ORRINGTON, Maine — Trek was 5 days old when Katmandu, Nepal, police found him abandoned on the streets of the Asian country’s capital city. He has lived for two years in an orphanage with little food and no toys while waiting to be taken into someone’s home and heart.
“He’s only 17 pounds,” said Tonya Davis, who, along with her husband, Mike, has fallen in love with the youngster. “He’s this little peanut.”
The Orrington couple feel a calling from God to spread their love to children in dire need and adopted Trek earlier this month with hopes to have him home for Christmas. But U.S. government red tape is preventing the child from getting a visa.
“Back on Aug. 6 the U.S. suspended adoptions with Nepal,” Tonya Davis said. “They did it because they believe the paperwork Nepal was providing is fraudulent.”
The government of Nepal issued the Davises their referral letter on Aug. 1 approving their match with Trek, just beating the U.S. moratorium.
The good news is that those already matched with a child are in the pipeline and their paperwork will continue to be processed, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website states.
“There [are] about 80 pipeline families and we’re one of them, the only one in Maine,” Tonya Davis said.
New adoptions have been suspended for abandoned children in Nepal because “the Department of State has concluded that the documentation presented for children reported abandoned in Nepal is unreliable,” the USCIS website states.
The U.S. is not alone in suspending adoptions from Nepal. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom recently suspended adoptions based on similar concerns, the website says.
The State Department sent a team of investigators to Nepal in August to review the 80 adoptions in the pipeline and found nothing fraudulent, but even so it still is requiring adoptive families to jump through very expensive hoops, Mike Davis said. The pipeline families are now required to hire a private investigator in Nepal to look for the parents who abandoned their children, as well as a U.S. lawyer to process all the paperwork, he said.
The lawyer and investigator are expected to cost about $10,000, and that’s money the Davises don’t have.
Add to that the fact that a clock is ticking away toward a deadline.
“We have 87 days,” Tonya Davis said.
“Our countdown started on Dec. 3,” the day their adoption paperwork for Trek was completed, her husband said. “They are asking for the impossible.”
“What kills me is these children have been adopted by U.S. citizens and it’s the U.S. that is denying the visas,” Tonya Davis said.
People at the orphanage named the 5-day-old boy police gave them two years ago Pratik. The Davises have renamed him Trek Pratik Davis.
The Orrington couple have a 16-year-old daughter, Robin, and adopted their second daughter, Noelle, from China in January 2008. Robin said she has always wanted siblings and is excited to have a little brother to share her life with.
Tonya and Mike Davis left for Nepal on Thanksgiving Day and spent three weeks in the country trying to get everything done in order to bring Trek home. They returned on Dec. 16 empty-handed.
“I believe it will happen,” Tonya Davis said.
“We are committed to him no matter what,” Mike Davis said. “He’s our son.”
The couple met a couple of U.S. missionaries online when they first started doing research into a Nepal adoption two years ago. The missionaries have taken their adopted son into their home to await his visa.
“He’s safe,” Tonya Davis said. “We could not have left if he had to go back to that orphanage.”
When the couple first met their son, he was malnourished and had burns on his face from being out in the sun all day long, every day. Those burns since have healed.
The couple keep in contact with Trek and their missionary friends through the Internet telephone service Skype.
Presents for their 2-year-old son are under the Christmas tree and a stocking has been hung for him, even though they don’t know when he will get to open them.
“We’re still praying for a Christmas miracle,” Tonya Davis said.
“Someone high up in Washington could sign the paperwork and he could be home by New Year’s,” her husband said.
The Davises are holding a benefit dinner and silent auction to raise money at 5 p.m. Jan. 29 at Calvary Chapel in Orrington.
Those interested in more information about Trek Davis’ adoption process can check out Tonya Davis’ blog, www.ifwehavefaithofamustardseed.blogspot.com.
Tonya Davis said people also could support their family and other pipeline families by signing an online petition that is sent directly to U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives. So far, 10,491 petition letters have been sent, she said.
The petition can be found online at petition2congress.com/3867/bring-stranded-nepali-adoptees-home-now.