Talking to kids about not being able to live with Mommy and Daddy
5 weeks ago, my grandchildren were placed with me by CPS. My DD and SIL are supposed to do certain things in order to get the kids back. Not only have they done NOTHING, but SIL got fired for stealing (his 3rd job he was fired from for this). DD is supposed to get Medicaid for the kids and she said they won't give her an appointment even through CPS wrote a letter requesting emergency services. Another long story. Anyway, at some point, it looks like I will be getting custody of these kids. Eventually, we will be moving to OK and they will be living permanently with me.
What do I tell these kids? I have not told them daddy got fired. I don't want to put their parents down, if possible. The oldest is almost 6 and understands everything. The youngest is 4 and is clueless.
I didn't post this in the grandparent area because sometimes children are taken from CPS and given to aunts, cousins, siblings, and other relatives. I am sure others have to explain the situation to the kids. Both parents are on drugs.
It is such a hard situation for you, but your grandchildren are so lucky to have you
It is important to tell them as much as you can (even the small one as they understand more than WE as adult think )
Maybe tell them that mum and dad are upset/poorly and they need a little time to get well and that they will be looked after by yourself and that they can talk to you about anything they need to, because there will be a lot of questions and that the cuddles were there also when ever they need them
I had my sisters 3 children when she was abusing alcohol.
I don't know if you have any similar et up over there but we have a couple of systems that can help one being parent link workers who work with families of children under 6, they can advise on all this sort of preparations. Also we have an children's services for the under 8's they produce information books (available from libraries) on things like talking to children about all types of situations from potty training, divorce, go to live in care etc. May be you can see if someone can come in and talk you through some of the services available.
(sorry if it is all different there and non of that made sense)
Take time to recharge your batteries. It's hard to see where you're going when your lights are dim.
The way it works here is Child Protective Services (CPS) does an investigation when there is a complaint made. Several were made, twice. The first time, they gave DD and SIL several drug tests done via urinalysis. They always came back clean or diluted. Since medical neglect was the main complaint and it was evident that DGS had severely rotten teeth, speech delay, and asthma that needed immediate attention, CPS dropped the investigation as soon as DD made appointments. The original complaint that I made was that DD makes the appointments to get us parents off her back, but she will not keep them. We have driven her to several appointments since they did not have a vehicle in order to help those kids. After the case was dropped, my understanding is that there were "several" calls made against DD. When I called the dental surgeon to see if I could get DGS back on for his surgery, they said that DD never even showed up for his scheduled surgery. DD told us that the doctor postponed it a few months. I have appointments for DGS to get back into speech therapy since DD hadn't gone to do that.
This time, CPS removed the children and placed them with me. In order to get the children back, DD and SIL have to get off drugs (marijuana and opiates), they have to have a means of transportation, a place of their own to live that is safe as they are homeless, be able to provide for the kids medical expenses, and to be able to get good jobs. SIL has since been fired from his 3rd job for stealing and DD hasn't even tried to get a job. The 60 days will be up on August 10th. Family Based Safety Services (FBSS), which is a part of CPS, is supposed to get involved at some point. My understanding is that if the state gets custody of the kids, I won't be able to get custody until they remove parental rights. Then, I would have to adopt them. I have explained to my DD that if she loves these kids, she would walk to town, with her feet bleeding, in order to get those kids back. But, she just sits at her friend's house, doing Lord know what. According to DD, her friend makes her clean and keeps her busy so she'll keep her mind off her pain now that she is off drugs--IF I believe her.
Anyway, since DD and SIL are doing practically NOTHING to get their kids back, I am certain that I will be getting these kids at some point, permanently. For right now, the kids know that they are staying with Nana so that Mommy and Daddy will be able to get help and get a home so that the kids will have a place to live. I explained that by them staying with Nana it will make things easier for Mommy and Daddy. However, at some point, either I will be seeking custody so that I can move to OK to be with my husband in December when I graduate or the state will get custody and eventually remove parental rights and give the kids to me for adoption, which will take longer for me to move to be with DH.
At any rate, at the point when the parents lose their kids, I will HAVE to let the children know what is going to happen and that they be living with Nana for the rest of their lives. That is going to be SO difficult to tell the kids that their parents did not do the minimum required to get them back. I want to make it as positive as I can. I am thinking about telling the kids that Mommy and Daddy have some problems that prevent them from taking care of them full-time. That is why their parents can visit them any time, but they cannot live with their parents. This has been my DGD's biggest fear is that she will never be able to live with Mommy and Daddy again. Maybe she understands how messed up they are.
It is difficult juggling a job, practicum, and trying to get my thesis finished before December. But, I am hoping that I can do it in time and be done.
DeBora, I think Deb (madmum) had a good idea. The children's parents do have an illness. Addiction is an illness, as you well know. You can use age-appropriate terms to tell the child that Mom and Dad are sick, and they can't properly care for their children until they get better.
I think that if you get involved with Al-Anon, you can get plenty of guidance from others who are in the same situation, caring for the children of addicted parents.
Your granddaughter probably knows more than anyone suspects, and it may be that your grandson does as well--and his "cluelessness" is just his way of dealing with it.
It is so difficult to know what the DGS understands. His receptive (what he understands) and expressive (what he can say) language is so delayed that it falls in the 1 percentile rank. He has made strides in his language and he is scheduled to take another speech test on August 3rd.
I got to thinking that I know a professor who is in the counseling department is a child psychologist. She told me a while back that if I have any questions or need to talk to come see her. I am going to do that this afternoon. I am sure that she is a wealth of information concerning this situation. I haven't thought of the Al-Anon idea. I wish there were more support groups for people in my situation. I know that there aren't because of where I serve my practicum we have the list of all support groups to give to clients.
