My friend, Mei Mei, shared some powerful thoughts on Facebook. She gave me permission to share her post:
“My parents spent their younger adulthood, and my childhood, taking care of children.
“These children were not technically ‘theirs’.
“These children were broken.
“These children had no home, and in a lot of cases, no one else loving them.
“These children had all survived significant trauma.
“These children were all colors. Some were rich, but most were poor. Born into circumstances beyond their control, forced into a life they did not ask for.
“These children were babies. And young preschoolers. Tweens. Teens. Even some young adults.
“These children were black, white, brown, and often a combination of all.
“Almost all of them had special needs. Most had complex medical needs.
“They were children. They had no place to go. They needed love. They needed hugs. They needed food, and clothes, and medicine, and a bed, and toys to call their own.
“They needed some adults they could trust, most of all. People who would love them instantly, even when they came in at 2am with not even a jacket in the dead of winter, sobbing. ESPECIALLY then, they were loved. Instantly.
“Because they are children, and children who have seen our worst deserve our best, even more so than others.
“My parents opened their hearts and made these kids theirs. Sometimes it was the churches who placed them in our home. Sometimes the state. A few times their own parents dropped them off. It didn’t matter where they came from. Sometimes they stayed just days, sometimes, weeks, sometimes years, and one is ours for life. But really, they are all ours and they know our love is still there and we will still be there in an instant, whenever and wherever they need us.
“What mattered is as soon as they crossed that door, they were ours. Ours to love. Ours to care for. Ours to show what a real home and a real family and a real love feels like, looks like. We loved them and still love them. Even in the dead of night, when a now 32 year old calls and says “Nana? I need you.”
“Truth? We needed them more.
“We never asked them their legal status. I know at least a handful were undocumented but we didn’t care. We never asked them how they got here, how they crossed the border. We didn’t care. They were home.
“They enriched our lives, and taught us much. They made us better versions of ourselves.
“Our country now has children. They are ours now. They came into our country alone, or were so horrifically separated from their loved ones.
“It doesn’t matter how they got here. It matters they are here. Now, we have a choice. Us, these Americans. All of us. We have a choice.
“Do we lock these babies in cages? Do we strip them of their humanity, and in turn lose ours as well? Do we take away their hope? Their love?
“Or do we remember these are CHILDREN?
“It doesn’t matter right now where they are from, how they got here. It matters how we treat them, because as children, THEY MATTER.
“Our choice is here. Staring us in the face. It looks like a toddler in a cage.
“So now we make the right choice, when our government failed so horribly. We make the choice to stand up, and shout with all of our might:
”’THIS IS NOT OKAY AND WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT’
“We call our government officials and we don’t shut up
“We protest and march until they cannot ignore us.
“We stand up and say ‘We will take them. Give us the babies. We can do this together’
“We scream, we shout, and we DO NOT QUIT, because these are children.
“And when it is all over, we beg these babies forgiveness for failing to do what Jesus would do, for ignoring the example set for us. For failing to be human, and for failing to treat them as little humans.
“And then we sit down, and we figure it out. We figure out policies that don’t include children being stripped from their parents or babies in cages.
“The entire time we write those policies, and demand good, humane, loving action, we look at these awful pictures and remind ourselves to never let our humanity fall this far again.
“They are children. We failed them. Now let us fix this.”
– “Mei Mei”