Houston great grandparents raising-10-year-old child - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Houston great grandparents raising-10-year-old child

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At ten years of age, Destiny Foster still sleeps in the bed where she was born. This house, her great grand parent's house, is the only real home she's ever known.

"I slipped out right here. I know the markings because there is still a little bit of blood right there," says Destiny while pointing to her bed.

"We went some where and came back and we had a great grand baby," said Dexter Thomas, Destiny's Great Grandfather.

"Once she had the baby, I knew who was going to be responsible for it," said Betty Thomas, Destiny's Great Grandmother

In time, Betty Thomas's prediction would prove true.

"Well, her mother is incarcerated," said Dexter.

Turns out, it's parenting duty Dexter and Betty have taken on before, that is, rearing their kid's kids.

You see, Destiny's mother's mother grew up here too.

"She told me she'd be right back and never showed up, so I raised her," recalls Betty.

Born in 1928 and a U.S. Air Force retiree, Dexter readily admits he'd hoped the day to day, heavy lifting of caring for kids would be long done.

"There are a lot of things that we do for children that our parents didn't have to do for us. I think we are making sacrifices after sacrifice," said Dexter.

It is occasional hardship that's also delivered to Dexter and Betty a powerful opportunity for fulfillment - the chance to guide Destiny where she needs to go.

"She is really the total of our lives now," said Dexter.

"We give her all the love she can handle, because we both love her and we are not going to let her be mistreated," said Betty.

It's been no cake walk.

For the little girl and straight "A" student left in the care of great grandparents, there's been serious trouble that's led to alternative school.

It's an all too common a situation made worse by a generational disconnect between campus educators and many of the half million Texas seniors who, by necessity, are raising their pupils.

"This is a community issue, this is a school issue. There is not a great deal of respect for elderly people. They think that we are out of the loop, that we don't know what's going on," said Loretta Zayas Revai who advocates for "Grandfamilies".

"Treat me like I'm the parent. Whose going to say when my granddaughter comes home she's not going to do that again?," said Betty.

It's a

frustrating lack of respect for grand folk, who've already done their duty and then some.

"If it wasn't for the older people today, America wouldn't even be a country," said Dexter.

In the meantime, Dexter and Betty will do all they can for Destiny.

Even with a 156 years between them they insist it's their duty and desire.

"It's really not about us. It is about our children and our children's children," said Dexter.

Betty and Dexter have been getting some much needed assistance from an organization called Grandparents Support Group.

The grassroots organization is working to improve communication grandparents and the schools their grandchildren attend.


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