ten thoughts on a wednesday |38|

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one.
over the past few days, i heard/read a few tidbits about children being separated from their parents at the us-mexico border. life has just been whizzing by, and i hadn’t taken the time to read up on what exactly is going on. this morning, while moses was happily splashing in the bath and gabriel was snoozing, i decided i better become informed. at the suggestion of a friend, i read this synopsis of the situation. and i am horrified. (i also listened to this podcast, which was really helpful in understanding some context/reasoning.)
how is this actually happening in my country?? i am disgusted and heartbroken, and i feel so helpless. but the article linked above has some good suggestions on how to help, and i just hope and pray that the combined efforts of many will lead to change, soon. 
today i’ve been holding my two boys a little closer and have been caring for them with profound gratitude in my heart. 
dear reader: if you have any further suggestions for how to help those families that have been separated, please leave a comment on this post. also, if you support this policy, i would sincerely like to understand why, and i invite you to leave a comment with your thoughts. 

two.
i’m not sure how to segue from that topic into any other - all the rest of the thoughts i planned to post today seem so utterly insignificant and frivolous when i think about those children and parents separated from each other! but maybe this one will provide some sort of transition:
i love my sons so, so, so much. often, as we go out our regular days, i just feel like my heart is going to clobber all my other organs because it is so swollen with love for moses and gabriel. the other day i was kissing little mo’s face repeatedly. i couldn’t stop myself. he was giggling and then said, “lots of kisses, mama!” gabriel just gives a little coo when the kisses have become excessive :) 

three.
a friend of mine posted the following as a caption to an instagram photo on mother’s day, and i can’t stop thinking about it … i love it!:
“some days motherhood feels like 99% trying to convince a little human that your face is not a race car track and 1% being so unbelievably grateful that it is.” 

four.
yesterday i got to go to yoga for the first time in about a month and it felt soooo good to be back on the mat, breathing and moving and flexing and relaxing. lately i have been feeling quite self-critical of my body, and i am actively working on turning those feelings into actions that help me be more physically healthy and/or remembrances of how proud i am of the life-giving work my body has done over the past several years.
exercise is such an important factor in my personal well-being, and i have been trying to figure out a sustainable way to make it a a truly everyday part of my life with two babies. i love what exercise teaches me about self-control, challenges, work, strength, attitude, and my soul. i am really passionate about the importance of caring for our physical bodies. 

five.
i feel like i am at a crossroads in my life when it comes to personal physical self-care. i think i have allowed for a bit of imbalance as i’ve sacrificing my body in many ways to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and caring for small humans. because we don’t plan to try for another baby for a while, i plan to spend some of the next year or so really caring for my body and physical appearance. i have invested in some skincare products that i intend to use diligently, i am going to up my makeup game a bit (that’s really not hard to do, since i use hardly any makeup), i’m devoting some time and money to building a small wardrobe of quality clothes that i really like, and i’m planning to run a marathon next june (at which point i hope to be in the best physical shape of my life). i think that, as long as i keep the balance in check, investing a bit more in personal physical self-care will help me be better when it comes to the things in life that really matter. 

six.
about every other day or so i think to myself, “how did I think having one child was hard???” and then i try to remember what it was like to be childless and just do whatever i wanted to do whenever i wanted, when no little person depended entirely on me. wild. i feel like becoming a mom has broadened my capacity in so, so many ways - and going from one child to two has certainly kept the growth trending up.

seven.
a couple weeks ago, i downloaded the app marco polo, and i LOVE it. it’s such a perfect tool for me to connect with loved ones back home in the states. i love getting friends’ messages and seeing their faces! i’ve got to get my family going on it this summer when we are together at bear lake. 

eight.
time is simultaneously so precious and so easy to waste. throughout my days lately i’ve tried to stop and ask myself, “is what i am doing right now truly productive?” this helps me to hold on to more minutes and hours that are truly the greatest resource and gift! 

nine.
i’m preparing a talk to share with one of the church congregations in london this coming sunday, and some of the main ideas i want to make are:
-we can ask god specific questions, and get specific answers. this is the way to developing personal testimony.
-we can chose to feed faith amidst doubts, or we can chose to feed doubts at the cost of faith. both faith and doubt will always be present in some way or another; we get to decide what to do with them.
-like any skill or strength (physical, mental or spiritual), we must exercise faith in order to maintain it and grow it. 

