We’re Not Superheroes!

Welcome to day 4! I feel as though I need to tell you all that we are not superheroes or an earthly saint for being foster parents to troubled boys or for adopting these amazing children, instead we are a couple that has been blessed to have amazing mentors that walked with our family at crucial times in our walk pointing us to follow God’s leading.


We are no more than a husband and wife that have worked to support each other as we walk the path God has put before us! Don’t get me wrong we have periods when we struggle (thankfully it is usually just one of us while the other is closer to God). We definitely have times that we lust over having a “normal” family that cam enjoy vacations, live in a nice house with all the fun adult toys like boats, quads, etc., be able to have dinner parties with just adults, heck to even go to stores with breakable things!

Thankfully we have always had mentors that have pointed us back to God’s calling even when it means saying no!
Words cannot thank those men that came alongside my husband and not only taught him, but lead by example for him to be the head of our family and to lead us. I am also blessed to have such amazingly Godly women that have walked with me teaching me how to be a Godly wife that follows her husband’s leading. They have helped me to learn to follow when it was not my earthly desire, to nudge and even stand my ground when God has clearly spoken to us and Ray has struggled with his earthly desire, and to be faithful to God’s leading even when it means bringing in kids with severe mental health disorders!


Yes we have had more adventures in parenting than the average parents and no I never thought the phrase “well it’s your right to be angry, however it is not your right to lash out at him physically. Now you have a choice, you can take the negative consequence of wiping down the hall walls or you can continue to escalate and we can head to crisis for an intake” or “you have to the count of three to come back in the house before I call the police and report that you have run away” or those ones that while you don’t say it often it never leaves you like “Jon we can’t go to the park without shoes on and you are scaring the old ladies so let’s put our pants on too!”. Oh yes we have had a few kids that truly feel clothing is optional!


I know people often say that God will not give you more than you can handle, however I have learned over and over again that God will give me more than I can handle so that I will turn to him and lean on him as he teaches me how much he loves not only me, but these amazing children that he brings into our home. Yes we have success stories of children moving on to complete high school, be amazing first time parents, and to make a difference in those lives around them, however we have also had plenty placements that we disrupted (when a child is moved without reaching their goals) because we have tried our hardest to reach them, however it just was not working.


I have to admit these are hard to live through. Ray and I are not quitters that quickly give up on a child, however we have learned that often our house is a stepping stone in which we work to teach skills that the children will need for the future, but also we can be the stepping stone that tells the child’s family and team that this child truly isn’t able to be in a family setting. This is heartbreaking! Our goal is to help these children see how family is important and that family should support you. Our goal with their families is to teach them that this child isn’t wanting to destroy your family, however instead he needs more than the normal child to be able to be a part of the family which leads us to work through shared parenting to teach the families the skills we learned much earlier in our walk.


Today I am grateful to all of the mentors that have been a part of our family from the very beginning! I am grateful for each boy that has walked into our home for help (even the ones that I seriously thought would kill me in my sleep!) and their ability to learn and grow no matter how hard it was for them. I am beyond blessed to have an outstanding human being to make this journey alongside. Ray your heart for others especially these children that just need consistency and to know that someone cares, encourages and blesses me everyday! Most of all I am grateful for a God that although I often attempt to shut out because I just can’t do more, is always right there waiting to not only forgive me for acting like a toddler, but to also put me back on His path for our family!

Arizona sunsets often remind me of our journey, periods of dark thunderstorms edged with the bright glow of God’s promise that we are never alone!

