The Foreign Service Journal, December 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | DECEMBER 2020 85 on a plate, the State Department sees him as the 6-foot-tall, Selective Service– registered, able-to-vote adult that he is, and they believe that he’s fully capable of living on his own. The truth lies some- where in between. We parents know our students are capable adults. We also know that they still need us. I spoke with several FS parents to get their perspectives. One was told that educational travel to her post in Europe wouldn’t be an option. “I was a bit shocked at the idea that a freshman—age 18—didn’t need to come home (as in, to post) in the summer,” says Christina. She had to stay at post when global authorized departure was offered; as a result, she hasn’t seen her freshman in nine months. And, she continued, the situation was also difficult for her new college gradu- ate. Her daughter was “graduating into a pandemic,” without support and without a job, and yet she was “expected to be old enough to figure it out.” “We managed,” Christina goes on to say. “But I don’t think it was quite reasonable.” Another FS parent, Dina, was able to take advantage of global authorized departure and returned to the States from her post in the Middle East. “After my freshman son was kicked out of the dorm, with no home to go to, we found a place to stay together,” writes Dina. Her husband, whose job during the pandemic is essential, stayed behind and, con- sequently, hasn’t seen his family in six months. Since he’s due to leave soon for an unaccompanied tour, the family will likely be separated for at least another year. Still, Dina isn’t complaining—she’s approaching the situation with the resig- nation, resilience and humor for which FS spouses are known. Her son is studying to be a pilot, she says, but his university is still online only. “I’m not sure how I feel about a self-homeschooled pilot,” she quips, but at the same time, she feels “incredibly supported by the State Department,” which was able to reunite mother and son amid the pandemic. One factor that makes all the differ- ence for these parents is which college their kids are attending, as each school has different issues and different policies in place. Tsoniki Crazy Bull, who is cur- rently posted in West Africa, has a student