The Story Of Our Journey
As far as I am concerned this will be the most important page on this website. It is going to tell the entire story of how we came to be raising our grandson. I had to think long and hard on how I was going to write this page. I decided that what’s best for me and my readers was the entire honest truth as to what happened. There will be some tough things to read here but once I’m done I’m sure you will understand my need to share my story and help others today and forever.
The Day The Sun Forgot To Shine
It was a typical summer August day. I had to work so I was hanging out at home. My wife was gone camping with some friends a few hours away. It was early afternoon. I was at home because I was lucky enough to be able to do some of my work from home.
I was a dispatcher for a large oilfield company so I was used to my phone ringing off the hook. So I wasn’t surprised to hear my phone ring. What did surprise me when I answered was the yelling, crying and panic that was coming from the other end. It was my wife and I instantly knew something really bad had happened or was happening.
All I heard her say is Dale they took my pork chop, they took my pork chop. Well I knew her nickname for our grandson was pork chop but I had no idea what she was talking about. I knew where she was camping and I knew she was nowhere near him. Then she said Social Services had taken him from his mom, our daughter in law. I had no clue what was going on but what I did know was that I was going to find out.
I spent the next three hours phoning everyone I could think of. Every government agency I would call would lead me to a different one. Finally I talked to someone. There wasn’t a lot she could tell me on a Friday afternoon. However there were a few things she did tell me. She told me our grandbaby was safe in temporary foster care. She then told me there would be a meeting Monday morning where we would get all the details.
Well there was no sleep for the next couple of nights. The weekend felt like months. Like Monday morning would never come. But of course it did come and as you are about to find out this first meeting would just be the beginning of a long hard fought battle to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our little grand baby.
The meeting was in another town about an hour away. We were to be there for 930 in the morning. Well we left at 730 cause there was no way we were going to be late. I’m sure on the way there I drank five coffees and my wife smoked half a pack of smokes.
So of course we sat there for an hour waiting. All we could do was assume what might happen. We were in total belief that this was just a big misunderstanding. After all our little guy was over a year old and we never noticed anything out of the ordinary. Were we smitten, it couldn’t be. We were convinced that shortly our little grandbaby would be reunited with his mom and we would all be on our way. Well we were soon to find out that it just wouldn’t be quite that easy.
When I first started this site I wasn’t sure I was going to tell the entire story that lead to where we are today but with lots of thought and compassion for all the others going through this stuff I decided to tell the entire story but decided not to use any real names.
So in saying this I should give you a little break down on the characters. First and most important of course in our grandson, next is myself and my wife, then is the dad who is our son, the mom and all her boyfriends and of course the supporting cast such as social workers, helpers, lawyers, judges, instructors and many more. You saw I said the mother and her many boyfriends so if you read into that you are right, at that time the mom and dad were no longer a couple.
Well at exactly 9:30 we were welcomed at the secure entrance by a social worker. So far it was just my wife and I. Should have known something was up when the mom showed up like 20 minutes late with her so called boyfriend. Oh well, we looked past that and were all escorted to a room that looked like some kind of meeting room. It had a table with about 10 chairs around it. There was a television in the corner and books on shelves all over the room. All the introductions and pleasantries were done and it was time to sit down and hear details. One thing you should know was at this point our grandson wasn’t there. We were promised a half hour visit before we left. The foster care worker was kind enough to make time to bring him over.
The Social worker started by giving us a break down of the events that lead us to sitting in that room at the social services office.
She started by telling us that they had been watching mom and our grandson for a while. It all started with a report of a baby screaming in a van at 1 in the morning. It was 40 below zero out. Yes the van was running and locked but mom was found in a known drug house while baby was outside in the van. Of course mom denied all this while my wife and I sat there with our jaws on our lap.
There were a number of other little things that we were told about. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I just sat there and waited to hear about the final act that would get our little grandbaby taken away. While waiting with my mouth shut all I could hear was the mom yelling and denying everything. Honestly I finally just yelled at her and told her to shut up. She looked at me in disbelief but she did finally shut up.
