Why Adopt From the Democratic Republic of Congo?
The Great Need for Adoption in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with a population of 67.7 million, is home to over four million of Africa’s orphaned children. The orphan crisis in the DRC has been brought about by armed conflict, disease, economic crisis, pervasive poverty, lack of basic social services, and sexual violence.
Many children in the country experience malnutrition and it is estimated that less than half of the population has access to safe drinking water. Twenty-five percent of children in the DRC are underweight, with one in seven Congolese children dying before even reaching the age five. On average, 700 children who are under five years old die on a daily basis. Approximately half the deaths among children under the age of five can be attributed to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
The orphanages in DRC, which are often severely underfunded and understaffed, are unable to meet all of the children’s needs; children often go without life’s basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and shoes, and lack access to medical care and education. Though adoption is not a complete panacea to all the issues the children of DRC face, adoption is one permanency solution that does provide children in DRC without families with the loving support and security of a family.
The adoption process in DRC begins at the time of referral or match with a child. From the time the family begins their home study to referral, it will take approximately 6-12 months. From the time of match to bringing the child home takes approximately 12-24 months.
The current total time frame is expected to be approximately 18-24 months from the time the family receives the referral to the completion of the adoption. The process may be expedited if a family is open to an older child or child with known special needs.
Please note that time frames may vary on a case-by-case basis and are subject to change.
Currently, the adoption process in DRC requires one trip at the end of the process for approximately two to four weeks in country with both parents being required to be in country for at least the first seven days. After the conclusion of the first seven days, one parent may depart DRC while the other remains. Families will have a travel consultation with their program director prior to departure to answer any questions they may have. While in country, the family will be accompanied by at least one of MLJ Adoptions’ foreign service providers upon departing their apartment or hotel.
Additionally, the family will have access to one of MLJ Adoptions’ foreign service providers at all times and will be provided with a cell phone during their stay. By the time of the family’s arrival in DRC, the adoption has already been finalized in DRC and the parents are the child’s legal parents. Therefore, the family will be with the child the entire time while in country.
Unique Foster Care Program. The DRC program has become very popular with families of MLJ Adoptions due to the great need in DRC and because very young children are in need of families. However, a unique feature of MLJ Adoptions’ DRC program that also lends to the program’s popularity is that children who are referred to families do not remain in their current orphanage nor are they moved to another agency-run orphanage in DRC. Rather, the children are placed in a foster home licensed through the social services department in Kinshasa where the children receive appropriate nutrition and medical care.
There is a monthly cost associated with the care of the children, which may make the program more expensive than others. However, we firmly believe that the cost is worth it and that this system is in the best interests of the children we serve. We see the health of the children improve greatly during their time in foster care before arriving home.
Experienced and Compassionate Team. In 2009, MLJ Adoptions became the first agency to open a program in DRC. To date, we are fortunate to have united over 180 children with loving families. Our MLJ Adoptions’ foreign and domestic teams are composed of a diverse group of professionals who are committed to supporting families before, during and after adoption. MLJ Adoptions retains full-time licensed attorneys domestically and completes adoptions in DRC through a collaborative effort with a Congolese attorney, MLJ Adoptions’ foreign supervised providers, and the Congolese government officials of the social service offices that handle international adoptions and orphan care in DRC.
MLJ Adoptions’ foreign staff works jointly with social services in DRC to ensure all children are considered orphaned under Congolese law and meet the requirements for the U.S. Orphan Visa. It is beneficial to families to have attorneys in both the United States and DRC reviewing and assisting with the legal processes of adoption.
We truly believe that our experience in DRC adoptions and our use of foster care homes make our DRC program different.
Request more information about adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo by clicking here.
Country information is to be considered general information and subject to change. The information is based upon state, federal, foreign, and international law, as well as our own business policies.