I guess I will need a game plan for when all this goes down.
I think you have told the kids the right way, that mopmmy and daddy need to get a home for them to live in.
If you have to just say that the judge said that mommy and daddy did a stupid thing and he doesn't want them with mom and dad right now b/c they may get hurt.
A friend of mine went to prison on a weapons violation. All the kids were told was that he was away.
I sat then down and explained that daddy wan't to be around guns and he was with someone who had one in his truck. So the judge was giving daddy a punishment. The way I worded it was perfect for them.
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Just because children do not always repeat and /or act as adults think they should at the age they are...you would be amazed at what they retain. I know this because at age 41 I had a very eye opening experience while visiting family - a role model when I was a child. This person use to say one thing but do the complete opposite... it is an unfortunate and subconscious habit I have picked up - one that helps me to understand why I have made certain choices in my life. Like me (all those years ago), your GK's are absorbing EVERYTHING (not yelling) that is being Modeled to them... what you say and how you say it now could be the turning point in the development of your GK's - both now and later when they are adults...even subconscious levels pick up the darndest things. Try not to underestimate the mental abilities of your GK's, their current development was brought on by what ever lifestyle they have had since their conseption... I know you will be able to get through to them that your job is to assist in their positive development while their parents learn to be better people for the family as well as for their own needs. I don't know what type of lifestyle your SIL had before he met your DD, but she obviously thought she could save him and was inadvertently sucked in to his modeled development from what ever trama she (felt / thought) went through. Another example of modeling outcomes, one of my DS's spent her early adult /parent life similar to your DD's, where as I have not... So I don't blame the parents alone for the development (or lack there of) in children and their abilities to deal with life's hardships, it truely is a community affair (gangs, violence, kids clubs, before/after school care, etc).
Good luck, and God Bless you all.
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you will have a good day... ~ OCPV
I posted on the other form. But, I just had an idea. My mom was in kind of this same situation with my DB and SIL. My mom took my 2 nephew's in to put throught middle and high school. What she did was made out Guardianship papers and had the parents sign them in front of a notary person to make it legal. She renewed it every year. That way she had the power to get help medically and finacially also. If you could get your SIL and DD to sign a copy for you then maybe you might not have to go to court to get custody. Then you wouldn't have to worry about your daughter making any appointments for you. You could be resonsibile for all of it.
First, the children have been told why they have to stay with me and their options. They understand, at least the oldest does, that mommy and daddy take medications that make them sleepy and act funny, they don't have a home, and so on. When they become angry with me because I will not allow them to run and scream in the grocery store, and other unacceptable behaviors, they tell me they hate it at my home. I explain to them that I am not their only option. There is also foster care. DGD told me that she does not want to go into foster care and she realizes that she is just angry. I told her that I understand her situation and that we are all having to make sacrifices for now. I told her that if I had a magic wand everything would be different and they would be living with their parents.
I have talked to an attorney and I have been given the state law. If the children are in my care and custody for 6 continuous months I can go to court, for about $3,00 to $4,000 and I WILL get custody, whether or not the parents want me to have it or not. They would also have to pay me child support. I have not told my daughter this information. I have told her that I am offering to take temporary custody of her children so that we can get CPS off her back and I can put the children on my medical insurance. It would only require them coming to the courthouse and signing papers in front of a judge. She does NOT want to do that. My DD understands that if she has not complied with everything CPS has required by a certain time, the state will get custody and they will add to the requirements to get their children back. Currently, they have to provide a place to live, she has to get a job, SIL has to get a better or additional job (he has since been fired for stealing and cannot get a job anywhere), they are to get a means of transportation for the children, and a way to treat the children medically. I explained that once the state gets custody, they will probably add X number of parenting classes, enter drug rehab, and so on. That has been my understanding from peers who are CPS investigators in the town in which I live. I told her that if they do not comply within the time period, the state usually goes to court and has their parental rights removed. At that point, it will not matter whether or not the parents ever get their lives together, they will never be able to get their children back while they are minors.
Currently, the investigator is not seeking state custody so that when I graduate, I can seek custody and move to a nearby state and be with my husband. However, sometime between now and August 10th, another branch of CPS will be getting involved and there is no guarantee that they won't seek custody since DD and SIL have done nothing requested of them and things have gotten worse for them.
I found a book at the library today for the children about fostor parents. I figure reading it to them might help them understand better. As I think about all this, I think keeping the lines of communication open and talking freely about the situation will allow the children to naturally discuss and discover their situation.
Thanks all for listening. I think the suffering of children and animals are so difficult for me.
Btw, DGS had a doctor's appointment today and for the first time, he had a better than perfect health report!!! His asthma is now under control. The flow meter for lung capacity was a 147 on the measure scale and a normal child his size is 120! He has never gotten a good report on his lungs before. The doctor also said that he is now gaining a good, healthy bit if weight. She noticed that he is talking well and asked how that was going. I told her truthfully, that we got him turned on and now we can't turn him off! LOL He goes back to get tested again for speech therapy on August 3rd so he can start back on that.
All this gives me conflicting emotions. One part of me is happy that the kids are healthier. DH told me I am not irritable all the time. I was so worried before about getting that phone call that the youngest was dead from an asthma attack. He has an appointment at the end of the month with the dentist. I won't be surprised if he decides to have the dental surgery sooner rather than later. Otherwise, his surgery is scheduled for October 9th. I only hope DD gets Medicaid started for him by that time.