In 2013, WACAP launched our adoption program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We were off to a great start serving children in need when the Congolese government enacted a suspension on exit permits. So for children whose adoptions into US families had been finalized by Congolese courts, this meant it was impossible for them to leave the country with their new parents.
The past two and half years have been so incredibly trying for the children and families hoping to be matched or who were matched and nervously waiting for their case to be approved so their children could come home.
For several of our families (and waiting children), waiting through the suspension added a level of stress that could seem unbearable. Despite this, there was an unwavering commitment and very recently 3 WACAP families have finally brought their children home!
Currently in the DRC, we continue to wait for changes to the adoption process. The Congolese government really cares about improving the system to safeguard children, birth families and adoptive parents. The process is slow and it is difficult to know when the new laws will be passed by the Congolese Parliament and then formally implemented. For now, WACAP remains watchful and ready to move forward with cases as soon as we feel that a clear path is before us. In the meantime, we are focused on providing support for the new laws and procedures that are in process of being created, discussed, debated and (hopefully) passed and implemented.
To all the families who are in the DRC program- we salute your tenacity and commitment to the children of the DRC! While we encourage you to consider other WACAP program options, we stand ready to move forward when possible.
To the 3 wonderful families who have come home with their children- at long last- we celebrate with you and feel tremendous joy as we think about your unwavering dedication to bring your kids home.
What an honor it is to work with such wonderful parents!
About WACAP’s African and Haitian Programs Supervisor, Megan Cook Nikiema: Megan Cook-Nikiema has been a part of WACAP’s team for over 10 years, working in multiple programs during that time. Most recently, she has been a wonderful resource to families pursuing adoption from Ethiopia, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the end of May, Megan will leave WACAP. We know she will see great success, and she will be greatly missed. We look forward, along with Megan, to whatever the future may bring.