545.

In 2018 when I first learned about the policy enacted that separated children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, I was appalled.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The photos were so painful that I refused to look.  We didn’t get to vote on this policy as US citizens, this was something our administration just decided to do in an effort to deter people from trying to cross the border illegally.

What isn’t talked about enough is that there were thousands of people already making the very deadly journey to the US border that did not hear of this new policy and did not know what awaited them at the border where they would attempt to seek asylum. These were people already left stuck between a rock and a hard place…. With two options:

  1. Stay where they were. In a country controlled by a drug cartel where their lives and the lives of their children were in danger every day.
  2. Make the exceptionally dangerous, brutal, and possibly deadly journey to the US border where they might get asylum, or might cross the border without getting caught.

Let’s pretend that they did know they could be separated from their children. Which option would you take? This was a lose-lose situation.

Last week when I learned about the 545 families who had been separated and were unable to be reunited because we LOST them… we put the parents on a plane, we shipped them back, and we can no longer locate them… I became enraged. I don’t care how you slice this – it is bad. It is inhumane. It is cruel. It is abhorrent. It is criminal. They put 1,000 people on a plane without their children and sent them back to where they come from, with out their babies… Sit with that for a moment.

As a mother… there is nothing on this earth that could bring me more pain than the loss of my precious child. As a mother, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my daughter from evil, from violence, from abuse, from anything that could harm her. I would climb every mountain with her on my back, barefoot in the sun, or in the cold of winter… if it meant protecting my child. To have her ripped from my arms from a country that I thought would finally help me keep her safe… would be the ultimate pour of salt on my wounds that I earned with every step that I carried her.

That night as I lay in bed thinking about this…. I thought, “I need to go and place my hands on her.” My daughter has a sticky door. When you open it… it makes an obnoxious sound and I feared waking her…. And then I thought, “none of these parents who have been separated from their children would think about the fear of waking their sleeping child…. They would embrace that.” So I opened her sticky door… she remained asleep despite the loud noise it made… I touched her face. I felt her silky baby cheeks… I touched her sweet breathing belly…. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I touched her sweet tiny hands and I prayed for the families who don’t get to sneak into their children’s rooms at night and revel in their innocence and thank God for their safety. I prayed for the children sleeping on cots, or on the floor or wherever they are sleeping at the facility at the southern border. I thought about how they didn’t get to listen to bedtime stories from their parents, they didn’t get a snuggle before they laid down at night, they didn’t get to sleep in the comfort of a quiet room, and a bed all their own. And tomorrow, they wont get to wake up to a silly alarm clock letting them know it’s time to rise, or wake on their own, calling for their Mommies or Daddies because even if they do, they wont be able to come running to them. I sat back against the rocking chair in her room and I wept. I listened to her wiggle around and readjust herself, and I prayed for the children who have no idea what tomorrow will bring for them. I prayed for the parents who tried to save them. I prayed that they stay safe. I prayed that they keep up the fight. I prayed for their reunion.

There is nothing that will ever make this injustice ok. Someone without a heart created this policy. It doesn’t matter how you try to look at it or justify it in your minds, there is no justification for stealing children from their parents who were desperately trying to give them safety, comfort… a better life. “We are trying to locate the families” is not enough. We shouldn’t have lost them in the first place.

Hold your babies tighter today… kiss them extra… tell them you love them… whether they’re 6 days old or 16 years old… I know I have been and will continue to. And please – remember to VOTE.

I feel very strongly that I need to do something in some way to help these kids. So I will be offering two additional shoots this season and all proceeds from these sessions will be donated to https://secure.actblue.com/donate/kidsattheborder – Stay tuned for those details.

For more information on this situation:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44303556

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/21/family-separation-parents-border-covid/

With love and compassion,

Brianna

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