After three year separation, husband and wife are reunited by Arrive Ministries; daughter brings gold wedding band to airport reunion with her father.
Amber Kerrigan, an Immigration Counselor at Arrive Ministries says that, “the most fulfilling part of my job is helping refugee families reunite with loved ones.” In December she was at the airport for an especially memorable reunion that she had been working on since 2012.
Through a special US immigration program, Arrive Ministry’s legal services team helps newly arrived refugees file petitions for spouses and children who were unable to accompany them to America. It can be a frustratingly drawn-out process, and in the best case scenarios families must wait 2-3 years before their reunions.
In early December, Amber learned that the beneficiary of a petition she began working on in 2012 was scheduled to arrive. Her client, a Karenni woman, first met her husband while they were students at the same school in a refugee camp in Thailand. They fell in love, married, and had one daughter together. Due to complicated paperwork, only Amber’s client and her daughter were eligible to resettle in America while her husband was forced to stay in Thailand. The process to bring her husband to the US involved hours of paperwork, emails, and patience. It was incredible to see the results of our hard work and waiting pay off; the day had finally come when their family would be together again.
On the afternoon of the arrival, Amber and their Arrival Services Director met her client and daughter at the airport. They’d come with presents and several balloons to mark the joyous moment. The little girl was skeptical of when they assured her that yes, her dad would be coming home today. Amber exchanged smiles with her client as the daughter alternated between pacing near the exit, crouching down to see to the top of the escalator, and running to check the time on her mom’s watch.
After what felt like an eternity, they saw the legs of people from the most recent flight descending the escalator. Soon they saw that one of those pairs of legs belonged to someone holding an “International Organization of Migration” bag that all refugees carry when they begin their journey into America. Upon seeing her dad’s face, the little girl ran toward the doors and straight into her father’s arms. The family of three stood embracing, smiling, and crying with joy.
A moment later, Amber’s client pulled out a small gift box and handed it to her daughter. Inside that box was a gold wedding band that the little girl then slipped onto her father’s finger.
A few moments later, the husband looked up and saw Amber standing near them. He held out his hand to shake hers and with tears said, “Thank you.”
Amber described the situation, saying, “I had no words to say in response, only a teary smile and silent prayer of gratitude that this family was whole again.”
Arrive Ministries is an Affiliate Ministry of Transform Minnesota and of World Relief, serving refugees and immigrants together. Learn more at www.arriveministries.org.