We can’t use their real names, their photographs, or any precisely identifying information. That’s how dangerous the situation is for them and for their loved ones left behind in the Old Country. They found help, though, at Tepeyac in their time of need. This is their story.
In a land caught between East and West, occupied by a foreign power and riven by conflict, the young couple we’ll call “Howard” and “Yvonne” grew up in the unhappy status of ethnic and religious minority people. Their first in a series of courageous acts was to commit their trust to each other in marriage. Their second was to begin, not long afterwards, seeking a way to leave their country and experience a taste of freedom.
An opportunity to study abroad brought them to the U.S. in 2016. Before long, though, local authorities back home became uneasy with their absence and threatened their families with various punishments if Howard and Yvonne weren’t called home. When they returned for a vacation, their passports were confiscated. They were subjected to daily police raids and questioning about how they had spent their time in America.
Opportunity presented itself again when the U.S. academic institution where they had studied made contact, despite considerable bureaucratic opposition, with Yvonne to ask why he hadn’t returned to school. The institution procured a visa for his resumed U.S. study. Reclaiming their passports, Howard and Yvonne returned to the U.S. in late 2016. They promptly requested and obtained political asylum.
After finishing their studies and moving to Virginia, Howard and Yvonne made another courageous decision: to conceive a child. Without a dependable source of income, without deep roots as U.S. residents, without much of anything beyond a Public Health Department referral, they registered for care at Tepeyac when Yvonne was just a few weeks pregnant.
During the ensuing months of prenatal visits, Howard and Yvonne became familiar and well loved throughout the Tepeyac practice. While the doctors and midwife attended to Yvonne’s medical care, Patient Advocate Danyeil worked to help the couple identify and obtain health insurance coverage to serve them during and beyond Yvonne’s pregnancy. Finally, the due date arrived.
A robust and squalling little son, delivered by Dr. Bruchalski, made his way into the world on a chilly autumn day. Howard and Yvonne, overjoyed, did what all new parents do—they talked sweetly to their baby, counting his wee fingers and toes and praising his shining eyes. Gazing deeply into those eyes, they saw reflected their newfound freedom and their fondest hopes for a bright future as a family. We at Tepeyac are proud to have been part of their story.