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What grandparents need to know about adopting their grandkids

In 2017, NBC News reported on the increasing numbers of grandparents adopting their grandchildren due to a growing need created by the opioid epidemic. Ohio grandparents who find themselves in this or similar situations may also find they face similar challenges to those NBC News mentioned. Expenses of raising children have increased in recent years, for example, and the process of adoption can be quite an investment.

Other difficulties include helping young ones cope with the trauma they have experienced in an addicted parent's home. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services explains when children live in homes with parents who have abused drugs or alcohol, they may have also experienced physical abuse, emotional trauma or both. Since addicts often exhibit extreme behaviors, their kids may bear the brunt of their swinging emotions. 

In addition, children grieve the loss they feel when a mother or father is living but not actively parenting them. The ODJFS explains that family members may witness all the classic symptoms of mourning - "shock/denial, anger/rage, bargaining, depression and resolution/understanding" - in kids whose parents have stepped out of their nurturing roles. 

Other mental health issues these children may face include:

  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Conflicting loyalties
  • Desire to control their environment
  • Fear of abandonment

The ODJFS provides a number of resources for grandparents who have become legal guardians or adoptive parents to their grandkids. These resources include information about what to expect in the time of transition, how to find assistance with expenses and where to get help for the mental health crises mentioned above. 

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