GRandS Grandparents’ Stories

GRandS Grandparents’ Stories

The following 21 stories are written by the grandparents themselves about how the GRandS Program has impacted and influenced their lives and relationships with their grandchildren.

A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

By Maryanne A

I am a 67 year old grandmother.  I learned about the GRandS Program through a newspaper article featuring a family in the program.  I attend the workshops because I was raised with 7 brothers, had 2 sons. I felt unprepared to raise my granddaughter. Boys and girls are so different.  She was 11 when I first got her, with many issues no child should have had at her young age.  I attend the GRandS Program Workshops at the PBC Cooperative Extension in West Palm Beach.

Most of all, it taught me techniques to use that worked and helped the transition, One lesson after another gave me the tools I needed to help understand her and guide her. It also helped me to know that I was not alone, sharing kept me sane till I got the hang of it. It also made an impression on my granddaughter since she was aware that while she was in school, I also was in class learning all I could to be able to “Parent” her at my age. It meant I cared, something she needed to know as it helped her heal.

One of the most important tools I have now as a result of the GRandS workshops is knowing what discipline really is. I gave up the way I was raised and through the many sessions, we all learned how “teaching” is the real work of discipline, not punishment. I use strong boundaries to protect my granddaughter from her disabled parents influence, this in turn taught her how to use boundaries instead of “acting out” when she is upset. We have both learned to respect ourselves and each other.

Some of the sessions I attended the class studied child physiology, brain maturation, and what a vast amount of information contained in all the books in our “GRandS/GRG Library.”

Our home is a safe, calm place where we can listen and share and not be afraid of ridicule or labels.

By teaching her the boundaries are a way of only permitting positive interactions, that they can convey your needs and desires without resulting chaos.

The parents did not believe or respect the boundaries but I persisted and told them it would improve their relationship with her to follow them until she was healed enough to be in either’s presence and not flashback. Her mother honored the boundaries and their relationship improved after a separation of 9 months. While this was difficult for the mother, she had counseling and a pastor that helped her hold on. She is now rewarded. Dad did not think it reasonable for a “child” to tell an adult what they could and couldn’t do. Their relationship is upside down, she is the adult and he is the child.

The child is now a 16 year old beauty, smart, strong and well on her way to live her life, her way.

I would also say these techniques I learned through GRandS has probably improved my marriage as well, my husband has learned so much about what happens to these children of addicts and is proud to be part of her healing.

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A Belle Glade Grandfather’s Story

I am a 72 year old grandfather raising 3 grandchildren.  In fact, I have adopted my 10 year old grandson.  I heard about the GRandS Program from a friend.  I attend the workshops to learn how to communicate with my grandchildren better.  I attend the workshops at the Belle Glade Senior Center.

I have learned how to express myself to my grandchildren.  How to listen.  Sit down and talk to them and have a conversation.  Since attending the GRandS Program workshops the results are better all around.  Their behavior is better and they listen more.

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A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 70 year old widowed grandmother raising my 14 year old grandson with autism.  The mother had a nervous breakdown and my son won custody.  I have physical custody.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.  I am on chemo and radiation therapy and taking care of my grandson is more challenging now.

I learned about the GRandS Program at an event at the Greenacres Community Center.  I decided to attend the GRG program because I felt I needed help in finding the programs and resources for my grandson.  I attend the day workshop at the PBC Cooperative Extension.

In these workshops, I learned how to reach different programs for the disabled, like the Arc of PBC, the Legal Aid Society of PBC, summer camps, splash parks for free at John Prince Park.

I have learned to practice being patient and understanding of my grandson’s needs.  I love him, hug him and show him that grandma loves him very much.  It has helped because my grandson is able to say I love you grandma and return the love that I give him every day.

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A Belle Glade Grandfather’s Story

I am a 70 year old grandfather.  I started keeping my grandkids in 1975 and still keep them.  I have one 6 year old and one 10 year old.  They are my life.  I don’t see their parents very much.  A friend told me about the GRandS Program.  I attend the workshops to learn how to help my grandkids and other kids.  I love to help kids.  I attend at the Belle Glade Senior Center.

