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Please help resolve the pending adoptions from Democratic Republic of Congo

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I am a constituent and voter living in your congressional district. I am writing today to ask for your help in solving a problem I care deeply about.

Hundreds of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that were in the process of being adopted by American families are now stuck without any resolution in sight. Many of these children have been legally adopted by US families through the DRC courts and have US visas issued by the US Embassy in Kinshasa. Yet the DRC has suspended the issuance of exit letters, an immigration document required for these children to leave the country. As a result, there is no way for the adoptive parents to be united with their children short of relocating to DRC indefinitely.

These children are stuck because DRC declared a moratorium on exit letters for all adoptions that had not been approved by September 25, 2013. Yet even for families whose cases were approved by that date, exit letters have been withheld.

I wish I could tell you exactly how many families are directly impacted by this problem. I cannot because even six months into this crisis, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have not even bothered to cross-reference their lists of families in the process of adoption to create a complete listing of the pipeline families that are now stuck. Even more disappointingly, there has been little diplomatic effort with the DRC government to resolve this issue.

Every day that passes, these waiting children are being damaged. They need a solution now!

I believe you can help solve this crisis. Could you:
? Ask Secretary of State Kerry to take a personal interest in resolving this situation. Please express to the Secretary how important innocent children?s lives are to you and ask for his help in resolving this situation immediately;
? Send a letter asking President Joseph Kabila and the Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo of the DRC to intercede so that these children can be united with their adoptive parents immediately; and
? Speak publicly about your support for these American families and their children.

I know you ran for office out of a desire to make a true difference in people?s lives. I hope you will take this opportunity to do just that. The lives of hundreds of innocent orphan children are depending upon you. If you desire additional information, please contact Kelly Ensslin at Both Ends Burning (, a nonprofit advocacy organization assisting the families stuck in this process.

I look forward to your help.

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