Moving On

Day 3…. So we are slowly getting used to our new normal. It is crazy and hectic, however God always keeps us going!
Something has been on my mind recently, the world seems to see all autistics the same and this just blows my mind! We are blessed to have 3 autistic boys in our family. I feel almost as though I am being fake when I write “we are blessed”, many times our lives are turned upside down because of autism, however when I step back and watch all of our children interact with everyone no matter their issue the scales fall from my eyes and the blessings shine through!
Anyway, back to how each autistic child is unique, so we have the joy of having not one, but two “high functioning” autistic boys. For those who haven’t faced this term before it means that two of our boys are beyond smart knowing a ton of facts (that they cannot control when they come flowing from their mouths), formulas (that we will never need….really), and have read just about everything they can get their hands on including their older siblings college history books, however struggle to communicate when they feel poorly (even when passing kidney stones), answer the door or phone appropriately, and textures are either our saving grace or the root of all evil!
Even though these two boys can test gifted (if they are caught on those rare days they actually try to do well on the test), they could not be more different! One is very detail oriented and often times over thinks or over plans everything. He spends hours rearranging cards that he collects and planning the perfect deck that will win at his game nights. The second one never completes anything! You know the Charlie Brown character that is always in a dust cloud ….. yep that is what we live with. He spends more time in his head “playing in his mind” than he does doing anything else. This child takes unorganized to the next level loosing everything that he comes in contact with. More often than not it is found halfway between where he used it last and where it truly belongs!
Then there is our third guy, wow is he different! So instead of being super tuned in to his surroundings to give his input on situations he is completely in his own world. Literally we have to touch him and raise our voice before he knows we are even talking to him and then he only gets the last part of what you say! He is 13 and cannot follow 2 step instructions, he becomes irate when he does not get to do things like ride his bike around the neighborhood with the other kids, however he can’t keep track of cars, hazards in the road, or where he is! He struggles with any social interactions often coming across as rude even though he is using the right words, his body language and tone are completely inappropriate. He is the kid that tells his teachers he has done enough and refuses to move forward during class, returns home and blames his teachers for him not having the items he needs to complete assignments (like the notes he refused to take because he was done for the day), and that his teachers are rude because they try to get him redirected.
So I guess what bugs me is that people hear our boys have autism and instantly look around for someone to be drooling or grunting because they are not able to communicate at all. Then we have those people who think there are no issue with them because they are talking to them, but become extremely offended when they say something rude, too personal, or break into another session of “playing in his mind” which looks as though he seizing when he becomes bored with the conversation.
We have learned over the years that the way we have to approach each child is unique in many ways, however being consistent for them is very important! As I said on day one, consistent was not our family’s strong suit! Over the years we have learned that you have to always get dressed before breakfast and brush teeth in the same order every morning. While each child needs to be treated a little different to meet their needs, they all need unconditional love, grace (which is often the most challenging thing to give…I don’t know how Jesus does it!), and a family that is willing to follow God into the wild side to meet their needs! I guess that is the major message today… we walk through this crazy life due to our willingness to follow God’s leading.
If you are walking the path of fostering, adoption, or just raising special children I want you to know…. You are not alone on this journey and that we are all striving to do what is right for our special kiddos even when the rest of the world doesn’t see it!