I have learned how to handle my grandkids.  To talk to them, sit and hold them because they think they know everything.  I practice listening to my grandkids.

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A Delray Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 73 year old single grandmother.  I raised my granddaughter from an infant.  I never met her father.  I was referred to the GRandS Program by a good friend that is a member of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church.  I decided to attend the GRandS Program because I was frustrated and upset.  I attend the workshops at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Delray Beach.

I learned that I was not alone.  I was scared to tell others about my family until the other grandparents went around the room talking about their families.  I realized I was not alone.  I have practiced house rules.  The child is now doing much better.  I am now setting boundaries with my adult child, but I know like kids they complain but it seems they are OK with it for the time being.  I am more relaxed in disciplining them.  I am less frustrated.  I yell less and understand that I am not alone.  We listen and talk to each other in this group about our concerns.

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A Delray Beach Grandfather’s Story

I’m a 61 year old single grandfather with a 5 ½ year old granddaughter.  I learned about the GRandS Program through friends involved in community service.  I attend the workshops to see how other grandparents were coping with their situation.  I attend the workshops at the Mt Olive Baptist Church in Delray Beach.

I have learned patience as I listened to the other grandparents.  I realized that I don’t have anything to be moaning about.  I am practicing patience, listening, and being more pro-active.  Our relationship is much better with less yelling, less time outs, and more quality time with activities.

My granddaughter is much calmer which makes it less stressful for me.  She only has phone conversations with her mom which are cordial.

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A Delray Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 53 year old single grandmother of 3 children.  I have been raising my 3 grandchildren for the last 6 years.  This is one of the most difficult tasks I have ever imagined doing.  No breaks.  I am here 24/7.  I was referred to the GRandS Program by my children’s school.  I decided to go to the workshops because I needed help.  Being middle aged and out of touch, I wanted to do a good job at home and be a blessing to my grandchildren.  I felt stressed and lost.  I needed more.  I attend the workshops at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Delray Beach.

I went there and met a room full of people like myself.  I was ashamed of how my daughter turned out—walking away from the children.  I felt shame and blamed myself.  But the other people shared the same feelings I had.

I have learned to listen more to my kids and play more with them, giving them more time to talk to me about their lives.  I have learned to settle family disputes peacefully, and how to give proper time out and good behavior rewards.

This program helps me to see that I must still parent my grandchildren even when I want to spoil them.  I am able to see how my past behavior affected my daughter (their mother) and the classes show and help me to avoid future hardships for my grandchildren.

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A Delray Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 42 year old grandmother raising 4 grandchildren ages 7, 5, 3, and 7 months since infancy.  They all have different fathers and only one placed with me through DCF (the youngest) and the other 3 I got temporary custody through the court system.  The stress involved is more reflective of the financial responsibility and lack of resources.  I am always concerned that my effort is good enough and stress is a constant.  I learned about the GRandS Program through the DCF – Kinship Program.  I attend the workshops because I recognized I really needed support concerning my feelings of guilt (in respect to my daughter—their mother).  I was feeling alone and obtaining possible information about resources and how to maneuver through the system in order to create the best possible environment for my grandchildren.  I attend the workshops at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Delray Beach.

The most important thing I am learning is having other grandparents who share their stories and wealth of information.  I have practiced reaching out more and became more vocal as my grandchildren’s caregiver.  It has helped me be more confident with my decisions concerning my grandchildren.  Knowing I’m not alone has changed my perspective on my situation.

Using the GRandS Program has improved my communications skills and confidence in making decisions that concern my grandchildren.  I finally recognize the huge sacrifice I have made and in return others around me have noticed the difference and are now more respectful of the fact that I am the person stepping in and taking on the parenting role.

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A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 67 year old grandmother.  I was raised with 7 brothers, had 2 boys and now am raising my teenage granddaughter.  Her mother was addicted to oxys and in jail.  Her father, my son, is an alcoholic and disabled.  I had no idea how to deal with a teenage girl.

I saw an article in the newspaper about a couple with 4 grandchildren and their relationship with the GRandS Program and how helpful it was for them.  I had already had my granddaughter for over a year.  She came from an environment of no rules, no structure into one with defined rules and consequences.  The gap was so great I knew I needed help.  I go to the day group at the PBC Extension on Military Trail.

