It’s been a whirlwind here, and I have so many irons in the fire. Like my friend Heather, I like to live with my ass five inches from the flame, and my ass is pretty warm these days.
I’ve been doing a LOT of work trying to network and come up with a workable solution that puts these immigrant children in homes, and out of shelters. I’ve learned a lot, and am closer to a plan. As of now, I’ve put together a group of interested people who may be willing to open their homes to these children, and I am looking into this program where we can be volunteer custodians of these children. There is a good sized group of us and we are getting together in the next couple of weeks to put our heads together and come up with workable solutions.
Many of these children (around 85%) have family members in the states that can take them in while they go through court proceedings. The rest of them need a place to live while their immigration status is figured out in the courts. Only a few will be allowed to stay. My goal is to get them out of detention centers and shelters and into homes, and we can do this.
I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, or even if the voices of our small faction will be heard. But I am going to try. I have such a heart for all the children of this world, and they all deserve the warmth of a family, no matter where they came from and the politics behind it. My role isn’t to argue the whys and hows, but to be of service and go where I feel called. I had no idea my family would be sitting here when Our Lady showed up last February, but I am following her lead, trying to make even a small difference for this tide of children seeking refuge.
I’ve received some flack about why I’m choosing this route over serving the foster kids that are already here. The truth is, I’d be doing both, if the system would let me. Foster parents in this state are not allowed to do domestic and international foster care at the same time, and this is a shame. There is so much that these two groups of children could learn from each other. (Some of the local agencies are making exceptions, but they are putting ridiculous rules in place, like requiring you to get rid of all your domestic foster kids or being bilingual.) With the redesign of foster care in Texas, and the way we see children being put in harm’s way by privatization and the emphasis being put on reunifying families whether it is safe for the kids or not, we tagged out. Foster parenting is hard enough, and we see the pendulum swinging a direction that made us get off the bus quickly. Kids need homes, and those of us who are n the front lines should get to choose the population we serve without a lot of naysayers and political bashing.
In addition to setting up this group of potential foster homes (and you can join us by following me and sending me a message on Facebook), my Dozer and I had plans to be on the road this morning to McAllen. Catholic Charities set up an emergency site for migrant families, and they were calling for volunteers. We decided we wanted to show up and help, and made plans for a mother daughter volunteer road trip. Sadly, less than 12 hours before we were set to leave, Sugar Biscuit came down with a fever and a tummy bug, and his sitter got sick. I’ve been around the block enough times to realize that the combination of these two things meant I needed to keep my butt home, so here it sits, next to a feverish Sugar Biscuit in front of some cartoons.
At the same time, my home developer called and said they’d finally got the paperwork straightened out, and asked us to please consider taking the brothers from Eritrea for a couple of weeks, and we agreed. They’re due to come Friday, so as soon as Sb gets well, we are hitting the African markets and such so that we can have food ready for them when they come. I’m also getting two new soccer balls and finding some community resources for us all. It’s going to be a learning curve, but we’ve got this. I think.
The puppies are going back to their foster mom today, but someone is bringing us a new rooster as she has a surplus and our Mr. Bojangles seems to have disappeared. So, puppies out, rooster in, trip off, boys back on. Sick toddlers, Eritrean recipes, language barriers, activist work, motherhood, being a wife. It’s a lot. I only get to do this life once, though, and I’m wringing every ounce I can from it. I’m grateful for the support of my children and husband and our amazing community of family and friends. I couldn’t do the things I do without their help and love. It takes a village to raise the children of the world, and I have one hell of a team.