By Mary and Cornelius Dollison—
Muncie, IN—Family reunification has been a hot topic across the country for the past several years. Learning about parents’ cases experiencing separation from their children has brought about all kinds of emotions from parents and kids alike.
On foreign matters, we rely on the federal government to lead the way. However, immigration policies have become such a political issue that the process has become a nightmare for many immigrants. When you add in an international public health crisis this past year— many individuals and families have felt powerless to do anything.
During these challenging times, we sometimes have to take matters into our own hands. We’ve been called to help several families over the past year due to the coronavirus, but we need the community’s help with raising money for one specific family.
Lizzie and Ali Thompson
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Thompson was separated from her daughter, Aliannah (Ali), in Jamaica over two years ago so she could work on cruise ship sailing out of Jamaica. A local missionary offered to take care of Ali while Lizzie was gone for several months at a time. The missionary lived in Delaware and offered to bring Ali to Indiana and enroll her in school. Lizzie agreed.
After eighteen months, the cruise ship Lizzie was working on discontinued operations due to COVID-19 entering a Jamaican port, causing Lizzie to be unemployed and homeless. We helped with several months of rent for Lizzie while she tried to make it back to the states to get her daughter. The immigration policies were challenging at best.
We decided to set up a “Go Fund Me” account to raise money so Lizzie could buy land and build a home in Jamaica. We found a local contractor that travels back and forth from Delaware County to Jamaica who is building the home at cost.
As Lizzie explains below, this project has reunited her with family she didn’t know existed and she was able to pick up Ali two weeks ago. They are both staying in Chicago with their newly discovered family while waiting on their home to be completed.
This project has been a huge blessing for my daughter and me. When I asked Mrs. Dollison if she would help me, she agreed immediately and got started on it. My job was to then find land in Jamaica. While looking for land, I found my biological family for the first time since I was orphaned at a young age.
When I was searching for land, a man named Mr. Well came into my thoughts. He has a grocery store in Whitehouse and is well known, so I figured if he does not have land for sale, he will know someone who might. Shanice, the young lady who went to Ball State and is being helped by the Dollisons, recommended that I ask Jenna ( Mr. Wells’ daughter). I sent Jenna a message, and we got to talking. She asked me where I was from and who my family was. I told her that I was adopted and didn’t know much about my family. I told her what I heard in the past about who my biological dad might be, so I gave her his name. Jenna went on to say her husband’s mother has a family member by that same name. Jenna told her mother-in-law about me and asked if she could pass my number on to her. I agreed.
Later, I got a call from Jenna’s mother-in-law, and she was so nice and welcoming. I started telling her about myself. I told her my biological mom’s name, and I gave her the name of my siblings. I also gave her my biological dad’s name, and guess what? My dad is her cousin! Jenna’s mother-in-law, whom I affectionately call Aunty Donna, is my cousin! She told me a bit more about my bio mom and dad. Aunty Donna would call me every day and check up on me. It felt like I’ve known her all my life.
I was looking for land, and God leads me to Jenna, to my family, and guess what? Shanice is also my cousin! We’ve known each other for years but didn’t know that we’re related.
As we shared, the land has been acquired from proceeds already contributed – thank you to those who’ve already donated monies. Now we are working on the remaining $32,000 to construct the small home. The sooner we can get the remaining dollars raised, the sooner this family can return to their homeland.
You can locate the project at https://gf.me/u/zbh4z3.
If donors want a charity write-off for their taxes, they can write checks to First Baptist Church, 309 E. Adams Street, Muncie, IN 47305. Please make sure that you note on your donation that it’s for “Lizzie & Ali Thompson.”