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What Kiddo Left Behind

I have debated writing this for a long time, but decided that maybe I’m being called to write it so that those that need it can stumble across it. Maybe it can help someone not feel alone in the struggles or help someone understand the story underneath what they see or hear.

About a month ago, after everything had been transported and we were to be in the mourning stage of the failed adoption, we realized that there was a lot more going on for me than we were told to expect.

I began to have horrific nightmares and even ones where I relive some of the abusive situations with my ex that I was blessed to have blocked out for so long. I can’t sleep for long, especially when it’s quiet; we set a timer and stream a documentary or such until I can fall asleep, if I can. And I wake as soon as I hear rustling, with my adrenaline spiking in a fight or flight response, usually until I realize the kittens have woken up and are tearing through the house in playful abandonment. No one is creeping through the house or about to attack.

To top it off I’ve been sick with a couple of ailments this whole time that have really attacked my immune system. She had a comfort blanket that apparently carried ringworm spores and due to my immune system issues, it hit me hard. By the third round (after rounds of medications and complete household and pet decontamination, mind you), my immune system has been pretty well decimated, so I’ve fought virus after virus on top of my usual problems.

Then about a week ago we realized that extreme depression and PTSD were hitting pretty strong as well. We’ve had more meaningful conversations since the failed adoption than through our entire marriage, it seems, and finally got to the core of these emotional issues. I wasn’t mourning the child we took into our home. I was mourning what we could have had and what our future lives could have been like if she had been a different child. I stopped loving the girl who said “I love you Mom” the moment she looked at me the same way my ex did. That was a hard realization. Even harder was realizing that I was mourning the life that could have been, and the possibility that we will choose to not pursue parenthood again; that we will never share those milestone moments of a child’s life as a family. And it was exceptionally difficult to know we made the right choice for her and for us when we were told that parenthood is tough. It went so far beyond that. It’s been even harder to let go of the huge amount of guilt that is embedded in each part of our choices.

The worst that she left behind was the unexpected massive trigger of my PTSD. I handled the recovery from my actual abuse so much better that in some ways this is absolutely puzzling. Until we realized that I never actually allowed myself to mourn my ex causing the miscarriage or deal with all of the fear and pain of the abuse. I survived and did the best I could as independently as I could. These feelings are like trying to make my way through a swamp. It feels like I’m going to go under any moment, and so dirty, and so utterly terrifying.

Being so sick covered up some of the mental damage for a bit. We just realized that I am now scared that the next person I encounter, the person walking down the street or doing their shopping, could be Sociopath #3. I survived two of them…what are the odds that I can survive if another ever comes near me again? So I’m scared to step past our deck, even in this sleepy little town. I’d rather not eat if I’m too tired or sick to cook, than go out around people to eat. Thankfully there’s a little blessing in this, because L was the first person that I told about things, way back when, and was the rock that kept me steady, and we’re naturally much closer now, so he’s my safe harbor. When I have a decent day I can get out of the house as long as I know where he is or if he’s in sight. If I sit in the truck while he runs into a store real quick, the panic hits a little after a few, but it’s not as crippling as trying to walk through the store to the pharmacy by myself or such. I hate to sound like some needy girl, but I’m so very thankful that I have a tall, intimidating husband. I’ll admit that.

I know that this is irrational and we’re working hard for me to take my first step into immersion therapy this weekend, into the public without him, but with close family still. I absolutely hate that I have lost power over myself and my fears again; that I’ve given the power to the unknown instead, but I can’t add a pill to my daily regime to make this better. I have to live this and we have to just make it to the other side, this time facing a hell of a lot more than I did the first time.

And I’m absolutely pissed off that a system that’s supposed to help bring families together let a child like this slip through instead of making sure she had the environment that she needs to prevent becoming what she’s possible of. It’s still such a vital system and has such potential, but we need to make sure others aren’t going through such horrible journeys as we have, even without the terrible ending. This system needs an overhaul immediately and it shouldn’t be so hard to take these children in. There’s a good chance that a successful adoption just a few years before could have prevented Kiddo’s behavior according to my psychiatrist. I don’t even know how to handle my anger over such a failure to these children.

