RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina family is stranded in Africa after trying to bring home their adopted daughters.
Michael and David Parker were working as humanitarians in the country of Chad when they adopted twin girls.
“They found out about twin girls who lost their mother at birth, she died,” Michaela’s mother Elaine Horton told CBS 17. “And their biological father was not able to take care of them.”
Once the Parker’s finished their humanitarian work in Africa, Horton says they decided to move back to North Carolina. The family went to the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon to get visas to bring their adopted daughters home. But Horton says their visas were denied.
“They [the embassy] requested a few more times to complete the girls’ adoption,” she said. “Unfortunately that was mid-February and several weeks later, COVID hit and that closed all the borders.”
The National Council for Adoption says other American parents are stranded abroad and facing the same struggles. The group is pushing the U.S. government to grant humanitarian parole or visitors visas.
“We bring them here temporarily with humanitarian parole or another type of non-immigrant visa,” said Ryan Hanlon, VP of the National Council for Adoption. “And then once the situation has been resolved and the dust has settled, the family can travel back to Cameroon and complete the immigration process.”
Horton tells CBS 17 her daughter’s family is living on a compound. She added, “It’s definitely getting more scary for them now and they’re feeling unsafe.”
Hanlon added, “The department of state is leaving them in a situation where they either have to abandon their children or be put in a very unsafe and unstable situation. That’s a terrible choice to be left in. The U.S. owes these families far better than that.”
Horton said she’s reached out to North Carolina lawmakers and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to help bring her daughter and her family home.
Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.