Georgia family stranded in international adoption turmoil
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. - They were supposed to bring their newly-adopted daughter home from Japan this week, but instead the Tutterrow family has found themselves tied up in unexpected red tape.
"When we went to our visa appointment on Monday at the U.S. Embassy, they said that our application was under review," said Samantha Tutterrow.
She and her husband Alex later found out the U.S. Department of State had denied their daughter Sydney's orphan visa.
"My first reaction was just being scared that we weren't going to bring our daughter home and then second I was mad because I didn't think that we were being treated fairly," Tutterrow explained.
According to the National Council for Adoption, the Tutterrows are one of many families impacted by a recent change in the authority that accredits adoption agencies. Some agencies, like the one the Tutterrows used, have not yet received their new accreditation.
"It's scary," said Tutterrow. "Adoption's already dropped a lot in the past few years internationally and I fear that if these hoops and roadblocks continue to happen that people are not going to adopt these sweet babies who are orphans in other countries and need homes."
Tutterrow made the tough decision to return home to Cumming on Thursday so that she could care for their other three children, including Sydney's biological sister, Annie, whom the couple adopted a year and a half ago using the same agency.
She posted about her family's adoption journey on Facebook in the hopes that someone will be able to help them and the other families stuck in the middle of a bureaucratic nightmare.
"This experience has been the exact opposite of our first experience, but she is absolutely worth it," said Tutterrow. "But I fear that if other families had to do this, they would either not do it or not do it twice because it would be hard."
The U.S. State Department said they could not comment on individual adoption cases.