Find a Grandparent – Connecting Surrogate Grandparents with Young Families

| June 19, 2013

Grandparents play an important role in raising children. Cate Kloos explains how her not-for-profit organisation helps families that are looking for a caring grandparent.

Do you live without support from your wider family? Do your children miss having a grandparent? If you answered yes to those questions then you are in the same situation I was a year ago. Originally my husband and I come from Germany, but because we really love Australia we decided to start our family here.

The only issue that was really upsetting us is that the kids’ grandparents live so far away from us. We thought that our children are missing out on a great experience. When I was pregnant with my second child I therefore started looking for a surrogate grandparent online. In Germany services to find surrogate grandparents exist in most cities and are run by councils or charities. But in Australia nothing of this sort existed. You can find many blogs and articles on local classifieds like Gumtree, so it seems that many families in Australia feel lonely and in need of a caring grandparent just like us.

Therefore I established a not-for-profit organisation where surrogate grandparents and families can find each other. After more than two years preparation the web-based service launched in May 2012.

The surrogate grandparents you find on our website are coming to families on a voluntary basis. They don’t replace babysitters but come regularly and want to establish a close relationship with the family. Children will have exciting new experiences with their new granny or pop and will benefit from the experience of a mature person. Having a surrogate grandparent might also give parents a break from the stressful everyday family life, and parents will have someone to turn to for advice and friendship.

As safety is very important to Find a Grandparent, all participating surrogate grandparents need to provide a current National Police Check before their membership becomes active and they can get in contact with the families. The company also developed guidelines for families and grandparents to assist them at the first meeting with their new family/grandparent.

My family was very lucky – we were the first ones to find a surrogate grandma through Find a Grandparent! Grandma Irene visits us at least once a week and we like her very much. When we catch up with Irene we go to local parks or the beach, visit the library and spend rainy days at home playing board games together. The kids enjoy getting so much attention, and my husband and I feel that we can learn a lot from her experience. We love to now having a granny to share the laughs and happy moments with.