Posts Tagged ‘dreaming’

You May Say That I’m A Dreamer…

September 6, 2017

 

Many years ago, I had a dream. I would take a child, most likely a little girl who had been abandoned by her birth mother and placed on the steps of an orphanage, and raise her with all the love and advantages I could possibly offer. That dream became a reality in 2001 when we brought our daughter home from China, where she had spent the first 13 months of her life in a welfare center near Nanchang, in the Jiangxi Provence of China.

She was beautiful, and even at a year old, she was verbal, pointing at animals and foods and saying their names in her native tongue. She was fiercely loyal, crying when her caregiver from the orphanage left her and mourning her departure throughout our time in Nanchang. Our pediatrician assured us that her inconsolable outbursts, despite the discontent of the other hotel guests showed that she was able to bond and that she would in time, bond with us as well.(She did.) She told us that children who are able to thrive in the worst of conditions are innately fighters, able to overcome the obstacles that appear in daily life. That these kids tend to have exceptional grit and rigor. She hit the nail on the head.

Throughout her life, our child has been a fighter. When faced with challenges, she says “bring it.” When faced with adversity, she confronts it, sometimes with tears, but ultimately with strength and resilience. She adds value to our lives in a way I could never express, but even more importantly, she adds value to her community, through hard work and service to others, and will no doubt contribute to society as an adult.

Today, as I read that our president wants to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) my heart breaks. I remember sitting in that dingy room in John F. Kennedy airport in New York, holding my squirming and crying baby after a grueling 20-hour flight to her new home, listening to the cacophony of languages around us as we waited to be allowed to bring our immigrant child into this country. A few months later, the government issued a ruling that children adopted by American families during a specified period of time would be granted automatic citizenship. Our daughter was issued an American passport and no longer needed to use her Chinese issued papers and green card for identification. There is no official record of her birth.

She has lived the American dream; one where she has access to a loving family, a safe home, abundant food and clean water, a top tier education and the opportunity to be the best version of herself possible. Other than the fact that her parents are Americans, how does she really differ from the “dreamers’, some of whom may have been in that room with us on that very day at JFK when we brought her home? How does she differ from those who share that same desire to achieve, to rise up above their humble beginnings and fulfill their greatest potential? How bland of a country would America be, without our rich tapestry of cultures that weave together a society filled with bountiful flavors, styles, music, and customs?

Yet with the stroke of a pen, our president can take away the life these people dreamed of when they came to America. He can order nearly 800,000 young people back to their former homelands. Many of these people are living productive lives, whether they are working in our kitchens, picking our food, serving in our military, or tending to our health. These are the dreamers.

You might say that I too am a dreamer. I dream of a world where people are treated with respect and dignity and granted the opportunity to contribute to society in a way that is uniquely theirs. I dream of a world where we are judged solely by our actions and not by our race or religion. And I wake up to the realization that my child, had there been a very slight twist of fate affecting her parentage, could now be facing deportation back to the country that shunned her in the first place. And that is a nightmare.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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