Breaking the cycle

Devetta shares how she broke free of addiction to raise her grandchildren.

April 30, 2019

I remember how heavy the phone felt in my hand. I was the one who called CPS.

I love my daughter, but I had to do what was right for her child.

Everyone was mad, and I understand why. I wasn’t there for my daughter when she was a child. My mom raised my kids because of my addiction, and here I was making the call about my daughter. It took time for me to accept that I wasn’t a bad person for making that call. Mending that relationship has taken patience and time, and we’re still working toward recovery.

After I made that call, my granddaughter went into foster care, and I never missed a visit. I wanted to show her my love and commitment, so she would know Grandma would always be there for her.

She came to live with me in April of 2015—when she was in second grade—and her adoption soon followed. She had been through a lot, moving between homes and schools in foster care.

Overcoming my cycle of addiction

A lot of grandparents raise their grandchildren; this has been true since before there was a formal foster care system. But kinship care has become more common because of the drug epidemic. It’s hard–especially for a grandmother like me who has a history of substance use myself.

There’s a stigma around the disease of addiction—a belief that people can’t change. Yet, I have been substance-free for 11 years. I know people can change, and I’ve seen people change their perspective about me.

My second granddaughter was born in February of 2017. My daughter FaceTimed me at 4 a.m., and I held my granddaughter on her first day. That baby looked at me out of the corner of her eye and my life changed all over again.

From the hospital, she was placed with foster parents who wanted to adopt her, but I wanted to fight for her, to keep her together with her sister.

But I also had doubts. Would I have a chance against foster parents who had more money and more education? And then there was my past—what could I give her by comparison? I am so grateful for Bethany and everyone who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

The saying goes, “God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called.” I believe that. I recently adopted my second granddaughter, and I am now in process to adopt my grandson, their 6-year-old cousin.

Not their mother

I’m a full-time parent, but I’m not their mother; there’s a difference. I’ve taken on the role of mother, but I’m Grandma. That’s my title.

There was a time in my life when I thought I would die using. I never expected that I’d be substance-free—11 years and counting—and raising three grandchildren. I understand the fear some grandparents have about raising grandchildren, feeling like you’re starting over. Yes, you make your adjustments, but your life doesn’t stop.

A second chance

I feel like I’ve been given a second chance to do for my grandchildren what I missed out on with my kids. This time around, everything feels calmer. I show up for them and keep my word. I listen to them and show a lot more affection. At the end of each day, I ask, “Did I do my best for these kids?”

Devetta’s story proves that age does not matter when it comes to providing a safe, loving home for children. Whether you’re looking to provide kinship care to your grandchildren or hoping to help children at this time in your life, consider becoming a foster parent.

Become a foster parent