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By Karen Best Wright

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October 18, 2010

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Lupus Emedicine

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Liz

I am 49 and raising my soon to be 14 year old grandson. When my son(his father) past away 5 yrs ago, I knew he would be with me at some point. His mother just couldn't give up the drugs, the men and dragging children from pillar to post. Finally when she was arrested the court gave him to me and sent his 1/2 sister to her paternal biological grandparents. I have had him a year and half. He is a great child and I am blessed to have him. Although it is difficult financhaily. My husband left when the dr's found a tumor in my lung and breast.(Still awaiting test results) I applied for the SS survivor benefits for him from my son and found out that I would only be entitled to 1/2 of what his mother received. Seems that the other 1/2 was caregiver benefits for the parent in case the parent couldn't work. I had to fight just to get half although I had all of my court documentation giving me custody. And of course now no one seems to stop by anymore. It's not like it was when I was in my 20's raising mine and so was all my friends. Where we traded off with children to give each other a break. And of course my energy level to keep up with a 14 yr old boy is long gone. Although some days are longer then others. And some days I wonder how we are going to make it. And fair it's not grandparents that are doing the right thing have only 10% of the rights and help that the parents have.I do not regret for one minute taking on this responsibilty..At night the kids always went to bed before me and I would kiss them on their forehead goodnight now I go to bed before him and when he goes to bed he always comes and kisses me on the forehead. He thinks I am asleep...It's Precious :)Thoughts and Prayers are with you. You are truly God's chosen one.

