Any Grandparents Raising 2 or 3 Grandkids?

Claire_from_MichiganJanuary 25, 2002

Hi There!

This is a long story...

First of all, we are 54. We have a total of 6 grandkids: 2 grandsons, 2 step-grandsons and 2 step-granddaughters. We had 4 childen ourselves, our youngest son is now 17. Two oldest children are married.

Our oldest son married a girl who already had a 5yr old daughter. Her daughter was in foster care from the time she was about 3 until 5yrs old. My son and his new girlfriend then found out they were 'pregnant' and the new baby would be born in May '99. Prior to the birth of the new baby, they were able to get custody back of the little girl. Soon after that, it was learned the little girl had been sexually molested by her biological grandparents. My son then married Dec '99 and joined the US Navy Jan '00. After boot camp and training, they moved to Florida.

This past June, I got an emergency phone call saying they needed me to come to Florida before the state took away the kids due to negligence on his wife's part. The 8yr old called 911 because she couldn't wake her mother up. Base security came to the house and found her mother still in bed sleeping while the 2yr old was in his crib and the house a total mess, their dog was removed from the house, and my son was told it was necessary for another adult to be at the home with the children or the children would be removed from the home. So, I flew to Florida, spent 2 months there and my husband and I then decided it best to take the children back with us.

We have had the children (Zachary age 2 and Caroline age 8) since the end of July.

The problem is that my son's wife is incapable of caring for the kids even though she thinks she is quite 'ok'. She is under doctor's care (psychiatrist) and there has not been a diagnosis as of yet. When we took the children home with us, the 2yr old wasn't saying a word and was extremely shy and it took me a week to get him to come near me the first week I was there in Florida. He wouldn't talk to strangers ... in fact, he never said a word. Now he is talking up a storm and he is very friendly with everyone. He is very happy; in Florida, he cried everytime his mother was around. The 8yr old is seeing a pshchologist and she has emotional and possibly other problems like her mother does. Her mother is able to feed, clothe and bathe the kids but she isn't able to teach them what they need to know because she doesn't know herself for the most part (like not being able to fold up an ironing board for example, or taking muffins out of a muffin pan because they stick... she doesn't know how,etc. etc.). When the children lived with her, she never talked to Zachary, didn't tell him what things were; she fed him and never told him what he was eating so naturally, he didn't know any words!

And there's more bad news now. We just learned that she is pregnant again! My husband is throwing up his hands... he wants to send the kids back. I'm hopeful after he thinks about the situation, he'll change his mind. Actually, I don't know what to do. If we send the kids back, it is very possible they will regress. My son thinks everything is ok with his wife. I think my son is in denial. I feel it is too much of a risk to take the kids back but my son thinks everything is ok.

My husband doesn't want to take care of 3 kids. It's just too stressful on us especially when it's like pulling teeth to get any $ from our son to help support these kids.

Also, there will be a fight on our hands if we decide to go for guardianship, or maybe even custody.

On one hand, we think maybe it would be best to just send the kids back and 'hope' everything works out. On the other hand, our hearts tell us that's the wrong thing to do.

Also, I'm worried when she has the new baby, that she won't hear the baby cry, because she didn't when she had Zachary (I was there and my son was there to take care of the baby). This time I will not be there and my son will be out to sea. They live in Florida; we live in Michigan. Also we cannot have her come stay with us because it is just too stressful when she is around.

There's also the possiblity of birth defects because her family background includes cerebral palsy (don't know if that's heriditary or not) and the mental problems she has (undiagnosed at this time but possibly ADHD or Autism-Asperger's Syndrome).

We are disappointed in our son being so irresponsible and careless.

Hopefully soon we'll be able to 'know' what the right thing to do is.

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I really feel sorry for those poor little kids. Can't give you any advice, you will have to act according to what is best for your family. The DIL sounds really disfunctional, maybe she does not need to have young children in her life.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2002 at 4:37PM
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If it's not feasible for you to take the children temporarily, could you (or someone) arrange for a person to come in and help her with the children in the home? Maybe she is already dysfunctional and then her husband gets deployed for six months or so - that certainly can't make things easier for her. If she is getting treatment, then that is a plus- but I imagine her options for medication are limited because she is pregnant. Certain drugs (i.e. Depakote, used to treat bipolar) cause birth defects. Her doctor may not want her to take anything because she is pregnant, which could make her depression or whatever it is even worse. Can she feed and clothe herself? Maybe she has severe post partum depression. If she has something like Autism or Asperger's then this problem may entirely be not her fault, and in that case, I would think she should have someone in the home to help her when your son is not around.

