An increasing number of U.S. children are living with grandparents whether it be multiple generations under the same roof, foster care or – in some cases – adoption.
In 2015, about 2.9 million children lived with grandparents, a 16 percent increase compared with a decade earlier.
Sometimes, grandparent adoption is the best solution in helping young children and teens overcome an unstable household where their parents are simply incapable of raising them.
Ill-prepared for change
It’s a difficult decision to make by grandparents, some of whom aren’t prepared. They may be in their “golden years” and suddenly find themselves with little support, having to delve into retirement savings to raise their grandchildren.
Or they may be young themselves and in their 40s, struggling financially. About one-fifth of the grandparents caring for grandchildren live below the poverty line.
Grandparents doing more parenting
Why are some grandchildren adopted by their grandparents? We know it’s love for sure, but there are a number of less-romantic factors, including:
- The death of one or both parents
- Substance abuse. For example, more grandparents are seeing the effects of the opioid crisis on their families. The crisis has taken a toll on young parents in a way that society hasn’t experienced since the crack cocaine epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- The increase in the number of women being sent to prison
When it comes to adoption, make sure it is in the best interest of the child. Is the child better off living with his or her siblings in the same home as the grandparents?
It’s a scenario that just may provide the stable environment they need.
But remember that adoption is permanent, and Colorado is among the states that recognize the important role grandparents play in a child’s upbringing.