Adoptive Family Relief Actby Representative Edward R. Royce
Posted on 2015-10-06
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation and
appreciate Chairman Goodlatte's work to bring it to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, all of us have had constituents who have adopted children internationally. These families go through a long, complex and very emotional process as they wait on legal decisions and government reviews.
Along with the emotional stress can come financial stress too. In a number of cases, as wait times lengthen and lengthen, an adoptive child's American visa will expire before they are able to leave their home country. This means the American parents adopting this child have to reapply and repay hefty fees.
But under this legislation, that reapplication fee can be waived if a family is faced with extraordinary circumstances outside their control.
This is common sense.
Mr. Speaker, passage of this bill--and the President's signature-- means immediate help for hundreds of American families seeking to adopt children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foreign Affairs Committee has been particularly focused on this tragic and frustrating situation.
These American families have been unable to bring their legally adopted children home from the DRC because of a bureaucratic chokehold by the Congolese government. In some cases, some children who had a loving home ready and waiting in the United States died in Congo's orphanages. Yes, died.
Nearly every congressional district has a family impacted by this tragic policy of the Congolese government.
I have met with a number of families from Southern California, who have adopted children from the DRC that they now cannot take home. Some of these families have paid over $1,000 in fees to the U.S. government--and will continue to pay more--to keep their adoptive child's visa active, while they wait in limbo for the Congolese government to do the right thing.
Mr. Speaker, last month marked the two-year anniversary of the DRC suspending international adoptions. For two years these families have been hurting. The Congolese system is failing these children, for sure. But today, the American system will respond to give these families some relief during this time of distress. We are doing all we can to see that these legally adopted children are allowed into loving American homes, but for now, we can all feel good about relieving this financial burden.