Trust Head Office:
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren ™ Charitable Trust 2005
Do you have any concerns or complaints about the Trust, please contact the Trust Secretary:
PO Box 34-892
July Newsletter 2010
From GRG Office:
We are having more and more grand-dads joining GRG Trust whom are raising the grandchildren on their own:
The GRG Trust have been donated:
Batteries for Hearing Aids size /format 675 we have 84 sleeves of 6 batteries in each sleeve phone Di on toll call free phone 0800 472 637 or from Auckland 4806530. These are free of charge and we would like to share them out. Subject to availability.
We have included the speech given by Tariana at the recent FFCF conference as it is very poignant for us as grandparents and kin carers also and there is a big pat and huge awhi (hug) for all grandparents and kincarers.
Once upon a time, there was an old man walking along the foreshore.
It was low-tide and the beach was covered with thousands of starfish, left high and dry, stranded by the tides that had left them behind.
The man contemplated picking each one up and throwing them back out into the surf but as he looked at the masses in front of him, he reasoned that this would be an impossible task and so he continued on his way.
Not much later he came across a little boy who was frantically throwing starfish upon starfish back into the sea. The old man stopped and spoke to the child - "what are you doing?"
"I'm saving the starfish" said the little boy.
"But isn't that a waste of time?" asked the old man. "There are so many here that you can't possibly save them all, so what does it matter"?
The little boy looked slowly up at the man, and then carefully, deliberately reached down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the water.
"It matters to this one" he explained.
I am delighted to be with you today, to open this national conference of the New Zealand Family and Foster Care Federation.
I want to firstly mihi to everyone here, who has responded to the challenge to make life matter to someone else.
You have dug deep within your heart, to make room for another; to express your love and your commitment towards shaping their future. I commend you all, for the generosity of spirit that such a commitment represents.
I want to be upfront with you from the onset - and tell you that I have very strong views about the concept of care, and the intrinsic relationship of kin, or what we call whakapapa.
It is my absolute belief that no child should be viewed in isolation, but always as a member of a wider kin group - the whanau or hapu - that have traditionally exercised responsibility for the child's care and placement.
To be whanau is literally to be born of; to whangai is to feed and nourish, to create the sustenance that allows every child to thrive but also whangai means to reconnect to whakapapa.
Let me go back to the starfish story.
It used to be the case in Aotearoa, that children in care were thrown into the great sea of opportunity; free to sink or swim.
Our fragile little starfish would be given a new life - and in the case of many Maori children - a completely new identity.
For some tamariki Maori that new identity was a fictional one.
They were told they were the most precious pearl plucked from a Pacific paradise; or perhaps a more exotic origin. They might have grown up thinking that their brown skin came from the fact that they were actually a Princess from Portugal or Brazil - not like all those Maori kids running around them.
For others of our children, it was thought a new name might make all the difference. Perhaps Kiri, like the famous opera singer; or a simple name like John or Jane instead of the multi-syllabled mouthful that would only create havoc when it came time for the teacher to call out the roll.
Now if you know anything about starfish you will know they can readily regenerate parts of their body. Starfish with one or two large arms and three or four tiny new ones are known as sea comets.
Our modern day nation has many thousands of sea comets, who have struggled with their experiences of fostering or out-of-kin placements, and have tried, valiantly, to start again, to grow another limb, to explore another habitat.
One of the themes that came through was that as children in foster care they did not know why they were in care and not living at home, and this 'not knowing or not being exactly sure' had impacted on them in a variety of ways.
This sadness, this sense of not-knowing, is one of the greatest challenges - and tragedies - inherent in family and foster care.
For it is my view that the greatest sea of opportunity lies in one's own birth waters.
I believe that the physical, social, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of every child is inextricably related to the sense of belonging to a wider whanau group.
Coming back to the starfish family again, I wonder if we appreciate how many distinctive and amazing creatures are clinging to our rocky shores.
There is the prickly eleven-armed star - the pekapeka or papatangaroa; the sturdy reef star, patangaroa. Or there is the elevated cushion star - kapu parahui rahi - which has the most dazzling surface of white, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and green.
Of course the star itself in the Ratana faith - and indeed many other spiritual movements - is a symbol of greatness that we hold dear to our heart, 'star of wonder, star of light, star of beauty, guide us to thy perfect light'.
