Saturday, Benjamin Chase Dillow was laid to rest in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after a valiant battle for his life. His parents did what no parent should ever have to do. They arranged his funeral. They selected his casket and chose the scripture. Unfortunately, they did this all from their home in Kentucky.
They were separated from their son because they could not get an exit letter from the DRC government to bring their son home despite the fact he had been legally adopted and had his passport and visa to travel. Eleven months ago, DRC stopped issuing exit letters. Instead of raising their son, the Dillows were forced to watch his health deteriorate from afar and were helpless to intervene.
Ben Dillow died when he should have lived. His parents have written a letter addressed To Anyone That Will Listen:
In memory of our son Benjamin Chase Dillow
I write this letter imploring, pleading, no, begging that my son's death not be in vain. Benjamin deserved life, he deserved to be united with his family, but was denied that by the senseless suspension of exit permits. He was one of the many critically fragile children that have families waiting helplessly to bring them home.
Benjamin was critically ill but his doctors in the DRC knew and had stated that his health could be greatly improved with more advanced care offered in the US. His story could have been about the life of a young child that was given a chance, a hope of growing up with his brother and sister, a life of birthday parties, and first loves, graduations, memories with his loving family. But instead Ben's life ended because the DGM failed to see my son as a life. This orphaned boy was not worth the consideration to give him a chance at life. Benjamin's death should be a warning to the reality of this suspension.
When I look at the eyes of these other critically ill children, I see sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. These children have families that want to give them their home and hearts. We as parents want to hold our children, to comfort them while they are sick. We want to give them the care that they need and deserve, even if it's only to hold their hand during their last breath. My son passed away on August 4th at Mutumbo Hospital with his care taker by his side.
As my son took his last breaths, he cried for his "Mama". I cannot tell you the pain of not being by his side; the pain of being helpless to do anything. Please do not let this happen to another child. Give my son's death meaning! Give these children a chance! Give them life!
Through Tearful Eyes,
Morgan and Grace Dillow
Ben's death, and what is happening to hundreds of other kids, makes no sense. If you want to learn more about the crisis, and what we are doing to resolve the problem, click here.
Founder, Both Ends Burning