October 5, 2009
We’ve seen over the last days how God has orchestrated circumstances to allow our seven children to come home in surprising and happy ways. (See my last blog post.) Of seven amazing stories, the most spectacular belongs to Hans and Katy.
Hans married Katy, a British citizen, in 2007, securing a visa that allowed him to work and collect pay in England and to travel in and out of the country freely. It expired in two years, however, and if he left after that, he couldn’t return without major hassles and possibly not at all.
Two months ago, Hans applied for a more permanent work visa that included a residency card. This would entitle him to unhindered travel, as well as most of the perks of British citizenship, even though he would remain an American. The process traditionally takes six months to a year.
When Hans got his call from Nate about the cancer, he yearned to come home immediately, but he’d had to surrender his passport for the duration of the lengthy visa process. Even Katy had had to turn in her British passport, as Hans’ wife, to satisfy the document requirements. Neither of them could leave England in the foreseeable future.
Then God stepped in. A week ago, through unlikely circumstances, Hans and Katy were linked with a woman who works full time at the British Consulate in Chicago, helping people with visa and passport problems. She agreed to work on Hans’ situation and told us there were three options. The first had only a 1 percent chance of working, that the British Home Office in London would complete the residency card/visa process quickly. “That would be a miracle,” she said.
The second option (with better odds) involved applying for a second passport given on rare occasions for serious medical reasons. It would last only three months but would allow Hans to visit us soon. She asked us to get a letter from Nate’s doctor describing his cancer and the importance of an immediate visit.
The third and worst choice was to abort the residency card/visa process altogether, collect the passports and travel to the States. Tillie told Hans if he chose this option, he’d never get back into the country to stay and would most likely never get a residency card in the future. With a wife and child in England, this was not an option.
Tillie peppered the British Home Office with phone calls for three days until Hans’ papers were finally found and given to an officer to study. We all held our breath, and 48 hours later the documents had been processed! As Nate, Linnea and I were on the highway heading home after radiation #5, our cell phone rang and Hans said, “God has worked a miracle!”
Their situation fell in the 1 percent possibility, but it gets even better. Hans received a Settlement Visa, the best available, with privileges to come and go in the UK for as long as he lives. It will never expire.
As Tillie said, “God has truly moved a mountain.”
Guest contributor Margaret Nyman takes us step by step through the 42 days after her husband Nate, a patient at Rush University Medical Center, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Read more of her posts by visiting the Coping With Cancer section or subscribing to the RSS feed. Nyman’s personal blog is at www.GettingThroughThis.com.