Boss Mom Spotlight – Melissa Corkum
We want you to meet Melissa Corkum
Melissa is the Co-founder at The Adoption Connection.
As a post-adoption support specialist, co-founder of The Adoption Connection, and adult adoptee, Melissa Corkum has helped hundreds of adoptive parents shift to a brain-based view of behaviors so they can laugh more and yell less. When she’s not working with parents directly, she consults with agencies and other practitioners, so their clients are able to give the best support to adoptive families. She’s a mom to six kids by birth and adoption. They’ve taught her a lot about what creates thriving parent-child relationships…and what doesn’t. You can find her destressing at the end of every day by crunching on the half-popped kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bowl and binging something on Netflix.
Share a bit about your Boss Mom journey:
Have you ever felt like a complete failure as a parent?
Imagine having your sixteen and seventeen-year-old children pack suitcases with all their worldly belongings and leave your loving home with no plan of returning.
Here’s the worst part. Just three short years earlier, they had joined our family through adoption, excited to finally have a permanent place to call home.
Our first two kids weren’t perfect, but we felt successful parenting them. We set consistent and clear boundaries, and when they misbehaved, we used tools like timeouts and removing privileges. We watched our preschoolers grow into engaging, polite, and curious school-aged kids. It’s easy to take credit for your kids’ behaviors when they’re making you proud.
Our third child had us questioning everything we knew about parenting. He was the kid those backpack leashes were made for. Before Ty, I would also silently judge parents who used such contraptions. But Ty was always moving. And he was fast. I didn’t know how else to keep him safe while I was also trying to manage two other young kids. I used to have to put that backpack leash on him before I even unbuckled the carseat so he could walk the fifty yards from our van to our front door.
After a couple months of parenting Ty, I regretted every judgmental thought I’d ever had toward another parent.
After a couple years of spiraling into a hole of shame and despair, I did find some alternatives to managing challenging behavior. I learned how to be curious about the need behind the behavior. We learned our son had sensory processing issues, he wasn’t just hyper. And he needed support to regulate his big feelings instead of being sent to timeout.
As we added more kids to our family (we have six altogether), my stress level rose as did my need to control everyone’s behaviors.
Each day wore on like a battle. Parenting was not enjoyable anymore. I was exhausted all the time, and despite my best efforts, my kids were rebelling. I was failing.
Our two oldest teens, fed up with living with such an overbearing mom enrolled in a residential job training program that would allow them to move out before they turned eighteen. Unlike a typical college situation where the kids come home for breaks, our kids had no plans of ever returning home. Additionally, we had a child that was so aggressive and violent towards me that we had to have her go live somewhere else so we could keep everyone safe.
I was convinced I was the ultimate failure. But with three kids still at home, I couldn’t give up. I had to learn more and do better.
I read everything I could find on childhood development, polyvagal theory, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences. I learned about how chronic stress had affected me and how to more effectively take care of my own nervous system. I translated all I learned into practical parenting strategies. I started sharing what I had learned so other families wouldn’t get caught in the same terrible place we’d been in. I started redeeming our own story.
I wouldn’t wish our chaotic story on my worst enemy but I also wouldn’t change it. I’ve learned too much along the way and have come out a better, stronger person, wife, mom, and business owner. I’m honored to walk alongside other adoptive families and be the help that I so desperately needed six years ago.
What makes you excited about becoming a Boss Mom of the Week?
I’m excited to show moms that building a business that works for you, in a field that you’re passionate about, is totally possible. I’ve turned my experience, not my formal education, into my business.
One piece of advice for moms who are starting a business
Be really clear on your definition of success and make sure it’s something you actually have control over.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I’m an extrovert and a lifelong learner, so spending time with people or learning something new inspires me.
What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs etc)?
Reading : Situations Matter by Sam Sommers and mindless fiction. Up next is Dream Big by Bob Goff.
Podcasts: The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile and Business Made Simple (formerly The Storybrand Podcast).
I want to live in a world where…
I want to live in a world where people are curious about the behavior of others, even when they’re hurt or offended.
I want spaces where people can be curious about themselves. Where compassion rules instead of shame.
This is what I know to be true…
God is good and faithful even in really hard stories.
One thing you can’t live without…
What is the big milestone that you are hitting that you are celebrating?
Thinking more as CEO of a company instead of a solopreneur.
Website and social links:
List your social media handles (including your Facebook Group if you have one)
Get to know Melissa’s work:
The Compassion Challenge for discouraged adoptive parents.