I am circling the runway... in a holding pattern
(Oregon... and leaving)
I could have retired last year but decided to stay until things were worked out with my only grandchild. Unfortunately her parents are struggling with drug addiction so I have been raising her on and off for the past 8 years.
I've had her as a foster child 3X and more often informally because her parents were either homeless or unable to care for her.
You would think the court would automatically give me guardianship but instead they have fought me every step of the way because I'm elderly and disabled. I assumed child welfare no longer was able to use those factors as a reason not to assign custody... but I was wrong.
I have a sympathetic judge but child welfare has played games by not setting court hearings and not letting me be party to the case.
I don't have the money to get a lawyer. But I'm seeing one tomorrow to see if she will file in court for me to be deemed an EMOTIONAL PARENT, or whatever it's called.
I have been more of a mother to this little girl than either of her parents. The only bedroom she's ever had has been in my home. I have her 2 cats, hamster and guinea pig. Her room is full of toys and a cute junior loft bed.
Child welfare is dead set on adopting my granddaughter out. I am frightened and devastated. They have even placed her in another foster home this time. I feel like I have no rights. And when I visit her they supervise me and take notes from behind two-way mirrors.
The whole thing is humiliating and unethical. I am now sorry I never initiated the paperwork to assume custody when she was a baby. Because I didn't child welfare says that shows a lack of care for her. Yet it was them that continued to try and unify her with her parents, putting her squarely in line for more abuse and neglect.
They recently moved her from one foster home to another after I reported she was being sexually molested at the first one. They tried to cover it up and pretend it didn't happen until another little girl was molested there. They actually had the nerve to blame ME saying I didn't report it fast enough!!
I have phone records showing numerous phone calls to them trying to report it. Yes, they are playing games.
I try to console myself by thinking of all the freedom I will now have in retirement. All the extra money and time. No more babysitting and having to do things that are hard for me to do because of my mobility problems.
I chart out trips I will take in my RV, lakes I will fish in and all the retirees I will make friends with on my journey.
But then I see her little face looking up at me and begging me to take her home. She always asks me if I'm fighting hard for her. How much longer. And I can't bear it.
But then I wonder if she might be happier with a real family. A family that is active and on the go all the time. A mom who dies her hair and buys her pretty clothes. A sister who becomes her BFF.
I don't know what is right. I'm so torn. I would have had the money for an attorney if I hadn't spent all my money rescuing her parents, paying for daycare and raising my granddaughter. Everything I've ever bought for her has been hocked, ruined or traded because of drugs.
I got smart the past year and stopped sending anything of value with her whenever she left my home. But as a result I have a closet-full of new clothes that no longer fit her and toys she is now too old to play with.
I plan to donate what I currently have and maybe start over with her room. I bought her the princess bed she picked out online before they took her away. I also bought matching bedspread and curtains with fairies on them as well as wall decals with fairies. But again, I'm torn. Do I keep moving in this direction or just start getting an RV ready to roll out of here?
I am in a holding pattern this past year. I dare not fix up her room and buy the trampoline she wants if I'm just going to sell my home anyway. I don't see many grandparents on this forum who are in my shoes.
I have felt very alone because when I have my granddaughter we don't seem to fit in the young parent group nor do we fit with the over 55 crowd. In fact I can't move to an over 55 place with my granddaughter. They have rules against bringing children. I looked online to find a community that caters to the unique needs of grandparents raising grandchildren with no luck.
I'm not sure what I'm asking from this group or what I'm trying to say. Maybe I'm looking for advice, help, support- and I'm also reminding those here who feel they lost their purpose when they retired that grandparents who are raising grandchildren would probably love to have you join them on outings, provide a few hours of respite, help with transportation, or teach a new craft or skill to the child. Everyone has a song to teach. Reach out to kinship families and be a friend.
Thank you for reading my post.
Wendy's other site... because Aging Matters!