West Chicago couple stranded in India after adopting daughter

COVID-19 Pandemic
Data pix.

DELHI, India — A West Chicago couple said they are stranded in India after picking up their adoptive daughter.

Chris and Caeli Santa Maria are anxious to get home because they have two other children waiting for them in Illinois. But the couple said it could be weeks before that happens. 

The family started the adoption journey 18 months ago and 18-month-old Elli is now with them.  It is something they said they always wanted to do, but never thought returning home would be so difficult.

“How are we going to get out of here? We have two kids at home,” Chris Santa Maria said. “The thought of another few weeks is hard to imagine.”

The couple arrived in Delhi, India on March 1. A seven-day lockdown followed. 

Fears over the spread of COVID-19 led to the streets of India to shutdown. The country is reporting more than 600 positive cases.

The country announced another 21-day lockdown this week.

“I think because people here hear the number of cases in the U.S., it’s probably not the safest for us to go out on the streets,” Chris Santa Maria said.

So the family is waiting in their hotel room with their newly adopted daughter. They communicate with their family in Illinois over Facetime.

The couple said they are ok for now, but they’ve certainly noticed a shift.  

“The options of food are dwindling and the portion sizes are smaller each day,” Caeli Santa Maria said.

The family visited the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday. They said answers are hard to come by. 

Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have been made aware. Their offices are attempting to help. It’s believed 1,000 Americans are currently stuck in India. 

For the Santa Maria family, it’s been a bitter sweet journey. They have a brand new daughter with her passport in hand but home is still half a world away.

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