We cannot pretend to ourselves that every starfish is the same, that one size fits all.
We must make the commitment; strengthen the links that help every child to know they are a child of wonder.
We do our children a great disservice if we remove them from their birth family and fail to retain the connections which make every child unique.
The connections with one's birth family is something that I know the organisation Grandparents raising Grandchildren Trust NZ places great priority on.
This is, of course, not a new realisation.
Back in 1989, the report of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on a Maori perspective for the Department of Social Welfare, recommended that the Maatua Whangai programme in respect of children, should return to its original focus of nurturing children within the family group.
The Committee had heard several complaints of children placed with foster parents outside of the kin-group who had met the child's immediate and material needs but without any attempt to find foster parents within the hapu.
It's that ultimate grief - 'we gave her everything she could want for - but something was always not quite right'.
The Committee was told that the hapu was rarely consulted, sometimes as an omission but more usually through a positive opinion that the hapu had no right to be involved, or because of an exaggerated emphasis on confidentiality.
It gives me no joy to know that 21 years on since Puao-te-ata-tu was published, that we are still seeing situations of Maori children being placed in what I call 'stranger-care'; that is people outside or their wider kin-group or hapu community : some 46% of Maori children in care fall into this category. It is not good enough to continue this disconnecting practice.
And indeed, the responsibility to look at how Maatua Whangai should develop within Child, Youth and Family is a current and ongoing priority for both me and Minister Bennett in this Government.
Who better to assess the quality of care than whanau?
This is a question that I was brought up on - the challenge of how we nurture and grow our children to their full potential.
I was raised firstly by my grandmother, and when my grandmother died, by an aunt and uncle. My aunt died when I was only eight and so I then went to live with another aunt and uncle.
Some might describe such a childhood as unsettled; lacking in stability or security. I disagree.
I believe I had an extremely privileged upbringing because I knew, that with every breath that I took, every word that I spoke, that I was being watched over and my future was being shaped.
All of these 'caregivers' instilled in me the values, the beliefs, the principles that I would now describe as Whanau Ora.
They shared with me their knowledge of whakapapa - our genealogical imprint They opened my eyes to our history and our taonga tuku iho - the inherited treasures of our people.
They were visionary - inspired by a sense of future possibilities - while always reminding me of the importance of remaining connected to the essence of who I am.
They created in me the drive to meet my obligations to my extended whanau, to always remember where and who I came from, and to honour the legacy they had left behind.
It was a very loving philosophy but also a strict one, which centred around the notion of collective responsibility - valuing and respecting all who belong to us.
In turn, when George and I started our own family we also reached out and ensured we extended our care to all those who needed a loving pair of arms wrapped around them.
We have never believed that parenting responsibilities stop once your children leave home.
We are just as determined to have input into the growth and wellbeing of our 25 mokopuna and 18 mokopuna tuarua as we were with their parents and grandparents.
And we extend that same watchful eye to all of the mokopuna from our nieces and nephews, our cousins, our whanau.
I do know the experience of bringing up children who are outside of kin - and if I was to be perfectly honest I would have to admit that despite our best intentions we were never able to give these children everything that they needed.
Because although we could care for them with abundant love; clothe them, feed them, be there for them when they needed; we were unable to make the intimate connection with their own bloodlines that someone within their own kin could.
And I know too, of the immense challenges of raising children who have begun life in difficulty.
It takes extraordinary parenting skills to restore these children to the sense of wonder that is inherent in every child.
Together - the birth family and the foster family - can indeed achieve wonders, that help make the difference, to let every child know they matter. Tena tatou katoa ENDS
New Facebook page’s for grandparents:
The GRG Trust NZ Board are aware that two new Facebook pages have been started up by a Wellington-based person.
Please be advised that we are NOT associated with these pages at all and the Facebook pages and associated websites DO NOT represent our organisation.
The name given to the Facebook and website is very similar to ours and is causing confusion to people.
The GRG Trust Board is alarmed that on the second page of the Facebook visitors/facebook members are being encouraged to tell their personal stories.
We strongly caution and advise you not to do this and particularly you should not make any posts about the ‘parents’ and what they have/have not done to grandchildren or to name/identify the children.
We advise you to think very carefully before you consider joining any online blog or web-group such as Facebook about the potential consequences and damage to you, your family and especially your grandchildren.
