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90-Day Fiance vs. Reality

August 31, 2022

Disclaimer: I have never watched 90-Day Fiance.

Disclaimer: I don't intend to ever watch 90-Day Fiance.


I married Raxtus Mensah Aborampah, a Ghanain, in Ghana on April 25th, 2019. I met him on a pen pal site in late 2016. We began with emails, then texting on WhatsApp and then video calls when he had enough connectivity to call. We were and have been in touch daily. He eventually asked if I would be interested in marrying him. I replied "No." He broke up with his long-time Russian Peace Corp girlfriend and continued to ask me. I eventually said yes.

(This is obviously a pared down retelling.)

In August of 2017, I found myself at the airport preparing to travel to Ghana. I don't mind flying, but at that point, I found airports and security, etc. terrifying. I had made it through the passport and visa processes and had been vaccinated for everything including yellow fever. I was also on malaria medicine. (Not something the local pharmacy carries.)

Ghana is an English-speaking country, but not like any English we know. The Accra (capitol of Ghana) airport was under construction, the temperature was in the 90's with humidity in the 80's or above, and there were soldiers with guns. I had been traveling for over 24 hours and was exhausted. I just followed the queue and eventually was free to leave the airport. (In Ghana, no one is allowed to wait in the terminal.) As soon as I stepped outside, I heard my name called, and Abusua was literally jumping for joy as he ran to my side and gave me a hug. His smile was the best thing I had seen. It still is.

Raxtus goes by the name Abusua which translates to "a good man." It is the perfect name for him. (He doesn't ask me for money, and he also has never claimed to be a Ghanaian prince.)

My one-week stay in Ghana was overwhelming. I had never experienced a third-world country and those conditions and that much poverty. Still, I found the people beautiful and Abusua caring and kind. We got along well. We spent time in Accra and in Kumasi (the second largest city) and in Kensakrom, Abusua's village. It is so small that I have not found it on a map yet.

Once home, we completed and submitted the immigration paperwork for a fiance visa. In November of 2018, our petition was denied. The American embassy worker did not even look at the evidence of a "real" relationship that Abusua had to show him. He asked two questions and said, "No." We were crushed.

I should mention that throughout this relationship, we have fasted and prayed a great deal to know what Heavenly Father thought and thinks of Abusua and me being together. Without feeling that Heavenly Father approved, I would never have left the Phoenix Airport. Abusua is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, of which I am a member, but he is a faithful Christian who is given to much prayer and righteous living. I also want to mention that Abusua formally asked both of my children, Leslie and Thomas, if they minded if I married him. They said they didn't mind and look forward to having him here someday to be a part of their lives also.

Everyone has heard some sort of immigration story or has one to tell. And tell them, they did. It seems that being married might make it easier for him to get a visa. My second visit to Ghana was to get married. Prior to this, Abusua had started calling me "wife." I thought it was a little strange, but also kind of sweet. Come to find out, according to Ghanain law, we were already married. During one video call, my family, including my mother, were in the room. Abusua asked my mother if she approved of our relationship, and she answered, "Yes." In Ghana, an uncle is more important to a person than their own father is. Abusua's father is deceased, but his oldest uncle had also given consent. Under Ghanaian law, we were now married. (I did my own research, and it's true.) We had a civil service just like our marriages, and we also had a service in his village. The picture shows me in my wedding gown with Abusua's sister, Anna, beside me and his son, Abusua Jr., by her. The others are friends and village chiefs.

Once home, we completed and submitted the immigration paperwork for a spouse. We sent it all in and received an email saying that it was received and approved to that point. We then had to wait for another interview. At no time, does one actually speak to a person in immigration. They do not make that possible. If one inquires through email, one receives the same message that was sent the last time, and one is assured that we are in the queue and at some point will have an interview. They will notify us by email.

Enter COVID. No immigration. No travel. Just, "No." This also pushed back our place in the mysterious "queue" behind all those who were in front of us before the pandemic.

In March of this year, I was finally able to travel, and after almost three years without seeing each other, we got to spend three weeks together. It was glorious. Leaving was so very hard. (If you would like to see pictures of our time together, please go to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/suean.stradlingcollins which is public and scroll down a short way. I don't post that often. You can't miss Abusua's smile in my profile picture.)

And so we wait. Not especially patiently. Yes, I have contacted my Senator. So far, we have seen no results. And no, we won't just have him fly to Mexico and cross the border.

We do appreciate your prayers in our behalf.


Disclaimer: Abusua and I will continue to trust in the Lord's timing to bring us together.


Update: Abusua arrived in the US on May 2, 2023. At present, he is in Connecticut which is a long story I may tell at another time.


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