Thursday, December 15, 2016

And Now It Has Been 8 years

taken the night they arrived!
Many of you have been with me here at Smidgens, Snippets, & Bits for a long time. Some may have remembered when it was called Paula's Place. But some of you are new and don't know this story. So I will tell it again today as we mark an 8 year anniversary!

It was a cold, blustery winter day. I was off from my job at the nursing home. Spending the day inside with Richard. I was also babysitting Paige after she was out of school. Richard was doing a puzzle in the reading room. That is something he liked to spend his time doing. He had now been retired from Eaton for 8 years, and had finally given up his part-time job at the Hutchinson News. 

The afternoon was interrupted with a phone call from granddaughter Katie. She is the big sister to Darian and Harley. She was living with the 'other' grandmother across town. (Along with another sister, Kelsi). I could tell that Katie was upset. She was 17 at this time. Still in high school. Soon would be turning 18.Katie and Kelsi had been living with their maternal grandmother for quite a number of years. All four share the same mother (I will refer to her as M) but only Darian and Harley are fathered by my son, Danny!

Danny and M have had a long history of problems. They have both been in trouble with the law for various reasons. And they both struggle with drug addiction. When Darian and Harley were much younger (Darian, 4 and Harley 2) they were removed from the home due to neglect and placed in State custody. We took them in as 'foster' grandparents at that time. We had them for 8 months. The State thought it would be better for them to live with an aunt of their mother, who also had Katie and Kelsi at this time. This aunt and her boyfriend were wanting to adopt all 4 kids! Richard and I fought it as hard as we could but in the end we had to let them go. They left here to live with their aunt.

During this first separation from their parents many things happened in their young lives. Their mom went to rehab! Their dad spent a bit of time in jail. And in the end (after some horrifying happenings) these two went back with their mom. Given back by the State of Kansas. They were living with mom, maternal grandmother, and two older sisters. We saw them off and on. And we saw our son off and on as well.

Now back to this December day in 2008. Katie, crying into the phone told me that mom had gone to rehab (again) and she feared that Dad was up to no good. (Both Katie and Kelsi called Danny their dad). She asked me if she could get Darian and Harley from school and bring them to my house. She was very worried about them. At first I told her 'no'. I couldn't do this again. Richard was getting older and I was still working. I just couldn't do it. She sobbed and said she would see what else she could do. I hung up. And there was Richard saying, "I can't believe you told her no" And there was Paige, after hearing me tell Papa the story, saying "I want them to come here". So I called Katie back. I told her to bring them to me. And she did.

They arrived on my doorstep with only the clothes on their back. And that wasn't much. I had nothing for them. I had to scramble to find clothes and beds and make what arrangements we could make. There were wonderful people around us who helped. Katie left word with Danny that the kids were at my house. And we did not hear a word from him. Not until mid-January of 2009 when word came that he had been arrested for cooking methamphetamine  in a local hotel. (I shudder to think these kids would have been with him and once again in the custody of the State). He went to jail for a longer time. Mom got out of Rehab, where she always goes when the going gets tough. She wanted her kids back. But we kept putting her off as long as we could.

And this time we didn't give them back. Instead we hired a lawyer and became their legal guardians. And here they are....8 years later! We are still a family. They are now 16 and 18. Almost 17 and 19. Their adult lives are just around the corner. These years haven't been easy. There have been many road blocks and twists and turns. Ups and downs. Good times and bad times. Very little contact with their parents (parents choice). 

I am glad they came. I am happy they are with me. I wouldn't have it any other way!!

36 comments:

  1. I haven't been here long enough to have heard this story before. Wow. What a story. Happy anniversary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Liz! It has been a ride, for sure!

      Delete
  2. Thank goodness you were there for them. You are a wonderful Grandmaother and have made a big difference in the childrens lives. Meth is such a bad drug...there seems to be no escape from it for users and makers...so sad. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is very sad. I can only continue to pray that my son will eventually escape its clutches and come home to us!! It is my everyday prayer!

      Delete
  3. Paula, this story totally defines the term resiliency.
    Thanking God for your (and Richard's) decision!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Myra. Yes, it was ALL Richard! God Bless him!!

