A NOTE FROM THE FOUNDERS:
We started Grandparents With Open Arms non-profit due to feeling guilt, anger and frustration of becoming a parent again. We knew we couldn't be the only people feeling this way. We wanted the best for all our grandkids and we always supported our family like most grandparents do.
We were helping all the time to take care of a couple grandkids, and we figured out quickly we did not have any grandparent rights. Our oldest son, the father and the wife of these two kids, were in dire need of help and the grandkids were not safe. It was a process to navigate on eggshells to figure out how to help those kids. As we tried to get involved the situation proved a lot more difficult than we anticipated. We knew our family needed a lot of support, but we were interested in the immediate safety of the kids. It was infuriating when we already had been helping to raise these kids from the beginning of their lives, and had to prove we were fit grandparents when the state got involved.
Eventually, we ended up adopting those two grandsons, ages 5 and 6, who needed to be safe. We had to make a decision to live our golden years together as we planned or protect our innocent grandsons. We chose to fight for our grandsons and never will have any regrets. But ten years later this happened again with the same family and two granddaughters! This time it was a harder fight because the state laws had not changed to recognize grandparents’ insights to family problems like this. If you knew these two little girls, ages 1 and 3, any grandparent would make the same decision to raise all the siblings together.
When we started the non-profit, we had been married for 35 years with 6 adult children living on their own, and our oldest son’s four children living with us. You love your children but when you have a grandchild it's a different kind of love. When it comes to our age, it is a number, yes, but our bones creak and our hearts are full of strength and love. Still, we want to help other grandparents be able to talk about things like this and hopefully they realize they are not alone.
Our oldest son Paul Phillip Trujillo gave us so much hope as we watched him work on getting his life together to be there for the children he loved. The choices he made broke our hearts many times, but we could never stop loving him. He was the most giving, loving person we knew even though he had his problems he would give you the shirt off his back. He was fighting hard to become clean. But unfortunately, on his way to work one day he fell asleep at the wheel and ran into a tree and died instantly. His wish of getting his children back will never come true.
A parents’ love is unconditional and he was, after all, our first-born son, our baby who we always called ‘Pauly Walley’. We will honor him by giving his children the life he could not.
Paul P Trujillo
James Franklin Anglesey
Marion D DuranHerrera