Lil Miss A's first grade teacher was a wonderful lady I will call Sherry *. Sherry is American born, your typical blonde-haired, blue-eyed Germanic Middle American gal. She told me about her family - her husband Valentin and their son, Little Valentin. Tales of the adventures of Little Valentin were big sources of amusement for Lil Miss A and her class. Big Valentin is a Mexican citizen. He wasn't here legally; I think he came legally and then his visa expired, though I'm not entirely clear on that detail. Anyway, he had established himself in Iowa with a wife and then a sweet little boy, a home, a church, a life.
It started to weigh on Sherry and Valentin's hearts that he was breaking the law by continuing to live here. So they looked into the process for how they could get a visa for Valentin. Nothing was really going to change; he already loved his adopted country, and he certainly loved his wife and child. He just wanted to show his respect for this land by keeping its laws. So they traveled to Mexico and his home and filed the paperwork while visiting with Valentin's extended family.
Horror of horrors, his visa was denied! They could not believe it. Sherry was placed in the sickening position of having to take their son and fly home to Iowa, leaving her husband, Little Valentin's daddy, behind. At first she hoped all would be cleared up in 6 weeks. Six long, sad, lonely weeks without her husband, without Daddy. Then weeks stretched into months. They got a lawyer. They got a state legislator on their side. More paperwork. The months became seasons. MORE paperwork. Waiting. More waiting. They were able to fly down and visit Valentin but then they had to leave him once again. Their church helped some, but maintaining two households plus all the travel and legal bills was very draining on the family finances.
I prayed for this situation faithfully for months and then somehow I lost track of it. I no longer saw Sherry every day, as Lil Miss A was now in 3rd grade, on the other side of the building, so I didn't bump into Sherry constantly at the school, and I failed to check on her. A couple of weeks ago I finally saw her and asked how things were going, and was shocked to learn that Valentin had still not received permission to return to Iowa!
Well, here is the happy news! After well over a year apart, the family is about to be reunited at last. Sherry told me she got a letter yesterday saying Valentin can come home to his family! Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
On a side note, and not meaning to detract from Sherry and Valentin's joy, I would like to point out that Sherry and I live in the same county as Postville, infamous for its ICE raid, deportations of hundreds of illegal workers and house arrests of dozens more, families torn asunder, the utter desperation of parents unable to be with their children and children taken from their parents. Heartbreaking stories - but those involved were breaking the law of the land. Now here are Valentin and Sherry. They did their best to uphold the law, to fix what was broken, and have been punished for it.
This nation's immigration policies need one giant overhaul.
* Names changed in respect for the family's privacy; if they ever give me permission to post their real names, I shall do so.