I wonder, if your son doesn't think there is a problem with her child rearing, why do you have the children? Perhaps she is getting pregnant intentionally (you never know). If one daughter was already in foster care when they got married, then that should have said something from the beginning about her parenting skills.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2002 at 1:41PM
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Sorry if my (long) story didn't make things clearer. First of all, we have the childen because we wanted to avoid their going into foster care. We're from Michigan and my son and daughter-in-law are living in Florida on a naval base. There is no-one that can come in and help my daughter-in-law as far as I know. I am unable (my family too which includes my husband and my 17yr old son) to cope with my daughter-in-law's problems. She brings too much stress into the home. If she came here, then we'd all have to leave! The fact that the 8yr old was in foster care was due to negligence on the part of my daughter-in-law's parents who had legal custody of the little girl since she was born when my daughter-in-law was a minor (and obviously incapable of caring for a new baby). Don't get me wrong. She can clothe/bathe herself and in fact, she works. What she can't do is make decisions. She can't teach the kids things. For example, she never taught the 2yr old how to talk. She never told him what things were. Until I got there, he was saying absolutely no words; not even momma or dadda. When they left for Florida from Michigan, he was 1yr old. I babysat him daily from the time he was born. He was saying a handful of words THEN. But when I got to Florida in June (he turned 2 in May), he wasn't saying anything PLUS he was very shy around strangers. The 8yr old wasn't taught other things too. In fact the daughter-in-law doesn't know a lot of things; like how to get muffins out of a pan if they stick, or how to fold an ironing board... plus many more... like for instance, she couldn't understand why twins were not twins if they were born a year apart!!! .... just examples....

Yes, I am worried about the medication she may be taking. I know she was on some kind of anti-depressant pills ... don't know which one and I don't know if she still is taking them. I don't know what her psychiatrist knows about this new pregancy at this time. I am, however, going to talk to her therapist to see what is happening now. I'm also worried that she won't wake to the baby's cries because she never did with her first son. My son and I took care of the baby while she slept (for at least a month or two until the baby was sleeping all night). And I had the baby during the day, so there were no worries there.

Again, the reason we have the childen is because the state of Florida said that either some other adult had to be in the home (full time) with the children in addition to my daughter-in-law, or they were going to remove the children from the home. So, I flew down there for 2 months, and then my husband and I decided the best thing was to take the children back to Michigan with us. We still have the children at this point.

My son is in denial concerning his wife. He feels that between the two of them, that they can care for the kids. However, he is in the U.S. Navy and has to leave for periods of time (up to 6 months) and she will have to take care of the kids alone.

My daughter-in-law has disowned her parents because of the alleged child abuse (sexual) that occurred. However, I was just told by the 8yr old that she doesn't remember anything happening and that her mother told her it happened. So I am totally confused on that. I'm wondering if the daughter-in-law just said that out of anger toward her parents, because it was her mother that called the state because she allegedly was sleeping when her daughter left the home (about 3yrs old) and was found 2 blocks down the street. I know this is a confusing story. There are so many things.

And, it is very possible that she got pregnant on purpose. My husband believes she got pregnant on purpose for the now 2yr old in order to get a 'daddy' for her daughter and so she could finally leave home and have somebody else 'take care of her' and her daughter and the new baby. Confusing/ isn't it?

In any event, we're in a mess here and we don't want to 'lose' our son over this, however, we have to think of the kids first.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2002 at 2:53PM
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I am just reading your post now, March 6, so I wonder if your problem has been resolved. I hope to heaven your decision was based on what was best for your grandkids and not what would accommodate your dil, who does not seem to have even the basic instincts to protect her children. I am hoping they were put into foster care with the option for you to visit them or have them visit you for frequent and long visits. God bless.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2002 at 11:05PM
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We still have the two grandkids and as it stands right now, it looks like we'll have them until my son gets out of the Navy but it isn't definite. My DIL is trying to get better; she took parenting classes, which seem a bit promising. But my experience is that I believe you have to experience it to learn and I'm not sure the parenting classes will do all that for her but at least they have made her aware that she is "passive" with her kids and that the 8yr old controlled her rather than the other way around.

My son told his Dad that he thinks we should keep the kids till he gets out of the Navy. I'm not sure if he will change his mind after the new baby is born or not.

