Elaine William’s Journey as a Kinship Parent
Kinship families are often created out of tragedy. Elaine got the call that her grandchildren needed her when she was living out of the country. She immediately hopped on a plan and took over as the main caregiver for her grandsons.
While she felt like she was handling it all ok, COVID hit and suddenly it was apparent that her grandsons needed additional support. Finally Home was there to support her in giving them exactly what they needed to thrive and for Elaine to find the community and support she needed.
Watch her story. Share it with any other kinship caregivers you know that may need additional support or resources.
My name is Elaine and this is my story.
14 years ago, approximately, I was working in a good corporate position overseas. And I got the call. I had to drop everything, race back to the United States, get an emergency guardianship, and go and retrieve my two grandsons from a homeless shelter in New York City. Our life changed as we knew it. I knew nothing. I had nothing. I had to buy everything I had to see to their needs because they were traumatized children. After I got off the plane, the first thing of course I had to do was fine. nourishment. For them. I had no idea about all the types of formula. There were so many in the grocery store. I had the baby in a front pack. He was crying. I had the two year old and a stroller. He was crying. I looked at all the formulas, and I was crying. I didn’t know what I didn’t have any help. I didn’t know any resources. I didn’t know any services. I just had the emergency guardianship and that was it. After a while, I did find help. I found work I found some other agencies. So the next 10 years. They were pretty good. The boys went to academically challenging charter schools. They were very successful. The smart boys, you couldn’t tell the difference between them and a biological child, then the pandemic it. As we all know, that changed everything. Especially the older boy. His unresolved trauma came to the forefront. I tried so hard to find help. For him. Everything had closed down. I really didn’t know what to do. I just continued to search flight, there has to be something my oldest one had to go to therapy, life saving therapy. And finally home provided the funding until I could find a long term grant. I am so grateful to finally home. Finally home meets the gamut. They meet the needs of all families out there who are non traditional. I participate in the educational seminars that are held once every quarter, I believe they’re very useful. They are geared towards families as mine. grandparents raising grandchildren, but also other kinship care, adoptive parents, foster parents, whole plethora, we also get to network and find other people like us. None of us grandparents thought we’d be in this position. Again, you’re one step away from God forbid the children have an accident meant severe and persistent mental health or addiction is could be any of us. But it’s very difficult as a grandparent raising grandchildren. There’s really not that many out there that understand the position we’re in. Some of us give up a lot. Because it’s our ethical or moral duty to raise these grandchildren, they have nobody else. My grandchildren are now considered high needs or special needs. I’m a therapeutic foster family without the funding. There is no funding out there for people like me, this comes out of my pocket. This comes out of my retirement is comes out of my future plans. It’s very difficult for a person as senior as myself raising two teenage boys. I’d like to have hope for them that they have a great future. I really would. They’re both super smart. They are they have so many great attributes. And people tell me I’ve done a fantastic job raising them have taken upon myself to make it my mission to help struggling grandparents. And I do that and I let them know of all the resources I found I’ve I’ve let know all the services I found. I let them know of everything. And I’m often asked as well about resources services and help an organization such as finally home.