Friday, August 17, 2012

On Grandparents

I want to start by saying I think grandparents are God's most wonderful invention.  I, of course, have the best grandparents on the planet!  My parents are amazing grandparents, and if my husband's parents were alive, I know they would be too.  My parents love being grandparents, and our kids absolutely love their Grammy and Papa.  Personally, I don't know what I would do without them - my mom never hesitates to run over or take the kids whenever I need her to (and I try very hard not to take that for granted!)

Those of you who were with us when we went through our first adoption, know that we had a huge struggle with great grandparents in that situation.  Hunter had lived with them on and off for most of his life, and Kaleigh for all of hers. There were issues with boundaries, safe and appropriate parenting practices, and discipline; as well, the reasons the children were taken into foster care were multi- and cross-generational.  When we started putting boundaries in place (no overnights, controlled visits, limits on gifts), we had problems for awhile.  Things have gotten a little better over the past couple of years, although birthdays and holidays continue to be a struggle on the spending side of things.

Now that we have Liam, we have another grandparent situation.  His biological paternal grandmother has legal guardianship of his 3-year-old brother, who has Down's syndrome.  Early on in the process, I was a little nervous, given our history with grandparents.  However, she and I have kept in regular phone contact, and have had to play dates so far, so that the boys can see each other, and of course so she can see Liam.  She is down to earth and practical; having been a foster parent, she understands the system and exactly what we are going through.  She also has a very realistic view of the kind of person her son is, and what he is and is not capable of doing.  I think (and HOPE) she knows that he is safe and happy with us and that we are a good family for him.  I am actually looking forward to keeping in touch with her and know she will be a valuable part of Liam's life.

It's nice to have a positive grandparent experience after the other difficult one we have dealt with!

And thanks to my parents for being fabulous grandparents, and thanks to the rest of you grandparents out there who are doing such a great job!  We parents - and our kids - need and appreciate you!

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