Minnesota Couple Stuck in Brazil After Their Baby Was Born Early Will Return Home

Cheri and Chris Phillips, along with their premature son, were stuck in Brazil after a snafu over the child's birth certificate

<p>Senator Tina Smith/X</p> The Phillips family with their newborn Greyson

Senator Tina Smith/X

The Phillips family with their newborn Greyson

A couple from Minnesota whose baby son was born three months early in Brazil will be able to finally leave the country following a bureaucratic mishap.

Chris and Cheri Phillips gave birth to Greyson, who was born on March 12 at 2 lbs. and 2.6 oz., the Star-Tribune reported.

In February, according to the newspaper, Chris traveled to Brazil to celebrate the birthday of his 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship whose mother lives in the South American country.

His wife Cheri, who traveled with him, was entering her third trimester and her doctors approved the visit.

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But then, two days before the couple were to return home, Cheri felt contractions and was admitted to a Brazilian hospital, per CBS affiliate WCCO. A cesarean section had to be performed.

“It just became obvious that he was going to be born,” Chris told the outlet. “I was in the operating room with her, and it was terrifying.”

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Greyson entered the world in March with a hole in his heart, the Star-Tribune reported. After 51 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, the baby was cleared to leave the hospital. Amid the hold up, the family had been staying at an Airbnb in Florianópolis.

But Greyson’s parents faced another challenge when they were denied an official birth certificate for Greuyson by Brazilian officials because the names of Chris and Cheri’s parents were not on their passports. Without Greyson’s birth certificate, he couldn't get a U.S. passport and thus return to America.

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“Basically, we are caught in bureaucratic limbo,” told WCCO earlier this month, while his family was still in Brazil. “What we need is for this story to be seen by somebody who can make real change happen and get us home. It takes one person to make the right call.”

Cheri said the experience was “mentally exhausting,” according to the Star-Tribune.

"Now that he's, quote-unquote, 'home' in an Airbnb, it's honestly even harder on me,” she said. “The only reason we're here now is because of all the bureaucracy. I'm either on the verge of crying or I'm mad or I'm just sitting on the couch with Greyson, cuddling or nursing him."

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Per WCCO, the couple wrote an appeal to family and friends, writing, "[We] hired a lawyer to help secure Greyson's Brazilian documentation but, after nearly a month, it has gone nowhere and they have no way of knowing when the judge will take up their case or how long it will take once he does."

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Fortunately, help for the Phillips has arrived through the intervention of Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith.

"I just got off the phone with Cheri and Chris, Minnesotans stuck in Brazil with their newborn son Greyson." Smith said in a May 16 post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. "I have some good news."

She added, "I've been pushing to cut through red tape with the Brazilian embassy, and we can finally confirm Greyson will soon have his passport to come home!"

But before the family got the happy update, the couple noted they were just looking forward to being back in the U.S.

"To be home, in our house, with help, people to wash the dishes and hold him, you know, would mean the world," Cheri told WCCO.

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