chapter  12
11 Pages

Skip Generations: A Strength-Based Mentoring Program for Resilient Grandparent Caregivers

ByLINDA C. JAMES, CHRISTOPHER R. FERRANTE

Isolated, shocked, uncertain, hopeless. These are some of the words that attempt to describe what Linda James was feeling when her life took a drastic turn in 1987, when she was just 40 years old. Linda shares her story with as much passion as she has when she cares for her beloved grandchildren:

My story, like those of so many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, began many years ago. In 1987, when my granddaughter was born, she weighed 1 lb. 4 oz. at birth. She was born in a drug house and later transported to Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. I was notified by the hospital that my granddaughter needed surgery and that the hospital couldn’t find her mother. I gave consent for the surgery and asked the hospital to stay in contact with me because I would take responsibility for my granddaughter when it was time for her to be released. I knew that my daughter would not

be located because she was back on the streets. When the hospital notified me that she could be released, I had to find a way to bring her here to Rochester. She was hooked-up with a heart monitor and breathing machine that would require a private plane with a medical staff. After many attempts to find an agency to help me, a local radio station (WVOR) arranged a flight to Washington, D.C. for me and also helped to arrange a Mercy flight from Washington to Rochester with a nurse aboard.