He also told us that the doctor has it "planned" to put my DIL back onto her medication immediately after the baby is born so that she will not be so sleepy and will hear the baby cry (we hope). We're playing that situation by ear right now. We figure we may have to make an emergency trip to Florida after the baby is born, but we're hoping for the best. The problem is that she most likely will be alone since my son will be 'out to sea' during that time.

It has been difficult. The 8yr old is very hard to deal with and we're not use to a child that doesn't listen to what you say. We're dealing with it the best we can.

Also, my grandaughter told me recently that she doesn't remember being sexually assaulted by her natural grandparents and when I asked her why she said that they 'touched' her that way, she said "my mother told me they did". I mentioned that to my son and he said he thinks Caroline is lying. I don't know because I know both Caroline and her mother lie.... so ??? Big Question.

As far as our decision is concerned, we really do not have legal custody of the kids so both my son and dil could come and get them at any time. We're depending on our son to make the right decision. We haven't gone to get legal guardianship yet. I talked to my dil's therapist and she assured me that her doctors would not recommend they get the children back unless Carrie is ready for them.

Thanks for your comments.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 8:06AM
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I just caught this post, also. Just reading this makes me sad and I can't imagine being in your position. I do however think it's great that you took on the added responsibility of your two grandkids and are working with them to make they're lives better. You deserve a lot pats on the back for dealing with this. So many grandparents would have just found excuses or turned they're backs on the children.

Didn't you mention that Caroline was in therapy when you first brought her home? Did the therapist go over the alleged sexual assault with her and find anything out? If the girl was talking to him/her they would have been your best bet to tell you if anything that tramatic did happen to her. From what you are saying, it is VERY possible that the story was made up. You never know and I know it's so refreshing to actually know people who do tell the truth and you can trust! Makes life easier, doesn't it?

I question your son saying they would be capable of caring for the children. What I was thinking when I read that was if they truly wanted them back, they would have them. They are the biological parents and they could just take you to court for them. It doesn't sound like they're doing anything to really get them back and so they may just saying that. Another thing to realize is that it's not just your DIL that has a problem here. Your son married her knowing what he did and he's stayed with her and had 1 child and now has one on the way, knowing fully well what his wife was capable of and her condtion. If he wanted the kids back he could very well take a leave from the Navy and do it. But he continues to stay there and be shipped out so that he can't be there to help his wife and have his kids at home with them. I don't want to put your son down, but it takes two people to have children so you can't blame only the DIL. Parents often only do put the blame on the in-law.

All I can say is that I would try calling Social services or some group to see what they would suggest that you do. I wonder if you could somehow get a court order to recieve child support for these two kids that are in your care? At least if you talk to them first and say you send the children back, someone could monitor things and be there to help you. You would also have a better idea of what you could do legally about your situation.

I wish you lots of luck!


    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 10:04AM
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The story gets confusing because there is so much to tell.

Caroline is seeing a psychologist NOW. We set up the appointment. Unfortunately, because this 'alleged' child molestation took place when she was somewhere between 2-3 years old [remember, she never told anyone until she was 5yrs old when she mentioned it to my son and this was after Caroline was allowed by the state to go live with her mother and my son], there is absolutely no proof that it happened and nothing could be done. My son did report it to the police after Caroline told her that her grandfather touched her in her 'private' area, but the police said nothing could be done because it took place so long ago and they didn't believe that she could remember back to 2-3yrs old. The police actually were questioning if it really happened also. Caroline came to me after we took them back with us in August and told me more details about the 'alleged' child molestation, which shocked me, but more recently told me that her mother told her it happened. So at this point, we don't know anything. Caroline is saying now that she doesn't remember.

We told the psychologist about it but Caroline doesn't talk about it at all. It is my feeling that Caroline doesn't talk about it because possibly it never happened and it really doesn't 'bother' her because it never really happened. Or she could be blocking it out now. My thought is that she wouldn't tell me her mother told her to say those things to hurt her mother so I'm thinking she is telling the truth when she says her mother told her to say those things. My son doesn't agree with me.

Also, we have recently found out through tests at Caroline's school, that she is severely depressed. The problems we're having with her now could be because she simply wants to go home [my observation, not the doctor's or the school's]. She is not learning disabled but she's having problems in school. They told us that she is "very controlling"... she wants to have control of everything, one of the reasons why I think she has problems making and keeping friends.

