Two years ago today, on September 25, 2013, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suspended the issuance of exit permits to children adopted by non-Congolese families through intercountry adoption. As a result, more than 1,000 children have been prevented from leaving the country to join their new families. This sad and difficult situation has stretched on for far too long.
During my recent trip to Kinshasa, I spoke face-to-face with U.S. citizen adoptive parents about their frustrations in trying to bring their children home to the United States. Each story possessed a sad, common thread of a young child and a loving family being kept apart. I share these stories when I raise our concerns with Congolese officials.
On September 22, I met with the DRC’s Ambassador to the United States, Francois Balumuene, to ask him for a clear timeline on the release of children with finalized adoptions. He emphatically stated that the announcement of the release of adoptive children will be made very soon. Ambassador Balumuene reiterated that the new adoption law would be announced this week along with the release of the pending cases. He stated that the pending cases would not be delayed until passage of the new law. The DRC must act on this commitment now.
Through all of these discussions with Congolese officials, the U.S. government message has remained clear and consistent: the United States seeks the immediate release of all children who have been legally adopted by citizens of our country. That message will not change until these children are allowed to freely join their loving families awaiting them in the United States.
For more information:
- Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website for more information about intercountry adoption with the DRC.