LINCOLN SQUARE — A happy ending is in sight for one family of Syrian refugees, who are now Chicago-bound.
Less than two weeks ago, a refugee couple, identified only by their first names Baraa and Abdulmajeed, and their 16-month-old daughter were awaiting a flight in Turkey when they were among those banned from entering the United States after an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.
A group of nearly 40 Lincoln Square residents had sponsored the family, helping to furnish an apartment, stocking the pantry and collecting clothing and toys.
"They were so close," said Alisa Wartick, who led the sponsoring group. "I was sad, I was angry. You feel so helpless."
Helplessness gave way to hope over the weekend, as a federal judge blocked Trump's travel ban. Visas were reissued for the family, and the three are now expected to arrive at O'Hare airport Tuesday night, according to a spokeswoman for Refugee One.
They will be reunited with Baraa's parents and siblings, who were resettled in Skokie in September.
The stress of the ban had taken a toll on Baraa's parents, Melineh Kano, executive director of Refugee One, told attendees at a community forum last week.
Her mother, Fattoum, was hospitalized with high blood pressure, and her father, Khaled, required mental health counseling, Kano said.
According to an update provided just days ago by the sponsoring group, Baraa, Abdulmajeed and their daughter were left stranded in Istanbul, not permitted to return to the refugee camp, and they lacked money for a hotel.
Now they're a flight away from a new life in America.
Their apartment is prepped, groceries have been purchased, a crib and teddy bear await.
Said Wartick, "Everything is ready for them."