Where I wanted to go

Originally written February 7, 2016

Yesterday I wrote and published Where I need to be. It is the first thing I’ve written that I didn’t go back and edit. I only re-read it once. If you’re a writer at heart or know (have to suffer with) one, you’ll understand the magnitude of this. On the way home from Hershey yesterday, I wrote this.  It is written as a post script to Where I need to be, so I hope you’ll take the time to read it, if you haven’t already. 

P.S. – This post may appear like I have it all together and things are picture perfect. Normally, I do like to post the “Kodak moment” pictures because mothering 3 girls with extreme trauma brings a lot of very hard moments. And, it’s vital to enjoy the miracles of recovery and healing, as fleeting as they may feel at times. 

These past few weeks have been extremely difficult and, depending on your perspective, anything but picture perfect for all 5 of us. Individually, we are each on very shaky ground. 

The girls are going through a lot of major transitions (any of these alone would be more than enough) – moving to a holding school and taking the bus for the first time, not getting home and settled until 5pm, unanticipated moving of their amazing individual and our family  therapist (she is off to help lots of people in another state), new diagnoses, medications, therapists, etc. 

Our Gramps (Jeff’s grandpa) is really sick and has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We wanted to visit him today, but God had other plans and took us to Hershey (edited to add note: Gramps passed away peacefully last week; a post coming on the impact of this loss and the legacy he leaves to live on through us.)

I didn’t want to actively restrain one of the girls across two mornings because she was filled with so much guilt and shame from stealing something. She was suffering so greatly that she wanted to hurt me and the dogs and destroy anything in sight that was destroyable. 

I didn’t want to then rush to school for another who went missing just after making self-harming/suicidal statements. And then ultimately need to restrain her and work with the awesome staff at her school for a good hour to get into our car and heading home safely…all while having a very delicate back. 

I didn’t want to learn this past October that the disc I had surgery on last April had re-herniated and my body had already built up a lot of scar tissue. This is when we had to cancel our adoption celebration trip to Disney for the second time due to my back. Steroid injections and narcotic pain meds for break through pain allowed me to function for several months. Then I reached the max number of injections per year and the pain/neuro symptoms were getting difficult to manage without prednisone tapers, pain meds, and muscle relaxants.  

I wanted to be picture perfect right now. Even more, I wanted to be here at Hershey a couple of weekends ago when I was feeling relatively well. Instead, I was in & out of the emergency room and then admitted to the hospital across 8 days during the Blizzard of 2016, starting the day after restraining. 

I didn’t want to celebrate Chelsea’s 11th birthday in the hospital. She has been looking forward to and planning this one for at least 6 months.

I wanted a clear re-herniation that was compressing the nerve to show up on the MRI they did in the hospital. I didn’t want to be told 7 different possible diagnoses by 7 different medical professionals.

I didn’t want to be 31 and needing a walker and this set-up to enjoy making memories with my girls. 


I didn’t want to become an embarassment to my girls as they already have way more than enough on their plates. But because of this newest medical mystery and needing a walker to get around, I am. As we walked into Chocolate World, they were behind me saying in an unkind tone “it is SO embarrassing to be seen with Mommy like this.”

And, I wanted to be off this mega-dose of prednisone (see puffy face and body :-)) 10 days ago. The doctors said “no”; and, believe it or not, I’ve lost 35 pounds since last year’s picture (on top). Notice how much healthier my girls look, though – and we thought they looked great then. Rocovery works if you work it. 

Also, being in recovery, I wanted to do everything possible to avoid needing narcotics and other addictive meds again. Let alone the strongest of the strong in patch and oral form – at.the.same.time. In all the health situations I’ve been through, I’ve never needed this many, this strong. 

I don’t want to be on all of these meds in order to be home and somewhat functional. I don’t want to be the wife, mom, friend, daughter, and person these pain meds can sometimes make me. I want to be able to make it to my meetings and time with friends and family, but most of the time these days, I can’t. 

Thank God for the ability to lean on my 2 amazing supports from the program, awesome family, friends, and my Restoration Church family. 

I want to be able to tell you this support is enough.  But, there are many days right now that I still feel not good enough. Not grace-giving enough. Not loving enough. My supports, angels on earth (and in heaven), the serenity prayer, and memories from my meetings are SAVING my life right now. 

Here’s the thing,though…I obviously needed and still need all of this. The God of my understanding is doing big works in and through me.  In the meantime, I’m doing my best to do my part – by recognizing and acting on the things I can change and letting go of the things I cannnot.  And while I could’ve stayed home and enjoyed the fun through pics and videos, it doesn’t compare.  I’m so thankful to have been here in person for our 3rd annual trip 🙂 

Yes, I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be. And when I’m where I need to be, miracles abound!!!!

P.P.S. – If you havent yet read Where I need to be, head over there now and be sure to watch the videos at the end to see some of the fun we had!


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 Where I wanted to go

  1. Kathye Pace says:

    I love you, dear one… always have. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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