I tried talking myself out of writing this post, I really did. I don’t feel like I need to amplify the signal that separating children from their families is an unconscionable act. An act that is making me physically ill because as a US Citizen, it is being done in my name.
There was a piece on NPR about the life-long psychological trauma that we are inflicting on these children. But I knew that already. Anyone who has ever tried to adopt has been taught that even a child separated from its birthmother within a day or two of birth, and placed directly in to a permanent absolutely loving home is at risk for psychological trauma. And it is something I have witnessed first-hand.
These children have left their worlds behind. Their homes, their loved ones, their toys, are gone. Many of these children are coming from horrible circumstances, which are bad enough that their parents are willing to risk everything with the slimmest of hopes for a better, safer life. So chances are, there was already some trauma before these kids started the arduous journey to the US.
And now, their parents have been ripped from them. Chances are, their food is unfamiliar to them and the people around them probably are speaking another language. They have absolutely no source of comfort left to them.
This is the image that keeps haunting me.
I was at the supermarket the other day and out of the blue, a toddler burst into tears. Her mother offered her some water or a snack and the toddler just kept crying. Her mom picked her up, she contentedly put her head on her mother’s shoulder and they continued their shopping.
Now imagine that toddler in a cage with several other kids. All she wants in all the world is to have someone she loves, someone who smells and feels familiar hold her. But there is no one who smells right. No one who feels right. And possibly not anyone who even sounds right. Actually, don’t imagine that. Because I did and I was suddenly the one who wanted to burst into tears.
I am grateful that this story has remained front and center in the media. I appreciate that religious leaders of many stripes have denounced this behavior. I have already donated money, I have already emailed about possible volunteer opportunities. But what do I do now? How can I continue to sit in my home, surrounded by human and feline love while these kids have neither?
So, that is why I wrote this post. Because even though I know that I am simply echoing so many who share my disgust at parents being forcibly separated from their children when even this seemed like a better option than staying where they were, it was something I felt compelled to do.