I am Kylie Gray. I am a wife, a mother, an amateur farmsteader, and most of all, Jesus lover. A year and some change ago, we adopted our 3 boys out of the foster care system here in the U.S. This past year was the hardest, most beautiful year of my entire life. My husband, Trey, and I always knew we wanted to adopt. When I thought about it, I just assumed we would adopt from some far-off land like China or Africa, but God had other plans for our family.
As the time came and we decided to adopt, we realized the need for it right here in Oregon. Oregon has over 200 children that are ready and cleared for adoption, so we thought we would give it a shot. After the 6-month process of the home study, we got access to a website with all the state’s children that were available for adoption. We wanted no more than two, but when we got on the website, the first picture we saw was of these three little boys… Oh golly, they had our hearts! They were bi-racial, and they were the ages we thought would be a good fit—5, 3 and 3 (yep, TWINS). The only hiccup was that there were three. What on earth was I going to do with three children?! Yikes! There was just something about them that we couldn’t get past. We didn’t think we would get picked for them, but we submitted our home study anyway. Wouldn’t you know it, the next day we heard back from their caseworker saying that she was super interested in us, and as they say in the movies, “The rest is history,” or maybe they say, “And they lived happily ever after?” Either way, that was not the case for this little family of mine. We hit every road block possible trying to adopt our children.
The caseworkers would say things like, “this never happens” and whatever the heck they were talking about would happen. We were delayed so many times that our own worker kept telling us that there were other kids out there and we should just move on. Trey and I would pray at each of these road blocks and felt that we were to keep pursuing those three boys. During that time God gave me an unconditional love for them, I am fully aware that if we hadn’t been on our knees praying and fighting for them, I wouldn’t have had a crazy love for these children I had never met. God knew that later I was going to need that love. Eventually, we just had to tell the caseworkers that we didn’t care how long we had to wait, we wanted only them, and we were going to fight for them! Come to find out, we were the last family in the state of Oregon that was well-suited for them. The day we put in for the boys, their caseworker was just about to submit them to be put on a national adoption registry when she received our home study. Geesh, that was close!
When we finally brought our boys home they were ages 6, 4, and 4. To give you a little back story, they had been in a combination of 13 homes while in foster care, and for the last year, the twins had been separated. When we brought them all together, not only were they moving to a new home with strangers, they were also coming back together as brothers. Imagine that! These boys had been through hell and were still living in it. It was unending days of screaming, tantrums, throwing things, hurting each other, and just plain disobedience. You could see the pain written all over their faces day in and day out. It was heartbreaking to live through, yet at the same time, I was dealing with my own personal loss. The loss of silence and peace, which sounds ridiculous, but it was the truth. The days were unbearably long, and I couldn’t wait to be able to put them to bed each night. I believe the Lord gave me grace. There is no earthly way that I would have been able to make it through the first few weeks/months if I wasn’t relying on the Lord.
Each night before bed, I would rock the boys, put on a worship song, and pray over them. I prayed and prayed, and in those moments, it gave me life. Life to carry on and make it through the next day. At the end of the next day, I would do the same, and at the end of the next, and the next. The studies have shown that children coming from neglect never lose the need to be rocked like you would a baby. They yearn for it up to the age of 8. I learned that prior to bringing the boys home, and I am so thankful I did. It was the biggest tool in my belt. Caseworkers would come and go, and boys would lose it every time. So, I would pick them up, hold them tight, and rock them. Eventually, they would calm down and be able to move past their triggers. Those days we were in the trenches. Each day felt like my own personal war zone. I wasn’t fighting against the children but fighting for them. Fighting to have even a speck of normalcy in their lives, fighting for them to feel unconditional love, and fighting for them to know that we weren’t just another person to call “Mom and Dad.” We were Mom and Dad. The real deal.