From the GRandS Program, I have learned a process that has been so important to both her and me.  I now have greater confidence in establishing and enforcing the structure.  My family respects the time I spend learning in the workshops how to raise a wounded child in the current time.

I practice listening more which has resulted in a more trusting relationship—trust, and she is a more balanced child.  She is learning how valuable she is and where her talents are.  Her character is being enhanced.

She prefers not to see her parents due to where she is in her healing process.  I do not allow her parents to “parent” her.  I do that.  I expect them to continue their recovery programs, attend her events, and offer her support and encouragement.  To date they have responded well since she is doing so well.

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A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 58 year old grandmother who along with my husband adopted two of our grandchildren.  Their mother (our daughter) was a victim of spousal abuse and her husband’s parents were also involved in drugs.  The children were removed from the home and after being foster parents for three years the state removed parental rights and so we adopted them, having them about 10 years now.  My neighbor, who was also caring for her grandchild, had learned about the GRandS program and told me.

It couldn’t have come at a better time.  The children had seemed to have adjusted pretty well to their circumstances, but were now teenagers with a whole new set of issues.  Their mother and father got back together and had another child, which was difficult for the kids.  The parents seemingly had cleaned up their lives, our daughter had been drug free for 5 years, and there had been no signs of abuse, so the children were allowed to see their parents more often.  But because of that the children were getting very resentful that we weren’t letting them see their parents more, when suddenly, the father was incarcerated for selling drugs.  Thankfully our daughter was unaware that he was involved and even though it has been difficult for her and our other grandchild that was still with her, she has been able to move on and still stay drug free.  Needless to say this has been another extreme disappointment in our children’s lives.  I attend at the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension building on Military Trail, West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning.

I have learned the importance of setting boundaries with my grown daughter, because ultimately my husband and I are still the parents to her children, even though she might be doing well.  I’ve learned how I can be supportive to her but not go back into those Co-dependent ways, by setting boundaries on how much help I can be with my other grandchild that still lives with her.

They have a really good supply of self-help books available to us at the GrandS meetings which I have found very helpful, such as “Surviving your Adolescent.”  The teen segments have helped me to set proper limits on my grandchildren now that they are teenagers and striving for A LOT more freedom.  Things have changed a lot over the years and the classes they provide at our meetings have been very informative and helpful, such as; their cell phone use and texting lingo, also current information on teen sex, and how to talk to my grandchildren about those issues.

I’m working on being more patient and do more listening with my grandchildren and not take it so personal when they say hurtful things.  Realizing that a lot of it comes from their own hurt & the need to take it out on someone.   I’m learning to relax and accept their strangeness as teenagers without being so embarrassed by it and that their pushing the limits is normal.  I’ve been firm on my boundaries with my grown daughter as to the time she spends with the children and what their allowed to do and also on my babysitting the other grandchild.

My grandson will open up and express his feelings more.  I’m still working on my granddaughter, she’s having a hard time but hopefully someday she won’t be so resentful towards me.   I think we have been able to maintain a pretty good relationship with our grown daughter, considering the situation, but I think setting clear boundaries with her helps us get along and also helps my grandchildren understand my husband and I are still in charge and the limits we set are what is to be followed, which hopefully will make them feel more secure in the end.

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A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 67 year old widowed grandmother.  I am raising my 5 year old grandson for 4 years now.  The mother is unable to care for him due to illness.  I heard the father is in prison.  My grandson is somewhat concerned about the situation but he is very understanding.

I learned of the GRandS Program through another parent at my grandson’s preschool.  I acted on the information and started attending.  It sounded like something I might be interested in and also be able to meet others who had similar situations.  I attend the day workshop at the PBC Cooperative Extension.

I learned that there were other grandparents who were raising infants, toddlers and teens.  Hearing how they deal with their various situations gave me hope and comfort because of the knowledge I learned from the program workshops offered.

I started to practice open book rules and it is going good so far.  As a result things are more workable with us.

The GRandS Program has helped me in guiding other parents and grandparents in the raising of their children and grandchildren.  It has influenced many people including other family members, also at my church.  There is a wealth of information I have gathered.  I am very grateful to have found the GRandS Program workshops.