Meanwhile I’m trying to learn how to handle the pieces that were left behind. I’m trying not to see that look that they both had every time I close my eyes. I’m so exhausted that I long for normal sleep instead of a short burst filled with horror or a medication induced collapse. I know it’ll simply take time and work to stop thinking that #3 is just waiting for the right moment. It’ll take time to enjoy regular life again and be able to go to the grocery store without it feeling like a significant outing. And it’ll take a long time to stop being angry. Being angry with the system and the PTSD – at least I can do actual actions to begin to feel control. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to stop being angry at myself or to learn to trust my judgment of a person again. Just like the rest of the journey has gone for the past two years…I guess time will tell.

An Update to Kiddo’s Room

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Since we decided to Home School via Connections Academy I felt it was important to have a designated spot for school time and would have all of her supplies at the ready, so L modified my huge wood desk to fit in her room and I just had to share how awesome it turned out (yes, I need to re-stain it, but cosmetics can wait until the big stuff is done *laugh*).

 

Kiddos Desk

 

The cloth boxes filled with things are actually specific curriculum subject supplies, so those will actually go up on a shelf once that is built.  Right now I have the binders and extras all stacked underneath the desk, awaiting the shelf, too.  She can lay in bed and watch TV, there will be a frame with four family pictures (three of us all individually and then placement or adoption day in the last window) that will go with the “family” sign, and the desk doesn’t interfere with her window while giving a lot of work room.  And it is SOLID.  *laugh* We got a great deal on it when I started my first business and since it’s such a high quality piece we just had to modify it to work for her room.  (And yes, I’m about 1/3 of the way done Christmas shopping.  *grin* I’m that annoying friend who doesn’t understand wading through the crowds on Christmas Eve.  *laugh*  Plus, I have some that have to be shipped out of state, so I start working on them early, too.)

 

I know it’s super nerdy, but organizing the subject supplies and books together today made it all feel so real and happy to me.  Whichever is Kiddo will have to do art as part of their coping techniques, but it can be such a fun outlet that I couldn’t resist putting together a variety of mediums beyond what the school sends. 

 

Although my dad is now out of the picture I even got to put his graphing and blueprint drawing tools in her math box.  I like that I can add a few things of his for her that bring back good memories for me.  For her science box (which I had to stick a few pieces of other things into since I wanted to keep the center of the desk clean until the shelving is built) I even have a DNA testing kit to learn about her long ago heritage, how blood types work, and even a lesson on haplogroups.  Genealogy is something that she can share with Grandma, since I’m only interested in the science and the heritage, instead of the ancestry. 

 

It’s really kind of awesome that I’m able to supplement the core classes she will take and have them connect to her new family, as well.  There’s a little concern about the DNA test, but since I’m the one handling all of it, I will keep the more current information put away for her to have when she’s older, if she wants genetic information about her closer biological ancestry.  We definitely don’t want to add to her trauma, but with so much loss of identity I think knowing if she has Irish, Russian, German, or whatever roots might give her a little something to help her not feel so set apart from the general population.  Adoption and foster guru Sherrie Eldridge recently blogged about how left out this group of children are, especially when it’s that first day of school and they go through the trauma of a new place with new people all over again.  It left me thinking about what would her first day story be that she would give others, if she starts standard school the next year?  I’m hoping that I can give her something to relate to, like which heritage she has, so she isn’t just “the Cornelisons’ adopted kid” or leaving her to make up a life she thinks other kids will think is cool.  Even if she hasn’t attached to us by then, at least she will have something real to identify herself with and keep her system story private if she wants to, without making up a whole story that will inevitably go wrong at some point. 

