Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

Panel of Kinship Caregivers: What's It Really Like

April 16, 2021 Creating a Family Season 15 Episode 16
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
Panel of Kinship Caregivers: What's It Really Like
Show Notes Transcript

What's it like to have your world turned upside down when you become the parent to your grandchild, niece, or nephew? What are the hidden joys and challenges. In this podcast episode, we have a frank and open talk with a panel of kinship caregivers about their experience.

In this episode, we cover:
 

  • What has been one of the greatest joys you’ve experienced as a kinship caregiver?
  • What has been one of the greatest challenges you’ve had in raising your grandchild or niece or nephew?
  • How has your age played into your parenting experience with this child?
  • How has caring for your grandchild affects your friendships and activities?
  • How do you handle the dual roles of being a mom to your grandchild and a mom to your grandchild’s parent? How has kinship caregiving impacted your role as parent to your child? 
  • Have you had to set boundaries with your child to protect your grandchild?
  • How have you handle if your grandchild’s parent has another child? Would you take that child in as well?
  • How have you learned about technology, screens, video gaming, etc. in order to parent a child of this younger generation?

This podcast is produced  by www.CreatingaFamily.org. We are a national non-profit with the mission to strengthen and inspire adoptive, foster & kinship parents and the professionals who support them. Creating a Family brings you the following trauma-informed, expert-based content:
·         Weekly podcasts
·         Weekly articles/blog posts
·        Resource pages on all aspects of family building 


Support the show (https://creatingafamily.org/donation/)

0:00  
Welcome, everyone to Creating a Family Talk about Adoption and Foster Care. I'm Dawn Davenport, I am your host, as well as director of creating a family, you can find out more about creating a family as well as take a look at all the resources we have by going to our website, creating a family.org. Today we're going to be talking with a panel of kinship caregivers. We're going to get the scoop of what it's really like to be raising your grandchild, your niece or nephew or whatever. I'm going to start by letting each of them introduce themselves. I think that would be easier. And we can get the scoop of what it is that they what their connection is to kinship caregiving. Lois, let's start with you. Tell us your name and and your connection to kinship care.

0:49  
Hi, I'm Lois . And I have actually, to kinship story, my oldest child was placed when she was 11, which is my niece. And we did not do a formal adoption of her. She is now 38. And she's still my child. My youngest is now nine. And we got her when she was one. And she is actually

1:21  
my great niece that the niece of my oldest child, which is her sister's child.

1:28  
Okay, if that makes sense? Well, you lost me, but that's okay. Did your daughter justice? She is a so there was a big gap between that Do you also have biological children that you raised as well?

1:42  
I do not have any biological, biological children that I have five adopted children. Okay. So in between kinship care, you also have other children in the house that are adopted. And with your youngest, the nine year old? Did you do a formal adoption with her or just guardianship or what?

2:01  
We did a formal adoption of her when she was two. And I did that because of her being so young, and the complications and conflicts we had had with the older kinship, child money that we raised. So we wanted to make sure because because of her age, that we didn't go through as much

2:24  
by doing a formal adoption. Okay, and we're going to talk more about this later. But the last piece I wanted is for for both of your children that are kinship care, children. Let's start with the oldest was her were her birth parents involved in her life while you were raising her, just we're going to talk in detail in a minute. I just want to get a feel for how involved they were.

2:50  
They were involved at holiday at family gatherings and those types of things.

2:58  
No financial support to us at all, which we didn't ask for that. She knew who they were. She had access to them. They had access to her. But we did not get a lot of support. How about your youngest kinship, placement? your youngest child, my youngest child, because there was a

3:19  
felony injury to a child charge mom is still in jail for that. And dad is deceased. But the grandmother was also charged in the incident. And she wanted her so that's where the conflict came in.

3:39  
So we haven't had any involvement. We weren't allowing phone conversations when she was younger. But those started bringing up trauma memories and we cut those off with

3:52  
bio mom. Okay, got it. Okay. Sharon. Tell us about your connection to kinship care. Who are you caring for and how old was the child and that type of stuff?

4:08  
Okay, I'm taking care of my granddaughter. I picked her up at school in another town when she was seven years old. She is now 14 and I have legal custody of her. I am her guardian.

4:26  
Her father died about three years ago.

4:31  
And her mother, who is my daughter stayed with me here in my home about five weeks, and then she left

4:42  
searching for another man, I think.

4:46  
So it's been a rough ride.

4:50  
There have been joys and there have been great concerns.

4:55  
So I've had her for eight years. Okay.

