Growing Grandfamilies

As the opioid epidemic takes its toll, grandparents step up to take care of grandchildren whose parents are addicted


Helene Lorden (left), 58, spends time with her grandsons Zaymen, 11, and Avery, 18, in their Concord home on Friday. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Part 1: Cost of Addition

In Helene Lorden’s living room, a big, inviting armchair is parked in front of the television. But the 58-year-old grandmother of five rarely gets to sit down and put her feet up. Like thousands of other grandparents in the state, Lorden has custody of her five grandchildren – ages 10 to 18. She has been raising them for over a decade. Read more >>

addiction2.jpgArt Frenette and his grandson Aidan spend their free time along the banks of the Ammonoosuc River panning for gold. Aidan lives with his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend while his mother, who was sentenced last week for injecting her friend with heroin while she was in labor, deals with addiction. ELLA NILSEN / Monitor staff

Part 2: Building a New Life

Along with Art Frenette’s longtime girlfriend, Lynn Labrie, they make up a close-knit family unit. Aidan sleeps on a little mattress on the floor of their cozy A-frame home in northern New Hampshire, curled up in a nook next to the television. But he’s getting his own room with a door soon; Frenette is getting ready to build an addition to the house this summer to add more space. Read more >>

addiciton3.jpgGrace Sanborn spends time with her grandson, Henry, 15, over whom she has legal guardianship, while baby-sitting 7-month-old Molly, who does not live with Sanborn, at their Tilton home on May 13. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Part 3: 'No Voice in Court'

When Grace Sanborn traveled from her home in Laconia to the Seacoast to visit her two young grandsons in foster care, a little voice would inevitably pipe up with the question, “When am I coming home?” That question filled Sanborn with dread, and she didn’t dare answer it. There are strict rules around what family members can tell children or grandchildren who are in state custody about when they might be returning home. Read more >>

addiction4.jpgIndividual services director Bree Cosgrove, 26, of Danville sits outside the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua on June 15, 2017. Cosgrove is a family liaison at Camp Mariposa, a weekend camp for children with parents who are either struggling with an active addiction or have fatally overdosed. The camp is run by the Boys & Girls Club and The Moyer Foundation. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

Part 4: Bereaved kids find a place to heal

Bree Cosgrove wants children to know that their parents’ addiction isn’t their fault. Cosgrove organizes Camp Mariposa, where kids can go swimming and hiking like other overnight camps. But here, in the shadow of Mount Monadnock, children have the chance to discuss bigger issues in their lives. All campers have parents who are either struggling with an active addiction, or have fatally overdosed. Read more >>

N.H. faces challenges matching foster kids with families

The emails flood Deb Urbaitis’s inbox each week, asking her to take one more foster child, if only a for a few hours to give another family a break. “It’s hard to see those emails go by,” said the Henniker attorney, who recently adopted a 7-year-old girl she and her husband began fostering last year. “When you know you want to help, but don’t have a spare hand to take one more kiddo in, that’s heartbreaking.” Read more >>

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