Regarding my son. No, I do not only blame the dil. I was (still am) angry at my son for allowing her to become pregnant again. Maybe I didn't explain it right previously, but my son and his wife "allowed" us to take the kids back to Michigan to avoid them being placed with the state. It isn't a situation where my son and his wife need to "take us to court" to get the kids. They can come and take them anytime they want because we really don't have "legal custody" of them. He knows we're trying to help and he's trying to do the right thing. If you can look at it from "his side and his wife's side", maybe you can see that those are hard decisions for them to make.

My son is holding out hope that his wife will be able to function normally after therapy and doctor assistance. Carrie's therapist tells them that she believes Carrie can be helped. I believe he doesn't fight us on trying to get the kids back because he knows we brought the kids back with us to help them (he and dil) plus to help the kids and keep them out of the 'system'. I don't want to be so negative that I won't believe that Carrie can get better. It is hard but I am trying to believe that it is possible for her to get better. Her therapist believes that Carrie is what she considers to be "educably retarded" meaning that she can be educated in areas she is lacking. I know that Carrie is trying. I do get upset however when neither of them send the kids any cards/letters in the mail to keep in touch with them.

Early on back in August, we did try calling Social Services and they sent us to the police who told us that nothing could be done about the child molestation due to no proof. Social Services told us it was "out of their hands" (maybe that wasn't the exact words, but that is close). Also, we believe that the state of Florida will tell us the same thing since the kids are here with us in Michigan now.

As far as getting "legal custody" or "legal guardianship" here in Michigan, that is a possibility. However, my husband and I are not sure that we are ready for that step. Afterall, we are 54 and by the time the 2yr old is 18, we'll be 70. And the new baby??? even older. We don't know what's going to happen with this new baby yet. We're playing it by ear to see how Carrie does ALONE. Even the therapist told me she doesn't think Carrie can function by herself. In other words, she doesn't think Carrie could make it on her own, lets say, for instance, if my son decided to divorce her.

I know it sounds so complicated. AND, believe me, it is. All the way around... from our standpoint and from our son's. And the kids..... Caroline is very difficult to deal with.

Good news though, the 2year old is learning tremendously fast. He'll be 3 in May. He knows most of his ABC's by sight when I print them on a piece of paper, he can tell me what they are, and he knows some of his number, all the basic colors and shapes. He's drawing pictures and I think he may even have some artistic ability (comes from me I think LOL). He's very friendly with everyone and is no longer shy like he was when we picked him up in Florida.

We're just taking it day by day.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Grandkids

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 11:59AM
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looks like my link didn't work, try this one

Here is a link that might be useful: My Grandkids

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 1:30PM
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I know there is a lot more to the story than you could possibly ever tell us and that sometimes you have to be there to actually understand. I just tried to look at what you were saying and tried to offer help.

When I said about them going to court and taking the kids~I meant to also add that they could also just come and get them. Going to court was of course the extreme. It does make the situation a little different when I know they had you take them so they wouldn't totally loose them. Most people in they're situation would be in denial of a problem and keep the kids until the state did step in and even then they're in denial. It is good that they realize to some extent that there is a problem. What happened with your DIL that she is the way she is? Did her mother do the same as she's doing with her kids and that's why she never learned things? Or is it that she had a problem that they didn't accept was there and this is the end result? Most of the examples of things that she couldn't do are simple things that can very easily be learned, as you said. I guess it makes you realize just how lucky we are. We take advantage of being able to every day little tasks that are VERY hard for others.

After reading your last reply I have a different out look with your situation. I can see that your son isn't really trying to be selfish. He made a few mistakes (like getting her pregnant this time) but he has to really love her to deal with all of this. I guess from what I read previously I just thought he thought it was easier this way and didn't care if he had the kids or not. Does he call and come see them and does your DIL also? I would think this has to be hard on them, too.

