Kate Atkinson, one of my favorite writers, wrote a novel called When Will There Be Good News? I don’t remember what the novel was about but the title has been on my mind a lot, as we have waited for Ben to be paroled as well as during the slog through what has to be (Good Lord we pray!) the last year of Trump.
Short answer: Monday, March 2. Good news came on Monday.
Ben called earlier in the day than normal. He greeted me as usual, how are you, how is Dad, I am fine. Then he said, “Mom, the attorney brought me the money for my commissary account but it got into the wrong account and they told me I can’t use it or get it back and they told me how to get it returned to her. She has to call a number. Do you have a pen?”
Days earlier we had sent a check to replenish his commissary account, which he needs for phone calls as well as for personal items and snacks. But he learned that checks weren’t accepted (contrary to web info) and he was down to his last $3.60 so we asked the attorney to top up the account the next time she visited the detention center.
I dutifully wrote down the number Ben gave me. After making sure that the attorney would be able to get the $25 back, and as his phone minutes were dribbling away, Ben said, “Mom, there is another thing. I have to thank you and Dad for everything you have done because they gave me parole!”
Talk about saving the good news for last.
In his case, parole requires bond. This is a new thing. (It used to be either parole or, for criminal cases, bond.) Don’t ask me to explain why, but his recently paroled friends also had to put up a bond of $7500. This is refunded when their asylum cases are resolved.
So we talked to the attorney about how to do this. We could make a trip to the nearest ICE office, which is two hours away in Chicago, and pay it there. Or we could overnight a certified check to her office and she could take it to the detention center. We decided to do the latter. We scurried to the bank before it closed and then to FedEx, and then had a little celebratory dinner over margaritas. Of course, there were complications and, as it turns out, someone else will present the bond check and it won’t happen until Thursday, tomorrow. We could have driven to Chicago yesterday had we known.
It was the first of many celebrations, but the ones to come will include our guy. One thing and another (so many texts and phone calls with people who are arranging things) means he probably won’t get here until next week. He, and we, were hoping for Saturday.
But there will be time. After four-plus months of detention, freedom is just around the corner for Ben and the new phase of sponsorship begins for us.
Ben thanks you for your prayers and support!