 

Anyway, I beam every time I look at her desk and especially her bins.  The anatomy book L picked up at a garage sale in the middle of the dead zone of our process; the calculator that I used for working at home and then starting my own business is now hers, and even brand new pencils instead of the old household ones.  She may never realize it, but there’s meaning and memories behind almost every item, and I just can’t wait to take her shopping to see how she accessorizes and makes all of this hers.  I can clearly picture the tween we’re waiting on the BIS for sitting in that chair doing homework.  The other two not so easily, but it makes me catch my breath sometimes.  I imagine this must be what it’s like when a mother sees the crib all finished and ready for the first time.  Schooling is where we will start our deepest bonding instead and I’m actually okay with that now.  I’m not sure what tomorrow brings, but this past week just standing in her doorway and looking at everything is my happy moment every single time.  🙂

GoFundMe

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Well, I made the incredibly difficult step of starting a GoFundMe campaign to help on our adoption journey. The legal costs are minimal, but due to our matches being national, we will have to do some unexpected traveling.  We all ready spent a lot on all of the renovations we did last year, getting her room ready so she can move right in and then change it to her heart’s content later, and starting to gather school supplies.  Since we always figured it would be a local adoption, we didn’t expect to have travel expenses.  We will also have additional school supplies and may have to buy a wardrobe for Kiddo, since we have no idea if the foster family/facility will be able to send much along with her.  So, we set aside our pride and started the campaign, since providing for and bringing home Kiddo are the most important things to us.

 

We created three puzzles that have inspiring adoption phrases for Kiddo and any donations will be written on the back of the puzzle pieces.  Later on we will get double sided frames, so she can see not only the phrases, but how many people worked to bring her to her forever home and show her how much she matters.  She will not be “one of the forgotten”. 

 

First Puzzle Lid:

puzzle 1

 

 

Second Puzzle Lid:puzzle 2

 

Third Puzzle Lid:

puzzle 3

 

 

We’re fundraising locally for $10 USD per puzzle piece, but we appreciate any donation and any forwarding of our campaign information.  I’m notoriously bad about not being on Facebook, so if you are willing to share the information with your contacts, that would also mean the world to us. 

 

We have a match as far away as Georgia (thoroughly ironic, right?!), so we truly don’t know what to expect.  According to our new Social Worker, it sounds like we might be at the next step with one young lady that is thankfully closer, so please cross your fingers or say a prayer for us.  It would be amazing to spend the summer getting to know our daughter.  I created a static site page for the campaign and will put the updates on the campaign on there, so you won’t hear much about the fundraising again, unless you look at that page.  This blog wasn’t made with this in mind, and wasn’t even in the realm of my thoughts for a blog post actually, so I want to keep the blog my version of normal.  *laugh*  I’ll still post adoption updates themselves, because even if it falls apart and shatters me, I’m going to go all Mama Bear and yell from the hills if we get far enough to meet one of the girls soon!  

 

So, for the fun facts…Our GoFundMe campaign is www.gofundme.com/adopting-future-cornelison.  My site page for additional details and updates is www.georgiaspampering.com/fundraising-for-future-cornelison.  Again, we are so thankful for your time reading this, any sharing of this to your social media or people or churches you know, or any donations.  The support and encouragement has been such a help all ready, when we hit forks in the road, and lost our hope.  We have the most incredible support system and we appreciate each of you.

Without You

I found this pose on SL a few days back and couldn’t resist, since I’ll be able to use it for a lot of other purposes and change things up with different windlights. For now, though, during this season of life, it tells two parts to the same story, for me.

Luke is leaning against the door and represents the adoption process in general. The ones that walk away or don’t match, the ones who get chosen by their foster parents upon the declaration of interest; all those hard moments adoptive families face. While I’m touching the door, trying to keep some connection without fully losing this big piece of life. Until we get to the good part, now that we’re past that cheerful, exciting beginning stage, there’s time I just collapse, wrap an arm around myself to try to keep control, and feel like my future is right outside that door, but still lost to me right now. Not much different from a breakup, which is probably why this pose touched me so deeply.