5:00  
So she's now a teenager. Lord help me.

5:04  
And

5:06  
we're running down a rough road here.

5:09  
Let me ask a question now is your granddaughters mom, your daughter? Is she involved at all? In your child's life? Your granddaughters life? She sends me a text about,

5:25  
I'd say once a month, maybe.

5:29  
And of course, my granddaughter has a phone. She could call her, but she won't answer it when she sees that it's her mom. Okay, so she's pretty angry with her because she left her.

5:42  
So

5:44  
my daughter is homeless. Somewhere in the nearby town. I don't know where. But I haven't seen her actually face to face since two years ago at Christmas.

5:57  
Okay, I'm sorry, she she has since remarried. And let me just say, he wouldn't have been my choice. Okay.

6:07  
We'll leave it at that. So I haven't seen either one of them. And that's a good thing.

6:13  
All right. Maria , can you  tell us about your connection to kinship care?

6:21  
Yes, I actually have two connections. I myself was a kinship child. There was no formal Custody Agreement, but my grandparents were taking care of me and raising me. And at six years old, they officially adopted me.

6:41  
And now I get to pay that forward.

6:46  
I got temporary custody of my nephew from DCs when he was 11 and a half years old.

6:56  
And now I get to care for him. His

7:01  
biological parents are not really in his life. His his mother passed away. And once the adoption was finalized for him, his biological father has been out of his life. Okay, remind me again. How old was he when you took custody? He was 11 and a half. Gotcha. Okay.

7:25  
Let me take a moment to tell you about a new educational resource. Thanks to our generous partners, the Jackie being Family Foundation, we are thrilled to offer you free online courses through our adoption ed.org learning platform. When you go to this link Bitly slash all cap j BF support. You can see five courses such as parenting teens and tweens with Dr. Ken Ginsberg. These will offer you additional expert based information and practical tools to raise all kids including kinship kids, like we were talking about in this panel. Each course is free when you use the coupon code JB f strong at checkout. So JB f strong is all cap. And let me give you that link. Again. It's a shortened link, which is a bitly link which is bi T dot L y slash that all cap j BF support.

8:22  
Excellent. Alright, so I want to start we talk about a lot about the challenges, of course, but also, but it's because of that. I want to start with Joyce because I do think that raising children in general has joyous moments. So let's start by talking about something that has given you joy and an experience that in your experience as a kinship caregiver. Maria, let's start with you.

8:50  
I absolutely love seeing the growth and the confidence change in my nephew. He didn't have a lot of that when he first came to us. He was not willing to try new things. He didn't want to put himself out there. He was afraid of failing. And that has changed big time. And I love it when he tries something new. And I get to see the smile on his face when he gets it accomplished. He has fun with it where he's successful at it.

9:19  
Okay, I'm smiling, just hearing you say that. All right, Lois. Can you share some of the joys that you've experienced with raising your to your niece in your great, nice.

9:31  
course. I'll start with my youngest, when, of course there was an injury. So she had a lot of fears. We had night terrors. We were up many nights, she had fear of the dark, she had fear of going to the park, the swing, all of the normal stuff that a kid would love to do. We had to work through it. And now she's climbing rocks and walls and jumping off

10:00  
stuff in. So my joy, I am ecstatic to see the growth and how a child can change when they have been placed in a safe environment. Once she realized we were safe, she was able to try the things that she would not try.

10:19  
I would imagine knowing that you are a part of that to that, that providing that safety has got to be rewarding to knowing that you were the part you played.

10:30  
Oh, absolutely, because we, I'm just trying to be transparent and honest, we were getting ready to celebrate our 30th 30th wedding anniversary. And we were not looking for a baby.

10:45  
And had our crews scheduled and ready to go celebrate and all of this and, and bam, here's the baby. So wasn't what we were wanting to do. But my heart wouldn't allow me to leave her in foster care.

11:02  
So, you know, we stepped up to the plate, and we've made a commit, we made that commitment to her. And to just watch her change over the last. I said she's nine, she actually is tan she had a birthday last month. So watch her change over the last nine years has been truly amazing. And

11:26  
my oldest, she came to me at 11 1112 between that age range, and back and forth, back and forth, she had been in attendance, different relatives home, before out our home. So she came with no self esteem,

11:44  
or very little self esteem. And we had to constantly remind her that she was home and we were not going to ask for her to leave. But what 11 year old believes me or an adult, when you've watched that pattern with 10 other families or 10 different relatives, some of the same again. So she had very little confidence trust in adults. We began to work with her on that. And I think it was round 16. And we started talking about college and where she was going to go and you know all of the different things that you start doing around her 11th great year. And she was like, I don't know if I'm going to be able to go.