Patrice

I am a 55 yr. old Grandmother raising 2 of my Grandchildren(again). I had them for over 4 yrs., and the mother got out of prison, so the state decided to give her "another chance" to be a good mother. So, we went through the whole reunification process, and the entire time I kept telling these people, You;re making a huge mistake, because the mother is not going to change, and the children will be back with me. I was right. The mother started using drugs right away, getting in trouble with the law, etc etc..long story short, the mother is back in prison again for a long time. I got the children back in June 2009, I hired a lawyer this time, and on March 15, 2010, I will be their adoptive parent. The mother nor my oldest son who is the father can never fight to get them back, which is what I wanted. I love my oldest son, and he is also in prison for another 2 and a half yrs., not for drugs, but nonetheless, he messed up again. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it all. He is 30 yrs. old, getting a bit old to be acting like a fool. He is bi-polar, as is the birth mother. I used to cry when he would get into trouble, I don;t anymore. The only 2 people that matter to me in this are these 2 beautiful Children. They are brother and sister. Sister is 6 and brother is 8. They are wonderful children. My Grandson doesn;t have any issues, but my Granddaughter has ADHD, and I've put her on meds. for it, and she is doing much better. Doctor said in another year or two, she probably won;t need it, which would be fantastic! I am raising them both alone as I always have, no husband, so it is difficult. Was reading through some of the comments from above, and boy oh boy it hit home! I mean, let;s face it, none of us ever thought we would be raising kids again. My hope was to be in another state once my own kids were grown, and just enjoying life, meeting new people, taking up some new hobby, all of that..However, none of that has happened obviously. I remember at one of the court hearings, I looked at the assistant attorney general and said, I feel like I have no life, and her reply to me was, "You Don;t have a life." I love both of these kids with all of my heart and soul, but there are times I get so frustrated because I need some thing for just ME. I feel as though I have lost ME somewhere along the way, and at times I get depressed about it, and have to snap myself out of it. And believe me, I've had many comments made to me when people found out I was raising them. Most people have been really nice, others not so much. People can be downright ignorant..I got everything from, "I don;t know how you do it!", to "What are you, crazy??" They tell me they would never in a million yrs. do what I'm doing. I got so ticked off one day at one person(supposed to be my friend), that I turned around, looked her right in the eyes and said, "Well, I happen to love my Grandchildren, and I'm not selfish like some people." But I have come to realize that I really do need to find something for myself to do without kids..it would help my moods I think, and make me a better caregiver as well. I've also heard the comment as one of the grandparents above stated, with people saying to me, Well at least you have more patience now that you;re older." It's clear, they have never raised grandkids at our age. When you aren't raising grandkids, and your grandkids are just visiting every now and then..of course you have more patience! You;re not raising them day to day, 24/7. When you are raising them 24/7, sometimes your patience wears thin at times. I get totally exhausted, and when I do, I feel guilty because I don;t have the energy to do much of anything. It's tough, it really is, especially if you are raising them all by yourself. Also, I have 4 sisters in total..3 of which live in the same town that I do, the 4th lives out of state..the same thing is happening this time that happened when I raised them the first time around for over 4 plus yrs...they just don;t come around anymore at all. I don;t see them at all. They never call or come out, nothing. Didn;t see any of them at Christmas either. They have made comments that they think I'm crazy for raising them, and "What were you thinking?", among other hurtful comments. I got so angry afterwhile, "I said, So you;re telling me that if you had to raise any of your grandchildren, you would refuse and let them go into foster care, and basically they were saying yes, and that they would just visit them! I couldn;t believe my ears, I really couldn;t. I was disgusted. So, I just distanced myself from them..it;s sad, but now I've kind of gotten used to it. If they are going to be negative, I don;t want it around me. Why do people, even your own family feel the need to make you feel like crap for raising your grandchildren? In my heart and mind and the deepest part of my soul, I know I am doing the right thing. These 2 children have only known my home as their real home anyway most of their lives, so they had no issues coming back to me whatsoever..it was like they never left. I kept all of their things the same, never gave anything away. The only thing I did was paint their bedrooms. The mother never let me see them when she got them back, and that just about destroyed me and them. She felt threatened by me, because I was the only one whoever stood up and fought for these children, and she hated me for that. Sounds ridiculous, but that's how she viewed it. Since getting them back this time, the whole process has really taken its' toll on me emotionally, physically, etc..be so glad when it's all overwith, and we can be a normal family without social workers, courts, meetings, home visits, none of that. Just about had my fill of my privacy being invaded. I need some Peace, and so do the kids. I've even had to cut a couple of friends loose throughout this process. I really believed in my heart that they would be there for me and support me, but they were not supportive at all..they were judging me for doing it..telling me how foolish I was, and that they couldn;t stand having little ones around every single day at our age. One even looked at me and said, You should really reconsider what your doing and call the state and tell them you changed your mind! Needless to say, I told her what I thought of her ignorant suggestion, showed her the door, and told her our friendship was over permanently. I felt much better afterwards though. Let's face it folks, when we were raising our children in our 20's 0r 30's, it was way different..for one thing, we were younger with much more energy, plus we had friends raising children as well, so we had a huge support, and everyone kind of leaned on each other and helped each other out, even for babysitting occasionally to have a night out or whatever..when you are in our age group and raising little ones, there aren;t alot people to hang with, who support you, and who are willing to babysit so you can go out for an evening to a movie or dinner or anything else, or even a date! I don;t even know what a date is anymore, not sure I ever will. I'd like to think so one day, but who knows. Ohhh, and one other thing, the other friend that I cut loose..guess what she said to me? I never would have expected this from her either. But when she found out that you get an adoption subsidy for each child once you adopt them, she completely flipped out on me..no joke. I never got any help at all before, nothing..it was all on me, so it is nice to be able to breathe just a little bit easier. It does help some. She said, Well, I don;t think it;s right for grandparents or anyone who adopts to get any kind of money for these kids, you should pay for it yourselves." This what she said to me. Then, in the next breath, she said, as she was laughing, "Well, I maybe I'll go adopt some kids so I can have some extra money." I saw a side of her I never knew existed, and it was ugly. I was appalled by all that she said to me, and quite insulted. She is no longer my friend. Unfortunately, this is what happens to some of us raising grandchildren..it shouldn;t, but does. To those of you who have a wonderful supporting family and friends...you are very blessed. I have a select group of friends now, who have become my family, my new family. My daughter who is 37 and married with her own family lives a couple of hours away and comes when she can to visit..they both work full time and have 2 boys of their own. My youngest son is a Staff Serjeant in the Army, and stationed in Washington, so he is only home every so often. He is a great Uncle though..the kids absolutely adore him. He pays them alot of attention. He has 3 kids of his own and is divorced now, so when he comes home, he is busy with his own and the 2 I'm raising as well. :) He does help me out alot. I sure do miss him. Anyway, ladies and gents, I hope I haven;t bent your ears too much...hahahaha...evidently I needed to vent a bit..thank you for allowing me to do so. It felt good. :-) Nice to be able to chat with other grandparents doing the same thing, someone you can actually relate to, and gets what you;re going through. The kids and I do alot of things..my grandson is playing basketball, is in Boy Scouts and also Karate. I told him though, that he might have to give something up soon, and choose just one for now, because Nana is getting exhausted running constantly....LOL..he was so great about it. He said he chooses Karate. It's been really great for him, for his self-confidence and self-esteem. That's mainly why I got him into it. My Granddaughter takes dance class..jazz/hip-hop/tap and ballet. She loves it, and it;s also been fantastic for her being ADHD, making her focus better, keep on task. It's alot of running though...lol..between that and doctor appts, etc, then trying to keep up with housework and just everyday stuff, errands etc...it;s alot. Again thank you so much for listening to this tired, but very blessed Nana from Maine! :-D Patrice

