Chris Lange, FISM News
An Afghan couple’s desperate search for their infant son from whom they were separated during the Kabul airport attacks in 2021 ended Tuesday night following a months-long effort spearheaded by a Texas pro-life pregnancy center.
The couple, identified only by their first names, Mustafa and Benafsha, were overjoyed to hold their now-22-month-old son, Jasoor, whom they had not seen for nearly a year when the family reunited at the Dulles International Airport, the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reported.
Benafsha served as a translator for coalition forces in Afghanistan and had been granted a Special Immigrant Visa to evacuate the country following the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021. As she and her family anxiously waited to board a flight to the U.S., a suicide bomber attacked the International Airport in Kabul, killing more than 170 people including 13 U.S. service members.
In the ensuing chaos, Benefsha and Mustafa were separated from Jasoor and his grandmother and forced to leave without them, according to the news service. The distraught couple thought their best chance to secure their family’s safety was to make their way to the U.S. and hoped they would be reunited with Jasoor soon, taking comfort that he was in the care of his grandmother.
It was a crisis of a different sort that fortuitously led Benefsha and Mustafa to the Pflugerville Pregnancy Resource Center outside of Austin in December. The couple had learned that they were about to be evicted from their temporary housing. Benafsha was pregnant at the time.
The center moved quickly to help the pair obtain health insurance and made arrangements for Benafsha to receive OB-GYN care. The pro-life center, with the help of the Loveline Outreach Ministry and a local church, also secured a month’s stay at a local hotel for the couple and helped Mustafa find employment.
From there, Brittany Green, executive director of the pregnancy center, felt compelled to undertake the daunting task of attempting to locate Jasoor.
Her efforts led her to the Vulnerable People Project (VPP), which helps evacuate refugees in Afghanistan. The nonprofit’s founder, Jason Jones, used his contacts to eventually track down the address where Jasoor and his grandmother were living. As VPP’s legislative and diplomatic liaison Marillis Pineiro set to work in lobbying the State Department to approve a visa for Jasoor, Jones sent coal and food to the baby and his grandmother.
Following months of negotiations, VPP succeeded in getting a visa for Jasoor to come to the U.S. accompanied by his 24-year-old aunt.
Footage shows Benafsha and Mustafa reuniting with their son at the airport Tuesday.
“This is the happiest day of my life,” Benafsha said of the emotional reunion in a video shared by CNA.
“I feel really good,” Mustafa said. “It’s a really happy day.”
Green said the pregnancy center will do everything it can to get its clients all of the help they need.
“Our perception here is we come from a place of ‘yes.’ If it is something that we can do, we’re going to do it. If it’s something we can’t do, we’re going to find the people who can help us do it,” Green said. “The people that we serve often hear ‘no.’ And we don’t want them to come to us and hear another ‘no.’ So we will do everything in our power to make sure that their future and success is set up.”
Jones told CNA that the seemingly impossible reunion of this family further underscores the important help pro-life pregnancy centers provide to mothers and their families.
“I’m so grateful for the thousands of pregnancy centers across America that help women meet their needs. If not for this pro-life clinic reaching out to us, we never would have met Benafsha and Mustafa and been able to help them reunite with Jasoor,” he said.