Parentless Parents Need Surrogate Grandparents

In the past two weeks I’ve received two requests from young mothers looking for surrogate grandparents to “adopt” their family. I called one of them to find out more. Kim has a brand new baby boy and 18-month old girl. Both her parents and her husband’s parents have passed away. In her email she mentioned doing activities like going to the park and museums with “grandparents,” but in our phone call she said she really wished she had someone with “grandmotherly wisdom.”

Kim also told me about a national organization she recently discovered called Parentless Parents that developed as an offshoot of Allison Gilbert’s book, Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents The organization is a growing community of parents who have experienced the loss of their own mothers and fathers. Informal support groups are forming around the country to discuss the challenges of raising children without the benefit and support of their own parents.

Since I’ve personally never faced this issue, I haven’t given much thought to how painful it must be for young parents. My heart went out to Kim and her family, but I wasn’t sure what support I could offer. All the grandmas in the GaGa Sisterhood community are already so busy I wondered whether they’d have time to take on such a commitment.

After some cursory research on the internet, I wasn’t able to find an organization that matches families with surrogate grandparents. The few that I explored only matched at-risk children or those with disabilities. But I did come across the following ad by Cricket Kadoch, a young mom in Bend, OR.

Wanted: Thoughtful, caring surrogate grandparents for our two energetic, inquisitive young sons. Zest for life, openness, and willingness to share your wisdom, love, and time preferred. No previous grandparent experience necessary. Reading together, park dates, and popsicle sharing a must. Laughing, adoration and youthful joy offered in return.

In my phone call with Kim, she said she had also considered a personal ad but had some concerns about privacy issues, as well as the time necessary to screen potential applicants. So I’m putting out a request to readers of this blog:

  • Do you know of an organization that matches families with surrogate grandparents?
  • Would you be interested in being a surrogate grandparent?
  • Are you a parent looking for a surrogate grandparent?

If you have any ideas or resources on this subject, please leave a comment.

IMPORTANT NEW INFORMATION: A Facebook page, Surrogate Grandparents USA has been launched that matches families and surrogate grandparents. Visit

49 thoughts on “Parentless Parents Need Surrogate Grandparents”

  1. I have the bounty of being a spiritual grandmother (Bubbie) to my Spiritual Granddaughter (Jaden). Jaden didn’t have a grandparent living close by. Every time I would visit with her aunt/mother, 5-year old Jaden and I would also spend some time together. Eventually, Jaden just started calling me grandma and I started feeling as if she were my granddaughter. When Jaden was 7 we decided to “adopt” each other. I created a grandmother/granddaughter adoption certificate. We went out to tea and her mom witnessed our signatures. I would share with Jaden about my grandmother who I called Bubbie (yiddish for grandmother), and Jaden decided to start calling me Bubbie as well. I love it! Jaden is now nearly 12 years old and we are as close as any blood relation could make us – we are Spiritual Kin.

    1. What a beautiful story, Judith. Thank you for sharing your brilliant idea. I hope other women will read about your grandmother/granddaughter adoption ceremony and create one for themselves with a lucky little child. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. You’ve demonstrated that using your creativity to bring what you want into your life is possible and “Spiritual Kin” is definitely one of the most precious. You do indeed have the bounty of being a spiritual grandmother. You’re a wonderful role model of grandmother power. Keep sharing your story and I will too.

      Love the photo. You look like a fun Bubbie and Jaden looks fun too!

  2. Hi, My husband and I (58) live in southern NJ and would like very much to be surrogate grandparents to a loving family. We never had kids but we’ve both worked with children and enjoy them very much. If you would be willing to give us a chance, we would love to share in your family times and experiences and be there to support and nurture if needed. Thanks so much. Ellie

    1. Hi Elle: Don’t know if you come on here anymore, as I see this post is a few months old. I’m not sure if you found surrogate grandchildren yet? But, if not we are in Central Jersey and looking for surrogate grandparents.

