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US couple, adopted daughter, caught in India virus lockdown

by Ace Damon
US couple, adopted daughter, caught in India virus lockdown

A Georgian couple who traveled to India to adopt a son had to postpone the arrival of their new daughter to the United States after Indian authorities blocked the country because of the coronavirus.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a three-week blockade in the country of 1.3 billion people, meaning that citizens and visitors can only leave their homes or hotels to eat, medicine or other essential needs.

The order aims to prevent the virus from sinking and overwhelming an already overburdened healthcare system, but it also left Mike and Whitney Saville of Auburn, Georgia, with little hope of returning home with their daughter Grace anytime soon.

The Savilles were scheduled to leave the country on Thursday. But they said the US Embassy told them the day before that the airlines were refusing to help evacuate them and hundreds of other US citizens. So, while they wait to see if their luck changes, the couple spends the nights talking and exchanging incentives with two other US foster families who also stay at the hotel.

"There is a lot of concern here, just about food and people able to continue to make money," said Whitney Saville in an interview with Skype. "So yes, I think our concerns would be even more extreme if we were at home and knew that she was on the other side of the world."

Still, the Savilles would really like to go back to Georgia.

"We really need someone to come and pick us up," said Whitney Saville.

US Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, said in a statement that he was working with the State Department and the US Embassy in New Delhi on "the safe return of Mike and Whitney Saville and their new daughter".

The couple have biological children, but they talked about adoption when they were dating in college. They arrived in India on March 6 and were working to get Grace's passport and US visa back to the US when concerns about the coronavirus began to escalate, said Whitney Saville.

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