Parenting the Second Time Around
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Daryl and Kate are good grandparents. They spend time with their grandkids, make sure they have access to the resources they need and ensure that they do well in school.
They’re also not your typical grandparents. Instead of spoiling the grandkids and then returning them to their parents, they’ve got full-time custody.
It started with phone calls
“It started with phone calls,” Kate says. “Frantic phone calls from my daughter saying, ‘I need diapers. We don’t have milk. We don’t have formula.’ And we understood – we were young once and just starting out. We didn’t think much about it, but the phone calls got more frequent.”
“I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. [My daughter] seemed more panicky and more needy than a normal young mom,” Kate remembers.
“We finally saw what was going on,” Daryl says. “I mean, the kids were being raised in a meth house.”
“We had no idea what methamphetamine was and what it could do,” Kate admits. “It became very clear that things were not okay and that the kids were in danger. We told our daughter and her boyfriend, the father of the children, ‘If you don’t shape up, we’re going to call Child Protective Services.’”
The toughest decision she ever made
“For me, it was sad and tragic, but it was kind of a no-brainer because… these are my kids, my grandkids,” says Daryl.
“But for me as a woman, it’s really, really almost unthinkable to take another woman’s child away from her,” Kate disagrees. “To take my own daughter’s children away from her was the worst decision I’ve ever had to make as a woman and as a mother.”
“The police said that if we hadn’t called CPS that the three children would go to three different foster homes,” Kate continues. “It was at that moment I said no way. I’m not going to have my kids go to foster homes. We’re going to raise these kids.”
So Daryl and Kate began their second round of raising children – suddenly, with three kids under the age of six, all of whom have special needs in addition to the trauma they had experienced.
Expenses built up and their retirement savings dwindled. Daryl and Kate needed help.
A big boost to the kids’ self-esteem
“I found out about [Bellevue LifeSpring] through our school,” Kate remembers.
Kate and Daryl signed up for the Clothes-4-Kids™ and Holiday Adopt-A-Family™ programs. New clothes for back-to-school were a luxury they couldn’t afford. Clothes-4-Kids allowed them to shop for new clothes each kid wanted so they felt like they fit in with their peers on the first day of school.
Then the holidays were made much brighter for this family thanks to the generous community sponsor who adopted them for Christmas. Daryl shared, “It wasn’t just the joy on Christmas day, but being able to go back to school after break and talk about what presents they got – just like everyone else.”
They know people care about them
She smiles as she talks about her three grandchildren, calling them her own: “Now, our youngest is seven and he’s all boy. Very, very popular at school. All the kids want to be friends with him. Our middle is quite the fashionista. She loves clothes and loves being with her girlfriends. Our oldest does have Asperger’s but he is doing very, very well in school.”
“The big picture of being involved in Bellevue LifeSpring is that the kids have a sense of community,” adds Kate. “They know that there’s people out there that want to help them and help us when we need it. And I think that’s the biggest thing that Bellevue LifeSpring has given us.”
“Seeing that positive things do happen to you is a great reinforcement in life and human beings,” Daryl shares.
“Cause they’ve seen a lot of the negative and so anything positive is a bonus in their life. That’s my whole goal: that they just need to be kids.”
Your support makes the difference
Now, Daryl and Kate can see light at the end of the tunnel.
“We’re not going to need handouts for the rest of our life, that’s not what we want,” says Kate. “I don’t think anybody really wants that.”
No one ever expects to be in a situation like Daryl and Kate’s– which means it’s impossible to prepare for. Your support allows Bellevue LifeSpring lend families like theirs a hand during hard times. Daryl and Kate won’t be in need forever but the Bellevue community helped provide them with resources when they needed it most. Thank you for helping to rewrite their story with a happier ending.