Thursday, June 30, 2011

Working on the Hooping Skills

She's using my 3 lb. hoop.  That thing is h.e.a.v.y.

Feeling Claimed

It is blatantly obvious that J feels more "claimed" since the commitment ceremony.  She has a comfort level in our family environment that I have not seen before.  I hear her saying more "we" statements rather than "I" statements.  As in we're a team and she "feels" it on a very deep level.  How I wish we had done this sooner!  She laughs at herself more rather than feeling embarrassed.  She is laughing more period.  Appropriate, "I am delirously happy" laughter.  She is trying new things that before she wouldn't attempt for fear of failure.  She is sleeping better and her previous heightened startle response is almost nonexistent. 

It has been very interesting and informative to watch the difference.  Yes, I "knew" that I claimed her but on some level she didn't feel like I really meant it.  Even after 5 years of being home.  Now she feels safe and loved to her very core.  You can see the changes on her face AND in her actions.  Her breathing is even more steady.  She can hear better because she's not trapped in her amygdala wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.  She is more relaxed.  Things that used to frustrate her to no end is now a piece of cake for her.   She will readily admit when she has made a mistake and moves through it rather than feeling she has to be perfect. She feels safe. 

I am so glad that our anniversary will not be anywhere close to her traumaversary.  By family vote we have decided that from now on we're not going to celebrate the adoption date and instead celebrate our commitment day.  My gift to her was a music box that covers 4 of the 5 senses.  Another stellar idea from the keepers of wonderful ideas. It has a picture of us inside, peppermint essential oil (our favorite) dropped inside and it plays, "My Girl".  She keeps it very close to her and you can see her face light up every time she reads the engraving and hears the music. 

J gave me this beautiful angel.  Yes.... I was a puddle.  Not that I, in any way, think I'm the miracle in her life but that she is mine.  She has changed, touched and moved me in ways that I didn't think possible.  However, I was very touched that she was so very thoughtful. 

Garth Brooks, "You Move Me" speaks volumes of our journey.  Here are the lyrics:

This is how it seems to me
Life is only therapy
Real expensive
And no guarantee

So I lie here on the couch
With my heart hanging out
Frozen solid with fear
Like a rock in the ground

But you move me
You give me courage I didn’t
know I had
You move me on
I can’t go with you
And stay where I am
So you move me on

This is how love was to me
I could look and not see
Going through the emotions
Not knowin’ what they mean
And it scared me so much
That I just wouldn’t budge
I might have stayed there forever
If not for your touch

Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I’m burning with love
And with hope and desire

How you move me

You go whistling in the dark
Making light of it
Making light of it
And I follow with my heart
Laughing all the way

Oh ‘cause you move me
You get me dancing and you
make me sing
You move me

Now I’m taking delight
In every little thing
How you move me

This mama's heart is singing. ♥

Wednesday, June 29, 2011





We gather together at this time to celebrate and seal the commitment between Lisa and Jordan Amos. Lisa, you come here today to celebrate your adopted daughter. We honor and bless this child who is placed into your care and keeping.

A gift from life itself, she came to you -- a special gift because you have chosen and have been chosen to receive Jordan. To you she has been given. In due seriousness, and with joy and keen anticipation, we mark the moment of this new commitment to each other. This child has come into your life and you have come into hers. May this union bring happiness, growth, and lasting good to both of you.

Jody to Jordan: With joy and blessings we recognize you as daughter in this family. Your mom wishes to express in our presence her love and commitment to you as a parent and she has invited us to share this time with you.

Jody to Lisa: What is the name of your daughter?

Lisa: Jordan Olivia Amos

Jody to Jordan: I say your name in the presence of all, Jordan Olivia Amos, and welcome you into your mom’s love. The two of you share the name Amos as a sign to all that you are mother and daughter.

Jody to Lisa: Lisa, do you take Jordan as your daughter?

Lisa: I do.

Jody to Jordan: Do you take Lisa as your mom?

Jordan gave a very emphatic, "YES, I DO!".

Lisa to Jordan: I take joy today in recommitting my life to yours. From the first day I laid eyes on you. I knew you were the one. So beautiful then and even more beautiful now. Side by side, step by step, may our journey together begin here, from this day forward.

