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500 children in limbo as the Congo stalls adoptions

Adopting a child is a difficult and emotional process. There are a number of legal hurdles Georgia residents face when expanding their families by adoption. Whether it is a step-parent adoption, a private adoption, or an international adoption, it can be an uphill battle. Georgia residents who are beginning an adoption journey may benefit by seeking legal counsel.

International adoptions are among the most complicated. International adoptions involve state and federal laws as well as the laws of the child's native country. In recent years, international adoptions have become more difficult as some countries limited, stalled or banned U.S. adoptions. It has been estimated that the world's poorest country, The Democratic Republic of Congo, has delayed the adoption of about 500 Congolese children who were headed to U.S. families.

One family was approved by Congolese courts to adopt two sisters last summer. Before the American parents can bring the girls home, they must obtain an official exit letter from the Congo, but in September the government halted the signing of these letters for many prospective adoptive parents.

This family and many others have essentially legally adopted children, but they are not allowed to take the children out of the violence-torn country. These families remain in limbo.

Many countries have concerns about international adoption because of worries about child trafficking, among other serious issues. These concerns spiked last year, leading to increased regulations; the number of Americans adopting children from other countries dropped dramatically. Many Americans, however, are still pursuing international adoption, feeling that it gives a fighting chance to desperate orphans.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Dallas family left in limbo with international adoption," Dianne Solis, May 10, 2014

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