The number of kids living with grandparents is on the rise due to a number of reasons, abandonment, neglect, parents going to prison-frequently for drugs, death or overdose. This effects many areas in both the lives of the kids and grandparents. Kids often come in with some kind of emotional baggage. They may have been neglected, abused or lost their parents. The grandparents also may have baggage, health issues, watching their kids deteriorate into an addict or abuser, or becoming an enabler as the kids use the grandkids for leverage and money which does not always go for the little ones. I have seen this first hand in the lives of my grandkids and it’s heartbreaking.
Many times the kids are left with grandparents in a rushed situation. Foster care has it’s place, and I have dear friends who are great foster parents. But it is best to have family take the kids who are displaced so they have a familiar haven to go to. This avoids foster care and finds the young ones who are stranded a place to go for safety and loving care. The elders may be hesitant at first but the love they have overrides. They are heroes, coming to the rescue of the wounded or abandoned. Saving the next generation so they can be whole, healthy and happy!
Financially it may be challenging. Unless the grandparents become foster parents there is limited funding from the government. According to Generations United, grandparents and other relatives raising children save taxpayers $4 billion each year by keeping the kids out of the foster care system. Legislation is trying to be passed to aid these heroes. I know of a situation where the grandparents only get $150/ month for food stamps for three grands they are keeping. And you know how far groceries go for three kids! The rewards to the grandparents are beyond the pocketbook, but still it’s a struggle.
We have a passion for grandparents raising grandkids. We are one of the millions that do. When Anthony’s daddy died he came to stay. We got guardianship so he would not go into the system. We cannot imagine our lives without him, and my husband is his father now. We are planning on starting a support group, a lifeline to grands. The energy and care will flow as we connect with one another. Join us. Contact us on awesomegrandmothers.org and let us know what you think. We wrote a book about our story, losing a son and gaining a grandson. There are helps for grief and raising a grandchild there. Order on Amazon, The Summer of Paintless Toenails is the book.
Thanks and we appreciate your questions, comments or concerns.