COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - There are four children from age 7 to 11 under foster care in South Carolina, after being separated from their biological families at the US-Mexico border. As parents are detained for illegally crossing into the U.S., Lutheran Services Carolinas has placed their children under foster care. When they will be reunited is still unknown.
There were five children sent to South Carolina, at first; one little girl is now staying with a relative elsewhere in the United States. Lutheran Services Carolinas says reunification is their ultimate goal; however, while in foster care, living in a safe environment is the priority. Children have been able to communicate with their detained family.
"It doesn't matter where these kids are from. They could be from Mars, and it doesn't matter. We have a duty I think as Americans to take of them…personally, I just think that children need to be taken care of," Program Director Rebecca Gibson says.
Gibson has personally met and interacted with the children. She empathizes with their parents, as a mother of two who returned to the U.S. from Guatemala herself.
Lutheran Services can take up to eight children but is in need of foster parents. They are unsure if more children separated from family will come to South Carolina, since President Trump signed the executive order against separations. But the foster care provider also takes unaccompanied children and has served 30 since September. To apply to be a foster parent, go to lscarolinas.net.
Scenes of separation at the border are thought-provoking and heart-wrenching to other foster parents, too. Foster moms like Linda Gardner are speaking out. Gardner fostered children from Honduras where she lives in Greenville, separately from the Lutheran Services Carolinas program.
Gardner's foster child's mother was killed, and father was deported. "I think it completely changed my perspective on immigration and policy, and in the end, they're just kids. They didn't ask to be here. They don't really know why they're here. They're scared, and regardless of their circumstances, they miss their family," Gardner said.