Has anyone tried to contact your DIL's parents? Maybe just to ask them what her history was and so on. I thought it sounded like she just disowned them but why? Like if the sexual abuse story was all made up, what was the reasoning behind that? (Just went back and reread and I saw about her mother calling SS when the daughter got outside while the mother was asleep. I can understand why she called SS~the child was in danger. I wish my MIL had the guts to do that to SIL and BIL. The kids about 2 years ago~they were 4 and 2~packed a bag and decided, well Eric decided, to go get Mommy at work. They were outside in t-shirts and diapers and/or underwear in the middle of winter! Meanwhile they're father was in the house sleeping away. They were too cheap to send the kids to a sitter so BIL worked 11-7 and then had to stay up with the kids until his wife got home around 3pm. The kids were forced to nap or stay in they're rooms most of the day while he would sleep! They got out twice! They happened to live across from the school and one of the teachers saw these two and took them inside and called the police. BIL just happened to think he better call the police and report them missing. Later that day they were laughing about the whole thing!!!) Her past may be of great help for you guys now to deal with all this. Did she come from a very loving home? Would all the attention and love and support be something that could help her greatly? I know you said she would make things hard if she came to live with you but would the outcome be better for her and your son and their kids? Would it be any harder than it could be to care for 3 kids until they are adults?

I don't know if I am any help. I guess talking about it and getting this out helps a little more than anything. Taking it one day at a time will help also. You can't really worry about what will happen when the baby comes until that day comes. I'm sure you'll do alright no matter what happens. It truly does sound like your grandson is doing much better with you and you're teaching him so much. I hope you're enjoying this time. It also is great to know you took in Caroline because she's not really your biological grandchild and many people are different with step grands. Maybe you can help her out before it's too late, also. Many of the "problems" that you have with her may just be because of her age. It's that pre-teen age and you think you know it all. Also I don't know if you had daughters but some people will say they are harder at this age and if your other children were boys, that will make it harder for you. It's certainly going to be different. Also, she's older and had more influence from her mother and others in her life. It also sounded like she had to take care of herself a lot of the time and maybe she thinks she doesn't need help now? Plus she probably wasn't used to having rules or someone at least making sure she stuck by them. Zachery was pretty small and young when you got him so he's learning most of his stuff from you. YOu and your husband will be in most of his memories as a child and you'll have a great effect on who he becomes.

I just greatly admire you for what you have taken on. Good luck with the future!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 2:21PM
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Leslie -

You're right about it being hard to put the whole story down in a few posts. In fact, I don't know if I know the whole story myself (about Carrie and her parents, that is).

Carrie came from what I think was a disfunctional home. It seems apparent to me that her mother has problems. A couple Christmases ago, my husband, son, myself and BILs all met Carrie's parents and we all think they are nuts. Carrie was pregnant at the time with Zachary and her mother was stroking her hair and treating her like a child. Anyway, from what we can tell, Carrie was not taught how to do things (or at least we don't think she was). Carrie was a learning disabled child and was fortunate to be in special ed all during school up through high school. She graduated HS in 1996 I believe. We didn't meet Carrie until we found out she was preg. with our son's child. In fact, Carrie's mother called to inform me of that very thing... we didn't know her from Adam and it was a pretty good shock to us. Her mother "bad mouthed" Carrie over the phone with me telling me all these bad things Carrie did [and remember, we didn't know Carrie at that time either].

To give you even more background, Carrie has a sister (younger) that has cerebral palsy. Her sister is in a nursing home. Apparently, the state took her out of Carrie's parent's home (about 3yrs ago) because they were neglecting her.

Carrie denies that she was sleeping when her daughter was found down the street. According to Carrie, she said her mother did that on purpose because Carrie was talking about moving away from them and I assume taking Caroline with her. All this doesn't make sense to me either, so I can understand if it doesn't make sense to you. Carrie says that she and her mother "fought" all the time and that her mother called the state to "get back at her" or something. I don't understand it. Anyway, the end result was that Caroline ended up in foster care for about 2 years until Carrie met my son, got pregnant, and they ended up together, showed the state that they could provide a home for Caroline, and Carrie got Caroline back. My husband believes that Carrie "hooked" our son in order to get her daughter back and got pregnant on purpose, which is why we (I believe this now too...didn't before) both believe that possibly she got pregnant again on purpose. Because, in her mind, she's probably thinking that by doing that, it will get her kids back.

Oh, and by the way, my son apparently loves Carrie very much. I've been sayng that he is in denial when it comes to Carrie. Only time will tell.

Carrie 'disowned' her parents apparently because of what she said they did to her daughter. It's all mixed up if you ask me. I don't understand it either, regarding the sexual stuff with Caroline. With Caroline now telling me she doesn't remember, I am completely confused.

