UPDATE: Monticello native's adopted Haitian son granted visa

UPDATE: Monticello native's adopted Haitian son granted visa

Update 12:05 p.m. Wednesday:

Congressman Rodney Davis' office said the Parker family was granted a visa Wednesday morning.

More to come.


Original story:

MONTICELLO — Calls have flooded the office of U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis following the death of Monticello native Tim Parker, who suffered a suspected heart attack in Haiti last week after seven years working at God's Littlest Angels Orphanage.

Mr. Parker's 6-year-old adopted Haitian son, Jamesley, needed a visa to come to the United States for his father's funeral, and the family put out a call for help to contact members of Congress.

According to Davis' communications director, Ashley Phelps, the congressman's office had been in touch with both the Parker family and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. Unfortunately, Mr. Parker's death coincided with political unrest in the country, which caused the embassy to close.

After one meeting was canceled on Tuesday, Chelsie Bickel, Mr. Parker's daughter, said the family had an appointment at the U.S. embassy set for this morning.

"We were notified yesterday at like 3:30 that it had been canceled," Bickel said. "A little downer there because we were upset about that. ... So we will go to the embassy (today) and have an emergency visa appointment for Jamesley."

Mr. Parker was pronounced dead in a Haitian hospital last Thursday shortly after he arrived at the airport for a flight home to the U.S., where he hoped to seek medical care. Bickel flew to Haiti the next day to be with her mother, Melissa Parker.

Bickel said she and her family have been in touch with the offices of Davis and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

"They have both sent very generous letters of support and made phone calls," she said. "They have all been so amazing. They've done everything that they can for us to get home and be a family."

With the embassy closed, though, there wasn't much more Davis and Durbin could do. With the unrest subsiding for a few days, though, the outlook began to change.

The family has legal guardianship of Jamesley in Haiti. They attempted to obtain a visa for him last summer so he could visit the U.S., but that attempt ultimately failed.

This time, they're hoping for and expecting a different result.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs and lots of decisions to be made," Bickel said, "but we're glad to be here to support (Melissa and Jamesley). We're just ready to come home."

Sections (2):News, Local