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By Karen Best Wright

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February 03, 2017


Paula French

Get the grandson in play therapy to build a strong case that your home is his home and he is thriving. Then get a good lawyer

Catherine Holstein

Is there a specific diagnosis or term used for a child that suddenly worries about being lost or who will pick them up at the end of each week day? A 3 year old child has been abandoned by both parents. Grandparents now have official guardianship of the child. The child and his very young mother have lived with the grandparents (the mother’s parents) the child’s entire life. Their home has always been his home and the grandparents have always served in a parental role due to the very young age of the mother.

The mother is now out of the home because of drug addiction and sees the child periodically for court-ordered supervised visitation at the YWCA. The mother’s attendance for the visitation is sporadic, and often times the mother is a no-show which means the child and grandparents are at the YWCA waiting for the mother to arrive and she doesn’t. The month of October the mother has missed 4 out of 5 visitations - only 1 was cancelled by the mother ahead of time. The child’s father used to be involved in the child’s life. The father still lived at home with his mother and siblings, and the child visited with his father and his family often. For 5 months now, the grandparents have not seen or heard from the father or his family, absolutely nothing. The grandparents believe the family actually moved to another state, and they think the father might still be in the area but don’t know where.

For almost 2 years, the child has had the following routine each week day: the grandfather takes him to the babysitter in the morning and the grandmother picks him up at the end of her school work day. The child’s mother moved out of the home permanently in January, but months and months before that she would be gone for days at a time. Occasionally, since the permanent move of the mother out of the home, the child would tell the grandparents not to lose him, or have the grandparents reassure him that this is his home with his grandparents. The child would sometimes ask why his mother doesn’t live with them. The grandparents have always answered that she is sick, but he doesn’t understand why if his mother is sick and not living at home with him but she doesn’t seem sick when he does see her. The child doesn’t talk about his father or his father’s family much except if something reminds him of them. When the child does ask where is his father, at first the grandparents would answer that his father was working. However, the grandparents have been advised by a child psychologist to tell him the truth in an understandable way without being negative about the father, so the grandparents now tell the child that they do not know where his father is.

For over a week, every day the child has been exhibiting excessive behaviors of uncertainty and worry that have the grandparents very concerned. When the grandfather drops him off at the babysitter’s house he clings to the grandfather, repeatedly tells the grandfather he loves him, keeps running to the door to have the grandfather give him more hugs and kisses and high fives, and wants the grandfather to verbally confirm that the grandmother will be picking him up when she is finished at work. The child has had the same babysitter since he was an infant and the babysitter is very structured and caring. There are other children there and the babysitter maintains the same routine each day. The child has been telling the grandmother more frequently not to lose him, tells the grandmother how much he missed her when he was at the babysitter, and wants to sleep right up next to the grandmother at night. The child has also begun wanting the grandparents to tell him where he will go when he wakes up in the morning, even though it is the same place it has always been. The grandparents are sure to tell the child if the next day is a day at home, such as the weekend or a day off.

I am asking your professional opinion or advice about these specific behaviors, or to explain why they are suddenly occurring more extreme. Is there a psychological diagnosis or term used to describe this type of behavior? The child psychologist said there is really not counseling or therapy for a 3 year old in this situation, and the grandparents are providing a very loving, safe and secure, and stable home environment for the child. The phychologist did an developmental assessment and the child scored in the average or above average range for each area of the assessment - social, emotional, cognitive, physical, etc. The child is very happy when he is at home with his grandparents. When he does have a visit with his mother he is not upset when he leaves, and he goes right back to his grandparents often running. He did cry for a few minutes the last few times she just didn’t show up and and he had been waiting.

Karen Wright

Sheila, You may be trying to rescuing too many children with a lot of problems. Sometimes grandparents feel they are the only ones who can properly take care of children. I can't tell you what to do, but in some cases, we may need others step in and take responsibility. Remember that children will grow up and have an opportunity to get to know their siblings eventually. Please don't do more than you can do and what is also good for the children.


