DARKE COUNTY - Raising a grandchild is typically not something parents want to do in their golden years, but there are some who have stepped up and raised these children when the mother or father cannot.
A local couple, who asked to remain anonymous, is doing just that.
Identified as Joseph and Mary Smith here, the local couple has been providing a nurturing environment for two of her grandchildren [the children of one of their daughters], and are planning to get custody of another grandchild [the child of yet another daughter], in the near future.
In one report, it said, in Ohio, nearly 7 percent of children are being raised by grandparents or other kinship providers. These are children, the report indicated, who often come from situations where they suffered trauma or emotional distress and need special supports.
“We are doing it mostly because of the drugs done by the parents,” said Mary. “We have had them [the grandchildren] more or less all their life except for nine months.”
The children in the Smiths’ care now are ages 12 and 9 and the one they are planning to get is 7.
“Their dads are in their lives, but are in the military and only get to see them twice a year,” said Mary of the fathers of the two who are living with the Smiths now. “We have a great relationship with both dads. We get child support for them.”
The Smiths have a daughter together, who is married and the mother of another one of their grandchildren, who is not experiencing problems. The other two daughters are Mary’s from a previous relationship.
“It’s easier raising them the second time around,” Mary said. “Because we know what’s going on.”
She said they try hard to teach their grandchildren manners, respect and to help others.
“I can’t imagine life without them there everyday,” Mary said. “They keep us young, keep us going and keep us on our toes. We love them as if they were our own children.”
Her husband plays a big role in the raising of their grandchildren.
“My husband is a great grandpa,” Mary said. “Technically, he’s not their pappaw at all but you couldn’t tell that. Sometimes, you have to play the cards you’re dealt.”
Mary herself was adopted as a child and believes her role now stems from that fact.
“I never found out who my parents are nor have I ever had the desire to,” she said.
She is just making sure that her grandchildren have a happy home life by giving them all of the love she can, she said.