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Surrogate/unofficial adoptive grandparents

(26 Posts)
Caryanne2 Thu 24-Sep-20 12:04:00

Good Morning, forgive me if I am asking in the wrong place. I'm new to this website. A school nanna mentioned this website to me during drop off. I am a single, working parent to my amazing Son and beautiful Daughter aged 7 and 5 respectively. Due to my childhood consisting of many years in foster care and my children's father leaving us when my little girl was 10 months and my son being 3 years old, his mum and step dad live and work on the Falklands as does the childrens dad. He visits his children once a year or once every other year, the children have not seen their paternal grandparents for 5 years, despite always being welcomed to come and visit their grandchildren. I'm hoping to find a way that is safe for all involved in order to establish a grandparent role for my children? I believe grandparents can teach my children things I simply can not for whatever reason. We live in Horton Heath, Hampshire and although we are fortunate to have a car, it would be nice to forge a grandparent relationship locally. Being ex Royal Navy I am fairly independent but I too need help, support or advice from time to time too. Once again forgive me if I have come about this from the wrong angle. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Antonia Thu 24-Sep-20 12:10:04

Maybe you can try local Facebook groups, but be wary, and only meet someone in a public place.
I hope it works out for you.

Nonogran Thu 24-Sep-20 12:36:04

Hello Caryanne2, welcome to Gransnet.
I'm ex RN too so your message piqued my interest. What a good idea but Gransnet have responded to similar messages like yours before and have always advised caution.
First of all you might find advice & indeed help from one of the forces charities? I'm imagining they might possibly know of some lonesome seniors who would love to interact with your little ones. Just a thought.
My second thoughts are one of caution. Take your time to get to know who your little ones will be interactive with and never let your guard down. In your shoes for example, notwithstanding Covid restrictions, I would never let my children sit on a lap or be left alone with a relative stranger until I felt very comfortable with that person or persons and knew their background. I don't mean to offend anyone reading this and I think it's a great idea for you and your children to reach out to a senior who might not have little ones nearby and who longs for that special time that only youngsters can provide.
Good luck with your search. I hope it works out well for you and your babies.

Oopsadaisy4 Thu 24-Sep-20 12:38:12

You might be storing up trouble, related Grandparents get old and might need a lot of help, are you prepared to help out and care for an unrelated ‘Grandparent’ ?
TBH it’s just a bad idea, not only might you get a surrogate Grandparent you might end up with a whole bunch of their relatives that could cause problems with your children, unless you pay to get them all checked out(is it CRB check? Sorry I can’t remember the initials)

sodapop Thu 24-Sep-20 12:43:14

I agree with Oopsadaisy be very careful about exposing your children to unknown people. It's a sad fact there are people who look out for this sort of thing and can be very plausible. I don't think its a good idea either.

Callistemon Thu 24-Sep-20 12:49:07

I fear someone could identify you from the information you have given on here, so do be very cautious.

Whilst my own children benefited from having grandparents, although none lived close, my own had all died by the time I was 6 and I don't really remember them.
I was, however, lucky to have many aunts and uncles.

Could you join any local groups with other young mums? It's very difficult just now, of course, and I think you're even more unlikely to find any unrelated older people who would be keen to befriend a young family just at the moment.
Activities and groups for your children will be shut down too for the time being, but let's hope they will start again soon if we're all careful.

Sorry to be pessimistic and all the best to you and your children.

Callistemon Thu 24-Sep-20 12:50:02

Yes, you could attract the wrong type of people.

Septimia Thu 24-Sep-20 12:52:42

I agree with the others that it could be tricky, but I do see that you could do with support as well as your children having a 'friendship' (rather than a 'relationship', perhaps) with surrogate grandparents.

My aunt-in-law is a sort of surrogate grandma to a boy who lives nearby, and it seems to work for both of them. It's a relationship that just developed naturally. The answer, maybe, when you find someone, is for you to get to know them well first before introducing your children. I'm sure you would continue to monitor the situation to make sure that the children were safe.

Riverwalk Thu 24-Sep-20 12:56:54

Children don't need grandparents although it's nice and useful if they do have them. They have no particular 'role' that a friend or another relative couldn't fill.

What's a 'school nanna'?

Callistemon Thu 24-Sep-20 13:03:31

I think one of the other children's grandmothers, Riverwalk.
It took me a while to work that out.

Nonogran Thu 24-Sep-20 13:06:03

Riverwalk, I think a "school nanna" could be a grandma the OP met outside school at pick up time?

geekesse Thu 24-Sep-20 13:13:09

Anyone who is in a role which involves the care of vulnerable people (including children) needs a Disclosure and Barring Service check before they can undertake that role, even as a volunteer. Casting this in terms like ‘grandparent relationship’ or similar doesn’t negate this requirement.

