NC family stranded in Cameroon, struggling to get visas for adopted daughters during pandemic

Updated: Apr. 6, 2020 at 8:41 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

STANLEY, N.C. (WBTV) - A father from Stanley, NC says he and his family are currently stranded in the country of Cameroon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

David Parker said he and his wife, Michaela, have been overseas doing mission work for a couple of years now. Parker said that during that time period, he and his wife gave birth to a baby boy, 6-month-old Philip, and have also adopted twin 23-month-old Chadian girls, Ariella and Claira.

Parker said his family officially completed the Chadian adoptions in November of 2018. He said their quest for immigration visas has now led them to Cameroon, the regional hub for adoption cases.

“We were required to come here to Yaounde (Cameroon) in order to undergo the immigration visa application and issuance process,” Parker explained in a video sent to WBTV.

Unfortunately for the family, they seem to have run into a roadblock in the visa process. Parker said an immigration official in Cameroon expressed concern with their case and said the parents needed more ‘evidence’ before the girls would be granted immigration visas.

Parker said their family situation has developed as the COVID-19 pandemic has started spreading across the world. He said he and his family are now worried about having to stay in Cameroon during the global crisis.

“If my wife or I or both of us get infected with the virus, there will be no one to take care of our children,” said Parker. “We are also concerned about the unknowns in regards to this pandemic. We don’t know how people are going to respond, how long this is going to last, how many people are going to get infected and what the aftermath is going to look like.”

A representative from the United States Department of State told WBTV that the government agency cannot provide comments on individual cases, but did refer WBTV to a March 27 briefing where officials from the State Department discussed the issuance of visas during the pandemic.

“We are still processing visas for U.S. couples who are adopting children overseas. In some cases where there are immigrant visas where an applicant would be at risk of aging out under the law, we are still processing those visas,” said Dr. William Walters, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Operations of the Bureau of Medical Operations.

Parker said he feels he and his wife have met the qualifications necessary to get his twin girls visas. They are still hoping the girls will be granted permission to enter the United States.

"We are petitioning for exceptions to be made for our case and other adoptive families alike,” said the father. “We are requesting that the right person is willing to do the right thing for us and other adoptive families.”

He said that if immigration visas cannot be issued, the family would still settle for emergency visas. He said they would even travel back to Cameroon to complete the immigration process if it meant the family could get to the United States during the pandemic.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.