Please be mindful of the following:
. We are a small Country
. You have no control over the use of your information once it has been posted.
• Your name will be open to the public and any information you put online in this type of forum.
• Others can read your story; for example CYF, neighbours, friends, opposing lawyers ,‘parents’ of the children. Also the grandchildren who may not be aware of the finer details in your particular case.
• There is nothing to stop this information being copied and pasted and used in a legal situation or sent on elsewhere, beyond your control
• You and or your grandchildren’s safety may be compromised
• Depending on how much information you supply; your location could be found and personal details about you and your family used potentially for fraudulent purposes or to damage your reputation
• Remember these postings remain online in cyberspace forever. If you have discussed your grandchildren and their situation in this type of public online forum; consider how they may feel when they are adults and how they might feel about having that personal and sensitive information about their lives out there for all to see?
• Please do not rely on information offered by any online blogger. You need to consider carefully whether information or advice given from unofficial and/or unprofessional and/or unqualified sources is correct or indeed the right thing for you and your grandchildren. Remember we are all different as are our circumstances and you should always look for guidance and support from qualified professionals and organisations with a good track record dealing with the issues you face.
The GRG Trust Board has given careful consideration as to whether or not to have a Facebook presence for its members. For the reasons set out above it has decided that the risk to its members is just too great.
If, however, you do decide to post on Facebook or similar sites then please be aware it is at your own risk.
Online Magazine GRAND. USA
Hi, this is Christine Crosby, publisher of GRAND – The Online Magazine for GRANDparents. Your newsletter is one of the best I’ve seen. It is full of good information in a down-to-earth style, not fancy; more important, filled with spirit, humor, encouragement and hope.
High praise indeed
If you’d like to access the current issue of GRAND, here is an easy sign up: http://tinyurl.com/CurrentIssue
The web site where everything is free! www.freestuff.co.nz
Passport Trials and tribulations:
Internal Affairs refuse to process my granddaughters passport application (she already has one, this application is to renew her other one that is due to expire soon.) because the Guardianship papers I sent them are not the originals but a certified copy.
I said ‘I haven’t got the original.’
They said ‘we know you haven’t got the original. Only the court has the original.’ (So why did they ask me for it!)
They said the ** Court (because I live over here) can arrange for the ** Court (where the papers are held) to fax the original copy to them,. NOT!!! They will not do it.
So I rang ** Court to fax a copy to Internal Affairs. The Court person said ‘she would send me a copy to forward to Internal Affairs.’ I explained to her again ‘Internal Affairs will not accept a copy of the Guardianship Papers from me and that the Court has to fax them to Internal Affairs before they process the said passport.’
On two different occasions over the last week I have asked her to fax the papers and twice the Court person has refused.
So I rang Internal Affairs to explain. At first they tried to get me to get the ** Court to do as Internal Affairs wanted them to. I told them it’s out of my hands. So they rang the Court and spoke to the person concerned and got nowhere too.
Update: Internal Affairs sent me a letter on Monday, like the very first one I received. Talk about going around in circles.
Anyway, too little too late. I went to see our local MP. And he was onto it straight away. That was Monday. The passport was here Wednesday!
No explanation for their pigheaded attitude, no apology for the delay. Lucky I wasn’t in a hurry for it.
I rang Internal Affairs this morning to ask if they still wanted the certified guardianship papers. She said ‘What papers?” Well…. Makes you want to spit tacks.
Editors note; We too have had to supply the original each timed we renewed the passports, at least we did have the original, but it seems silly once they have sighted it to require it each time is a little over the top!
Report on our grandson:
If continues like this he is heading for Academic Excellence".
The entire report was sprinkled with "Achieved with Merit" or "Achieved with Excellence". He can feel very proud.
Nan & Pa F
Grandchild gives thanks:
I shall leave out her name, but I think it would be a good idea to print it to show just how being brought up by grandparents can have such wonderful results such as respect, gratefulness, politeness plus the added advantage of learning how to write a proper letter!
My name is N.P. Jnr. I live with my Nana who belongs to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and my brother, J.P. is another member in the household.
I would like to thank you all for your wonderful donations to us all and also for the TV and cabinet which I have in my bedroom.
God Bless you all and thanks for wonderful things.
Something to Ponder:
Grandmother, You Can't Quit Now: By Toni Doswell
Don’t mess with grand-dad:
Kay Douglas - How Close to Burnout Are You?
