Becoming parents again | NevadaAppeal.com

Becoming parents again

F.T. Norton
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Brad Horn/Nevada Appeal
ALL |

For 14 years, Annabelle Younger and her husband Wayne Gooch have lived quietly on five acres off a dirt road in Stagecoach.

At 63 and 67 respectively, the retired Wayne spent his days tooling away in his woodworking shop, while Annabelle worked as a bookkeeper for Bayswiss Manufacturing in Dayton.

But a year ago their world was turned upside down ” for the better, said Annabelle on Monday ” when she discovered her great-grandchildren, the offspring of her grandson, were in foster care in Washington.

The boy and girl were taken into state custody for neglect, Annabelle said, because their parents were too immature to handle the responsibility of raising them.

The children’s grandparents are single and work full time.

Annabelle and Wayne realized they were the only option, other than outside adoption, for their great-grandchildren.

The couple didn’t hesitate.

“The minute we heard about this, there was no question, they are coming here,” she said.

On Valentine’s Day 2008, Serenity, now almost 3, and Timothy, on the brink of being 4, came home.

Today, in a Carson City courtroom, Annabelle and Wayne will adopt the spunky youngsters and give them a forever home.

Nana and Poppa Wayne, as their tiny charges call them, have joined the ranks of a not-so-elite club. According to the 2000 Census, 2.4 million grandparents were responsible for rearing their grandchildren.

Annabelle had already raised her three children, and Wayne had raised his two, when the couple met 23 years ago in Virginia City.

Each summer, the couple would invite their 10 grandchildren on camping trips.

One would think that’s enough interaction for great-grandparents, but blue-eyed Serenity and brown-eyed Timbo, as Poppa calls him, have introduced them to a new way of life.

“This gives us more purpose,” said Annabelle.

Sometimes, said Wayne, it’s tough to handle their energy level, but “they do their dead-level best to be good,” he said. And not once has Wayne wondered what he’s gotten himself into.

“It’s never entered my mind,” he said.

Annabelle still works at her bookkeeping job. And Wayne still works in his backyard shop. But next to him is a spot for Timbo. And that’s exactly as it should be, the couple agreed.

“We really feel blessed,” Annabelle said.