Going through this I was selfish, naive, angry, and wishing for peace and quiet. I am a dramatic person by nature, but when I say these things about myself, I truly was them. I would go to my room to sit on the floor and weep. Life was just hard. I would be thankful that we adopted older children so that they would move out sooner. I believed I wasn’t meant for this life. How could little ol’ Kylie Virginia Joy be able to have any positive impact on these hurt, wild, and out of control children?! If anything were to come from this, it was just going to be me messing up their lives even more. I would get so frustrated with them. I would have to leave the room or I would just scream. Most times I would be screaming on the way to my room. We dealt with a lot. Most of the big things were when Trey went to work, and I was all alone with the boys. There was one day when the phrase “shaking with anger” became a reality. I had just bought the boys brand new school clothes and had them try them on, but for some reason, I didn’t make them take them off. They were bouncing off the walls, so I had them go run around the farm to give myself a break from the constant noise. I was having a good rest when I shot straight up and thought, “It’s wayyyy too quiet!” Running outside, I find them by our brand-new-to-us camper… oh… my… gosh… I see one twin, he is covered in white paint. I mean covered! Then I turn the corner to see a few toys and a pool noodle that were not white before, but were sure white now! Oh, and there is another twin, head to toe in white. I walk closer to the camper and find our oldest, not so covered in paint, but spray painting… the… camper!!!!! Being that he was not as white as the others, I could only assume that he was the culprit. I am almost certain that day was the day I received my almost permanent eye twitch. Yes, that was definitely the day. I stood out there shaking, like actually shaking. I was so mad I didn’t know what to do with myself. Standing there, looking at my three boys in their brand-new school clothes, covered in white paint, caught in the act of spray painting the camper, the only thing I could do was shake with anger and think about getting their clothes off to—hopefully—save. I will admit the school clothes were my fault. What was I thinking? No idea. I stripped them all down and ran inside to hopefully scrub them clean. Thank the Lord, they came clean! It was most likely the swearing, eye twitch, and shaking with anger that got those clothes clean that day. I can almost guarantee that, or maybe it was the Lord throwing me a bone. After all, He knew that day gave me my eye twitch.
I was at my breaking point that day when my mom called and told me to pray for peace, have the boys pray for peace for themselves, pray for them to have peace, and pray for Trey and me to have peace. So, we did. I remember this one day like it was yesterday. It was August 1st, 2017. I remember that date because it was exactly 30 days after we brought the boys home. I was putting the twins to bed, rocking them. As I thought back on the day, I realized that I hadn’t broken up a physical or screaming fight between them. Not a single one! Immediately, I started to cry, uncontrollably. The twins said, “Momma, are you okay?” I said, “Yes, babies, I just realized you guys didn’t fight at all today.” They said, “No, Momma we didn’t!” That was the first day I could see that we were making a difference in their lives. The next day they carried on as they had the previous month, but soon after they simmered down. During that time, I had NEVER relied on the Lord more. He was the only reason I stayed sane. I prayed for peace daily. I may never have quiet again, but I am more than okay with that.
I have 3 amazing children that are beautifully wild, and now I tear up just thinking about the day they will move out. We had many more challenges as the year went on, but if you were to see these children from last year to now, I don’t think you would believe it. Trust me when I tell you, I wouldn’t have either. We have had success and failure—all which we have learned and grown from. We are well aware there may be many more to come, and then we will trust God again and again through it all.
This past year, we have seen little miracle after miracle—some small, some enormous. The Lord brought this family through hell and back to healing in a year’s time. Sometimes I wish we had gotten them sooner, to protect them from some of the things they went through, but then I remember that all through the waiting, I was being molded to be their momma, learning what unconditional love was, and becoming the mom that they needed me to be. The one who could love them at their worst when no one else would. With all of my faults, I was, and am, the mother that the Lord created me to be for these children. No other woman was meant for this job. It was only for me.
Thank you, Jesus.
I am Kylie Gray, I am 28 years old, livin’ in Central Oregon on a small 5-acre farm with my husband, Trey, and our three beautiful children. We adopted our boys out of the foster care system a little over a year ago. It’s been a wild road, but totally worth it. I keep busy by fixing up our 1970s farmhouse, taking care of the farm animals, and trying to figure out gardening, all while homeschooling all three of my boys!