.

Click here to read Karen's Grandparenting Blog

www.Grandparentingblog.com

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
More Stories by Grandparents
Grandparents & Relatives Parenting Children


<

Comments from my readers

 

Comments from my readers

Home Page

Grandparent & Kinship Parenting

Grandparent Stories

Dealing with Stress

Healthy Living & Wellness

Health & Aging - We Are Getting Older

Mental Health Disorders

Helping The Children

Financial Assistance

Legal Issues

Internet Resources

State Resources

Local Resources

Current News

Contact Us

Return to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Raising 4 gandchildren at 60 - by Melanie
Raising Henna - by Val
Grandma Mel- Raising same grandson 10 years after first time.
Shylia's Story: Raising two Granddaughters and one grandson
David & Jeannette: Raising 3 grandchildren
Diane's Story: Raising one Grandbaby and 2 teenage daughters
Mura's Story: Raising two Grandchildren
Kristin's Story: Raising three Grandchildren
Becky's Story: Raising a beautiful Granddaughter
Joanne and Berlie: Raising a Grandson
Arlena from Ohio: Raising her 10 year old grandson
Rhonda in Baltimore: Raising 2-yr-old granddaughter
Susan in Louisiana: Raising 5-month-old grandson
Lena in Nevada: Raising Katrina Baby
Papa and Mimi: A success story raising two grandsons
68 and 54 in Ohio: Grandfather with cancer
Cami in Indiana It does get better

Raising 4 Grandchildren at 60 - by Melanie

I am a single 60 year old grandmother raising my 4 grandchildren, ages 9, 10, 12 and 14.  The 9 and 14 yr olds are boys.  The 10 and 12 yr olds are girls. The 14 yr old has Asperger's Syndrome. They all have the same Mom (my daughter) but the oldest one has a different Dad.

3 1/2 years ago, my daughter turned the 4 children over to their fathers at the strong urging of Child Protective Services due to physical and emotional neglect on her part and the abuse of her live-in boyfriend.  The oldest went to live with his father in Alabama, who was in the military.  The other 3 went to live with their father and stepmother who lived nearby, about 20 minutes away. I got to have them come visit on a regular basis..every couple weeks for the weekend. Two years ago, I got a call from Dad saying he needed to bring the kids over for the weekend because they had been evicted from their home and moving.  20 minutes later, they were on my doorstep.  He never came back for them.  The following week, CPS helped me get full guardianship of the 3 kids.  Apparently, they were in the process of removing the children because of abuse and neglect.  It took almost a year of counseling before they began behaving like "normal" kids, and not the "wild Indians" their counselor described them in the beginning.

March 25, 2012, my oldest grandson's father was killed in a hit and run accident in Alabama.  Within 24 hours, he was flown to Michigan to come live with me.  His father's family lives in the same area I do.  His body was flown back here for the funeral and burial.  I have since learned that his father was also physically and verbally/emotionally abusive to him. He has just recently (over Christmas) started grieving. He is so angry and has become very abusive, verbally and physically towards me and the other kids. With the Asperger's playing a big part of it, life in our house has become very stressful.  The police have been her numerous times, and we are currently working with a home-based counseling program to get him the help he needs.

I am raising these kids on state assistance, food stamps and death benefits from the 14-yr-old's father.  There is absolutely nothing extra to do anything for the kids except things that are free. The same goes for me, so I do not take care of myself very well.  I have a group of friends from my Bible Study group as well as a couple neighbors who are my wonderful support system.  My health (arthritis & fibromyalgia) has definitely been affected by the stress of taking care of the kids.

I very rarely get a break from them (i.e., a weekend).  Mom comes to visit every two weeks, so it's like having 5 kids when she comes.  She had been head injured in a car accident when she was young, so is cognitively and emotionally impaired.  The oldest grandson's extended family on his father's side (grandparents, aunts and uncles) have not been very helpful.  One uncle has taken him a couple of times but has bailed on him more than anything.  A grandmother has taken him one time.
 My ex-husband and his wife help us out by paying for cable/internet/phone, but only take the 3 younger ones a couple times a year (not that I haven't asked them to do more).  They will not take the oldest one because my ex knows about his rage and is afraid of him (poor excuse).

The father of the 3 younger kids had not seen them in almost a year before he saw them at his own family Christmas party, which I took them to.  He has since seen them a couple more times and taken them for 1 day this past summer, but otherwise has no contact with them.  He has two sisters who have recently stepped up and said they would be willing to take the 3 younger kids for the weekend. 

So... all that to say, it is really hard at this age to be taking on the responsibility of these 4 kids, but I love them to pieces and wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  I have seen the younger 3 grow and mature and become awesome kids.  I know that eventually we will be able to peel away the layers of anger and grief of the oldest, and hopefully he will become the tender, sensitive, awesome kid I have seen glimpses of.

