Grandparents as Parents: Couple Raises Kids During Golden Years

(Springfield, MO) -- With an increase in drug addiction and child abuse, many grandparents find themselves filling the roles of mom and dad.
Nintendo never came across Louise and Jim Morris' minds as they planned for their retirement. 
"We were going to be winter Texans," says Louise.

But for this couple, seeing that their grandchildren played safely in a home was a bigger priority.
"The first time I saw him, I told my husband we would be raising this child."

Now in their 70s, the Morrises are the legal guardians -- the parents -- of their son's two kids, including Chris.

"I don't think we would even be alive right now if they hadn't of took us and kept us safe," says Chris Morris.

Louise and Jim adopted the children after their son became involved with drugs and suffered a brain injury. They had to prove the kids should not be with their biological moms and that they were physically able to raise them.

"You have to appear strong, like everything is right on the money," says Jim.

Adoption has added up for this family, but has proved to be more effective than just guardianship.
"The parents can come back any time and a lot of times they don't have to show that much proof they have cleaned up their life," says Louise.

At just 10 years old, Chris has three birth certificates, but the most recent one has his current parents' name on it -- one he's happy to keep.

"I didn't like the way I was when I was a little kid," says Chris.

Although this is not exactly how Louise envisioned her golden years, she knows her role as mom is a must.

"You know you are going to try that much harder, because you know you have these children to raise."

One she says keeps her young.    

Louise and Jim lead a "Grandparents as Parents" support group twice a month in Springfield at the Grace United Methodist Church.

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