I have not been in touch with Carrie's parents. We may open a can of worms and have more problems if we do contact them. First of all, we didn't want them to know the children were here. Also, we were getting some anonymous threatening letters for quite some time and in one of them, it said that Carrie's mother had died. We think the letters came from Carrie's mother. The letters stopped but then we did get a couple baby pictures of Caroline in the mail. So, for us to get in touch with Carrie's parents, it may not be the right thing to do... especially if they're crazy.

According to Carrie, her mother had been back and forth with doctors (psychiatrists I imagine) trying to help her.

I have done some research on the internet about mental disorders and I have made my own diagnosis to a point, but not being a doctor, I'm not sure. I can only hope that Carrie can be helped. She really isn't a bad girl... but she is very lacking in many social interactive areas. I think Carrie has a combination of some disorders, ADHD, some psychological problems, and others. The doctor already said that he thought she was Obsessive Compulsive.

Thanks for "listening". It does help to write things down in these posts.

Thanks for the nice comments about the fact that we chose to take Caroline in even though she isn't our biological grandaughter. I think it is only natural to think of your biological children/grandchildren differently from step/children/grandchildren... although I try not to.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 3:27PM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention that Caroline had NO rules with Carrie.... and now she has lots of rules to follow, which is why we think she wants to go back home, besides the fact that she misses her parents.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 3:30PM
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Your grandkids are beautiful! What you are doing is so wonderful, though it must be so hard for you.

Be careful about posting their names and pictures on a public forum on the internet. Your DIL's parents seem a little off - molesters or not.

Can you talk to the children's protective services dept. in your state or your son's to see about getting financial assistance while you are taking care of the kids? My mom is a children's social worker in another state, and I know that with her clients, if they are placed in a relative's home rather than a foster home, the relatives still go through the same approval process and get the same beneftis for taking care of the kids - that means cash to help pay living expenses, plus clothing assistance and medical coupons (they probably have medical since they are army dependents I guess) and counseling and things. Another benefit is that, just like regular (non-relative) foster parents, relations get to have sitter paid for by the state or send the kids on sponsored activities occasionally for an evening or a weekend so they can have a break. This is very important for a lot of older relatives. Hopefully the fact that you are dealing with two different states wouldn't complicate things too much.

Have you checked to see if you are getting all possible benefits from the kids being army dependents? Maybe they are eligible to go to camp for a week in the summer. Maybe the army even has it's own social services system that could help you out with money or other resources. Hopefully your DIL is getting all the counseling she can. I do think that parenting classes and counseling can be a huge help to neglectful parents. Even people who have intelligence issues can be really great parents if they put effort into it - some things can just be harder to learn than others.

As your DIL gets better (I hope), try to take advantage of the free or discounted flights the grandkids can get to go visit with their parents often, even if only for a weekend.

Could you send your son some writing paper and envelopes - even stamp and address them - and cards, so that he can remember to write the kids more often? Hopefully your DIL will too.

Your grandkids are so lucky. Growing up we had a lot of foster kids, and with my mom being a social worker, I saw so many sad kids. So often it was sad because it is better if they can go to the home of a relative who loves them, of course, but often their relatives are the same people who raised THEIR parents and contributed to the issues their parents had with raising them. So they either got raised by incompetent people who loved them, or healthy competent people who were just doing a job by raising them. Your grandkids are really, really lucky to be taken care of by loving, healthy relatives.

Just remember, it is okay for kids to have families that aren't traditional, and they might go back and forth between you and their parents often, but so long as they have the stability and unconditional love you are giving them, they will grow up healthy.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2002 at 12:03AM
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Anita9, Thanks for the nice comments. Maybe I shouldn't make their pictures public. Although, their natural grandparents never saw Zachary and they haven't seen Caroline since she was 5yrs old, so they might not recognize her. I don't think their natural grandparents have computer access or are computer literate, but it is best to be safe. Maybe I'll make the page assessible only for Zachary and my other grandkids.

As far as financial assistance, my son is sending us $150 month (not much, but it helps). I'm not aware of any special services the Navy gives (camps, etc.) but we can check on that. I don't think social services would be involved at all because the children never went to the state since we flew to Florida to make sure they didn't. I think if the state had placed them in our home, it would have been different.

My DIL is getting help. I know she is trying and I keep telling myself that. She did go to parenting classes and she learned that she is "passive". I'm hoping she can put what she learned to use. My son and dil will be here next weekend for about a week, so maybe I'll find out then how much she learned.

