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Diasporia News of Sunday, 13 September 2015


Springfield couple struggling to travel with adopted son

Greg and Jen Sitzes Greg and Jen Sitzes

A Springfield couple in West Africa are fighting to bring their son home. Greg and Jen Sitzes have been in Ghana for three weeks, struggling to get a visa approved for their son. They talked with KSPR on Skype about challenges of an international adoption.

"Adoption was on my heart from a very young age,” explained Jen.

So more than three years ago the couple started the adoption process.

"They told us 'you will have a referral within two to six months.' "

But it took longer.

"A month after we submitted our dossier, they actually went into a moratorium in Ghana."

The process is complicated, and there’s a lot of adoption terminology like “dossier.” Greg and Jen had to explain the details to us. We’ll sum it up for you: delay, after delay, after delay -- until last December when they were told they had a son.

"We went to court, and in court they basically said that you are his parents."

It was official – Thad, who is now 18 months old was their son, but it didn't mean they could bring him home. It takes time to and more paperwork first.

“We spent nine months away from our son.”

The couple talked about how hard it was to leave Thad in Ghana. The said they were both crying when they left, but they had to go back to work.

"Finally in August we were told to come back to Ghana,” said Jen with a smile on her face. “We thought everything was lined up, we thought it was perfect. We were going to breeze through embassy, and then there was that hiccup of the passport."

That hiccup was the birthplace on Thad’s passport. It was wrong.

"The biggest issue is, when you have two different governments, one government, like Ghana, says 'well, these are acceptable for this adoption.' Well the U.S. looks at it and says 'we actually need more information, or there's something not quite right,' " said Greg.

Causing more delays.

"Now we're sitting here in country and we're going on our fourth week,” said Jen.

The couple had only planned to be Ghana for a week. When friends and family in Springfield heard about the delays, they wanted to help.

"I have three kids, and the one thing you want is to just be able to hold your child, have that life with them, raise them in your home, and they're stuck and they can't bring their child home,” said Nancy Wrinkle. She’s gone to church with the Sitzeses for about four years. When she heard they couldn’t come home, she set up an online account to raise funds.

"That's the last thing you to worry about, is the money, as they're trying to bring their child home. If we could help just a little bit, I wanted to be able to help them,” said Wrinkle.

There was more than a little help. In just three hours - the goal was met - so the Sitzeses can just focus on being parents.

"This is our first child,” said Greg. We've never been parents before. We're trying to raise an 18-month-old boy in a country and environment that we're not familiar with, and he's trying to get familiar with us."

The process has been long and hard -- but something Greg and Jen said has helped them grow in their faith.

"We’ve have seen God work in so many different ways, to make so many different things happen."

The Sitzeses are hopeful a new passport will be issued Monday, but they said nothing is for sure. For now they're just enjoying time with their son.

Friends and family in Springfield contacted state representatives, who in turn contacted the U.S. Embassy in Ghana to try to speed things up. Because the error isn't with the embassy, right now, it's still a waiting game.

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