Helps Hundreds of Families with Adopted Children in Democratic Republic of the Congo

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House unanimously passed the Adoptive Family Relief Act (S. 1300), which allows U.S. visa renewal fees to be waived for American families who have faced extraordinary circumstances while adopting children overseas.  The legislation helps hundreds of families impacted by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) suspension of exit visas for internationally adopted children.  U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has worked to unite American families with their adopted Congolese children since the government of the DRC suspended exit visas two years ago.

On the passage of S. 1300, Chairman Royce said: “For two years, American families have been hurting — unable to bring their legally adopted children home from the Congo because of a horrible bureaucratic chokehold by the Congolese government.  I have met with these families — some had their adopted children die in a Congolese orphanage and others have paid more than $1,000 in fees to keep their adoptive child’s visa active while they wait in limbo.  As the Congolese system fails these children, Congress has helped to give these families some relief during their time of great distress.  I will continue to do all I can so these adopted children are allowed into loving American homes.”

Note: Last year, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 588, which urges the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to resume international adoptions.  Chairman Royce met with over 50 families adopting from the DRC who are directly impacted by the suspension of exit permits.  The meeting followed a letter Chairman Royce and 167 Members of Congress sent to Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Prime Minister Augustin Motata Manyo urging them to issue exit letters for the stalled adoption cases.