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Grandmother feels too old to take custody

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Dear Lois: When is a grandmother too old to adopt or get legal custody of a granddaughter after the state has taken the child from the mother? I am 68, and while I am in fairly good health, I do not have the endurance to raise a 13-year-old at my age. I am torn between my love for this child and knowing that she really needs a couple to raise her.

- HelenDear Helen: It's been my experience that the courts decide these cases on a judge's view of the circumstances, and there doesn't seem to be a rule that is followed without exception. In custody cases, however, a couple of other avenues are available. The next letter may help you.

Dear Lois: Please tell your readers that family mediation is available for disputes between parents and grandparents over custody of children. Mediation is voluntary and confidential. The mediator is a trained, neutral person who can help facilitate the process between disputing parties. For more information, call Arbour Counseling Center at 508-799-0688. Readers can also contact the Academy of Family Mediators at 617-674-2663.

- Robbin Miller, family


Arbour Counseling Center

Dear Robbin: Thanks for that useful information. Although the grandparent in the preceding letter was not in conflict with the parent, there was obviously conflict in determining care for the child. It takes a dispassionate eye to resolve the passions involved in family relationships.

Dear Lois: I'm a young grandfather (early 50s), but I received inspiration for the future recently. I am also a travel agent, and I sent a couple, clients for years, on a special vacation to a Caribbean island. The occasion was their 21st wedding anniversary and his 82nd birthday. When they returned, they agreed it was the greatest experience of their lives. And that proves that if health remains, age has no limits.

- B. Lasich, Ithaca, N.Y.

Dear B. Lasich: And so long as a good travel agent remains, none of us will ever run out of places to visit. Good for you for keeping the world moving, regardless of age.

Dear Lois: My 5-year-old grandson Kendall loves ocean creatures, especially dolphins, sharks and whales. Recently he was listening to his family discuss the death of Princess Diana. His 8-year-old sister Katherine said, "Her family must miss her a lot." Kendall said, "And I'll bet the whales do, too." His father looked puzzled, and Kendall said, "Well, she was the Princess of Whales!"

- Sharon Ward, King Ferry, N.Y.

Dear Sharon: Keep reviewing all current events with that boy. He's got an ear for news.

Dear Lois: Our grandson, 19-month-old Michael, stayed with us for four days, and his grandfather and I were typing at our computers when Michael tapped his Poppa and asked, "Where's da bug?" We didn't know what he meant, but he kept looking at the computer screen. At just that moment the screensaver with a screen full of autumn leaves and caterpillars came on screen. Michael parked himself on Poppa's knee, watched for a few minutes and then ran off. Minutes later he returned with a fly swatter. "Got to get da bug," he told Poppa.

- Catherine Danner

Dear Catherine: Looks like that little boy is a computer whiz already. Most of us have a much longer and more difficult time getting rid of our computer bugs.