The kids do have medical through the Navy, but you wouldn't believe the hassle you have to go through. You can only go to the doctors the insurance allows, and it is very difficult to find doctors close to home. They are few and far between, not a good selection at all. At least my grandaughter's psychologist is close to home. There is no dental insurance because my son has to pay for it and he hasn't added it yet. If you ask me, I think the military stinks for their insurance... and that's something I hope the government improves on. If you're on the base, the coverage is great, but when you're off-base, it is terrible.

Thanks again for your nice comments.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2002 at 3:48AM
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Hope your visit with your DIL and son goes well. It would be really nice to see a big change, huh? Hopeully it happens some day and Carrie's life gets so much easier. I would think having to deal with all this on top of her problems would make it even harder.

I know what you are talking about with Army benefits. A friend of mine lived in Georgia where her husband was stationed and last year moved back here to PA because his family was having many problems. While here he worked as a recruiter. She was telling me how they had to drive 2 hours away to Harrisburg to the nearest doctor that the Army would approve of. So when they were sick, they didn't see doctors very often. Sad part is that they could have drove about 10 miles to the same doctor that my son goes to or about 15 miles to many other doctors in the area. It's so hard for some people.

I also think you're wise not to bother with Carrie's parents. It sounds like they may cause some problems if you would call up and ask simple questions. It also sounds like they may have not been the greatest parents or at least maybe sheltered Carrie too much so she didn't learn simple things. It had to be a sad situation to be in.

Your husbands thinking that Carrie purposly got pregnant could be true but anyone knows that doesn't always work. Your son didn't have to stay with her because she had a child. It's kind of a faulty way of thinking. Not every man will stick around and a child wouldn't help the situation if things weren't really working out to begin with. I just hope this wasn't done all for selfish reasons.

Again, I wish you all the luck.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 11:27AM
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Claire-Since I am new on here and see that your last post was in March, I don't know if you still have the children. I currently have custody of two baby grandsons. They are brothers born 9 months and 9 days apart. They are now 22 months and 13 months old. The younger one has medical problems that may relate to his premature birth or the fact that his mother (my dil) made a suicide attempt when she was 27 weeks pregnant. Myself, I am going after legal permanent custody of these boys. I am a disabled nurse, 49 years old that lost my husband last year to heart disease. Your daughter in law may be my daughter in law's unknown sister from your description. Although not diagnosed (as far as I know) by her therapist and psychiatrist, my dil meets all the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a diagnosis that many therapists and psychiatrist do not like to give because it is very hard to cure. My daughter in law is very immature, very self centered, blames others for everything that happens, suffers from depression, is very lazy and would sleep the majority of each day. She was living in my home with my son and the boys. I gave her a test and she was aware that it was a test on her (their) capability skills. I went on vacation and provided a sitter to help from Mon-Thurs for the two weeks I was gone. I came home unexpectedly on a Sunday at 1:15 PM to find both boys crying in theit cribs, hungry and with soaking wet diapers. The dil was still asleep, the son at work, and my beautiful home was trashed. I was angry and let her know it. The 22 month old had been so badly sunburnt while I was gone that he had scabs on his face. Instead of immediately starting to pick up she called my son at work and told him to come home. Then she got angry because I did not thank her for picking up her mess. Two days later she made another suicide attempt and after she was taken away by EMS I called the abuse hotline and filed a complaint on neglect. I had found that the younger child had not been receiving his medications on top of everything else. I then kicked both my son and his wife out of my home and kep the boys with me. If your daughter in law seems to have the same problems as mine you might want to check in at a group called This support group deals with persons having family members with Borderline Personality Disorders. Just a thought and by the way-my son is also in denial..

    Bookmark   July 12, 2002 at 11:36PM
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Hi karaokekiss:

To bring you up to date, yes, we still have the two grandkids.

My heart goes out to you.

