“And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b NIV
In growing numbers around the globe you will find us. Grandparents from every walk of life, every race, every religion bound together by one common thread. We are raising, or helping to raise, our grandchildren. We agree to do it without hesitation or regret, but rarely without hardships or pain. We do it out of love.
The reasons children find their way into our homes are many and varied. Military deployment of parents or financial issues sometimes necessitate the involvement of grandparents. Illness, either physical or mental, or death of a parent can be to blame. I have even talked with grandparents who have one of their grandchildren because that child just did not fit in well with the rest of their biological family.
All too often grandparents end up raising their grandchildren because of alcohol or drug abuse. This can lead to neglect or abuse of the children and at times, incarceration of the parents. With substance abuse on the rise, the number of grandparents and other kinship providers are also rising.
Sometimes grandparents have some sort of legal custody of their grandchildren so that they can enroll them in school, or get proper medical care for them. Frequently that is not the case. Many grandparents care for their kids without having any legal rights to them or any legal protection. I once met a delightful two year old who called her great-grandparents Mommy and Daddy. They had cared for her since infancy when their granddaughter had left her for an overnight stay and never returned for her. Unfortunately they had not sought any legal advice. Mom could come and get her child at any time and they would not be able to stop her.
You would think that raising our grandchildren would be easy. After all we are seasoned parents. How hard can it be? In reality it can be quiet difficult. As much as we love these children with our whole being, these are not our children. Most of us have not had them since day one. We did not bring them home from the hospital, although that does happen. Our grandchildren have been parented by other people with a different set of rules and expectations and sometimes few rules or expectations. Many of these kids come to us with a certain amount of brokenness.
But let’s be really honest with ourselves here. It wasn’t easy the first time around either. Being a parent at any age to any child is not an easy undertaking. It is hard work if you do it correctly. Now we are older, maybe less energetic, with perhaps a few more health issues. Times have changed. Technology has changed. We have changed. Lest you think you are not capable or not qualified, you are. With age comes wisdom and stability and love covers a lot of deficiencies. You will make mistakes. You may feel overwhelmed but you probably did before too. You can do this!