Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by New Leaf, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    As I write this, my three grands are sleeping in my living room.
    I have not seen them in quite some time, the story is the same, they are pawns in the hands of their parents, and I am often seen as the "enemy", so my daughter goes silent, and the grands disappear.
    It is my quest for normalcy in their lives that positioned me as such.
    Then, my recognition that I was incapable of "helping" (enabling)....and that the peace and sanity in my home, for my own young son was stripped away.
    Then my hubs passed.
    Life has a way of throwing stuff at us.
    I have been praying a lot for my son, my two, my grands to find their true potential.
    Praying for strength to get through the grieving process and find my own way.
    I have been grieving for a long time, over the choices of my wayward daughters, then the loss of my hubs.
    Trying to find a way to bring peace to my life despite the choices and consequences reaped by drug use, hoping for change, finally knowing I have no control over adult children's choices.
    After this long period of no contact, no phone number, no address, I received a text to go to my grandsons championship football game.
    So, we went.
    Seeing them was wonderful, they have grown so much, the oldest, skyscraper tall.
    I found myself asking if they wanted to come for the summer.
    Of course, their parents jumped at the chance to have a summer free. Promised to help with groceries, etc, etc.
    I am on a widows budget.
    They have EBT for the three kids.
    I think you can all guess where this is going.

    No show, no phone call, no answering texts.

    My three beautiful grands are with me.
    I love them dearly.
    They are war torn.
    One has no shoes, they all have no underwear.
    At first, they are guarded.
    I can see by the sadness in their eyes and I know from past experience that they have been through hell.
    The stories start to spill out.
    My gut churns, my heart aches.
    Of course, I have blown my budget trying to get them decent clothes and food, that's besides the point, but nonetheless a factor for my son and I.

    I have tried so many times to fix this. Okay, you are right, it is out of my control, I can't fix it.

    Called CPS, many times in the past, to no avail, it seems the system is overwhelmed and the answer has always been that my grands are not in "imminent danger".

    My grands are refugees.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2017
  2. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I have to add that I have broken my promise to my son. I promised him that we would not go through this again, that the revolving door was closed and that my full attention would be on him.
    I had a talk with him last night, and he wants us to try and help his nephews and niece.
    What that entails, I do not know.
    Their parents will not be allowed to stay here.
    That is for certain.
    I am taking this one day at a time.
    Their mother suggested I get power of attorney to be able to take them to the doctor if need be.
    I think I will work on that, so I can get them some counseling. If they open up to a counselor, maybe, just maybe, they will get some help to process what they have been through?
    This is complicated.
    And hard.
    Not fair to them or us.
    We love them.
  3. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I'm sad for you and your grands, Leafy.

    The parents won't return your texts? Don't you need them to give you power of attorney, or at least a noterized letter of permission in case the grands need to go to the doctor? Or I assume she could notify their doctor that you have permission to bring them in. But, either way, doesn't one of the parents need to be involved to get it done?

    Counseling sounds great. I hope you can get that going for them.

    Does your daughter have a permanent address?

    I just got off the phone with my brother, who has two D C daughters and seven grands.

    He and his wife took the five grands (from daughter #1) for the weekend so that the parents could move (got evicted).

    They came with no diapers (three still wearing them), no toothbrushes, one without shoes, not a complete outfit for any of them.

    I don't know how they got another place to live, with no jobs, no money, no anything. I suspect my brother had some hand in this. I wish he wouldn't enable, but he doesn't want the kids to go to foster care like he did.

    Your son sounds like a gem.

    Let us know how things are going.

