Give me a few minutes of your time this morning to tell you what I’m thinking about today.

I’m thinking about 3-year-old Adan Galicia Lopez, who was separated from his mother on the Texas border for four months.

I ask you to think about Adan as you watch your 3-year-old playing in the yard, or your 3-year-old grandchild who at this moment may be sitting on your lap. Try to imagine them gone. Yes, just gone.

Four months. Close your eyes for a minute and try to imagine a disaster, a sudden social upheaval, a political tornado from coast to coast that turns America upside down. Impossible? Not at all.

It’s happened before all over the world. Read about the Great Depression, the Holocaust in Europe. Think about Syria.

Four months. That would be Thanksgiving before you saw them again. And then, a bureaucrat from the Department of Health and Human Services may hand you a paper saying the agency has lost track of the child.

It has been reported this week that we’ve lost track of 1,475 immigrant children. Lost track? Sí. Perdido en America, like socks in a massive laundry.

This morning while I was sitting in a coffee shop, someone left The New York Times on the table beside me.

There on the front page was this picture of Adan Galicia Lopez, just 3 years old, who was pulled from his mother’s arms at the border.

This week, Adan was found and returned to his mother. I’m sure she thanked the Virgin of Guadalupe that he is back in her arms. He’s with his mother now, and everything will be OK.

Well, that’s good, you’re thinking. We can go back to our bacon and eggs now, another cup of coffee. He’s OK.

No, he will not be OK. It will never be OK for Adan Galicia Lopez. I can tell you that he will never forget one minute of those four months, not one sleepless night, not one day or week.

Years from now, if things work out for Adan, he may grow up in America. He may go to school and become a carpenter, or perhaps a doctor. Who can tell?

The article I read was written in Texas for The New York Times on Sunday, July 14, by Dan Barry, Miriam Jordan, Annie Correal and Manny Fernandos. These are the journalists whom your president calls “sick people,” “really bad people,” “enemy of the American people.”

These “sick people” discovered children in the wire cages in those huge refitted Walmarts in Texas.

The boys and girls there are given rules. These are the rules read and reported by these four New York Times “sick and bad people,” these “enemies of the American people”:

Do not misbehave.

Do not sit on the floor.

Do not share your food.

No hugging or kissing.

Do not touch another child, even if that child is your hermanito or hermanita — your little brother or sister.

Do not use nicknames.

Also, it is best not to cry. Doing so might hurt your case. Do not cry.

Lights out by 9 p.m. and lights on at dawn.

Do not cry.

After waking, you will make your bed according to the step-by-step instructions posted on the wall.

Do not cry.

Wash and mop the bathroom.

Do not cry.

You will scrub the sinks and toilets.

Do not cry.

As I read this, I was reminded of the story I read years ago by a survivor of the Holocaust. This Jewish woman was hiding in the woods in Poland with her child, maybe 3 years old like Adan. As the Germans passed by, she held her child to her breast and kept whispering, “Don’t cry.”

I recall as I read this story this morning an incident in my early childhood. During the war, because of circumstances, I was separated from my mother. It’s a story that is still too personal to share — not as dire as Adan’s, but unforgettable.

In the middle of the night, I woke up in a strange room, separated from my mother, and I started to cry. A lovely woman, a stranger to me, came and held me and whispered, “Don’t cry.” I will never forget that night or that lovely stranger.

Yes, Adan was reunited with his mother, as I was. I pray that he will grow up in a better America.

He may become a lawyer or teacher, or maybe a writer. But he will never forget those four months. In the middle of the night, when he’s 24, 54, even 84, he will wake in a sweat and remember.

Ve con Dios, Adan, ve con Dios.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.