Raising Henna

My son and girlfriend announced they were having a baby. At first I was upset but thought perhaps it would ultimately be a good thing. My son has had legal problems and I hoped this would give structure and better meaning to his life. Things did go smoothly for the first few months after the birth of the baby however it fell apart within the first year. I received a phone call from my son that the girlfriend kicked both my son and the baby out of the apartment they shared. I literally picked them up on a street corner. My granddaughter was 8 months of age at the time. Within 2 months of moving in my son left my home leaving me to raise a 10 month old baby girl. Both my husband and myself work full-time jobs and I was desperate to find daycare.

I am truly blessed in my first call to a daycare just down the street from my home was able to take my granddaughter in. I forgot how expensive daycare was and filed for state assistance. It took several months but thankfully I had a very compassionate caseworker. I qualified for both cash assistance and daycare help. During this very humbling process I encountered people who gave good sound advice and assistance. I will be forever grateful to them. What was most troubling was the realization that I could not legally seek medical treatment without parents consent.

Even though my granddaughter was essentially abandoned the parents could come and take her from my home and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was fortunate enough the parents agreed to give a power of attorney to seek medical care. After the first year of this I inquired about legal guardianship. Once again I was fortunate enough the parents agreed to sign over the child so I could legally seek guardianship. Both parents are in my granddaughters life in a very limited basis as they both continue to have legal problems and drug abuse issues. I find at 50 years of age it can be very trying to both work full-time and keep the house together.To put things in perspective my daughter graduated from high school last year and my granddaughter started kindergarten this year. I am literally starting over. I love my granddaughter and have no regrets but it is not something I planned on happening so,it definitely has it's challenges.

Grandma Mel

Hi, well my story began when I married my husband. He had a daughter and a 2 yr old grandson. His daughter was living with her grandparents on her mom’s side, because she was mad at her dad. Her grandma was an alcoholic, her mom was a hard core addict and so was her Uncle. She was not in a good place, I tried to get her to come back to her home (she was 16). I offered to watch her child if she wanted to go back to school and or work. She would having none of that. She was having too much fun parting. Our grandson, over the next 5yrs, was moved every week from household to household, to his dads or us or his mom would keep him for a day or two. She never worked, it was crazy, I was always buying diapers, formula, and clothes. She wasn't married so we helped her get residential custody of our grandson when he was 2.

Then when he was 5yrs old, she had another baby with another man. He had 2 kids from someone else that he didn't see or take care of. They lasted about 3 months after the baby was born. I had to buy everything for the baby, to take him home from the hospital because, as usual, she did nothing for her own baby. A boy named Z. I told my husband when we saw him in the nursery for the first time that he would be living with us! He asked why I thought that and I replied, “Well the father doesn't take care of the two he has and our daughter barely takes care of the 5yr old.”

I was going everyday to her house to pick up the baby because she would just leave him in a baby swing in wet diapers. I will never forget how he would smile at me when I would walk in the room. Finally they split up and she left Z with me for a couple weeks. I was taking him to work with me at 5am and she wasn't calling to see how he was or anything. Then all of a sudden she would call after a week or so and act like nothing was wrong. After about 3 months of that we got guardianship on Z and talked to the 5yr old’s father about him getting residential custody. So we took care of Z from 4 months to 3 1/2yrs old and the 5yr old’s father got residential custody. In that period of time she never called or sent anything. Then she called out of the blue and wanted to pick up Z. I was horrified. Z had no idea who she was, I told her no way. Well she had married this man who had a drug history. His mother was giving them money for a lawyer, because our daughter had told her that we stole Z from her. His mother gave them an allowance of about $3500 a month. She never called us to find out what was really going on. We hired a lawyer (who's secretary at the time was our daughters, husbands, moms best friend; we didn't know at the time!) We lost in Wyandotte County. They handed over Z to them without any counseling or anything. Our lawyer told us there was nothing we could do and said there were no grandparent rights in Kansas.

She let us visit Z every other weekend, but stopped that after about 4 months because she got mad at us. She came over to pick up Z that particular weekend when she was mad. Screaming at us, telling us that we would never see Z again! Z was crying, screaming at the top of his lungs, kicking and reaching for us at the window in the car when they pulled away from our house. In reality she just kidnapped Z! That's how it had to feel to him, he really didn't know them, he didn't like them, every time he came over for a weekend he begged not to go back. After about 3 months of not getting to see him, we hired a lawyer. Our daughter made one big mistake and that was she moved to Johnson County! We took her to court for grandparents rights, it took a year and it went to the higher court but we won! We made case history, so our lawyer told us!
I remember when I first got to see Z after a whole year, at first he asked me who I was and I told him I am Grandma Mel, he told me that he is not suppose to talk about me or look at me because he would get in trouble. She put that little boy through emotional hell, because she hated her dad so much, and she knew that hurting Z would hurt her father. She was very viscous.

