Wednesday, May 28, 2014

dampened {but not lost} hope

Welp, as usual, the Department of State has put a damper on things in the DRC adoption atmosphere. They published an alert outlining information that is most definitely not what we had hoped for, as we were hoping the Exit Letter suspension had been lifted entirely. 

(UPDATED: It may seem like I am blaming the US DoS for the DRC's problems, but that's because I kind of am. It is becoming more and more clear that the US DoS hasn't worked very hard to support US families going through adoption turmoil, while Italy's government has been extremely helpful and supportive. Check this Italian story detailing the homecoming/welcoming of 31 Congolese children to their Italian families. Note that Italy's government minister accompanied the children home on one big happy flight. That's government at its very finest.)
However, we still have to wade through some facts to get to the bottom of it all. For example, several agencies heard straight from DGM (apparently) in-country that their office in DRC was open and that things were looking up. 
We are still hopeful and THRILLED for the families and children who came home, as indicated in this portion of the alert: 
On May 26, the Congolese General Direction of Migration (DGM) informed members of the diplomatic corps that it was prepared to issue exit permits to 62 children adopted by foreigners whose cases fully conform to existing Congolese adoption laws. The DGM’s list includes 15 children adopted by U.S. families. The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa will contact those families via email by May 28.
But this portion...
The DGM cautioned that all other children adopted by foreigners will not be issued exit permits until a new law reforming intercountry adoptions enters into force, even if their cases met the DGM’s previous exception criteria (as outlined in the Department's October 23, 2013 Adoption Alert). This new law has not yet been drafted and Congolese authorities are not able to commit to a particular timeframe in which they expect to develop and implement any new law(s).
The Department of State has reiterated our previous offers of technical consultations and will seek clarification from the DGM on this decision’s impact on the remaining cases involving children adopted by U.S. families. Congolese authorities have not yet responded to inquiries from the U.S. Embassy regarding adopted children with life-threatening medical conditions.
NOTE: Revisions to Congolese adoption laws may include retroactive provisions that could affect cases that have already been completed or are in progress. While the courts may continue processing adoptions, the children adopted during the suspension will not be able to obtain exit permits to depart the country and are not guaranteed to be eligible for exit permits once any new law is promulgated.

We do not believe that these "revisions to Congolese adoption laws" will affect us, personally, as we have heard that they relate to old laws that were already in place but often waived by the courts (such as fewer than 3 children already in the adoptive home, a minimum of 5 years of marriage, etc), but this notice does seem menacing and confusing, especially to families who have already passed court and legally adopted their children with waivers (which DRC offered). 

Continued prayers for softened hearts in DRC, our DoS as they fight for us (because hopefully they WILL fight), the safety and security of children who continue to wait, and stamina and fortitude for adoptive families everywhere who are loving their children fiercely from afar.