12:33  
And we were like, yeah, you're going. If we have to sell our house and move in a tent in somebody else's backyard. You're going

12:44  
as she said, with these big audits, and she's been there, you would do that for me.

12:50  
And I realized at that point, she had been there. We've been taking care of her she was comfortable. But she had never unpacked that emotional baggage that I get to stay here. And after that episode of reminding her, we're not going to

13:14  
ask you to leave or you know, until your time is up here, whatever you may as well unpack in your mind, because you get this great little girl. And after that that little girl just began to bloom and blossom.

13:29  
She is now a doctor at MIT in Boston. So that shows you where she came from to where she is right now.

13:41  
Yeah, so another really positive joy is I can just hear the pride and your voice and the parental pride at where she is and how far she's come. And what is she what she's doing, which is beyond cool. Absolutely. All right, Sharon, what's been one of the joys that you've had and raising your granddaughter? Well, we actually, my husband and I had her every weekend from really the time she was born. So she already knew us pretty well. And as a toddler, just a joy just hysterically funny. She was the funniest kid I have ever seen.

14:20  
And as a baby, I'm not exaggerating, you gave her a bath. You gave her a bottle. You put her down and that was it. She would sleep 10 1213 hours. And I kept thinking this is too good to be true. Of course we're making up for that now.

14:38  
It was just a joy. I thought well, this is easy. Haha. But you know, not now but she was great while it lasted.

14:49  
So while you're saying you're that's a good segue into some of the challenges you face that in raising your grandchild or your niece or your nephew.

15:00  
So Sharon, why don't you start us off with that? And specifically, not just the parenting but those the challenges you face? either because that she is your granddaughter and not your daughter. So, and it's a part of a kinship care relationship. So why don't you tell us one of the challenges and then we'll, we'll go around, and we'll come back until I can think of some others.

15:23  
Okay, well, I can think of plenty. But the latest one is, sometime right around. after Thanksgiving of last year, she just quit eating.

15:36  
She quit eating and started wearing size, XL clothes. And she's about as big as a pencil.

15:44  
And I knew that she wasn't eating, and I knew this is not good. And so I would take her to the pediatrician. And of course, every time they every time she would go, they weight her.

15:58  
And so the doctor is watching her weight, and I'm watching her weight. And New Year's Eve,

16:07  
this New Year's Eve.

16:11  
Day, four o'clock, we had a doctor's appointment, we went she weighed her, and the doctor said, I'm going to make a few phone calls and left the room. She came back in about 30 minutes and said, I have a room for her at Levin's Children's Hospital in Charlotte. They're holding it for you. I said, Now, she said yes. Now go straight to the seventh floor, don't even go to the ER, just go to her room.

16:40  
And so on New Year's Eve, we drove to Charlotte. And she was there in that hospital for 18 days.

16:49  
So we were back and forth between here and Charlotte. And we did get to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte, which is wonderful. By the way, give them a little plug. And that was the beginning of a downhill slide.

17:06  
So it's been real interesting, shall we say? Getting a therapist getting a dietitian, she needs to be monitored all the time about what she ate. She's now decided that she's vegan, vegetarian and no dairy, which means there's nothing in my house that she will eat. So that has been very, very challenging. I can only imagine I mean, it just yeah. When you anytime our kids have a emotional issues or mental health issues, it's

17:40  
just undermines us. Maria, what about, what about you what would be one of the challenges in raising your nephew?

17:50  
For me, the absolute biggest challenge was being trapped inside of my own head.

17:57  
I didn't have any children before we got him. So I became an Insta mom to 11 and a half year old overnight, it's hard. And

18:07  
there were many nights or many days that I was ugly, crying, wondering if I was the best placement for him. If I could do this, if I could serve him if I could give him everything that he needed

18:23  
to send him off into adulthood. He's successful with joy, and not traumatized by what had happened to him.

18:33  
So it's really just been digging myself out of my own limitations that I'm setting on myself, to be able to fully embrace the role I'm in now and connect with him and just love all over him and experience that real joy.

18:51  
Lois, how about you? And instead you have two placements, if you would talk about both? Because I suspect that some of the challenges might be different from getting an 11 year old and getting a one year old.

19:04  
Oh, absolutely.

