Intercountry adoption from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been suspended since September 25, 2013, when the Congolese Ministry of Interior and Security, General Direction of Migration (DGM) stopped issuing the exit permits that would allow children to leave the country with their adoptive parents. The U.S. State Department alert reported that the suspension was “due to concerns over reports that children adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo may be either abused by adoptive families or adopted by a second set of parents once in their receiving countries.”
In October 2015, the DRC announced that its exit permit suspension for adopted children would remain in effect indefinitely. Despite this announcement, Congolese courts have continued to process adoption decrees and the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa continues to process visa applications for children adopted by U.S. citizens—leaving many Congolese children legally adopted, yet unable to leave the country. Due to these factors, the U.S. Department of State has asked all adoption agencies to cease referring new DRC adoption cases for U.S. prospective adoptive parents at this time.
For up-to-date information, visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo Adoption page on the U.S. State Department’s website. Get parent-to-parent advice and support in the International Adoption Support group in our online community, Adoptive Families Circle.
Democratic Republic of Congo Adoption Fast Facts
- 2015 Adoptions: 160* children
- Hague Country: No
- Estimated Total Cost: $25,000 to $40,000
- Profile of Children: 78% of children are 1 to 4 years old. 63% are boys (2014).
- Parent Ages: Parents must be at least 15 years older than the adopted child, and at least 18 years old. There is no upper-age limit.
- Family Status: Married couples should be married for at least five years. Couples cannot have more than two children when they adopt. Singles can only adopt a child of the same sex. Same-sex couples may not adopt.
- Travel: Parents must travel at least once to register the judgment of adoption and pick up their child. This trip lasts roughly a week.
- Timeline: Generally within one year, however there is currently an indefinite wait for exit permits.
* Please note that this number reflects the number of completed adoptions, not the number of adopted children who have left the Congo.
Helpful Articles from DRC Adopters
- “Learning to Care for My African-American Daughter’s Hair”: As a white mom learns about her black child’s hair, both come of age.
- “On the Outside, Looking In”: Phil Bertelson, an award-winning filmmaker and transracial adoptee, explores issues of racism and transracial adoption in an interview.
Helpful Books for DRC Adopters
- There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Africa’s Children, by Melissa Fay Greene
- I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World, by Marguerite A. Wright