Lawmakers respond to Dubuque family's plea to bring kids home - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lawmakers respond to Dubuque family's plea to bring kids home

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - Lawmakers have been receiving letters and phone calls about the suspension of international adoptions of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Peat family of Dubuque is one of at least a dozen families in Iowa who cannot bring their legally adopted children home from the DRC because government officials in the DRC suspended exit letters which are required for children to leave the DRC.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Charles Grassley's office said Grassley has contacted the State Department to ask about the Congolese adoption problem and that Grassley will continue to remain in close contact with the State Department.

The spokeswoman said Grassley's staff is working on at least three cases in Iowa involving families facing problems with their adoptions from the DRC, including the Peat family in Dubuque as well as a family in Bettendorf and another family in Ankeny.

Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) issued the following statement regarding the suspension of exit letters for children legally adopted into U.S. families from the DRC:

“These families are going through hardship and uncertainty. I’ll do everything I can to make sure the U.S. government is working at the highest levels to resolve their situations.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) issued the following statement about the standstill of adoptions from the DRC:

“My office has received several calls and letters from constituents across the state who are concerned about the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s decision to halt exit letters for adopted children. I understand that the State Department is continuing to work towards a resolution for U.S. families and their adopted children in the area. My office will continue to monitor the situation and I will work with my colleagues to support efforts to raise attention to this issue.”

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), who represents the Peat family in Dubuque, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday.

He urged the Secretary of State to pressure the DRC government to lift the suspension on exit letters.

"No child should be denied a loving home because of bureaucratic paperwork and petty politics," he stated.

KWWL obtained an exclusive copy of the letter which can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Additionally, a non-profit adoption advocacy group, Both Ends Burning, has been working with families like the Peats to help bring their children home.

The organization started a letter-writing campaign in an effort to force lawmakers to help resolve the pending adoptions in the DRC.

In less than a week's time frame, more than 105,000 letters had been sent to lawmakers.

More information on the petition drive can be found by clicking here.

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