19:06  
Our challenges with the older child really didn't happen until her senior year when mom stepped back in in the picture and wanted to be

19:19  
mom wanted to be at all of the events wanted to be upfront, recognized as mom and my niece was these two moms, you know, my aunt and my uncle have been here they they're the ones that get to come to the banquet or to the you know, all of those things. So it became a real, real challenge. And

19:43  
I worked for the federal government at the time she called said I was

19:49  
committing fraud because I had on my insurance and that she didn't live with me and had never lived with me.

19:58  
So you're affecting

20:00  
My job that I had worked at for about 17 years, and it just became real ugly. I'm just being transparent with when you have kinship placements. Sometimes the, the road gets really bumpy, and it gets ugly.

20:17  
Yeah, cuz you're mixing family you're mixing that, you know, pre existing family relationships. And with an entire parenting Yeah, yeah, it's just, yeah. Right. And they blamed us that, you know, we had turned her against them. And all of those things that I'm like wearing, have you been the last seven years? I said, Do you realize the birthday cards that you got the Mother's Day, Mother's Day cards and Christmas cards. I made her do that. And I can't Scripture with her that the Bible says, honor your parents. And it did not say whether they were good or bad. But I did not want her to have to live with

21:01  
any additional pain and hurt because she didn't do the right thing. So add her graduation from college, she gave the banquet and she thanked my husband and I she said because you're taught me how to love. And if you can teach anything, what an awesome thing to teach.

21:24  
She wouldn't give up. You wouldn't allow me she's I hated you for it, you know, making me and she would get the most simple card that says Happy Mother's Day, Happy Father's Day. And I was like, I'm okay with that. But at the end, she said we taught her love. So I feel like I did my job. The younger way grandma wanted, again, same Grandma, mom to the oldest grandma to the youngest.

21:53  
One is her grandchild. But along with her daughter, she got charged with RTB, which is reason to believe that she allowed or could have prevented the abuse. So they would not allow her to do it. And we would come home, she would be sitting in front of the house. Since she's there for a visit.

22:16  
She would show up at church, I came to see

22:21  
her granddaughter, and you know, and those things, which is difficult when we will walk in for Christmas.

22:29  
You know, because we we always got together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, we will rotate the years that we would do that

22:37  
she would turn around here is she'll call her daughter's name, baby in the loop. You know, my daughter's with him? Like What are y'all talking about? Because we have not, we have not explained that she's three, four or five years old.

22:52  
And so she would deliberately do stuff like that. So those are challenges. The challenges for we're working with our child was basically therapy,

23:03  
the follow up doctor's appointments due to her trauma, and getting her in a good place.

23:10  
Just instilling self esteem and confidence and all of those things. So she could, she could go on and be great

23:20  
without having to have that baggage for the rest of her life. And we're still fighting though she's 10.

23:27  
She's 10. And we have allowed grandma a little more visitation, because she has shown a little more responsibility. But we do not allow our child to go with her. Because we can't trust her to not make that phone call, which we have not allowed based on the recommendations from the therapist, the psychiatrists and all of those because they said that the reason she kept having a night terrors and all of those things was her brain remembered the incident from the voice though remember the voice, therefore, she didn't remember what happened. She just knows something about that voice when she would talk to her. So we cut that off about

24:13  
when she was about three years old or four years old when she was in preschool. Because she was just not doing well she was she would stay up, she would cry from like three to six and then have to go to school and all of those things. And we just had to make some changes. And those were hard changes. But we had to make those changes. But because your daughter's your youngest daughter's grandmother is in the family. It's you can't just cut off completely. And that's one of the complications. That is often the guests often found, it's, you know, in a different situation. If that person had no relation to you, then you could just cut them out of your life but it's entirely different when you're there you're being invited to the same Thanksgiving dinner or you know, you're going over great great

25:00  
grandma's or whatever. And so you don't have that as a as an option. Right. And we we could have just cut all of that off. Yeah, we could have just cut it all off. So we did not, that's not who we are. But yeah, yeah. And it'd be more complicated because then you also could have to potentially cut out family and others that you want to, you know, partake in. So it's, it's, as we say, with kinship care, it's complicated.

25:29  
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to help us get content, like this panels lived experience and expert based information out to the families who need it. Would you please tell a friend today about the creating a family podcast so we can continue to inspire and strengthen the adoption, foster care and kinship care communities? Thanks so much.

25:50  
Now, the next question, I actually don't know any of your ages. So I'm so you'll have to kind of preface this, you don't have to tell me your age, but but preface it if at what stage in life, were you when you receive the child? Because the question is, how has your age played into your parenting experience with this child? and Sharon, I'd like to start with you.

