More Oklahoma Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren

Friday, February 18th 2011, 5:18 pm
By: News 9

Kirsten McIntyre, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma ranks third in the nation for having the most grandparents raising their grandchildren.

They thought they were done, moving on to a more quiet and simple time, but for many Oklahoma grandparents, they're playing the ever-challenging role of "mom and dad" all over again.

Its homework time at the Edwards home. Polly is working on her math. Since she was four-months-old, Polly has been cared for by her grandparents. John and Tee Edwards admit raising a grandchild was never part of their plan.

"But I'm so happy with her," said Polly's grandfather. "Don't get me wrong, that's the greatest thing that ever happened to me. We got Polly."

"It was a little different for us to adjust to having a child again, but it was something we were proud to take the responsibility," Tee Edwards said. "We knew we loved her with all our heart."

The family has had to make some financial adjustments and they stay physically busy with Polly's many activities. For John Edwards, who's a pastor, he sees many people in the same situation, but they're struggling.

"We know some grandparents who have three or four kids. That gets to be heavy financially," he said.

Polly calls John and Tee mom and dad, but also knows they're her grandparents.The couple said they may be older, but feel they're doing a better job at parenting the second time around.

"The first time around we didn't have the time, we had other priorities," said Polly's grandmother. "Trying to make a living, keep a roof over the head, feed, and you don't catch some of the really neat little things they're doing when they're growing up and we've caught it all with her. I said 'Wow, look how much we missed with our kids when they were growing up.'"

Experts say one reason why Oklahoma ranks near the top for the number of grandparents raising grandchildren is because so many women are incarcerated.