As a young girl growing up, my grandparents took me under their wing and raised me like their own. I never knew much of what it meant to be raised by grandparents and other relatives and how much of an impact it had on people like other people and me. Many grandparents and other relatives raise children, and people looking from the outside in don't have much knowledge on how much of an impact this has on children affected by it.
Many reasons place children with relatives other than their parents — for example, sudden parent deaths, military deployment, rising drug epidemic, incarceration. When situations happen that place a child ineligible to be raised by their biological parents, it changes not only the child's life but the caregivers' as well. Many caregivers have already had their children and shift their entire lifestyle to fit another's children into their life. Having that person that is not obligated to become a parental figure gives a positive image and hope into the child's life.
Hope. A word so little but holds loads of power behind it and symbolizes different things for each person on this Earth. As a child that was raised by grandparents hope meant finding the stability, being able to know that I could dream, and I can be a symbol of hope to others. Some people, when they hear that a child was not able to be raised by their biological parents immediately feel a sense of sorrow towards them. Instead of looking at the children as a symbol as sorrow or troubled people should look at them as a sign of hope. These children should represent a symbol of hope for the future, a symbol of strength, and a symbol of courage. These children have been able to face their situations head on and get through them even with the grief, fear, and hopelessness they may feel at times.
Getting the chance to have a place to call home, people you can call family, and dreams that can be called a future is just a little part of what a parental figure other than biological parents can do. They give a sense of readiness for the days ahead and the challenges that may come in the paths forward. Out of all the change that caregivers can make in a child's life, the most important one is giving children a second chance to live an experience they will believe worth living.