You have just found out you are pregnant. Only four weeks along at this point. You go home to give the news to your husband who is absolutely ecstatic. He wants twin boys, you desperately want a girl. Either way, it really doesn’t matter – all you really want and hope is for a healthy baby who will grow big and strong in your belly over the next 10 months (anyone who has ever been pregnant really knows it’s ten months).
Weeks pass. And with the weeks come bouts of morning sickness and fatigue. You can no longer fit your clothes because even though you’ve been throwing up like crazy, that baby is growing. You eliminate all hints of caffeine and sodium nitrate from your diet, because the doctor told you so. You give up any potentially dangerous activities such as biking and skating, just in case you fall. You harbor mixed feelings of caution, excitement and anxiety as you wait for this process to be over.
You are now twenty weeks. The sonogram reveals you are carrying a precious baby girl – God has answered your prayers! You enroll in Bradley classes because you insist on having the baby naturally, without meds. Your friends throw you a baby shower, getting you just about everything you need for your newest addition. You and your husband spend a Friday evening picking up everything else and the rest of the weekend decorating the baby’s room. Clothes are ironed and put away. The crib is all set up and ready to be used. All you are waiting for is a baby to put in it.
It’s now D-Day (delivery day). No labor pains just yet. You eat pineapples and sit forward all day long, hoping to kick the process off. You go for long walks in the evening and are officially sick and tired of being pregnant. And then it happens. Labor starts and slows and starts and slows and then your water breaks, You are off to the hospital and 24 hours later you are holding your beautiful baby girl. You are ecstatic. You have spent the last 10 months waiting for this moment and now it is here.
You are discharged a few days later and go home to settle into your new routine of being a parent. Sleepless nights, constant feedings, and poopy diapers all become part of your new normal. But so does this overwhelming need to protect this defenseless child in your arms. You only want the best for her. You dream of her going to school, making friends, and doing well as she finds her place in the world. You even hope that one day she will start a family of her own, and have the experience of holding her own baby girl in her arms.
I can guarantee that all parents want this for their children. Every parent wants to love, protect, and care for their child and only wants the best for the child that they carried, nursed and changed for so many years. No parent wants to see their child suffer. No parent wants to see their child without hope. No parent wants to see their child’s prospect of a future diminish, only to be replaced with the threat of death.
And so that is why mothers and fathers across Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala sent their children miles away from their homes and to the United States – they did not want to see them face death. As violence and extortion from their countries waged on, these parents only hoped that the future of these children they carried could be different. They did not send them merely hoping that their children would have a better life; they sent them hoping and praying that they would live.
It seems like many Americans are not understanding this point – these kids are fleeing for their lives, hoping to find refuge in a country that is safe and secure. Instead, many protest and rage and call them illegals, tell them to go home and demand that our nation’s leaders to deport them quickly. But where is our compassion and understanding? Are we really saying that it is better to send them back to a place where it is highly probable that they will be killed? Are we really saying that we don’t give a damn about their futures, about their lives, about their hopes and prayers that we are willing to deport them?
If so, shame on us! Shame on us for not caring. Shame on us for not empathizing with the actions of their parents – for a parent to send away their kids, you have to know that their situation must be desperate.
But more than this, shame on us for not seeing these kids in the same light that we see our own. For not hoping for their children the same way we hope for ours. For not wanting to protect their children the same way we fight to protect ours. And this is where the problem lies – we do not see how these children are anything like our own, with feelings, hopes and fears like our own.
But someone cared for them, the same way we care for ours.
Someone nursed them, the same way we nurse ours.
Someone birthed them, the same way we birth ours.
Someone sacrificed sleep for them, the same way we give up our sleep for ours.
Someone hoped and prayed for them, the same way we hope and pray for ours.
These children are as our own children. Indeed, they are #allourchildren.