  3. Hi, I am a 50 yr old woman interested in becoming surrogate grandmother to a family that has an infant that is not in the active crawling or walking stage. I am disabled, and looking for infants in the earlier nurturing stages. If you think you may have an interest please contact me at!

  4. My husband and I have three wonderful daughters. We had great grandparents, but our children don’t seem to be that blessed. My mother doesn’t have much to do with our children and they don’t seem to be important to my husbands parents either. It has taken us a long time to come to this conclusion, and at our daughters expense. We don’t want grandparents who give them money. We want grandparents who can give them time and attention. Grandparents who are in the bleachers cheering them on…all of our girls play softball. Grandparents who never tire of the phrase “Watch this”, who want to go to cookouts, to the zoo, to the park, school functions, or just for ice cream. Someone who is proud to say “Those are my grandkids”. My younger two love horses and have ponies. They would love someone to just come watch them ride and encourage them. To call and see how their day at school was, My youngest who is 6 asked what a grandma was. That has really upset my husband and I. Our children are missing out on all the support and wonderful things grandparents can teach them. We want them to have memories like we have. We live in Texas – close to Dallas

  5. Oh how many times I wished I had grandparents nearby! Being a parent 24/7 and 365 days a year is a tough job, but thank you for researching the issue of “surrogate grannies” for us! Unfortunately I live in South Africa and I don’t think the link above applies to our country. But I am thrilled that progress is being made. There are so many lonely elderly people out there and so many stressed out moms, what a shame if we do not manage to match them up somehow. As for now…I am just offering comfort for the stressed out moms on my blog but perhaps I should start a matchmaking agency here for parents and grandparents. You have certainly inspired me! Thank you. Sue

  6. I am a surrogate Grandma. My best friend died in 1999. Her daughter married in 2004, and her first child was born in 2007. Three weeks after his birth, his paternal grandmother dropped dead. As the surrogate mother for my best friend’s daughter I also became the surrogate grandmother to her children. I am now the proud Grandma of 2 boys, ages 5 and 3. We spend most Saturdays together and we are very close. I’m so grateful to be a surrogate GM. Highly recommend it to anyone out there who needs a reason to stay young.

  7. Apparently the children of 2000 and up are all experiancing the need for surogacy in the parents/grandparent department

  8. I would love to find a family that wants a “hands on” surrogate grandmother for their family.  I am single, have my mother who lives with me who is 87, who would be a great grandmother, and live in northern NJ.  I have no family of my own anymore and terribly miss the loving and emotional fulfillness of being a grandmother.  I would love to spend time with children and their parents to have a wonderful extended family.  Please contact me if you are in need of the most loving grandmother in the world.  Don’t know how this works as far as people responding, so here is my personal email address. My name is Naomi, and I can’t wait to hear from you.  Love and happiness until then!

  9. I would love to find a family that needs a grandparent in the Baltimore maryland area…I lost my son in 2011 and my daughter lives in NC and doesn’t want children. I  am not rich but would love to have some children who need a stable person who just wants to love them and be with games , be there for them..I have a dog..two cats..a single home and ready to care for someone who has no grandparents to be there for them…

  10. Christy L Aloisio

    I typed in Need Grandparents and this came up. My computer at work will not let me go to that website for some reason, but when I get home I will look at it on my home computer. My family is desperate for loving, caring, mentoring, grandparents. The difference is that my kids grandparents live 10 miles away, but they want nothing to do with them as their schedules are too busy to do anything with them or even see them. Anytime we have plans it has to be them visiting my home (which they cancelled the last 3 times in 4 months due to a “stomach ache” last minute. My kids are 6 & 7, very smart, beautiful, caring, children. It is hard to explain to them why 2 people that are retired and live 15 minutes away have no time to see them. Their grandfather (My Dad) has said I am to tell them that Grandma is sick because she gets anxiety if she  has to see people…do they really think a 6 & 7 year old would understand that? No, they do not. It is hard to even call people Grandparents that spend no time with them at all…ever. They are not busy, just selfish with their time and never want to go out of their way to spend any of their free time with them even though they have tons of time. I hope I can find a way to show them that there are many loving people out there and maybe find a couple who cares for them or just wants to mentor them. I need them to know this is not how grandparents should be/act and when our kids have kids we will do everything opposite of what my parents do currently. I can’t wait to see the website and hope it helps us! Thank you, Chris

