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Minnesota Family Reunited After Several Months in Africa

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(credit: Edgar Linares/WCCO Radio)

(credit: Edgar Linares/WCCO Radio)

(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
Edgar Linares moved to the Twin Cities 24 hours before the largest...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota family is back together for Thanksgiving after being apart for several months.

Steve and Jeannette Takata left back in May to Zambia with their two adopted children and their biological daughter. The children were adopted four years ago.

“We wanted to bring them back to their birth country to kind of assimilate back into their culture,” said Jeannette.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Edgar Linares Reports

In the process of going Zambia they adopted two more children, 5-year-old Sadie “Chi-Chi” Chisala-Ruth, and 2-year-old Joseph Khumbuso-Dean.

Jeannette’s husband Steve returned to Minnesota back in May, but went back Zambia in July for one week.

“It’s wonderful to have my entire family all back together again,” said Steve. “It wasn’t without it’s difficulties and struggles just being apart but it’s so good to be back together again.”

The adoption process took seven months because Zambia requires three months of in-country fostering and two months to get committal orders for the children.

“We had been hoping and praying for a Thanksgiving return,” said Steve.

Jeanette said their travel visa was last-minute.

On Monday, the U.S. embassy in Zambia found a glitch in their paperwork. The consult then told them to cancel their flight for the next day, but Jeannette decided to wait to see what happens.

They arrived at the embassy for their appointment at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and passed their orphan documentation exam, which is required by international law. Then Jeannette’s facial recognition on her visa, which usually takes 36 hours, came back in two.

Officials in Zambia said it was a “miracle” it had come through so quickly. Jeannette quickly left the embassy one hour before they had to be at the airport.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year,” said Jeannette. “We just pushed and prayed to get home in time for it.”

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