The one social worker finally got to continue with her story. Like I said they had been watching mom and baby. They got wind of a place they were moving to so decided to do a house check. Well apparently mom and baby were going to be living in a garage of a known drug home. That was the final straw. Social services left saying everything was good to go. Well everything wasn’t good. Social services just needed time to get what’s called an order of protection. What this basically means is they could take baby away because they were concerned about his safety. Also in order to get him back she would have to meet certain criteria.
Mom was parked when social services and the police arrived to take the little guy away into protective custody. Of course mom was freaking out because she thought she was doing nothing wrong. At the same point the social worker removed the car seat to find out there was no way they could use this seat. They discovered sour milk, moldy granola, feces and urine in the car seat
I was a big tough 6ft1 250 pound oil field worker. However when I heard all this I was literally brought to tears. I don’t mean a hidden tear but I literally started bawling.
When things finally settled down the social worker proceeded to tell all of us what needed to be done in order for our little grandbaby to be reunited with his mom. It was quite a list but you would think a parent would do anything in their power to get their child back.
- Have to pass a drug test
- Have to have a job
- Have to have a place to live approved by social services
- Have to enter a drug and alcohol support group
- Have to take parenting classes
The list may sound long but I was in total agreement with the system. I don’t care what anyone says but it was obvious they were just trying to protect our grand baby’s safety. This was so far a perfect example of the system working. Once again mom denied it all and said it was everyone else’s fault.
Half Hour With Our Grandbaby
Well the first meeting was finally over and we were going to get to see our little guy. The meeting didn’t go well and my wife and I were very upset with baby’s mom but at that moment we had to cradle our emotions because we were going to see our grandson.
Once again mom had to stir things up because social services would not allow moms boyfriend in the visit room because he actually wasn’t checked out but he was known to the police and social services.
Well once again things finally calmed down enough that we were lead to a visit room. It was a room where we couldn’t see the foster mom for obvious reasons.
This half hour turned out to be one of the most emotional half hours in my life. Of course when our grandbaby was brought in his mom went running to him and grabbed him. Yes she cried and she hugged and kissed him. I’m sure in some ways she was sincere but not sure how much. As soon as baby was handed to my wife and I mom just got on her phone and started texting. My wife grabbed little guy and hugged him so hard. She started bawling and couldn’t stop crying or holding him.
The half hour obviously went very quick. We didn’t want him to be taken away while mom just couldn’t wait to get out of the room we were in so she could get outside. On the way out she asked us to meet here at a local coffee shop because her and her boyfriend wanted to talk to us.
Reluctantly we met them at the coffee shop. At this moment I really wanted nothing to do with her but I knew I was so angry that I had to just bite my tongue because I honestly wanted to strangle her. Well I was about to get even angrier.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. They told us that it would be easier for us as grandparents to get custody of our little guy and then we could just hand him over back to his mom. Of course my wife and I both immediately said not a chance. We told her to just do what’s being asked of her and everything would be good. Well all she would do is deny everything and tell us that no one had a right to tell her how she had to live or how she should bring up her child.
In my mind I instantly knew that we had better start preparing to raise our grandson because it sounded like he was never going to be back with his mom.
The Next Few Weeks
I’m really going to try and not bore you here. I will try and skip the boring parts. Well we were given a couple visits at different times from mom. We were told that she was either showing up very late or not showing up at all to visits. So in her case from then on she had to be at the office before they would even call for the foster mom to bring baby boy in. Once again showing everyone that things weren’t going well with mom getting her son back.
We were given the foster parents information and if planned we were allowed to go to their place to visit baby boy. Eventually they would let us come and hang out all day with our grand baby. In the meantime we were going through the steps to get temporary kinship. This would mean baby boy could come to our place on weekends as long as we followed the rules set forth to us.
We went to classes teaching us about kinship. Yes we had been parents to three boys who were now grown up and moved out. But times had changed and our little guy needed some special parenting. Also our house needed to be baby proofed and that had to be determined by the government. One other thing is they absolutely picked your brain all the way up the family tree to make sure we were going to be the ones to keep baby boy safe.
