We all see bad news stories every day, and if you're anything like me, you often wonder how you can make a meaningful difference. The incredible story of Emma, Bruce, Evelyn-Grace, and Joseph is dramatic enough: it has those hard to see elements of pain and suffering, but this story is not a tragedy. It's a story of longing, hope, love, and perseverance. I have known Bruce Wriede for over a decade. This is a man whose kindness and compassion seem boundless to those who know him. Emma shows incredible courage and strength every day. Together, they are a source of endless generosity and inspiration.
Adoption is never easy. Add in multiple countries, miles of red tape, emotional wounds, and severe medical needs, and you come up with the story of the Wriede family. Evelyn-Grace and Joseph are the type of kids I have only ever read about. Sweet, innocent children whose circumstances led them to be born in a country ravished by civil war. They are victims of their circumstances. The type of kids who grow up all but forgotten in an orphanage, lucky to have their most basic needs met by governments or an over-worked non-profit. These innocent children have suffered the kind of abuse every parent fears most.
Bruce and Emma have fought tooth and nail to get the kids, and their hard work paid off after almost two years of heart breaking work. Their family is legally united at last, but it is still physically divided and there are still many obstacles to face. There are significant emotional and physical needs that must be met, and there are more visas to get. Their costs keep mounting. Emma is in the Philippines with the children due to visa restrictions and Bruce is at his job in Kuwait, working to meet their financial needs. The children have been made British citizens, and now Emma and the children need to get to the UK so they can stay with her sister and utilize the National Healthcare System. It is going to cost about $700 per child to get the visas they need to enter the UK, plus around $600 per flight (3) to get there. There are also outstanding medical bills to pay. Every dollar will help them get closer to being a united family, and you have the chance to make an incredible difference right now.
Please let me thank you in advance for your generosity.
Animal Rescue Professional, Disaster Responder, and Friend.
This is my version of the needs of the Wriede family, but I also wanted to include some of their story in the words of their mother, Emma Wriede:
"We are the Wriede family, and our story, like our family, is unique. After marrying in 2012, we (Bruce and Emma) decided to expand our family through adoption. We started the process of adopting from DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) early in 2013 and we were soon matched with our daughter, Evelyn-Grace and our son, Joseph.
Despite our adoption being legally complete in December 2014, the DRC refused to lift a supposedly temporary suspension on exit permits (a document required for any Congolese child under the age of sixteen to leave the country), leaving our children and us, along with hundreds of others as legal families unable to unite.
Being expats (Bruce: Australian, Emma: British) living in Kuwait, we immediately proceeded to get all of the relevant paperwork stamped, attested, notarised and goodness knows what else to submit with our applications for the children’s visas to come home. Despite receiving prior approval, the children’s visas into Kuwait were denied on the basis of them holding different passports to both parents. This news, along with daily calls from DRC telling us the country was becoming increasingly dangerous and the children should leave as soon as possible, became a source of great worry for us. We were at a loss as to how to unite our family.
We soon devised a plan to travel to the Philippines, where the children would be issued visas on arrival, where Emma could live with them while we pursued a more permanent solution. Whilst being less than ideal, it was the only viable solution that meant the children could leave DRC for safety and at least be united with one of their parents permanently. We set our plan in motion and soon found an apartment and booked flights with the plan for the children to be escorted to arrive a few days after us, allowing us to spend a few weeks together as a family bonding, before Bruce returned to Kuwait to work."
The Philippines is being good to us, we have a home that is safe and secure and we have a phenomenal medical team keeping us under a close watch and addressing our health concerns – aside from the general check ups, Joseph was admitted to hospital shortly after arriving following a twenty minute seizure for immediate medical care and observation (our little boy has epilepsy, is physically disabled with global developmental delay). He is dealing with the constant tests and treatment well and has the most adorable, positive nature. Grace has also had her check ups and has started on her vaccination schedule, she is a great big sister and loves cuddles and brightly coloured socks. She also has a beautiful disposition and is handling the transition between countries and lives with admirable strength and resilience.
We are very grateful for the situation we are in, as there are many positives; we were able to bring our children to safety; we have access to an excellent medical team who have genuine affection for our children and are taking excellent care of them (and mummy); they are attending a preschool where the teachers are understanding and supportive; and, although we are not all together, we are at least partially together as a family. There have been disappointments – the cost of living here being greater than we initially thought means Bruce is unable to make monthly visits as hoped, and due to timescales and unfortunate work schedules, we may have to face the reality of another Christmas as a separated family this year, although if this is the case, we will do everything in our power to make it our last."