What I have promised before, I gladly promise again: I promise to love you forever. To love all parts of you. To be open, honest and faithful to you. To nurture your spirit and support your dreams. To honor your thoughts and feelings. I promise to comfort and challenge you. In return, all I ask is that you never give up.

When you need strength, I will offer mine. When you need words of encouragement, I will listen and provide support. When you need solace and comfort, I will understand. I place you in my heart today, before all others.

Jody to Jordan: As a symbol of your awesome mom’s commitment to you, she would like to give you a necklace that represents her love for you.  (This is where I explained each of the charms to J.)
Jody: With joy we greet you as mother and daughter.

To each of you in this new family we wish:

May each of you be a blessing to the other.

May your hours together be enriched by shared interests and pleasures.

May your home be a welcoming and safe place.

May you find strength and understanding in each other.

May you help one another to attain the best of which each of you is capable.

Let us pray.

We give thanks, O Spirit of God, for the blessing bestowed on this family in their commitment to each other. Confirm their joy by a lively sense of your presence with them, and give them calm strength and patient wisdom as they seek to love what is true and admirable, just and lovable and gracious, so that their lives may be a blessing to many. Amen.

***At the moment I'm reading these to J every morning while she's doing her strong sitting.  She loves hearing them each day. :) More on the ceremony in previous post.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Commitment Ceremony

Last weekend when the Rancho Chico clan were here, N & C suggested having a ceremony to reaffirm J's place in the family.  They are brilliant!  The seed was planted and the plans started when they drove out of the driveway.

Tab (another trauma mom who still doesn't blog dang it) wrote the most perfect vows ever (I'm posting those later).  I scrambled to get a necklace together (again another brilliant idea from N & C) and a music box ordered to be here in time. 

On June 25, 2011 a commitment ceremony took place between J & I with Tab's husband, Jody (a pastor), officiating.  When her adoption went through in 2007 I was just praying she didn't tell the judge she wanted another family (or major expletives of hating me) and it took years before she was ready to be a family girl and accept love.  This has not been an easy journey or either of us.  Today, almost 5 years later, she wants to be my daughter.  Who knew?

Kristy came and she energy tested both of us to make sure we both were serious about the commitment. My friend, Connie, was the event photographer. J's long-time sitter and our friend, Ashley, was there as well.  The whole event was beautiful, meaningful, poignant and affirming.   There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Wishing the Rancho Chico fam could've been here with us but they were here in spirit. 

Kristy energy testing J.

Left to right: Jody Anderson, Tab Anderson, me, Jordan, Kristy and Ashley.

Here's a close-up of the family jewels:

Our commitment certificate created by Tab (can you spot all the words - mother, daughter, Lisa, Jordan, Amos, Family, Faith, Hope, Believe, Love, Commit, Kind, Courage, Peace, Forever.)  Tab is super talented as you can tell.

At the bottom Tab listed our gotcha and adoption dates:

The journey from this side is so much sweeter because of what we have gone through to get here. 
Never, ever give up!!!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Found: One Pair of Therapeutic Panties

Tab found them for me. Yay! I wore them over my clothes today and they really gave me a boost.  Now you can be jealous! :)

 I saved the best for last:

Rancho Chico and company will be here this weekend.  Now you can be even more jealous. :)
Pre-cooking so I can spend more time with them and less in the kitchen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Not so much...

My therapeutic panties have left the building.  If anyone finds them please let me know.

On the flip side... I learned something new today.  I've always wondered why so much pee happens during the night when there is no intake.  Kristy cleared that up for me today.  They are so constricted during daylight hours, just trying to stay alive and living in their amygdala, that they cannot fully empty their bladder.  When they finally relax at night, when they don't have the stress and fear of....I don't and um....heaven forbid trying to love someone, they can actually fully release their bladder.  Who knew?!?!?! 

Honestly....I had no idea.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


So J got a little wonky yesterday afternoon but managed to pull it back together pretty quickly.  Swimming helped and lots of hooping.  The end score was J winning by 5 points.  Today she won again. By a scant 1 point but still....

Today she was a little better in therapy.  Still disorganized but better nonetheless. 