I hugged him and told him it was ok now. He can look at me and talk to me from now on! That was the best hug I ever got in my life! It was such a heart breaking year, but our lawyer was fantastic! Now Z is 15yrs old. He lives with us again now. She never was a good mom to him. She used Z to hurt her father as much as she could. There is so much I am leaving out from over the years! Thank God we got those rights because she tried different ways to have him taken away by the state, for different reasons, but the counselors all saw through her. I was right there by Z’s side the whole time! He is such a great kid! He has some issues from living with them the past 10yrs, but he is doing well now! I am going to have to get guardianship in court so Z can be covered on our insurance. My husband is retired now, so I am saving the money to get that done.

I could write a book about Z's life. It was really sad, but with the grandparent’s right, we were able to show him that someone did love him and teach him right from wrong.

Cami in Indiana

I am Cami, 47yrs old and have been raising my grandson for 6 and a half years. I wish I would have found this website yrs ago when I 1st got custody of my grandson.

Arelna from Ohio, made me cry, she and I are kindered spirits I think. I have not cried in many years. But I can say that the 1st year that I had my grandson, I think I cried everyday and sometimes twice :) But it has been 7 years since then, and we have ajusted nicely. He is such a great boy and he loves me and his mother very much.

I received custody of him within 6 months of my daughter not returning to pick him up. They ( Mom and Dad) got visitation. And all seemed to be going fine, sorta. My daughter would call and threaten to take him, or just call to make me feel awful, and say I took him. I would just say if you want him back take me to court.But know this now, I have raised him, I am all he knows and I will fight you like you were a stanger till the end. So get your life in order and fight like you love him. She finally did take me to court last summer. And I walked out with Full Sole Custody. I thought she would never forgive me. I wasnt sure I would ever see the daughter that I loved more than the air I breath again. But she has come around, and even said, " Mama, I know my son is where he should be". She made her 1st trip to Indiana to see her son, and we had a great time together.

I just wanted to share that it does get better. If you remember that the most important thing for our grandchildren is that they are loved by everyone. My grandson knows nothing of the court battles, He only knows, that I love him, his mother loves him and he loves us!

68 and 54 in Ohio

Only worries are my husband who has advanced prostate cancer and we are waiting to see what and if other treatments he may need he is 68 . I am 54 and should he become very ill, I do not know if I could manage financially or not . We are living off retirement. But I cannot consciously let this child leave. Mom lives 9 miles from us and only sees him when she feels like it or I let her. If she cannot pass drug test I do not let her see him or take him. She has really put us through the wringer. Too much to write about that is for sure and she does not care. Our grandson has Left side hemipareies (mild form of CP). So we take him to treatment 1 x a week and goes to a special pre school 2 days a week and then daycare 2 days a week. But it feels as if we still never get a break. But he still is the love of our lives, and we would not have it any other way. Special little guy he is.  We have 2 other grandchildren in Cali. and it seems like they get slighted a little. Whenever they see us they see grandson too. Though I would do the same for them if they ever needed us. My husband is great as he is the step grandpa and stepfather to my 2 daughters.  I guess I just want to say . Thank God for grandparents and all these other wonderful grandparent stories I am reading here. We are a special breed and our grandchildren are loved and they love us. Even during all the trails and tribulations. God Bless us all.

Papa and Mimi

My husband and I are 57 and 56 respectively.  We are raising our now 16 and 13 year old grandsons.  It seems I'm an "oldie" on this website as we've had the boys since birth, so I'm pretty much a 16 year veteran. Our daughter was very young when she gave birth, 15 and again at 18.  She lived with us for several years and we tried parenting the kids together. That never worked.  They stayed confused. Then we tried very briefly putting them with her when she had her own apartment. That lasted all of 2 weeks. They were "homesick". Of course they were. They'd always lived with us.  Then our whole family just stopped trying to fit into some type of mold that we couldn't fit in and we decided that it was best for Papa and Mimi to raise the boys but for Mom to be very much in the picture.  It has worked splendidly for all of us. The boys know where "home" is, but they also know and highly respect their mother. So, there are no bad feelings.  It also created a healthy environment for our daughter to get her life together with no "guilt" attached and now at 31 she is very happy with herself and her many accomplishments, and so are we. My advice to anyone would be to do what is best for all of you and don't let people dictate to you what you should do.  Every situation is different. 

