The decision to raise a grandchild is not one a grandparent can take lightly. In fact, it often takes help from others outside the family to make the evaluation. It may be a family friend, a professional child psychologist, or, for some, it may be a religious leader. It is important to avoid questioning the love for the child. Of course, the grandparents love the child or why would they even consider the situation? When there is an illness involved with the grandparent, it gets more complicated.
Can the grandparent do it, physically?
There are some physical requirements needed to raise a grandchild. A grandparent should visit with a personal physician. The physician should be able to give an objective assessment of the physical condition. It is important the grandparent accepts the decision, whatever it may be.
For example, being confined to a wheelchair may not be a problem, depending on the circumstances. There may be outside help for the grandparent and equipment that is available so they can still raise the grandchild. A physician in this case may be giving the grandparent information and confidence to make the right decision.
Will the grandchild be faced with another loss in a short amount of time?
A grandparent with a chronic or terminal illness has to make some extremely tough decisions. It may not be fair to a grandchild to lose another primary caregiver in a short time period.
The loss of a primary caregiver is traumatic. Not all losses are due to a death, but the situation is still very stressful and hard for the child to deal with. It is important to keep the needs of the child first in the decision making.
Does the illness affect the mental capacity of the grandparent?
Mental capacity is an important issue. This has to be determined by an outsider. A person with a diminished mental capacity is not able to make that decision.
Will this make the child become a caregiver?
A grandchild should not be put into a position where they will become the caregiver. If this is the case, there may be another custody solution that would work best for the child.
It is important for grandparents know it is acceptable and admirable to say no to custody if that is what is in the best interest of the child. It is the right thing to do. If living with grandparents is the best situation, then that is the right thing to do. Answer the questions and get the answers to make a proper decision.