Separated by the Border: A Birth Mother, a Foster Mother, and a Migrant Child's 3,000-Mile Journey

Separated by the Border: A Birth Mother, a Foster Mother, and a Migrant Child's 3,000-Mile Journey

In 2017 five-year-old Julia traveled with her mother, Guadalupe, from Honduras to the United States. Her harrowing journey took her through Mexico in the cargo section of a tractor trailer. Then she was separated from her mother, who was held hostage by smugglers who exploited her physically and financially. At the United States border, Julia was put in detention as an unaccompan...

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Title:Separated by the Border: A Birth Mother, a Foster Mother, and a Migrant Child's 3,000-Mile Journey
Author:Gena Thomas
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Separated by the Border: A Birth Mother, a Foster Mother, and a Migrant Child's 3,000-Mile Journey Reviews

  • Christina Gilliland

    A beautifully written, powerful, and needed story for everyone. We cannot hide from the immigration issues that are occurring in the United States. Author Gena Thomas helps us remember that there are real people behind the headlines that we see on the news. Separated by the Border is a prophetic book not only when it comes to immigration but also on the importance of foster care. A stunning memoir, this is a must read.

  • Rileah

    Separated by the Border is a beautiful narrative that highlights a intense personal struggle related to a massive political agenda. Gena, Andrew, and Lupe’s ability to rely on God and trust Him with such insurmountable faith in the midst of trauma and crisis speaks to the hope we can find in our belief as Christians. The strength and faith of the mothers discussed in this book are a blessing and inspiration. May all mothers be as motivated for humanity and love.

  • Andrew

    This really is an important read for people who are on any side of the immigration debate. I feel like the best way to summarize the book is lament. Gena does a wonderful job narrating her journey as well as Lupes and Julia’s even though it is a mournful journey almost the whole step of the way. Lamenting the pain, injustice, and heartache for two mothers caught in a painful situation. But this book also does justice for their story- sharing with a larger audience the human side of immigration a

    This really is an important read for people who are on any side of the immigration debate. I feel like the best way to summarize the book is lament. Gena does a wonderful job narrating her journey as well as Lupes and Julia’s even though it is a mournful journey almost the whole step of the way. Lamenting the pain, injustice, and heartache for two mothers caught in a painful situation. But this book also does justice for their story- sharing with a larger audience the human side of immigration all the whole contemplating where Jesus is in the whole story.

  • Gena Thomas

    This was a tough book to write. I didn't want to know Lupe's story was full of such heartache and trauma. I didn't want to recognize my own brokenness, and we fully intended on adopting through foster care. Sometimes I can't make sense of this cruel world, and sometimes I want to flip over whatever table God is sitting at. Yup, I do. But God is still faithful, and God showcases Her inclusive mother love through Lupe, and I hope readers can see and experience a more full perception of God Our Par

    This was a tough book to write. I didn't want to know Lupe's story was full of such heartache and trauma. I didn't want to recognize my own brokenness, and we fully intended on adopting through foster care. Sometimes I can't make sense of this cruel world, and sometimes I want to flip over whatever table God is sitting at. Yup, I do. But God is still faithful, and God showcases Her inclusive mother love through Lupe, and I hope readers can see and experience a more full perception of God Our Parent. And maybe that deeper robustness will lead us to treat each other more like humans and less like exploitable "others"

  • Lisa

    This is the interwoven story of Gena, Lupe, and Julia. It is a hard and beautiful story. Our immigration system is broken and reading this book helps shed a light on those challenges. The book brings you into the desperation of family separation. Gena is amazing at identifying and being honest about her own inherent bias and mindsets throughout her life journey. Her perspective is refreshing, open, and told from a space of humility.

    She writes, “When we learn about history and we hear stories of

    This is the interwoven story of Gena, Lupe, and Julia. It is a hard and beautiful story. Our immigration system is broken and reading this book helps shed a light on those challenges. The book brings you into the desperation of family separation. Gena is amazing at identifying and being honest about her own inherent bias and mindsets throughout her life journey. Her perspective is refreshing, open, and told from a space of humility.

    She writes, “When we learn about history and we hear stories of people involved, we start to see the complex reality beyond headlines and soundbites.”

    This book is a must-read to feel the heartbeat of loss, fostering, the push and pull factors that lead people to leave their homelands and to understand the healing and response brothers and sisters in Christ deeply need.

    “In the relentless love of Lupe, I saw the tenacity and power of God’s abundant love that disregards boundaries and borders. Indeed, there is no border that can separate us from the mother love of God.”

  • David

    This is a narrative about the lives of two families one from Honduras and the other the United States. It looks at the costs of one immigrant women, her daughter and her family she made the decision to come to the United States with her daughter, and make the dangerous trip out of desperation. It is not a pretty story, but it is a story of redemption for both families. In many ways it is a story that reflects many of the experiences immigrants face in the decision to migrate to a safer place in

    This is a narrative about the lives of two families one from Honduras and the other the United States. It looks at the costs of one immigrant women, her daughter and her family she made the decision to come to the United States with her daughter, and make the dangerous trip out of desperation. It is not a pretty story, but it is a story of redemption for both families. In many ways it is a story that reflects many of the experiences immigrants face in the decision to migrate to a safer place in spite of the dangers.

