Grandparents fighting the battle to gain access to their beloved grandchildren came together Sunday to support each other during a benefit held at the in Corona del Mar.
The group shared stories and photos of their grandchildren during the event hosted by the nonprofit group Advocates For Grandparent-Grandchild Connection, an organization committed to the preservation of the grandparent-grandchild relationship.
“This is an opportunity for grandparents to network with one another and to help raise awareness,” said AFGGC founder Susan Hoffman, who helped write a bill resulting in a law that provided grandparents the right to seek visitation with a grandchild who has been adopted by a stepparent.
“A grandchild’s relationship with a grandparent should never be unreasonably broken,” she said. “Grandparents offer unconditional love.”
Since 2005, AFGGC has worked to raise awareness of denied grandparent visitation and the emotional consequences brought upon the child once that bond is broken. Oftentimes the severing of ties comes after a parent dies, a relationship is strained or a couple divorces.
Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner provided words of encouragement during Sunday's event.
“Grandparents are that extra voice of encouragement and support, which makes all the difference,” Gardner explained. “I hope that better ways to solve these issues are found through this group in order to maintain that precious bond.”
Guests at the event previewed the film Precious Bond, which highlighted the importance of the grandchild-grandparent relationship. The documentary resonated with viewers estranged from their grandchildren.
Jackie, an AFGGC member, found strong support in the organization since joining the group in January when she lost access to her grandchildren.
“I thought I was the only one who had my child turn on me but I’ve realized it’s very common,” she said. “I’ve received a lot of support from the group.”
Linda, a Newport Beach resident, was one of the many grandparents offering a shoulder to lean on.
“This is a huge tragedy perpetrated on grandparents,” Linda said. “This topic needs more awareness.”
All proceeds will be used to provide disenfranchised grandparents with support and educational services. brought in more than $4,000.