This morning, I saw the following headline on the AJC's web front page:
Evidently Mom applied for two extensions to their visas; daughter's was approved, hers was denied. She must return to Barbados, without her daughter, by next Thursday.
Just reading that headline sent shivers down my spine. I cannot imagine leaving a child alone in a hospital, even one as stellar as Scottish Rite. And this child is anxious, ill, and in total isolation while undergoing treatment for neuroblastoma in the AFLAC cancer unit.
Sadly, it happens. When our son was there (multiple times), there were often children crying alone and inconsolable, no loved one in sight. The nurses are caring, but harried, and certainly could not sit bedside for hours, stroking arms, rubbing the restless out of legs, and giving careful hugs around medical lines and gauges.
Further reading of the article reveals puzzlement by the Scottish Rite social worker who helped mom apply for the extension and the Immigration service spokesperson, as well as Mom herself.
Gooding has been separated from a husband and 2-year-old son during the ordeal. She has assured immigration officials she isn't trying stay in the U.S.
"My life is there," she said. "The one thing driving Niamh through this whole treatment is, ‘are we closer to getting back home?'"Is there a "rest of the story," as T often tells me? Is Mom wanted for something, or has Homeland Security redflagged her for some reason? Will we discover in the next few days that the story was "spun" to tweak our empathy?
I've decided that I don't care. That little girl needs her mom with her.
I pray that common sense rather than red tape prevails here.