The news and thoughts below come from Nina Ciatto, our very first CMomA Grant Program recipient. Back in August, we celebrated her arrival safely home with her newly adopted daughter. In addition to stories about navigating New Parenthood on her blog, Nina Adopts, she also shares observations about the realities of international adoption. We’ll be sharing selected posts from her blog regularly.
Today, with her permission, we are re-posting a recent piece about changes in adoption policies by the Congolese government. This is worrying news, especially for single adoptive parents, and best read in Nina’s own words:
In late September, just a few months after one exit letter suspension was lifted, another one was put into place. DGM (Congo’s immigration authority) is stating this new one may last up to one year. Now DGM is saying that it will no longer allow single, unmarried, adoptive parents to leave the country with their children.
The rumor I heard was that the first exit letter ban, this past spring, was due to Congolese officials coming under the impression that someone who is gay adopted a child from Congo. Congolese law states that homosexuals cannot adopt Congolese children. Whatever we may think of it, it’s their law. I question how US agencies are able to handle this. I imagine US law prohibits inquiries as to sexual orientation. Alas, that was just a rumor. However, since so many of us blog and use other forms of social media, it’s not hard to imagine how (mis)information is easily acquired and spread.
The second ban is a direct result of the Reuters series on unsuccessful (at best) adoptions and rehoming. The series paints a horrific picture. It’s hard to imagine any country not questioning American adoption after reading the accounts. The story went viral. It was picked up by a New York Times parenting blog, The Daily Beast, what is often a personal favorite read of mine RT, and many others. The stories are embarrassing, frightening, and worst of all, tragic. Congolese officials are asking for assurances and want to send delegates to countries adopting its children.
The newest twist was announced by the US Department of State this week. On October 22, exactly one year after Congo made me the legal parent of THE MOST PRECIOUS HUMAN BEING I HAVE EVER KNOWN, the DGM informed the US Embassy that it will no longer issue exit permits to single adoptive parents. This smells as if its real intent is to insure that gay men and women do not adopt Congolese children. I cried when I read this email.
If you know a single person who is adopting from Congo, give them big hugs. They will need courage and fight. I emailed the Congo director of my agency trying to offer something – actually for the delegates to visit the home of this single adoptive mom (my dancing daughter, who is cuddled up next to me as I write, is a sight I think they should see). In her response, I heard fight. Still, my stomach turns at what could have been for us.