Your story is similar to mine, however, my dil now seems to be getting better, although I don't think she is quite ready to handle the kids, especially not 3 of them (she's pregnant and due in Sept but we think she'll have the baby sooner). The part of your story about your dil sleeping much of the day brings back memories of my dil. Carrie isn't doing that now (at least not so much). She is working and wakes to an alarm clock that she never did before and she is living alone now while my son is out to sea (till Oct). We're not there to see what is going on and she doesn't have any responsibilities except for herself so it is hard to determine how she would be if she had the kids there. I do know she came to visit in May and I don't think she is ready for the kids yet. She still doesn't seem to have "common sense". For instance, recently the doctor told her she had to have bedrest to keep the baby from coming early. When I received the email from her telling me this, I thought she'd be in bed much of the time and not working. At the end of her email, she told me she had to get ready for work. I emailed her back and told her that if the doctor said "bedrest", then I would think that meant work.... and bedrest... so she should be at least laying down (not necessarily sleeping). I also explained to her how serious it would be if she went into labor on her way to work (she walks about 5 blocks to work) and nobody was around if she fell to the ground, etc. I told her how she should be near a phone, especially since she's living alone. She listened to what I had to say and she put in her 2week notice at work. So, I do think she is getting better, and I am hopeful, however, I still have that feeling that she'll never be a "real" mother to the kids. I know she loves them and she doesn't want to harm them and I know she is trying. I am trying to change my attitude about her, but being a mother and grandmother myself, my first thoughts go to the kids, not the "grownups", so the grandkids come first in my mind.

As far as the 9yr old grandaughter, she is very much like her mother. I think she has inherited whatever her mother has. She is difficult for my husband and I to deal with and also because of our age (54), we probably have the "normal" problems dealing with grandchildren (not having patience, not use to watching kids scream and act silly, etc. etc. etc.). So, it is hard sometimes to differentiate between if the problem lies with the "kid" or ourselves! We are getting the grandaughter help but now have run into problems with the medical insurance again and we just got a $209 bill from her psychiatrist that we thought the insurance would have paid. We're trying to figure out what the problem is there. What a mess.

The grandson (now 3) is doing great. He is at his age level now except he isn't potty trained (has no interest there yet).

I am so worried that if the kids go back to my son and dil that they'll both regress (especially the 3yr old) back to where they were before (or worse) and I'm also worried about this new baby. We're going to treat things "by ear" for now and see what happens. We'll have the kids at least through this next school year, after which the 9yr old will be going home first and then the 3yr old later. That way, it will give my dil time to spend with her daughter and it will also give us an idea of how she is doing. We figure we'll know something after this baby is born to see if she can handle the new baby first (on her own).

We don't have physical custody of the two kids. We only have power of attorney that our son gave us to care for them (temporarily). However, there are times when I feel we should at least get legal guardianship. If things don't work out with this new baby, we might end up doing that.

I'll try to keep you all posted after the baby is born as to how things are going.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2002 at 4:57AM
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Hi Claire- Thanks for the update and the good wishes. Since I last posted the situation has been up and down here. At her therapist's advice, my dil moved into the local Safe House. In order to be able to go there she falsified domestic violence charges against my son. In order to be able to stay there she needed the boys. One Friday afternoon at 4 PM a police car and a SUV pulled up in front of my home with a court order for her to have temporary custody of the boys. Although she had lied on the paperwork involved and did not bother to inform the judge that I HAD legal custody-these boys were ripped from my arms. With excellent contacts and my attorney's help I had the boys back by 9 PM. She is not aware that she is facing possible jail time for the perjury. After the initial hearing at which time the judge called for a continuance, she and my son violated the injunctions when she moved back in with him. They were both facing jail time. In order to get some sense in my son's head instead of pity for her I had to tell him that I disowned him as a son. He kicked her out onto the streets but she has found a place to stay. They are still in contact and she has asked the courts to dimiss both injunctions. We are due in court on the 2nd of Aug and then again on the 19th of Aug.. She has also signed the summons and response from my attorney stating that the boys stay in my custody. Because DCF is involved these two have risked losing any parental rights to these boys. This on again off again feelings of these two parents is not going to please this judge. My mind is already set that if I can I will adopt the boys. If this means no further contact with my son, so be it. He has had every opportunity to become a stable father and I will not allow the two of them to hurt these little boys that did not ask to be born. I am praying that all works out for your family and am scared at the same time. The horror stories are in the paper daily of mothers that could not cope with motherhood.God bless the children.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2002 at 8:55AM
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Good for you. We are in the process of gaining custody of our infant grandson, who has been with us virtually since he was born. We are on good terms with our son, who also lives with us, but he has a long way to go before he has any capability of raising his child. The Mom is mentally ill, refuses any treatment, is transient. Her parents have had it and have little or no contact with us. Our perspective is, it is a privilege to have the opportunity to save a child. He comes first. Other considerations follow. Not what we planned for retirement, but there it is, life happens, plans are only that, and roll with it. Take it a day at a time, and deal as best you can. Many of you have sadder stories than ours; hang in there.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2002 at 9:34AM
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