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Secretary of State John Kerry is urging the Congolese government to lift its ban on issuing exit visas for Congolese adoption by couples from foreign countries.

Kerry paid a visit last week to Congolese President Joseph Kabila, in which he reportedly urged the president to lift the exit visa ban and allow nearly 500 children to be united with their adoptive families.

In late September, the Congolese General Director of Migration announced that the country was putting a freeze on all exit visas for children being adopted by families from foreign countries in late September. According to Congolese officials, this adoption freeze is a result of the government’s concerns over the well-being of the children being adopted by foreigners.

According to a letter written by members of congress to the Republic of Congo’s President and Prime Minister, fifty of the children trapped in the Republic of Congo by this ban havealready been fully, legally adopted. In that letter, Representative Bachmann (rep-MN) stated that “the DRC government’s suspension of pending adoption cases, many of which have already been legally finalized, creates deep distress not only for the families waiting to receive the children, but especially for the waiting children themselves.”

Parents who have Congolese adoption¬†children from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been asked to send photos and videos demonstrating the living conditions and adjustment of their children in their new homes in the United States. These will be compiled and presented to Congolese officials as part of the U.S.’s effort to have the ban lifted.