Life in the sponsor lane

Sometimes when you are dealing with an asylum-seeker things happen very fast, sometimes very slowly, sometimes not at all. It’s stop-start rollercoaster stuff. Last week, for example, a friend of our guys who had been held for five months in a different detention center was suddenly sprung free on parole with no explanation. There is a welcome party for her tomorrow night at the Episcopal church. Miracles do happen.

Meanwhile, we and the other two sponsor couples we’ve teamed up with, because our guys are being detained together, have adjusted our sights to the long haul. Continue reading

What is a sponsor?

Since we signed on in early November to “sponsor” an asylum-seeker who is being detained at the border, we have been learning what that means. On the one hand, you’d think such a relationship should have been clearly defined for us at the outset. On the other hand, it is not at all simple, so no one could have predicted that it would turn out the way it is currently unfolding. Continue reading

When you can’t just say no

It is the end of December 2019. I should be summing up the decade but instead I lay awake last night thinking about things I had to do this week. Isn’t that the way it is? One loses the sense of history in the face of having to get through the night or the week. I guess something must be said for living in the present.

What was snagging my attention as I was trying to fall asleep was something I had been asked to do in my capacity as chair of the Outreach team at church: Continue reading

Private screenings 2019

One of my favorite features of modern life is the privilege of watching almost any movie on demand (with a slight delay from the release date) in the comfort of our own living room, with headphones for sound quality and subtitles so that my hearing-impaired husband and I can understand every word uttered. Private screenings used to be the privilege of the rich. Nyah nyah na nyah nyah.

For some time we have been sharing our list of favorite movies each Christmas with our friends, and now I do it on this blog. Continue reading

Wait for it

Sometimes I experience the Christian season of Advent as an artificially imposed waiting period. Like, you will get Christmas if you sit quietly for four weeks. Let’s all patiently wait for the Baby Jesus to be born though this actually happened several thousand years ago and we go through this every year. This season of waiting, of course, is completely countercultural. We are surrounded with Get ready! Buy now!

This year, however, the decision to sponsor an asylum seeker has given new meaning to Advent as a waiting period. Continue reading

“Ben”

Word came today from a contact who is working with asylum seekers in detention on this side of the border that our refugee’s latest interview did not go well. His officer was threatening to deport him because he’d entered the country after the law had changed to require application for asylum from outside the country. But the refugee, whom I will call Ben, which is not his real name, had actually requested asylum from two different places outside the country. Continue reading

Birthday gifts

IMG_3760A pretty but too early snow falls in my birthday week. Global warming, they say? Well, the snow is falling on autumn leaves that are still attached to trees. Trees used to always be bare by my birthday. In recent years they hang on at least two weeks longer than before. So what does it mean when fall comes later and snow comes earlier?

The key is that it is unusual. Nothing is normal. Or, the new “normal” is change and disruption. Unpredictability is an ambiguous gift for my birthday. Continue reading

Deliverance

IMG_3758Getting 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. Continue reading

A momentous decision

I’m doing better now that I’ve come to terms with the dark cloud hovering over my head: my late mother and my own mortality. Still, there are days when I can’t do more than one or two things. The weather is that cold-rain, almost-snow deep fall gray more typical of November than October and I literally feel “under the weather” a lot of the time. Sad weather weighs me down. I hibernate and don’t get enough exercise. A head cold threatens despite daily doses of immunity boosters.

But today I made a rather momentous decision. Maybe that is my one thing for today because decisions can be taxing, right? Continue reading