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A West Palm Beach Grandmother’s Story

I am a 62 year old grandmother raising my only 10 year old granddaughter since September 2011.  She is the daughter of my first son.  She was as I called her an early child because he was in the Army Wing on base, not married when my granddaughter was born.  I started my family late, having my first child at age 28 ½ years old, the second child at 31 years old and my only daughter at age 45, so it is no wonder that now that my daughter is 17 ½ years old and in her senior year at high school and is driving.  Even though I know it is a blessing to have children and a grandchild, I was relishing the thought of being able to get “up and go” at this time in my life.  I am still fulltime employed.  I loved to travel so that I really was set on being on my own.  Well, that thought has not materialized and I am now raising my ten year old granddaughter.  Another thing that has bothered me was my job as a school nurse and the struggles of thinking what to do with her when and if she is sick and unable to go to school.

When I realized that I was going to care for my granddaughter, even though I had raised two boys and was in the final years of raising my daughter, I knew that needed some kind of resource and input from individuals.  I was not aware that there was a GRandS Program in West Palm Beach, but I was well aware that multiple grandparents were raising grandchildren.  I spent a few hours on the internet trying to find some source that dealt with my situation.  Then one day I saw that the University of Florida was involved.  I called but was so disappointed when I realized that t he meetings were in the daytime hours.  I was very happy when Lisa, the GRandS Program Assistant, returned by call and informed me that they were thinking of an after hours meeting.

I attend the GRandS Program because I know I needed additional input/resources to accomplish my goal of raising my granddaughter.  I attend the workshop at the PBC Cooperative Extension monthly on Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm.

One very special and educating thing I learned was that in the state of Florida my guardianship had to read “Sole Guardian” on the court papers.  Had it not been for the meeting, I would have gone to Kentucky to get my granddaughter and returned to Florida after spending so much money and learned the papers would not have been legal in Florida.  I also realized from interacting with the other grandparents and listening to Ronney Wiener from MorseLife that I have no control over the actions of my grown children and I should not blame myself regarding my parenting skills with my children.

I have practiced some consistency with raising my granddaughter regarding house rules and the importance of taking an interest in her self-image.  I see my granddaughter so improved with her dressing and her academic goals.

The GRandS workshop is so interesting.  They have helped me a lot.  I have actually not missed a night session since I started.  A few times when an incident has occurred and I have shouted at my granddaughter, I remember some of the GRandS workshops discussed and I will apologize to her of my behavior and I just see her smile showing me her two dimples.  Words cannot explain how I feel.

Just an Idea!!!  Maybe in the future there will be like a room close by where the grandchildren can sit because there are times I have no alternative but to take my granddaughter along with me to the workshop because I have no one to leave her with and I MUST go to the meeting!

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A West Palm Beach Great-Grandmother’s Story

I am a great-grandmother who is 60 years old raising my great-grandson.  His mother has not been in his life for more than a year.  His father, although he pays child support, has no relationship with his son.  My great-grandson is 2 years old, very smart and knows his ABCs, his letters and numbers.  I learned of the GRandS Program from Judith Migdal-Mack of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County.

I called and spoke with Lisa Cunningham, GRandS Program Assistant, and visited the office.  I couldn’t believe the resources that were available to grandparents who are raising grand or great-grandchildren.  I attend the workshops because I felt that I needed to meet with others.  I attend the evening workshops at the PBC Cooperative Extension.

I actually learned that I did not have to do everything on my own, that there were other grandparents doing the same thing.  I learned patience, how to deal with things that would otherwise be overwhelming.  I borrowed books from the GRandS/GRG Lending Library which reinforced what we discussed at the workshop.  I have practiced not blaming myself or anyone else for my granddaughter’s (my great-grandson’s mother) short comings and behavior.  As a result I am a whole lot less stressed.  My relationship with my great-grandchildren is wonderful.  We have a lot of fun together.

