Voluneteer Grandparents and the Adopt A Grandchild program may just save my life, or at least, my sanity. I've lamented on the breakdown of the family values system in the US for years, and for me, not having parents who understand the meaning of 'family,' has left my children without the benefits of having grandparents. I have often wondered if I could put an ad on Craigslist for some kind of 'volunteer grandparent wanted' service, and today, I finally just searched Google, and actually found out that there is such an organization.
My own families attitude about family hasn't just left my kids without those 'family values', it's also caused me no end of emotional distress from not having a family support system when I need it, which then further affects my kids. During the Great Depression, families hunkered down together, watched each other's backs, helped to keep an eye out for, and raise, all the kids. There was no need for a Grandparent Volunteer Organization. Somehow over the past four decades those values have completely disappeared.
I grew up hearing 'family does for family,' every time my mother wanted my husband or me to do something for her... yet any time we asked my parents to come to help us with something around the house or set up a pool, fix a roof, whatever, Mom would barrage me with how we 'should really buy them dinner because that's like 'payment' for Daddy to come and help us."
Making things even worse, was the fact that my mother and I started a business together in 1999, buying and selling real estate. On the first house, both my 'Dad' (stepfather) and my husband signed for a mortgage to buy the house, my parents put up the cash for fixing the house up, and we all chipped on on the labor. We made a profit, and split it, but forever after that, my mother seemed convinced that what she invested in that one singular project, entitled her to keep 100% of profits on houses she 'wanted', and still get 50% of houses that I put all my money or credit on the line for, and where I supervised the work, if there was any to be done.
On the second house, as soon as it closed, she decided to tell me that I wasn't entitled to any profit from it because I wasn't putting up money or labor. She screwed me out of about $10,000.00
On the third house, she went against everything I said to do, and we wound up sitting on the house for a year, when she needed a new car, but claimed she couldn't afford the car payment. The house had around $50,000 in equity in it, and with the financing I had lined up, about $450.00 per month in cashflow. I told her to refinance it with that financing, buy me out of what I would have made if they had done what I said to begin with, and she could keep the cashflow to support a car payment. She did, and then bought a car cash. Then proceeded to tell me how 'she' was paying interest on a loan for 'me.' (The tenant actually pays the note, and there's still $450 left over for her... but the princess thinks I was supposed to do all the work, forego all 'profit' for myself, and if a house rents for $850 a month, anything less than that that she gets, is somehow a 'loss' to her....) *Incidentally, most 'rental properties,' require 15-30 years of paying off a mortgage, which the tenants actually pay, and the landlords are lucky to earn $50 a month in cashflow. She somehow has it in her head that she should be able to just 'get a house' without paying for it, having no mortgage on it, and keeping ALL the rent money she gets a Cashflow.
It seems to fit in with her idea of she shouldn't have to invest anything to get 100% of the rewards of whatever it earns.
From the third house on, she actually never put a dime into any property, and she didn't put any work into them either. If there were loan proceeds she got half, and she got half of the profit... if she made half of any payments on the houses when they were vacant, it came out of the loan proceeds or the profits, from loans and sales that she didn't have any money, labor, or responsiblity/liability for...
She finally pushed me to a breaking point when after four years of contributing nothing at all to houses that she got 50% of the loan proceeds and profifts for with no investment, I told her she had to pick a job to do and after turning all of them down for one reason or another... settled on going out to knock on doors... then demanded to be paid gas and mileage, on top of the 50% of the profits she got! She wound up walking out on the business, and then to add even more insult to injury, she 'blamed' me for something her own big mouth got her into.
When her insurance company was about to drop her, she called her agent to get a new company. The agent asked if there were any cracks in the house. She told them that there were, to which the agent replied, "well we have to investigate that because we work for the insurance company."
Having known my mother all my life, when she asked me what she should do, I knew better than to tell her, so I made her call our public adjuster and ask HIM what to do. He told her exactltly what I would have said, which is that she had to now file a claim lest something catastrophic happens later and the new insurance company claims that it was pre-existing and tells her to go back to the old company to make the claim. But, I made her ask him, so I didn't get the blame, which I got anyway.
Every time she had to deal with something during the claims process I had to be there, holding her hand, while being screamed at that it was all my fault and that I 'made' her file the claim.
If you think this can't get worse... when the dust settles and the claim is done, her house is PAID OFF, and she has a nice little settlement egg too! Do I even get a 'thank you'? For the 'blame' of 'making her do it?' For holding her hand through it? For being screamed at left and right? Nope, because now that she actually got something out of it, NOW, I didn't do 'anything'.
See, if it went bad, she could 'BLAME' me, but when it went good, well... she never would 'admit', that I didn't MAKE her do it, but she also wouldn't give me the credit I would have deserved if I had made her do it, or the credit I did deserve for sending her to the public adjuster or sitting there holding her hand through every interview, and being screamed at...
