Grandparents Raising Grandchildren - The Clary's

Today Terresa Clary barely notices the sound of playing children in her home, but two years ago it was something she wasn't sure she could handle on a permanent basis. Clary said,  " We thought long and hard before we took the kids and we chose to make their best interest our first priority."

Drugs and alcohol had entered the children's environment. The oldest, Debbie, knew if her grandparents didn't take care of her and two brothers, they would all go separate ways.   The nine year old said,  " Yeah, I would have been really sad because I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my brothers."

The subsequent adoption led to difficult emotions. Randy Clary had to accept the disappointment he had with his older daughter.   He said, " It's sad, so sad that this happened." For Terresa, it was resentment.    " I had a lot of anger. I shouldn't have to do this. I wish she had done what she was supposed to have done. It wasn't so much I had to raise them. I was angry at the hurt they had to suffer before I got them." The children had fears which led to behavior issues.

Now, Trey is coming out of a shell. Ashton is becoming more disciplined. And Debbie is learning how to let go. Her grandmother, now mother, said, " She had tried to mother the other two and take over and I had to explain to her what her role as big sister was." Following a power struggle, the little girl with wisdom way past her nine years, began to like the idea. She said, " I didn't have to worry as much anymore and it took a lot of stress off of me. And I was real happy whenever I found out that I didn't have to take care of them anymore."

For the first time the children had consistency. They knew what was expected of them at school and at home. And because of that, they're happier.

The adoption is providing unity, but the couple in their mid fifties can't help their concern for the future.   Randy said,  " I don't have a guarantee of being alive tomorrow, no more than you do and I want them to be able to, I hope, if something were to happen to my wife and I these children, I hope will be more mature, but I hope their mom and dad will be able to step in and give them a home."

At thanksgiving, the children began occasional visits with their birth parents, but they know the lady called, 'Big Mama', and the man called, 'Pa' are not only their grandparents, but also their parents.

Terresa had been looking forward to beginning a new business with her husband that would take them around the country and allow time for mission work. Now she realizes her mission work remains at home. She said, " God saw to it. Called us home to raise more kids." Randy laughs, " They're just so much sweeter than my children were." And Debbie cheerfully says, " Everybody gets along just fine. I'm happy about that."

There is now a support group for grandparents raising grandchildren in Nacogdoches. The group will meet Tuesday, February 27th at 2 o'clock at the Nacogdoches Recreation Center. The Texas Extension Cooperative Agency in Nacogdoches is sponsoring the group.

You can hear complete interviews with a kinship specialist and the support group organizer under the 'Special Reports' heading on this web site.