Every week I get heartbreaking emails from moms without parents who would love to have surrogate grandparents for their children, as well as from women without grandchildren who want to be grandmas.
One mom recently wrote to say she was trying to “normalize” life for her children, a 5-year old and 2-year old twins. She lost her mother and father-in-law when she was 19. All of her grandparents passed away many years ago and this year her father passed away. The only living grandparents are a paternal great-grandfather and grandmother who are in poor health and live two states away.
The mom calls them everyday and lets her children talk to them. They’ve tried video conferencing once or twice but she still feels “a huge part is missing in their lives as well as hers.” What she’s longing for, she explained, is a surrogate grandparent she can talk to when those parenting questions come up and there’s no one to ask for advice.
On the other side of the coin, I receive emails from grandmas like this one: “I am looking for a family that needs a grandparent aka Mimmie D. I have two daughters—one with no children and one with a little girl. I rarely get to see her and it breaks my heart. I wanted to be a grandmother so bad to be able to spoil them like my parents did my girls and like I was spoiled by my grandparents.”
Every time I read these letters, my heart breaks and I wish there were a way to connect them to each other. Now I’m hopeful there may be a solution. In July, Donna Skora wrote to inform me that she has started a closed group Facebook page called Surrogate Grandparents – USA.
She explained that she was motivated to start this group by her own desire to be a grandmother. In researching an organization that could help her find surrogate grandchildren, she discovered organizations in other countries but nothing in the United States. So she decided to start her own.
The description on her Facebook page says: There are a lot of families out there who would love to find Surrogate Grandparents for their children, because a Grandparent/Grandchild relationship is missing in their children’s lives. There are also a lot of Grandparents out there who would love to find Surrogate Grandchildren to nurture and love, because a Grandchild/Grandparent relationship is missing from their lives. This group has been created with the hopes of bringing Surrogate Grandparents together with families looking for Surrogate Grandparents for their children.
Through the power of social media, Donna hopes her website will help families find each other who are looking for that “grand” connection. She’s created a list that has been steadily growing from 30 names to almost 200. The list is organized by state to make it easier for people to find each other. She has also been marketing it to TV and radio stations and group or community pages on Facebook.
In addition to her full-time job, Donna volunteers as a “baby cuddler” in the neonatal unit at her local Children’s Hospital in Florida. She says it’s the most rewarding work she’s ever done and experiences such a warm feeling knowing she’s helped an innocent baby toward the healing process.
She’s excited about the response she’s been getting from families all over the country who have joined her Surrogate Grandparents Facebook page. Legally, she can’t be a “matchmaker” for these families but she can provide a place for them to find each other. And some already have. She heard from one grandma who has begun an email exchange with a family. Donna plans to have a page with “success stories” to showcase families who’ve found each other. She’s also heard from surrogate grandmothers who’ve joined to encourage others in their process.
(DISCLAIMER: Surrogate Grandparents – USA is a forum where like-minded people have the opportunity to find and meet each other. None of its Administrators and/or Volunteers make any introductions, nor is anyone advocated by the Administrators and/or Volunteers as either a parent or grandparent to the other members. This list is provided as a courtesy to the members, who have requested to be added, in order to make it easier for the members to find one another. Neither Surrogate Grandparents – USA and/or its Administrators and/or Volunteers, are responsible for anyone’s safety other than for themselves and their own family members. All Members agree to hold harmless, Surrogate Grandparents – USA, its Administrators and/or Volunteers, against any and all claims, demands, suits or loss, including all costs connected therewith, and for any damages which may be asserted, claimed or recovered against or from Surrogate Grandparents – USA, its Administrators and/or volunteers, by reason of personal injury, including bodily injury or death and/or property damage, including loss of use thereof, which arises out of, or is in any way connected or associated with being a Member of Surrogate Grandparents – USA.)