I don’t often dip my toes in political waters. First, I never want anyone to correlate my personal thoughts for any organization that I represent and to be clear, that’s what these are… personal. Second, there are too many voices in the political landscape of our nation. I don’t often have anything constructive to add.
But when it comes to the separation of families, I do.
This week, as this topic has deeply divided our nation and ignited passionate emotions on both sides of the issue, I heard one argument time and again. It goes something like this: “The parents committed an illegal act. So what they get separated. It happens all the time when people go to jail.”
Hi, I’m a foster parent. When a parent makes a decision to break the law, the child is separated from their parents and brought to homes like mine.
Let me ask as simple question? Have you ever consoled, comforted or explained to a child why they can’t see their parent because that parent is in jail.
It’s horrible. It’s heart-wrenching to have those conversations. It’s a discussion that happens over and over and over and over again. You talk about it at night before bed. Or in the grocery store, as someone who looks like mom passes by. It’s on Mothers Day and Father’s Day and Christmas and birthdays and any time the memory strikes.
Many nights, I have held a child sobbing, crying, wondering why they can’t be with their parent. They don’t understand law. They don’t understand crime. They don’t know what jail is, except it’s the place their parent is. They cry so many tears. They ask so many “whys.” The best you can give is honesty, but it’s never enough.
I won’t argue that crossing a border without documentation is a crime. I won’t argue that people have a basic human right to a better life. I will argue that no matter what political position you hold: the children lose the most. And it’s incredibly sad.
The children are the ones who suffer. Their little bodies are not developed, are not equipped, are not able to process the actions of their parents. Many years later, I still get the questions. “Where is my mom?” “Why did she have to do it?” “Does she still think of me?” “Will she ever get healed from her choices?”
Time doesn’t heal the wounds of separation, it amplifies them. No matter your political position, keep in mind that it’s the children who hurt the most.