Lena from Nevada

My grandson is a hurricane Katrina baby. His teenage parents were evacuated after the hurricane and had known each other only a few months. After the trauma of the hurricane, and in a Red Cross shelter, they told the volunteers that they were married in order not to be separated. The Red Cross set them up with vouchers for housing. Soon after 'setting up house' I got the phone call that they were expecting a baby. These are high school kids, far from home and on their own. Soon as the FEMA money and Red Cross vouchers ran out, they returned to Louisiana. It was there that my beloved grandson was born. After his birth, and with the new hurricane season approaching, I accepted a transfer to Las Vegas to get as far away from the hurricane zone as possible. They eventually joined me here. It wasn't long before their relationship failed as it was not built on a firm foundation. Las Vegas sucked the life out of that young girl and she was unable to care for the young child. My son, barely 19, was also unable to care for his son; so I took the baby. He has been with me for over 5 months now and is a joy each day. Yes it is a struggle as I am a single mom with a 12 year old daughter that has diabetes and no medical insurance. We have lost our home and all three of us are living with a dear friend who has opened her home to us. We struggle; it's hard but God is good and we will persevere.

Susan in Louisiana

My name is Susan. I am 40 years old and live in Louisiana. I am raising my 5-month-old grandson.  My daughter and her boyfriend lived with me after the birth of my grandson.  However, neither one of them sought treatment for their mental and emotional disorders; therefore, I kicked both of them out.  For a while my daughter bounced around with my grandson, then she started calling me to come and get him all the time, so he stayed at my house the majority of the time.  However, he was going on 3 months old and had not received his 2-month shots and she would not sign any paper work for me to take him. Then came the hardest part, I called CPS on my own daughter, because she would not take her son for his shots nor give me permission to take him.  CPS pulled him from her because she was unemployed, had lived in 4 different places in a month's time, and was neglectful of his needs. I was given care-giver rights and this is where the fun part started. 

Dealing with CPS became the biggest nightmare of my life because of the way they handled the case. They neglected to make my grandson's abuse check-up after they took him from my daughter; that was done a week later. And, after they called me and told me what time to be at the doctor's office, without any concern of my schedule, my grandson and I went, but the social worker did not. On top of that my foster care worker was so rude and acted as though I was the one that neglected my grandson. I kept going to the main person in Baton Rouge over CPS, finally she got tired of me blogging about their mistakes and the way they handled my grandson's case, that she got the judge to give me full legal custody.

My daughter and her boyfriend hardly ever try to see my grandson. Partying and their own needs seemed more important than he is.  She still does not work, nor has she tried to get help for her mental and emotional problems. Now she is pregnant again.  In a little less than 8 months, I am going to try to adopt my grandson. Because of the fact that I am on disability and SSI, they will not help me unless I adopt him.  Plus, I feel that he will be better off with me raising him, which is the most important thing.

It has been really tough as I was continuing my education. I could have chosen online schooling but had already re-started college right before I got my grandson.  He has had various problems such as colic, heart-murmur (which is now closed), and a few other minor problems from being premature; however, I have learned to go without sleep again!  But, he is worth every minute I have with him. He has become the most precious thing in my life.  I do not know what I would do if she ever did get him back.

Rhonda in Baltimore

April 3rd I received a phone call from my son and daughter-in-law from Arizona. They were worried that social services were going to place my two year old granddaughter in foster care due to too many reasons to go into here! I hung up the phone and flew from Baltimore to Tucson that next day. I didn't hesitate one bit. I had to chuckle to myself that I had just sent my youngest off to college and was relishing being an empty nester and getting to know my new home! Hello new life! my son and daughter in law both signed over legal guardianship to me, the judge signed the papers and we flew back home to Baltimore the following day. That Sunday morning we woke up to freezing cold rain. I had no diapers, one change of clothes, no milk, no car seat, no stroller, NOTHING! But I didn't care, it seemed like Christmas morning to me. I had that baby in my arms. Before I moved to Baltimore, my granddaughter spent every weekend with me and sometimes more. We were close as close could be. Two peas in a pod together. Monday morning came and after I got over the shock, we bundled up and walked down to the only resource I had... My hairdresser! When he opened the shop door and saw us soaking wet, the baby was laughing and I was crying and he immediately picked up the phone and started making calls. He found us a wonderful nanny to help watch her during the day while I worked. We needed a pediatrician, clothes, baby items and food, and I have to tell you the community of downtown Baltimore came together in full force. Never in my wildest dreams would I expect complete strangers to help us, but they did. I had only lived here for about 6 months and didn't even have a bed for her to sleep in. People came over to clean the house, cook meals, take the baby to the park. It was and still is the most amazing community, and I'll be forever grateful to my hair dresser Neal Foore for pulling everything together for us. He has become our adopted Uncle Neal! And downtown Baltimore has been gracious to us. It's been seven months