    1. We are in NJ near Philadelphia. Where are you located Chris? We would enjoy getting to know you if you are close.

  11. I as well am interested in finding some grandparents for my children. I have two boys 4 and 3 and another baby on the way. My mom passed away when i was 3yrs old and my relationship with my father is very distant if that. My inlaws are divorced and my MIL doesnt really take interest in spending time with her grandchildren since she too is busy with her guy friend. My siblings and I are scattered in different states and the ones that live close never have time for others. I feel awful for my children that we dont have family that we can really connect with. I also would love to have a woman to grow close to and consider family. One who is willing to spend time with us doing simple park days, picnics, or just dropping by for a visit. 

    1. Hi Andie,
      We live in southern NJ and would love knowing all of you if you live in the area. Hope so… Ellie

  12. Hi!  My name is Trish.  I have a wonderful and loving nine year old daughter.  Unfortunately, we don’t have much of an extended family, especially as I am an only child.   My mother passed away before my daughter was born, which is heartbreaking to say the least.  My dad, who at 83, lives a distance away and is ‘too busy’ doing things with the lady of his life (for the past four+ years), that we never get to see him, let alone talk to him.  I am happy for him, but the truth is as much as we have tried to stay connected, he is simply enjoying ‘his life with her’.  It is so sad for my daughter, especially at holidays or special events in our lives…..she longingly watches other families when we are out, and it tears my heart out that I cannot offer her more of a ‘family-type’ life.   If there is anyone out there who would love to become a part of our lives——we would love to hear from you………………..thanks so much……………..

    1. Hi Trish,

      We live in southern NJ and if you are close by would be happy to get to know you and your daughter. We both would like to become part of your lives. Ellie

  13. I am 46, white female who would love to be a surrogate grandparent to children from age 0 to 12. I live in Colorado. Have been married for 28 years, have one daughter age 23. One small dog and two old cats. I have a void in my heart that needs to be filled.  I am a simple person and love to do lost of crafts and cooking with kids. I want to be a grandma to someone or lots of someones. If I sound like the person you are looking for please let me know. 

  14. Parentless Parents Need Surrogate Grandparents,  I need this in my life to fill the void my oldest daughter Cynthia  has taken away from me (THANK YOU! NOT). 
    Amy I hope you can understand, so now you need to get me a baby in your belly ASAP. Love you kiddo. No pressure though. lol

  15. My wife and I are in need of surrogate grandparents. Both of our parents do not want to be apart of our new family. My parents have divorced and remarried and have started new families not wanting to be apart of ours. My wife’s parents have no interest in being apart of our lives and are impossible to reach out to for support. We have a beautiful one year baby girl and another on the way. Its been very difficult not having any support from both our parents. We don’t have any other family. We are afraid not having suportive grandparents will hurt our children.

    1. I am very sorry to hear that. Being part of a family and sharing love and support with the parents and children is so need. I am without my grandkids. My oldest daughter who has chosen to shut me and my husband out of their lives.  I feel like a part of my heart has been taken and well it has.  I love children so much and enjoy sharing and playing and all the other things grandmas should do. I miss it more then anything. So to make a very long story short. If you are still looking for Surrogate Grandparents let me know. I am in Colorado. Val

    2. Would be very interested in connecting with you.  Where do you live?  I am in NJ. Hope to hear from you. Naomi

    3. Hi Tyler,
      We would be happy to get to know you and your family and love to be a part of your family. We live in southern NJ. Are you nearby? Thanks so much, Ellie

  16. I am a parent needing a surrogate grandmother for our children. I just lost my mother in 2009, my father in 2003 and my husband doesn’t have his parents as well. Our children are still trying to cope with the passing away of their grandmother. They were really close to her. Our children ages range from 3-20 ! Help !

