WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) sent a letter to leaders of the Senate and National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) requesting support for an expedited review of the 400 estimated pending adoption cases where the suspension of exit permits have prevented families from bringing their legally adopted child home to the United States. A total of 135 Members of Congress co-signed the Klobuchar/Cornyn letter.
“Due to the delay in processing the outstanding adoption cases, we understand that at least one child has unnecessarily died despite already possessing a valid visa with which to immediately enter the United States,” Sens. Klobuchar and Cornyn wrote. “We encourage you to act without delay to facilitate the union of these loving families as soon as possible.”
Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn sent a similar letter to leaders of the DRC National Assembly and Senate in October 2014 requesting their assistance in resolving the adoption crisis.
Full text of the Senators’ letter is available below:
Dear President Kengo and Speaker Minaku:
We write today to follow up on our last correspondence of October 2014, regarding the over four hundred cases of Congolese children who have been legally adopted under Congolese law by U.S. parents but who are unable to depart the DRC. We thank you for your efforts thus far to resolve any outstanding concerns you have with the legal adoptions by American parents of Congolese children, and strongly urge you to move forward expeditiously with final authorization of all such adoption cases, and the issuance of exit permits for the children involved.
As fellow legislators, we value a good relationship between our two countries, and we respect your commitment to serving the needs of the people you represent by way of strengthening your inter-country adoption process. We share your concern that the adoption process should be as careful and protective of children as possible, and that once approved, children be placed with an appropriate adoptive family as soon as is practicable.
We appreciate your efforts to enable the most medically-fragile adopted children to join their adoptive parents in the United States so that they can receive necessary medical care. We also appreciate the creation of the Democratic Republic of Congo Adoption Commission and the work of the Direction Generale d'Immigration to begin reviewing and issuing exit permits as soon as possible. It is our understanding that the Commission has already approved at least 13 cases of adoptive children of American families and has sent them to President Kabila for final authorization and exit permit issuance.
While we are pleased with the progress, we respectfully request on behalf of our constituents that you urge the expedited review of the hundreds of remaining adoptive cases so they may be sent for final authorization and exit permit issuance by President Kabila as soon as possible. Due to the delay in processing the outstanding adoption cases, we understand that at least one child has unnecessarily died despite already possessing a valid visa with which to immediately enter the United States. Other children remain in unstable conditions. Furthermore, some of our constituents have put their lives in the United States on hold, relocating to the Democratic Republic of Congo to be closer to and properly care for their adopted children.
Like you, we are committed to preserving the integrity of the inter-country adoption process, and to protecting the best interests of Congolese children. As described in our October 28, 2014 letter, we are dedicated to ensuring that federal laws in the United States protect all children against abuse and neglect, and appropriately punish any persons who violate them.
We hope you will agree hat it is in the best interests of the Congolese children, particularly those who have legal finalized adoptions by American families, that the inter-country adoption process continues in an honest and ethical manner. We encourage you to act without delay to facilitate the union of these loving families as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.