Senator Corker, Colleagues Urge President Obama To Personally Engage On Congolese Adoption Delays

Friday, July 18, 2014

In a letter to President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined 167 members of Congress in asking the president for his “personal engagement to resolve over 900 international adoption cases of Congolese children who either have been or are in the process of being adopted by American families, yet who are unable to obtain Congolese exit permits due to a suspension in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).” 

“We respectfully request that you raise this human rights crisis with President Kabila prior to his attendance at the U.S.-African Leaders Summit next month, and then use the opportunity of the summit to press for a firm resolution,” wrote the members of Congress. “We would appreciate your leadership on this issue to help unite these children and their families.” 

In September 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit permits for children adopted by foreign parents. Over 145 children who have been legally adopted by U.S. families and have been given Congolese passports and U.S. visas await exit letters, including several children with urgent, life-threatening medical problems. 

Advocacy groups indicate at least 23 families in the Volunteer State are affected by the DRC’s halt on adoptions. Senator Corker has met with several Tennessee families in various stages of the adoption process and continues to work towards a solution that will bring the children home to the United States. Senator Corker’s staff has also met with State Department officials, including the U.S. ambassador to the DRC and the DRC’s ambassador to the U.S., to discuss a resolution to this issue. 

Senator Corker is a cosponsor of a resolution authored by Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) calling on the DRC to resume the exit letter process that has been stalled for nearly a year. In April, SenatorCorker wrote to the president and prime minister of the DRC to request an end to delays in processing adoptions. As of today, there has been no response from the Congolese government.

Below is a copy of the letter:

Dear President Obama, 

We write to ask for your personal engagement to resolve over 900 international adoption cases of Congolese children who either have been or are in the process of being adopted by American families, yet who are unable to obtain Congolese exit permits due to a suspension in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). We understand that you have invited President Joseph Kabila to Washington in August for the first ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, and we urge you to use this event and the time leading up to it as an opportunity to press for an expeditious resolution that is in the best interest of these children. 

In September 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit permits for children adopted by foreign parents, reportedly due to concerns about suspected malfeasance in the local DRC adoption process and lack of information about the well-being of adopted children after they arrived in their new homes.  This suspension is having tragic consequences for these children as they wait to be united with their American families.  Already, 10 children who were matched with American families have died since the suspension went into place and many more have urgent, life-threatening medical problems. There are 148 children who have been legally adopted by US families and have been given Congolese passports and U.S. visas, but are still waiting for exit letters to be able to leave the DRC. 

Overcoming this impasse is a priority for many in Congress and we appreciate the State Department’s efforts to raise this issue with its Congolese counterparts. In April of this year, a bipartisan and bicameral group of 170 Members of Congress wrote to President Kabila and Prime Minister Matata Ponyo, urging the DRC government to resume processing exit permits for adopted children. To date, there has been no official response to this letter. Secretary Kerry raised this issue directly with President Kabila during his visit to Kinshasa in May and later that month the DRC government did release exit letters for 19 children adopted by American families, 4 of whom were medically fragile. Unfortunately, this represented only a small percentage of the completed cases and leaves dozens of critically ill children without the medical care they need to survive. The U.S. Department of State has continuously engaged the Congolese government to resolve the remaining completed cases, but to date all overtures have been unsuccessful. For example, when the DRC Director of General Migration (DGM) Francois Beya visited the United States in June, he received multiple requests for meetings ranging from State Department officials to Members of Congress. Mr. Beya declined to schedule any meetings on the suspended exit permit issue. That is why we are requesting your direct engagement with President Kabila. 

We respectfully request that you raise this human rights crisis with President Kabila prior to his attendance at the U.S.-African Leaders Summit next month, and then use the opportunity of the summit to press for a firm resolution.  We would appreciate your leadership on this issue to help unite these children and their families.  

Thank you for your attention to this important request. 

Sincerely,



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, EDWARD HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37410 52 Chattanooga PUBLIC INTOXICATION BEENE, JENNIFER LENA 4717 ELDRIDGE ROAD HIXSON, 37343 30 Chattanooga DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE DRIVING ON ROADWAYS LANED FOR TRAFFIC, VIOLATION LIGHT LAW VIOLATION RESISTING ARREST OR OBSTRUCTION OF LEGAL ... (click for more)

Corker Gives Statement On White House Veto Threat Against Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act Of 2015

Senator Bob Corker made the following statement regarding the White House’s  threat  of a presidential veto against his bipartisan bill requiring congressional review of any comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran. "It is disappointing that the president feels he is the only one who speaks for the citizens of our country," said Senator Corker. "Congress put these ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden On March 1

As I try to do at the beginning of each month, I stroll through my garden to see the good and the bad. This morning there is still a solid covering of snow but, as usual, there is still a lot to see. March is historically known for “coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb” so let’s see who gets what: A LAMB to the fact 90-year-old Floyd Hartwig of Easton, Calif., and his ... (click for more)

Regoin 3-AA Boys Final At Chattanooga State Monday

The fifth meeting between the Brainerd Panthers and the Central Purple Pounders will be held at Chattanooga State on Monday night with the tipoff set for 7 p.m. This upcoming game will be the biggest to date as it's for the Region 3-AA boys championship. Monday's winner will be at home on Tuesday for a sectional game while the loser will be on the road Tuesday night.  Brainerd ... (click for more)

Brainerd, Central Boys Advance To Region 3-AA Hoop Finals

LOUDON, Tenn. -- Brainerd won both regular-season matchups while Central won at the Best of Preps third-place consolation game before capturing the District 6-AA title last week at Red Bank. The season tally is now two wins each against each other and now they are ready for Round 5 following the Region 3-AA semifinals here at Loudon High School Saturday afternoon. Brainerd ... (click for more)