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A West Palm Beach Aunt’s Story

I am the Aunt of a 6 year old girl.  We have been raising her for 1 ½ years with the parents in the picture.  I learned about the GRandS Program in the Wellington newspaper.  I attended initially because I wanted to see what the GRandS Program was about and to see if the program was a great in person as Lisa Cunningham, the GRandS Program Assistant, was on the phone.  She helped me so much to find help for Shannon’s programs.  I attend the evening workshop at the PBC Cooperative Extension in West Palm Beach.

In the workshops, I learned that we are all in this together.  Hearing and telling our stories helps all of us.  I have practiced not overacting to her hurts.  I checked out and read the 1-2-3 Magic Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 from the GRandS/GRG Lending Library.  The 1-2-3 works great.  It took a lot of work but it really is paying off.  She seems happy.

The GRandS workshops have helped me with my niece.  Because I have a family here at the GRandS Program, there is more respect.  My niece’s father is doing well.  Her mother is not.

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A Jupiter Step-Grandmother, Now Adoptive Mother’s Story

I am a 51 year old step-grandmother, now adoptive mother.  My daughter will be 3 years old in January.  I don’t recall how I found out about the GRandS Program.  Initially I attended just to see what the group is about.  The information I’ve received has kept me coming back.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter. Florida.

I have learned.  1) We are not alone.  2) It’s important for my husband and I to take care of ourselves as well as our daughter.  3) How important communication with our daughter is even at this young age.  4) There is help out there.

I have practiced praise and positive reinforcement.  My daughter understands the limits I have set for her.  She is very happy when she gets praise and positive reinforcement when she is successful with a new task.

Never having had children myself.  I have learned a great deal about raising a child.  It has given me more confidence in the choices I have made and this has helped my daughter and I form a very strong bond.  After hearing stories from the other grandparents, it has validated my decision to keep her biological parents away until she is mature enough to understand the situation and how/why it happened the way it did.

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A Jupiter Grandmother’s Story

I am a 67 year old grandmother raising a twelve year old granddaughter with my 71 year old husband.  She has been with us almost entirely since she was seven.  We got guardianship when s he was ten.  I found the GRandS Program through a woman who works at a Presbyterian Church in North Palm Beach.  I met her at a small luncheon at a friend’s and that very day she gave me her number and I got all the information from her.  I attend the group regularly for the ideas and programs, information I can get from the speakers and research presented in the meetings.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter, FL.

In the special workshops I learned that grandparents are raising grandchildren in great numbers throughout the country and are very valuable in the lives of the children.  I’ve learned the normal behaviors and stages of growth.  Reasons for some behaviors due to the children’s situations have been  addressed with strategies for dealing with issues.

I’ve practiced listening more and trying not to prejudge the situations before knowing what has happened prior to the situation.  I have tried to encourage activities that are wholesome and wanted by my granddaughter and allowing her time to relax and still have study time—helping her organize her time and energies.

My granddaughter and I are very close.  She talks about almost everything with me, especially.  We do a lot together—the mall, eating out, movies, studying, etc.  We have our son, her dad, in our house nearly 5 nights a week.  He eats with us, cooks and often takes her to activities.  I have also taken her to her mom’s and encouraged visits and outings with her after a year or more of her mom being away from her.

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A Jupiter Grandmother’s Story

I am a 72 year old widowed grandmother raising 3 young grandchildren for 4 ½ year now.  They are 5, 7, and 9 years of age.  I found out about the GRandS Program through my church.  I attend to get information.  No one tells us grandparents how to fill out forms, who to go to for legal or financial or other support.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter, FL.

I have learned many helpful things.  1) Legal support regarding who would get the children if I were sick or worse.  2) Guidance toward medical help regarding a child with behavior problems due to mom being on drugs during pregnancy.  3) Where to go for financial and counseling support for self and children.  4) And just knowing there are others going through the same things.

I have practiced guidance on talking to the children and how to deal with their outlook on the situation  they have been put in.  The GRandS Program has helped somewhat emotionally, but it is a work in progress.  Children have been helped greatly medically and with my relationship to them.