Arelna from Ohio

I have been raising my grandson Brandon since he was 3 years old. My daughter, his mother, was in a situation that I did not feel was a safe environment for him at the time. On an Easter Sunday he came to my house and has not left since. He is now 10 years old. I have no legal guardianship, custody or anything else on him. He started school with me and is now in the fifth grade. I fill out all paperwork concerning him, I take him to all doctor's appointments, buy everything that he needs or wants. He has everything he owns at my house he does not even have so much as a pair of underwear at his mother's. My daughter will not give me guardianship or custody. She is bipolar and has no patience with him when he does finally agree to go visit her. If he leaves on say a Saturday to spend the night with his mom he's wanting to come home by 7:00 the next morning. I have had to come home from out of state funerals because she thinks I have been gone too long, and she can not keep him. I have been dealing with her for 7 years making threats of coming to take him away from me when she gets mad at me, her telling me he is her child and that I took him from her, etc.. but when it comes right down to it she would not take him because she has gotten so used to her freedom without him. She will not change her life style. I love my grandson ever much but my stress level gets the best of me sometimes and I find myself thinking of all the things I could do if he did not live here. Then I just sit and cry for having these thoughts because I do not know what I would do without him being in my life everyday. I know one day he will want to live with is mom again but right now he does not want to even spend the night. I think what gets to me the most is my daughter threatens to take him when she is mad but when things are going smooth in her life the only contact he has is a nightly phone call. It is like pulling teeth to get her to watch him once in awhile or even come to his football practices. She usually makes it to all of his games but the practices or fundraising part of his activities she does not want to be bothered with. She says she doesn't have time for all of that or she is tired. She is 27 I am 47 with a lot of medical problems, but I do what I have to do to make his life as normal and happy as possible. It does get very stressful when I get my other grandkids because they all want to live with mamaw like Brandon does or they can not understand why I buy Brandon clothes, shoes, toys, on a regular basis and not them. I do not show difference in my grandkids but I have nine of them and it can get rather costly trying to buy something for all of them because I have to get them things that Brandon needs. He is the oldest out of the nine and sometimes he gets jealous of them because I will let them do stuff in his room or play with stuff he does not want them playing with because it his. I can not get him to see that I am their mamaw as well and I can not push them away because he lives with me. Does this make sense?

Joanne and Berlie

Hello everyone. My husband and I have been married almost 30 years. We have raised 3 grown sons and our daughter is 16 and a Junior this year.

My husband has worked for the same company for 22 years and is a wonderful human being.I work for the school system in Child Nutrition. (Lunch Lady) I have been there about 7 years. Last July I had decided to take online courses so I could become an assistant teacher. Two weeks after I started school our 3 year old grandson came to live with us. He has had a hard start to the first years of his life. His mother and father are both out of the picture. Parental rights have been terminated and we are going to adopt as soon as everything is in place. It was not easy starting again but I cannot imagine us doing anything else. The only problem I have had is paying for daycare. I never had to use day care when our were growing up so it came as a surprise at how much it could cost. I would love to tell Damions story but for now he is doing great and has caught up and passed other kids his own age. We were truly blessed when this little man came into our lives. We thank God everyday for him.

Becky's Story:

My husband and I are raising our grand daughter Haily. In March of 2004,  when she was almost 3 years old, her mother and father (my stepson)  separated. Her dad was barely ever there and was violent with her mother, although we did not learn of this until after the separation because he was arrested for domestic violence. We found out after the fact that he was  heavy into drug use and would even steal the bill money right out of his wife's wallet to buy drugs and then tell her that it was up to her to find  the money to pay the bills. Right after they separated, we were very  supportive of him, helping with court appearance and custody. Within a  week of them separating, her mother met a man in the park and immediately had him  move into her home.

In June 2004 there was a hearing for custody. Just two days prior to the  hearing, my grand daughter was at a visit with her dad at his mother's  home. While giving her a bath, it was noticed that her entire behind and hips had  many bruises on them. When her dad and other grandmother did nothing, I could not stand by and called our local CPS office, who did an  investigation  and the mother admitted beating her with a belt because she was  disrespectful. They made the mom go to parenting classes and became  involved. The outcome of the custody hearing was shared custody, a week  with mom, a week with dad.  The CPS office then opened a case and monitored my grand daughter at both  parents houses. Haily became very withdrawn, would cry when she had to go  back to her mother's home and would always ask if her mother's boyfriend  would be there. It broke our hearts to send her back every week, but  there  was a custody order and we had to return her.

 In November of 2004, my stepson decided that it was too overwhelming to  have custody of her and petitioned the court to give primary custody to her  mother. This knocked visits down to every other weekend.

 In January 2005, CPS was getting ready to close the the case as it had  been approximately 6 months and there were no other obvious abuses against my grand daughter. That was definitely a mistake. On January 31, 2005 her mother was working and the boyfriend was taking care of her. He held her hands under scolding  hot water, for what reason is unclear, and did not seek medical attention  for her. When her mother returned home later in the evening, she and her  boyfriend took my grand daughter to the emergency room. Instantly the doctors realized that the burns from the scolding hot water were not an accident. You could actually see a finger marks of where her hands had  been held. The staff at the hospital immediately called the police and CPS.

