Letting go of ALL that anger…

Since we have had our boys we have been taking them to this MMA gym. Let me tell you something it has been life changing for them and us. Their Coach is a man that made it through the foster care system and aged out. He had many many trials with bumps and bruises to say the least and yet somehow beat the odds. He now is a Godly man that owns his own gym and trains champions. Through this he has been able to come along side us and help us with getting a lot of their anger out while teaching discipline. They have LOTS of anger. Teaching them it’s okay to punch, hit, kick, or head butt if your doing it to a punching bag or something who’s not your brother or parents. These were real problems we have had with them and that have essentially dissipated. Sure we have the occasional brother brawl but nothing out of the normal anymore.

The best part is evident in these pictures. Start with a prayer, end with a prayer. All glory is to God.

Originally posted on December 1,2017

Christmas Tree Hunting

This week by far was the most physically/mentally challenging week yet. With the loss of Treys Grandmother he was back east with his side of the family and meanwhile I was here in Oregon. Holy crap I was freaked out. A week by myself with the children. YIKES!

Oh I did just fine, but I didn’t do it on my own. You see these cars? These people came along side of us and showed me what grace, love, and support really is. I could have done it on my own but I didn’t have to. They didn’t let me. It was truly an amazing thing to see. Thankful doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about my family. Especially this week. It also doesn’t describe how thankful I am to have Trey back home! He was such a trooper. Got off the plane, came home, and 45 mins later we were headed up the mountain to get our Christmas tree. He didn’t complain once and the boys were soooo excited to cut down their first real tree!

Thank the Lord for supportive families, wonderful husbands, beautiful children, and our first Christmas tree as family of 5!

Double trouble!

These two pictures sum up the last few months with the twins. You catch one and the other is off lickety split! They can sense weakness and will run you over like a freight train. The Lord has totally allowed me to be able to be strong enough to be their mom. It’s tough and I have to be tough. Not because I want to be but because I have to be. You know those super sweet moms out there? Yeah, I am not one of those. I see them and I am envious that they have the ability to be that and their children respond to it. It’s just not what I can be and not what my children respond to. Maybe one day, maybe. For now I gotta put my big girl pants on and deal! I may not get to be the “sweet” mom I want to be but I get to be their mom and that’s pretty sweet.

Originally posted November 21, 2017

Daddy’s boy

This little guy has become such a Daddy’s boy! When we first got him he had never had a father figure in his life and because of that he wasn’t too fond of Trey. He would come to me about everything and only want snuggles from me.

About a month or two ago that all changed. I am basically chop liver now and he’s ALL ABOUT Dada. Trey will have just left a room and he will ask me where he went, Trey will come home and he’s jumping up and down banging on the window yelling “daddy is home!”, and while Trey is at work “Momma I miss dada.” Like 20 times a day. I am okay feeling like chop liver because he finally has a daddy and every little boy should have a Dad like he does. One lucky kid!

originally posted November 10, 2017

They are worth it…

I am not quite sure if this whole mom life is getting a little easier or if I am starting to turn into a crazy person?! I believe it’s the latter. We are all getting into a groove and it feels strange that they have only been home for two months.

I wrote a post saying that one day will go by and I will realize the twins didn’t get into a huge fight. People, that day has come! It didn’t dawn on me until I was putting them to bed and thought “wow today was a pretty good day” then looked at both of them “wait, you guys didn’t get into a fight today? I don’t think you hit, kicked, bit, pinched, scratched, slapped, or threw toys at your brother?” The twins, “nope momma we didn’t” I started uncontrollably sobbing. “Momma why are you so sad” “I am not sad, I am SO so so HAPPY!” I couldn’t believe what had gone on. I was so proud of my little guys and how far they have come that my heart was about to burst! Let me tell you, it was sooooo very WORTH it!!! They are worth every fight we break up, every tantrum they thrown, and every tear I shed.

They. Are. Worth. It. All.

Keep all of your prayers coming! Our little family is feeling every single one. We wouldn’t be able to make it through this without all of the support and prayers from all of you!

Post from September 1st.

All about L…

Y’all I have talked about the twins and all of their mischievousness but, what you haven’t heard a lot about is our oldest. Trey and I both have had to make an extra effort for L, he can easily slip through the cracks and be put on the back burner because his brothers take A LOT of our attention. I suppose you could say he is our hidden gem, at a whopping 6 years old he is full of fun and life but he is also full of hurt and pain. If you were to just look at him you never be able to tell what he has endured. My heart aches when I think about his life and what he has already been through. So, let me take you back to some of the crazy crazy things that are so AMAZING about this little boy and little bit on how he became ours.