ten.
my parents are continuing to work to leverage the amazing tool of social media to share valuable marriage and parenting ideas. at the beginning of every week they post a quick tip for families on their instagram account, and followers can delve a bit deeper by following links to podcast, videos, articles, etc. my mom and dad have zero incentive to do this other than a deep and genuine desire to help strengthen families. their stuff is practical and empowering. i invite you all to follow them @richardlindaeyre!

happy wednesday! life is really beautiful, even with lots of suffering happening in the world. i hope we can see the best of humanity as we come together to try to stop cruel things (that seem like the worst of humanity) from happening. 

34 comments:

  1. Read the post from yesterday on cupofjo.com for some great info about donating to the cause of supporting families who've been separated!

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  2. The COJ post is how I became more enlightened too! If you don't already, I'd recommend reading the articles found there (on any topic but particularly Mothering Around the World) AND the comment sections. One of my favorite daily reads!

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  3. Previous policy was that families would be kept together, which in effect meant they were released. Whereas adults traveling without kids would be in lockup longer, people saw that families with kids got out sooner.

    This created a perverse incentive: it made people bring children on the dangerous thousands-of-miles long journeys. It caused children to be used as tools or favors. Children were "lent" to traffickers and others to increase their chance of getting through. Some were even kidnapped. For example, see this article: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/may/22/children-abducted-illegals-posing-families-us-bord/

    This unfortunate gaming of the system using vulnerable children is what the new policy is attempting to stop. We don't want to send the message that bringing kids is a get out of jail free card, because that endangers the lives of more children.

    Also, many are misusing or misunderstanding the asylum laws. They aren't meant for every single person who lives in a town with gang violence, or who has a violent husband, etc... They're meant specifically for certain classes of people, like say the Rohingya -- who are targeted for their race/religion. There just isn't evidence of a large scale crisis in South America that would qualify this many applicants under existing asylum laws. Economic migrants? Sure. People escaping gang violence? Yes. Valid asylum cases? I'd say, vanishingly few.

    The blog post you linked has an oversimplification of the facts on the ground. While there is no law that has the words "families must be separated at the border" there are other factors at play like the Flores Consent Decree, which in effect prevents us from holding children with their families more than 20 days. Asylum cases take more than 20 days to adjudicate, so the children are taken elsewhere. More details on that here: https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/05/illegal-immigration-enforcement-separating-kids-at-border/#slide-1

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    1. While these points all may be true, as a mother of two adopted children I have seen the effects that this kind of trauma has on their lives. We cannot excuse the seperation of parents from children in any circumstance otherwise we are no better than the Nazi's during WWII. We may not be sending these people to the gas chambers, but the trauma that we are causing on these children beyond what they have already experience is not acceptable. We need to come up with a better solution. Otherwise we are creating a future generation of humans who have so much hurt and anger that it manifest itself in other ways that we will pay for without a question.

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    2. What about political persecution in for example Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua?
      Also if a state fails to protect from gang violance, there can be a right similar to asylum (subsidiary protection).

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    3. Now the kids will be locked up for longer. Executive order by the president not allowed to sign an executive order related to immigration according to the democrats has actually written an executive order related to immigration having been asked and they are still unhappy. Big surprise. You do realize that Americans who are arrested or held before trial or actually in prison are also separated from their kids. If we had a wall the only way of entry would be official ports of entry and the few managing to get past would be quickly processed and not processed for more than 20 days. I don’t blame you. Change the channel. One millions legal immigrant visas are issued a year. We will not increase that number until the border is no longer pourous. As the mom because of a kid born in China who actually went through the immigrant process I am shocked that people are not concerned about minors unrelated to the adults they are traveling across border with. Having had to prove at various points that the chlid were transporting across China and into the US really was supposed to be with us. Don’t you worry about human trafficking? I’d like people to look at him and not wonder if he is was a college student who decided to overstay his VISA. Are you shocked at what the FBI and DOJ have been doing for years? You are too young for watergate.

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    4. Kelleyn, you still would have adopted them, right? The trauma for my child first happened at a week old. Then some trauma being raising in a welfare institute. Them some more with the adoption when he was a year old. He changed environment, country, language and lost and gained people again. All that is traumatic and we knew some of what we were doing would be traumatic. But we went ahead and did it anyway. Because it was temporary and could not be helped.

