We are facing a great disaster on the southern border of our nation, and how we react is going to have serious repercussions. First of all, we have to take care of these people. Churches and government are doing their best to help, but are overwhelmed.
What is the best solution for this problem? For those children who have them, it would seem the best thing to do, would be to reunite them whether they are here legally or not. The problem is, that would send a message that illegal kids are welcomed here if their parents are here,
Well then, maybe we should send them back to whoever was taking care of them. But can we trust the authorities down there? Once many years ago I was trying to help two street children. I was accused of kidnapping them (charges were dropped), and the kids were taken out of my custody and sent back to where they came from, at my expense. I had to pay two one way fares for the kids and two round trip fares for the police officers to escort them. Later I ran into the two boys again, who told me the police put them on the bus and pocketed the fare for them. So we have a bigger problem yet.
Worse, many of those children in Honduras have no place to go. Children were on the streets back then for several reasons. Most of the ones who were on the street were children of unmarried women who lives with a man who was not the child’s father, and who was not interested in keeping kids who weren’t his. The next group were kids whose fathers and or mothers were drunk, and the kids had to go make money to buy booze (this has probably expanded to include drug use too) The next group were those who were physically, mentally and sexually abused by their parents. There is also a no unsubstantial group of kids who are on the street because don’t want to be told what to do, and those who have no food in the house. The smallest group is actual orphans.
The government has a number of places for these children. They are all overcrowded, have frequent runaways, and many of the younger boys are sexual and physically abused by older children. The workers try, but it is an overwhelming job.
There are also a number of church or para church orphanages, which are run by various churches. Again, not enough.
Adoption? I’d love to adopt some of these kids, but then again, what message is being sent. Run to the US and get there safely, and you’ll be adopted by (relatively) rich gringo parents.
We and the government have some really tough decisions to make. We need to try and do the best thing for these kids, but we don’t want to accidentally increase the flow. I also ask myself, why not kids from Nicaragua? I know several Reformed Congregations that have had projects going on to develop small businesses, Could these really be making a difference, Nicaragua has all the same problems (or had), even being considered the 2nd poorest (Haiti was the poorest) nation in Latin America for a while)
To make a christian decision that will actually help is most difficult. We need to start with prayer,