At DFW Airport this weekend, a 5-year-old girl was reunited with her parents after riding out the pandemic in separate countries.
John and Vanessa Galvan said they first took their daughter, Samantha, to her mother’s native country of Colombia back on New Year’s Eve for an extended stay.
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"We said okay. This is pre-kindergarten. The perfect time. She'll get the culture, and pick up more Spanish,” said John Galvan.
As they left her with grandparents and cousins, John said their plan was to be back in a few months for a visit before bringing her back home over the summer.
“That's right when COVID started getting worse,” said Galvan.
It wasn’t long before Colombia closed its borders.
"There were no dates. That’s when we kind of started panicking thinking this is going longer and longer,” said Galvan.
The couple said they made countless calls to multiple government agencies seeking help to get their daughter home.
According to them, their only option was a humanitarian flight, which Samantha would have had to take with grandparents, who are at a higher risk of complications if exposed to the virus. Otherwise, she’d have to fly alone.
“For both of us, that was just… you know, she can barely open a bathroom door, airplane door to go to the bathroom by herself, let alone fly by herself, sitting next to strangers, going through customs with someone who might be paying attention to her or might not,” said Galvan.
So knowing she was in the care of family, the couple decided to wait.
“We've missed Fourth of July together, her birthday, Father’s Day, just everything, and that's tough, said Galvan.
Now 10 months later, flights from the United States will finally be allowed back in.
If all goes according to plan, Galvan will be on one of the first. And by Saturday night, their family of three will be back together again.