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A.C.E

Posted by Wendy Pratt on OA11er @ 11:27 AM

My daughter had a rough start in life.  She experienced what are now known as A.C.E.’s:  Adverse Childhood Experiences.  (Here is a page on the CDC website where you can find more information: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html)   As a result of these, she has numerous educational, emotional, and physical problems.  She has not been able to hold down a job, she cannot live independently, and the medication that she needs to deal with her medical and emotional issues runs thousands of dollars each month. 

As I watch the news, I am horrified to see our government separating children from their parents.  I look at these children and wonder what the future will hold for them.  I begin to count the A.C.E.’s they have already experienced:

  • Whatever it was in their home countries that led their parent(s) to decide they had to flee for their safety.  (One ten-year-old boy was told if he didn’t join the gang, they would kill his mother and sister). 
  • The long journey to the U.S. border.
  • The separation from their parents, for many the only stability they have had in their young lives.
  • Once in custody, the workers are not allowed to touch the children.  Toddlers cannot be held, rocked, or comforted.  My daughter experienced healing through the hours I spent rocking her in the evenings.  After experiencing nightmares, she would come climb in bed with me.  These children are left alone in their fear and terror. 
  • Some parents have been deported without their children. 

I understand the need to have secure borders.  I understand the need to assure people charged with a crime don’t disappear.  In the past, ankle bracelets were used to track individuals who had entered the country illegally.  This seems to me like a better (and probably cheaper) alternative to sending parents and children to separate detention facilities. 

Some families are crossing illegally rather than wait for days to cross at a border station and request asylum.  Again, I suspect it would be more cost effective to add the additional staff needed at the border to deal with the demand in a more timely manner. 

We need comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope both parties will work together to come up with a good plan.  However, we need to stop traumatizing these children now.  We need to keep families together now.  Jesus said, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’  Matthew 25:40   

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