GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — When a Gallatin, Tennessee couple went to Congo in Sept. 2014 to adopt two girls, they had no idea it would trap them in the country for 18 months.
Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world with some of the worst conditions for children.
Lori and Jeremy Resmer adopted 2-year-old Moriah and 4-year-old Segera at a time when the Democratic Republic of Congo anticipated ending their “exit letter” suspension.
The government requires adopted children obtain an exit letter before they leave the country.
Unfortunately, the couple’s new children couldn’t obtain the required letters.
“We were beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get through this journey,” said Lori Resmer. “There were a lot of misconceptions about the intentions of adoptive parents in Congo.”
The Resmers were told they could leave and so could their biological son, 4-year-old Justice, but the couple said they weren’t leaving without their new daughters.
The family stayed in country for 18 months until the U.S. government stepped in.
A congressional delegation from the United States went to Congo in January and urged government officials there to start releasing adopted children.
Slowly, the children started receiving exit letters and this week, the Resmers received theirs.
“It’s been very lonesome and heartbreaking at times,” said grandmother Wanda Graves about waiting to meet her new grandchildren. “Now, I just don’t want to let them go.”
Hundreds of Congolese children who have been successfully adopted remain in their home country unable to leave.
Like the Resmers, they are waiting for their exit letters.