Secondly, people don’t usually think about the toll it takes on a couple while walking through this journey. All too often we’re on different sides of the door. I can’t vouch for his feelings, but sometimes I feel so alone when that door is closed. He is more reserved and not as involved in the process. I can’t stop myself from loving some of these young ladies, their stories, at least a bit, and it’s devastating when it doesn’t work out. When we forget to work as hard on us as on everything else going on, we’re left on different sides of the door with very different feelings. We want to understand each other, but sometimes it just isn’t possible and so we just continue down the path, recommitting whenever we can. It’s so frighteningly easy to be holding the door or be the one walking away. Even a united front can end up on different sides sometimes, with different emotions and traumas caused by this whirlwind.

I thought the loss, the grief, and longing in the pose was the perfect representation right now. The middle of a beautiful story isn’t always pretty. But it’s still our story and we’re still reaching out, so that’s all that matters in the end.

Loving Adoption

 

Although it is such a hard process, and trauma is wrapped up in every edge, it’s absolutely beautiful. The dreams, the hopes, the ability to love another person so completely, and a new season to life.

The adoption process creates a unique bond for the prospective (and hopefully eventual) parents, and we can sometimes see that another is on this journey too. We’re part of a community that we never really expected.

In light of the intriguing traits and behaviors we can see, and totally understand, I wanted to share an incredible post by Kathy Lynn Harris,Dear Moms of Adopted Children“.

Expanding Our Options

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Well, we lost another potential child.  It’s now a joke that if we actually pursue further processing with a child, they will be adopted by someone else in the meantime.  Most of the time the foster parents or someone from their past steps up when the case worker notifies them of an interested family.  4.  It’s awesome that the four young ladies have found forever homes and families, just makes it hard to keep hope alive.

 

Since there are no others in Kansas at this time that sound like a good fit, and we don’t want to just sit and keep refreshing the site every day to see when a new girl gets added (which isn’t all that often really), I did some research (imagine that lol).  I am in the middle now of working on our national profile and once AdoptUS sends it and our KS Social Worker verifies the accuracy of the form part (not the narrative), we can then request profiles for girls in other states.  There are actually several in neighboring states that seem somewhat promising so far, but who knows when the verification will be done and who will be available at that point.  At least we’re not just twiddling our thumbs and waiting for a miracle, though, and it helps me feel like I’m actually still working toward our dream.

 

The other states require that out-of-state adopters have a completed homestudy all ready, which we did back in September and are just waiting for the last corrections to be finished, so that we get the official version of our homestudy profile.  They also require completion of their own forms, not that different from the tons of pages I did for Kansas, but they also require a narrative to be written.  This allows the caseworkers to actually get a brief “getting to know you” view of us, instead of just stats.  There are sections for general description of where we live, community activities, what type of child we are looking for, our joint interests (I couldn’t resist doing some of our separate interests too, since we each have a lot of hobbies and interests that aren’t shared by the other), any activities that interfere with routine (such as his scout meetings or work events), and what experience we have with children.  If it was free form it’d be easier for me, I think, since where we live and the community feel like the section our interests and hobbies should be with, instead of elsewhere.  And it is incredibly hard for me to “sell” our qualities to such a wide audience.  I can rock a resume and have actually done that for some extra money in the past, but talking about personal stuff instead of business, and within their guidelines, is so hard for me.  Talking with a friend helped me think of writing a resume-type narrative that I could then copy and paste into this narrative, in the appropriate areas.  

 

We also have to do a lot of what would we be able to handle or prefer for tons of conditions I know nothing about.  I realized that our homestudy worker had talked about the issues, and got a feel for what we can do, but didn’t name all of the things she was actually asking about.  I never even realized that, even with turning in hundreds of corrections.  *laugh* And for me to not know medical conditions is so irritating to me, since I like to think I’ve educated myself really well in that area.  The thirty five shortcuts to descriptions tells me otherwise.  *grin* 

 

I really hope that I’m making the right move in doing this.  I feel so helpless and useless right now; four is enough to really knock the wind out of the sales.  I have an incredible support system that is helping me keep working, even when I don’t feel overly hopeful, and have all given pep talks to keep me motivated to not give up.  It doesn’t make sense, but I feel kind of like I’ve failed, and I’m not used to doing that, and I definitely don’t handle it well.  I am so very thankful to have incredible people in my life to help me learn how to handle this. 