CPS  took custody of my grand daughter immediately and placed her in protective custody. She had to spend the night in the hospital and then for the next  two months had to go to the doctor every couple of days to have the  dressings  on her hands changed. When she was removed from her mother and boyfriend,  the boyfriend kept saying that he was not going to jail for this.

As soon as we found out that she was taken into custody of CPS, we called  them and they informed us that they could not tell us where she was  because she was in protective custody.  Her mom and dad were then allowed supervised visits within CPS and were given a family plan of some things they had to do. Mom had to submit to drug testing, take parenting classes, provide a home, and leave the  boyfriend. She did everything except leave the boyfriend. Her dad had to submit to drug testing, provide a home, take anger management classes, and  obtain a driver's license. He could not pass a drug test, has yet to get a driver's license, would only go to anger management classes a week  before any hearings, and never passed a drug test.  My granddaughter was then in a foster home for almost a year when CPS approached my husband and myself to take her into our home as kinship  foster parents. After we came to realize that neither parent would step up, we  agreed because the next step would have been to terminate each parent's  rights and then place her for adoption. We did not feel that it was fair  that because they did not step up that we would lose the right to see our grand daughter.

Since she did not previously live with us, my husband and I had to go through the whole foster parenting process, which we did. It took us about  4 months to do so and in the meantime our grand daughter would come and spend Sundays with us. On January 22, 2006 she came to live with us and has been here ever since.

Her mother continued to stay with the boyfriend and her dad continues to abuse drugs, has since had another child that his new girlfriend's aunt is  raising and they will have another within the next month. When my granddaughter came to live with us, she was so happy. She continued with counseling and became very trusting of my husband and me. She  then began to talk about the abuse that she endured. Not only were the  tops of hands burned by her mother's boyfriend, but he beat her with a belt almost every day, locked her in a closet, locked her in her bedroom, gave her hot showers and laughed at her, and sexually molested her. All of  this occurred before she was even 4 years old.

We have fought hard to see that justice would prevail even though we did not  have the help of either of her parents. I have testified in court and she  has spoken to the judge in chambers. When the case was getting ready to go  to trial, he took a plea bargain and now is in state prison. During the  sentencing phase of this, the only one that stood up to say anything in  the  defense of my granddaughter was my husband and I.

Her mother continued to stay with him even after he went to prison, but after about a month she had a new man twice her age living with her. We expect that we will be raising our granddaughter for the duration. She  is a great kid and has suffered more abuse than any person should have to in  a lifetime. She currently has supervised visits with her mother 3 hours a  month and her father has chosen not to request visitation from the courts.  He is very angry and unfortunately we do not speak hardly at all. I have  put some restrictions on him, one to be drug free and to be consistent  with  his daughter. He cannot even be consistent with phone calls and he says the  reason is because he is angry at us.

I never thought that at the age of 52 and 45 that my husband and I would  be raising another child. We do this for no other reason than to give our  granddaughter a loving and stable home where she can thrive and know that she is loved.

Update on my story.

Well there is now another baby in the mix of all of this. I spoke to my stepson about a month ago and he is now saying that I am keeping his daughter, my grand daughter Haily, away from him. He currently has 4 warrants for his arrest for nonpayment of child support and continues to use drugs, but I am the bad guy in this situation. Go figure. He and his girlfriend had another baby last month and the only way that I found out about it was that someone told me. My stepson has yet to mention this to me. I had to inform my grand daughter of this and her reaction was, "Now I have another brother I have to take care of." She is going to be 7 next week and I just find this so sad, it's as if she knows that the baby will not be taken care of...On a positive note, she will 7 next week and is the most happy, beautiful and loving little girl that you could ever meet.

David & Jeanette

We too have found ourselves raising three grandchildren, ages six, two, and one. What an experience this has been. This began 6 1/2 years ago. Our daughter to our shame has been on crack cocaine since the oldest was around 6 months old. The father is also on drugs. They are not married and our daughter was living with us when she became pregnant. She left when the oldest was 5 months old. We did not know about the drugs then. When we found out we refused to let them take him for visits. They called the police and DSS got involved. At that time DSS gave us a paper saying we had temporary custody. I found out later it was not worth the paper it was written on.

After a few years our daughter became pregnant again. The father is unknown. DSS allowed her to take the baby and go to a rehab. She abandoned the baby at 3 1/2 months. We were given guardianship by a judge for this child. They could not give me guardianship of the oldest because it was in a different county. 

One year later she had another child and DSS did not step in. She "seemed" to be doing better so we kept a close eye on her. Unfortunately she abandoned this child at 6 months. DSS stepped in and took custody of the oldest and the youngest. They still live in my home, but we have been to court many times in the last few months. DSS wants to work with the parents to reunify the family. One thing wrong with this is the oldest child’s dad had not been in the picture until DSS contacted him, and he showed up wanting visitation. He has a criminal record a mile long and is on intensive probation. The judge gave him one hour a week supervised visits in my home. After 3 weeks the judge gave him unsupervised visits once a week. My husband and I had no say in the matter. 

