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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents face unique challenges raising their grandchildren. Are you raising your grandchild? What are your biggest concerns? How is raising a grandkid different than raising your children? Share your advice, support and stories.
Replied By: claasy6 on Nov 8, 2015, 11:30AM
I noticed there hasn't been a post in here since 2014, why is that? Granted, it took some digging to get to it, but I finally found it. This should be a top trending topic, but it seems to fall at the weigh side. What can we do as grandparents to this issue off the ground? Just because we are "family" doesn't mean it's any less important that the kids in Foster Care. The only difference is we are not getting the government assistance like the Foster Care kids.
Replied By: ashtin on May 15, 2015, 8:46PM
You ask what the biggest concerns are for grandparents raising grandchildren. Of course we have all of the normal concerns of anyone else raising children. With some it's health. With others it's finances. With me it's my grand child's emotional wellbeing.
I have had my gc for almost 4 years. we started officially (taken by DCF) raising this gc at 1 yrs old... Bios were nowhere to be found for the first 3 yrs that we had custody. They eventually were arrested for drugs and after serving several months in jail have gotten clean. I can not begin to tell you the joy in my heart that they have stopped the drugs. It was so bad that I constantly waited for that phone call telling me that they had od'd.
As happy as I am about their change in habits it doesn't change the fact that my gc does not know them as parents. Even with court ordered weekly visitation they come 1/4 of the time. they are no longer a couple so the visits are separate. My gc has been in therapy for 3 yrs hoping that we can get through this with as little emotional damage as possible. We have explained that these are the parents to gc. It doesn't seem to sink in...maybe it's because my gc doesn't know the meaning of parent??? One of the bios started telling my gc that it wouldn't be long and they would all be living together. This caused nightmares, separation anxiety, bed wetting, potty accidents, tantrums...etc
My gc is constantly saying, "don't ever leave me".
Taking a child that has bonded with their caregiver as they should have bonded with bios is unimaginable. This is the equivalent of thanking this child from parents that they have lived with and bonded and giving them to someone who is practically a stranger. Who in their right mind could think that this is in the best interest of the child.?
The goal with these children in permanency. According to the ASFA once a child in in foster care 15 out of 22 months they are available to be adopted by foster parents. This does not apply to kinship caregivers. These children are left in limbo as the bios can petition the courts at any time to regain custody. Is this fair? Should we have double standards? Don't kinship deserve the same stability and permanency as foster?
The thinking that children should always be reunited with bios is outdated and just down right wrong in many cases. The children today are most likely dealing with bios who were/are drug addicts. Many were exposed to drugs in utero and are dealing with the problems that comes along with the drugs. Bios on drugs DO NOT bond with these children. Sometimes once they decide to become parents it's too late...they bond has been made with another caregiver.
If anything, we need legislature that gives kinship children the same rights as foster children...a PERMANENT HOME.
Replied By: brewer2011 on Sep 5, 2014, 9:40AM
I have been there too raising my grandbabies too. I have in the past and present still on again off again and they parents shouldnt even have these kids they make some many bad choices and the kids pay... i have had my grand daughter here for 8 month and then she went back to mom and dad by court order mom and dad arent together and their lives are soo messed up its not even funny .. but the courts and the counyt i live really stink.. there is no help here for us grand parents to get the kids in a better place with us... this is a very deprived place where they live.. tryin to do my best in keeping the kids safe but when you have the area you live not helping you since the FUNDING is gone doesnt help.. i just fear for the kids! but tryin to do what i can.. and turning for help her is likeasking for free water....not good..frustrated Nana here.
Replied By: mamanonna on Jun 20, 2014, 3:45PM