pamela

I am a 52 year old grandmother raising 6 grandkids, ages 10 yr to 1 yr, 5 girls and 1 little boy its hard, but you have do whats best for my grandkids, their mother stuggles with an close head injury. Her condition makes it very hard for to care for her children, so thats where i had to come in, i didn't want my grandkids in foster care system. We are a happy family i am also a single grandmother, raisng these 6 grandkids.

Donna

Hi Dana...
I am 47, raising two grandchildren ages 4 and 7 months. I have adopted the 4 year old, and am now fostering (with the hope of adopting) the littlest. AND...for all I know she could be pregnant again!
People don't understand... You didn't choose to have these children. You didn't have 9 months to prepare: emotionally, physically, financially. You are twice their age and work more than 40+ hours a week. And...given your generation...you work ethic and committment is probably much different (which actually adds a burden they cannot understand).
I get frustrated when people make those statements without even thinking. Sometimes...I just politely, and empathetically say..."you know, you can't even imagine. The only thing that is the same is that we are raising kids...but the circumstances are so different".
They don't understand how you mourn being an actual grandmother, when suddenly you become "mommy". They don't get how much you love your child who gave birth, but also how much you are hurt, dismayed, confused by her, or that you are so angry that sometimes you wouldn't care if you never heard from her again!
I understand this..., and for that reason I agree it is so important for you and I both to find some support that includes others in our situation.
Right now...I am facing adopting #2. Adopting means stability for us all. It is not the future I had planned...but it is my destiny.
Right now...the "other grandmother" asks me every other weekend if she can visit him. She is in contact with the bio's, she lies, and she does not help at all. She loves him though... But when the adoption is final, am not sure what to do. I feel like my life is not my own. When I was going through this with #1, I was sad that the other familty didn't want anything to do with her. Now I see how that was a blessing for us.
I will keep you in my prayers!
Donna

mjmmcwhorter@aol.com

Dana you are not alone. I am 55 and even though I have a husband who helps he works all day. I also have lupus that is out of remission. One of our grandsons is bi-polar and adhd and is only four. The other is five. They are now both in pre-k and kindergarten but now there is homework, school functions,doctor appts. etc. I can't breath at all literally, and still have to push my self just to get through the day. Everyone tells us " I don't know how you do it". Well, we do what we have to do for their sakes. In the long run, at the end of the day when they are tucked in their beds asleep, I smile and say well we made it through another day and they are safe, happy and healthy.

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