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Two grandsons but not a grandmother

Updated on November 13, 2014

You might wonder why I have two grandsons but am not a grandparent. It's simple really.

Gregory is 24. I have never seen him or spoken to him. He is the child of my oldest son and was adopted by another family when he was born. Niles is a teen now and we adopted him so now I am his mom. He is the child of my youngest son.

I wasn't able to be Gregory's grandmother although he has always been in my thoughts. I can't be Niles' grandmother because I have to be the parent. Either way, with two grandchildren, I feel the loss and the grief of not having the coveted role as grandma. I don't get to spoil either one of them. Even though Niles calls me grandma, he loses out on a grandparent because there is a world of difference between wanting a grandma and having a parent.

I am not alone. There are grandparents out there who have lost a grandchild to adoption. There are many grandparents raising their grandchildren and can't be the grandparents either. While grandparents may not have adopted their grandchildren, the status of parent is the same.

Don't get me wrong, raising my grandson is the best thing I have ever done and if that is my legacy, I am quite satisfied. I just think that there are other out there who feel the same way. It is neither bad nor good, just what life is. Here's my thoughts on grandchildren and adoption.

Our grown up grandson

Giving up Gregory

One fateful afternoon, my then 16 year old son and his girlfriend approached my husband and I with an issue. It seems she was pregnant. This was not great news because they were still in high school. She had already decided that the baby would be put up for adoption but my son wanted us to raise the baby. We were not opposed to the idea but she was adamant and the times were different. She held all the rights. I remember the day when my son and I drove into the city for him to sign over his rights as the child's parent. I think we both cried a lot that day. I was sad for him and I was sad for me. I had just lost a grandchild.

As my friends started having grandchildren and talking about the joy that being a grandparent was, I remained silent. What could I say. I had no grandchildren to talk about. After a while, it stopped hurting but the child always remained in the back of my mind.

Just recently, he contacted his father to get medical information. He does not want to nor cares to talk to me. After all these years I had hoped for more but it was not to be. It seems that my hope of being his grandparent is over.

My only piece of Gregory

Helpful book for grandparents raising grandchildren

Niles Baby - Slightly angelic look that went away when he became a teenager. He was soooo cute!

We were there when he was born and held him when he was minutes old. We had hoped that he would have a successful life and enjoyed being grandparents. We would visit and play with him. Although his situation was not the best we had hoped for, we were surprised to get a call that he was in foster care at 2-yrs-old. We were granted temporary custody and he moved in with us. There were many other things that happened but when he was 4, he was back in foster care. It took 7 months and all our retirement savings to have him returned to us. When he was 6, the adoption was finalized and he was ours.

It has been a joy to raise this child. He is sweet, smart and just plain adorable. If it sounds like I'm bragging, it's because on paper or on-line, I can be the grandma. What I write is much different than what I will say when he gets home from school. I will ask how his day was and tell him to get busy on his homework. For the next hour, he will stall and I will nag. That's the difference between being the mom and the grandma. I don't offer him cookies and let him have a free hour before starting on the homework.

Do you hear the screaming?

I want to be a grandma and experience all the joys that the other grandparents talk about. I have been cheated and no matter how hard I try, the thought remains that it shouldn't have been this way.

I'm not always screaming

There is something completely satisfying when he turns to me and says"That's right, huh grandma?"

It doesn't get any better than that!


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    • Ann Hinds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ann Hinds 

      6 years ago from So Cal

      @anonymous: Amalie, the heartbreak gets better but never goes away. Still, what I have learned (the hard way) is that the decision you make must be in the best interest of the child. If staying with you is the best, then you will find a way. If not, you will know that what you did was out of love for her and can take comfort in that. We are on the other side. Our grandchild is 11 and content with his life as it is. If he has anger issues towards his parents, we deal with them as they arise. Gregory wants nothing to do with us. That's fine too. We knew that might happen and I can accept that. The old healed over heartache only cracked a little this time. Do what is right for the child and do what is right for you. It is better that she have a wonderful life whether it be with you or another forever family. God bless.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am a grandma at 36 and am set to give up my granchild that I have been trying to raise for 7 months to a home where she will have more stability. The sadness over possibly losing her paired with the sadness over losing my career and stability trying to raise her just seems insurmountable. I completely understand where you are coming from in this blog. Why couldn't I just be grandma. I would have been the best grandma in the world. I do a lot of screaming out loud! This is by far the biggest heartbreak I think I will ever endure and I've endured my fair share of heartbreak. I never dreamt I would give a child up for adoption and this is what it feels like. So conflicting. If you still kick around this website, I would love to chat with you before I make my final decision since you have been on both sides of the coin. Very few understand.

    • WaynesWorld LM profile image

      WaynesWorld LM 

      7 years ago

      Joy unspeakable.

    • Lee Hogg Williams profile image

      Lee Williams 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Your lens touched my heart.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I think i need a brag book book to lol. We"ll be ok.....

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I too have an estranged daughter and am saddend at this which has at times impaired me to be the best mum to my bub/grandson....i have have felt guilt...great guilt at loving my granson as a mother does her own child but i am just over it! It is how it it and thankyou so much! I am grateful for your story.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      omg! I have been trying to find the words....I find myself saying outloud to people "I don't know wat i am" concerning being the mum or grandparent raising my lovely bub who is nearly 5 now. Thanks for wording things how you have.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this perspective. I hope Gregory is able to open his heart to you someday. Niles is sure a sweetie!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I totally understand your feelings about your grandchildren. When my youngest was only 15, his girlfriend became pregnant. We offered to raise the baby, but her parents sneaked her away and she had an abortion. I still mourn the loss of that child. But, the beautiful child that he later gave us has made up for the loss in a large way. My grandchildren are great blessings, but I mourn for your loss.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i am so sorry for what happened with Gregory...This is a really good lens.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      8 years ago from Templeton, CA

      God bless you. I'm sorry you had to lose touch with Gregory. When we adopted our two children, it was with the blessing of their grandparents, who actually helped us get their son's rights terminated. Since the children were five and nine when we got them and they remembered their birth family and their grandparents, we encouraged their grandparents, who had adopted their half brother, to keep in touch. We just adopted them along with the children and considered them an addition to our extended family. We looked forward to their visits twice as year, since they had to travel quite a distance to visit.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm very sorry...... But Niles is beautiful!!! I'm sure he gets the best of both worlds with you! God bless you and your family!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      Since I have no children, by choice, I also opted out of grandparenting. Fortunately I'm an aunt and great-aunt so I get satisfaction from that.

      How insightful of you to recognize your regrets and express it in writing.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      So sorry you were cheated in that part of your life.

      Wishing you all the best.


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