My daughter and the dads were given court appointed lawyers. We were not given the time of day. The same day the judge did this I hired a lawyer to the tune of 1,500.00 to start with. Thank God they take plastic. We are praying God will grant us the grace to handle whatever the outcome. After all God is big enough.

Diane

 

I am 42 years old and have been a widow since March 12, 2001 the day my husband committed suicide and left me to raise our two girls (who are now 13 and14), a daughter from a previous relationship (22), and son from his previous marriage, also 22. After 4 years of putting my life back together with my younger daughters, my oldest daughter and his son moved out of the house. I now have kinship (custody) of my 8 month old granddaughter. I have had her since she was a day old. My daughter had tested positive for drugs when giving birth and the baby has been placed with me ever since. My daughter is still with the father of the baby and I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel of her turning her life around and caring for her child. I feel very conflicted presently as this life altering change has left me with a new life, not the one I had had and was very happy with. I enjoyed going to my girls sports activities, shopping with them, sleeping in on the weekends till noon, going out to lunch or dinner at a moments notice, going to college (I was in the process of getting a degree), and now I am back to changing diapers, being up at 6 a.m. everyday and the stress and strain of raising a baby. I love my granddaughter and would never have made a different decision other than taking her and raising her, but I mourn for the life I had built with my girls after the devastating loss we suffered 4 years ago. I have tried and tried to get my daughter on the right path and now I am resigned to the fact that she never will. I resent her for getting pregnant, having a child, and pushing her onto me to raise when I already am still raising two daughters. I also feel she has intruded on their lives as well, as I am not as involved as I would like to be in their lives because of caring for my 8 month old granddaughter. It's very overwhelming at times and I feel that the stress and strain are now taking a toll on my other daughters. With prayer and God's help I hope I can do the best I can for all my girls. I am thankful for the chance to tell my story as it does help to hear others, as well as be Nana to beautiful Serena Nicole

Return to top of page

Shylia

I  live near Placerville, California and am a grandmother of 2 beautiful girls ages 1 and 2. They have both been with me pretty much since birth. They are my 22-year-old son's children and they are beautiful. My son had the oldest one until she was 7 months old until Mom bit her, then CPS came and took her. In the 7 months she was with them, I had her 99 percent of the time, and when she wasn’t with me I worried constantly...for so many different reasons, abuse, neglect, starvation. Her mother would not feed her; she ignored her and never bonded with her. My son tried, but he is very immature and just not into parenting. The baby came to me and then went to Foster Care. I had to have my fingerprints taken, a background check done, and my house checked out before I could keep her. I was furious with the system. Finally after two months, she was back home with me. Yeah!! Boy what a nightmare it has been, court date after court date.

Then the news came, another baby. I about went crazy not knowing what to do. I was so tired because Kirsten kept me up at night. That had been her schedule, awake at night and asleep during the day, because that is what Mom and Dad did. It took me a month and a half just to get her in a crib and to sleep at night.

 

When the next baby was born, a girl, Mom would not let me go up to the hospital and see her. CPS took her from the hospital and put her in foster care as well, until I was checked out all over again. I was beside myself until she too was placed with me. I had to work 50 hours a week just to make ends meet. The money that I had in savings was gone, and I finally got up the nerve and signed up for WIC and cash aid for the children.

 

My daughter who is 24 helps me when she can, but she is very busy. I also have a roommate who is my best friend and is very supportive when she is here. I am now in the process of adopting the girls, and I am grateful to have been able to start a small business at home. Not anything big, but it helps me with staying home with the girls.

 

August 2006 update by Shylia: The girls are doing well and they have now been adopted. There has been one more addition to our family his name is Kameron he is the girl’s brother he is with us and he is now one year old. We our currently in the process of adopting him also, he is the cutest and the happiest baby. I love him dearly everyone is in good health and Kirsten will be 4 in a couple of month. Keyara is now 2 and a half and they are just keeping me really busy. I’m tired and stressed but I wouldn’t take any of this back ever.

Return to top of page

Mura

Two years ago my daughter gave birth to my first grandchild. I was very excited to become a grandparent, as was my husband, who didn't have children of his own. We had seen my daughter struggle with drugs for most of her life (she was 32, at the time), and just before she became pregnant, she was prescribed anti-psychotic medication for a bi-polar disorder. So she had been taking that medication throughout her pregnancy. No one really knows how or if it affects unborn children. But the baby was beautiful and seemed perfect in every way. Toward the end of my daughter's pregnancy she began to abuse her medication and I had to take her to the ER several times. It wasn't long after our granddaughter was born that it became apparent that she couldn't care for her. So we took custody and filed for guardianship. At the same time my daughter was also incapable of caring for herself and I had to have her committed to several different psychiatric facilities for over a year.

