According to the California Innocence Project (CIP), the Huangs adopted their three children from Africa and in 2012 moved as a family to Qatar for a project with Matthew Huang’s work.  In January 2013, their 8-year-old daughter, Gloria, suddenly died, but the grief-stricken couple had little time to mourn, WorldMag reports. Their other two children were removed from their home by the government and placed in an orphanage, and the couple was incarcerated. It is unclear why Gloria died, though she did suffer from an eating disorder that is common in impoverished countries. Qatari police suspected foul play. Adoption is rare and biracial families are scarce in the Middle East, and so officials assumed that the Haungs have bad motives for adopting their children, claims Qatari police claim the Huangs murdered Gloria with the intention to harvest and sell her organs. According to WorldMag, authorities have allowed Matt and Grace’s two sons to return to the United States, where they are living with Grace’s parents. The couple is able to spend five hours a day home-schooling their children over Skype. While prosecutors are pushing for a harsher sentence, the Huangs are reported to be appealing the three-year sentence. The hearing will take place November 30. Matthew has requested that President Obama explain to the Qatari government the normalcy of American couples adopting children in need. According to CIP, the president hasn’t mentioned the couple in public. But CNN reported that the U.S. State Department has called for Qatar to lift the couple’s travel ban for the couple and allow them to return to America. Additionally, prayer vigils are being held for the family in their evangelical congregation.

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