Hello everyone and welcome to The Grandparents Corner.  On this forum, we hope to connect grandparents raising grandchildren by sharing our personal experiences.  It’s a place to share what worked, and what didn’t work for us.  But most of all, it’s a place that reminds us that we are not in this alone.  Here’s a bit of my story:

My name is Vicky and I have had guardianship of my granddaughter since the day after she was born in 2013.  Because of my child’s substance use disorder and with only a few days to prepare, at the age of 55, I became a mother again.  Dealing with social workers, hospital staff, court dates, DCF visits, my employer, and learning what my grandchild was entitled to was daunting.  It took me a year and a half to get a daycare voucher, and then came the exasperating task of finding a daycare that accepted the vouchers.

But it wasn’t all panic.  Every morning when my granddaughter wakes, she looks at me with her big, blue, smiling eyes and everything is okay.  She is my joy and my hope for the future, and I’d like to share that with all of you.

We need a place to vent.  For some of us, our lives changed overnight as we took our grandchild/ren in after a traumatic incident, usually involving substance use and/or mental health disorders affecting our own children.  The vision of our retirement years drastically changed or disappeared completely.  We’re left wondering what services are available to support us in our new role?  What services are available for our grandchild/ren?

Nationwide, grandparents are raising 2.6 million grandchildren.  We are a large, diverse group of people.  Legislatively we have a loud, strong voice.  AARP, here we come!

We also worry about our own children who are so deep into their disease that they have lost their children.  That fact alone is staggering for us to deal with.  We need to stay healthy and strong to help our own kids when they are ready to seek treatment.

So here we are.  We have our grandkids who are traumatized, we grandparents are traumatized, and we have questions that we can’t find answers to.  Do we let the “system” in?  What state agencies do we even contact?   Would a lawyer help?  Can we even afford a lawyer?  Let’s start this journey and together find the answers to our questions.

Please register for our online forum at www.learn2cope.org.  There you will find the Grandparents Corner.

Please remember:  There is hope.  You are not alone.

Senior Southeast Regional Manager