July 24, 2017 - Donna, a maternal grandmother, sought the help of our Relative Caregiver Project in early 2013. She was caring for her granddaughter, Addison, who was three years old at the time. Donna had been caring for the child since birth because the child’s mother, Donna’s daughter, was involved with drugs and staying in different homes. The father was unknown.
Donna needed to enroll Addison in preschool and be able to take her to doctor and dentist appointments. She couldn’t rely on finding the mother if an emergency happened. In April 2013, Relative Caregiver Project Supervising Attorney Judith Migdal-Mack obtained a custody order from the Court authorizing Donna to take care of the child. As all mothers do, Donna had hoped that this would only be a temporary situation and that her daughter would turn her life around. Unfortunately, things didn’t go that way. The mother was pregnant again.
This time the mother was convinced that she would be able to stay off of drugs and have a healthy baby. In the meantime, Donna realized that it would be best for her granddaughter, Addison, who was now five, to be in a permanent situation. Judith and her staff facilitated in getting the child adopted by Donna in early 2015. The mother had consented because she was now raising the new baby boy.
The new baby, Chase, was born with multiple problems. He had physical problems with his hand and leg and was partially blind. The causes were unknown and he needed additional testing and surgery for his eye. His mother couldn’t take care of him, so in May 2015, the Relative Caregivers Project obtained custody of Chase for Donna.
Chase was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and now has a hand and leg brace to help him with his issues. He has had eye surgery and with the help of glasses he can now see properly with both eyes. He goes to occupational, physical, and speech therapy three times a week and he is thriving.
Addison’s and Chase’s mother recently had another child who was born drug addicted and was adopted privately. Donna could not take responsibility of another grandchild, especially with numerous problems.
Donna is now in the process of adopting Chase. The mother has not been able to turn her life around, so she has signed consent and the father is unknown. Chase continues to make great strides under the care of his grandmother and Addison is a beautiful little girl who is also thriving. The family may be moving soon to be closer to extended family members. (The names in the story were changed to protect their privacy. The story is based on a real life account of the Relative Caregivers Project)