Currently, there are 5 US adoptive families that have completed the adoption process that are stuck in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, unable to obtain permission to exit with their children. Why isn’t the US Government Helping these families to obtain permission to come home?
I am sure you are probably asking how in the world something like this could happen. In short, the Congolese government claims it has halted all adoptions amid allegations of abuse or “rehoming” of adopted children. Congo says it will not resume adoptions before the Fall of 2014 pending their investigation of the allegations.
While we could certainly debate whether these allegations are truly the basis for the Congolese adoption stoppage, and we could certainly question even the notion of an investigation by a government that ranks at the bottom of every worldwide corruption index, that is an argument for another time. Congo is a sovereign nation, and their decision to halt foreign adoptions is their right for whatever reasons they deem appropriate. I pray that their hearts will change, and their process will become more ethical and transparent as a result of any adoption suspension.
However, the decision to suspend adoptions is a separable issue from the plight of the 5 American families who are stuck in limbo in the Congo and the State Department should intervene on their behalf.
In the case of these families, they have already completed the Congolese adoption process. While it is understandable that Congo wants to halt adoptions to refine its process or to better protect the children being adopted, it is too late in these cases. According to the law of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the children these families came into the country to adopt are legally theirs. Their adoptions are final. All they are waiting on is permission from the Congolese government to be able to travel home.
It does not appear that there is any intent to investigate the families further, to dig deeper into the children’s backgrounds to verify their orphan status, or to further adjudicate these cases. The families have been given full responsibility for these children, but they are not permitted to take them out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This prevents the families from applying for US visas.
So far the US State Department has been of little help to these families. They report that the US Embassy in Kinshasa has not been able to help with any information as to why children adopted before the ban are not allowed to leave.
The hardships for the families are enormous. One couple, Justin and Alana Carroll, from East Tennessee have been separated since November 19. While Justin has been stuck waiting to bring their two newly adopted sons home from Congo, he missed the birth of their daughter on November 25, and he has still not met his newborn daughter. (Here is a news story and blog detailing their journey).
I would as that you email, tweet, Facebook, and call your Representative and Senators to ask them to intervene with the State Department on behalf of these families to work with the Congolese government for a resolution that will honor the Congolese adoption decrees and allow them to leave the country with their children.
Please let your voices be heard!
Let me know what you hear from your elected officials…