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    5. The Department of Homeland Security actually reported that one half of one percent of those families crossing the border are doing so with used or trafficked children. Again, as I commented below, that is clearly not okay, but the idea that separating thousands of children from their real parents is a viable solution is unconscionable. This policy was clearly not an attempt to protect children. It was implemented as a deterrent, at the cost of the most vulnerable among us.

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    1. I think we would like to make ourselves feel better about the situation by saying that these people have committed a crime and therefore taking their children away is acceptable; however, I do not think it is the same. We need to our very best to keep these families together. The trauma we are causing to these children in the end we will pay dearly. We cannot allow our leaders to get away with this kind of behavior. It is expensive and yes we foot the bill, but in the end we have to do the right thing.

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    2. Hi Holly,

      You are sorely mistaken about children immediately being placed in foster care if you or your husband go to jail. In Utah (and I would venture to say the U.S.) you'd have the ability to have your children placed with A KNOWN FAMILY MEMBER. On an individual level, if you put your kids in a cage without anything, no one there to change an infant or toddler's diaper, and no one there to meet the emotional needs of your child (I.e. no hugging or showing affection) you'd be supported for neglect. This is what's happening at the border. You can dress it up all you want so you can sleep at night and feel happy and safe with your own children, but what is happening at the border is truly sickening. People are so concerned with what's "the law" and do no critical thinking of their own. As if laws deserve no changing- "they exist so it must be right"! Right? If that were the case, women wouldn't have the right to vote and institutionalized segregation would still be occurring, to name a couple. Just because you've been told something is right doesn't make it true. Take some time to think for yourself.

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  5. https://togetherrising.org/heres-how-you-are-serving-the-separated-border-families-today-update-2/

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  6. Re thought #6 The optimal number of children for a given family is one less than they currently have! Which one is sending you over the edge changes minute to minute, but we always think the previous amount was easy, and WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!?
    (this is mostly in jest)

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  7. In response to the posters who support separating children and babies from their parents.
    Separating children and babies from their mothers and fathers is child abuse. And immoral and inhumane. Full stop. It is a crime that is magnitudes greater than any these desperate people have committed.
    If it was the right thing to do, then why did trump sign an executive order reversing it?

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    1. Transporting a child that isn’t yours illegally across the desert through multiple countries is trafficking. It’s child abuse to take your infant through the desert and illegal cross. It’s child abuse not to be repatriated to your home country with your child and leave them here.

      Trump didn’t reverse his own order. He decided the law congress pass making it illegal to keep a child in custody with parents incarcerated for more than 20 days extended to incarceration how ever long it takes to get through the system. Yeah, cage longer.

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  8. I have been heartbroken about the family separations too. It's appalling. Also, if you write out your talks I'd love a copy. It's something I've pondered a lot the last couple years as some people I love and respect have left the church. Through reading and discussing I can understand their reasons and points of view but it is still hard. I'm always looking for other people's thoughts and experiences.

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  9. #5. Self-care is so very important! Do not underestimate how important it is to being a good mom. You must make and take time to nurture yourself so you can be a better human! I always tried hard to make sure before I had the next baby to get in the best shape I could. Being a mom is a true marathon and not for the faint of-heart or week in the knees soul!

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  10. Holly Richards21 June 2018 at 13:45

    I live overseas, as well, and Marco Polo has been a game changer for staying in touch with my favorite people. I LOVE IT! Also, I asked myself the same question when I transitioned from 1 to 2 and then the same thing when I transitioned from 2 to 3 kids. I also literally laugh out loud at my college self that felt busy and short of time for myself when I literally only had to worry about myself.

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  11. U S Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera - in his own words....

    I don’t think everybody understands what’s actually happening down here. You have a lot of these kids who are coming down here and put through terrible, terrible situations by their parents.

    They’re brought over in extremely dangerous conditions and in extremely dangerous terrain. And all this can be avoided if they just go through the port of entry. There would be no crime committed by them and they wouldn’t get separated.

    Why don’t they do this is beyond me. But this problem is very easily solved, at least on the short-term basis, by going through the port of entry. If they choose to go through the river, they’re committing a crime. Just like anyone else, they’re subject to arrest.