Newatthis Thu 24-Sep-20 13:41:44

I was a military wife and travelled a lot around the world. This meant that the children didn't have the influence of their grandparents, although they were loved by them. I was tempted once to advertise, like you, for 'surrogate' grandparents but moving about so much would have just meant that we would have had a third set of grandparents not seeing their grandchildren. What advice I can give you is make sure that if you go ahead with this then get the chosen 'grandparents' checked out with a background police check. This is easy to do and your local school/playgroup will give you guidance on how to do this. (see above)

Caryanne2 Thu 24-Sep-20 18:33:17

Thank you for your time in replying. As someone who has come from a fostered background, I am particularly aware of who I let my children form relationships with, hence why it has always just been just the 3 of us for the past few years. I understand why some on gransnet may be wary of messages like mine, I guess I thought 'nothing ventured, nothing gained' and like the school nanna I know, she suggested there are some grandparents on here that would love a relationship with little ones. I don't think the Royal British Legion, SSAFA, RN benevolent to name a few, would be in a position to help, as this is not their niche. I guess, when it comes to some children like mine, they are destined to not have that special bond built over time with the likes of 'adoptive' grandparents. 😞

Caryanne2 Thu 24-Sep-20 18:39:19

As someone who works with adults and children, all contact would of been supervised with myself being present.

Caryanne2 Thu 24-Sep-20 18:45:23

Thank you everyone for your time and comments. I shall now give up the hope of finding a grandparent surrogate for my children. Due to putting my children's safety and wellbeing first I have no plans on meeting a man and therefore his parents. I had good intentions but I guess grandparents are not meant to be for my children.

silverlining48 Thu 24-Sep-20 18:51:36

Hello Cary. I do understand why you are looking for surrogate grandparents but this sort of thing is best done by natural means, someone you already know or maybe meet locally. Grans just want to warn you of pitfalls, including the fact that gransnet is an open forum and you have given personal info which could identify you, so you might want to contact HQ to check.
I wish you well, maybe ask friends, whose parents ie other grandparents, may know of someone who would like this contact, it would be nice if they are fairly local.
Good luck.

quizqueen Thu 24-Sep-20 18:56:02

Maybe get involved with a church group. You don't have to be religious because they have los of social activities too- or did!!!

Fuchsiarose Thu 24-Sep-20 19:32:55

Have I heard of something called Adopt a Gran or Grandad, which I assume are already police checked. Having worked with sex offenders in the past, all types, I am aware that those with this character will wait well over two years before they strike. They like to target single or divorced parents with kids. I stayed on my own after my divorce so my child could avoid any of this stuff in the home as she grew. Bear in mind, kids are also at risk, in any social setting, including schools, clubs etc. Sad fact of life. Good books out there for kids to learn how to protect themselves, judo, self defence etc. And training how to be assertive, if adults etc make them feel uncomfortable.

OceanMama Fri 25-Sep-20 00:30:47

I think there are formal organisations that connect people with this kind of wish. Maybe that is something you can look into? Please do be very cautious about making connections with people you don't know. You do not know their own agenda or who else they might bring into your life.

On another note, your children can be fine without grandparents. I have never had grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and it was just what I knew. I'm not going to say that I don't wish I could have had them, but life gives us all different things. My own life didn't have that for me and that's just how it is and always will be.

Grandmabatty Fri 25-Sep-20 12:08:46

I'm a bit concerned that you are going down a very dramatic route with "my hopes are dashed" and "my children will never have adoptive grandparents." This is one thread on one forum and people have kindly pointed out the pitfalls. It seems to me that we on GN are being held collectively to blame for this. Good advice has been given about contacting people in real life which you have spurned. Yet real life is where your answers lie. People have written about the obvious dangers to you and your children, however there would be dangers to a prospective grandparent contacted on this site. You only have to read the estranged from family posts to see how sad folk are and how someone might consider your offer as a way out of a desperate situation. That could be disastrous for them and you. If you are determined to have grandparents for your children then contact local churches, local authority etc as others have suggested. Not anonymous folk on the Internet. Good luck with your search.

pigsmayfly. Fri 25-Sep-20 13:42:21

There are genuine people out there who are too far away to see their own grandchildren but would love to form a relationship with you and the children. So who might they be? I think an ex teacher with ongoing DBS would be very good at this. You can check teachers status and qualifications and confirm that they are on the disclosure and barring update service. I would consider advertising for such a person as a volunteer. If all went well, you may make an older friend. No reason to think that you would be involved in their care later in life. You would not be obliged in any way. Choose carefully. A good person would be happy to go through the checks.

Kamiso Fri 25-Sep-20 14:01:22

Perhaps a group like gingerbread would help you to widen your friendship group and hopefully find and give support to others in the same position.

Be cautious about romancifying grandparents. I had one lovely granny and one who hated my Mum and hated me. It took her 25 years but her glee when my parents split up had to be seen to be believed. She would have made the anti hero in a Catherine Cookson novel seem like a nanby pamby.

Madgran77 Fri 25-Sep-20 14:10:43

Nearest setting to you is 30 miles away in Haslemere but maybe a possibility? Or might be some other arrangements more local to you?

Farmor15 Fri 25-Sep-20 16:02:37

I have a German friend who is a kind of surrogate gran to an immigrant family. It seems to work well - I think she got to know the family through her church.