Your Baby & Toddler - - Features -

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.

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