I then 'carried' the housese that we still had in 'inventory', after she walked out on the business, during which time we barely spoke, for the next two years, until my son was a year old and I wanted a grandmother for my son.
In exchange for being a "Grandmother," she demanded that I continue to make all the payments and manage all the houses that were still in the inventory when she walked out, and give her 50% of the profits when I sold them. I responded that if she expected to get a profit out of any house she had no money or labor, or even risk (the mortgage) invested in, than she had to give me the $10,000 she screwed me out of on that second house because if she got half of profits when she invested nothing, then I certainly should as well.
She did agree... but, wanted me to take it out of the houses that she was to get half of, when I sold them.
This was the price I had to 'pay' in order to 'buy my son a grandmother.'
Jump forward to 2007 when the real estate industry tanked, and I was about to lose the houses that were left... I called her and told her she needed to refinance them. My credit had been destroyed from the medical bills from the high risk pregnancy and premature birth of my son. She had to do it, or we would lose them. Her response.. "oh well."
Of course! She didn't have anything INTO them... as long as all the responsibility was on ME, if there was a profit, she'd be there with her hand out! But if she had to take any responsibility, then it was 'oh well.. I don't have anything invested, so I'm not really losing anything but what I was never really entitled to anyway."
So I not only got screwed out of half the profits for those houses, I also got screwed out of half the profits of all the houses she ever did get half of before she walked out, and 100% of the profit on the one she screwed me out of back in the early days...
Meanwhile, when the market came to a crashing halt later that year and my son and I (pregnant with my second) found ourselves HOMELESS...
This was the time when her claim settled and her house was paid off, plus she got a settlement over and above the amount owed on the mortgage.
She refused to pay me what she owed me for that house she screwed me out of, after having screwed me out of all the other ones that she didn't have money or labor or responsibility into, and after screwing me out of the last houses that she was to get 50% of, but wouldn't do her part for it....
She refused to pay what she owed, refused to take my kids and I in, forbid my grandmother from helping me at all or moving in with me, and called me a 'loser' and a 'piece of shit' in front of my son, every chance she got.
She berated me, telling me that I needed a job in a factory, becuase I wasn't 'fit' for anything else. At a time when there were no jobs, any job to be had was not about to hire a pregnant woman, she's telling me I'm a 'piece of shit, low life loser,' because I 'won't' get a job (that doesn't exist) in a factory (that won't hire me).
The one job I did find, that would have allowed me to work from HOME after two weeks of training at the corporate office, required me to work until about an hour and a half after daycare closed, but she wouldn't pick the kids up and keep them for 2.5 hours a night, M-F for a lousy two weeks, because she needed her 'me time.'
When I told her I would pull them out of that daycare and put them in a home daycare that kept later hours, I was a 'piece of shit mother, giving these kids no stability.'
And since I was BROKE, it's not as if I could have afforded to pay a special sitter to pick them up for 2.5 hours.
Her response: "well figure it out, everyone else does."
Which would have been fine except for two things, one of which was that she OWED me $10,000 at LEAST... ( a lot more if she truly believed that I should have had to DO half the work and put up half the money for the house she screwed me on, because that meant she wasn't entitled to half of the money on the multituded of houses that I had all the money and work in...) and if I didn't remember that I always went to my grandparents houses on the weekends, and for 1 or 2 weeks in the summers. When her and my step father first met and decided to live together, he had to sell his house, and I was shipped off to an aunt and uncle's house for a month so I 'wouldn't be in their way' while they tried to fix the house up to sell it.
I couldn't get 2 hours a day for two weeks of help, with this woman to whom I had given HALF the money I had worked to EARN for SIX YEARS! Plus the money she ripped me off for too!
Years of hearing "when are you going to give me grandchildren?" rang in my ears while I wondered, "Why should I? Do you want more children you can bully into your warped, and one sided version of 'family does for family...' them doing for you, but you never doing anything for them?"
A Volunteer Grandparent is exactly what I need in my life right now. Even though I have remarried now, it's still been a struggle to get 'stable' again. The economy is still bad, there are still few jobs, and the one I have is pretty demanding. My kids are still small and although I have daycare, the only job I can get requires that we work 12 hour shifts, and until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights, just to squeek by with enough income to pay our rent and utility bills.
I need a volunteer Grandparent who wants to 'adopt a grandchild' and be there to help us out, give us a break, and show our kids what 'family', really means. It means taking care of EACH OTHER... it is not 'you take care of me, I screw you" as my own mother seems to think.
There are Volunteer Grandparents out there who want to 'adopt a grandchild', and they would be far more deserving of the love of a (grand)child than a selfish woman like my mother is. They don't have to be 'bought' to be loving grandparents, which seems to be the only reason my mother had a child or wanted children... to have something she could 'sell' love to, because she can't seem to conceive of how to earn money honestly.