“You are not going out with that boy unless his parents are driving and that's that. I'm not just Spitting Grits here, young lady!”

. . . My father, John Thomas Cravey, USAF, to me in 1956.

Spittin’ Grits on The Stir

I want to thank featured blogger K. Emily Bond at The Stir for her interest in Spittin’ Grits and her post last week of the interview with me about being a parenting grandparent. Our hour-long conversation covered many topics and details, and I’m pleased at the ones she picked to include in the post.

The Stir is part of the parenting site CafeMom, which offers its huge community of readers support, friendship, information and advice on a wide range of topics of interest to parents, particularly moms.

The Stir is a place on CafeMom for the featured bloggers to post topics that readers can respond to with comments that begin a conversation where everyone can join in.

The Numbers

My guess is that when all the Census 2010 figures shake out and are digested, those numbers Bond cited will be higher. (You can read the Pew Research Center publication here.) As Bond said, Spittin’ Grits deals primarily (but not exclusively) with drug addiction and being a parenting grandparent. My next guess is that as drug addiction numbers increase, so will the number of parenting grand- and great-grandparents.

Way Up the Mountain

Her insight that my most visible approach to parenting our granddaughter is finding practical solutions is correct. It’s part of getting real about the circumstances.

For example, when I recognized our granddaughter’s suffering and grief for the loss of her “mommy,” even at her very young age, I knew I needed help and guidance.

I am very clear that we are fortunate in being able to get the help we need. My 65-year-old husband recently accepted an offer of full-time employment (not easy to find these days) to ensure we could continue to give our granddaughter what she needs, plus all the extras.

The caveat, however, is that significant steps in the process of finding ways to care for grandchildren whose parents are drug addicts, criminals, imprisoned, mentally ill, or abusive/neglectful can be extremely difficult or impossible: getting the children away from bad parents, getting custody, getting the parent(s) to consent to adoption, finding financial or physical or emotional support – it’s all an uphill battle, and the system is not kind or supportive in most of it.

Sites

A grandparents parenting site I didn’t know about contacted me because of The Stir’s post: GrandsPlace. The Legal Resources link includes a post on a law needed to facilitate adoption and other solutions:

New laws covering the rights of children whom neither live with their parents nor are under the umbrella of the foster care system is needed. We need a law that will protect the rights of children being well cared for by relatives who are not able to adopt them while enabling the grandparents and other relatives to adopt if they choose and are qualified to adopt. Children being cared for by relatives should be accorded the same rights as foster children. If a grandparent or other relative wishes to and is qualified to adopt, the same time limits should apply. If the parents fail to rehabilitate themselves within a reasonable amount of time the rights of those parents must be terminated and allow a qualified grandparent or other relative who have been caring for the children in their absence to adopt those children. Only then can children, grandparents and the special others who are caring for the children depend on the promise of FOREVER.

Another very helpful grandparents parenting site is http://www.grandparentingblog.com/.

Somber Realities

One of my gravest concerns that the Pew Research Center reported in its on-line publication about parenting grandparents is the number who are close to or below the poverty level. Going through any or all of the steps cited above costs money, and some steps are more expensive than others: hiring attorneys, getting professional counseling, paying for medical care, sending the kids to pre-school or schools that require tuition, clothing the kids, seeing to the nutritional needs, and much, much more.

“Nearly one-in-five (18%) are living below the poverty line, while 47% have household incomes that fall between one- and three-times the poverty line. In comparison, among the population ages 50 and older, 8% are below the poverty line, and 32% are living on an income that is between one- and three-times the poverty rate,” according to the Pew Report.

This story is about the children. And the facts are abominable.

America has to find the will and the resources to help these children, starting with the growing numbers of drug, alcohol, and pill addicts among young people and moving on to those who are caring for the children of these addicts.

Once again, I thank K. Emily Bond in helping to bring these issues into the light.

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