What to Know When You Adopt Your Grandchild
There are various reasons why grandparents may wish to pursue legal adoption for their grandchildren, including parental abuse, neglect, and addiction. Some 120,000 Michiganders live with a grandchild, a significant increase from a generation ago. However, it is not always easy for grandparents to obtain legal custody.
Currently, grandparents can only pursue legal guardianship in the state of Michigan under rare circumstances, including the termination of both parents’ parental rights. If both parents have decided that they are willing to do this, and you feel there is no other choice but to remove your grandchildren from the foster system, you can seek legal help from an attorney. Grand Rapids family lawyers wish to see all children succeed and have bright futures, regardless of their family living situation.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
While children raised by grandparents admittedly face unique challenges (including a higher risk of mental illness, academic struggles, and behavioral disorders), it cannot be stated with any certainty that this is due to the family structure in and of itself. After all, children removed from dysfunctional households are already at risk for many of these difficulties.
Generally, it can be said that the primary preference is that a child is raised by a biological family member who they can trust by all accounts. With the record number of children entering the notoriously unstable foster system increasing, those whom senior relatives willingly adopt can take comfort in the familiarity in their surroundings and the knowledge that a biological grandparent loves them enough to offer practical support.
Preparing and Transitioning
If you are in your golden years and have legally adopted one or more grandchildren, there are a few things you need to be aware of, including the physical and mental limitations you will face as an elder raising a young person. You will quickly come to realize that you aren’t as young as you were when you were raising children of your own.
There may be some level of guilt you may face about your fixed or retirement income, as well as the inability to provide for your grandchildren. This feeling is understandable, as, after all, this is a time in most people’s life when they are concerned with things like estate planning rather than raising moody middle schoolers. On the other hand, some level of role confusion is likely to occur as your grandchild transitions to living with you as their legal guardian. Adolescence is a tumultuous time, and the disruption of the family dynamic can exacerbate behavioral struggles.
There are circumstances where, for the sake of all parties involved, a child should be removed from a family home that has become physically or psychologically unsafe. In these cases, it is advisable to seek legal counsel from a Grand Rapids attorney specializing in family law. Attorneys experienced in this sensitive topic and help families make the best choice for children in Michigan.