  4. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    This was actually my daughters idea, but she put it off until.......? I have free notary service at my bank. Them not returning calls or texts is typical. It is either the drama and chaos in their life, or fear that I will change my mind to keep the kids for the summer? Who knows? Or, they have blown their EBT already.
    Yes, one of the parents does need to be involved to get it done. Right now, I have decided to take it one day at a time, to not go into over thinking, or emergency rescue mode.
    No permanent address, they lost their place according to the grands. This is typical.
    I am so sorry for your brothers troubles. This happened to hubs and I when the grands were younger. Two in diapers, one bottle feeding. No help from the authorities. Went through our savings and much time spent on agency ordered family counseling sessions and such.
    Theres the thing, it's not the kids fault the parents are off the rails. The grands are the ones that suffer the most. If we take on the responsibility, it enables the parents to continue as is. It is the worst catch 22 ever, Apple!
    He is wonderful.
    He is going to counseling, and most of his processing is this history of his sisters.
    The counselor is very good. I am hoping to get that power of attorney signed, just to be able to take the grands there. I am thinking that if they share with a counselor, what they shared with us, then the wheels may get turning. Not for me to take on their responsibility, but for them to wake up to it?
    Am I falling into the trap of enabling again? I don't know Apple. I have not been with my grands much at all since I first came here. I thought that having them for the summer would give us all a chance to reconnect. Of course, in our situation that does not come without drawbacks. I will continue to think and pray on this.
    Thank you Apple, for your thoughts and kindness.
    I have to add that I met a lovely young woman at paddling practice. We have had some conversations, and she has a mutual friend who knows my dilemma. She shared with me that she comes from a background of addiction- both parents. She said the time she spent with her grandmother helped her tremendously. She also said that it is "in here" (heart and mind) how one decides to lead their lives, and that she and her sister made up their minds to walk a different path.
    I don't want to enable these parents, but neither do I want to be cut off from my grands.
  5. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Dear Leafy,
    I know you so love your mo’opuna, and what a very special impact their time with you will have on their tender hearts and memories. However, I also relate to the big drain it will be on your time and energies, and the disappointments you will see also, as well as the joys that shine through now and then. It’s good to have your son and Hoku (is she still with you?) to help out with mo’opuna’s care and supervision: that is a big ohana ke kōkua for you all. .

    I try to keep my younger "grands" ~ Difficult Child son’s 2 children (ages 6 and 10) several days per month. I just let them go back home today, after having them for 8 days during the school break. (I am glad to come back to work to rest and get strong again.) While I do love for the kids to stay with us just to enjoy being with them ourselves, part of the idea for them to visit us so regularly was partly also so that their father (Difficult Child son) could see them (as our house is the only place he can meet with them.) But that very rarely happens now. It seems the longer my son is away from not seeing his kids; he gets used to no contact with them, and apparently and sadly is losing interest. I feel bad for the kids sometimes.

    For some reason, I feel that for me to accommodate the children in my home as much as possible, is to help maintain for them some semblance of a connection to their father (who they rarely connect with anymore.) I keep thinking / hoping / praying ( all the same old ) that perhaps if son ever does get it together, some bond or connection with the children will still be in place to build on (?)

    Savor your moments with your “grands” this summer, dear Tita. Take care of yourself and do not get worn out. All we can do is try to be a positive presence, influence and support in their lives while they are with us, and in our circle of impact. Sometimes a moment in time can change a child’s life. I pray for them and for you that whatever is needful to be a blessing to each other will blossom during this time. Bless and malama pono.
  6. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Just to clarify--I don't consider it enabling when my brother (or anyone else) watches their grandkids. I meant that he enables by helping his adult kids and their husbands get/keep housing by paying their rent and utilities, getting friends to rent to them (then he feels obligated to pay the friends when his kids don't) getting the husbands jobs with friends (that the husbands often screw up), giving them money, food, etc. He feels that if he doesn't help, they will either have to come live with him and his wife or will be homeless and loose the kids to foster care,
    Which he can't bear.

    It is such a difficult situation, and my brother feels stuck and without any good options. If he were wealthy, it wouldn't be so bad, but they have been going through lean times, and money is very tight.

    It is a catch 22.
  7. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    Leafy, I am so sorry you are going through this, thoughts, and worries, no calls from the parents.

