Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Consulate Early Closure due to Demonstrations, September 12, 2012

Media sources have reported protests in the region. Due to the possibility of further protests, the Consulate is closed to the public this afternoon.  The U.S. Embassy in Rabat is in close contact with Moroccan authorities to assess the possibilities of demonstrations in Morocco.

The Consulate urges U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel in and around the city center this afternoon and to be mindful of potential protest activity in this area in the near future.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens in Morocco are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.

The potential for terrorist violence against U.S. interests and citizens remains elevated in Morocco. It is important for U.S. citizens to be keenly aware of their surroundings and adhere to prudent security practices such as avoiding predictable travel patterns and maintaining a low profile.  Establishments that are readily identifiable with the United States or other Western countries are potential targets for attacks.  These may include facilities where U.S. citizens and other foreigners congregate, including clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, movie theaters and other public areas.

U.S. citizens needing assistance should call the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca at 0522-26-71-51 or after hours at 0661-13-19-39.

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Morocco are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest travel updates and information and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Morocco. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Consulate General to contact them in case of emergency.  U.S. citizens are also encouraged to visit our website at: http://morocco.usembassy.gov.

The Consulate reminds U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Morocco.  For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website where the Worldwide CautionTravel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. You can also follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.  Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Some Parent Suggestions on How to Avoid Visitor Overload: How to tell well-meaning friends and family you will need time alone for a while.

  • Start early: Spread the news among your family and friends well before you leave that you will need time alone as a family without visitors, and then give a reminder again right before you leave on your adoption trip.
  • Ask other adoptive parents how they have dealt with this issue of time alone after arriving home with their own families and friends, and any suggestions the might have for you.
  • Arrange to have someone you trust be there for you at home after arrival to help with chores like laundry, bills, and meals, and fend off phone calls and visitors who drop by.
  • Send off a group email, or have a friend address a pile of pre-printed, addressed postcards for you, with the announcement that you are leaving on your adoption trip and when you expect to be back, plus reminder to hold off contacts for two weeks after you return so you can recover from the trip. You can do this beforehand, and just put in the dates.
  • Arrange for a group email (with new child or new family photo, if possible) to be send off to everyone during your trip or right after, with the announcement of your good news and the request that everyone wait a few weeks to contact you, so that you can all rest and recuperate from the long trip. Or do the same with card of postcard (perhaps printed in advance) that a trusted helper can mail for you.
  • If you do decide to have a just few important visitors, like new grandparents or great-grandparents, tell them you need to limit the visit time to just an hour or less,(unless it’s after your child is in bed asleep) since your new child needs rest to recover from the long journey and many new adjustments.
  • Ask those most likely to ignore your requests or most likely to be hurt or offended by them to help you by spreading the news about this request for some private time. Tell them they will be the one of the first to be invited to visit with you after this time.
  • Those people, who want to baby-sit to help you out, sign them up for a firm date in a few weeks time or ask them to run errands for you, which would be an even bigger help right now.
  • If there are still some stubborn hold outs about visiting, defer to a bigger authority: “Our social worker says that we must wait two weeks for the first visitors, and then limit the number and time for visits.”
  • Send out emails with photos of your new child to all those eager to see him or her.

Attachment and International Adoption. From Choices and Challenges in International Adoption by Joan McNamara ©2009

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