Iranian Christian converts Sam Khosravi and Maryam Falahi request prayer, after the appeal court in Bushehr upheld a decision to deny them custody of their daughter Lydia.
|Sam and Maryam adopted Lydia from an orphanage as a three-month old baby in February 2019. They were waiting for the state welfare organisation to grant final approval for the adoption.
|On 1 July 2019 Iranian intelligence agents raided Sam and Maryam’s home, as well as the homes of other Christian converts in Bushehr, arresting eight people in all. After seventeen days, Sam and Maryam were released on bail of 300 million tomans (US$25.000) each.
In June 2020 seven of the converts arrested the previous year were sentenced for “propaganda against the regime.” Sam was given one-year in prison plus two years’ exile. Maryam, a nurse, was fined eight million tomans and banned from working in a public institution.
At the end of July, the court in Bushehr ruled that, as Christians, Sam and Maryam are not fit to raise Lydia, as she is considered Muslim. However, the court recognised the care the parents had given and the “intense emotional bond” between the adoptive parents and Lydia. Lydia has some health issues and the Bushehr court acknowledged the parents have been able to provide the necessary love and care for her to thrive.
The court verdict also pointed out the likely outcome for Lydia: “It should also be noted that, considering the health of the child and her illness, there is zero possibility of giving her away to another family. If the child returns, it is possible that she would be forever under the protection of the Welfare Department.”
On 23 September, the decision to deny Sam and Maryam custody over Lydia was upheld on appeal. Sam and Maryam are now waiting to see when they will be ordered to return Lydia to the orphanage.
Sam, Maryam and their friends request prayer that in this deeply distressing time for the family, the Lord will grant them His deep peace and work a miracle to allow Sam and Maryam to keep and care for Lydia as their adoptive child.