As a kinship grandparent of an 11-year-old granddaughter and a 13-year-old grandson, life has changed for both the grandchildren and grandparents. Due to the addiction of their parents (one being my son), I started my journey as a grandma raising two grandchildren on Christmas Eve three years ago. Soon we were taking classes on how to be Foster Parents. Stepping into the caregiver role was intense; it was especially difficult not being able to socialize with friends due to the busy schedule. We began navigating the mental health system for our grandson's care and the trauma needs of my granddaughter, enrolling them in school and getting an IEP in place for my grandson, doctor appointments, dentist appointments, therapy appointments, homework, making room for two children in our home, childcare, and activities for the children. You make it work because you love your grandchildren and pray for your child, the biological parent, to get better and be a parent again. We are very happy to be able to have the children so they are with the family and can engage with Aunts, Uncles, and cousins to have a sense of belonging and being part of a family. 

Family Voices United member, Ruth, shares her experience with mental health supports and navigating the system.