Six years ago, Biddy and Don* were looking forward to some time off after the hard work of raising four boys. “Our youngest had just finished high school, and I’d booked tickets for Don and me to have our first-ever overseas holiday.”
That very day, their close friend Colin was murdered. The senseless tragedy of his killing was hugely compounded by the fact that, as a single adoptive father, he left behind three little boys, aged 4, 7 and 9.
Just six months earlier, Biddy had agreed to be the boys’ guardian – “But only to tick some legal boxes around the adoption,” she explains. “None of us ever expected the guardianship to actually kick in.”
It’s a salutary reminder that if you’re invited to be a legal guardian, you must be fully informed, ready and prepared for the consequences, as unlikely as that reality may be at the time. If you don’t feel up to it, decline the offer.
Being a godparent, which is a largely symbolic and/or religious role, is not the same as being a legal guardian. A godparent has absolutely no legal role when it comes to your kids. * Names have been changed.