      Delete
  4. In my new account at work, I'm typing children's reports which I had never ever done before in my close to 40 years in my field. It is amazing how many grandparents are raising the grandchildren. Hats off to you and Richard for agreeing to do so! Kids need stability, love, boundaries. You and Richard have provided all of that and so much more to Darian and Harley. They will be "better" adults because of your commitment to them and the bonds you have formed with them will continue to grow as they navigate into adulthood. My hats off to both you and Richard for willing to make that commitment 8 years ago!

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since I have begun this journey I am finding so many grandparents raising grandchildren too. It is sad! I hope what you say is true. I have done the best I can. I worry because I also raised their father and something along the way must have gone wrong. It's just a daily struggle.

      Delete
  5. Hi Paula - I bet you're glad they're with you ... more importantly I bet they're glad they are with you - you've given them stability and much love. Blessings to you all ... this is a wonderful story full of hope and love ... gorgeous photo too ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been a blessing to have them here the past few years. God had a plan!!

      Delete
  6. Paula, that is a wonderful thing that you did. I am a rather new follower to your blog and wondered what the full story was, so thanks for sharing again. I have a friend who now has custody of her young granddaughter - pretty much a similar situation to yours. It takes a lot of love and commitment and I am sure your grandchildren are better off with your love and home. EnJOY your holidays with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know about how wonderful it was. It was necessary for them. It hasn't been easy. But not much in life is. Many grandparents are having to step up now. Makes me wonder why we didn't do a better job raising the kids' parents!!

      Delete
  7. You do what you have to do, and are happy you could do it when you realize the difference you make.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming from someone who knows the stuggle!! Bless you Joanne and Merry Christmas!!

      Delete
  8. Oh, Paula. I have been with you through Paula's Place and I knew the children had a tough start before you got them but I never actually heard the story. You and your dear husband made such a difference in these two small lives who now are reaching adulthood as whole productive individuals despite the failings of their parents. I am in awe. Your grandchildren are so blessed to have had a safety net in you and Richard. And in the end you are 'richer' for their place in your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think those are very true words! Good to see you Elaine. Merry Christmas!!

      Delete
  9. God bless you. That's all I can say.
    Thank you for giving when it was hard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been hard but there has been plenty of good about it too!

      Delete
  10. A wonderful story. You must have spent their earlier years so worried about their safety.
    My very immature 18 year old daughter had a baby. I need to constantly intervene with my now 6 year granddaughter and am prepared to have her live with us as need be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry Sue that you know a bit of what I am talking about. Hope it never comes down to you having to step in and take charge. Saying a little prayer for you!

      Delete
  11. What a blessing those kids have you and I'm sure you feel the same. So glad you were able to get custody and give them a good home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that I am truly a blessing to them!!

      Delete
  12. I've heard this story before, but I love hearing it. The stability and love you've given these children is going to shape their adult lives. xxoo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that is true Kwiz! I raised their father too, remember!

      Delete
  13. I wondered how you ended up with those lil brats. LOL
    Just kidding
    Uncle Chuck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that is what happened! And now I can't get rid of them. Maybe 2017 will see Darian off to start his life.

      Delete
    2. Maybe as we rebuild our peace time military

      Delete
  14. Good to get some background but you always sound like you are doing a great job with the kids. They are lucky to have you. As for your worries about how they will turn out all you can do is try and guide them and set them a good example. (As you are doing.) Inevitably they will make their own choices as they get older and hopefully the right ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't guarantee that I am always doing a good job. But I do try. You are right!~ All's a parent can do is teach them best as they can and what they do when they become an adult is on them.

      Delete
  15. You have saved a lot of futures in taking in your grandchildren. You've taught them to be loving and to be able to trust there is a good and kind sort of future for them in this world.

    ReplyDelete
  16. God knew exactly what he was doing when he had Richard listen in on that phone call and Paige backing him up. He wanted Darian and Harley in a safe, loving environment and knew that yours couldn't be topped.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure about all that but thank you Wendy! It is what it is!

      Delete
  17. That's quite a story, Paula! I'm sure it can't have been easy - as you say, ups and downs - but much better off in a stable home environment than what Harley and Darian had. Without you and Richard, who knows where they would be today? You can be proud of how you have raised them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will be proud when they are raised!! LOL!

      Delete

I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!