Sunday, June 7, 2009

Support, 3.0

You may remember my quest for a local support group for Moms Again in my area. After a long search, I finally attended one meeting of such a group. I was enthusiastic about the meeting, but have not returned. I could blame this on logistics, laziness, or "Other Life Events," but the truth is, the group just didn't seem like the right fit for me. Presumably, these groups have continued to meet, but I just learned that the county-wide organization linking them together is shutting down.

The Kinship Navigator program was created to provide information, resources, and activities for kinship caregivers. I first learned about them in Montgomery County, Ohio, where the organization is fully staffed, fully funded, engaged with many other community organizations, and by all accounts, thriving. However, in this county where I now live, the program had a small staff that was often hard to reach, seemed to operate on a marginal budget, seemed somewhat isolated, and is now going away. No doubt a victim of budget cuts. No doubt those of us who should have did not support their activities or advocate for their existence. I know that I didn't. Perhaps--and this is just my personal musing--this particular program didn't do much for kinship caregivers in this county and won't be missed. But if the closing down of such programs is happening across the country, then the need for Parents Again to find other means of sharing experiences and information is crucial.

With that in mind, I have joined a grandparents raising grandchildren group on Facebook. I plan to be a more active participant this time. I have high hopes--for myself and for the group--that we can make a difference in each others' lives and in the communities that support (or don't support) us.

Members come from different parts of the country, have care of grandchildren of different ages, and no doubt lead lives very different from each other. But we have some key things in common:

we are dealing with the issues of being middle-aged parents to young children whose own parents are a source of worry, pain, loss, and sometimes hope;

we want to share our stories because we recognize that our social position is odd: most people our age are not raising young children; most parents of young children are 20 to 30 years younger than we are. While there are benefits to cross-generational communication, we really want to talk to people who are like ourselves, to form a new (and by all accounts, growing) social group;

we have been given the special gift of having our grandchildren with us all the time (in contrast to those proud grandparents who are happy because they can "send the children back to their parents," we can't, and for myself, I don't want to); and

we need (and are actively seeking) help!

I have so many questions I want to ask, so may opinions I want to hear, so many experiences I want to share and learn about from others--but I will reign in my enthusiasm and let the benefits of talking to other Parents Again on Facebook accrue over time, like a savings account--with much better interest!

1 comment:

Debra Hall said...

Joyce, I marvel at your writing talent. We are honored that you chose to feature us in your blog. You are a blessing.
Deb Hall
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Talling Our Stories