    And we all know, when you get arrested, you don’t get to stay with your family. It’s just the sad reality of life.

    I have had this situation going on for four years now. And for some reason, we haven’t fixed it. I don’t think you can necessarily blame it on one administration or the other. It started under one, and it’s continuing under another. It hasn’t been fixed and it needs to be fixed.

    Right now, we have this beacon of we will leave the light on for you, you come across illegally, and we will let you into the country. And if you guys have seen some of the stuff that we have seen down here, you would understand just how important it is to have a tough stance, to divert people from coming here.

    When you see a 12-year-old girl with a Plan B pill or with their — their parents put her on birth control because they know that getting violated is part of the journey, that’s just a terrible way to live.

    When you see a 4-year-old girl traveling completely alone with just her parents’ phone number written across her shirt, I mean, come on now.

    Something needs to be done. We had a 9-year-old boy last year have a heatstroke and die in front of us with no family around. And that’s because we’re allowing people to continue to take advantage of this system.

    And let’s be honest here. If we want the law changed, then we need to do it - that’s on Congress. That’s on nobody else but Congress. They need to come in there. They need to get to work and they need to change this law.

    Until then, us, as Border Patrol agents, we have a duty to enforce these laws. And we will continue to do it, until they change this law. And, hopefully, they will.

    And just — let me just underscore ..... Seeing a 9-year-old boy suffering heatstroke, seeing young girls come to you with Plan B or birth control pills because their parents provide them for them because they know the journey involves them being raped, this is what you are seeing.

    And I know some children are used as mules, are they not? Some children are used as mules. Some of this is nefarious. It’s not all just a family.

    Yes. You know, yes, it is. Some of these children are used like that. And it’s a shame. And I think the other thing that needs to be looked at here is, we do have a lot of unaccompanied children coming over.

    And the fact remains is, the parents are already here in the United States. And they’re sending for these kids. And these kids are traveling solo across two or three countries. And, when they get here, they are reunited with the families.

    And, to me, that is mind-blowing, because you can’t do that as a United States citizen. You can’t send your 5-year-old kid to ride on top of a train through three states, and when they get there, they’re coming back to you.

    You would get prosecuted. Yet when it comes to illegal families, we put on the kid gloves with them and we don’t — we don’t look out for the best interest of this child. And that’s another thing that needs to be changed.

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    1. Anonymous, What the U.S. can control is U.S. response. I really don't see how all this judgement of desperate people is helpful, or even relevant. Charity is talking about was U.S. policy how how we should have policies that are ethical (or at least not morally repugnant). It continues to blow me away that some people are so dug in politically that they lose the basic value that our government should not harm children.

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    2. Well said by the border control agent. The democrats answer to criminal drug use to make drug use legal. The democrats answer to crossing the border illegally is open borders. The EU decided to allow free flow among European countries and now countries are in the process of leaving. It started when Germany was overridden with aggressive crossing by people refusing to live in a tent city and boat crossing to the south. Once in one EU country the flow continued. These are all countries that allow many permanent residents and immgirants from abroad. In the US we have a million legal immigrants a year. We would not have our First Lady if America didn’t have a legal immigration path to citizenship. She has been a citizen since 2007.

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    3. Kms, there is ONE country in the EU that is in the process of leaving, not countries. And the Schengen treaty (open borders inside the EU, not the "outside borders") has NOTHING to do with the brexit. Neither has the decision by the German government in 2015 to open borders to refugees inspite of the Dublin treaty. Germany has NOT been overridden by refugees in 2015 (less than 1 million, something the US seems to handle yearly). Yes, a lot have come, but there have been the financial means and in comparision to the rest of the population, it hasn't been too many.
      And of course Germany allows refugee who have a right to asylum. That's in the German constitution.

      If you argue pro separating children from their parents, please don't use alternative facts, especially not about my country.

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  12. Charity, thank you for allowing us to have this discussion in your comment schedule.
    “Anonymous” (comment above me), you pasted that agents comments with no context. But it seems to me that you are saying that if children are mistreated by their parents, that allows us to be justified in mistreating them as well. Let’s say that the case of a five-year-old traveling alone is chilling and horrifying to you. Are you not just as horrified by systematically separating thousands of children from the parents who are, in fact, with them? How is one anecdote a travesty, but that same anecdote is used to justify separation on a large scale?