 

So I am down to two sections left of the narrative and then back to finishing the “what can we handle” sections, especially now that I know what the definitions are.  *grin*  I’ve had a hard time deciding what to call Kiddo in the narrative, since I’m not really sure what the case workers would prefer, so it’s varied from “our daughter”, “the child”, “the young lady”, and Kiddo.  I have all of the preferences covered, I suppose.  *laugh*  I get to next complete the section about her Godparents and even write about how we hope to travel out of state for Kiddo to meet her other set of Godparents, as soon as Kiddo is settled and able to handle it (and we can budget it). Leah has been such an incredible part of our support system that I can’t wait for Kiddo to get to meet her, along with her husband and children.  Extra bonus is I get to meet my honorary nieces in person, too!  So although having another “paperwork pregnancy” kind of bites, there are some great reminders of the dreams and goals we have for parenting and bonding.  I don’t know how many times we can travel to meet any of the potential kids out-of-state, so I’m going to set up a family Skype account just in case most of our contact is via that or group texting.  Prepare to hear about all of the differences between attempting to adopt locally vs out-of-state.  We’re starting a whole different path and learning as we go.  If you are so inclined, a little prayer for this would mean so very much to me.  And thank you for bumping along this wild ride with me.  We were hesitant about talking about the adoption at all, but writing about the journey has been very therapeutic and empowering, so thank you for taking the time to read and for all of the well wishes you’ve sent.

 

By the way, I actually got some new business items to get the inspiration percolating again, so look for an actual business post soon.  I know that some subscribed for the business aspect, so I hope you’ve stayed along until I could get back to it!  Happy pampering!  

The “Get to Know Me” Tag

Thank you so much to Julie Beeks of Coffee, Crime, and a Whole Latte More for nominating me to do this! I’m excited to share a little about myself with my followers and think the original writers did so well, that I’m not changing the design. 🙂

