My Family Had To Follow Immigration Law. Why Shouldn’t Refugees?

My Family Had To Follow Immigration Law. Why Shouldn’t Refugees?

Our family shouldn’t be threatened with a ‘punch in the face’ for seeking to protect our naturally born and adopted children from terrorism.
Jenni White
By

While at my grandparent’s house in 2005, I spent time with my cousin, who had been living in Zambia teaching English for several years. His Zambian wife relayed the distressing story of her sister, who had recently died from complications of Type 1 diabetes, leaving seven children motherless behind. The youngest were only three and eight years of age.

Images ran through my mind of young children left mostly unattended as older siblings went to school and the oldest brother worked to provide a living for the remaining family. My husband and I began to consider whether we should adopt these two girls and bring them home to live with us and our two boys, who were then ages one and three. After much discussion, that’s exactly what we set out to do.

Unlike many countries, Zambia had no international agreement with any adoption agency in the United States. This meant my husband and I would have to undertake the process of adopting the girls without any help or guidance from an adoption agency. It was essentially a “leap and hope for the best” kind of deal.

So We Leapt and Hoped for the Best

We secured the services of an attorney whom the oldest brother knew. Within a month of email correspondence, we knew we would have one heck of a fight through red tape, unclear laws, corrupt Zambian family and health workers, and an incompetent and unhelpful Zambian embassy.

A process that began in 2005 was finished by American and Zambian legal standards in January 2006, yet the Zambian embassy suddenly declared in Feburary that we had no standing to adopt the girls. It stopped the process and moved all the pieces on the board back to start, costing us thousands of dollars. Zambia to Oklahoma phone calls are neither cheap nor easy. Zambia is ahead of us by eight hours, and I made countless and repeated overseas calls to the embassy, my attorney, and the girl’s brother to try and rectify the situation.

Finally, in March 2007 (yes, you read that right), I was told I could fly over and pick up the girls. But an untimely cancer diagnosis put off my trip until the beginning of June, when I could squeeze it in between surgeries.

Once in Zambia, I was kept running back and forth between various agencies and the embassy for seven days, greasing palms as I went, plopping hotel and meal charges on my credit card with a cringe, waiting for when all the stars would align and I could finally get on a plane home with two girls—now four and nine—in tow.

Fifteen days after I arrived, I headed home to America with our new daughters, only to have to make appearances at the Social Security office, our local attorney’s office, and family court, again doling out money as I went. One day my husband David and I tried to put a figure to the amount of money we’d spent bringing the girls home, and it was well into the tens of thousands of dollars. So, tens of thousands of dollars and three years later, we finally had two U.S. citizens by adoption living in our home as legitimate members of our family.

Excuse Me, But Get In Line

Our family incurred many struggles and strife for this adoption. Although we wouldn’t take it back, it makes me very angry when I hear complaints from Hollywood and others over the fact that America would ban certain immigrants to the country for a relatively short and defined period of 90 days. While many seek the welcoming shores of the United States for legitimate purposes of asylum, we have seen again and again the damage done by immigrants to these shores for no other reason than to hurt America and Americans.

Why should we not vet people entering this country to make sure they intend to follow our laws and uphold our Constitution before allowing them carte blanche access to the various forms of wealth our country has to offer? Why is that a racist ideal? Why are those of us racist who simply want to uphold the same kind of immigration policy implemented by our last president?

I watched actors from “Stranger Things” vow at the recent Screen Actor’s Guild Awards to “get past the lies! …hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized!”

Then I wondered how many of the actors on that stage have adopted children from other countries, or given up their comfortable homes to put their money where their mouths are, ministering to the countless sick and unwashed in our country and others. I wonder if they have endured what my family and countless other individuals and families have endured to bring children across oceans into their families and homes in the United States, while knowing others simply walk into the country with ease thanks to lax enforcement of immigration laws.

Why should our family have had to struggle so mightily to bring our children into this country, only to be threatened with a “punch in the face” for seeking to protect our naturally born and adopted children from the terrorism occurring in our country and across the world, due in part to lax immigration laws and enforcement? That makes us willing to “destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized”? Haven’t we international adopters done the exact opposite?

Notice Who Is Breaking Windows and Who Isn’t

For eight years I endured President Obama and his policy of stepping into every single civil rights infraction he perceived, no matter how small. Does no one remember the “Beer Summit“?

I do. At that moment I began to understand I am a white person. No matter how he crowed about racial equality, I was someone our president disliked and distrusted because of my skin color. I remember beginning to actually feel dread that I might be fined or even thrown into jail for not coming into lockstep agreement with the Obama administration’s ideals of tolerance.

When you’re an evangelical Christian and other evangelicals are losing their businesses and livelihoods for no other reason than not wanting to bake a cake, or take photos, or supply a venue for a gay wedding due to your beliefs, it’s concerning. It makes you wonder which religion is to be tolerated, and which is to be mocked and denigrated all under the banner of “tolerance, equity and inclusion.”

When you’re a white person sneeringly told you exemplify “white privilege,” a notion translated into policies by the president of the country in which you are a resident, how do you not feel marginalized and even threatened?

Evangelical Christians didn’t threaten to kill or punch people, or stop travel at airports, or block lanes of traffic to make our points. We merely paid our fines, disengaged from public life to “fly under the radar” of the Obama administration’s flaming “civil rights” sword, and waited. We waited until we could vote for “change” we believed in.

We voted, in droves, for the “change” Donald Trump promised, to Make America Great Again, because we thought it could end President Obama’s policies of selective equality and start some geared more toward the equality of all. We didn’t yell, scream, or create protest after protest. We just waited silently to pull the lever in the voting booth.

Hit the Pause Button On Your Irrational Behavior Already

Although President Trump’s 90-day vetting order has sparked cries of racism, Johnny Walker, Chris Kyle’s Iraqi translator, wonders, “What about all the other rich Muslim countries? They banned Muslim immigration from the very beginning. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar— are they racist, too?”

Although the media is full of stories and pictures describing rioting and protests in response, those of us in the middle—the ever-decreasing silent majority—support him. And there is reason to do so. Just a glance 8 US Code 1182 would point directly to enforceable code for foreigners entering this country that was clearly followed selectively (at best) in recent years. Why shouldn’t our incoming POTUS enforce current code? Our family had to follow these rules to adopt our kids. Why should others be exempt?

I know that we Christians are to get along with and even love our fellow man, but more and more I’m wondering how that highway is driveable. Hollywood and the progressive left seem to become more unhinged every day, clearly having no idea they are emotional beyond reason. How in the world is it possible for the emotion-driven to put aside their rage and engage the brain? I honestly don’t know, but I do know that the unraveling of society is making me sad—and nervous. A civilization this divided is in grave danger.

Jenni White is cofounder of Restore Oklahoma Public Education and a former public school science teacher.

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