All along we knew the boys were in a suburb of Portland, coincidentally I was also born there. My whole Moms side of the family still lives in the area as well. My cousin Lacy and her family happen to live in the same county as 2 of my boys. I thought that was cool and if we got chosen for these boys we could stay with them and didn’t think anything more about it. Then, one day my Mom and I were talking about how Lacy has a little boy, Griffin, who is the same age as L and it would be nice to have another cousin his age. I am pretty sure it dawned on both of us at same time, and she said, “you should text Lacy to see if Griffin goes to school with L”. I said, I should but there is NO way! I did anyways. A little while later I get a text back “yep! Is this him?” she has sent me a year book picture of L and right next to him was her son Griffin!

Before we even knew of L, the Lord had one of my own flesh and blood with him all along that WHOLE time. How. Great. Is. Our. GOD?! He knew long before me who my son would be, He knew, He knew, He knew. The best part of this whole story is that Griffin didn’t just know L, they were best friends. What are the odds you might ask? Less than a 2% chance that they would be in the same school let alone the same class. From there on Lacy was able to tell me little anecdotes about L that her son would come home and tell her. Those little tidbits of info was enough to sooth my soul in such a time of longing. It has also been such a blessing for L to have griffin in his family. L has been through a lot and to be able to have his best friend now be his cousin is something only God could have ordained.

Flash forward to when we brought the boys home. L started out like a dream. When his little brothers were out of control he was calm and helpful. At times Trey and I would forget that he was still so young and had his own hurts. Recently L has started to act out and honestly, it was a relief to see that happen. He feels comfortable enough to let us in and see the good, bad, and ugly. At least for the last year, L has known exactly what has been going on in his life. He knew he was in foster care, he knew that his foster parents were only temporary, and he knew people were out there looking for his Forever Family. He talked about a Forever Family almost every day. When his caseworker would come to visit he would ask if she was there to take him to his forever family. He would say how he wanted a family with a dog and a house with a front and back door. He looooonggged for permanency.

This past week we took all the kids to get all set up at the doctor. When we were there the doctor was talking to me and about L being in foster care, L overheard, looked right at her and said “No, I am not in foster care anymore!” then looks back at me, “right momma?”. Truth be told I was in shock at what he just said. He is so smart and picks up on everything, mind you we remind him daily that we are his forever family and he will never have another momma or daddy. So, I just said “that’s right baby, you are not.” The doctor just smiled and went about the appointment. He technically is still is in foster care but he doesn’t feel like it and that is making all the difference. He now is being adopted, back with both of his brothers, has a dog, and a house with a front AND back door!

These words are just that, words. They cannot begin to explain the love I have for this child of mine. But I can say that my love continues to grow and grow for him. I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for him, it must be pretty special for a boy like L!

The Shituation… pun intended.

Crap got real the first couple weeks at the Gray household. I have heard many people talk about how the children might regress and could have some interesting behaviors with moving into yet another home. These stories I am about to tell you are prrrrettttyy crappy!

About two weeks ago I hear knocking on the upstairs door where the twins have their bedroom. (We have a bell that chimes when the twins open their door so we know when they are up, but they choose to knock instead). That morning I drug myself out of bed to head upstairs and as soon I do I hear X1 say “Momma, Momma X2 pooped in my room, he pooped in my room!”. At that moment, I thought I should just turn around and go straight back to bed but I had to deal with what was inevitably looming behind the door, CRAP! I open the door and there are both of my twins, X1 is freaking out right in front of me, thoroughly disgusted, X2 is buck naked and covered head to toe in his own excrement! Not only is he covered but so is his room. Everywhere I look there is poop smeared, it was the whole length of the carpet, on his bean bag, on his bed, and somehow at the very top of their wardrobe. Keep in mind they both still wear pull-ups at night and his pull-up was perfectly clean. To top things off I have a very week stomach so throughout this whole process I am having run and make a break for it. I went up and down the stairs to go outside to get some fresh air multiple times. It was Treys first day back to work, and I was already overwhelmingly emotional, of course this would happen. I went back up and picked up X2 and carried his poopy self to the tub. I mean he had it ALL over him, in his hair, in his ears, all over his face, in between his toes and fingers. I. LOST. IT. I couldn’t deal with myself and I certainly couldn’t deal with the shituation. So, I did what every grown woman would do… I called my Momma! 

