Who Can Be Adopted from Congo, Democratic Republic of the
In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has multiple specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption.
Relinquishment: Birth parents must give written consent (autorisation parentale) documenting their relinquishment of parental rights to the local commune’s Social Services office, which is supervised by the Ministry of Social Affairs. This Social Services office is responsible for documenting the written consent and providing that documentation to the Tribunal pour Enfants when a family applies to the court to adopt a Congolese child. The Social Services office will also prepare documentation (Attestation d’Indigence) that the relinquishing birth parent does not have the means to care for the child. The local Guardianship Council may decree that specific children are wards of the state following relinquishment to Social Services (PV Tutelage Report). The same Guardianship Council is then responsible for consenting, by decree, that a ward of the state is eligible for adoption. These decrees must be presented to the Tribunal pour Enfants as part of the child’s information following a match.
Abandonment: Local Social Services must provide a PV Tutelage Report (Proces-Verbal de Constat d'Abandon d'un Enfant) in all cases of abandonment, including an absence of parents due to loss, separation, death, desertion, or disappearance of the biological parents. The local Guardianship Council may decree that specific children are wards of the state following abandonment (PV Tutelage Report). The same Guardianship Council is then responsible for consenting, by decree, that a ward of the state is eligible for adoption. These decrees must be presented to the Tribunal pour Enfants as part of the child’s information following a match.
Age of Adoptive Child: Congolese law does not limit prospective adoptees’ age. Adoptees fifteen years and older must consent to the adoption. Please note that in order for a child to meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law, a Form I-600 petition must be filed while the child is under the age of 16 (or under the age of 18 if adopted, or to be adopted, together with a sibling under the age of 16).
Sibling Adoptions: No known requirements.
Special Needs or Medical Conditions: No known requirements.
Waiting Period or Foster Care: None specified.
Caution: Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that not all children in orphanages or children's homes are adoptable. In many countries, birth parents place their child(ren) temporarily in an orphanage or children's home due to financial or other hardship, intending that the child return home when this becomes possible. In such cases, the birth parent(s) have rarely relinquished their parental rights or consented to their child(ren)'s adoption.