The Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing an orphan crisis of great proportions; in an effort to resolve the crisis, Congo’s adoption authority and courts can choose to waive current restrictions for anyone interested in adopting. The Congolese government believes it is in a child’s best interest to be placed with a family rather than growing up in an orphanage setting. It has been expressed that MLJ is “bending the rules” when it comes to adopting children in Congo. MLJ does not and cannot “bend the rules” or waive Congolese restrictions. It is only the discretion of the Congolese adoption authority and government to determine if a family may adopt a child. All adoptions facilitated by MLJ Adoptions, Inc. are processed in an ethical manner, in accordance with Hague standards, and MLJ ensures that the adoption process in the country is followed with strict adherence to that country’s legal process.
Due to the current travel restrictions issued by the US State Department, MLJ has restricted travel for all clients adopting from Congo. All clients are required to use an escort to bring their child to the US. Escorts are MLJ staff members in the US or Congo, who have been pre-screened and trained. The escort attends the embassy interview appointment and accompanies the child to the United States. No third party escort services are allowed. This restriction is for the protection of our clients, protection of the children, and protection for the adoption program and hope for children waiting to be adopted.
Upon acceptance of a referral, a child is moved into a foster home. The purpose of foster care is to provide the child with nutritious foods, clothing, medical care, and much needed attention. Foster homes are pre-screened by MLJ staff in Congo. It has been indicated that the foster cares system is being abused, and accusations have been made that foster families “steal” money provided for foster care while the children go without. MLJ foster homes are monitored by our foreign staff. Additionally, foreign staff visit the children and foster homes every weekend delivering formula, diapers, food, clothing, and toys to the children.
Physicals for Adoptive Parents
Congo now requires adoptive parents to have chest x-ray results as part of their physicals. The adoptive parents’ physicals with chest x-rays are submitted in the beginning of the Congo adoption process rather than with dossier documents.
HIV/Aids testing is performed after a family accepts a child as a referral and the child is moved into foster care. Should the referred child test positive for HIV, a different child referral can be requested.