Contemporary times calls for contemporary measures. Financial uncertainty and unplanned pregnancies have molded a population which is not only financially dependent but socially desperate to find ulterior solutions to supplemental planning plans. The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” may be an old African adage, but the validity of the phrase still rings clear.
When parents graduate to grandparent status, the furthest thing from their mind is assuming the main care provider role once more. In their seasoned age and experience, grandparents get to reap all of the positive benefits in the child-parent relationship. Many grandparents placed in this sudden position find themselves not only concerned about their abilities to parent “all over again”, but find reservations of whether or not this is something that they want to pursue.
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are about 2.7 million grandparents in America who are raising their grandchildren (Census.gov 2012). While the immediate cause for concern is evident, a deeper look raises suspicious questions regarding legal rights, health care, and financial assistance. It is important to recognize that the “assumption of responsibility” process is the same as any other adoption process. Especially in consideration to the child’s welfare options. As a blood relative, the adoption process may be simpler, but it is still just as important.
Once the stability and reassurance of a legal adoption is present, the rest is much like riding a bicycle. Perhaps it has been awhile since it’s been done–but parenting isn’t a skill… rather a muscular reflex. If the adoption process isn’t ideal another option is to request temporary legal custody. The benefits are paramount on a financial, legal, and emotional level. While one must care for the child, it is equally important to consider self preservation, personal interests, and ultimately, a stable and safe home environment.
Nothing makes you feel young again like chasing after children, lecturing your teenage child, or shopping for the high school formal or ballet recital. The majority of grandparents raising their grandchildren find that not only are they rejuvenated with more experience, confidence, and passion, but there is a level of friendship and fondness which is only generated through the grandparent and grandchild relationship.