Community Voices

Why is it so hard just to be able to hug an immigrant child who needs it?

An immigrant infant plays with a stuffed animal inside the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, June 23, in McAllen, Texas.
An immigrant infant plays with a stuffed animal inside the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, June 23, in McAllen, Texas. AP

I recently wrote about my concern for “abused American and immigrant babies who would benefit from the warmth of a loving lap and the cuddling arms of this and other caring grandmothers.” I felt the need to pursue finding babies who need such care and so I decided to take on this loving task.

I soon learned that giving away love is not as easy as it sounds. My first call was to the Florida Department of Children and Family Services. After holding on for nearly 30 minutes, I was connected with a nice man whose name is Daniel. I explained to him what I wanted to do. He listened patiently and then told me that he was not aware of such a program in the system. He then referred me to another number, which I called immediately.

After about a five minute wait, I got another nice voice on the phone. Her name was Michele. I told my story again of how I, as a retiree, could offer my lap and loving arms to cuddle some baby or toddler who could benefit from such a gesture.

Bea L. Hines.JPG
Bea L. Hines

Michele told me about a program called Radio Lollipop, which accepts volunteers. I explained that this wasn’t exactly what I was referring to, and explained again that I was talking about a more hands-on kind of program where babies could benefit from loving arms like mine and other grandmothers.

She said she understood and then told me that the department already has a program called counseling therapy for such children. She then told me to call a children’s hospital, which uses volunteers to help comfort sick children.

While I know there are volunteers who go into the hospitals to comfort sick children, the children I want to help suffer from another kind of sickness — the lack of love. It is a disease that if gone unchecked, can certainly be life-threatening. The children I want to reach live a life devoid of loving arms and could use someone to cuddle and comfort them.

As I spoke to Michele, I thought of the newspaper article I had read which said those who work with the immigrant children are not allowed to cuddle the babies who were snatched from their parents during this heartless immigration debate. It is those children and the abused American children I want to reach out to.

After Michele had done all she could to help me, we wished each other a good day and I hung up the phone.

I sat a while thinking how hard a task it is just to be able to hug a child who needs it. While there should be rules in place to protect the children, there shouldn’t be that much red tape to wade through just for a well-meaning person to hug a child.

To me, getting this task of love done is more than something one does for a hobby in retirement. I believe it is my Christian duty to try to make life better for these children, who so need to feel some love.

I can only imagine how the mothers of the children who were snatched away from their arms must feel. I believe they would rest a lot easier if they knew that someone felt their pain and was trying to comfort their babies while they are separated from them. I know I would, if I knew somebody was loving my child under such harsh circumstances.

Right now, friends, I don’t know where to turn. I will keep on trying to find away to give away my love to the children who need it most. And I am not the only one. I know of several other women who want to join me in this effort. If you know a way to cut through the red tape that is hindering us cuddling mothers, grandmothers, aunts and others, from reaching out to these children, please let me know. You can email me at

There are babies out there who need us.

Community Fireside series

The community is invited to the monthly Community Fireside series presented by the Bah’a’is of Miami at 7:30 p.m. on July 21 at the Miami Bah’ai Center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. The program will feature Gerald Schwartz, who will speak on the topic, “Faith is Action, Not Just Belief.”

Schwartz is an adjunct English professor at Miami Dade College. In his lecture he will ask the question, ‘what is more important: faith or good works?’

“In recent times, traditional faith has been severely tested by modernity and secularism,” Schwartz said.

“The human race, having come through so many sobering and often grim experiences, now demands that faith, if it is to be taken seriously, must be expressed in meaningful action — but what actions a re pure and appropriate,” he said. “The question then becomes, what are the important, fundamental beliefs to hold on to and how do we translate these beliefs into effective actions?”

The lecture will be followed by an audience discussion.

Also, the center will host a community devotional at 10:30 a.m. on July 29. There is no admission charge or a solicitation of funds at either event. Call 305-915-7247, or visit, for more information.

Works of Wonder

The Universal Truth Center for Better Living at 21310 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens invites the community to the last day of its Works of Wonder (WOW) seminar from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, July 15.

The seminar is designed to help you to become “sustainably” happy through guided meditations and breathing exercises to reduce stress as well as wisdom and knowledge to bet handle your mind and emotions. The event is free but a donation will be accepted.

Also, if you are someone you know have the responsibility of caring for the ill, disabled or an aging loved one, the center’s Season of Home will host a free Caregiver Day Out Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at the center.

If you go, you will be treated to a brunch buffet, massages, vendor shopping and a speaker series covering self-care and mental health, financial planning and elder law, including living wills and power of attorney. To RSVP, for more information and to register, go to