Whether you want to adopt your grandchild or you want to find an adoptive family for your grandchild, here are some resources to help.
Why Grandparents Raise Grandchildren
Of the 70 million grandparents in the United States in 2018, about 10 percent lived with grandchildren, up from just 7 percent in 1992, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
While hard numbers for the increase are difficult to come by, experts who deal daily with grandparents raising grandkids believe that drug abuse plays an outsized role in the creation of so-called grandfamilies.
“The opioid epidemic, like other drug epidemics before it, definitely impacted our population,” Ana Beltran of Generations United told RetireGuide.com. “We believe, anecdotally at least, that substance abuse is the primary reason that grandfamilies come together.”
But there are other reasons that have contributed to more grandparents raising grandchildren as well.
To adopt your grandchild or place your grandchild up for adoption, you must first remove the parental rights of the parents; After you have retained guardianship: See our Guardianship page for resources:
Once parental rights are removed, someone must adopt your grandchild, whether that be you or a family you have chosen.
If you decide that you would like to find a family to adopt your grandchild, please follow this advice.
A) Make sure that you have your own social worker through an adoption agency. This is a relatively new choice for grandparents and you will need to source an agency that is willing to work with you. Do not panic during this process, you may need to be pushy, it is a viable option, but you may be the agency’s first case. It is imperative that you have your own social worker to advocate for you and your grandchild. The family you choose will also have a social worker. The family adopting is required (at least that is the case in California) to pay all expenses.
When choosing the family that will be your grandchild’s new parents, keep in mind, that you will be interacting with this family as an extended family of your own. Work out ahead of time the details:
What does your extended family need?
What does your child need?
What does your visitation look like?
Do you want weekly/monthly updates?
Can you share pictures with your child?
All of this information will need to be in your post adoption agreement.
B) Hire an attorney to create your Post Adoption Agreement so that you can maintain your relationship with your grandchild. You will want to have this going while you are choosing a family for your grandchild. You will want to have your Post Adoption Agreement signed prior to any visitation or transitioning to the new family occurs.
Throughout the process, you will want to write down your feelings, to share with your grandchild someday. You will forget over time and it is important that they understand how and why you came to this decision.
The Difference between a closed and open adoption:
A closed adoption means no contact whatsoever between the birthparents and the adoptive parents and child after the adoption occurs. Nowadays, however, the United States trend is toward open adoptions, in which all the parties to an adoption meet and often remain in each other’s lives. As the grandparent pursuing adoption for your grandchild, you will likely want an open adoption so that you can remain in your grandchild’s life; This is actually harder than it seems. For the adoption to be successful, not only will you need to have a post-adoption agreement in place, you will need time for everyone to get to know each other before any transitioning of the child begins. All of the kinks must be worked out on what everyone is looking for about interactions with the child after the adoption before the child is brought into the mix. Communication is key because once emotions get involved, and love grows for the child, the waters can get murky. Will the adoptive family value you as grandparents and your extended family? Will they include you naturally? Do they actually want you to be apart of your grandchild’s life?