Below are questions & answers for all of the nominees  

  • What are my strengths?
    • I am very loyal and love wholeheartedly if you become part of my “family”. 
    • I try to have a good impact on someone, in some way, each day.  
    • I can laugh at the strange and stupid things that my illness causes, even when my illness makes life incredibly difficult or I’m scared of being judged as being “less than”.
    • I absolutely love to learn new things.  Too bad they’ve never been really practical things, like how to change a tire or something.  🙂  I can give you a list of natural uses and benefits for honey or vinegar, though.
  • What are my short term goals?
    • To continue to blog regularly.  I need to keep pushing to share about the things that matter to me.
    • To find and meet Kiddo, even when the path is hard.
    • Get back to making product and utilizing that creative outlet.
  • What are my long term goals?
    • To adopt and advocate for adoption.
    • To go on adventures with L and Kiddo.
    • To learn to accept progression of my illness with grace instead of anger.  I need to finish grieving the abilities and life I had before my relapse, and focus on accepting my new self without fear of judgement.  
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
    • My husband
    • My “family”, the biological and the emotionally connected
    • My fur babies
    • The shadow of a future daughter.  Once I finally get a chance to love the real her, this will be a harder question of ranking.
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • That I forgot to focus on my character instead of my looks.  I allowed the weight gain from my illness to mean more to me than being a good person.
    • That I get lost in my emotions and have trouble handling them sometimes.
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • I love hanging out with my family, in person or online, whether we are watching television, playing games, finding adventures across the grid online, or sitting in camp chairs late into the summer night while remembering the “crazy old days” of our youth.
    • I am a massive nerd, so I love researching, reading, using gadgets, and exploring the wide variety available on streaming media (movies, clips, podcasts; you name it).  It’s most fun when I can bring L over to the nerd side.  The days he joined the Eureka™ fandom and became a partial Mythical Beast both made me so happy.
    • Being creative – writing, creating bath products, painting, or even decorating my fairy garden.
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • Parenting.  
    • Zip lining
    • Riding in a Zorb™
  • What am I worried about?
    • My illness progressing aggressively before we are able to be parents.
  • What are my values?
    • I’m a hodgepodge of faith, The Golden Rule, empathy, and trying to help anyone or anything that is in need when I am able to.
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • to have a home filled with biological and chosen children.
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • with L and/or my mom
    • in our little town.  After growing up in the Bay Area it’s amazing to be able to sit on the back deck at night, just watching the sky and thinking, without worrying about my safety.
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • I am a practical person, so I have to admit that it depends on the situation.  L, my mom, my SL family, my therapist…they all do, but in different situations.
    • Being informed and in control, even when it’s out of my hands.
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Go to L
    • If he’s unavailable, I’d grab the closest weapon and protect my family.  I’d give my life to prevent them from ever being victimized.
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • My Presidential Literary Excellence Award.
    • Surviving attempted murder and learning how to stop being a victim.
    • My Victim’s Advocacy Certification.
    • Being able to use my careers or knowledge to help others.  I was able to help some amazing patients as a Medical Billing Clerk and as a Spoonie I was able to help a few people.
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • A night owl all the way.  I may have a few one-sided feuds with groups that wake me while I’m trying to sleep vampire hours. *grin*
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • That I am a failure.  I lost a lot of my physical abilities, my career, and some of my identity due to becoming disabled.  I don’t make nearly as much money as I used to, so I feel like a financial drain for L.  When you vow in sickness and in health, you don’t think you’ll have to hold them to the sickness part until you’re in the later seasons of life, so I feel like it was unfair, when I’m being most critical.  *Please note that this is also part of my current topic of therapy.  I’m learning to let go of and grieve my former life, so it’s not as bad as it sounds.  I’ve always been my harshest critic, but I’m learning how to cut myself some slack.  🙂
  • What do I do to show myself self-care?
    • A bath with a good book or Pinterest™, with floating candles and anti inflammatory bath salts.
    • I love losing myself in a book or SL.
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • I am a massive introvert, but if you hurt my family, I’ll step outside of my comfort zone and you’ll see the dark side of a Virgo.  😉
  • What am I passionate about?
    • helping and raising awareness for Spoonies, our adoption journey, and advocating for adoption.
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • That I could make a lot of money if I could make them into a Eureka-type show.  They’re weird enough to fill that niche very well.  
  • What is my favorite non-fiction book?
    • Rhett and Link’s Book of Mythicality
  • What is my favorite fiction book?
    • It depends on the genre.  lol I will re-read Kristen Painter’s Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery© and Julie Garwood’s The Secret© and Ransom©.  Pies and Prejudice© by Ellery Adams will always have a special place in my heart, because I got to actually chat with her after reading that.
  • What is my favorite movie?
    • Sleeping Beauty© for Disney®, Robin Hood: Men in Tights© for comedy, and Phantom of the Opera© for romantic.
  • What is my favorite band?
    • Celtic Thunder™, Elvis™, or Rhett & Link’s Song Biscuits©, depending on the mood
  • What is my favorite food?
    • Most anything chocolate or sweet, although fried shredded beef tacos and Mei Fun are pretty high up there, too.
  • What is my favorite color?
    • Glittery Hot Pink
  • What am I grateful for?
    • That L loved me enough to get a ring tattoo.  My disability after coming into the marriage relatively healthy wasn’t a deal breaker for him and he decided to show me for the rest of his life that he’s committed to loving me.
    • That I was helped to escape, so I could then survive and have an incredible “family” across the nation. 
    • My Faith
    • The support during our adoption journey and the opportunity to take this journey.
  • When I am feeling down, I like to?
    • Listen to Damian McGinty or Celtic Thunder™
    • Boxing
    • Organize something.  It’s oddly therapeutic for me to sort and label things.  *laugh*
  • I know I am stressed when?
    • My shoulder trigger points tighten into hard knots
    • I suddenly start to cry while watching a sappy commercial or video

 

 

Thanks for nominating me Julie Beeks of Coffee, Crime, and a Whole Latte More!

I nominate:

Andrea from Cooking with a Wallflower

Harsh Reality

Cooking Adventures

Sauce Box

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