In the last month I have been given several opportunities to talk about what Kinship is. So, I thought I would write down my thoughts to share.
Taking in and personally caring for a family member or friend’s child.
Making them a part of your personal family. Giving them the same love and attention you would give your own.
Making a commitment to what feels like and which sometimes becomes, a life-long responsibility for their well-being.
Kinship is another word for what began as the support group, “Grandparents Who Care”. A support group for grandmothers who stepped up to be there for their grandchildren. The name has since changed to Relative Caregiver, which now includes all relatives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and sometimes just friends of the family.
What does it mean to be a Relative Caregiver?
It means I stepped up, when my heart heard the voice of the child.
I went took them in my arms, into my heart and brought them home with me.
It comes as a willing sacrifice.
I am altering my life to include this child.
I am accepting these new responsibilities which comes with caring for this child.
I put aside myself, again to raise a child.
I remember my moment.
Both parents unable to parent. I sat with the children of my son along with the ones he had accepted to be a father too. That night I promised them, ‘I would take care of you and that everything going to be alright.” It was a scary moment because, in reality, I did not know how, but I knew somehow I would. My mind was alive with ideas of what I could do to make that promise come true, along with my willingness to do them.
To say you will, your intentions do not always match, with what you must handle in order to keep promise made. Like they say "Life gets in the way." Finances change. Your health comes to be a factor. Support is not always there. Children come to you angry and resentful. Somehow seemingly to blame you for the failure of the parents. With them, slow to and sometimes, not able to recognize the difference, it is hard to take at times. We can't always find a solution that will ease the pain they act out and that we feel ourselves. And then there may come a time, we will sometimes throw up our hands and want to give up. Those times do pass and regardless, we learn love and faith can conquer despair and frustration. So as Kinship parents, despite the changes and the emotional obstacles, we keep on keeping on.
This is then is what Kinship is to me: a love that keeps on keeping on.
It’s called Resilience.
Resilience …Is the strength of spirit to recover from adversity.
When we experience disappointment, loss, or tragedy, we find the hope and courage to carry on. Humor lightens the load when it seems too heavy. We overcome obstacles by tapping into our deep well of faith and endurance. At times of loss, we come together for comfort. We grieve and then move on. We create new memories. We discern the learning that can come from hardship. We don’t cower in the face of challenge. We engage fully in the dance of life.
Be Blessed. Stay Strong. Say to yourself...
"I am doing the best I can. I cannot be all things to all people all the time.
Be grateful give yourself recognition for each time you...pick yourself up and keep doing."