Several Iowa families and hundreds more across the country are facing a problem in completing their adoption of children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese government unexpectedly suspended the exit permits needed to finalize pending adoptions, leaving many children and adoptive families in limbo.
The families went through the proper channels, then faced an unexpected decision from the Congolese government. Earlier this month, I was among 59 senators and 112 members of the House of Representatives who sent a letter to the Congolese president and prime minister over the adoptions. More than 460 children are affected, sometimes languishing in institutions without a legal family. In addition to the consequences for the children, this suspension also is placing a substantial emotional and financial burden on the adoptive families, including the Iowa families.
My office has contacted the State Department regarding the matter on behalf of the Iowa families. I’ve also asked the U.S. ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to review each family’s situation and to do everything possible to resolve the issue. The State Department has told my office that the U.S. government is engaged at every opportunity, sending teams from the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to discuss U.S. adoption processes with Congolese officials and offering to help resolve any concerns. Secretary of State John Kerry also has just announced that he plans to visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and I’ll urge him to make sure this issue is raised in his discussions.
The children and their adoptive families deserve a resolution. I’ll continue to do everything I can to make sure the U.S. government is working at the highest levels to resolve these situations.