You know that it is time. Off and on, for the past three years, you and your spouse have had to take care of your two grandchildren due to dramatic and frightening situations involving their parents. Substance abuse along with legal troubles stemming from criminal convictions is often at the heart of those stressful times.
Your grandchildren need stability. They need reliability. They need support and a welcoming home where someone loves them unconditionally. You and your spouse can provide that, so you step forward. More and more American children are being cared for by their grandparents. In 2015, roughly 2.9 million children lived with their grandparents, a 16% increase from 2005.
Added challenges for grandparents
Grandparent adoptions often are the best and preferred solution to help young children and teenagers in overcoming the challenges of an unstable home.
Desperate situations require hopeful resolutions, and many grandparents sacrifice their golden years to accept the challenge of raising their grandchildren, even though, they, too, have personal challenges. For example, roughly 21% of grandparents caring for grandchildren live in poverty. An estimated 39% are older than 60, and approximately 26% are disabled.
Death, substance abuse, incarceration
Despite such facts, many grandparents understand the guidance their grandchildren require and the help their children need. Here are some of the reasons that grandparents adopt their grandchildren:
- The death of a parent or the deaths of both parents. When grief overcomes a family in such situations, a strong sense of duty may surface among grandparents.
- Substance abuse by one parent or both parents. The opioid crisis has had an impact on many families, and grandparents have seen the toll it has taken on their loved ones.
- More mothers becoming prison inmates. Incarceration breaks up families, and, sometimes, women who have sole responsibility for their children run afoul with the law.
The pros outweigh the cons when grandparents consider adoption. Those factors must if those grandchildren want some stability in their lives. The best interests of the grandchildren must be in place.