26:17  
I'm older than dirt.

26:19  
I'm too old to do this.

26:22  
We had both retired their golden years, haha. And I realized, and I don't think I mentioned this, before that drugs were involved with my granddaughter's parents, my daughter and her husband.

26:39  
And that's what he died.

26:42  
And I thought,

26:44  
I have to take her. And so I discussed it with my husband, who is the site.

26:50  
And I said, I know we're retired. I know we're old. But if we don't take her, I'm going to the nuthouse in a strike jacket. And I may go there anyway. But he said, I think we should take her. So our lives are basically our retirement was canceled.

27:10  
We did manage to go on a cruise. But that was a fluke, because a friend of mine found us a babysitter, who would come to our house and stay here. She had just graduated from college and had a job in Colorado, but she hadn't taken Shen gone yet. So we've really lucked out. And I believe that was four years ago.

27:36  
And that was wonderful. But that's the only vacation we've really been able to take. Unless we take her with us. Of course.

27:47  
Lois, how has age impacted? You and kinship care?

27:53  
Well, let me tell you, my oldest child was 38. And my youngest is nine. And I have for in between. So

28:04  
I told you earlier, we were not looking to be parents again, we will get we were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary of getting ready to and planning. You know, my youngest at that time was 10.

28:18  
So we weren't looking forward, or looking to be a parent to an infant.

28:26  
But we are and the challenges that it plays is less energy. You know,

28:35  
my oldest kids, I mean, they were in everything, and we were out there cheering and

28:42  
every game Now I can't do that. So

28:49  
So I guess, you know, the challenge is

28:53  
the pandemic came, when when you know, so that saved me for a while.

29:00  
The only upside to the pandemic is you got out of having to go to soccer. Oh, well, that is an upside. I'll have to grant you.

29:09  
Yes, I did, and track and all of those things. So, you know, we're

29:16  
we're almost back there with the asking, I want to do karate, you know, can I do this and that? So that was one challenge for us. It's just the all of the activities that the younger kids want to do.

29:32  
And my like, what is that? I don't have it. Yeah, I don't have the energy as I did. from other kids. Yeah. Maria, what about you has age impacted or played into your parenting experience with this child?

29:47  
I am two years younger than his mother. So I got him at sort of a natural time in our lives when appears my own age or having children

30:00  
During that are around his age. So that hasn't really impacted me other than

30:07  
I wasn't used to doing schoolwork and homework and those type of things. So that set me back some. Yeah, it was a crash course in parenting.

30:18  
For sure. Well, okay, so this this is a related question. But the So how has the caring for your grandchild impacted your friendships and the activities? It seems like we kind of had a theme going here with cruises where Lois cruise got canceled and and, and Sharon's cruise was able to go forward but but that type of activity and other activities but and friendships that that, Lois, I'll start with you, you were celebrating your 30 something anniversary, you were your friends were likely in a similar age group. And then now you are parenting a newborn? Did that impact your friendships and your are your availability to do the things that your friends and your friend group were doing?

31:08  
Oh, absolutely. I mean, the invite, we're not going to call her then, you know, those types of things? Or when they did call, no, I can't find a babysitter, you know, I got to take care of her. And I was one of those I didn't do a lot of,

31:26  
you know, going out with my friends after we adopted our children because I wanted to be available to them. But we would my husband and I would take turns like he would have a guys night out or I would have a girls night out. But the invitations become few and far between. and I'm okay with that. Because I wanted to be available to my kids that

31:52  
I am in being invited to their grandchildren's birthday party with my child, you know, so

32:02  
it's a little awkward, because

32:06  
my niece's kids are inviting me to their birthday parties for and then I'm taking my child, and I'm older than anyone there. So it's

32:17  
well, and I'm glad you raised that the issue that that the friend group, either the parents of your child's friends, you are likely old enough to be a parent to them. And so you have less in common? Yeah, yes. In common with the, we always used to say that, that whether we liked it or not. Our friends were often are the parents of our children's friends, because it was convenient. Not that the friendships were all fringes of convenience, but there was a convenience factor. And and it seems sounds like from what you're saying, Lois? That's something that you don't have, because you are significantly older than your youngest daughter's peer groups, parents.

