A few years ago I was approached by a couple with few family connections who were keen to have their little 2 year old boy experience what it was like to have grandparents. The mother got quite teary as she described how her family of origin had broken down and she felt so alone. Her husbands family were all overseas and so they also had little input into their lives from people of grandparent age.
At that stage, I was working right next door to a retirement village, and I knew some of the people in the independent living units. So, finding the right couple without their own family connections was relatively easy.
The beginning of the solution
I visited them to make sure my assessment of them had some foundation, then we spoke about the possibility of them being adopted as grandparents. I could see in the face of the older woman that this was the opportunity she had been waiting for. So I set up a meeting between the two couples, who had actually met briefly before, to talk through the proposal and expectations of each couple. The first meeting went so well, both couples decided, on the spot, to give it a go.
Fast forward two years and the whole thing worked out so well. The little boy in question had grandparents to pour out love on him, his parents had a couple of people to talk to about anything and everything and the relationship had developed into a strong ongoing commitment to each others welfare. I left that job just after that two year point so I expect it continued on for many years. But even if it didn’t, I’m sure if you ask either couple they would say even if it was only for two years, it was well worth it.
Now these circumstances don’t always occur and don’t always work out as well, but for the older couple especially, who had no grandchildren of their own, it was a huge source of joy in their lives. I know because they told me often and thanked me for setting it up for them. So that experience got me thinking about the blokes out there with wives who for whatever reason are left on their own. We all know we need something outside of ourselves to fulfil our life’s purpose. If you can do that within a relationship that gives joy to all around it can be really fulfilling. The only trouble is, how do you go about setting up this sort of relationship?
With a little help from Google, I discovered a facebook page that aims at connecting people in Australia. You can find their page here . There is also a group for the United States on Facebook “Surrogate Grandparents – USA”. Just type that into Facebooks search window and they will take you there.
Now I’m not recommending these groups or making any judgement about them at all, because I simply found them through a Google search. So, if you want to pursue this idea, please check them out first to make sure they are who they say they are. There is a message button on the front page of the Australian group so you can presumably ask them any questions you like right there. You could also Google “Surrogate grandparents” if want to see other sites and to see if you can find a local group near you.
What do you need to do?
So how do you prepare and what do you look out for? Well there’s a couple of things…
- You should assess your abilities – ask yourself what do I have to offer a family in need of grandparents: Sewing or Baking? Household repairs or Transportation? Spiritual guidance or Moral support? Baby sitting etc? Make a list of things you would like to do and things you may not be able to do. Chances are, you’ll have more to offer than you think. Your years of experience do count for a lot.
- There will be some cost involved for you. You will need to find birthday and Christmas presents that you may have not even thought about for years. You may have to host a party or two – maybe even a house full of little kids. And you will certainly have to give up time to make this work but it will be so worth it. Everything you give up you stand to gain 10 times as much return in happiness and joy.
- Now for this to happen you will need to take the initiative. Don’t wait for some families out there to make the first move. They are probably so busy trying to survive, they don’t have time to scratch themselves never mind about searching for someone like you. So you need to let people know you’re available. You can do this by approaching a family you know directly, by announcing it through your church or go to Facebook and register your interest there.You should also assess the families you know. Do you know of any young families who do not have relatives nearby or whose relatives have passed away or are not communicating anymore? If so ask yourself if you think you may be able to help them.
So I can recommend finding some grandchildren especially if you have none of your own or yours are far away from you. It will change your life for the better!