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Surrogacy

Unusual scenario and social services

27 replies

wincarwoo · 23/01/2023 20:30

My late second cousin and his wife had twins via US surrogate. She was 72 when they were born and he recently died at 62 of colon cancer.

The twins are now 12 and their adoptive mother is now 85. They have a family friend (over 60) who is charged with looking after the children if she dies.

Would social services be aware of this situation?

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MoiraRoseRules · 23/01/2023 20:31

No, I doubt it - not unless someone has raised concerns about the care of the children or the family functioning.

NuffSaidSam · 23/01/2023 20:35

Not based on that information, no.

If she's neglecting them/unable to care for them because of her age (or any reason) then SS should be informed. But, I don't think social services get involved simply because someone is old.

wincarwoo · 23/01/2023 20:55

Thanks for the replies

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LynetteScavo · 23/01/2023 20:59

So the dad was 20 years younger than the mother?

As already said, social services would need to be made aware...although I would be surprised if there were no issues. I can't imagine chasing around after teens in my late 80s.

wincarwoo · 23/01/2023 22:43

LynetteScavo · 23/01/2023 20:59

So the dad was 20 years younger than the mother?

As already said, social services would need to be made aware...although I would be surprised if there were no issues. I can't imagine chasing around after teens in my late 80s.

Yes. Don't get me started on the ethics of it. Mother appears healthy in mind. Kids don't have a normal childhood but seemed happy and well behaved. Sadly they have now lost their dad.

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FannyCann · 24/01/2023 05:10

Those poor children. It's obviously too late to have a discussion about the ethics of this. Though it's interesting - I have seen a few cases that have somehow got into the public domain involving an older woman and a younger man - there could be some very interesting research around this. I assume it is about men wanting to pass on their genes and women who are too old to have a baby themselves doing whatever is necessary to stop the man seeking out a younger woman.

Did your late cousin's wife have children before? Are there any other younger family members? They could do with someone younger than 60+ in their lives. I vaguely recall seeing one or more cases in the news of grandparents who have wanted/needed to formally adopt their grandchild after loss of the parent being blocked by SS as too old but I daresay there were other issues not reported in the news.

I do think this woman needs to arrange a formal guardian who will take over in time whether due to death or declining health.

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 08:47

FannyCann · 24/01/2023 05:10

Those poor children. It's obviously too late to have a discussion about the ethics of this. Though it's interesting - I have seen a few cases that have somehow got into the public domain involving an older woman and a younger man - there could be some very interesting research around this. I assume it is about men wanting to pass on their genes and women who are too old to have a baby themselves doing whatever is necessary to stop the man seeking out a younger woman.

Did your late cousin's wife have children before? Are there any other younger family members? They could do with someone younger than 60+ in their lives. I vaguely recall seeing one or more cases in the news of grandparents who have wanted/needed to formally adopt their grandchild after loss of the parent being blocked by SS as too old but I daresay there were other issues not reported in the news.

I do think this woman needs to arrange a formal guardian who will take over in time whether due to death or declining health.

She has arranged a guardian now, unfortunately we were asked and accepted before I realised how old she was (she doesn't look her age) so with two young children of our own we had to withdraw. We were very angry about it.

She hasn't had children but I found out she was divorced. I had to do some serious Sherlock Holmes detective work.

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FannyCann · 24/01/2023 09:14

@wincarwoo
I think because I work in a hospital department that deals with a lot of cancer patients one gets a sense of mortality and the fragility of life. We have had some very sad young cases. A couple of lovely single Mums who had to make arrangements for their children come to mind. I was sleeping badly anyway, and spent the rest of the night thinking of how many bereaved children I personally know of through my work which is obviously a tiny bubble in the grand scheme of things.
These children deserve security, a childhood and not to be carers if a very elderly person.

FannyCann · 24/01/2023 09:30

And obviously they are just approaching their teens and need someone who can support them through that.

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 09:48

FannyCann · 24/01/2023 09:30

And obviously they are just approaching their teens and need someone who can support them through that.

Yes, it's a tragic situation for them. We hope the mother lives to be 92. The girls will be 18 then. That's a sentence nobody should have to write.

How adults could be so selfish is beyond me.

Im so sorry to hear about the mums that you work with. It's devastating.

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PersilPower · 24/01/2023 09:55

School will report to MASH if they have any concerns. Or of course, you can report if you have any specific worries. Other than the ethics (which I totally understand) and the worries about mums age, is there any concerns over her ability to care for them?

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 10:05

PersilPower · 24/01/2023 09:55

School will report to MASH if they have any concerns. Or of course, you can report if you have any specific worries. Other than the ethics (which I totally understand) and the worries about mums age, is there any concerns over her ability to care for them?

No she seems to be managing for now. We all hope she defies the odds.

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PersilPower · 24/01/2023 10:16

@wincarwoo i guess the knowledge of it is a burden for you. If she was incapacitated at short notice, what would happen to the children? Is there a plan?

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 10:24

PersilPower · 24/01/2023 10:16

@wincarwoo i guess the knowledge of it is a burden for you. If she was incapacitated at short notice, what would happen to the children? Is there a plan?

Yes it's not been great. They have a woman who go helps out with childcare who I understand will look after the girls should the need arise. She will also be able to move in to the house with her husband. I imagine there is quite a financial incentive.

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Schnooze · 24/01/2023 10:32

Just be prepared to step in and infirm SS if you ever deem it necessary.

