Getting the documents together to apply to sponsor an asylum seeker is as complicated as applying for a visa for Congo, a process that always daunts me though I’ve been through it countless times.
The sponsor application was complicated by a last-minute switch in who was being sent to us, complicated by notarization required for one document, complicated by the local coordinator sending jpegs to include in our application that were too small to be readable and having to resend them, complicated by forgetting to include said documents and having to go back into the house to get them, complicated by forgetting my wallet when I did go to the post office and having to go back home to get it, complicated by having to pay more than expected to send a package that will arrive later than expected because the P.O. “doesn’t deliver overnight to some places,” one of them being a border county in New Mexico where said asylum seeker is waiting for deliverance from a detention center into our charge.
I have been thinking about other complications such as which empty bedroom to use for the refugee and how we are going to manage Thanksgiving when all our bedrooms will be needed for family if he gets here by then, which he may if things go smoothly. Such as whether we will need to bump up the thermostat significantly even at night, which makes it harder for me to sleep, and how to manage the cooking around our low-carb diet and someone who will need lots of carbs and more. Such as my need for lots of alone time. Such as what to expect from someone who has been tortured.
Complications and inconvenience are a small price to pay for what several people have told me is a significant act of deliverance. One of them is a friend who is herself an immigrant. “What you are doing is so important,” Frazia said. “This makes all the difference in the world. You should take two people! They won’t mind being in the same room.”
I did think about that but as of now all the asylum seekers in this particular group have been matched with sponsors.
The other was a staffer from the organization that is helping to make sponsor matches. He called last evening and I happened to take the call although it was from an unknown number. I don’t usually answer because of so much junk calling but wait for a message. The staffer said our refugee had been trying to call me from the detention center. I guess that was one of the calls I didn’t take. He said the the man just wanted to tell us—and he wanted to say himself–how excited and grateful he was that we were taking him on. “You can’t know how much this means to these people,” the staffer said.
Such encouragement helps.
Just now a call came from a strange area code and I took it. It was the Ugandan, telling me over and over how happy he was, how grateful, how good to speak to me. He sounded happy, not like someone who’d been through hell and high water. He spoke of the miraculous way the path had opened to bring him this far. He said he has a story to tell and I said I can’t wait to hear it.
I hope everything goes well for the asylum seeker as he makes his way through whatever bureaucratic complications may yet stand in his way. I won’t worry too much about our own complications. After all, how often does one get the privilege of offering sheer deliverance?