Security In America

September 4, 2010

Most of you know me and know that I am a mental health therapist.  I treat people with depression and anxiety every day.  There is a common thread among most of the adults I work with.  The common thread is that in their childhood, they felt unsafe, unloved, or abandoned by one or both parents.  Children need to feel loved, safe, and secure.  In my time as a single mother, I have realized how much energy it takes to keep it all together.  There are so many things to do and so many needs to be met.

Pedro and I have done our best to make sure that Logan still feels loved by him in his absence.  Pedro draws pictures for Logan, writes letters to him, talks to him on the phone, and they even play “hide and seek” over the phone.  I tell Logan stories about when he was born and Pedro cut the umbilical cord, or when Logan rode on the back of Pedro’s bike all the way to the museum, or just about our family time at night talking, giggling, and going to sleep.  When Logan says, “I miss Daddy.  I just want to play with him and snuggle with him and show him all my toys.”  It breaks my heart and doubts enter my mind about whether we are doing enough to prevent this whole catastrophe from scarring him for life.  Will he be depressed and anxious?  Will he feel like we didn’t do enough?  Will he always think about the day Pedro was taken from us? 

This last week, Logan began to tell the story in detail.  “The guys got out of the car and grabbed Daddy.  Then they put those things on his wrists.  What are those called?”  My heart dropped to my stomach.  I don’t talk about the story in that kind of detail.  He remembers clearly, even though he was 2 years old.  “Then they put him in their car and I wanted to go with him.  I wanted you to come too so we could all be together.” 

When I begin to cry in front of Logan, he asks me, “Do you miss Daddy?” He hugs me and he says, “I miss Daddy too.”  Obviously, I try to avoid having breakdowns in front of him but occasionally it is unavoidable.  This past year has been hell.  I worry that at 3 years old, he will think that he has to take care of my feelings, instead of feeling safe enough to share his feelings.  I don’t want him to feel like he has to be tough and strong for me.  When I lose it for a moment and yell, I think, here is another moment where he does not feel safe.  The other day my worry increased when after a really rough day Logan stopped for a moment, looked at me and said “When you yell at me, it breaks my heart.”  The stress of all of this has made life so much harder.  My mom this year has nicknamed me Wonder Woman but at times like that I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Counseling for Logan and I has definitely helped, but it does not bring Pedro home.  It does not make it so that Pedro can witness the beautiful events of Logan’s three year old life.  It doesn’t take away the painful memory of his dad being taken away in handcuffs or the night that immigration came with flashlights yelling and banging at our door.  It does not return the love of my life, so that when I have a hard day I can cry on his shoulder or when I don’t know what to do, he can hold me and listen. 

All three of our lives have been changed forever, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. We will never get this year of our lives back. Therapy, protests, support, even Pedro’s freedom will not give us this year back; however, when Pedro is released we can actually try to start healing our wounds. His release from immigration detention would return a small amount of my faith in the United States.   We have shared our story far and wide and so many people have been shocked and disgusted by the injustice of Pedro’s case.  It has planted the seed of doubt in the American justice system.  All of us feel less secure and less safe here.  We have lost confidence.  If our campaign to release Pedro succeeds and he is granted his freedom here in the United States,  our family, our friends, our community and the thousands of people that our story has touched, can begin to heal.  We can begin regain confidence and trust that when we object to injustice, the American government listens and remedies the injustice and allows us to trust that, here in the United States, we are safe, secure, respected, and loved.

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Information

Stewart Detention Center is where Pedro was detained.

NACARA is the type of relief Pedro was granted. Click here to find out what it is.