An Update on the Wilks Family

I wish this were an update with substance. I wish I didn’t look at these pictures with despair, knowing what this family is going through with no end in sight. I wish their situation was so very, very different.

For those of you who don’t know, this is the Wilks family. They arrived in Nigeria just one week after we did in November of 2017- they were right behind us in the adoption process. They lived in the same house we did while in country and we became close friends. Our kids became close friends! The Wilks kids, the 3 siblings they adopted from Nigeria, were Ruth’s saving grace while we waited for her visa. She had friends, and I had Bryce and Maryl.

To be clear, Titus, Mercy and Leslie are officially and legally adopted. Our adoptions happened in Nigeria, and all the families are waiting on after the adoption process is a visa from the United States to travel back home. That’s it- waiting on a visa for your legal children. It is our government that is causing the Wilks family to still be waiting after 8 months. It is our government that is refusing to communicate why there has not been a decision one way or another. It is our government that is preventing David and Judah, Mary and Bryce’s oldest two boys, from meeting their siblings.  It is our government that is preventing these kids from seeing their parents that have been trying desperately to reassure them that they are wanted and loved. It is our government that is so callously causing so much additional trauma in these kids’ lives- who have already experienced more than what anyone should.

Please hear me: I love this country. I think it is truly amazing and stands for incredible values. I have lived here my whole life. I have visited a few other places, but the U.S.A. is and always will be home. But no country is perfect, and certainly no government is perfect. It is all together baffling that the Wilks family is being given no explanation as to why their children’s visa case is still in limbo. They have been told by the Lagos Ministry and orphanage that the Consulate never contacted them- so any “investigation” that is happening involves no communication with those parties involved in the adoption. It’s beyond puzzling. It’s frustrating beyond words, and that has been this family’s reality for the past 8 months. And even now that their case has been moved to Ghana for further review, still nothing.

Bryce and Maryl are unable to stay with the kids in Nigeria for several reasons (foreign and domestic). The kids have had to have several caregivers, and Bryce and Maryl aren’t even confident the kids are receiving the best care. But what are they doing to do about it? Eventually, sending the kids back to the orphanage until this is resolved might have to happen. Can you even imagine? The Wilks have legally and officially, according to Nigerian AND the United States, adopted these kids. And because of our government, they may have to go back to the orphanage. I don’t want to even think the words, “Can you even imagine?” because the answer for all of us is absolutely not. We cannot imagine what having to return to the orphanage would do to those kids or to Bryce and Maryl.

At this point in sharing the Wilks’ story I’m usually presented with the questions, “What can we do to help?” Which is one of the reasons I love our country- because the hearts of Americans are bleeding and they desperately want to act on injustice. It’s so true. So I’ll answer that question here: you can contact Congressmen and government officials and also give. We have been writing the White House as well as the Secretary of State for days, some for months. Eventually our voices will be heard, and we hope that leads to the Wilks family receiving help in some way. To write the White House, click here. To contact the Secretary of State, click here. I have had better luck with the Secretary of State, meaning that I have been sent an e-mail from a person passing the buck to someone else. But at least I know my e-mail was seen by someone- which has not been the case with e-mailing the White House. But we will continue.

You can also contact your Congressmen/women- especially if you live in the state of Missouri, where the Wilks are currently residing. This has been helpful to them in the past, although not so helpful that they’ve seen improvement in their situation. But the only way that the Consulate in Lagos would communicate with the Wilks was through government inquiries, they would never answer the Wilks’ emails directly. So using our government representatives and senators is still a viable option.

The other way you can help is to donate. Bryce and Maryl are having to support their two boys at home (one of which has sickle cell, so his medical needs are great) and also their three children living in their birth country. That is all out of pocket expenses for them- and it is costing upwards of $160 a day to give the kids the care they need. If you want to help Bryce and Maryl with those expenses, they have a Lifesong funding account you can donate to here. Truly, anything you can give will be a great help to them.

Finally, you can leave some encouraging words, Scripture, typed prayers, in the comments below- Bryce and Maryl will see them. They will read them, and some days your words may be the only thing holding them together. Let’s support this family who is going through an ordeal like we cannot imagine. Let’s lift them up and hold them when they simply cannot do it for themselves. This is what being the church is all about. Or, if you are not spiritual, this is what being a good human is all about.