Grandparents Rights

DENISE - Sterling, Illinois
Entered on April 14, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, injustice
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It was two years ago on a hot July night, the weather was so hot and humid that it was one of those night when you just can’t seem to get comfortable to sleep. My sisters’ world came to a crashing halt in the early morning hours of July 17th. She received that dreaded call that all parents worry about in the early morning hours. Her 23 year old son had been in an auto accident and he was very ill. He was at home having been prematurely and incorrectly discharged from the hospital and had taken a turn for the worse while at home. Ironically my sister worked at the same hospital that had incorrectly discharged him to home and she was working the late night shift when she received the call to rush home because he had stopped breathing. Frantically she rushed home but by the time she arrived he had already been taken to a nearby hospital and did not make it. This devastation has nearly crushed my sister and on some days she finds it hard to function and exist.

Sadly enough 3 weeks after my nephew was laid to rest, his son was born. He never got to meet his son and my great nephew will never meet his father. This precious little bundle of joy was the last piece of my nephew we have left and the mother of the baby let my sister have the baby from two weeks old until recently. My sister was essentially raising her grandson, providing love, food, clothing and shelter for new grandson and the mother was very much o.k. with this because she had other children to attend to and this newborn was a sore spot for from the very beginning. My nephew and she did not get along and the assumption was that when the baby was born, my nephew would raise him on his own with the help of his mother, (my sister) and numerous family members and the girlfriend would go her separate way.

When the discovery was made by the girlfriend that there was going to be a suit against the medical facility that caused my nephew’s death, and the possibility of a large sum of money may be involved, and the only heir to my nephew was his son, she changed her mind and decided she wanted this son after all and that my sister could not see him anymore or have any visitation rights at all. My sister had the baby approximately 95-99% of the time and the two of them formed a bond similar to mother and infant. When he was abruptly taken away from her, this was not only devastating and harmful to my sister but to the baby as well.

Currently Illinois does not allow grandparents to have rights to their grandchildren, but the laws seem to be new and ever-changing. There are always extenuating circumstances, such as this similar case and the laws need to be reformed. I believe that once the bond between infant and adult, grandmother in this instance, has been formed, that it is detrimental and harmful to that child to take him away from that person. I believe that grandparents should have rights and that this law needs to be reformed.