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Kinship Grandma

Hello all,

My name is Anita and I have had my grandkids since June 2017.  I knew this day would come because I watched my daughter do things that were very questionable.  Although I had no concrete proof, I'm no fool.  I watched my grandkids raise themselves and look for comfort from those who didn't care about them.  They never really had a relationship with me because mom always gave them the right to opt out of spending time with grandma.  And when they did come spend time, I wanted to give them so much in one visit, and it appeared like I was buying their love and friendship.  I knew one day, the system will catch up with my daughter and the children would need a place to live.  That time has come. When I got the call, I wasn't surprised but I wasn't prepared.  I couldn't say no, but I also knew I was about to experience a financial downfall.  My income was just enough for me.  When they came, it just wasn't enough but the system didn't care about that.  It was either take the kids or let them go into foster care.  So I put my big girl panties on and accepted the challenge.  In these past 5 months, I have been late on my rent twice, I've broken piggy banks and counted nickles, dimes, and quarters to cash in for food, I have evaded paying the light bill until now it's so high, I'm facing them being turned off.  Agencies act like they feel sorry for you but they see this so often that they become numb to the struggle of the people needing help. My daughter suddenly sees me as the enemy trying to take her kids from her when I didn't ask for any of this to happen.  I have my own health issues - Leukemia and diabetes.  So this has really been a toll on me physically and emotionally.  I live in SC and have not yet found a support group.  I wish I could find a location that will allow me to use it for free so I can start my own support group and invite counselors in to help navigate emotions and resources.  Any suggestions?

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AARP Expert

Dear Anita,


     If no one else is saying this to you, then let me say it:: Thank you for stepping up and taking care of your grandkids. Even if it is for just on a temporary basis, you are making a tremendous difference in their lives.


     In my state (Pennsylvania), you would be paid as a foster parent, even though you are a blood relation. Are you receiving payments in your state for the care you're providing? If not, then you might consider confering with Legal Aid or some other legal advisory group to obtain information on your rights as a grandparent and to help you advocate for receiving proper support from the state. Caring for your grandchildren shouldn't impoverish you.


     Two other suggestions: Can other family members (from either side of the family) help defray some of your costs? Is there a local church group that would consider providing you with some support to continue doing your good and vital work?


     One way or another, I hope you are rewarded for doing the right though difficult thing for your grandkids.--Barry Jacobs, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers



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