    I don't think it is enabling- think of it as making memories with your grand children- even if it is for short periods of time here and there. THEY will remember the kindness, love and compassion you gave them. Maybe consult a lawyer, many offer free consultation just to see what your rights are- and also for Plan B should parents not even come back. Maybe check with local churches or United way or Salvation army for assistance.

    For now, just love on them for YOU are planting the good seeds of love, kindness and compassion . I am glad and hopeful about your son.
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    New Leaf... Get a notebook, or keep a digital journal.

    Write down every contact the parents have with you or your grands. Write down if they call and speak to grands. Write down if they furnish any food, clothing or medicine...

    You can get a simple form from the pediatrician that parents can sign authorizing medical treatment.

    Depending on how this turns out, you may need to get temporary custody of them. Your journal will show how involved the parents were.

    If you get temporary custody, the children might receive benefits, like TANF, a medical card, etc...

    Good luck.

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  9. Ironbutterfly

    Ironbutterfly If focused on a single leaf you won't see the tree

    This is great advice. Document everything.
  10. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Aloha Kalahou, Mahalo nui for your words of wisdom and experience.
    Hoku is here, and she is a tremendous help.
    The grands are understandably shell shocked and used to drama and arguments. They are 12, 11 and 9, and love each other, but tend to fight more than normal sibling rivalry. Trying to keep the peace is a full time occupation, reminding them that we discuss issues, no yelling or screaming. While they are seeking respite it is obvious that they are used to chaos. Keeping them busy is key.
    I, too feel badly for my mo'opuna. They have been through so much. They are sadly aware and have witnessed addiction and drug use and speak of their parents using their EBT to trade for money and feed their drug habit verses feeding the family. I don't know if and when their parents will realize the blessing they have with three healthy children!
    I will savor this time, prayer helps to calm me. One day at a time. Mahalo dear Tita.
    Mahalo nui Kalahou. It is in Akua's hands. We tread some difficult waters in our situations. Stay strong and Malama Pono to you, fellow Tutu warrior!
  11. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hello IB, thank you for your kindness. Sadly, I am used to this same ole same ole. I had hoped for different, but knew when I picked the kids up and saw where they were living that I might be in for a ride. I am more sad for my grands.
    Good advice, I do know that I have no rights here without legal custody. I will check with United Way for resources.
    I am ever hopeful that my grands will see the difference in lifestyles and choose better for themselves. Thank you IB.

    This is a terrific idea ksm, I will document everything, thank you dear.
    I didn't think about the pediatrician having forms, I will check on that. It is definitely a good idea to plan for anything, but right now day to day is the way. It becomes overwhelming and I start to overthink. We shall see what is down the road. I know my daughter and the last altercation with her is a reminder of what entails if she feels she will "lose" her kids and EBT. Sadly, the authorities have never been very helpful.
    Thank you ksm for your wisdom.
  12. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Leafy...just tossing this out for consideration as I don't know the law in your state. Here, you would be considered a "nonparent caretaker relative" and you could apply for your own EBT for the kids. They'd stop the parents' EBT and open a case for you. At least you could get food assistance (SNAP) and probably medical, with or without Power of Attorney. Here, your actual income would not matter for TANF benefits. (Here they'd actually open a child support case against mom and dad if you got TANF, but not for SNAP.)

    Worth looking into, though I suppose it's possible that once the parents got wind of it they'd come get the kids back. So...downside is possible.

    Big hugs.
  13. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Hi Lil,
    Thank you so much for the info. It may be a consideration later on. For now I will make it work somehow just so the kids can stay put and have some peace during the summer.
    You are correct in that Tornado would come a running if she felt I was trying to "snag" their benefits. Sigh.
    She will be 29 this year.
    Still hoping and praying for a pivotal point.
    Sleeping beauty's kiss.
    So we soldier on until then.
    I hope all is well with you, Jabber and your son.
  14. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the clarification Apple. In a way, for me it can be enabling, because their parents are not taking on their responsibilities. They are free to continue partying. The other side of the coin is that the grands are living in chaos.
    Your brother sounds like a very loving grandfather, being taken advantage of. With kids involved it is easy to go down that road in hopes for stability, a home, food for them.
    I don't know how these young parents can look their kids in the eye and keep doing what they do.
  15. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Leafy, all of the ideas are great. But, I think that it will come down to your daughter running back to get her kids if you start any proceedings.

