I once again want to say thank you for all the wonderful support and prayers that you all have given me. You have no idea how much this has helped me to remain strong through out this. This past weekend, my step daughter, told us that she will now sign the papers...that she will now contact our lawyer tomorrow and make arrangements to sign them. She has also agreed to follow the plan we gave her, in order to get them back. This will give us custody and the power to keep them until she gets her life together. This will also keep us from having to go to court. We are relieved and happy to some extent but she has agreed to this in the past and not followed through. We will not relax until they are actually signed. Once she has signed the papers, we will finally breathe a sigh of relief and stop walking on egg shells. Then it's up to her to do what she needs to do to get them back....and yes it will be a long hard road.
I have been thinking today about this ordeal that we have been going through...this whole subject of grandparents or relatives raising children that are not their own...having to step in to protect children and in doing so, most often have to go up against their own children. When children are neglected, abused and abandoned, it is many times the grandparents or another relative that pick up the slack or the raising of them. In order to keep their grandchildren out of the system, they take them in without any help or knowing any rights that they may have.
Many grandparents and relative caregivers are threatened by their own children to not make the arrangement legal...they hold the children's welfare over them, by saying "if your going to do that, then I'm just going to take them back."...which almost always wins because the grandparents know what would happen to these little ones, if they were to go back. So, many grandparents, like us, live a life of fear of their own children...not to mention the guilt we as parents feel for the choices our children make...add in the loneliness and isolation that many of us feel because there is not a lot of support or awareness in our communities. Many grandparents, like us, fight alone, against our own children and a system that was not built with this in mind.
There are not many laws that protect or honor these people that give up their lives to take on such a task. Instead, they live at the mercy of their own children, with the hope that they can continue to protect the lives of these children that have become their own. Depending upon the state you live in, grandparents or relatives have little to no rights...we do have some rights but it's finding a lawyer that knows and understands them that can be a problem and then you have to figure out a way to pay this lawyer, with no guarantee that you will win in the end.
Those that try to speak for the children that have no voice, get lost in the laws that are suppose to protect these little ones they fight for. The happiness and safety of these children are second to the rights of their parents. What about the rights of these children? What about their voice? Children should have a right to a voice and to be heard.
I believe that things happen for a purpose in life. I still don't understand fully, the purpose of this journey besides loving and caring for these two little people. I know my life has been blessed from having them here and I know I have gained much more wisdom from this experience. Maybe some day I will have the opportunity to get more active in the fight to raise awareness of this epidemic of grandparents raising grandchildren and to help get more laws changed to support relative caregivers. Maybe I will be able to use what I have learned to support other grandparents that find themselves in this situation. All I know is that I will walk away from this journey a much wiser and a much better person...all because of two little interruptions.
Has it been worth the interruptions of my so called life? A thousand times yes.