Waiting and worrying, hundreds of US families want answers on what needs to be done so they can bring their adopted children home.
The Democratic Republic of Congo stopped issuing exit letters for all adoptions in September. This halted the adoption process for hundreds of families including families that are legally considered the child’s parents.
According the U.S. Department of State this moratorium of all international adoptions is due to the DRC’s “concerns over reports that children adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be either abused by adoptive families or adopted by a second set of parents once in their receiving countries" and reports of fraudulently obtained documentation.
Parents Katie and Ryan Ong have legally adopted two-year-old Moses. Their last name is on his birth certificate. But because the DRC is not issuing any new exit letters at this time, his parents cannot take him outside of the country.
The organization “Both Ends Burning” works to protect and advocate for the rights of orphaned children. Earlier this week the organization posted an online petition asking U.S. leaders to do more. So far it has nearly 100,000 signatures. “I think it was just when the U.S. Department of State couldn’t even tell us how many families were affected, that we became pretty appalled and decided that we were going to step forward and do our very best to make sure these kids got home to their families,” said “Both Ends Burning” general council Kelly Dempsey.
Dempsey says data suggests that many orphans in the Democratic Republic of Congo do not live beyond their fifth birthday.
You can check out the petition here.