32:59  
That is absolutely right. Unless, you know, totally advanced at the school and involved in there unless there are grandparents raising their grandchildren. We don't usually Connect because, you know, our the age difference between her peers and their parents, and it's so much different. But we have made friends with grandparents who talk about having direct experience. Yeah. And have. Yeah, so you know, we connect on that level. But I have often been asked Is that your granddaughter? You know, when you go places? I'm not that I look old or anything because I'm still

33:41  
and

33:43  
Yeah, you are.

33:49  
But I have been asked that question.

33:53  
Sharon, what about you did when you took your granddaughter? And did it affect your your friendship, your activities, the things that you were currently doing or wanting to do?

34:04  
Oh, yes, of course.

34:07  
Our friends sort of disappeared, because they're not raising their grandchildren or their grandchild.

34:16  
They're going sailing for the weekend. We're not invited because they know we have a 14 year old with us.

34:26  
So we've sort of been

34:30  
very quiet here. A lot of that has to do with COVID. So this past year has been really, really lonely, because nobody's going anywhere doing anything. But now they're starting to but we're not invited.

34:45  
And before I mean, everybody has been isolated for the last year but but before and from when you took custody

34:54  
of your granddaughter. Yeah. So it's it's changed that. Marina, what about you in some ways

35:00  
It would be I don't know what it was your friend group did your friend group prior to your nephew priority you're receiving custody of your nephew was that? Did it? Did this bring you closer because your friend group all had kids and now you had child? Or did it? Where's your friend group mainly childless.

35:18  
This has brought me closer to my friend group. Not necessarily because we have children now. And that's in common with them, but to see them, welcome him and just not even skip a beat. They just bring him around and they invite him to go along swimming with them to come over and play games. I just have a huge appreciation for the way that they are embracing him. And we've been truly blessed. It has impacted our activities somewhat.

35:54  
We like to go out and be adventurous.

35:58  
And we like to kayak and do zip lines and things like that. And he just didn't really have the confidence for that he wasn't the outdoorsy type, he would rather be playing his video games.

36:12  
So we've worked in that area to be able to get him out and having fun with us and experiencing new things. Okay, yeah, I can definitely. And that's an interesting thing, because his life experience was probably never involved some of the things that you are, and temperamentally, he might be different as well. So that's,

36:34  
that's a challenge. Yes.

36:38  
This show is brought to you by our partners. It is through their support that we are able to do shows each weekend as well as all the other resources we provide on our website. And one of our wonderful partners is adoptions from the heart. They were founded by an adoptee and they are celebrating 35 years of bringing families together through adoption. They are a full service domestic infant adoption agency specializing in open adoption, adoptive parents and birth parents share their stories on a f t h TV airing Tuesday mornings, that's a f t h TV, you can follow adoptions from the heart on Facebook and YouTube to catch every episode.

37:23  
Alright, let's talk about boundaries. And Maria, I'll start with you.

37:28  
The one of the challenges, and Lois has alluded to it already, is that we all as kinship caregivers, you play a dual role of both either the aunt or they cousin, or the grandparent, to the child, your raisings parent, as then you also play the role of parent to this child, have you struggled with having to set boundaries with your child to protect your grandchild? Or not your case child with your I don't know, let's say it was your nephew. So to be your sister, or your sister in law, or your brother or brother in law.

38:09  
It was my sister in law and

38:12  
fairly early on in the process. We had to say goodbye to her and she passed.

38:20  
So we've not really there, we've not really had to work on the boundaries so much with that role. Our boundaries came into place when it's the we've gone from the awesome fun and uncle who fed him chocolate and let him stay up till four in the morning playing video games with us to the parental role. And now we've got to have structure because that type of life is not sustainable in the long term. Good for the weekend, but not the long term.

38:53  
So we've we've not had that family boundary really that we've had to put in place. My parents, my adoptive parents had that but we've not had to do that as a child with when being raised in that environment. How did that how aware of you were that there was a boundary that the boundaries are being crossed and that it was frustrating to your adoptive parents or to your in this case, your grandparents? How did that impact you as a child being raised in a kinship placement? my

39:27  
adoptive parents really had this boundary to where they wouldn't bad mouth or bash my parents, my biological parents in front of me.

39:41  
So they didn't really

39:44  
show being upset or being frustrated. They would always talk to me and tell me that they wish my parents were more involved in my life and they really hated that. Things were the way they were. But before me

40:00  
affected me because I was seeing mainly my biological father.

40:06  
How his temper.

40:08  
To me he was taking things out on people that I just dearly love that were taking care of me. And that would always upset me the way he was treating them, even though they tried to keep that boundary up for me that they didn't show that it was really bothering them or that it was a thing.

