Heartache as COVID-19 lockdowns split up rainbow families

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The COVID-19 pandemic has left some rainbow families in a devastating limbo, a European advocacy group has warned.

The lobby group Network of European LGBTIQ Families Associations (NELFA) advocates for rainbow families and their rights in European Union countries.

The group warn global border closures and travel bans in response to COVID-19 have left some queer couples in heartbreaking situations.

“We all face some sort of lockdown: serious administrative measures, travel bans, curfews, school closings,” they explain.

“We’re all extremely vulnerable but some of us struggle with additional problems, for example, families in cross-border situations.

“Dozens of lesbian and gay singles and couples [are experiencing] dramatic, critical times because of current restrictions.”

A NELFA spokesperson detailed multiple examples they were aware of across Europe and the United States.

“S. and G. are a French gay couple and new dads of an adorable baby born on March 15 in the US,” they said.

“They are struggling to get all the documents they need. They’re stuck in the US and aren’t able to return to France.”

Another French man, identified as P., was unable to travel to his surrogate in San Francisco.

His husband caught a last minute flight to San Francisco a few days ahead a travel ban. His partner is desperate to join them for the child’s birth.

“T. lives with his husband in France, too. This gay couple expect a delivery through surrogacy in the US next month,” the volunteer said.

“They tried to catch a plane two days ago but their ESTA [a type of US visa] has been cancelled. The American embassy doesn’t answer anymore.”

The couple are “highly anxious” and it’s very likely they will miss their daughter’s birth.

Rainbow families struggling to secure official documents

NELFA is also aware of a French nurse and his husband who are also expecting a daughter in the US in May.

“They are coping with high anxiety [about not being there] for the birth as well,” the NELFA spokesperson said.

“A Belgian man, J., is expecting a daughter in Canada at the end of May and hopes to be there to cuddle and take of her.”

NELFA said there are dozens of LGBTIQ parents in similar situations as countries shut down because of the coronavirus crisis.

“Some are stuck in Europe with deliveries in the USA, Canada or Mexico,” they said.

“They are highly stressed and don’t know what to do. They are far away from the woman carrying their child.

“Some parents are already abroad with their babies and struggle to get the official documents to come back to Europe.”

NELFA said it wants all responsible ministries and administrations across the globe to support these families.

They must “make sure that parents and children can be together and come back safely” as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

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