The following week, also when Trey was at work, X1 was is in our sunroom in quite time. He comes out and looks guilty and I  knew something was fishy! “X1 what did you do” he just looks at me and freezes, (I learned that freezing is common symptom of children that have gone through trauma, they use it as a defense mechanism). When he froze I knew for sure he was up to no good and I could sense what he’d done, “X1 did you poop in the sunroom?” X1, stares at me blankly and then says “I had to poop weally bad”. (The bathroom is right around the corner). Now, the next task is to find the scene of the crime. I couldn’t for the life of me find it. If you are thinking it would be easy to find because your nose would lead you right to it, you would be wrong. There was NO smell. I go to him and say, “you’re going to have to show me where it is.” Blank stare. “X1 you have got to show me!” Then he points to the toy box that is shut and latched. I had him open it and still nothing… suddenly there it was, the unmistakable smell, poop was for sure there but nowhere to be seen! Then he moved around the toys and once again… I made a break for it! I ran outside and stood behind the glass door and gave my instructions of what to do. I couldn’t handle this again, and you would think that X1 being so disgusted by his brother in the previous week that he would be last to reenact this sort of incident. I mustard up the gull to make it back to the sunroom to deal with the shituation and noticed that my son this whole time had a chunk of poop on his head.

*Here is a little bit of a back story. All three of my children think it is hilarious to call one another anything that deals with poop. Their most beloved phrase is to call each other is a “poopy head”. I am sure that doesn’t shock or surprise most anyone who has been around little boys. I however strongly disapproved of the name calling but there is only so much you can do to stop it. When you finally get one to stop then there are two others waiting and ready to spout it out just to get a rise. Once one says it they are all in on it!

Me: “X1 you have poop on your head”
X1: “Momma don’t call me a poopy head!”
Me: “I am not, but you literally have poop on your head! So, I guess that does make you a poopy head”
My child found no amusement in this and was very upset to realize that he was now a poopy head.

Of course, I again called my Momma not knowing exactly what to do! Both times my Mom was out of town so she just provided moral support and listened to her sobbing daughter losing her mind on the other side of the phone. She gave me words of encouragement and felt pretty bad for me and the kids. When I am in the thick of the crazy I can so easily forget what my children have gone through and the traumas that are still very real for them. I forget that they are still raw and are in need of healing. It’s something my mom reminds me of each time I give her a call, which is a lot, and is probably the reason I call. She also tells me I need to, in her words, “to put my big girl pants on and deal!” I also need that too. We haven’t had any more of those incidents in the recent weeks and I am very much hoping that those have passed but, if they do come again life will go on and with each passing day my boys will start to heal.

** In case you were wondering in the weeks past they no longer use the term “poopy head” and for that I am grateful. Instead they a have moved on to a more sophisticated term such as “pee-pee head”.

How it ALL began…

It was the spring of 2016 when we decided to finally take the leap and figure out how we were going to adopt a child. We both had a heart for adoption but just didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know much about the system but I did have few relatives that were either foster parents or adoptive parents through the foster care system and that intrigued me. So, I took the plunge and called our county to figure out what I needed to do to get more info. I was told we needed to take a class called Foundations and you need this class no matter if you are wanting to be a foster parent, foster to adopt, adoption through foster care, or even private adoption. We got signed up to be in the next class starting in May.

We knew we were not interested in being foster parents because the idea of a child being in our home only temporary broke our hearts so, we chose to go into the classes solely for adoption. I commend people who do temporary foster care and one day I could see us doing that as well. Anyways, our classes were a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from us and we got an early start the morning of May 14th. On our way down a storm hit with some heavy rain and hail. I told Trey to slow down and he did however, the truck in the other lane did not. We were hit head on and our car was totaled. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to our class but we were okay. Later I called to reschedule and they said the next class wasn’t until October. I was devastated. I believe I just started crying on the phone to the poor lady (FYI: I cry a lot during this process) and she said we could do it in another county that happened to be closer to us in June. I called that county and the lady said “oh I am sorry miss the class is full” I don’t even know if I said anything before I just started bawling. She didn’t know what to do. I explained to her what had happened and I said “please, please there has to be a way, we will stand in the back or bring our own chairs, we just HAVE to get into this class!”, we got put on a waiting list and were told to call back. I did. Many times. But hey, I got us in and we didn’t even have to bring our own chairs!

The paperwork, holy crap, the paperwork. It’s a lot but worth it. Our homestudy was completed the week of Thanksgiving. It took longer than we expected but that seems to be the norm with working with the state. Once the homestudy was done we got access to this website that had every child available for adoption in the state of Oregon. It was crazy. Children of all ages, race, and backgrounds. They show you a picture of the kids, their ages, ethnicity, and a little short story about them. We knew we wanted no more than two and if possible, we wanted mixed children because of the obvious. We also didn’t really want to get a child older than 5. The first children that we chose were the children that are currently in our home. They were everything we wanted with one added bonus, there were 3!