Here’s a list of symptoms of burnout:
How is your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing at the moment?
Take special care of yourself:
Don't isolate yourself:
Free Caregiver Courses for Oct - Dec:
We advise you that the National Caregiver Training Programme's
Course Calendar through to the end of September has been published on our website: www.caregivertraining.org.nz
These courses are now open for registration. You can apply for the courses online. Please provide all contact details possible, including any email address. This will enable us to confirm enrolments, communicate any last minute changes and distribute course certificates. OR
You can complete the application form and send to PO Box 2620, WELLINGTON OR Fax application form to +04 918 9294
If you would like more information about our courses please contact Matt De Wit either by email or by phone 0800 227 305 Or Alice Maguire Alice.firstname.lastname@example.org 04 918 9146 Or Christine O’Sullivan Manager, National Caregiver Training Programme Christine.OSullvan002@cyf.govt.nz DDI : (04) 918 9162
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Endure a Wide Range of Emotions
When you had your children, there were moments (admit it) when you look forward to the time where your child raising years were over, and your children moved out and on with their life. Then life threw you a curve ball and now you find yourself raising your grandchild(ren). With this comes a wide array of emotions you can and will have about the situation overall.
Losing Your Child: Whether you becoming "the parent" as a result of something as devastating as the death of your child, or simply your adult child's inability to be a parent (for whatever reason), you will find yourself experiencing grief. The grief at losing your child to death is really a closed-ended process. Your child will not come back and you will deal with that grief as you would in any other circumstance. Perhaps harder (some say) is grieving over a child who has mental illness or drug abuse issues. What complicates this type of grief is the potential false hope that the situation will change. As such, it is much harder to deal with. Get help if you find that yourself not moving beyond your grief, after a certain period of time. You aren't the first or last person who has experienced this, and there are people to help!
Your Personal Life: In all likelihood, unless all your peers are doing the same thing, having your grandkids has potentially isolated you from the friendships and adventures you used to have. This type of "isolation" isn't good for anyone in any situation. Just as you did when your children were growing up, it's OK to still "have a life." Hire a babysitter if you have to and still participate in lunch with the ladies or that weekend fishing trip with the guys. Your social life doesn't have to end: it only requires some modification. In addition, why try to seek out groups with members who are facing the same challenge as you: a grandparent raising a grandchild.
The Cycle of Anger and Guilt: How could your child have done this to you, stealing always these special years from your life? How can you be upset with your child because this is your child - and your grandchild(ren) - who you love with all your heart. Allow yourself to feel the anger and guilt - for a while. Then put it into perspective. You still have a life: it's just has a new twist. It's ok to continue as you planned: simply alter your intentions and itineraries to fit around this new element. (This is no different from if you - or your significant other - suddenly became disabled. Your life wouldn't stop: it would just make a few turn.)
Living in Fear: If you wake up every day worrying that your grandchild(ren) is somehow going to be taking away, don't be. If you legal custody of your grandchild(ren), no one is going to simply whisk them away - not even the biological parents. Foster care workers aren't going to come knocking on your door one way and shuffle them off. In fact, local child protective agencies would rather your grandchild(ren) be with you than a stranger.
While what you feel is real, just like any other emotion, put it into perspective. Never doubt your ability to work through this situation, and be grateful that you have the chance to be a positive, caring, loving role model for your grandchild(ren).
St Johns Info:
Di & Team
heoi ano, na
E te Atua, aroha mai..... O God shower us with love
Can we help you? Members Services
Alison was a Social worker for over 40yrs, 26 of those as a senior social worker for the Royal N.Z Navy. She is able and confidant to attend CYF Family Group Conferences (where practicable) to act as a support person for GRG's. I am an Independent Adoption Counsellor. A Family Court Counsellor working with those who have relationship issues and is familiar with the Family Court procedures related to general counselling and court procedures when applications are being made for who will assume the Primary Care Role for children. Ph 09 445 9671 Toll call, use 0800 345 671
Telephone advice can be given on the following topics Justice and Prison system, including Youth Court
Family Court applications: for persons wishing to self-represent: Child Youth and Family representation where practicable/advice. Disability advice and the Schooling system. Nola can be contacted on ph 06 845 3141 Toll call, use 0508 367474
Posted: Tue 10 Aug 2010