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A Jupiter Grandmother’s Story

I am a 70 year old grandmother raising a grandson.  I’ve had him since he was 2 years old.  He is now 9.  He was taken from his parents by the state.  Mother is recently deceased and father doesn’t have much contact.  I saw an article in the newspaper about the GRandS Program.  Thought I would look into it.  I have been attending because I’ve been having trouble with the child’s behavior and how to handle certain issues pertaining to his biological parents.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter, FL.

I’ve learned different ways to handle some coping problems, behavior skills and the GRandS team was very helpful in helping with community contacts and resources.  Sharing with others is also beneficial.  I have practiced coping techniques—helpful.  Interaction with other grandparents raising grandchildren.  Not alone.  Setting boundaries for child—works sometimes.  It has made me more aware internally of the conflicts my grandchild and I are dealing with and mostly how to deal with his biological parents—very helpful.

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A Jupiter Grandmother’s Story

I am a 64 year old grandmother who has permanent custody of her granddaughter, who is now 6 years old.  I heard about the GRandS Program through a Kinship Newsletter on-line.  I attend to find new ideas and information that will be helpful in raising a grandchild—since it has been many years since I’ve had children to raise.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter, FL.

I learned that I could openly share with other grandparents who are going through the same issues I am trying to tackle.  There are many combined efforts that the facilitators have shared with all of us.  New ways to tackle the problems that arise on a regular basis.

My granddaughter and I have begun to be much more open in regards to discussing issues—agreed on house rules—and are both working on “counting to ten”, “deep breaths”—setting boundaries—with great results!  I am very grateful for all the help and suggestions that I’ve received through these meetings.  It has been a great help for both myself and my granddaughter.

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 A Jupiter Grandmother’s Story

I am a young 53 year old grandmother of 8 and I have custody of one grandson.  I love kids and I work with kids.  I babysit and I dress like a clown and do face painting, balloons and magic.  I was at an event and I met Lisa Cunningham, GRandS Program Assistant, while I was preparing to do face painting for the event.  I attend because I had just got custody of my then 2 year old grandson and I thought it would help me to learn about other grandparents and get help with issues.  I attend the GRandS workshops in Jupiter, FL.

I learned I am not the only one out there raising a grandchild.  I learned about how to help with disciplining and dealing with being a mom to my grandkid.  I have practiced the issues of just being there as a parent for my grandkid.  Using time out with my grandkid.  I have only been able to attend two workshops so far and I enjoy the help.  So far it has helped and he loves being with me and he is now having a relationship with his mom.

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A Delray Beach Grandmother’s Story

 Now I am a 60 year old grandmother.  My granddaughter has basically been with me her whole life.  She is 6 years old now.  She is the only family I have.  My adult child (my son) ended his life 6 days before she turned two.  Her biological mother is in Ohio.  I found the GRandS Program because there was a flyer in my granddaughter’s folder from her daycare.  No one knows who put it there.  I’m so thankful finding it 2 ½ years ago.  I attend because I needed support and wanted to share and hopefully learn how to raise my grandchild in a better way.  Now, I can say I have.  I attend the workshops in Delray Beach.  I think the Delray Beach group was the first GRG group.  Sometimes I have gone to the West Palm Beach Day GRG workshops as well.

I have learned from the GRandS workshops there are new ways of raising children.  Maybe we were from the old school with our adult children.  Now, we are well to learn and are becoming wiser.  There are so many things to learn about the child development stages.

I have practiced setting a structured home.  Praising and not giving punishment or time out.  Plenty of hugs and I love you and bonding.  These workshops have helped me learn that it is going to be OK.  Let go of the past and that my grandchild is first.  It is alright to cut off ties with the adult child.

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1 Comment

  1. Maryanne Adornetto

    BLOG RESPONSE TO GRandS GRANDPARENTS STORIES: These stories are so exceptional, it is true there is strength in numbers. Our Grands program is growing in numbers and educating each of us. We are learning proper and current techniques for discipline, boundaries, handling the parents of our grandchildren, weaving our way through the medical, mental, financial and emotional with guidance and assistance of such great value. I was into my guardianship for two years before I discovered the Grands Program. What a blessing it has been. I struggled so much to interpret all the agency and court requirements and jump through the correct hoop in the time allotted or start over. The child can be the lesser of the issues while navigating the system, I was in over my head till I started my journey with Grands.

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