What's Going On In The Democratic Republic of Congo

MLJ Adoptions greatly appreciates the U.S. Embassy and U.S. State Departments’ efforts to communicate regarding the current situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Consul Elliot Ferik led a teleconference for agencies this morning at 10-11am EST. The following was discussed:

  • Conflict in the eastern part of Congo:

    Children that are being adopted from eastern Congo can be moved to Kinshasa by their agency but this is proving to be extremely difficult, if not impossible. At no time does MLJ take referrals that are known to be from the eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are approximately 50-100 children in this region that are referred to adoptive parents from agencies or independent facilitators. Not only is the travel difficult but the embassy investigation for their visa is extremely difficult and likely will create significant delays.

  • Is humanitarian parole an option for Congo adopted children:

    At this time, this is not a consideration. However, the U.S. State department will continue to monitor the situation and discussion options. In addition, the Consul has communicated that the Congolese government would likely not approve this option.

  • Filing I-600 at Kinshasa Embassy:

    The embassy communicated that all adoptive parents should file at the National Benefits Center in the U.S. and not at the embassy unless they actually live in Congo.

  • Foreign staff and orphanages in Congo:

    The adoption agency is responsible for their foreign staff’s actions. MLJ Adoptions has approximately 15 full or part-time adoption service providers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that assist with the adoption process or foster-care. MLJ Adoptions received a referral from the embassy for our foreign director in Congo. The embassy has continued to communicate regarding the problems within orphanages. MLJ Adoptions referrals are from the Congo Social Services and not from the orphanage staff. In addition, MLJ Adoptions uses foster-care for our referrals. Foster-care is not used by all adoption professionals or independent facilitators and foster-care was a topic that the embassy used as a possible recommendation for the problems that are happening with children dying or a lost referral.

  • Families contacting the embassy regarding conflict or their specific adoption:

    While there is no prohibition against the adoptive parents contacting the embassy, the parents should likely discuss this and obtain approval from their adoption service provider first, to be sure it is appropriate. There have been instances of adoptive parents overstepping their agency’s process and requesting an expediting of the embassy interview through political contacts and their documents/dossier/passports/etc. were not ready and yet they used the time of the embassy and replaced another family’s interview that was ready. Adoptive parents should be sure that use of political contacts or communication is appropriate. All adoptive parents want to expedite the process; however, they must also respect the work and efforts of all the government entities involved in the adoption and immigration legal process.

Consul Elliot Ferick summarized, “The only sure thing in Congo is change.” Many other issues were discussed regarding the adoption process and it was extremely helpful for the communication efforts between the adoption service providers and the embassy. I am hopeful that this communication will continue and improve the adoption process in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here. To learn more about adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.