40:28  
So I fought with that a lot, in my own mind,

40:33  
even though they tried to protect you, the reality is we our parents really can't protect us, you know, from children are way too astute and see and understand, right?

40:45  
The reality is, a little ears are everywhere, and they will be sneaking around listening, when you least expect it.

40:55  
Spoken like a true Mother of

41:00  
All right, Sharon, have you had to draw boundaries with your daughter in order to protect your granddaughter? And and has that? How has that worked?

41:13  
Well, actually, it's worked pretty well, for me, because like I said, she left.

41:20  
She doesn't have a car, far as I know, she text once a month, maybe if she has a phone, and it has minutes on it. And my granddaughter's kind of set up her own boundaries because of her mother calls, or she doesn't answer the phone.

41:37  
Okay, so the boundaries kind of got established without your having to go through it. Okay. Right. And like I said, the the father died of a drug overdose. So he's added the picture. So it sort of took care of itself. Another issue that we hear from some kinship providers, is what to do if their child let's say it's a grandparent, or if it's an aunt who is caring for a nice, what to do if other children are born and into the family. And do they, they've stepped up to parent this, this one child, but does How do they then? Or do they then continue to parent each subsequent child? And if they don't have is that play from? I mean, we talked about the importance of siblings. So then there's the guilt or not should I do this, but can I stretch myself that thin? Or should I stretch myself that fan?

42:36  
Let me see, I'll start with you, Sharon. Have you had the experience where in your case it would be your daughter has had other children or another child and that she was not able to care for and and how did you handle that? If that happened?

42:53  
Yes, that did happen. I told you she did remarry wouldn't have chosen him. And they have a beautiful little girl.

43:04  
And that little girl is now about a year old and she is in the custody of DSS. No surprise there. But my husband and I talked about it and we made a conscious decision. We cannot take another one. We just can't do it.

43:23  
We don't have the resources. We don't have the money. The child has been placed in a foster home and I just absolutely adore her.

43:35  
they spoil her. She has the cutest clothes. Every now and then I'm in touch with the the other grandmother of this foster child. And every now and then she'll send me some pictures. just adorable. And so this couple is going to try to legally adopt her. So I need for everybody to pray that that works out and they get to keep her forever because they're wonderful. And and will they are you interested in having a relationship with this child or an interested in your granddaughter having a relationship with her half sibling.

44:16  
My granddaughter said to me, she was not real thrilled when this baby was born. Her fear was my mom is gonna love this little baby more than she loves me.

44:29  
Well, I didn't say anything to my granddaughter, but I'm thinking no honey, she'll treat her the same way she treated you like you don't exist. But I didn't say that. But since we're being forthcoming here, I thought I thought it but I didn't say it. But she has never expressed any desire to see her meet her.

44:52  
So

44:54  
as of today, it's not been a problem.

44:58  
Lois, what about you?

45:00  
Is there?

45:02  
Have you faced the situation with either of your kinship placements where another child was born?

45:09  
And if so, how did you? How did you handle them?

45:13  
Well, I actually put a no vacancy sign out front of my house when my adopted mother last child. So I don't know how this little one got through. But nonetheless,

45:25  
the biological mom of my youngest has been incarcerated since her injury, and my understanding that she may be getting out

45:38  
in the next month or so, and looking for a reunion, which is not going to happen, but due to our mental state, she believes that there she's coming back to get her baby. So we don't know what we're getting ready to say,

45:53  
right now. But those are just statements that we have heard.

46:00  
So I haven't had a had to deal with a sibling because of her being incarcerated. And then my oldest, she was the youngest. And there were no siblings born there. So I didn't have to deal with that issue of trying to figure out, you know whether I wanted to take another sibling, so no.

46:18  
vacancy sign is still up, you've put an extra stake in it heavy. Alright. The

46:25  
Maria, I don't think this question applies to you, does it? No, it does not.

46:31  
Okay. All right. Another question that we get is a real challenge for a lot of kinship. Caregivers is how to handle technology, screens, video gaming, etc. It partly it's because even if you have parroted before, these, oftentimes these, this technology was just not around at the time. So has that been a challenge for you, Sharon, I'll start with you.

47:03  
Oh, has it ever? I can't do it. I could never do it, I still can't do it. I'm hoping and praying that there'll be no technology in heaven. But fortunately, my granddaughter can now do it for me, because, you know, she's a teenager, they know all about this technology stuff. So she does it, she tells me about it, I have no idea what she's talking about. But if I have a problem, I just go get her and say, can you get this thing off of my screen? And in less than a second? She has it done? So we're good.

