When her eyes filled with tears, I knew I’d asked the wrong question. She worked as a hairdresser in the same shop as my beautician and I was there for a haircut. For more than a year she’d been grieving over a grandson her incompetent daughter had turned over to Children’s Services without first seeking her help or her advice.
Shut out by both the system and her daughter, she’d spent countless hours trying to find the boy, gain visitation rights and reverse the bureaucratic nightmare her daughter’s actions set in motion. I’d simply asked if she was seeing her grandson more than she had been and the agony in her face told me what I didn’t want to know.
“I went to see him yesterday and they didn’t keep the appointment.”
I ached for her. When her first husband turned out to be a predator, she’d divorced him and fled with her three young daughters. Unfortunately, she hadn’t departed before the man got himself in trouble with Children’s Services and dragged her into the mess. Even though her name was in their files by association, she still appeared as a woman of record in court documents.
She’d moved on, remarried when her daughters were grown and had another daughter, a child born just a year after her grandson. She and her husband were law-abiding citizens, both holding down regular jobs. The two children, her youngest daughter and her grandson, played together regularly. She provided a stable environment for the little boy to grow in.
The mother of her grandson, (her third daughter) had mental issues, was considered slightly disabled and needed constant support, a result of the trauma inflicted by her father and the ensuing divorce of her parents. When she called CSD and told them she needed a break, she didn’t know they would take the boy into permanent custody and her maternal rights would be terminated. She thought she’d be able to get him back after a brief respite. Not so.
Now the grandmother tearfully explained the most recent development. “He’s been in foster care for a year and they are putting him up for adoption. I’ve written letters to the judge and to the governor, but no one is responding.” She bit her lip. “Once he’s adopted, I’ll never see him again.”
She told me she planned to write more letters, one to a new judge and another one to the governor now in office. I asked if she’d contacted her representative from her district or her state senator. She said she would.
“Do you have a computer?” I asked. She said no. I wanted to help. “If you need a formal letter written for you and printed on legal looking paper, call me. I’ll print it for you. ”
She thanked me and indicated she’d be in touch.
As I drove home, I wondered what kind of system could lock out someone like this woman, a person who has the best interests of her grandchild at heart. I understood taking the boy out of the mother’s hands when she admitted she couldn’t care for him, but surely there aren’t so many caregivers out there that the grandmother, who is a young woman herself, couldn’t have been contacted and allowed to take custody of the child. She’s a blood relative. She’s known the child since infancy, bought clothes for him, loved him and cared for his needs.
Did they think of the child’s confusion, being removed from the loving environment his grandmother provided for him, when they refused her visitation? Imagine being five years old and the one person you know you can count on is suddenly missing. Without so much as a good-bye. Are we so controlled by our government that families can be divided on the whim of an immature mother?
God ordained families.
Psalm 107 tells us that the Lord…lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks.
Psalm 127 says that sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
What the Bible does not say is that the government has the right to divide them.
I don’t know the outcome of this scenario. I only know that I will offer to help in whatever way I can. But most of all, I will pray. For the God of the universe is greater than any government agency, His love reaches further than what our finite minds can conceive and though He may not be visible in this situation, I know He cares more than I do about the outcome. One little boy’s future and a grandmother’s heart are at stake. Those are tremendous reasons for God to intervene. I will stay on my knees until He does.
3 Replies to “God Cares About Families”
I will pray, also, Pat. What a sad and unfair sounding situation. I always thought OCS wanted kids with relatives whenever possible. What a mess our State is.
What a tender, genuine heart you have.
(It was nice meeting you at the conference.)
I feel like responding in this logical way, there is such a thing as grandparents’ rights, blah, blah, blah. It’s true in our area Catholic Charities helps and supports grandparents seeking to visit or raise grand kids. I pray that your friend has already found such resources, and that by now everything is moving forward. Also, kids tend to have their own court-appointed attorney, that can be an avenue. See how much I have to say? Many of you probably thought of all of this too.
I’d like to go first to prayer though, that everyone in this family will just be cradled, love, and when the time is right — united. Thank you for such an immediate and caring post, I felt I was there in the salon with you.