💜💜#Repost @paolamendoza ・・・Juan’s daughter Liliana has cerebral palsy. Her mother abandoned her. Juan lives and breathes for Liliana.
Yesterday we took Juan and his daughter to the area where people are able to cross into the USA to begin their asylum proceedings. The plan was to talk with the organizers to try and get Juan and Lily to the front of the “line”. After lots of negotiating we were told to come back tomorrow at 7am. They told us she would be processed first.
Juan was excited at the prospect of finally getting to the USA but he was also scared about the uncertainty of his future. I dropped him off at the shelter. I promised to return in the morning with a van large enough to transport the wheelchair that was just donated to him.
Juan called me various times through out the night. He asked how many diapers he should bring? Should he pack food for his daughter? What paperwork did he have to take with him?
We picked him up at the shelter at 6:30 am. He was waiting outside for us. All of his belongings stuffed into a small plastic yellow bag. He hugged his dear friend, Angela, good-bye.
On the drive to the location Juan was silent. He held his daughter and looked out the window. I asked him how he felt, “I’m nervous.” When we arrived to the crossing point it was drizzling. The people who told us to come back were waiting for us, which was a good sign. At that moment Juan turned to me with fear in his eyes, “Will they take my daughter away from me? Will they separate us?” “I don’t think so Juan. I can’t tell you they won’t but I doubt it.” The words felt disgusting coming out of my mouth. The fact that I could not say, “No, they would never take your daughter away from you.” Is a feeling I will never forget.
We waited for about an hour. I talked to various people to make sure he was first on the list, that they could transport his wheelchair, to make sure this was actually going to happen.
It wasn’t until he was finally being walked across the gate that I actually believed he was going to cross into the USA. We said good-bye. I watched him walk across. I watched him get into the van and I watched it drive away. 📸@jamesadolphus