US couple, adopted daughter, caught in India virus lockdown

US & World

A Georgia couple who traveled to India to adopt a child have had to delay bringing their new daughter back to the United States after Indian authorities locked down the country because of the coronavirus.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on Tuesday announced a three-week lockdown in the country of 1.3 billion people, meaning that citizens and visitors alike may only leave their homes or hotels for food, medicine or other essential needs.

The order is meant to keep the virus from surging and overwhelming an already strained health care system, but it has also left Mike and Whitney Saville of Auburn, Georgia, with little hope of getting back home with their daughter Grace anytime soon.

The Savilles were scheduled to leave the country on Thursday. But they said the U.S. Embassy told them the day before that airlines were refusing to help evacuate them and hundreds of other U.S. citizens. So while they wait to see if their luck changes, the couple spend evenings chatting and exchanging encouragement with two other adoptive U.S. families also staying at the hotel.

“There’s a lot of concern over here just about food and people being able to continue to make money,” Whitney Saville said in a Skype interview. “So, yeah, I think our worries 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 get back to Georgia.

“We just really need someone to come get us,” Whitney Saville said.

U.S. Sen. David Perdue, a Republican from Georgia, said in a statement that he was working with the State Department and U.S. Embassy in New Delhi on “the safe return of Mike and Whitney Saville and their new daughter.”

The couple have biological children, but had talked about adoption when they were dating in college. They arrived in India on March 6 and were working on getting Grace’s passport and U.S. visa to travel back to the U.S. when concerns about coronavirus started ramping up, Whitney Saville said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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