    The beauty of this book is that it is written in light of the experiences of those directly involved. It reflects the struggle, suffering, pain and hearbrake of parenting/foster parenting. Gena does not present herself in a savior like role, but rather as a human being facing the challenges of caring for immagrant children separated from their parents. Her story shows the deep connection between orthodoxy and orthopraxis. It is a story of faith lived in the messiness and tragedy of human life.

    It is a story that is lamentful in how immigrants are treated. Gena writes:

    "Lament might look like cuss words that are wrong and shameful, because human suffering is wrong and shameful. Lament might look like a constant flow of tears, an inability to get out of bed, an angry rant, an emotional prayer . . ."

    I highly recommend this book as it is "The call to Christians is to work for and usher in shalom here and now while simultaneously esperando (waiting for or hoping for) the renewal of all things when the upside-down kin-dom comes for good."

    Gena Thomas writes,"The church tells women to tell the pretty stories, because when you tell us the ugly stories, you make us feel uncomfortable." Thank you Gena for making me feel uncomfortable!

  • Laurel

    This book helped me understand why and how our immigration system is so broken, and did it through the deeply personal, gut-wrenching, and inspiring story of a mother and her daughter. This is a must-read for our time. Beautifully written and educational, shocking and sadly true, with an ending that leaves you hopeful and with all the right questions.

  • Chase Andre

    I thought I understood the plight of migrants crossing the U.S. border — this book showed me how little I knew. I thought I understood the complexities of the foster system — this book showed me how little I knew.

    If you want your world expanded, heart broken, and hope restored, "Separated by the Border" is a must-read. While migration at the southern U.S. border is still making headlines, this book offers a true-to-life account of two families united through one unaccompanied minor.

    Part memoir

    I thought I understood the plight of migrants crossing the U.S. border — this book showed me how little I knew. I thought I understood the complexities of the foster system — this book showed me how little I knew.

    If you want your world expanded, heart broken, and hope restored, "Separated by the Border" is a must-read. While migration at the southern U.S. border is still making headlines, this book offers a true-to-life account of two families united through one unaccompanied minor.

    Part memoir, part graduate-level expose, Gena Thomas peels back the curtain on the headlines we retweet, and shares from her heart to put faces to the numbers we hear about. Possibly most worthy of note is the tender, open-handed way she presents the stories of others — how she tells of the experience of her foster daughter and her birth mother, aware of the gravity involved in stewarding someone else's narrative.

    After reading this book, you'll be left with a deeper knowing of the love of God, a hotter fire burning against injustice, and a quieter resolve to open your arms to others than you had before. If that sounds like a worthy pursuit, read this book.

  • eyes.2c

    Heartfelt!

    A book for our times that pulls no punches when describing the tragedies that lie in the past with respect to the Refugee question and in the present for those wanting to lead a better life. All on hold at the border!

    But it's the children and their families who are suffering. Thomas' book calls us to "walk a mile" in their shoes and ask the hard questions.

    Driven by need and fear, this is the personal story of some whose bright hopes became dark dreams.

    Hard

    Heartfelt!

    A book for our times that pulls no punches when describing the tragedies that lie in the past with respect to the Refugee question and in the present for those wanting to lead a better life. All on hold at the border!

    But it's the children and their families who are suffering. Thomas' book calls us to "walk a mile" in their shoes and ask the hard questions.

    Driven by need and fear, this is the personal story of some whose bright hopes became dark dreams.

    Hard to read, hard to come to terms with and harder to cross to the other side of the road. Definitely a call for us all to exercise our Good Samaritan ethic, to not walk on by.

    An InterVarsity Press ARC via NetGalley

  • Timothy Paulson

    I really enjoyed this book. Not only was it a powerful and heart-wrenching story of a mother's love, the realities of sacrificial cross-cultural love, and the horrors of family separation -- it was also a thought-provoking read that forced me to ask some hard questions.

    What does it mean to be among the most privileged in the world (white, Christian, wealthy, secure), living in a time of great need? How does my faith intersect with the political and humanitarian realities that others face, who o

    I really enjoyed this book. Not only was it a powerful and heart-wrenching story of a mother's love, the realities of sacrificial cross-cultural love, and the horrors of family separation -- it was also a thought-provoking read that forced me to ask some hard questions.

    What does it mean to be among the most privileged in the world (white, Christian, wealthy, secure), living in a time of great need? How does my faith intersect with the political and humanitarian realities that others face, who only differ in that they were born in a different country? Despite my desire for justice and my humanitarian concern for others, what are my blind spots that keep me from the kind of proximity that Jesus exampled for us? What terms and concepts do I unconsciously buy into that lead to separation from the people around me?

    There is a lot to think about with this one. I recommend it to anyone who wants to honestly consider how our faith can inform our action in regards to immigrants, refugees, and those who are in need right outside our door.

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