our souls.  I know this for sure, thanks to my Dancing Queens and what they have taught me about the sheer power of my hope and faith.

And for all of you uncoordinated type like myself – Sorry, no excuses when it comes to this. This video is of me on a cold December night in the New York subway trying to prove to my Urban Impact Team that I could never do Zumba.  They told me I was doing well and then I realized Jeff was videoing.  Ugh.  Now you have the proof that my girls didn’t learn how to dance from their mama : -)

This was 10 days after Savanna left.  Chelsea was already at the Residential Treatment Center. Savanna was now with her.  We were told the night before we left that it was unfair to everyone for Shianne to still be with us.  They told us we obviously were not competent  to care for and contain the effects of Chelsea & Savanna’s extreme trauma, and that they were looking for another home for Shi.  If we chose to still go to New York given the circumstances, she would likely be moving while we were away.

Even still, that New York trip is one of my most favorite memories to date.  I was on pain meds 24/7, had just lost 2 of my daughters, the 3rd was being threatened to be taken, and I am terrified of big cities & public transportation.  When I reflect on our time in New York, my memories are of all the lessons learned and the experiences that would have been missed had we not gone on the trip.  The most important lesson: make sure you are dancing TODAY. No matter what!

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Last weekend was full of dancing for the Phoenix Family.  On Friday night, Jeff took his daughters out for the annual Father Daughter(s) Dance.  This year was extra special as all 3 girls are FINALLY able to call Jeff their Daddy and Jeff call the girls his daughters, FOREVER…and EVER.  Amen!

The professional pictures taken at the past few Father Daughter (s) Dances - 2012, 2013, & 2014

The professional pictures taken at the past few Father Daughter (s) Dances – 2012, 2013, & 2014

Getting nails & hair done for the big date with Daddy!

Getting nails & hair done for the big date with Daddy!

All dressed and ready to head out. What a difference a year makes! With so many wishes coming true for the Phoenix Family, this year’s “My Wish” dance theme was very fitting!

Saturday night we went to the Chris Tomlin, Tenth Avenue North, and Rend Collective concert.  If this video doesn’t give you the motivation to get up and DANCE TODAY, then I don’t know what will : -)

Now. Let’s Dance!

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P.S. – here are links to posts I wrote in New York back in 2011.

Day 1 and 2: thoughts from Kristin

The Sound of Music…

 

About Kristin Phoenix

daughter turned teacher turned social worker turned wife turned foster parent turned mom When people who don’t know our family story find out that we fostered and adopted the girls, we generally get one of two reactions…”I would have never known. They look just like you!” or “Oh, how beautiful.” Both of these things are 100% true – on the surface. The picture perfect, shiny, pretty surface. But, just below the surface is a whole lot of mess and brokenness. Our girls endured things that I never even read about in my textbooks. Our family endured things that go completely against the 3 philosophies of safety, permanency, and well-being that the child welfare system is in place to protect. When we have the chance to share a little bit more, the response always goes something like “but…how?!…and why?!” I believe in dreaming big. Part of my dream is a child welfare and healthcare system that would have prevented unnecessary trauma for my girls, my family, and our community. The other part is one of redemption and recovery for everyone involved in our story – which is everyone. I now believe part of why our family endured what we did is so that people would hear our story and ask the hard questions of how and why. With sexual abuse, trauma, foster care, and adoption, we never truly know until we find ourselves in a position of not knowing. Because of the nature of our case, I often found myself in a position of not being able to really answer the hows and whys. I reached a point where staying silent was the only option. Now that our adoptions are finalized, it is time for me to break the silence. This blog is me daring to run after my dreams – even when I find myself out of breath (which is mostly every. single. day.) It is stories of how the collective we have lived up to the Phoenix name and are rising from the ashes to burn bright! I also currently write and edit for Social Justice Solutions
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2 Responses to Dancing Queens…

  1. My boys have taught me so much over the years, and one of them is dancing. We enjoy dance parties to get the wiggles out and exercising. I love watching their eyes light up when we sing, dance and laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I love it, too, Rachel! There’s nothing like rockin out to a good song. I love how eve though all 3 of the girls LOVE music, their personalities come out and shine through the music and songs : -)

      Like

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