I have finally managed to get on Pastor Jamal Jivanjee's mailing list for updates on Rifqa Bary, so I got this hot off the press. Pastor Jivanjee reports that today, Jan. 19, Rifqa was declared a dependent of the State of Ohio. According to him, this will insure that she stays in foster care until she turns 18. I have heard this conclusion disputed elsewhere, but it's definitely a big step forward for her and apparently creates some sort of prima facie case that she will not be immediately returned to her parents. It takes her out of a legal limbo.
Jamal reports that Rifqa had to agree "that she violated rules by fleeing her home." Well, um, yes, in one sense. I'm not sure exactly what this admission on her part amounts to, legally. Pamela Geller is completely caught up in the Scott Brown Senate race but will probably have some thoughts on the legal angle concerning this admission by Rifqa in "exchange" for dependency.
Pastor Jivanjee reports that Rifqa remains isolated from fellow Christians, so the conditions of her imprisonment (and that really is what it amounts to) within the foster system has not changed. She is not permitted visitors or phone or e-mail contact with any of her Christian friends, according to past reports by Pastor Jivanjee. She will not be eighteen until Aug. 10, which is a long time to remain in something akin to solitary confinement and, for a Christian, isolated in the flesh from the Body of Christ.
But now she has hope that she will not simply be abruptly returned to her parents and whisked off to Sri Lanka, and hope will help a great deal.
Also, we know that no Christian is truly isolated, for Our Lord is always with us, and the Body of Christ is with Rifqa in prayer. Continue in prayer for her. I will continue to give updates, especially if I can find out whether she is still being allowed to receive cards and notes of encouragement.