My husband and I have been raising my biological granddaughter since her birth 4 1/2 years ago.  I was 40 and my husband was 43 when she was born and our adoption with her was final 2 years ago.  We are raising our granddaughter due to my now 22 year old daughter's serious mental health challenges. My husband and I had raised our blended family of 5 children to near adulthood before our granddaughter was born and we had been making plans for and looking forward to our newfound ability to spend more time together as a couple, to travel, to do philanthropic work, and to simply enjoy less responsibility and more freeedom.  That changed in the blink of an eye the day we found out our beautiful baby granddaughter was on her way and that we would be the ones to welcome her home and care for her.  I think anyone posting in this forum who is a grandparent raising a grandchild understands the challenges of such a situation even when they love their grandchild/grandchildren with every fiber of their being as we do.  One of the most challenging aspects of the situation for me is lonliness.  I have chosen to remain at home full time to care for our granddaughter, which I am blessed to be able to do, yet at the same time it's a very isolating situation.  We are Christians, we are involved in a church small group, we attend church services each weekend, and we have a couple of sets of married friends that we spend time with on occasion, but  what I am lacking is meaningful relationship with other young grandparents raising their grandchildren who can relate to life in this front.  I am in San Diego, so if there are other young grandparents in our situation who live in San Diego and would like to connect with me/us that would be great.  By all means, post a reply and let me know!  May God bless all of you wonderful grandparents who are doing what He has called us to for the orphan.  Sometimes these orphans can be found within our own families.
Replied By: neneof8 on Jun 8, 2014, 5:00PM
We adopted our granddaughter 5 years ago.  She is now 11.  Every year it gets harder.  She has stolen our credit card and made purchases on line several times.  We get things worked out and take things away for months at a time.  She swears she won't do it again and we (I) give in and let her have access to internet, and she does it again.  I am so tired of fighting with her I am loosing any compassion for her.  She is hateful, will not shower or brush her hair.  She has been diagnosed ADHD and RAD.  Has anyone else dealt with a child like this?  She is driving me crazy and I am starting to look for a treatment facility.  She has been in counseling numerous times and it doesn't. Seem to help.  She also has a fit every time we have an appointment, and I can not physically get her in the car.  We live in the middle of Kansas and resources are not readily available .  If anyone has answers or suggestions, please respond to this post.
Replied By: matnet4 on May 22, 2014, 1:52PM - In reply to caseya718
I don't think you're being overprotective in the least!! I agree with you, 100%. I too grew up in a volatile atmosphere, as did my husband. And sadly, we carried that into our own parenting. Now, as a grandparent, I'm older and wiser. While I believe it's not wrong for children to see healthy disagreement, fighting or arguing around children is damaging to them. As Dr. Phil always says, "it changes who they become." How I wish I got that through my head when my kids were little. I think you're on the right track, completely!!
Replied By: shaylavale on May 21, 2014, 1:59PM
  I have to say I am thankful that I am still young enough to handle raising my grand-daughter... Reading the stories here saddens me that there seems to be a trend of Grandparents raising grandchildren. I know when we set out as parents we never planned for this job... It is mostly a thankless job... Unfortunately the conditions that created the need for us to take in our grandchildren is the same reason our children don't seem to care what we are doing for them, or what they are missing out on....  

  I have had my grand-daughter pretty much since birth. I took temporary custody of her when she was 6 weeks old... and adopted her when she was 18 months old...  She doesn't see me as grandma...  We have explained to her in terms that she can understand that I am not her birth mommy....  and that her birth mommy was my daughter....  but at 5 she is still way too young to understand the complete picture...

  What sadden's me most is that I can't be the Grandma...  I have to be the Mommy....  I wish it was all baking cookies... spoiling her rotten... and sending her home to her parents... Unfortunately I have to parent her... teach her right from wrong....  What complicates matters even more is that she knows that she has a biological brother and sister... who unfortunately are being adopted by someone else... and they aren't willing to allow contact with the siblings... or myself...  That is the part that is hard to explain to her...  

  History has repeated itself in my family... my mother adopted my brother's child.... my  great grandparents adopted my father... So I have some examples of how NOT to handle some things...  My mother never told my sister about her biological parents.... and when she found out she was devistated...  My great grandparents only adopted my father and not his brother.... and he grew up resenting the family for abandoning him.... I fear that is how my other grandchildren will feel when they grow up....  