    1. Dear Keisha,

      We are a couple who live in southern NJ. We would like so much to get to know your family. Are you close by? Thank you! Ellie

  17. Please offer the following information to your readers who may benefit from a government sponsored volunteer program through the Corporation for Natioinal and Community Services. Specifically, it is called the “Foster Grandparents” program and is offered through SeniorCorp. More information can be found at:

  18. Linda AuBuchon, I don’t know if you would be interested I’m a few hrs. away, surrogate grandmother. My husband and I am looking for surrogate grandparents for our two children in Nashville Tn. Our son is almost three and our daughter is eighteen mo. My husband and I have both lost our parents. We have adopted both our children. We would love our children to have grandparents. My husband and I are in our early forties.

  19. Linda AuBuchon

    I would be interested in being a surrogate grandmother to a child between the age of 2 yrs to 12 yrs old in the Memphis, Tn Area.

    1. Thank you for your interest in becoming a surrogate grandma. I hope you’ll check out this new website:
      More and more people are discovering this wonderful resource for connecting families who would like a surrogate grandparent. You can be the first to represent Tennessee!
      Good luck and keep me posted.

  20. We are a family of 4, myself, James and our two kids. We recently moved to Perth, Australia from the UK and are missing our families. We are also keen to meet up with surrogate grandparents as we both feel it’s important for our kids to have some seniors in their lives. I also miss by Mum and would love someone older than me to talk to. We want surrogate grandparents to fully participate in our family. I registered on grandparentswanted. com which is a site that connects families to surrogate grandparents. Seems quite new. The website has some nice ways of contacting people including email, chat, video chat and games! I’m looking forward to meeting some surrogate grandparents.

  21. I’ve started an online community at Post your announcement of where you are and what you’re looking for (specifically if you’re looking to be a surrogate grandparent or you’re a family with children looking for a surrogate grandparent), and a little about yourself. Members only, membership free. I’m looking for my surrogate grandparents too, for my daughter, my husband and I. We’re in MA.

    I’m hopeful this online community will create extended families so let everyone you know, know. Someone who knows someone who saw a flyer or a post on a blog, will know someone who knows someone who is looking for us (the collective us). Let’s not lose hope!

  22. Sydney, my heart aches as I read your comment. You and your family have had way too much to endure over the past few months. I am in awe of your strength and resilience considering what you’ve been through. It must be so hard to see your 2 little ones not getting the attention of a loving grandparent.
    Christene G. has been working on getting her “Surrogate Grandparenting” website ready to launch this month and when she does, that will definitely be a resource to explore. I will forward your comment to her.
    In the mean time, I remember reading about a website: where users at different life stages give and gain timely support, intergenerational mentoring, and peer-to-peer encouragement. I haven’t had any personal experience with the website but maybe it will offer you some comfort.
    I pray that things ease up a bit for your family. Tell your 11-year old to keep singing and give your 5-year old a hug from me for being such a brave little girl. And I’m sending you a cyber-hug, too.
    Thanks for writing.

  23. My husband and I are in our mid 40’s to mid 50’s. We have 5 daughters however 3 are in their 20’s and all doing great but living out of state, and we have our 5 and 11 year old we are still raising. Since June ’09 my husband was laid off from his job of 34 years, in August our oldest daughter gave us a beautiful granddaughter with Downs Syndrome and severe cardiac problems commonly known to the condition we finally get to bring the baby home 11 weeks after she was born, a week later our beautiful 5 year old was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes after contracting H1N1. During all this both of my husbands parents passed away within weeks of each other in a nursing home. Both had been hospitalized since our 2 little ones were born, one with advanced Alzheimers. When they think of their grandparents, they remember hospital beds and having to remind them they were their grandchildren. My In-laws were wonderful people but the girls never got to know who they really were. My Dad passed away 10 years ago, he had raised his children single. My mother is still living but lives 11 hours away and my children have only seen her a few times. She rarely connects with her own children much less my girls. Not complaining, Dad seems to have made up for the loss of our mother by raising 3 great children!! I’ll always wish he were here for my girls. My husband would like to go back to work but I am still employed and no daycare will accept my child because they lack Type 1 Diabetes education and employees to inject my child with insulin. They can’t say it (American Disability Act) but they never call back and accept her. My daughter spends all day at home with my husband with little or no social life. We have had to give up our second car for economic reasons and I do what I can to involve the girls in as much after work hours activities. We know all these challenges happen as some point in everyones life, but I don’t wish on any family for these things to happen all within 4 months.