PersilPower · 24/01/2023 10:45

Are you aware OP of the girls doing any caring duties themselves? There are plenty of grandparents of similar age caring for children, so not unusual. But many would be doing it with support of social care and there would be instant support there say she fell and broke her ankle. My worry would be around the next few years, they’re 14/15 and she is potentially needing support. Would she seek it out? Would she rely on the girls?this leaves the girls possibly vulnerable. Is the guardianship legally arranged? Or just informal? Sorry a lot of questions but I guess you are worried enough to post about it on here so perhaps it needs calling in just so that you can chat it through with a SW?

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 11:08

@PersilPower no we don't see them that often so I don't know if they are doing any caring at the moment. The mother seems reasonably able.
I have no idea if the guardianship arrangement is formal or not. The woman involved is in her sixties. It's so beyond ideal for these poor girls. At least they have each other.

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PersilPower · 24/01/2023 11:15

Actually I’ve just reread your OP and noticed she’s now 85, apologies I thought she was currently in her 70s. I would be concerned if I’m honest. I wonder if anyone asks the girls how they’re doing?

wincarwoo · 24/01/2023 11:23

PersilPower · 24/01/2023 11:15

Actually I’ve just reread your OP and noticed she’s now 85, apologies I thought she was currently in her 70s. I would be concerned if I’m honest. I wonder if anyone asks the girls how they’re doing?

I don't know. Next time I see then will be at their dad's funeral.
We don't know if they are aware of their situation but as they are 12 they will start putting pieces together. I certainly knew how old my mum was at their age.

I also don't know if they know that she isn't their birth mother.

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ShamedBySiri · 24/01/2023 21:38

@wincarwoo

Somehow when you said "recently" I imagined a year or so.
Funeral not yet happened is very recent. The more I think about this the more concerning I find it.

Firstly the girls are newly bereaved of their father.
I suggest you enquire whether they have been offered any child bereavement services. There is Child Bereavement U.K. (which I think has Prince William as patron) that you could contact on their behalf in the first place.

I think they will need a lot of support - they will soon (if not already) be questioning the circumstances of their birth and it's possible they will feel resentful. Their "mother" is old enough to be their GREAT Grandmother! They cannot possibly be living a life comparable to other 12 year olds with younger parents who can take them swimming or play sports or other activities with them.

Secondly I wonder what the financial planning is?

For many 85 year olds there may be a discussion regarding power of attorney to protect their interests should they lose capacity. One occasionally reads of cases where children with POA abuse it and misuse their parent's funds, leaving them unable to fund care. I'm sure these cases are a minority, but normally I would expect the intention to be that the use of the funds has to prioritise the care and comfort of the older person, and if that means children get a smaller inheritance so be it.

But in this case there needs to be funds in place to secure the future of minor children. There's potentially a conflict of interest. There could be a situation of a person having POW for the 85 year old mother and the children's guardian seeking to establish their rights to funds for the future. It seems very complex to me.

I would make some tentative enquiries regarding plans for the care and protection of the girls with a low bar for contacting social services or even seeking legal advice on their behalf.

I know that some young children are carers but it seems very extreme in this case and entirely the result of ill considered future planning. Their rights need to be protected.

wincarwoo · 25/01/2023 08:35

@ShamedBySiri thank you for your post.

Great suggestion re the bereavement charity. I will suggest that.

The family own two houses and I am pretty sure that financially they are ok (although the houses are in a pretty poor state).

The mother has cousins who I presume will be involved with finances but I have no idea who has power of attorney.

We will take the twins out this weekend to give them a break and a change of scene. I'll try and work out how they are. Their dad has been ill for four years now and lived in a home so they are used to not having him around.

I have wondered whether they would feel resentment towards both their parents at some point. It seems inevitable really. Particularly as the "mother" is quite old fashioned in her views.

Nevertheless the girls appeared happy when we saw them. I know that with children you can't take anything for granted.

Thanks all for your wise words. It's really appreciated.

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NoSki · 20/03/2023 12:32

They would have gone through the CAFCASS process at the time they had the girls to get parental rights and they would have done any referrals at the time due to age/concerns to SS. Also you referred to their mum as their adoptive mother. She is just their mother, mothers through surrogacy are just mothers. No matter how absolutely bonkers the situation is. School will clearly be aware of the age of the mum and recent bereavement.
Just crazy.

Mixedberrygenderfluidmuffin · 13/06/2023 06:45

The relationship between this woman and her children is exactly the same as an adoptive mother, as they are not biologically related to her.

Lougle · 13/06/2023 07:09

You seem very disparaging of them. Why are you using "" for mother? She is their mother via adoption. Her age doesn't change that. It's not ideal and tbh, it was selfish and short-sighted to do this at such a late age but this woman has been their mother for 12 years.

You have had the opportunity to take them on if the situation deteriorates and you have declined. You don't live near by, you don't see them often, you don't know their situation. Why would you tell the whole of Mumsnet about it?

wincarwoo · 13/06/2023 08:24

Lougle · 13/06/2023 07:09

You seem very disparaging of them. Why are you using "" for mother? She is their mother via adoption. Her age doesn't change that. It's not ideal and tbh, it was selfish and short-sighted to do this at such a late age but this woman has been their mother for 12 years.

You have had the opportunity to take them on if the situation deteriorates and you have declined. You don't live near by, you don't see them often, you don't know their situation. Why would you tell the whole of Mumsnet about it?

Zombie thread. Sensible advice was given and taken.

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