I never expected to be a grandparent raising grandchildren; in fact, I never expected to have to adopt my grandchildren for their own safety and security. Yet, here I am, joining too many of you on the journey into retread parenting.
For some of you, this is a little bump in the road. You have a child proudly serving in the military who has been deployed, and either does not have a spouse or the spouse is also deployed. You have as an adult child a single parent with custody who needs to go get job training or even a college degree away from home. This will be over for you in a matter of weeks or months, God willing. So, you will experience again the joys and heartaches of report cards, soccer practice, sibling rivalry and nightmares. Your adult child is paying his or her own children's way in the form of support, which is a very big deal. Still, if you are over 40 and haven't done the little kid thing in a few years, your midsection or your keester may not respond the way it used to respond when you're running out to the garage to do carpool. It's still an adjustment, no matter how temporary.
There are those of you, like me, for whom this is permanent. You are retreading because despite your best efforts to raise them correctly, one or more of your own children, now grown, flew the nest and for whatever reason decided not to be a parent, having first created children. Perhaps it was alcohol, drugs or organic but treatable illness such as bipolar disorder that causes you to do this again. Perhaps there was a tragic accident (please accept my sympathies on the loss of your beloved child). Whatever the reasons, we now have one, two, three or even a whole brood for which we are now responsible. That responsibility will not end when Mommy or Daddy comes home, because Mommy or Daddy, maybe even Mommy and Daddy, are not coming home. The ball has been dropped into our laps; sometimes with a very hard thud of neglect and abandonment, other time almost a gentle game of Catch, with a gradual binding and loosing to the point where it just becomes a permanent situation.
With this permanent retread state, there are some who cannot afford to raise the grandkids without some kind of assistance. Kids need some sort of education, clothes, food, beds, a place to put their stuff, medical care. I am not an attorney and I am not a case worker for my state. I will try to get you as much information as I can, and let you supply what you've found through your experiences as well.
So we will be here for each other. We will remember that our grandchildren did not ask to be born, even when they demand, whine, stomp their feet, and drag the puss on their face down to their knees to try to get us to do their bidding. We will look for help, as we realize that sometimes we are our own best resources. We will be resolve when we know that it is better for these grandchildren to stay with us, and look for the best legal and emotional options for these children when Mom or Dad tries their hand at reclaiming them without the work necessary to reunify functionally. It might also mean looking at the possibility of placing these babies for adoption, or going through a reunification process. It might also mean taking the steps toward adoption of our grandchildren.
We did not make ourselves grandparents. Somebody, a child of ours, had sexual intercourse and created a child. That first child became our grandchild. We had no control over the matter. God has blessed us with life through our children. Though I'm Catholic, it makes me want to yell, "Mazel Tov" and "L'Chaim." Congratulations, to life!
I might go off the beaten path a bit. I have more about which to write than grandkids who are now the younger of my own kids. My opinions are my own, sometimes uniquely my own. They are from my viewpoint. Don't be surprised in the next couple of entries when you read about the Jolly Old Elf and his enterprise. Don't be surprised if I tell you the story of my late, great aunt, or recent memory. Don't be surprised if ethics or politics sneaks into the entry. Yes, we are retread parents. We are all also human.
As you read what I write, and participate through comments, please be aware: As the chief-blogger-in-charge, this is my story, and my information. You can comment. I want you to comment. I want you to have the opportunity to give suggestions to each other. I want not only retread parents- grandparents, aunts, uncles, other friends and relations- to participate. I welcome those in intact families, people in blended families, single people, people looking to adopt, young people, old people, and everybody in between the age range. I even welcome the parents who have given up their children to their parents.
All comments will be screened. I do this not to be an evil troll and censor, at least not that way. I do this because I have been flamed, allegedly by family members. I am not talking about "I disagree with what you wrote." I am talking about attacks on my sanity, my parenting, my memory of how things were. I am talking about "You have a loose grasp on reality" and other hurtful comments.
I don't care if you have a PhD in Psychology from an Ivy League university with post-doctoral work at a top think tank. God bless you for your diligence and effort to obtain your well-earned laurels. You still have no right to be rude, obnoxious and to condescend to my bloggers or to me. You have no right to question a person's sanity, mine or any of the bloggers who participate. You have no right to flame, because flames burn a person's soul and heart. Go open your own blog if you feel the need to tell your version of the story or offer your advice. Leave mine alone.
I hope you know that I will never use real names. I hope you have the same common sense. There are too many rude, and even harmful, people out there who would like nothing better than to prey on grandparents raising grandchildren. Be on guard! Evil exists in the world, and takes many forms.
So, let's begin!