    It’s 1:00 a.m. and like many nights, I am awake when I should be sleeping so I can function at work tomorrow. Instead, I long for my Dad as I am sure my husband has done the same. We could use some encouraging words by folks who might enjoy hearing our 11 year old sing a new song she heard on the radio or my 5 year old checking her own sugar level and tell so proudly how she stuck her own finger to draw blood, 5 times today. Or maybe someone who can say “I felt like that too but hang in there, happier days will come”. Anyone have any suggestions about a group or persons living near Western North Carolina who could use some real life active family companionship? I’m so lonely right now I could go on. The need for family is great, Anyone interested in starting a network or group in NC?

  24. I started a group on called “Find Substitute Grandparents 4 Your Kids.” Many families have young children whose grandparents are deceased, distant, or otherwise unavailable. At the same time, there are many responsible, caring, older adults who would love to be surrogate grandparents. This group is dedicated to repairing fractured families by creating ‘families of the heart.’ My goal is to provide a forum whereby responsible local families can be matched in a safe manner.

    I am retired schoolteacher in the Portland, Oregon area who is interested in becoming a surrogate grandmother.

    In my group, I have familes requesting gradparents in the following cities:

    Bridgewater, New Jersey
    Tucson, Arizona
    Wichita, Kansas

    1. Hello! I would love to be a surrogate grandmother! I am 52 and live in MN…please contact me for much more info!!

      1. Thank you for writing, Jenny. Please take a look at my post: Surrogate Grandparent Website Launches and you’ll find a link to—a free service that matches “families with children of all ages whose grandparents are deceased, distant or otherwise unavailable due to incarceration, drug abuse, estrangement, etc. with responsible, healthy, independent, caring, older adults who would love to be a surrogate grandparent.”
        Good luck with your search. Let me know how it goes.

    2. Please contact me. I would love to be a Nana! I am within 20-25 minutes from Bridgewater, NJ. I had a wonderful Grandma but only for a short time when she passed away but her memories have left me with a heart full of love! I think your sight is a blessing to both Grandparents and children. Children need Grandparents! We fill a role that is so important in their lives and they in ours. I look forward to hearing from you. Nana Dale

  25. Elaine Hollowell

    My husband and I are childless and in our mid fifties. We would have loved to have children of our own, but it was not meant to be. We would love to be surrogate grandparents to a family without. I grew up without grandparents, so I know how it feels. My husband lived with his mother and grandparents, so he had the wonderful experience of having them in his life. They even stood up with us at our wedding, which was so special to me, never having grandparents of my own. I’ve worked with children as a teacher and librarian and my husband taught school for 7 years. We live in the mid-east and would be honored to have “adopted” grandchildren to share life, learning and laughter. I don’t know how to make this connection though. Any ideas? Thank you.

  26. I am sort of in a situation where I can both use a surrogate grandparent to help me out and at the same time be a surrogate grandparent to someone else’s child. My father passed away when I was a young child and although my mother is remarried, she lives 3 hours away and isn’t available to my my 2 children, ages 17 and 6. My 17 year-old-son is autistic and although high functioning, it is doubtful that he will ever live independently and have a family of his own. At age 44, I am about twice the age of my 1st grader’s friend’s parents and many of my high school classmates are now grandparents and for quite some time.