Something has been on my mind recently, the world seems to see all autistics the same and this just blows my mind! We are blessed to have 3 autistic boys in our family. I feel almost as though I am being fake when I write “we are blessed”, many times our lives are turned upside down because of autism, however when I step back and watch all of our children interact with everyone no matter their issue the scales fall from my eyes and the blessings shine through!
Anyway, back to how each autistic child is unique, so we have the joy of having not one, but two “high functioning” autistic boys. For those who haven’t faced this term before it means that two of our boys are beyond smart knowing a ton of facts (that they cannot control when they come flowing from their mouths), formulas (that we will never need….really), and have read just about everything they can get their hands on including their older siblings college history books, however struggle to communicate when they feel poorly (even when passing kidney stones), answer the door or phone appropriately, and textures are either our saving grace or the root of all evil!
Even though these two boys can test gifted (if they are caught on those rare days they actually try to do well on the test), they could not be more different! One is very detail oriented and often times over thinks or over plans everything. He spends hours rearranging cards that he collects and planning the perfect deck that will win at his game nights. The second one never completes anything! You know the Charlie Brown character that is always in a dust cloud ….. yep that is what we live with. He spends more time in his head “playing in his mind” than he does doing anything else. This child takes unorganized to the next level loosing everything that he comes in contact with. More often than not it is found halfway between where he used it last and where it truly belongs!
Then there is our third guy, wow is he different! So instead of being super tuned in to his surroundings to give his input on situations he is completely in his own world. Literally we have to touch him and raise our voice before he knows we are even talking to him and then he only gets the last part of what you say! He is 13 and cannot follow 2 step instructions, he becomes irate when he does not get to do things like ride his bike around the neighborhood with the other kids, however he can’t keep track of cars, hazards in the road, or where he is! He struggles with any social interactions often coming across as rude even though he is using the right words, his body language and tone are completely inappropriate. He is the kid that tells his teachers he has done enough and refuses to move forward during class, returns home and blames his teachers for him not having the items he needs to complete assignments (like the notes he refused to take because he was done for the day), and that his teachers are rude because they try to get him redirected.
So I guess what bugs me is that people hear our boys have autism and instantly look around for someone to be drooling or grunting because they are not able to communicate at all. Then we have those people who think there are no issue with them because they are talking to them, but become extremely offended when they say something rude, too personal, or break into another session of “playing in his mind” which looks as though he seizing when he becomes bored with the conversation.
We have learned over the years that the way we have to approach each child is unique in many ways, however being consistent for them is very important! As I said on day one, consistent was not our family’s strong suit! Over the years we have learned that you have to always get dressed before breakfast and brush teeth in the same order every morning. While each child needs to be treated a little different to meet their needs, they all need unconditional love, grace (which is often the most challenging thing to give…I don’t know how Jesus does it!), and a family that is willing to follow God into the wild side to meet their needs! I guess that is the major message today… we walk through this crazy life due to our willingness to follow God’s leading.
If you are walking the path of fostering, adoption, or just raising special children I want you to know…. You are not alone on this journey and that we are all striving to do what is right for our special kiddos even when the rest of the world doesn’t see it!

Yes we take up every chair at the dentist, but they all get seen!

And then we were 10!

Day 2 of our journey! And the hits just keep coming…. So as if we didn’t have our hands full enough we have made the decision to adopt a sibling set of three. Yeah so we are doing this. Um and to top it all off the youngest is a …. GIRL! Um what do I do with a girl? After 24 boy’s we now have a girl. Ok I feel overwhelmed with this I have to admit! But I am try to embrace this new adventure. Yes that will mean our little family of four has grown into a large family of 10 total. As we work to incorporate 3 more personalities in to our family we watch our family evolve and sometimes catch fire, burning to ash I am reminded that each person takes on aspects of the family while leaving its impact on us. Lately, I find myself asking how to navigate the holiday season with 3 autistic boys (FYI puberty and autism is a horrid curse for which I am still trying to figure out what I did to deserve it!), 1 explosive disorder boy (who thank God hasn’t hit puberty yet), an ADHD boy that we are working on diagnosing to get him help, and our ever present girl that makes everything complicated because she can! I have tried to look beyond the holidays that are right in front of me, however I looked right into the realization that I now have a child in every grade from 7th to 3rd…… and then I thought about high school! Lord please guide our family through this upcoming gauntlet! In the meantime we are continuing to work on restaurant manners, store manners, and because our friends are crazy enough to invite our clan to parties we have worked on party manners. Encase your wondering why manners matter, I can personally vouch how stressful it is to have kiddos knocking off items at other customers tables while walking to your table or even better taking food off strangers plates…. Oh yes that was not a good day at the restaurant. We also learned that tag is not appropriate while waiting for the other family members to order their food at the fast food counter. Again, I wonder if the employees cringe and begin questioning just how much they need the money as our 12 passenger van pulls into the parking lot. I can’t blame them, because I often ask myself if working on these skills outweigh the frustration and embarrassment we are walking into!