Wednesday, November 19, 2008

White House Grandma

The nation’s incoming first family sets a precedent in so many ways. I appreciate how the energy of young people helped Obama get to where he is today, but let’s not forget older adults have nurtured President-elect Barack Obama throughout his life as well. Obama’s late maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, whom he affectionately called "Toot," deeply impacted his life while helping to raise him in Hawaii. And now Marian Robinson, grandmother to Barack and Michelle Obama's children, may move into the White House with her daughter and son-in-law. The Washington Post reported this week that the Obamas are busy touring D.C. schools. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marian Robinson, who stepped in when her daughter and son-in-law were campaigning, driving her granddaughters to and from play dates, dance, and piano lessons, has some say in their important decision.

Multigenerational households happen for many reasons, some by choice, some by necessity. The Obamas serve as an example of choosing to live under one roof. Having cared for her grandchildren as her daughter and son-in-law’s schedules filled up, why, once the race was over, would she not want to remain deeply involved with the girls and join in the family’s D.C. move? As the latest Census reported, the number of parents under 65 in multigenerational households increased by 75%, while those 65 and older rose 62%. Additionally, the data shows a 40% increase in the number of other live-in relatives, such as the head of household's mother-in-law or father-in-law to 6.8 million. You can download GU’s multigenerational household fact sheet by clicking here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Adoption Day

Tomorrow – Saturday, November 15 – is National Adoption Day. National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the 129,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. When I hear about the thousands of children waiting for stability and a loving family as they wait in foster care, I’m again thankful for the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. The Act will help thousands of children and youth by promoting permanent families for children in foster care through relative guardianship and adoption and helping with access to other supportive services for grandparent- and other relative- headed families. The bill will also do such things as extend federal support for youth to age 21 and help keep brothers and sisters together. To learn more about National Adoption Day, go to To find out the latest on Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, go to GU’s special public policy web page at