Petition for a Humanitarian Visa for Awa Russell

Request for a humanitarian visa for Awa Russell. While serving as U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in Togo, Lori and Michael Russell formed a unique relationship with Awa, a neglected child in their assigned village. Awa lived with the Russells, solely under their care and guidance for over a year and has become an integral part of their family. The Russells were granted legal custody by Togo in March 2007. The adoption was finalized in June 2007. Awa\'s birth parents wholeheartedly ceded all parental rights in front of Togolese judges on two separate occasions, and Awa has not been in their physical custody since October 2006. Her father is very old and very ill and her mother cannot care for her. The United States recognized the adoption as full and final in October, 2007. However, USCIS has said that Awa does not qualify for an orphan visa. We all know that the best thing for Awa would be to come to the United States where she and the Russells will have a stable, loving home with numerous people who love and support them. That is why I support the issuance of a humanitarian visa for this child. As a fellow citizen, I ask you to please encourage USCIS to see this as so many of us do


Our Story My husband, Michael, and I grew up together in Elon, NC and are now living in Durham. Michael is working at the Global Health Institute at Duke and I am at Duke Law School. From 2005 to 2007 we served in the Peace Corps in Togo (West Africa). While there we formed a very strong and unique relationship with Awa, the little 6 year-old girl who lived in the compound next to ours. She claimed us from day one and was a constant presence at our home. Awa is an incredible kid


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