  Anyway we are the last stop for these children and I commend all grandparents taking on the responsibility and starting over.... Just love these kids.... be as honest as you can with them...  without demonizing their parents if at all possible.... I keep telling my daughter that her "belly mommy" loved her so much that she wanted what was the very best for her... and that was giving her to me to be her mommy.....  I just hope that throughout her life I do the very best I can to give her the security and love she needs to be ok with her adoption...  and the history of her life...
Replied By: caseya718 on Sep 17, 2013, 7:36AM
I grew up in a violatile environment and as an adult I see that my parents continue to argue and fight verbally even in the prescense of my 2 year old nephew. My perspective is that as an adult one should be mature enough to bite their tongue long enough to go to a secluded area if one feels the need to argue with their spouse. I'm concerned about bringing my children around my parents because I suffered a lot of emotional damage growing up and don't want to subject my own children to that type of turmoil. I have informed my mom who states that only in a fantasy world parents don't argue in front of their children. I'm at a loss of what is "normal"? Am I over protective?
Replied By: scorpionana44 on Aug 16, 2013, 2:38PM
I am a 44 year old single mummy and nana . I started raising my granddaughter when she was about 2months old . Her mother has an intellectual disability and does not have the emotional nor life skills qualities needed to raise her daughter. The hardest thing for me raising my granddaughter is that my daughter doesnt have the intellect to understand that she has given up the joy of raising her own child. It is very hard for my granddaughter who is now 5 to understand why she does not live with her mother . My granddaughter thank goodness was not born with the same disability as her mother . Amazingly she has a very high IQ crazy how that worked out. We try and see her mum once a week but as her mum does not have any bond or even understands intellectualy that she has a daughter it is hard to keep this up. It is very hard on me as I was a young mum 17 years old and my husband passed away at 24 I dedicated raising my girls alone until they were old enough to live their own lives , now I have my granddaughter in my custody I am now putting my life on hold for another 20 years.  It really hurts to see Izy with her mum and her mum not really getting it . I just wish my daughter had the intellect to understand that she will never have the qualites needed to raise her daughter . It is hard knowing that one day I have to explain all this to my granddaughter .
Replied By: dianabenitez on Jul 19, 2013, 3:06PM - In reply to angielock
i clearly understand your fustration.  you felt that by supporting your child, it was 'maybe' the right thing to do.  your heart lead the way.  and now you are 'STUCK'  with the buren and responsibility of raising these children.  what your support should have been... that opportunity is gone... your face with today... please dont make another mistake with these children... they are our tomorrows. 
it is up to you... since you took on this endeavor... to make a better world for them... the first thing and the last thing you do... is hold those babies.  and the only rational reason you give these babies.  'is that their parents are NOT WELL. COMFORT THOSE BABIES.  WHAT YOU DO WITH THEM... is what kind of persons they will become.  you already made your errors with those that left.  DO NOT DO IT AGAIN. 

the effects of their own parents leaving them behind is something that they will have to live with forever.  the fact that their parents 'LEFT THEM'  & DID NOT WANT THEM.  YOU CAN'T CHANGED THAT... BUT WHAT you can do... is tell them how much you love them... 

you already made that choice.  please do not abondom them.  to comfort these innocent children... give them one big hug and tell them how much YOU LOVE THEM and that you will NEVER LEAVE THEM.  the scars that these innocent children will carry is something that only you can HELP BY LOVING THEM AND MAKING THEM FEEL THAT YOU WOULD NEVER LEAVE THEM..

excuse their parents as being sick and they are out getting better... when they get old enough to understand... they are still out there getting better. but the only thing that would help you... and heal them is loving them unconditionally.

i am speaking out of experience... i raised my two.  and raised my grandchildren  and i'm raising my great grandchildren.  with one exception... i helped my grandchildren move into an apartment (brother & sister) each with their own spouses.& step children... they got to make it work...  they want to in the worst way to come home to 'gma' as they call me...          

and GMA is always here.... but i refuse to carry their responsiblity.  how am i helping them,,, if i take it on... it wasn't easy for me... as it wasn't easy for my children.  i helped when i was able to.  both of the grandchildren belong to my son... who since moved on with a new family and left his behind... i stepped up.  i help financially when i can... but the best way i help... is ADVISE & i take the kids from time to time to give them a break.  but i refuse to carry it for them...           

these babies are in your care.... it is now up to you... if by chance the parents come back... you can keep an eye on the children and advise them as you're able to...

i hope my words serves you well.   ps... give them love and comforts... and when they ask for their parents... remember... they are sick and they are getting better... until that one doesn't work.    good luck.
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