The plight of the “border children.”
There are some things that only money can buy and there are some things money can never buy.
Our wallets can be open to buying food, clothing, shelter and transportation, but opening our hearts requires more than money.
How do we help abandoned children fill the emotional gaps and heartaches from separation?
How do we help abandoned children continue to grow and develop into healthy people?
The US is not prepared, as a society—as a nation—to successfully transition thousands of children from other countries—other cultures.
How will these children develop to meet normal expectations?
They may cross the border, but how do they cross the cultural divide—the cultural and social barriers—the language barriers? Bringing down the walls and cutting out the fences will not eliminate the emotional and psychological trip wires that these children have to cross.
Many of these children will die along the way—many already have; some have starved alone and some have starved in the arms of their parents or siblings when they were dumped by “coyotes” north of the Mexican border– without food or water.
Are these abandoned children moving on a pathway to a better life, to a better education to a better family life, to a happier childhood—or are they moving down a pathway to a living hell?
Separation from parents and family will result, for a great percentage of these children, in attachment disorders. Their initial bondings have been broken and so will their hearts be broken when they begin to realize they are not returning to their homeland and their families.
Thousands will suffer from mental and psychological, social and emotional problems brought on by feelings of betrayal trauma cause by their abandonment.
-They will experience disorganized attachment
-They will experience communications problems and lack of social skills for transitioning into American families and the American culture.
Where will the abandoned children be housed?
-In strange foster families?
-In strange group settings?
-In orphanages? Will we become like Romania? (I’ve been there and worked in the orphanages and most of those abandoned children were living a life worse than prisoners in the most deprived prisons in this country.)
-In day care centers? Are caregivers prepared for the transition these children have to make?
What will happen to the children “on the loose” after they cross the border?
-Many will be picked up by human trafficking—raped, used as sex slaves, used as unpaid workers, shipped and sold abroad, and even starved or murdered.
-Many will be vulnerable to petty crime.
–Theft will be a natural outcome for many who feel they have been “stolen” away from their families. These feelings are often manifested in acts of stealing.
Many will be in search of water and food—in any way they can get it. Many have already died because they had no water on their way here.
What will be the outcome for those abandoned children who are sick or have diseases?
-How long before health care is administered?
-Who will comfort them when they are in pain?
-Who will take away their feelings of fear?
-Who will treat their complex trauma?
-Who will diagnose their developmental trauma disorder?
-Who will help the rape victims to prevent PTSD?
You only have to travel to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to witness the plight of many of those babies and young children waiting for transportation and a place to go. You will see:
-Fear of the unknown
-Need for toilet paper
-Need for diapers—and a place to dispose of them
-Need for medication and food
-Need for water and soap and a place to bathe
-Need for a little privacy
There is a relationship between childhood development and later adulthood behavior—for better and for worse. Having worked on over 100 capital murder cases, and studied the behavior of the incarcerated, I can understand why there is a relationship between severe early childhood problems such as disorganized attachment and later criminal behavior.
In our current American society we have 25% of children between the ages of 8 years and 18 years that are involved in such illegal behaviors they are considered beyond rehabilitation. These youth will be adults in ten years and will make up about one fourth of our young adult population. We have problems—most of which are related to early childhood development. Yet, how much do you hear about these real problems?
In my opinion, it’s going to take a lot more than what money can buy to bring about a miracle for every abandoned child who crosses the border and survives to go on to develop into an adult who can meet the challenges and reap the joys of becoming an American in the United States of America.
Yes, there are many things money can buy and there are many things money can never buy.