Give visas to Benjamin and Edward Thies so their family can be together again

This petition made change with 17,066 supporters!

My friend Gillian Thies has had to say goodbye to her two older sons because the UK government won't give them visas. They are being treated differently because they are adopted.

I've known Gillian since we shared a house when were both students. When she married her American fiance Patrick, I spoke at their wedding, and visited them in Oregon a few years later.

I knew they wanted children, but it wasn't easy. I was so happy when I heard they had adopted first baby Edward and then his older brother Benjamin. Then amazingly, Gillian found she was pregnant with Philip, who was born in the UK because Patrick was away as a medic in the US Army.

Nine years on, I was thrilled when I heard that they were planning to come back to the UK permanently. Patrick had a job at a Birmingham hospital and Gillian was looking forward to being closer to her parents.  She wanted to make sure she got things right, so she got advice from the embassy before leaving the US and was told that she could apply for visas for the two older boys once here.

When they arrived in the UK, Benjamin and Edward (who were 10 and 12 at the time) were detained because they didn't have the right paperwork. The authorities even suggested putting them on a plane on their own straight back to the USA.

That was just the beginning of the nightmare of the last 12 months, trying to get visas for the boys. Despite the best legal advice, and trying at every turn to do the right thing, they've been refused visas.

Right now, Patrick has had to take leave from his job and fly back to the US with the two older boys to apply for visas from there. It's their last chance.

Gillian isn't the kind of person to want to make a fuss. But she's determined to do what it takes to bring her family together again. That's why she's started speaking publicly about their story. You can read more here:

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has the power to give visas to Benjamin and Edward. If enough of us add our names to this petition, I really believe we can pursuade her to do the right thing and let this family be together again.

Please join me and add your name to this petition.

[photo credit Mehdiya Jaffer]

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