We took custody of the baby when she was four months old. She had difficulty digesting any formula, couldn't sleep nights and was very uncomfortable and so were we. I was feeling quite drained even before the baby came to us full time. Just before Christmas I learned I had cancer. Although it was not an aggressive type the doctor said that it seemed to be growing rapidly. I began chemo almost immediately. Which meant that my husband had to stay at home to care for me and the baby.

It is times like these that tell you who your friends are. We have our our own business and I was shocked at how many people offered their help and prayers for me. My cousins came from Minnesota to stay with me and my friend from high school flew out from Florida to stay for two weeks. They were a God send.

It is a year later and Cierra has turned two. I am cancer free and participating in a clinical trial which will hopefully keep me that way. But we have another addition to our growing family. My daughter had a boy last month and tested positive for drugs at the hospital, so they took the baby away. He is also having digestive problems. My husband is having a difficult time accepting another baby and worried that I might get sick again. The lack of sleep is the biggest obstacle, but the baby slept 4 hours straight last night so maybe this will be a trend.

All we can do is pray for my daughter's recovery. I know that I need to take some time for myself, but when there's a choice I usually opt to take a nap. My husband's sister has adopted her two granddaughters and has been raising them practically from birth so I knew my situation wasn't totally unique, but I didn't realize how widespread it was. I hope the next generation does a better job of taking care of their responsibilities.

Return to top of page

Kristin

When I married my husband 17 years ago, we thought the biggest challenge we might ever face would be his ex-wife possibly dumping his 3 teenagers on us (the children had been adopted by a stepfather and been told all sorts of false stories about my husband).  Once those teens reached adulthood age, they did contact us occasionally but we were content with raising the daughter we had together and everything was running rather smoothly.  Little did we know!

Lonnie's second son and his wife had come to live with us in the fall of 1999, stating that they wanted to establish a strong relationship with our family and get a new start.  Along with them came their two children together, ages 18 months and 6 months, and the wife's daughter, age 3.  We suspected that something was going on, but could never quite get enough proof to be sure.  About 3 months after they had moved into their own place, they took off and moved back to Oklahoma without even telling us they were doing so.  About a month later, she sought help in leaving him from a domestic violence center. Caseworkers determined that the children had been abused both physically and emotionally as well as neglected by both parents and they were placed in foster care. Although we were contacted during the investigation, we were told that contact would not be allowed as the children were so young and we lived so far away that in-person visits were not feasible.

The parents of the children divorced and every once in a while we would hear from one or the other, but after a year the contact ceased.  Then in November 2002 our phone rang on a Sunday evening--it was my stepson's ex-wife and she dropped a bombshell.  My stepson had relinquished his rights the previous spring and she was facing a hearing to terminate her parental rights.  She told me that if she were able to choose where the children would go, she would choose us.  She also told us that there were no remaining biological relatives that might possibly be able to get them. 

After talking to the caseworker in Oklahoma and much discussion with our teenage daughter, we decided to see if we could get the children placed with us.  After going through the home study process to become approved as foster parents and adoptive parents, we journeyed to Oklahoma in May 2003 to pick up the children.  Earlier this year, Oklahoma approved us to adopt the children and now we are waiting to get approval on subsidies, Medicaid continuation, and legal expense reimbursement. 

As of this month, the children have been in the foster care system for 4 years.  Their ages are currently almost 8, 6 and 5.  The two older children are both girls and fairly easy to handle, although they still show signs of the abuse they have suffered.  The youngest, a boy, has 15 developmental delays and is in the 99th percentile of his age group for ADHD - we have recently placed him on medication and are working to determine the appropriate dosage. 

We just returned from a family trip to Oklahoma, and while we were there, the children saw many of their relatives including my stepson.  So far there do not appear to be any negative reactions to the visit other than the fact that their mother did not arrange a time to see them and the girls were very disappointed (the boy does not even recognize his mother in photos). 

We still have many potential obstacles down the road - bipolar disorder runs in the mother's family and that is why she does not have the children.  In addition, the oldest girl was placed with her biological father for a period of time, until she alleged that he was sexually abusing her.  The oldest also has learning disabilities and receives some special education services at school.  I have learned more about IEPs [Individual Education Plans] and special education in the past year than I ever thought possible (the 5 year old goes to Special Ed preschool).  Our lives have grown very hectic, but I would not change it for the world as we want these children to know that their family members still love them, even if their parents did not bother to take care of them. 

Return to top of page

If you have a story that you would like to share with our readers or us, please write us by clicking here.

 

SeniorPro MarketingSeniorPro Marketing Webdesign