Linda and her husband were living in Virginia when they were asked to take in their two-month-old granddaughter, Samantha. Their world was quickly filled with an overwhelming amount of stress. They had to travel on numerous occasions back and forth to Georgia where Samantha was from, to meet with lawyers and attend court hearings every six months. Little did they know that it would take four years to finalize her adoption.
The difficulty began when they traveled all the way to Georgia from Virginia to pick up Samantha and were told they needed to get a lawyer because they were coming from out of state. They had to obtain a lawyer, and quickly. If they were not able to pay for a lawyer then Samantha would be placed in foster care and it could take 3-6 months before being able to get her out. Linda soon earned guardianship over Samantha and started the process to adopt her.
Linda’s other child, daughter Elizabeth, lived in Florida. At the same time, Linda's husband was near retirement so they made the decision to move to Pasco County in September of 2009. It was just Linda and Samantha for three months living in a new house, in a new area while her husband finished working. Elizabeth also had a young son, Jackson, who was only two months apart in age from Samantha. Linda soon found it difficult when sharing roles as a grandmother and a new mother.
When Linda lived in Virginia she did not find any support groups available to help her get through her new situation. She was excited when she found information in the local paper that a Kinship Support Program was coming to Pasco County. It was just a small group since it was starting out, but she was thrilled to meet people that were “in the same boat,” as she was and thought, “It’s not just me.” She found that it was very informative and learned about all the other resources that were available in the area. Linda doesn’t attend the support groups for financial help, she attends solely for the moral support. The group has helped her get through the process step by step and continues to help guide Linda as Samantha grows.
Samantha's adoption was finalized in August of 2010. It was most difficult for Linda having to choose between her grandson and Samantha. She wanted to continue to help her grandson but knew that Samantha needed her more. Linda says, “Samantha is the love of our lives. She is very bright and has a great smile and loves to tell jokes! We don’t know how we would get along without Samantha.”