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Klobuchar, McConnell amendment passes senate

Washington, D.C. - A U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) amendment urging the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to unite adoptive families has passed the Senate. In 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit letter...

Washington, D.C. - A U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) amendment urging the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to unite adoptive families has passed the Senate. In 2013, the DRC suspended the issuance of exit letters for intercountry adoptions until the Parliament passes new adoption laws, meaning hundreds of Congolese children who have been legally adopted by U.S. citizens are unable to depart the country. The senators' bipartisan amendment urges the DRC to allow children who have been legally adopted by American citizens to leave the DRC for the United States. The amendment passed as part of the 2015 U.S. Senate budget resolution last Friday.

"Hundreds of children in the Congo are stuck waiting to be united with their adoptive parents in the United States, including in Minnesota," Klobuchar said in a news release. "It is time for these families to start their lives together, and I am glad the Senate is urging the DRC to make that happen."

"Many families have been affected by the unfortunate stalemate of adoptions in the Congo," McConnell said. "I am pleased the Senate has expressed its support for the children who have been legally adopted by American citizens, and I thank my colleagues - particularly Senator Klobuchar - for their commitment to resolving this issue."

Last fall, Klobuchar led a letter with a bipartisan group of 181 lawmakers to urge the DRC to act on adoption reform and resume intercountry adoptions. She also joined lawmakers last year in sending a letter offering to help support the DRC's efforts to follow up on the well-being of Congolese children adopted by U.S. citizens. She also signed a letter urging President Obama to personally intercede with Congolese President Joseph Kabila on behalf of U.S. families whose children have been trapped in the DRC due to the exit letter suspension.

Klobuchar, who was recently named a co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, is a strong advocate for adoptive families and children. She has worked closely with adoptive Minnesota families to help them bring their children home from countries such as Guatemala, Nepal, and Uganda. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, her office worked with 25 Minnesota families to help unite 39 Haitian children with their new families in Minnesota.

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She has helped families who adopt abroad correct errors to birth certificates through the Accuracy for Adoptees Act, which was signed into law in January 2014. She also led the International Adoption Simplification Act, which was signed into law in November 2010, to help siblings stay together during an international adoption. This Congress, she reintroduced the bipartisan Supporting Adoptive Families Act to help provide pre- and post-adoption support services to adoptive families.

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