The kids in the orphanage in Nicaragua where we adopted three children didn’t cry. They’d already done their crying someplace else.

They might have looked concerned but they didn’t cry when passed from one person to the next like a bowl of mashed potatoes being passed at Thanksgiving dinner. In their tiny heads they had figured out the futility of complaint. There was no use crying, it wouldn’t change anything.

They had already lost everything.

Children cope with abandonment. They will appear to cope at least. And how they appear to cope is that they don’t cry. It won’t be long before the little children who have been separated from their parents by American immigration officials, who feel the same as if their parents had abandoned them on the side of the road, it won’t be long before they stop crying. Because crying won’t change anything.

In their minds, they have lost everything. They don’t know about immigration law or Congress or what their parents are doing to find them. They have been abandoned as surely as my three kids in the Nicaraguan orphanage. And while my kids have grown up and are good, decent, loving people, they were damaged by what happened to them. There is no talking it through, no making sense of it. The damage they suffered was organic, visceral, sudden, and terrifying. And permanent.

So it is quite disturbing that any elected official would consider causing such desolation to a child as part of a political strategy to gain advantage in negotiating an immigration bill. This is intentional psychological maiming of children done to win concessions, a border wall, perhaps, or drastic limits on legal immigration from various countries or from everywhere. The cost of this strategy will be enormous. People’s lives will be permanently changed by what happened to them as small children in these terrifying detention centers; they will grow up hurt and damaged. And there won’t be eager adoptive parents on the receiving end, committed to teaching their babies to cry again.

The kids in the Nicaraguan orphanage were there for a million different reasons – death, poverty, illness. Every reason was an accident in life. No one planned to inflict the pain of abandonment on their children, it just happened as a terrible consequence of hardship. So there was the fact of abandonment and its terrible effects on the psyches of young children, but there wasn’t an intention to harm them.

The deep and durable harm being visited on border children right now by our United States government is fully and completely intentional. The government means to harm these children and it is doing so in our names. Yours and mine. And now the perpetrators are quoting the Bible as justification for their actions. Lord help us.

We can’t allow this to continue. We can’t be part of intentionally maiming children who came to our country for safety. We are people who rescue the hurt and wounded. That is what we need to do now.


Photo by Dominic Chung 道明 on Unsplash

29 Comments on “Unforgivable

  1. Reblogged this on Red's Wrap and commented:

    President Biden has promised to reunite these children with their families – the enormity of that task is indescribable but I love him for making this commitment. The U.S. purposely harmed kids – it’s impossible to make that right. But reunification is a start.


  2. Pingback: UNFORGIVEABLE – Jan Wilberg – Serendipity – Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

  3. We are targeting women and children, using their pain as a political tactic. When I wrote to my Senators, I used the “Family Values” category, because that’s at the core of this. Thank you for making so vivid the consequences of our actions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Family Values” is right — that is the category. Thanks for your comment and for your action. Hope millions of us do the same.


  4. This was extremely well written. Did a great job of putting into words the anger and frustration that so many of us feel about the cruel separation of parents and children at the border. Glad I randomly found this on Discover, because I’m subscribing to the blog and also going to try to contact my congressman. It feels futile to speak out as an ordinary citizen, but I commend you for doing it anyway and for getting a lot of attention on your post.


  5. Reblogged this on Praying for Eyebrowz and commented:
    From Jan Wilberg’s piece, “The deep and durable harm being visited on border children right now by our United States government is fully and completely intentional.“


  6. I’m not clued in on this issue. Are US immigration officials taking children away from their parents when those parents are int he process of legally entering the US? That is bizarre.


    • reblogging on my Facebook page. A solid, soul searing piece, Jan. It is UNFORGIVABLE. I watch pieces like this one and latest about the children/families in Yemen. It turns your stomach. I think many people turn their eyes and minds away from these stories. We need to keep shedding light.
      Maybe some will be embarrassed into doing the right thing. Whatever it takes. THANKS.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love that you have called for action. Please promote this post and spread the word. The ruling isn’t fair and right for little children and we adults need to do something about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope our reblogs reach some hearts and minds of caring people.


  8. You should publish this one Jan. This is cruelty beyond imagining. And as the mother of children who spent their first year in an orphanage, I know the damage is deep and permanent. There is a special place in hell for Sarah Sanders and all those who claim to be doing this in the name of god.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Are you going to publish this somewhere, Jan? You should. If you don’t intend to, I know the local English Language Magazine here in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico would. It is the oldest foreign lang. magazine in Mexico with the largest circulation. You can check it out online. This deserves to be seen and the issue is one that once again defines our country as being sold out to the heartless capitalist system. If you are at all interested, I’ll contact the editor to be on the lookout for your submission. Once again, a superb essay.

    Liked by 5 people

      • Yes.. I’ve already sent him a link to your blog and told him I’d suggested you submit it. Be sure to put your name at the top of the page and submit the manuscript as an attachment on your email. Send it directly to him. If he doesn’t print it, I’m fairly sure the Guadalajara Reporter would. Another English Language magazine. I may have gotten my blurbs wrong.. re/ which is the oldest with the biggest circulation. I think you should submit it in the states as well, though. Foreign submission should not effect submitting in the states as well. I’ve sent it out via email to everyone I can think of and will reblog it later tonight as I like to do it a while after you do yours to catch more viewers.

        Liked by 2 people

      • He sent me a copy of the acceptance email. I knew he’d accept it. Congratulations. It is a monthly magazine so I’m sure it will run next month. I’ll pick up a print copy and send it to you when I’m in the states… Judy

        Liked by 3 people

    • I’m doing the same thing with my TV news contacts. Some are very responsible people who use our “Bully Pulpit” for causes like this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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