Kimberly and Tom Shook take a look at eight-yr-previous Ben and eleven-yr-previous Lily enjoying in the lounge of their Battlefield house and fear about the identical issues as different mother and father.
How will the youngsters deal with peer strain and social media? How a lot display time ought to they get? Will the household be capable of afford school in a couple of years? And did the youngsters get their rooms picked up earlier than dinner?
However Kimberly and Tom are usually not Ben and Lily’s mother and father.
They’re YaYa and Pa — Ben and Lily’s grandparents, who’ve been elevating them for the previous few years.
“It was fairly a shock to go from being grandparents to oldsters. You continue to produce other grandkids, and these get handled a method and the others get handled one other,” Tom Shook stated. “It isn’t what we had deliberate, however God has a plan.”
Kimberly Shook agreed.
“I might have laid down and died earlier than I might allow them to go to foster care,” she stated.“These youngsters love their mom. I do not doubt that one bit. However I do not assume they might ever need to go reside together with her, just because life was simply chaos.”
In line with Springfield NAACP President Cheryl Clay, grandparents elevating their grandchildren is turning into “the brand new regular, sadly.”
“A lot of them don’t have legal custody. They don’t get any assistance from the state the majority of the time,” Clay said. “And sometimes they don’t need financial help. We got a call from a grandmother who is disabled and raising a 2-year-old. She just wanted a break, so we referred her to Isabel’s House (a crisis nursery where children can go when the family is in crisis).”
The Shooks were given guardianship custody of the children about two years ago, not long after Kimberly was injured by her horse and could no longer work at her job with Children Youth Services.
Though the family has many good times — Kimberly and Tom enjoy teaching the kids to hunt, fish and play card games — it’s not easy becoming parents again to young children.
Kimberly is 53 and Tom is 63.
“We are more tired now,” Kimberly said, laughing.
“All of our friends, they are just grandparents. They are not parents again,” Tom added. “It’s kind of lonely sometimes. We still have the same friends, but we don’t do anything together much because we’ve got kids.”