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  13. Hey, Char, I too am so horrified and sickened by what has been happening at the border. There really is absolutely no moral defense for this policy. Thanks for sharing how you feel and raising awareness on your blog. xoxo

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  14. That's the third time over the years you mention your plan on getting better on skin care and makeup. ;-) If you follow through, let us know some ideas (at 35 I just recently had my cousin explain me how to use makeup, so I am in need).

    I'm smiling a bit that you write about a new app (more time on the phone), when you felt addicted to your phone last week.

    I really don't know how people can have more than one child. I look at pinterest for ways to be more productive (which might be ironic considering how time consuming pinterest is) and there are suggestions like "30 things to do in the morning". I'd be lucky to do one of these things!

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    1. ha, thanks for keeping me in check, kerstin! ;) my follow through on skin care and makeup has been thwarted by my sacrificing my body and time to baby boys ... so i am trying to say in this post that i need to get to a better balance where i really make self-care happen! keep holding me accountable so i do it!! :) and good point on an app on my phone! i am just trying to find the best ways to use my phone for all the positives it provides and much less for the negative / time-sucking things it provides.

      thirty things in the morning?? sheesh! let’s work on three! :)

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  15. The trafficking story is a psy op to distract Americans away from the IG report: https://jennyhatch.com/2018/06/21/welcome-to-america-a-psy-op-to-distract-the-naive-and-gullible-away-from-the-igreport/

    The policy of separating the children is solid because there is evidence that human traffickers kidnap children and pretend they are the parents.

    I support DNA testing to be certain the adults and kids are biologically connected before allowing them to be detained in family housing.

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  16. It’s misguided anger. It’s their parents fault. It’s congresses fault for the 20 day rule and the free flow making 20 days not long enough to process and repatriate. You haven’t seen the damage created by MS 13. I pray you don’t. You have not lost a job because of a person who isn’t here with papers gets it instead. You have not had a child in the school system not get all the resources you want for them seeing there are all sorts of language help and free lunches and breakfasts for students who should not be attending. You don’t see houses with multiple families living in a space meant for one. You want to live anywhere in the world whenever you want and want the same for others.

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    1. Keep watching FOX news, KMS, and keep repeating the talking points without bothering to think for yourself.

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  17. Everything going on at the border is heartbreaking for me and hard for me to get my mind around. I hear so many people who are so concrete- do this, do that, don't do this. But it seems so complicated and so many levels and layers. Are they really families? are they stolen children being used? coming for asylum? maybe for illegal reasons? And the young children are just caught in the whirlpool. My only political stance is that this is not 1 administration's actions. I remember this happening a few years ago and wanting so bad to help. To reach out. I was able to find out then that a group of children were being sent to be housed in our state. I knew where they were yet the authorities wouldn't work with anyone to let us foster them or just provide some comfort things like toys, etc. Then 1 day they were just gone. Just wanted to bang my head on the wall. Somehow there needs to be a balance between justice and mercy here.

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    1. I think you must be remembering the surge in unaccompanied minors in a few years ago. This is something wholly different, and 100% one administration's actions. The reason everyone is so upset is because over the past several months, Donald Trump enacted a policy that separated children from their families while trying to cross the border. These are children who are traveling with their parents, NOT unaccompanied minors, and over 2000 were forcibly taken from their families. Jeff Sessions claimed that it was enacted as a deterrent - an unbelievably cruel and immoral act perpetrated by this particular administration. While Trump has since rescinded his own policy, there is currently no plan to reunite the families, and apparently little documentation to aid in reunification. While many are citing the DHS study that showed that some of those crossing the border are trafficking children, the numbers actually show that less than one half of one percent of those families crossing the border were doing so as "fake" families. While that is clearly one half of one percent too many, it is wild to conclude that thousands of children being forcibly separated from their real parents is the solution to that problem.

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    2. Brittany, I was remembering the unaccompanied minors incident, you are right. My point, however, is that the children are caught in the middle and those of us trying to find ways to help can't seem to find a way to do so. Politicians (on both sides) need to stop using them as pawns in one up man ship and find a way to work together.

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  18. Time magazine will be printing quite the retraction. Never separated from her mother. Separated from her father and her siblings back in Honduras. Smuggler paid a ton of money too.

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