Day 78 in country, I woke up took my bath-shower and pulled out something other than a t-shirt and yoga pants. I was on my way to meet with the Ambassador after all. I got ready, touching up make-up, leaving my hair down, febreezing my best shirt and least wrinkly skirt. I dressed up Lainey in one of her cute outfits. I stepped outside and the phone rang: shooting and riots in the streets, our driver and in-country guy couldn’t make it, our meeting is cancelled. Angry, but not surprised, I came back into my room, pulled off my fancy shirt and shoes and put on a t-shirt and flip flops.

It has been almost three months since I arrived in my youngest daughter’s birth country. When we arrived, it took a couple of weeks for the Congolese ministries to process all our paperwork and within that time the US Embassy put out an alert. This alert stated that the DGM, who issues exit letters to Congolese children, had announced a suspension on exits. Those who had Bordereau letters that were dated prior to September 25th would still receive these exit letters during the suspension. We have a pre-25th Bordereau so we tried to file, but to no avail. We heard rumors of a first list and second list and many other things that gave us hope we would still receive an exit letter.

The Embassy stated that once we were able to submit to the DGM, they would fight for citizens after 10 days if our case had not progressed. On Wednesday, November 27, thanks to the efforts of our Embassy, I was finally able to submit my paperwork to DGM. Since then the Embassy has met with the DGM, but has not been able to hold them to adhere to their own policies. The Embassy put out another alert in December regarding the issuance of exit letters. They were told that they are still processing pre-25th Bordereaus and that parents “must be patient.” Processing of exit letters is stated on the DGM website as taking one week. At one month of “processing” I would say that we’ve exceeded “patient”. This does not include the nearly 6 weeks that we waited just for the DGM to accept something that they said they would from the beginning.

Lainey, has changed so much since we first met. She’s attached. By ALL legal rights she is our daughter. She has a US Visa and we meet all the criteria that the Congo has stipulated during their suspension, yet we are still unable to receive an exit permit.

Before I arrived, the longest I’ve ever been away from Camille and Noah has been for two days. After Chris returned from his deployment at the end of February we were determined to all be together. This led us to decide to homeschool until we arrived at our next duty station, so we could travel with him to different military training that was required. Now we are all separated, my parents are watching the children in Maryland, Chris is in school in Virginia, and I am here in Congo. Cami and Noah are at an age where this is hard; when they were younger they were not as aware when Chris was gone, now they are. Camille will facetime with me, Noah will every once in a while (but it seems too tough for him). My mom sends videos, but has said Noah asks when I am coming home often. This was our second Christmas apart. 9 of the last 15 months we have been separated. This just isn’t right.

There are other families that I am stuck with here in country that have all that the necessary documents that the DGM requires as well. Our paperwork has been accepted and processed, yet we wait without reason.

We are now contacting congressmen, senators, and lawyers. We are desperate to return home with our children. If you know anyone or would be willing, please write regarding our case. We have been stuck for too long.

We are reaching out to anyone to share and contact your congressmen regarding our case. There is a new bill that has been introduced to congress called Children in Families First. I am linking below the news article regarding the bill as well as the site, which lists several representatives and their emails.

Children in Families First Bill

Recap of dates:

10/13 Arrive in Country
10/15 Met our daughter
10/17 Visa Issued
10/23 – State Dept. Alert about needing Bourdereau dated pre-September 25th, ours is dated 9/05/13
11/27 – Submitted documents to DGM

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  1. My best friend is adopting from Congo and sent me your link. Two of my three children came to me through adoption. I just wanted you to know that our family will be praying for you, your children, husband, and the other families in the DRC now.

  2. My husband and I are in the early stages of considering adoption for our second child. What you are going through right now gives me goosebumps – the international adoption nightmare come true. I will pray that your family is united soon in 2014.

  3. Hang in there!!! Trying to work with some Navy/Marine buddies who’ve dealt with that region before…help is on the way! :)

  4. Oh Erin, I have no words other than to say I’m so very sorry and that I pray for quick resolution and that soon this will all seem like a very bad dream. Love to you, how I wish I could give you a huge hug, Jenny

  5. I will be praying and sharing this article. I hope it lands in the hands of someone with the power to make it happen.

  6. Debey Siegel says:

    Please know that your story is making its way around the US. My son and daughter in law were there in Kinshasa this year adopting our grandson. I understand your pain, frustration and discouragement. Please know I am praying for you, will circulate your story and will be contacting representatives who can possibly help you and the other families stuck in the Congo. Your good work and dedication to your children will be rewarded. My prayers and best wishes.

  7. Saw the rest of your sweet family at ice skating tonight. Praying praying for you all.

  8. So sorry to hear this Erin. I have often thought about you in the last few months. . . I hope that you will be able to leave the DRC soon and that Lainey can hug her siblings.

    Our process in Kenya is also taking longer thank expected, but at least we have the benefit to be together as a family while we are waiting.

    Hang in there and stay positive!

  9. LaToya Nkongolo says:

    Hi Erin,
    My husband is from the DRC and our children are first generation Congolese-American. I know there is a great need for children in the Congo. We hope to adopt in the future but fear exactly what you are experiencing. We are praying for you and wish you and your family much success. We live in Severna Park and hopefully our kids paths will cross!

  10. Hi Erin,

    I just want you to know that I stumbled across your blog today (God always has a plan) and my family will be praying that you get home safe and sound soon with your sweet Lainey.

    We are beginning the process of adopting from DRC and your story certainly brings many fears and anxieties to the surface.

    I will be checking your blog everyday now to see how you all are doing and the experiences you are going through.

    God’s got this!

    Big Hugs to you!

  11. Oh Erin, I think of you often. I made an extra pocket purse to help me remember to say extra prayers for you and your family. Let all the hugs from all your blog followers envelope you as you read this.

  12. Hi Erin,
    Hang in there! Your love for your little girl shines through, despite the troubles of the day. What a beautiful story of international adoption you are telling. Keep shining!

  13. Erin, I pray that you and your entire family will be reunited soon. I think of you so often, and pray for your safety and a miracle very soon.

  14. Erin, I’m worried – my comment has “disappeared” from your blog and I’m curious as to how you are doing – its been months since we heard any update on your “in country” experiences – hope all is well and that you are close to, or already at home with Lainey. Please let us know what is happening, or possibly your family here in the US can bring us up to speed as to what is happening with your trip home. I pray often for the two of you and can’t imagine being in your situation – adoption done but unable to leave – it has to be horrible. For you are being torn between being there for Lainey and your family here – may God be with you and offer you support and peace at this time.

  15. Oh, Erin. I must have visited your blog just before this post. Any updates. Shedding some tears for you…you are such an incredible mom and wife. I know being separated must be breaking your heart. Huge hugs and thoughts for you that there is resolution so you can all be reunited.

  16. Looking forward to an update soon. Hope things are improving and you are well.

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