Baldwin County father and adopted son trapped in Uganda as COVID-19 surge strands them

Baldwin County

FOLEY, Ala. (WKRG) – Jen and Andy Bengel are growing their family and are ready to bring their 4-year-old adopted son, Moses, home from Uganda. The journey hasn’t been easy.

“We got an email from the United States Embassy that said we are no longer doing any visa application. We are temporarily stopping all visa applications,” said Jen Bengel.

That’s because last week on June 18th the country imposed new lockdown restrictions as the number of COVID-19 cases climb. Schools, non-essential travel and public gatherings have all been put on pause. The lockdown is reported to last up to 45 days. The Bengels say the U.S. Embassy is also closed during the lockdown.

The adoption process began 17 months ago, and while Jen is back home in Baldwin County with the couple’s other children, Andy is stuck in Uganda waiting to bring Moses back to the states. She left the country in April when they believed everyone would be returning home just a short time later.

“It’s been 9 weeks now since I’ve seen my son and it’s been really hard,” she added.

They have until August 20th to get Moses’ visa application submitted. It’s the final step, but the current lockdown is putting the entire adoption process in jeopardy. They’re desperately sending emails for help, but so far they’re getting no response. 

“If it expires before we can get to the embassy and drop the paperwork off we have to redo everything,” said Bengel.

The family asks anyone who can to email the U.S. Embassy on their behalf in hopes it will get the attention needed.

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