'There's something really missing': Sudbury family actively seeking senior mentors

A family new to Sudbury is looking to adopt someone their kids can look up to.

"We would love for someone to just want to be, over time, part of our family," says Shannon Boulet

Alexander and Shannon Boulet want their kids to grow up close to "grandparents" — and they're taking applications. (Shannon Boulet)
You can find love online. You can find new friends online, so what about grandparents? A Sudbury woman is trying to build an extended family for her kids the modern way. Shannon Boulet explained why she's looking for granparent figures for her kids. 9:37

A family new to Sudbury is looking to adopt — and their search strikes at the heart of what it means to create family in the modern world. 

Shannon Boulet and her husband Alexander moved their family to Sudbury for work almost a year ago. She said while people are generally very kind, there's something missing. 

"Our kids' grandparents are really far away," she said. 

"There's something really [different] from saying 'hi' on the telephone every once in awhile [compared] to going for a hike in the woods or sitting down and having dinner." 

The couple is taking cues from the era of online dating to solve the problem: they're taking applications via email from people who want to be a part of their two children's lives in the role of "grandparents".

"Nowadays, you can reach out and find love online or find missing family members that have gone to other parts of the world," Boulet said.

"I thought well … we could probably find some people who would love to be grandparents."

Reaching out

Boulet researched online to see if any program was in place to match families and people who want play a grandparent role in someone's life. Although she did find an organization in Australia, she said she didn't find one in Canada.

"We're not looking for babysitters," said Boulet of the role she wants someone to play in the lives of her two children.  

"We would love for someone to just want to be, over time, part of our family."

As for safety concerns, Boulet said she and her husband will absolutely meet with new potential senior mentors a number of times before her children are introduced or get involved in any way. A police record check will also eventually be requested.

"The actual meeting of our kids will take place after a lot of organic communication has happened," she said.

But for Boulet, the question of safety and possible public scepticism isn't enough to keep she and her husband from at least trying. 

"It's really important for kids to have many different relationships in their lives, especially relationships with someone they can look up to, like a grandparent." 

People who wish to start the conversation with the Boulet family can email grandparentsforchristmas@gmail.com. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.