I have such a heavy heart and unsure of what to do, 1st off myself and my husband are 50 and we have been raising our oldest daughters kids (she's a drug addict ) for the past 9 years, we adopted her autistic son when CPS took away the parents rights back when he was 4, he has been with us ever since he was infant, his sister is 11 years old and has been with us for 6 years, she lived with the paternal grandparents ever since she was 9 months old up to 4 years old and now all 4 of us grandparents have guardianship of her, but myself and my husband are in complete control in all aspects of her. Now the problem that I am having and facing on making a decision is that my middle daughter that is also a drug addict 3 boys ranging age 11, 9, & 2 (all different fathers) CPS has come in and taken them from her and the babies dad for the 3rd time in the past 4 years and are petitioning the DA to terminate parental rights and place them all for adoption, all 3 are with us and I'm telling you our house is in an uproar, the 11 year old is defiant and won't follow the rules and argues with everything, the 8 year old was acting inappropriately with another grandchild of our youngest daughter when they came to visit and after reporting it to the case worker we had to have an investigation done on us because he acted out sexually towards her and they tried to blame us for not supervising him, finally closed out this investigation, and the 2 year old has no boundaries, he growls, throws things, hits and very disobedient, we have been working on him with time outs when he has his outbursts and nothing is working, my stress level Is to the max, I'm lost and drowning in the right decision to do for these boys, I love them dearly as I do the other 2 that I'm already raising, but I don't know if we can do this, the commitment and the struggle of there defiance and mouthyness and disrespect is tearing my heart into with not considering adopting them and if we don't they will be separated as the 9 year olds paternal aunt said she would take him and the 2 y olds paternal grandmother wants him, but my heart hurts with the thought of them not growing up together like they deserve. I'm lost in this thought of doing the right thing to do for them and for myself and husband. I'm bitter and angrier at my middle daughter that she let this happen, I have told her since the first time that CPS stepped in that would not do this again as I have done for my first daughters 2 kids. I'm lost and broken with the thoughts in doing the right thing for me and for them.

Karen Wright

Debra, I agree with Granny. Talk to an attorney. If you are footing the financial bill on everything, you should at least be claiming him on your taxes.

Shellie M Robinson

I have adopted my 2 granddads and have had them for 4 years now along with my new male companion.
He is very good with them, but was not really wanting to raise kids again. But has accepted that they are mine and will be with me forever.
My question is my oldest daughter has a beautiful 3 year old that I have been caring for off and on for 2 years. She is unable to provide for her daughter. I want to take her until she gets her life ttogether.But my partner says I shouldn't because she will be never settle down and take responsiblity.
But I can't stand to see this baby being bounced around from couch to couch not having a bed or toys or steady secure home.
I work, my partner has cancer and when its severe i care for him, and I fear if I do take my granddaughter he will leave.

And I can handle that, but we have waited 30 years to be back together. And his life span has been shortened due to his cancer.(we are 51 and 54)
What do i do? My daughter keeps saying she will apply for housing,but its been 4 months now.
I love my babies, my partner. But I feel Im being pushed to decide .I don't like that,pleased help me .


"Dad" is bluffing. he doesn't want the boy or he would have him. He'd run like a jack rabbit if he had him every day. Get a lawyer.

Debra Van Gorder

My husband and I are raising our grandson. We have had him on an everyday basis since he was 2, he is now almost 9. Before he was 2 we had him more often than not. 2nd day if his life he stayed the night with us. We are a bit unique in the fact that we don't have custody if him his father does. Our daughter at the time of court was mentally unstable and the father gained custody. We have the most grandparents rights ever issued in the state of MS. The father has custody but he lives with us. The father is supposed to carry insurance on him but doesn't, the father files taxes and claims him even though he doesn't live with him. We buy all clothes, school, supplies, baseball fees, Boy Scout fees etc. we want to go back to court and get custody of him but we are afraid we will get that judge that feels regardless the child is best to be with one of the parents. Then if we take him back to court and lose he will take him and make him live with him. The boy is completely attached to us. He sees his father every two weeks and his mother every two weeks. Visitation of sorts. He calls our house his home. He calls us Nannie and Papa but slips often and calls us mom or dad. We quickly correct him.The fear of the father deciding he wants to play dad is the worst part of it all. The thought of him taking him scares us because it would completely destroy our grandson. The father doesn't want to do the full time dad thing but if he thought it would make my daughter mad he would do it with no regards of how it would affect the boy. Does anyone have any advice??

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