FISHERS, Ind. (Apr. 2, 2014) — Imagine the pain you’d feel if you’ve adopted three children in to your family, but a single letter is keeping you from bringing them home. A family in Fishers is going through that battle right now.
The Larner family has just about every parental right, but the kids are still in the Democratic Republic of Congo because of a hold up in receiving an “exit letter”, which is required in that part of the world.
The children’s names are Dominic, Malakai and Rosalee.
“They feel very special,” said their mother Amanda Larner.
As she shared her story, she clutched a photo of them because photos are all she has as right now. She’s hoping to bring them to their home in Fishers, but time is ticking by.
“I think that hope is dwindling day by day as they realize they can’t come home to their families,” Larner said.
And it’s all because of an exit letter.
“Citizens have to obtain an exit letter to leave the country, and there’s been a suspension on exit letters just for adopted children,” she said.
There’s been a hold on issuing those exit letters by the Congolese government since last September. Even though the children have Visas and are legally considered adopted, that exit letter is all that is standing in the way.
“They are worried about the safety of Congolese children once they enter the United States, and they would like to do investigations to make sure that they are safe,” Larner said.
While she understands the importance of their safety, Mrs. Larner has tried to get answers from both governments. Senator Joe Donnelly’s office says State Department officials have met with Congolese immigration officials on this matter, but as of right now, the Congolese government is not altering their policy.
In the meantime, bunkbeds for the kids are ready to go for their arrival, whenever that may be…
“I don’t want them to think that they don’t really have a Mom and a Dad, and I want them to hold their head up high and know that they’re special and we love them very much,” Larner said.
Senator Donnelly’s office released a statement saying:
“Senator Donnelly’s office has been working with Amanda Larner and her husband to bring back their three adopted children from the Congo. Unfortunately, the Congolese government is not issuing exit letters to adopted children, even though Mr. and Mrs. Larner’s children have visas and are considered legally adopted by both the U.S. and Congolese governments. It is a heartbreaking situation, but Senator Donnelly and his staff are committed to continuing to work with the U.S State Department and other officials to see if this situation can be resolved.”
We also reached out to Congressman Andre Carson’s office, who says they are aware of this and doing what they can. In the meantime, the Larner’s are making another trip to visit their children at the end of April.