47:42  
My question is, my question is more though, that from a parenting standpoint, how to parent in this digital age and how to set limits and how to understand what our kids are getting into and and to be able to set limits? Has that been an issue? Yes, I have tried diligently to limit her time on the cell phone, which is attached to her body permanently, I guess, that I would go into her tiptoe into her room at night and see this little blue light coming through the covers. She's taken it to bad weather.

48:20  
So I have jerked

48:22  
out of her bed at night.

48:26  
I'm trying to keep her occupied with other things, keep her busy, give her something else to do. This was a real challenge during COVID. I can only be charming and entertaining for so long. And then I'm fresh out of ideas.

48:41  
It is a real problem. That cell phone is

48:46  
the devil himself. And there's no telling what she's seeing or doing on it. Because I can't figure it out to find out what she's looking at. So that's been a real challenge. Yeah, Maria, you are of the generation that is whose children are the, you know, digital natives, I guess is the term. So how does. So this is not a generational thing so much for you. It hasn't been a challenge at all, other than any other parent of a 11 or 12 year old.

49:18  
It has been for the simple fact that before he came to us any of his free time that he wasn't in school, he was on a video game or he was watching YouTube. And

49:33  
you know, sitting up late, late hours at night, watching YouTube and on a video game. So when he came here, it was a huge shock

49:43  
to have limits on his screen time. And with all the changes that he was having. We tried not to jerk it all away at one time. But we did have to work to find a balance. So he had to earn his screen time for a little

50:00  
Bit by doing other things like playing outside reading books, he could earn screentime. That way, he's done really well, he's found his balance, we no longer really have to hover and supervise the amount of time he's on there. But we are definitely monitoring what he is doing. And what he is watching and paying attention to what he's watching, he does not have a cell phone, and he desperately wants one because every kid his age has one.

50:36  
But we've all heard that everybody's got one Mom, I am not willing to give him a cell phone until he can handle that responsibility. I don't want him to just have something he's going to be grounded from all the time. I want him to be able to enjoy it and be able to connect with friends and family.

50:57  
So that's, that's been our struggle, just limiting it and helping him to find a balance and explaining to him it's not what you're doing that I'm concerned about right now. It's, this gives the world access to you. And I want to protect you. So not having him feel guilty and attacked by the limits. But having him understand that it's for his own good.

51:25  
Good way to handle it.

51:27  
Lower, your daughter is just turned 10. So this is perhaps a slight bit early to be asking you this question. But do you anticipate that or how do you plan on handling getting up to speed on all the the new technology that's that's around since your youngest was your child, your youngest before that your nice, great nice arrived when your earlier parenting experience, early parenting experience, totally different than this one. But I have made sure that I'm educated on all of these different apps and different things that they could be getting in because I monitor that from my teenagers. So I'm not out of the loop. As far as the technology and what I need to do.

52:17  
She does ask for her cell phone,

52:20  
you know, and I'm like, No, there's no purpose in her having a cell phone at this time. Because we take her everywhere she goes, we're there we stay. And just don't feel the need for that my older kids didn't get a cell phone until they were 13.

52:37  
But that, I found that that age has dropped younger and younger. But I'm not being pressured to meet those demands, I have to parent my house. So I have filters filters on her laptop that she's been using for virtual learning and her tablet. And I check history. And if there's a problem with something that I find we have a conversation about it. So you were kind of already

53:05  
more or less parenting and you knew the technology knew the ropes. So it hasn't been as much of a shock to your system.

53:13  
Right. And I use the app when my younger kids were had their cell phones, younger teams, called mm Guardian, where it will shut their phones off at 10 o'clock, or nine o'clock or whatever time I set it. And when come back on until

53:31  
637 o'clock the next morning, and I would limit their time that way. So when they became older and more responsible, I took that that actual bet app off of their phones but younger new to the cell phone, I did block that overnight access to a phone.

53:53  
Well, guys, thank you so much for joining us today and for your frankness and your willingness to share the joys as well as the challenges and and just thank you each for stepping up to care for these children. In some ways it's thankless in some ways, it's not that, you know, we are all indebted to everyone in our society is indebted to those of you who have stepped forward to care for these really vulnerable kids. So just want to say thank you, Maria Buckley rd, Sharon Fogle and Lois Miller for being with us today and talking about this really important topic. So thank you all and And guys, I will say that to our audience. Remember that we are here every week. So we look forward to seeing you next week and to our guests. I will say thank you for joining us.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai