SPRINGFIELD — Legal gaurdians doing parenting a second-time around… many years later.
Saturday, The Library Station in Springfield held an event to provide resources to grandparents raising grandchildren.
Gina Marie Walden, who is a manager with the Midtown Library, was a big part in uniting organizations to help grandparents who find themselves as legal gaurdians.
“A lot of times it’s just not planned for, and so that is a big challenge when it’s not planned for. Also, being able to find the resources they need — if they have questions about parenting, child safety, healthcare. It just kind of goes the gamet,” Walden says.
Karen Nee and her husband Vincent have had custody of their grandaughter for four years, and recently got custody of her two-year-old sister as well. Karen still works fulltime, and Vincent is disabled.
Saturday they found guidance for medical care, food assistance, and education. She says being a parent all over again has brings unique challenges.
“A lot more patience. Kids are different now than what they were back when I was raising other children too,” Nee says.
But the toughest part, she says, is dealing trying to bridge the gap between the kids and their mother.
“Talking to their mom who is incarcerated. You’re trying to be that substitute parent, that’s hardest part. It’s hard for them to understand when she just tells you over the phone, ‘I love you I miss you.’ Those are just words, and it’s hard for children like that to understand,” Nee says.
Eventually they may have a legal battle to keep custody, but right now they are focused on the girls’ well being.
Nee wants others in the same situation to know they aren’t alone.
“Something new everyday, but that’s life, and to enjoy life, you just deal with what’s put in front of you and make the most of it — the best of it.”
Some of the organizations on hand included:
- Abilities First
- Community Partnership of the Ozarks/Parent-Teen Café
- Fairbanks Community Center
- Foster Adopt Connect
- Jordan Valley Pediatrics
- Early Childhood One Stop
- Women, Infants & Children
- Springfield-Greene County Health Department
- NAACP’s Be a Jewel
- Grands Raising Grands