Sammamish family fights to bring home adoptive sons

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by HEATHER GRAF / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 11:05 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 7 at 11:10 PM

What would you do if your children got stuck in a foreign country, and you had no way to bring them home?  It's a question a family in Sammamish is now trying to answer, and they're not alone.

Jennefer and Jason Boyer have two biological daughters.  Years ago, they decided they wanted to grow their family through adoption.

Jennefer had once lived in Africa and worked in orphanages there.  The couple's research eventually led them to the Republic of Congo.

"It started out with all the paperwork, just like any international adoption," said Jennefer. 

In September of 2012, they were matched with two little boys.  Andre and Luke were brothers living in Congo.

In December of 2012, both Congo and the United State approved the adoption, and the Boyer's became the boys' legal parents.

As they waited for the boys' visas to be approved, Congo dealt them an impassable roadblock:  the country issued a moratorium on the exit letters needed to take the children home to Sammamish.

The Boyer's and hundreds of other adoptive families were left in limbo.

"Saying goodbye was horrible," said Jennefer.  "It was very hard.  One of the hardest things I've ever done.  Say goodbye to your children on the other side of the world."

The boys' room at the Boyers' home is decorated and waiting for their arrival.  The closet is filled with clothes Andre and Luke are quickly outgrowing.

"So we're reaching out to our senators, hoping they can be a voice for us, because we don't have the authority to speak to Congolese officials, and so we need someone to represent us," said Jennefer.

The hardest part has been explaining to their young daughters, why their brothers can't come home.

"They talk about their brothers as if they're here," said Jason.  "We send them notes and care packages, and the girls drew pictures for their birthdays."

The Boyer's are one of many families who've signed a petition, asking for Congress to intervene on their behalf.  The online petition was just started last week.  Already, it's sent more than 100,000 letters to congressional leaders in Washington, D.C.

The non-profit foundation that's behind the petition told KING 5 that 15 families from Washington state are among those impacted by the adoption moratorium in Congo.

All of them, like the Boyer's, are desperately hoping to bring their kids home.

As for the reason behind the moratorium, according to the United States Department of State, Congo issued only a vague statement saying it's concerned about reports of abuse by adoptive families.

 

 

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