I finally managed to get the hoop down my arm onto my body gracefully today (graceful for me anyway).  Nothing short of impressed with myself.  J is working on it and is getting really close.

More than 2 "Kristy" girls are going to Orlando.  Gotta love that!!!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fingers Crossed

This post is certainly going to jinx our day.  At the moment the score is 19-2 with J winning!  It is also her first good morning in over 3 months.  Wow!

Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel isn't the lamp of the oncoming train.  At this very moment anyway our future's so bright I gotta wear shades. :)

Now I'm off to do a new guided imagery CD from this book.  Kristy and I both thought she needed a new one since the one we've been using has probably lost it's effect or she's tuned it out.  Or both.

Then we'll be hooping fools with broken noses and bruised noggins since I found Babz Robinson all her amazing hooping tutorials on you t^be yesterday.  Dangerous stuff for us hooping newbies.  (Y'all do realize that hooping is another version of the wet dog trauma shake, right?)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Trauma

I have been bloggy MIA.  Things have sucked.  Like unimaginably.  We fell in a deep, black hole and can't seem to pull ourselves out.  Then add in a blog stalker troll.  Ugh.

A horrible thing happened, particularly to J, and she has been thrown back into traumaland to the degree that it's almost as bad as when I got her.  A major loss and abandonment of catastrophic proportions to her healing. 

I get why she's having such a hard time.  Truly I do.  But it's been feeling insurmountable and like she will never recover. 

I have pulled out every. single. stinking. tool. out of my Trauma 101 Toolbox and nothing has seemed to be working.  I've even gone back to laying down with her when she goes to sleep.  Whispering in her ear, "I know you're really scared. It's OK to be scared.  I'm right here for you."  On the upside there was a time when she would've never gone to sleep with me in her room and now she's snoring in less than 5 minutes.

Yesterday..... I had an epiphany.  

RAD     HATES to lose. At a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g.   E.V.E.R.

AND everything is a competition.  You do realize by everything that I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.????

So at dinner I did the "Woo hoo! You forgot to be respectful".  I caught you so therefore "I" get a point. Yay me!  Insert surprised look on J's face.  

Then "Hot dang! You tried to push me away.  Score another one for Mom! It's 2-0." 

By the time the score was 3-0 the light bulb went on in her head and she was getting busy trying to score some points.  She was trying to do things right. heard that correctly.

Side note: Keep in mind that even though we're in the throes of regressed RAD-like behavior she has still had LOTS of healing so she KNOWS the right way to do things.  This would probably never work with a child that is at the beginning stages of healing.

By the the time the night was over it was 15-10.  In my favor but still....she was trying to "win" by doing things right instead of doing every stinking thing in her power to piss me off.

Starting with a fresh slate today we're currently at 15-10.  I'm still winning by points but more importantly I'm winning (and she is too) because she's trying. 

Last night, when we were on the way home, Pink's Perfect came on the radio.  After it was over she said, "mom, I'm just like that song."  I asked how and she replied, "cause I feel like nothing."  Insert mental sobs from me.  I looked back at her in her turquoise shorts and shirt and said, "'re not nothing.  You're a turquoise blob with a pony tail."  No, I did not say it with a sarcastic tone but with a playful one.  She could take me calling her a turquoise blob.  If I had said, "no, you're a beautiful young lady (which she is)."  She would have thought I was lying and immediately went into meltdown mode because she wouldn't be able to internalize that statement.  (There is a quote by someone that says: Never, ever, love someone more than they love themselves or they will always attack you.)  If the child believes that they are worthless and you tell them they are priceless they will get very angry because what you are telling them is going against what they believe.
Then I congratulated her for using her words and gave her 5 points.  This was an amazing feat for her lately.

Also today,  I stepped out in faith and hope.  I made reservations to go to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque in October for vacation.  Scared to death to do it financially but also know that we both need something joyful to look forward to in the future.  The thought of taking my camera to see 800+ balloons makes me very, very happy.  It's impossible to be around hot air balloons and NOT be happy.  Lucky for us the Helen to Atlantic Balloon Race was this weekend and I was able to make a lot of wonderful new friends AND let my camera do the happy dance. :)  The pics above were from this weekend.