I was cleaning up an old email account that has been hacked and came across this email that I sent to Jeff on March 29, 2011.  Chelsea, just 6 years old, was hospitalized in an acute psychiatric placement for the second time due to homicidal and suicidal ideations.  

Hey Hun,

I wrote this in 2000 and read it to some close friends of mine who had been through some tough stuff.  It seems like yesterday and a decade ago at the same time.  I didn’t realize it had been that long… 

   Sometimes the most horrific wars are not fought on the battlefield.  You cannot read about them in a textbook.  There are no headlines. No statistics. No Hollywood movies.  For it is the inner struggle that is the bloodiest of all.  A bleeding soul is often more life threatening than a bloody flesh wound.

   We fight one enemy. One disguised as our best friend.  She spies, works undercover, fools us, tries to knock us down.  We fight battles with our past.  Both our harshest friend and our sweetest enemy.  We battle every hour of every day.  Most of the time, the victor is unclear, for she hides herself within the darkest shadows of our heart.  Sometimes our wounds begin to heal in this fight, sometimes they tear open further. Wherever we are in the healing process, the scars of our healing wounds serve as a reflection to remind us of the beauty in our brokenness. Yes, there is beauty in the battles. 

   We are fighting the most tremendous war.  We have engaged in this difficult battle by willingly accepting the honesty and brutality of our past.  Most importantly, we have engaged.  We are fighters. We are survivors!  

   We will not back down, no matter how bittersweet it gets, no matter how overwhelming and impossible victory may seem.  We will keep on keeping on.  We’ll have the strength to rise when we fall, the courage to engage, and the will to win.  

   As this battle continues we will always be faced with two options: We can turn and retreat; or, we can engage.  Together, we will choose to engage. There will be times when moving forward will require a retreat. In those times, we will rest, refuel, and be equipped to engage again. There will be fear, but we have the strength, courage, and will to guide us towards victory.

I trust that Chelsea, Savanna, and Shianne are going to conquer every battle they face…they are fighters.  And I trust the year they have been with us has made them strong enough to choose to engage…this is what I am hopeful about.  Also, I know the 5 of us WILL be back together, when the time is right 🙂 In the meantime, we will all continue strong in fighting our battles. 

I love you & am looking forward to what the future holds for our girls & our family! Kristin


At that time, little did we know our family would dwindle to 3 before we were strong as 5 again…MANY years and battles later…



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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