It took us over a year to get my youngest daughter home from Guatemala because our attorney** was trying really hard to prevent the government from enacting adoption reforms. She claimed she opposed any changes because it would harm children. Everyone in our little adoption circle believed her. Except us. We suspected she feared her money pipeline would dry up. We feared her animosity toward the government would prevent officials from approving our paperwork, and we were right.
**by attorney, I mean heartless narcissistic money monger who went to law school
I will never forget a phone conversation with one of our adoption counselors. I was parked outside of an Office Depot and could barely hold the phone in my hand because I was sobbing and shaking with rage. The counselor had explained to me that the attorney** was leading the fight to save the children. “She’s leading a revolution,” she exclaimed. “And in any revolution, there must be sacrifice.” Had I been able to crawl into the phone and shake this woman’s shoulders until her brain reset, I would have. I can’t remember what I screeched at her, but it didn’t facilitate civil conversation.
Eventually, the attorney** went to jail in Guatemala for human trafficking. After my daughter came home, I never spoke to the adoption counselor again, although we had been good friends.
In any revolution, there must be sacrifice. This is essentially the Trump administration’s reasoning for its barbaric policy of separating children from parents at the Mexican border. This is a battle to secure our borders, goes the train of thought. We need illegal immigrants to know we mean business.
This is kind of the undercurrent: We are sorry you’re so poor. That’s sad. The violence you’ve endured is terrible. Can’t you move? (Just not here.) But now that you’re here, you’ve broken the law, which means you’re not a good parent, even though you fled your home country to protect your children from said violence. So, yeah, we’ve got to institutionalize your kids. Or maybe we’ll put them on a plane to Michigan, whatever, we’re not going to tell you, because you’re poor and not a citizen so you have no rights and we’re having trouble keeping track of everything.
In any revolution, there must be sacrifice.
I’ve been watching the pictures and videos of these migrant children with a knot in my stomach and a debilitating familiarity. My two younger children were born in Guatemala, a country from which many of the families have fled. My kids both suffer from PTSD brought on by long periods of separation from a loving parent during their first year of life. My son has an attachment disorder from being institutionalized for seven long months. It didn’t matter that he had food and clean sheets. It did not matter. He was afraid and without the love of a parent, and he will be affected by that for the rest of his life. This isn’t my opinion. It’s science. So FUCK YOU, John Kelly, for saying these kids you’ve essentially kidnapped “are well-taken care of.” You are ruining them. They will never have the luxury of good therapy and safe homes to help assuage the effects of what you’ve done. As I write this, there are young children who are shutting down, paralyzed by despair, and reverting to the infantile fight or flight mentality that’s typical of primitive feral beings. They might never feel safe again.
In any revolution, there must be sacrifice. It’s a short version of a famous quote by Simone de Beauvoir, the French writer, activist, and existential philosopher: Every war, every revolution, demands the sacrifice of a generation, of a collectivity, by those who undertake it.
But this isn’t a revolution. It’s oppression. Simone de Beauvoir has something to say about that as well. All oppression, she said, creates a state of war.
There’s no quicker route to war than enacting a policy that separates poor people from their children. These children will grow up to hate this country. They will grow up with untreated PTSD. Some of them, returned to the violence from which they were fleeing, will join gangs. And then we will call them animals, and forget the circumstances under which that animal instinct was ignited.
Have a great day.