    She wants the cash flow for her drugs and life-style. You want the grands to have a good life. Child Protective Services deems that they are not in "imminent' danger.

    Your best option, I feel, if you want to help the grands have a better life, is to tell her that you can keep them, but the support will still go to them.

    You would not be calling anyone. You would keep it status quo. They would then let you probably keep them indefinitely, perhaps off and on in the beginning. Unfortunately, that is your best option. The grands are tied to their habit. Yes, they probably love them, but they are addicts and , thus, love their drugs more.

    It would cost you more as a widow. But, I would not change things. It is something to think about and it could affect your son. But, you could change those kids around to ones that don't fight with the structure, rules, expectations, and true love that they crave.

    If you leave it open and let them see or take the grands when they want and still receive the cash flow, then they would feel 'safe' to keep them there longer.

    Non legal aid for money for clothing and food is out there through churches and programs to help the needy.

    I would go this route. You have constantly hit a wall the other way. Yes, the other way is the 'right' way, but you would lose and not see the grands.

    You should not do anything and see how it goes. Discuss it with your son as it nears the end of summer. Check into free counseling. We have Jewish Family Services and Interface in California. They might greatly improve in behavior with structure. Or they might get worse because they miss their parents, even with the chaos, because it is the only life that they know.
  16. seek

    seek Member

    Just FYI as a way to supplement your needs - in my community, there are Facebook pages that are "Free Stuff (Whatever Town)" - on those pages, people write their needs, and other people post what they have to give away.

    When people write their needs out (say diapers, food, baby clothes, whatever) people always respond.

    It's pretty neat.

    I always give my extra food away.
  17. pigless in VA

    pigless in VA Well-Known Member


    I've read a lot of memoirs by people who were raised by neglectful and often drug-addicted parents. What it takes for the kids to make a different choice for their own lives, is to actually see a different life. You are giving that to your grandchildren as a gift, even if it is for a short time. They will remember the lessons that you teach them. Enjoy your time with them.
  18. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    You are a loving grandparent. I honor your dedication to your family. You are an inspiration to many for the manner in which you have faced great pain and loss.
  19. mof

    mof Momdidntsignupforthis


    I have seen this many times in ministry. Please ask for help with the children's things, you cannot make up for their parent's bad choices but you can love and give them the face of safe.

    Trust me, there are many people out there that would jump to help with clothing supplies.

    They are victims, and you are the brightest light they have seen in awhile. Reach out and love hard;)

  20. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Mahalo nui (thank you very very much) everyone, for your kind words and encouragement. I apologize for not replying in a timely manner, just so darn busy and exhausted.
    I will look into your suggested resources.
    There are two weeks of summer vacation left and I am wondering "What now?" I feel terrible sending these kids back to their miserable circumstance.
    Tornado has been coming and going, here and there, same old, same old. I am feeling that sickening sense of exasperation. She finally came through with the EBT, only to finagle it back, disappearing and blowing most of it. What kind of mother steals from her own children?
    It is mind boggling.
    The kids and I worked hard to pick avocados and raise movie money. Came home to find a note in my drawer, Tornado "borrowed" the money for some "emergency".
    We had canoe races yesterday, she knew I would not be home.
    I feel so stupid for leaving it there, then I chastise myself for feeling that way. It's my home, I should be able to leave money, valuables without concern it would be stolen.
    Worse than that, is the audacity and utter disrespect and disregard. It cuts to the quick.
    I feel used and violated.
    I hate this, and I don't use that word often.
    I have a lot to pray and think about.
    I am getting sucked back into the swirly whirly and it is so not where I want to be.
    Tired Leaf