Washington, D.C. – Last year, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suspended issuing exit permits for internationally adopted children, including medically fragile children.  Hundreds of adoptive families have been impacted by the suspension in the United States.  Last week, Benjamin Chase Dillow, a critically ill Congolese child died while waiting for an exit visa to be united with his parents in America.  Following a call to the Dillows to express his condolences over this tragedy, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reiterated his commitment to unite adopted Congolese children with their American parents.

During the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Chairman Royce met with and pressed Congolese President Joseph Kabila on the suspension of exit permits.  He highlighted the urgency of the medically fragile cases, including the death of Benjamin Dillow.

Chairman Royce said: “The orphans in Congo face severe deprivation.  Despite having loving homes and parents who are legal guardians under Congolese law, these children, some critically ill, are forced to wait in orphanages for months.  The Congolese government must allow these children to make their way to the homes anxiously awaiting their arrival — anything less is inhumane.  I urge the officials in Kinshasa to act and ensure that Ben’s tragic death was not in vain.  I will continue to press this issue so that these children are finally allowed to go home with their families.”

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