Finally November 15 2012 we were granted full time kinship and baby boy finally came home to live with us. At this point it is important for you to understand three things. Kinship was basically us taking care of baby boy for social services. I mean we had a ton of rules to follow. We couldn’t even leave town without getting permission. But for now that was ok because he was with us and we knew he was safe.
Secondly I have all the love and gratitude for his foster parents. They were great people who showed our little guy so much love and safety. It was so great that even years later we still keep in touch.
Thirdly and what I consider most important is that this wasn’t supposed to be permanent. The intention always was to reunite baby boy with his mom. Well we were soon to find out that wasn’t going to happen.
The Next 6 Months
The next 6 months everyone did everything they could to reunite baby with his mom. Well I guess not everyone because it seemed mom wasn’t willing to do what needed to be done. She was offered everything through social services.
- They were going to get her a home
- They were going to fund her
- They were going to help her find work
- They were going to pay all medical
- They were going to help her get her legal issues fixed
All she had to do was go to rehab funded by social services, get clean and maintain staying clean. She still insisted that what she was doing wasn’t hurting anyone so decided to take no responsibility.
We had several supervised visits planned that she either never attended, showed up late or played on her cell phone the entire time.
No matter how hard everyone tried it seemed that nothing was going to happen so social services approached us with plan B. We had hoped it would never come to plan B but now it had.
Before I go into Plan B I should tell you a little about baby boy’s dad since we haven’t said much here yet. He is our oldest son. When all of this was going down he just decided to stay out of the picture because he felt he just didn’t have what it took to be a dad. But more on him later.
Plan B (Bring It On)
Finally everyone was at their wits end with baby boy’s mom. Not only had she totally stopped coming to visits but was now wanted by the police for several crimes.
So what plan B consisted of was to stop trying to reunite with either parent and go for full custody for my wife and I. Of course that wasn’t forced on us but instead they asked. Of course we didn’t have to think about it. If this was now the best route then it was what we were going to do
The first thing that needed to be done was we had to go to court and get both parental rights stripped. Both parents were given notice this was going to happen. This was their chance to make things happen and turn things around. Of course we weren’t surprised when mom never showed up. However we were surprised when our son showed up and even more surprised at what he told the judge.
He told the judge that he wasn’t in a place to raise a child properly and agreed to have his daddy rights stripped. He also said that he thought baby boy was right where he should be and that was with grandma and grandpa.
So that was it five minutes later both parents were no longer legally parents. That was part one of plan B
The big day came on January 17, 2013. That was the day we went to court to get full custody of our little grandbaby. As nervous as we were it really didn’t take long at all. About ten minutes after the judge looked at all the so called evidence he didn’t even hesitate to make things legal. Baby boy was now legally ours. We signed a few papers and that was it. Now he wasn’t even in the system anymore. No more checking in. We could just go ahead and live life.
Well over the next few years quite a bit of stuff happened. Some was good and some was not so good but life does go on. Our little guy was diagnosed with ADHD and the Drs are 100% sure it was because of moms drug use while being pregnant. Both parents were given chances to get to know baby boy. Sadly mom was no different and never kept her dates to see him or when she did it was just drama. Then she would disappear for 6 month with no word. So now we have decided to cut ties with her entirely.
As for dad it is a work in progress but I am happy to say that for the most part things are going pretty good. I say that very cautiously because it’s all about protecting baby boy. He does have a relationship with his dad now and they see each other mostly on weekends and even have some sleep overs. However at the end of the day our little guy knows where home is and always wants to come there.
He has finished kindergarten and will be in grade one next year
He is also taking Ukrainian dancing and loving it.
Should tell you a few things. We are grandma and grandpa but we are Ukrainian so he calls us Baba and Gigi. He does have to take medication for his ADHD or he gets very violent. Some days are very trying but if we had to do it all over again of course we would.
He is our life and we work very hard at protecting him. We never miss a night of tucking him in and telling him we love him or a morning of hugs and breakfast.
We love him so much and that love will carry on to my website I hope to get to a point of helping any grandparents raising grandchildren.