AND IT’S NOT JUST OHIO.THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN LEFT ORPHANED.. OR ABANDONED BY THEIR PARENTS HAS SKYROCKETED. CNN’S DEB FEYERICK REPORTS FROM LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY. WELCOME TO THE ZOOSandra Flynn / Grandmother Raising Children: “It’s impossible to be quiet in the Zoo.”MEET THE FLYNN FAMILY. GRANDMA SANDRA IS 64 YEARS OLD. HER HUSBAND MICHAEL, WHO EVERYONE CALLS POPPY, IS 73. Deborah Feyerick: “You are now raising 5 year old twins.”Grandpa Poppy: “And the other three.” TOGETHER THEY ARE RAISING FIVE GRANDKIDS IN A CRAMPED, COLORFUL KENTUCKY HOME THAT’S EQUAL PARTS CHAOS & LOVE. WILLA, NOW 16, IS THE OLDEST. Deborah Feyerick: “When was the last time you saw your mom?”Willa / Raised by Grandparents: “Five years ago when I was 10.”Sandra Flynn / Grandmother Raising Children: “She kinda disappeared. No one knew where she was.”THE “SHE” SANDY IS REFERRING TO, IS HER OWN DAUGHTER WHOSE YOUNGEST CHILDREN WERE ALL BORN ADDICTED TO DRUGS.Sandra Flynn / Grandmother Raising Children: “The state came in and said she could not care of them anymore and they called and asked us if we would take all 5, and we said of course.” AN ESTIMATED 3-MILLION KIDS IN AMERICA ARE BEING RAISED BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN THEIR MOM & DAD. THE OPIOID & HEROIN EPIDEMIC HAS HIT KENTUCKY ESPECIALLY HARD. MORE THAN 68,000 CHILDREN THERE NOW BEING TAKEN CARE OF BY GRANDPARENTS, RELATIVES, OR FOSTER-PARENTS. Mary Jo Dendy / Resource Center Coordinator: “They’ve been abandoned. They’ve been forgotten in a lot of ways, in preference for the drugs.”Deborah Feyerick: “When you look at the generation of kids that’s being raised, how do you think it’s going to turn out?”Sandra Flynn / Grandmother Raising Children: “It has to impact them. There’s always going to be a want, a need. Something they didn’t get from mom.” Deborah Feyerick: “Do you feel, on some level, like you’ve been abandoned by your mom?”Willa / Raised by Grandparents: “I know she cared about me. She used to be a really sweet person. But now I don’t know. I learn to accept it where I am right now”NOT FAR AWAY, IN ANOTHER PART OF LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY GRANDMOTHER KATHY ALLEN DROPS BY THE HIGH SCHOOL TO PICK UP GRANDKIDS KAYLA & MADISON. Nats: “Did you have a nice day at school?”NOW 14 & 16, THE SISTERS WERE SMALL WHEN THEY WERE INITIALLY PLACED IN FOSTER CARE.Deborah Feyerick: “How does your childhood compare, how would you describe it?”Kayla Allen / Raised by Grandparents: “It was terrible.”Deborah Feyerick: “It was terrible?” Kayla Allen/ Raised by Grandmother: “Yeah, when you think about childhood, you think about happy things but there wasn’t really any.” ACCORDING TO GENERATIONS UNITED, NEARLY 40% OF GRANDPARENTS CARING FOR GRANDCHILDREN ARE OVER AGE 60. ONE IN FIVE LIVES BELOW THE POVERTY LINE. Kathy Allen / Raising her Grandchildren: “Foster parents can earn as much as six hundred to twelve hundred dollars per month per child whereas grandparents aren’t even receiving the first food stamp.” KAYLA & MADISON ARE IN TOUCH WITH THEIR FATHER WHO IS CURRENTLY IN PRISON. THEY SAY THEY HAVE LITTLE TO NO CONTACT WITH THEIR MOM — HER CHOICE, NOT THEIRS, THEY SAY.Madison Allen / Raised by Grandmother “I’ve forgiven my mom so many times, but like, she just keeps going back and it’s hard to forgive every single time.”A GENERATION OF CHILDREN WHO FEEL ABANDONED BY PARENTS … THEY BELIEVE CHOSE DRUGS OVER THEM. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN, LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY.