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I am so happy being married and living with my best friend. We adopted our first child, Ari, in 2011 through a domestic adoption and our second, Jude, in 2014.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

To Congo or Not to Congo

That is the question. The question that runs through my head over and over again all day long.

International adoption in DRC is very messy right now. The DGM there issues Exit Letters. An adopted child cannot leave the country without receiving an exit letter. However, in September 2013 the DGM completely shut down. This happened soon after a lot of articles came out about internationally adopted children being abused and rehomed. I don't think the DGM has ever issued an official statement about why they have closed, but this is believed to be the reason.

At first it was said they would be closed for up to 6 months. No one ever imagined it would take the full 6 months for them to open again. However, it has now been 7 months and there is no end in sight. We could start the process of an adoption there...get a referral, go through court in DRC, receive visas, etc. But could we ever bring the child home? Not sure. There are actually over 100 legally adopted children stuck in the DRC right now.

We're getting to the point where our home study is about to expire, so we have to decide if we want to renew it or not. I have researched adoption for just about every other African country out there and everything seems to be a shut door. Either we don't meet the age requirements for the country or they're in the same "messy" state as DRC and it is advised to not start an adoption there.

I emailed with one of our agency workers looking for advice. She said that DRC adoptions are very risky right now. But one silver lining/thread of hope we were holding onto was that a delegation from DRC was scheduled to come to the US from April 16-26 to meet with the Department of State. Everyone was really hoping there would be more information available after that meeting. Many families who have completed DRC adoptions were even going to travel to DC at this time to show how their Congolese children are safe, healthy, and thriving. However, yesterday the Congolese authorities announced that they would no longer be traveling to the US as planned.

So that pretty much crushed my spirit and blew away any hope I had left about us starting an adoption in DRC. We still have one potential lead with another country that we're looking into. But if that doesn't pan out, I think the idea of us going through an African adoption right now is done.

It hurts me so much to even think about that. Africa is heavy on our hearts. We can't imagine not doing an African adoption. I still collect African things while dreaming of creating a nursery for my girl. The other day Ari and Jude were both in my lap and Ari was playing with my necklace which has a charm on it with a picture of Africa. He picked up that charm and said, "See Jude, that's baby sister." Tears formed in my eyes immediately. We all dream of our baby sister from Africa.

I do believe that God blessed us greatly with the timing of Jude's adoption. I just know all this news and delay with African adoptions would be so much harder to take if Ari was the only child in our life. Jude came to us at the absolute perfect time. That blessing overwhelms me.

But there's Africa...still on my heart and mind every day. Please pray for us as we try to make the decision about what the future holds for our family there. Please also keep in your prayers the children and families affected by this exit letter shutdown. 


Anonymous said...

The State Dept cited reasons for why the DGM ceased issuing exit letters -- fraud, corruption and a lovely Belgian lady who was arrested attempting to sneak a kid out of the country WITHOUT an exit letter on April 14!


Whitney Crain said...

I'm praying for y'all, and for God to reveal direction if any. Love you guys!

Whitney Crain said...

Also praying for resolution with adopted children in those countries.

Danna Townsdin said...

Love you all so much!!!

Amelia May said...

Love you, distressed with you

Jeanne Reeves Priest said...

My heart breaks for those children & their families that are currently waiting for exit letters! Also for those, like you, who already love a child they just haven't met yet & all the uncertainty that brings. Prayers for everyone for peace.

Pat Slagle said...

Read "The Poisonwood Bible" book before deciding.

Vanessa said...

Pat, I know a few Congo adoptive moms have read that book, but I haven't gotten to it. Thanks for the suggestion!

Ryan Hernandez said...

Praying for you guys...

Roxanne Maloy Foster said...

Oh Vanessa. how painful. I can't think of a better family to fight this good fight for their baby girl. I'm believing you'll be her mommy one day.