Tuesday, April 1, 2014

letter-writing

I had a few thoughts to share today, but I found out yesterday about an effort to help the DRC adoption situation, and I've been working on it since early this morning. (This after a crazy overnight experience that included 4 baths for our almost-two-year old, his pukey mess incident, his diarrhea mess incident, a 90-second interval-coughing 3-year-old, and two trips to the washing machine. Do I share too much?)

Adoptive parents are working in a united effort to bring attention to the issues with exit letters in DRC, and we have a plan over the next few days. I'm not sure who wrote the form letter, but I've adapted it and left out parts of it for blogging purposes to maintain privacy and potency so our efforts are not diminished. If you are interested in helping, please consider writing a letter to your state's Congress members on our behalf or on behalf of all parents adopting from DRC. I am sending these letters to every Congress member in Missouri and the White House, provided I can get it done.

And of course, prayers are always appreciated. We know who is truly in control here, but He allows us to be involved.

Dear Representative .....,

Our names are Brad and Jenny Lotz and we reside at .... Missouri.  We are adopting from Democratic Republic of Congo and have been waiting five months to finalize our child's adoption and begin the process of bringing her home. Her name is "C" and she is approximately eight months old, although we will never know her true age, as she was found (.....)

We am writing you to ask for help in uniting our family. Currently, the DRC has suspended issuing exit letters, which are normally issued by the DRC government and needed to leave the county with adopted children, even if the adoption has been finalized. Our adoption is in process, and in a few months "C" will officially be our daughter, although I must tell you that she is already our daughter in our hearts. Several other families have already completed adoptions from DRC, but they have not been allowed to unite their families because of this suspension in the issuance of exit letters. The Department of State has sent a delegation to DRC and are planning a DRC delegation to come here, but the officials who are coming are not from the DGM office, which is where exit letters are normally issued and thus, where the current problems lie. They are saying the suspension was put in place because they have concerns about the welfare of the children who are already in the US and want to see them and the parents. We understand these concerns and are glad they are checking on the children, but we are wondering why it is taking so long. The investigating began in September 2013, and they say they "may" begin issuing exit letters in September 2014. 

Why is the DOS not addressing this issue with the DGM?  Currently, there are approximately 130 children sitting in DRC with US visas, but they cannot cross any borders to come home, and approximately 500 children (our “daughter” included) are in the adoption process. We are begging for your help in finding a solution to get these children home. Every extra day they stay is a day they may get sick and die. DRC is the second poorest country in the world, 40% of children do not make it until their 5th birthday, and most people eat only 2-4 meals a week.  Recently 33 children died of dysentery in an orphanage. Two of those children were two-month-old twins we were in the process of adopting, and our hearts ripped in two when we heard then news that they had suffered and died and then considered the fact that they would have had to stay in a dangerous place even longer because of the DGM’s decision to halt exit letters. We need your help desperately before something else happens, but also because it feels as though our hearts are living in two different countries at this time.

We appreciate your help and ask that you please send me a response letting me know if you have reached out to the Department of State and expressed your concern for the welfare of these children.

Thank you for your time and for considering our request.

Sincerely,

Brad and Jenny Lotz



FYI: Tomorrow we are emailing, Thursday faxing and next Monday, calling. Help us if you can!