Missouri nurse Rachel Adrian welcomed a healthy baby boy on Thursday — while her husband, a Kurdish man from northern Iraq, remains overseas due to President Donald Trump‘s controversial executive order banning entry into the U.S. from seven predominately Muslim countries.
Hoger Ameen met his son Aland on Skype shortly after Adrian gave birth, with her mother by her side, in Saint Joseph, Missouri, at 10:59 p.m.
Ameen says it was painful being apart from his wife for an occasion that should have been “the happiest moment” of his life.
“I have a message for my son: Aland, I am so sorry I can’t visit you right now and hold you like other daddies,” Ameen, 29, tells PEOPLE via email from northern Iraq. “When you grow up you will understand that because of political problems I couldn’t be there for your birth.
“Be strong, I’m sorry and I love you.”
Amen, who says he was raised Muslim but now identifies as Christian, also has a message for President Trump: “I wish you would let me come and I wish I could hold my son.”
Adrian, 29, met Ameen in Iraq three years ago when she moved there to do relief work. The couple married the following year and made plans to move to the U.S. to start a family. They settled down, temporarily, in Iraq and began applying for a spousal visa.
“We wanted to move back to America to be located near my wife’s family in Missouri,” Ameen, a telecommunications specialist, previously told PEOPLE. “Family is very important to us and we want to stay close to them.”
Adrian moved back to her Missouri hometown in July, waiting for her husband to join her in the U.S. Ameen had completed his visa paperwork, submitted tax forms and taken medical exams. He was told in December that his application was “in the last steps of the processing.”
Their dream of starting a family in the U.S. seemed attainable — and very close.
“We couldn’t wait,” says Ameen. “But when we heard the news about the ban, all of our hope was gone.
“I’m afraid that when I do get to meet [my son], he won’t know who I am.”
Ameen received an email last week from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad with notice of the executive order, which suspended entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the U.S. for 90 days for nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iran.
“If you are a national, or dual national, of one of these countries, please do not schedule a visa appointment or pay any visa fees at this time. If you already have an appointment scheduled, please DO NOT ATTEND your appointment as we will not be able to proceed with your visa interview,” the email said.
The couple isn’t sure what this means for them — will they have to start the visa process over again? Will Ameen get to meet his son soon?
“We have no idea,” says Ameen. “We are trusting in God’s plan.”