Home From the Congo
After 3 Years of Red Tape a Surrey Couple Brings Home Son From the Congo
Although young Pedro, now three and a half, was officially adopted three years ago from the
Congo, he was not permitted to come home to his Canadian family until just recently.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, his parents Shelley and Fred Muntau, have navigated the waters of adoption between the two governments trying to bring their son home. They’ve filled out paperwork, met all of the proper criteria and have flown to pick him up multiple times. Each time leaving empty handed. It’s been years of red tape for many families.
In 2013 the federal government in the Congo abruptly halted all foreign adoptions due to unfounded reports that some children had been mistreated or abandoned by their new parents. In total about 1000 foreign adoptions were affected including many in Canada, Europe and the United States.
While young Pedro had already been adopted, his family needed an exit letter from the Congolese government before Canada could issue a Visa. Unfortunately, the Canadian Government wouldn’t issue a Visa without the letter. It was an ongoing stalemate. But, before Christmas, the Muntau’s called on the new Canadian Government to step in and help not only their family but families of other children stuck in the Congo. And, after the Montau’s plea, Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy worked together to deliver dossiers on the children to the Congolese government, and finally, 180 adoptions were okayed earlier in March.
Then on March 9th, 11 Congolese children landed in Canada to begin their new lives with their Canadian families.
At their emotional arrival in Vancouver Shelley Muntau told CTV News “I’m so relieved, it’s just been so long… I just can’t wait to just get settled, and the four of us just kind of go back to normal life instead of all this waiting and waiting.”
Of the 11 children who arrived recently, one of the Congolese children was adopted through Sunrise Adoption Agency.
There are still 5 more children waiting to come to Canada and one of them will be living in B.C.
With files from The Associated Press and CTV News