I Pick This One

Children

The above picture is a picture of Iraqi children outside the wire of one of our patrol bases. This is not a post about Iraq, but I am still unsure what pictures I can share off the internet on my blog without getting in trouble, so I’m going to just roll with the above picture because I own it.  I have seen children play Spiderman on several different continents now.  Its true.  In America, China, Brazil, and even the Middle East, I have seen children play Spiderman.  Guess what, in every case, it looks a whole lot like children playing Spiderman.  Really no difference that I could tell.  Although I am guessing the Iraqi version was some 80’s version because they all seemed to be about a decade behind on popular culture with their frequent references to Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson.  But none the less, it was Spiderman all the same.

Currently in the United States, there is an influx of unaccompanied immigrant children who have illegally flooded into the country.  By many studies, the majority of these are teens, counting a teenager as 13 and up.  However, let’s stop and digest that for a second.  When we say majority, this means a majority of perhaps 50,000 plus this past year which means that there are thousands of children 12 and under without parents who are now at the mercy of the American people.  Also, I think when many people in America hear the word teenager, the mental image they get is a 25 year old adult actor playing a teen on TV.  No doubt this teen character is probably playing  the villain in your mind wearing a leather jacket and a switchblade in hand.  However, I would challenge you to go and talk to some 13 and 14 year olds and see just how “teenager” in this light they really are. If we need to be on our guard with any of them for potential security risks, then sure thats cool.   But keep in mind, its entirely possible these teens are fleeing in their countries the very violence we so easily project upon them.

Let me switch gears for a second before any of my fairly conservative readers have a stroke anticipating what is to come.  I am strongly and unashamedly in support of a strong and secure border.  It is reckless to have a border where people can come and go so freely and it is not sustainable in the long run.  So build a fence, increase border patrol agents, use drones, hovercraft, hordes of angry cats, sharks, sharks with lasers on their heads and any other contraption you feel works, but something simply must be done.  Moreover, if Mexican authorities or cartels fire on our border partorl agents, I feel like we should reply with friendly supply of mortors.  The state of border security is a bi-partisan failure that has the potential to invite the worst possible security scenario for this country.  I never promised that jimmies will not be rustled from reading my blog however, I assure you there will be equal opportunity rustling of the jimmies here at Unprecedented Mediocrity.

But back to the kids, because that’s what they are really, kids.  The backlash against these foreign youth’s streaming into America has been somewhat surprising to me.  After all, in this country I have personally witnessed families motivated through faith or other reasons spend upwards of $25,000 to adopt a foreign orphan in need.  As I understand it, these families don’t always get to pick which kid they adopt, but that is often decided by the local foreign orphanage or agency.  In addition, domestically, thousands of families across the nation meet the needs of youth in foster care and many wind up adopting these youth in need.  So I was unsure how to reconcile this domestic vitriol towards 13 year old kids who traveled thousands of miles to get to America until I had this realization.  Some kids just don’t get picked.  For reasons as arbitrary as can be, some kids are not the lucky ones.

I get it to some degree.  People often view the world as a place of limited resources where there is not quite enough to go around and tough choices must be made. The inevitable result, some kids don’t get picked.  Domestically, over 23,000 teens age out of foster care every year having not been” picked”. Awesome kids who are as worthy as any.   With Tennessee being the only State in the nation to ensure that every youth who ages out of foster care receives the necessary services after age 18 I think you can see there are quite a large number of un-picked kids in need. But the heart of this post is not to solve the problem where every kid gets adopted and every foreign orphan can find their way to the land of opportunity.  Rather, its to simply indicate that compassion is not a limited resource and can be given to the unpicked as easily as those chosen.  Those selected will often be fine, but this post about those who are not selected.  It’s a reality, it will happen, I get that, but what now.

Most of you probably know a family that paid the $25,000 foreign adoption fee and may very well have exhausted every resource to meet the need of this orphan and bring them into family. That is a huge blessing and a faithful answer to compassion on part of these families.  However, has anyone ever considered the possibility that one of these youths braving thousands of miles to reach America on their own could have been in the same orphanage of said picked child? Both are now in America, but who gets to eat and who gets loved has already been decided apparently.  I obviously don’t know this, but maybe they were in an orphanage across town, or in another city.  Or maybe rather than face the realities of the very orphanage so many Americans want to rescue them from, they took chance into their own hands and said I’ll try and make it to America before I go to an orphanage. I may not know the exact scenario that brought these children to America, but you don’t either.  So go ahead and choose your default setting.  Political football or child.  I default to child first and we will figure out the rest later.  However, the truth remains, some children will have parents travel thousands of miles across the world to invite them into their families while other family less children will travel thousands of miles to come to America with little to no hope of such an invitation.

Many would through their faith indicate the point that God knew which child would join their family and it was God that picked.  I don’t disagree, but that same sovereign God then picked 50,000 children to cross the border, so what now.  I mean its not as if thousands of tired, weary, stateless, parentless, and likely broken in spirit youths could possibly be ready for some good news, perhaps the Good News.  Clearly they need to be met with protests and pickets as opposed to Christian compassion.  Again, choose your default setting. We all must make some choices.  Not every family has an ability to adopt, but this not about adoption.  Its just that once we have decided what we can do is there no compassion left over those whom we cannot personally help.  Is attacking what is sure to be a lame duck President more important than feeding kids? We can all decry the circumstances that led us to this scenario, but make no mistake, those kids are here and they are real. So what now. Will the same people who would plead with a woman to protect the unborn life of an unexpected pregnancy now plead with America to protect these unexpected orphans?  I hope so, and many do.

Its not an all or nothing scenario.  You can still politically attack the President if you want while you simultaneously find ways to serve these youth. I’m cool if you nail down a higher border fence with one hand as long as you feed a hungry child with the other. You can even just simply hug your children tighter at night as long as there is some part of you that weeps for those who sleep tonight with out that.  This is just where I am at on this issue.  I have no need to be right other than to express where I am.  Feel free to comment and join the discussion either in support or against my thoughts.  No worries, I assure you my jimmies are in a secure non-rustling container.

Jeff Edwards