Family worries legally adopted children won't come home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Family worries legally adopted children won't come home

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The Peat family has legally adopted Olivia and Graham, both stuck in the DRC. The Peat family has legally adopted Olivia and Graham, both stuck in the DRC.
DUBUQUE (KWWL) - The process of adopting a child can be a bumpy ride.

But for hundreds of families, including at least a dozen in Iowa, the international adoption process has been a nightmare.

The Peat's decided to grow their family via adoption after experiencing two difficult pregnancies.

"There's millions of kids who don't have a family, and who never would if it weren't for adoption," said Erin Peat of Dubuque.

Erin said because of their age, and because they have four biological children, they were disqualified from specific agencies. They also said they recognized the need for families for children in orphanages in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"Whether we gave birth to them or not, they're our kids," she said.

Erin and her husband Mike started the adoption process in 2012.

By July of 2013, they had been matched with two children in the DRC, and completed all the paperwork to finalize their adoptions.

But because government officials in the DRC suspended the issuance of exit permits, the Peat's are unable to bring their legally adopted children home to Dubuque.

"Our kids are stuck in the DRC even though both governments have recognized us as their lawful parents for more than nine months," said Mike.

"They're not just two kids out of millions. They're our kids. We love them. We know that they matter," said Erin.

The Peat's said they expected their children to be home in January. But because exit permits can't be issued, they can't legally leave the DRC.

"It's just ridiculous that you're wasting a year of their life. You're separating them from their forever family. You're postponing their natural development and the correction of the trauma that they've had," said Mike.

Now the Peat's cling to videos from when they met their children in December and await updates from their kids' foster family.

According to the Peat's, foster care is not funded by the government.

"We are funding a family to take care of our kids," said Mike. "And it's not cheap.".

The Peat's are pleading for government officials to take a personal interest in hundreds of families like their own, all stuck fighting for their children to come home from the DRC.

"They're our kids. We love them. We've met them, gotten to know them, and they are worth...they're worth all of it," said Erin.
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