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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A story about Hope

I have mentioned before the story of the little girl next door, abandoned at birth, enfolded into the family of our friends, missionary dentist and wife with 25 years in Africa and plenty of biological children, who simply saw a need for foster care that grew into total commitment as parents. Because of concern for child trafficking, the legal system for international adoption has become increasingly complex to navigate.  It took the Riches 2 1/2 years with Hope in their family as their child to achieve the legal Kenyan adoption, and get her a legal Kenyan passport.  Many of us prayed for that oft-delayed and difficult-to-achieve event, until the day the Kenyan judge declared Hope theirs.  Just in time for the family's planned furlough to the USA, where their fourth child will begin University studies.  However, incredibly, the American embassy in Nairobi has denied Hope a visa for the USA.  Even though the Riches were granted custody of Hope for over two years which culminated in adoption, even though they have been her only caretakers since birth, even though she is completely part of their family, she is not yet a US citizen.  And our embassy has decided she can not enter our country with her family.  Which means the Riches can not visit their elderly parents, or help their college-age kids settle in college.  They were told that they must wait a further two years AFTER her adoption.  They had sold their car and most of their possessions, finished their jobs, given away and closed up most of their life, booked airline tickets, expecting to spend the next year in America and then return to Africa to a different mission location.  Instead they now must find a place to stay with Hope and their 9th-grade daughter indefinitely, send their graduating son on to college alone.

One of their kids made this video to explain the story, generate prayer, and encourage people to appeal to their congressional representatives.  Particularly if you are in North Carolina (the Rich's home state) please consider following the links to register your support for Hope's visa to the USA.  This is not a dangerous criminal, this is a precocious healthy loving 2 year old with a family who just wants to be together.  Watch the two-minute clip here:



JD said...

Wow! Was there any more explanation on why there needs to be a 2 year wait for the child to be granted the immigration VISA? Can she get a visitors VISA?

DrsMyhre said...

The two-year wait seems to be designed to prevent quick snatches of children for nefarious purposes under the guise of adoption. But the Riches has over two years of legal custody PRIOR to the completion of the Kenyan adoption. And any logical review of their case would make it clear that this is a stable loving family with the child's best interests at heart. The embassy staff also denied a visitor's visa as she is at "risk of becoming an illegal immigrant". On the grand scale of immigration issues, Hope Rich is hardly a threat to national security. Laws have good reasons, but someone with an ounce of practical wisdom needs to review this case!!

Melissa said...

Passing it along to on of our supporters, a NC State representative.

Tracy said...

Sen Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is a known adoption advocate, contact her even if the family is from NC. She advocated for the Smith family on their Kenyan adoption in 2008. They are from Maryland and are happily living in MD with their 2 adopted Kenyan American children :)

Grace H. said...

Have they tried going through the U.S embassy in Uganda? I wonder if that would make a difference at all. They give immigration visa's to Ugandan children who are under Legal Guardianship of American parents and those who have been legally adopted through the High Court of Uganda. Being as she's been legally adopted in Kenya I don't see how that's any different. I pray the best for this family! - Grace

Jane said...

I passed the information on to Ruth Samuelson NC state rep. but she said Sue Myrick was who needed to be contacted.

Hope this helps.