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Susan Adcox

Estranged Grandmother Questions Lack of Support Groups

By January 4, 2013

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I learn from my readers. Sue from the Seattle area questions why there are multiple support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship carers, but so few support groups for those who are denied visitation with their grandchildren. Sue notes that in my article about support groups, I characterize such groups as "rare." Sue asks, "Why is that? Are we embarrassed to talk about our situation?"

That's an interesting question. I've documented five types of emotional reactions to being estranged from a grandchild:

  • Shock and anger
  • Confusion and frustration
  • Helplessness and hopelessness
  • Envy and jealousy
  • Guilt and grief

Perhaps I need to add shame and embarrassment to the list. Sue says that for two years she was too embarrassed to talk about her situation. Now that time is over, and she's looking for a place to find and offer comfort. If anyone knows of a support group in the Seattle area, please note the details in a comment below. For that matter, add any support group info that you have for any geographical location. There are a lot of Sues out there.

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January 5, 2013 at 6:16 am
(1) granny annie says:

Unless death of a parent is involved, I have not heard of a decent situation that causes parents to abandon their children. Usually those children have been moved to grandparents care because of drug addiction, physical abuse, teenage pregnancy or have been removed from the home by the state. Parents find it extremely difficult to share the sadness that comes with adult children who are not fit parents, I certainly know many who would benefit from a support group.

January 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm
(2) susan hoffman says:

I responded to Sue’s inquiry on behalf of Wa. state, Seattle support groups, please see above link.
As stated in Grand Wishes, and website articles, it is extremely difficult for alienated grandparents to open up about visitation issues. They feel humiliated, guilty and protective about grown children’s behavior; they are hesitant to air family’s dirty laundry. It is a process, some eventually seek support, while others continue to suffer in silence.
There are simply more resources for caregiving GP’s because it has to do
with survival, food, clothing, shelter, child welfare; emotional needs of both the GP and the child are not a priority.
Advocates For Grandparent-Grandchild Connection offers free
support and education via email, books and film.

January 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm
(3) grandparents says:

Thanks for your help, Susan Hoffman. I’m compiling a list of support groups as I learn about them. You can see my first list here, but it’s a short list. Please help make it grow!

January 14, 2013 at 6:12 pm
(4) VickimDugger says:

I along with Sue (mentioned in this e-mail I received today) are one of MANY grandparents that have been denied visitation/ANY form of contact with a grandchild(ren), I live in Fl., and I am NOT ashamed or scared to speak up about this, my daughter is gone from this earth and my precious grandson is ALL I have left of my precious daughter, actually I am highly upset and angry that our legislatures/judicial systems in most of the states in the U.S. totally side with a parent, never giving a grandparent a voice at all to talk about how unfair it is to exclude us without a fair hearing!! Sue, I would love love to talk with U, and any other grandparent that is experiencing not being able to have any contact with a grandchild!!!

January 15, 2013 at 10:07 am
(5) Lynn Roth says:

I’ve been denied access to my Grandson, have never even seen him, he is 18 months old, and lives in the same town as me. I’ve been suffering in painful silence, and would love to be able to open up in a support group. Hearing other people’s stories that are denied access to their Grandchildren would be very helpful…to know that I’m not alone in this “hell on earth”.
Santa Cruz, CA

January 15, 2013 at 10:36 am
(6) Gramma Lynn says:

I’ve been denied access to my 18 month old Grandson who lives in the same town as me. Actually, I’ve never even seen him, and have been suffering in painful silence. It would be very comforting to connect with other Grandparents in a support group to know that I’m not alone in this “Hell on Earth”.

March 11, 2013 at 9:46 pm
(7) Joyce says:

I would like to meet Sue from Seattle. I live in Olympia however, I need support of her type as well. My daughter just had my first grandchild and I didnt’ know about it until just recently. It just breaks my heart that my daughter would deprive me of such a blessing. It is the worst feeling in the world.

March 11, 2013 at 9:56 pm
(8) Joyce says:

I am not sure if my other comment made it. But, Sue in Seattle, I live in Olympia and would love to meet you. I too am an extranged grandmother. My daughter just had my first grandchild Feb. 28th and I didn’t know about it until March 9th. My daughter became angry with me almost three years ago and has not talked to me since. Now I am a grandma without a grandchild because my daughter is being vendictive. It is very painful to think I will never get to see my grandbaby. It is the worst feeling in the world.

November 20, 2013 at 1:31 pm
(9) Florine Matthews says:

I am a single grandparent raising to grandchildren for years now.The father of my two grandchildren is my son who was recently incarcerated for smoking and having marriyhanna in his possession.The mother of my grandchildren also has a history of incarceration,however she was recently married and still have very little contact with the children.Her only interest is to use the children to get a place for her and her new husband whose living with a relative of hers.I could go on and on about what I’ve been through to make sure my grandchildren get a good education and a safe haven.Their well being is of great importance to me.I have to give their father credit he’s been there for them the whole time up until his incarceration.I need a support group where I live to help me.I live in Baltimore,Maryland. Thank You so much. M’s Matthews

January 13, 2014 at 6:26 am
(10) Karen says:

I am in South Jersey, Burlington County. I lost my grandchild to DYFS, who then had him adopted out by the foster family. I was told by the foster parents that me and my husband would be able to see him still. We are his mommom and poppop. He is 4 years old now. DYFS took him when he was almost 2. The case with my daughter and son in law with DYFS ended in August 2013, it is now January 2014 and I have only seen my grandson 3 times since August. I want to know if there is any support groups in my area, for grandparents like us. The pain is unbearable, because we had our grandson with us for the beginning of his life, and we bonded. Now he was just ripped from our lives but never from our hearts. Please email me if you know of any support groups in South Jersey. I would greatly appreciate it. We just need some people to talk to who know what we are going through, and are in the same position as we are. Thank you very much.

Karen of South Jersey

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