There is a national holiday coming up that sometimes I think we skip over: Grandparents Day. This year Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, we will all have the opportunity to celebrate grandparents. It is a wonderful day for a celebration of all that they do or have done for us. We will send cards, flowers and gifts to show our appreciation for their love and support. And oh how we love and appreciate them. Grandparents just have a special love, patience and experience to pour out on their grandchildren. I know as a grandparent I love my grandchildren dearly.
Sadly there is a new, growing, generation of grandparents we need to pay special attention to: grandparents who are raising their own grandchildren. Because of drug addictions and other reasons, over 2.9 million grandparents find themselves raising their own grandkids.
We see it every day in our news. News clips of parents arrested for drugs and drug addiction. Sometimes the kids are even in the car while parents are on drugs. So the children have to be placed somewhere in a safe home.
In order to keep the children from going to foster care, many states would rather have a relative care for them. By grandparents taking on this responsibility it saves the nation about $4 billion a year, according to the nonprofit Generations United. In Ohio alone, for every one child placed in foster care there are 20 kids being cared for by relatives, and more often than not by grandparents.
I even know of people myself who have stepped up to the plate and are raising their grandchildren. I call them heroes because in doing so they prevent their grandchildren from being placed into the foster care system. I grew up in foster care myself as a child, and I know what it is like.
These special grandparents have become the parents. They get up every day and make their grandchildren breakfast, organize their activities and help with homework in the evening. So many grandparents have given up their retirement, and some have suffered financial loss, in caring for their grandchildren. They have started the process all over again in raising children, but this time at a much older age. Many aging grandparents are also dealing with their own health issues.
Grandparents who have become parents the second time around need support! They need encouragement! They need resources! Here are some points to help if you are raising your grandchildren.
Ask God for help and encouragement
God must look down on you in a very special way because of the sacrifices you are making. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31 Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
American King James Version×).
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matthew 6:25-27 Matthew 6:25-27 25 Therefore I say to you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
American King James Version×).
God will help you every step of the way! Always ask Him for encouragement. He loves you and your grandchildren and yes your children.
Look for help and resources
If you are a grandparent raising your grandkids you can find a lot of organization out there that can point you in the right direction for getting advice and help. Here are some links to one of them with lots of tips and advice: www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/grandparents-raising-grandchildren.htm ; sixtyandme.com/resources-for-grandparents-raising-grandchildren/ .
Look for a support group in your church or local community
Find people who also have children the age you are raising. Take part in all the activities that you can with your grandchildren.
We also should be aware of those in your church congregation that are raising their grandchildren. If you have children, try to include their grandchildren sometimes with your outing, like a trip to the zoo. Look for ways to give the grandparents a much-needed break. And most of all pray for these awesome grandparents.
So thank you to all the awesome “grand” parents out there for all the love you share on your grandkids, and especially for those “grand” parents out there who are raising their grandkids. It is a huge sacrifice and life-changing for you! In your lowest moment, always remember, you are giving those kids a second chance in life. That really makes you “grand”!