It seems that grandparents are afraid to speak their mind on the very personal story of their lives with raising their grandchildren.
I’m a grandparent in that exact position and I am here to tell you, I’m mad.
My husband and I raised five children and it wasn’t easy, and to be honest, it still isn’t easy. They’re all adults now, but they still need help. Like all children, they’ve gone through phases where they think you suck; I understand that’s part of parenting, but it isn’t fun.
Add to that fact that we are completely exhausted from raising five children, and were hoping to actually have some peace and quiet along with a bit more money in our pockets once our kids were out of the house. Tragically, drug addiction bombed our life into smithereens, and my granddaughter was affected the most.
That’s right, my daughter became addicted to drugs after having a child. So what can you do in that situation? Truthfully, your options, quite frankly, suck.
You can do nothing, let the state handle it, the grandchild can go into foster care and you can hope you will still get to see them.
You can pursue adoption for your grandchild, try and find new parents for your grandchild that will consider an open adoption so that you can maintain being a grandparent.
You can figure out how to remove the grandchild from your child’s care and go for guardianship, and ultimately if your child doesn’t get their life together, you yourselves can adopt your grandchild.
None of these options are ideal.
My husband and I gave up our empty nest. We came into our marriage with children from our first marriages, and it had never been just been he and I. We were truly looking forward to our kid-free time and retirement together.
Of our children, one is severely autistic who is now in assisted living, one is drug-addicted, and the others were in the “you suck” phase when we knew we needed to help remove our granddaughter from our daughter’s care. I was not super-confident that we were what was the best option for our granddaughter; maybe we weren’t good at raising kids.
I also felt that my granddaughter was getting the short end of the stick. She lost both of her parents to drugs, and was inheriting two “olds”, and essentially losing her grandparents because we would now be acting as her parents. Everything about this situation is messed up, to be blunt.
Your child is addicted to drugs. The parent of your grandchild can’t take care of your precious grandchild. YOUR CHILD IS ADDICTED TO DRUGS. We always worry about our children being safe, even when they’re adults. My child is flirting with disaster, which could ultimately kill her.
My grandchild has lost the only parents she knows, and we have lost our freedom. Like I said earlier, I’m angry.
The finality to this saga: I got my grandchild away from my daughter and her partner, who are both addicts. I acquired guardianship of my grandchild, and then I removed my daughter’s parental rights. I say this so easy now, but nothing about this process was any way easy.
Before we adopted my granddaughter, we tried to find new parents for her with an adoption agreement in place to maintain my family’s role in her life.
I believe still to this day, that this is a good option for the child affected. The child gets parents who want nothing more than to be parents, and they keep your family, and you get to continue being their grandparents.
This ultimately didn’t work out for us because really no one has ever tried this before now — at least not that we were familiar with. I learned a lot from this experience and although it failed, it showed me the path clearly that I needed to take.
We adopted our grandchild.
As angry as I have expressed that I am, the anger is mostly bottled-up resentment. We love our granddaughter with every cell of our beings. We are navigating this chapter of our life better than I ever imagined.
She is precious, and we are a little family unit that is actually quite beautiful. I am so proud of her, and I am proud of us.
It isn’t easy being this age and starting all over, and we have made a lot of sacrifices, but she is so worth it.
However, any grandparent that says they wouldn’t have it any other way, that grandparent is full of it.
Lisa Holliday is the Founder of helpinggrandparents.com, which offers support and resources to grandparents who are advocating on behalf of themselves and their grandchildren.
This article was originally published at Medium.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.