Guest blog conversation, by Joan, for all grandparents raising grandkids, and struggling with feelings about, and within, their family found this month at https://www.gagasisterhood.com/2017/parenting-grandkids-a-tale-of-tangled-love-stories/ 💞
Opioids and other drugs, including alcohol, destroy families. I’m sorry for anyone fighting an addiction, but passionate about helping their children–and those parenting them.
I adopted my grandson, Chad, who was physically abused. His father had problems with alcohol and anger, while his mom, my daughter, struggled with meth and booze.
Like many, Chad was a child of trauma. I was lucky because experts, like Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center in Portland, Oregon, helped me find professionals trained in helping youth dealing with trauma, abuse and loss.
For years Chad woke up two or three times a night screaming. He was having bad dreams that he couldn’t escape and couldn’t explain. As a toddler he hit, ran, screamed, and alternately clung to me. By four he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). By high school he was cutting and suicidal.
Eventually Chad learned he wasn’t responsible for what had happened to him and that he couldn’t control his parents’ choices. He discovered his ‘triggers’ and started controlling his own thoughts and actions.
I learned parenting techniques that helped Chad succeed and eventually brought peace to our family.
Today, Chad likes who he is and knows what he wants for his young family. After twenty years of his birth mom’s lies, stealing, being in prison, overdoses, courtrooms and choices that created ongoing ‘trauma and drama’, he told her to get out of our lives. He did what I should have done years ago.
Chad, and the rest of our family, needed me to let go. My love and prayers for my daughter will never stop, but I know I did everything I could to help her. God has to send someone else to do what I could not, and cannot, do.
Most professionals, including social workers, counselors, doctors, and educators understand that keeping children connected with birth parents is sometimes, but not always, the best choice. Every family is different and only you can decide what is best for your family. Kids can’t protect, or take care of, themselves…they need you to do that.
“One thing I’ve noticed is that most people go to Grandma’s house and get spoiled, but for me it was the only safe place, I had. Getting to live with Grandma was like ‘going to Grandma’s house’ all the time. I had more love there than anywhere else in my life,” 23-year-old Chad told another writer. (1)
Protecting children of alcoholics and addicts is more than providing shelter, food and love. It’s about building self-confidence, self-esteem and even survival.
We learn from each other. “I want young people to know they aren’t alone,” says Chad. I want the same for those raising them–grandparent, aunt, or sober birthparent. There are legal, practical, emotional and financial things that we learned (and other grandparents and professionals shared with us) that we want to pass on which is why we wrote our book, Raising Children of Alcoholics & Drug Users. For more information about our book check out our book page.
To learn more about us:
- Speaker page.
- Generations United’s 2015 State of Grandparents interview of Chad (Page 5).
- A video clip of our story National Resource Center for Permanency & Family Connections.