Katherine and her granddaughter Suriah, then 8 months old, instantly bonded when they met for the first time at the courthouse. Katherine’s family didn’t know about their newest member until a few days earlier when they received a court notice to determine paternity. That day would change Katherine’s life forever.
Now at the age of 6, Suriah is in Katherine’s custody full time. Katherine’s son, Suriah’s father, could not care for her due to illness, suffering from epilepsy for most of his life. The mother was unable to provide a stable home for Suriah so Katherine stepped up and became her primary caregiver. While caring for Suriah full time as well as two other grandchildren part time, Katherine’s financial resources from her job in home health care were not enough. She found her saving grace in MCH Family Outreach.
“I stretch everything that I can. But without this agency, I would not survive,” she said.
MCH first provided Katherine with diapers and assistance in getting medical coverage for Suriah. MCH put her in touch with community resources and continues to help her out as needed. Katherine has also found a valuable support system through the outreach staff and regularly attends MCH’s grandparent support group.
“I’ve learned a lot from the other grandmothers and their experiences,” Katherine said. “We share a lot of information. You get to meet other people with the same problem, just in a different way.”
Katherine feels she has been given a second chance and feels hopeful about the future. Her adult children both dealt with illnesses as children and were not able to have all the experiences she had hoped. Katherine said she feels blessed to now have the opportunity to play a big part in her grandchildren’s lives and wants to try to do things with her grandchildren that she was unable to do with her children.
“They’re a handful but I love it,” she said. “I will put Suriah through college. She’s going to succeed and do something with herself. I want her to live a good life. She has already had enough hurt.”