Morrisville, N.C. — For four years, civil unrest in the West African country of Togo separated a Goldsboro couple from their children.
Victor and Louis Messan were reunited with their six children at Raleigh Durham International Airport on Wednesday. Upon their arrival, the Messans could not stop hugging the children.
"I've very happy to see my children, to see all my children altogether this evening," Victor Messan said. "I so thank you, God."
For years, the couple worked with Elon University's Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic to get their children, ranging in age from 12 to 23, to the United States.
The children stayed in Benin, which borders Togo, until their visas were approved.
"We got an e-mail basically from the embassy saying the visas had been approved," the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic's Andrew Haile said. "I got the chance to call Victor. Of course, Victor was very excited, and it was a really cool experience."
The oldest sibling, Yaovi Messan, said through an interpreter that he was very happy to be reunited with his parents.
Victor Messan was so overcome with emotion that he reverted back to his native language of French during the reunion. Through an interpreter, he credited the American government with bringing them together.
"The American government really saved my life, and thanks to the American government, I found my life here today, and my children have too," he said.