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Tuesday, June 2, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Orphan Clears Another Hurdle

By Associated Press

The last roadblock to Mike and Dianne Carnell adopting a 4-year-old orphan from war-torn Sierra Leone has been removed, and little Fatou is expected to arrive next week.

The ambassador from Guinea, where Fatou and the other Sierra Leone orphans are staying, said Wednesday that the children would be allowed to leave freely to join adoptive families.

“We want to inform all of the parents that the children will leave Guinea as soon as they have a visa from the U.S. ambassador in Conakry,” said Mohamed Ali Thiam, Guinea’s ambassador to the United States.

“We also want to inform the public that the Guinea government has never taken any measures against anybody leaving Guinea, especially the children.”

Fatou is one of 18 orphans airlifted out of Freetown, Sierra Leone, last month. The children were taken to Guinea until they could get permission to join adoptive families in the United States, New Zealand and Canada.

The Carnells have been working to adopt Fatou for more than a year. Over the past two months, the couple has fought to rescue her from the war, then to obtain a humanitarian parole visa from the U.S. State Department.

The adoption was again put on hold last week when a United Nations official said the children could not leave Guinea because they lacked proper paperwork. The couple immediately began contacting Idaho senators, representatives and ambassadors in Guinea and Washington, D.C. to ask for help.

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