Grandparents standing up for their grandchild

Jul 23, 2021 | Stories of Hope

This is a story of a mother who was willing to give up a nasty habit and a person dragging her down to live for her son.

As a young social worker, relatively new in the field, my perception was that once people are “marked” as bad, especially those dependent on drugs, they are not likely to improve their circumstances.

Our office received a phone call from concerned grandparents and parents. The biological parents of a small child were staying on the premises of the parents of the biological father. The grandparents of this child were concerned about his safety because the parents were using drugs and have been using drugs on and off for the last 10 years. The biological parents have been in a committed relationship throughout their drug use.

The grandparents would let the child stay with them during the nights but during the daytime, the child would be with his mother- whether she was high or not. The concern of the grandparents was that this child is being exposed to a lifestyle that is not appropriate and is exposed to living circumstances that are unhygienic and not safe, never the less for the child but for anyone around.

When I, the social worker, arrived at the premises, the grandparents were shaken and scared. My colleague and I assured the grandparents that if they are able to take care of the child, we would place the child in their care. We also assured them that we need to deliver preventative services and we use our professional discretion to act in the best interest of the child. We found that the grandparents were able and capable of looking after this child.

As soon as we met with the biological mother, we could see that she was coming down from a high. She was shaking and crying and begging us not to take her child. We explained the seriousness of the situation and how dangerous these circumstances were for this small child. We entered the house. It was dark, smelly and extremely dirty. Clothes were lying everywhere, cigarette buds lay strewn around and amidst all this mess, there the child was sitting and playing. Oblivious to what was going on around him.

I drafted a letter that gave the paternal grandparents custody over the child until this mother could get her act and her life back together. This mother was given time to clean up the house as a first step towards proving that she wants to be the mother she can be for this small boy. The boy was safe and cared for with his paternal grandparents and his mother could visit him at their house whenever she wanted. The biological father on the other hand was not willing to give up the drugs.

This mother decided that she needs the child in her life more than she does a drug user. She cleaned up her act and with the help of her mother and her parents in law she left a lifestyle of drugs and depending on a drug user behind.

We went for a home visit and saw that she was making slow progress and motivated her to keep going.

A week later, my supervisor phoned and said the following: “You won’t believe it. This house is so clean, it feels like I am in a hotel.”

This mom is still clean and ever so often when I drive by their yard, I see her and the boy playing outside.

We went for a few more home visits after that and all seemed well.

This is a story of a mother who was willing to give up a nasty habit and a person dragging her down to live for her son.

We are so proud of her and it is stories like this one that keeps us motivated and going in this profession that can sometimes be draining, overwhelming and sad beyond comprehension.