For an immigrant grandparent, assuming primary responsibility for a grandchild can be overwhelmingly difficult. Shattered by their own profound loss, uprooted and trying to reorganize their lives in a new country, the bereaved grandparents struggle to find the emotional and physical strength to cope with their grief while simultaneously caring for their orphaned grandchildren.
In an effort to provide relief and guidance, Selah hosted another iteration of our powerful Healing Retreat for those grandparents in our care this summer – welcoming 70 participants. Some of the grandparents are regular attendees of our tri-monthly Selah Grandparent support group meetings. At the retreat, grandparents discussed new coping and problem-solving mechanisms and learned how to more easily navigate the challenging bureaucratic processes they often face alone. The grandchildren’s workshops struck the right balance of fun and seriousness, while the grandparents participated in support workshops facilitated by trauma professionals in Russian. We at Selah understand the therapeutic importance of bringing the struggling grandparents together to mitigate their sense of loneliness and isolation that advancing age, bereavement and the responsibility of raising the children can often foster.