Even though I know I can’t take my daughter back home with me because of the exit visa suspension, for the last month I have been preparing to visit her in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). She is getting older and any day now, she is going to walk, if she isn’t already. I want to be there to help her with some of her first steps.
Most of my travel preparation has been emotional, and I’m not so good writing about that. I don’t enjoy it, at any rate. So I had writer’s block the whole time.
That ended yesterday.
Yesterday I answered a call from a D.C. area code, happily thinking it was Whitney from Senator Landrieu’s office. Whitney is a rock star and I always enjoy talking to her.
A quiet male voice with an accent I couldn’t place asked if I had applied for a visa.
“This is the Congo Embassy in D.C. You applied for a travel visa to the DRC to see your adopted daughter?” Now he had my full attention.
“We are returning your application in the mail today. The DRC will not be granting travel visas to adoptive parents. Just for a while.”
After a few minutes of back and forth, I confirmed that yes, they really were rejecting my visa application to go see the daughter I have legally adopted under their laws.
I hung up. I stared at the phone in shock as I dialed Whitney. God only knows how many sobbing, hysterical adoptive parents have called this woman over the course of her career. But I got voicemail and hung up.
I took a deep breath, collected myself and began emailing and messaging the necessary people: my husband, other DRC parents, Senator Rubio, the Both Ends Burning Campaign, and Senator’s Landrieu’s office.
My friends who know are giving me space now. They assume either I’m fine, or if I’m not, I don’t really want to dwell on it. But I am furious. And grief-stricken.
When I was preparing for the trip, I was basically steeling myself for the devastation that would come when I would have to say goodbye to my daughter and come home without her. That was hard emotional work.
Unlike that work though, the emotions I’m dealing with now are not particularly useful. And so, I am shoving them aside.
There is work to be done and I can’t do it alone. Please help our family, and unparented children everywhere, by signing and sharing this petition.