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Separation

As the news coverage about children being separated at the border crescendoed, I had been watching news on MSNBC.

Curious to see if there was any way to spin this horrendous situation, I switched to Fox to see if they could fight their way out of this paper bag. I saw a blonde woman- I think they are all blonde- introducing a guest who was a self-identified Christian man. What transpired in the next few minutes was so horrifying that I have been frozen ever since.

The blonde was using shorthand, but essentially said, “What about adoption for these kids?  I suggest that a lot of the folks who are worried about that spend more time in Central America. I have. And we should make adoption easier for American couples that want to adopt these kids who are true candidates for adoption because our policies don’t allow that”.

I jumped up and screamed at the TV: “ADOPTIONS!”  These children have parents from whom they were forcibly taken. They don’t need to be adopted!  

A few days later I heard that ICE officials were threatening that children would be put up for adoption if the parents didn’t cooperate.  I wonder where they got that notion.

One day, when my son Dylan was three-years old, I took him with me to do some errands, one of which was to a store on two levels.

Dylan was never a clingy baby or child. He always had favorite books or toys that he carried around, and he always kept himself occupied if I needed to concentrate on some task at hand. He didn’t do reckless or scary things to worry me; he seemed happy to explore, to take things apart and put other ones together, but within his realm of Lego and Capsela.

I never felt that we were always on the precipice of one mishap or another. In other words, I was really lucky.

So, this child, who I adored, was with me on this errand.

I was looking through a rack of clothing, and suddenly, he was gone.

At first, I thought that he was playing hide and seek, so I called his name a few times, but then utter, complete, devastating panic took over. I ran around the floor, searching everywhere, but he was absolutely gone.

He’s 48 now, and I can recall the moment exactly and precisely.

My eyes took hold of the open elevator. 
I ran in and took it to the second floor.  It took seconds, but it was so terrifying that I thought I was going to die right there and then.

I got out of the elevator, and there he was, smiling.  He had gone a bit further than he normally did… and walked right onto the open elevator. Someone had obviously called for it, so he rode up, and got out.

I guess that he was secure enough to know where Iwas, and was not at all concerned.

45 years later, and tears well up.

I am nauseous. It was the worst moment.

So, these last two weeks, watching the news and reading accounts of the forcible separation of children from their parents, has conjured up this dreadful memory that will never leave me…even though the entire experience lasted only minutes.

What can these children be feeling? What can these parents be thinking?   The emptiness, the sorrow. How will they ever be okay again?

It is unfathomable.

We live in a country that is being run by lunatics, raving racist lunatics. I am in pieces.

We have to do something.

Phyllis Wrynn runs an art gallery in Brooklyn.

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