    My husband’s parents are divorced and both live 3 hours away and can’t be of any real help to us in an emergency situation. They never attend birthday parties and I feel that with the exception of the the short visits around the holidays to see my mother, my son’s are really missing out on having a grandmother.

    On the flip side of this coin having 2 sons and 1 stepson, I have always felt that there is a special little girl somewhere out there that the Lord has planned for me to in some way touch her life in a special way. Maybe she has a single parent that can’t afford to pay daycare or works odd shifts and I could help out in that regard. She could in some ways become part of our family (she and her parent), and we could spoil her like grandparents are supposed to do!

    I live in the Pollock. LA area near the Rapides Parish border if there is someone who could help me out as a grandparent figure for my boys, maybe just watching them occasionally so my husband and I could go out for a date alone. Or if you have a little girl and live here in the Pollock or Ball school district and need help with free or low-cost daycare (even if your child is a preschooler or infant – the younger the better) My husband and I love kids and have adopted 2 of ours so we’ve been through the police and background checks that are required and can provide references. We’d love to help you out with childcare days, nights, or weekends. We’d take your child to church with us and would love both of you as part of our family. Please contact with a comment here. Joni 🙂

  27. What a great idea this is! I just went to the Parentless Parent site and left a message (actually posted on their Facebook page) saying I would love to be a surrogate grandparent for someone nearby (San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles area). I was blessed to have five grandparents, all of whom lived into their late 80s or 90s (one was 102), and I was also fortunate to have my parents for many, many years – Mom still here at almost 90. My grandchildren (3 yr old twins who call me GaGa) are a few hours away, so I don’t see them as often as I would like. I grew up in a family of baby and child lovers, and I think it would be wonderful to spend time with someone else’s children. It would be fabulous for a Surrogate Grandparent site to pop up sometime …

    1. I really wish this post didn’t say 3 years ago, but thought, what do I have to lose. Looking for a surrogate grandparent for 2 young girls in San Fernando Valley area. My email is

  28. I am a 55-year-old African-American man. I missed the joys and challenges of parenthood, which is one of my few regrets. But it’s certainly not too late for me to develop a close and rewarding relationship with a child or children. Several of my colleagues have become grandparents in the last two years, and I envy the way their eyes light up whenever they mention their grandchildren. I’m a former Big Brother, and in my professional life I work in public education reform. I can and have passed background checks, and I have plenty of personal references. I practiced law for 17 years, four of them as a prosecutor. I had the pleasure of being a surrogate father to the children of a former girlfriend, but our relationship ended after ten years, and the children are now young adults. I love children and they like me. I’m interested in becoming a surrogate grandfather to one or two young African-American children. I live in the Washington, DC area. I haven’t found a venue for this kind of thing online, but I’m hoping that I’ll find someone by word of mouth who’s interested, and I welcome any suggestions.

  29. I think that this is a valuable discussion. If grandparents are to be celebrated, what does one do when they do not have grandparents. When was pregnant, I had so many people tell me that their grandson or granddaughter was coming. I would say being a grandparent is the most important job in the world.

    If there is not such an organization, someone should start it.

  30. Actually, I went online searching for a site that matches surrogate grandparents with seeking parents. Its not on the Web, at least not in my search.

    What is out there are young parents who hunger for grandparents for their children, and senior parents who do not have grandchildren, or whose grandchildren live so far away, meaningful relationships are not possible. Kadoch’s ad is but one of many reflecting the search for an irreplaceable presence in the lives of children without grandparents close by.

    While the process has its challenges, there must be some safe and effective way to bring together children and seniors who can benefit from close contact.

    Thank you for your insightful article.

    1. Not sure how to do this but…………..I am a young 60+ woman (married) who has little prospect of being a grandparent. In my professional life I was a guidance counselor and really love interaction with children of all ages. I would like to be a surrogate grandparent to any age, any sex child in the finger lakes of upstate new york. Get in touch with me! Cathy

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