New legislation will help grandparents reconnect with grandchildren

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 10:17 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The love many grandparents have for their grandkids is tough to beat.

“We were just grandparents, Nanny and Paw Paw, and that’s who we were,” said Debra Rose, a grandma to three granddaughters.

But for the last four years, Debra and Bill Rose haven’t heard those names, or seen their three granddaughters.

”It really became trying to find a new identity without them, finding a new life, whether we wanted to or not.”

In 2017, Bill and Debra lost their son William, the father of the Roses’ grandchildren, to a drug overdose.

It was after his death that contact slowly dwindled, and then became nonexistent. A year later, the Roses went to court.

“We filed a petition for visitation, and we felt like that was the only way to go, because we missed them so much, We were worried about them, we didn’t know how they were doing, we weren’t sure how they were grieving the loss of their dad as we never got to talk to them after he passed away,” recounted Rose.

But at the time, Virginia law stated grandparents must prove to the court that their grandchildren were being put in harm’s way.

“It pretty much presented a really impossible bar for us,” said Rose.

The petition was not granted, but late last year, a glimmer of hope came about for the Roses in the form of a bill labeled 1325.

Last month, both members of the House and members of the Senate voted the bill through.

“In this case it makes great sense if something has happened to the parent, to make sure the grandparent has access to at least visiting the child,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11).

The Roses aren’t sure when they’ll get to see their granddaughters again, but they remain hopeful, and hopeful that grandchildren all over Virginia know how much grandparents care.

“Most grandparents are just wanting to love on ‘em, and spoil them and you know, know what’s going on in their lives, it’s a cycle of life,” said Rose.

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