Jefferson City family searches for help with African adoption

Jefferson City family searches for help with African adoption

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Justin and Alana Carroll have been the legal parents of the boys since March. They were connected with their children through Africa Adoption Services, based in Kentucky. Justin and Alana Carroll have been the legal parents of the boys since March. They were connected with their children through Africa Adoption Services, based in Kentucky.
"He stays in a house and he says it's kind of like prison. They can't go anywhere. He's just stuck there," Alana Carroll said. "He stays in a house and he says it's kind of like prison. They can't go anywhere. He's just stuck there," Alana Carroll said.
Alana now talks to her husband through Facetime. It's one of the only ways they can communicate since he left for Africa on November 19. Alana now talks to her husband through Facetime. It's one of the only ways they can communicate since he left for Africa on November 19.

By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter

JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) - A Jefferson City couple is fighting to bring home their two adopted sons from Africa.

They say the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo refuses to sign exit papers, which are needed to allow the boys to leave the country.

The father traveled to the capital city of Kinshasa last month to take them back to the U.S., but he's still there, caring for the boys, until they can all leave.

Justin and Alana Carroll have been the legal parents of the boys since March. They were connected with their children through Africa Adoption Services, based in Kentucky.

The Carrolls say they have all the documents needed to prove the boys are legally theirs, but when Justin arrived in Congo last month, the government there changed their minds, and won't let the boys leave the country.

Alana now talks to her husband through Facetime. It's one of the only ways they can communicate since he left for Africa on November 19.

"He stays in a house and he says it's kind of like prison. They can't go anywhere. He's just stuck there," Alana said.

Justin is stuck because the government in Congo won't sign exit papers for 3-year-old Canaan and 2-year-old Neema. Both boys have been in Justin's care since last month, but without the exit papers, the children can't leave Congo.

"I mean it's obviously a dangerous place, and at any moment anything could happen that could put our safety at a great risk," Justin said.

Africa Adoption Services President Amy True tells 6 News the government approved the Carroll's adoption earlier this year, but they now have tougher restrictions, leaving about 40 American families unable to bring home their legally adopted children.

"They said anybody who had their documents dated before September 25, would receive the exit letter. So these families traveled, and they have yet to receive these exit letters," True said.

6 News obtained the adoption papers from the family, which they say prove they are the legal parents of Canaan and Neema.

"Those kids deserve a life. They deserve a family, and we need them just as much as they need us. Adoption is worth it. No child should ever be without a family," Alana said.

Justin missed not just Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also the birth of his biological daughter Carson. However, he says he won't leave Africa without his sons.

"I've got family who I love more than anything, who I want to get to go home to. It's not an option for me to leave these boys here because they're as much a part of our family as anybody else is back in the U.S.," Justin said.

Justin was supposed to meet Monday with the U.S. Diplomat in Congo, but the meeting was canceled because of rebel fighting. Justin was ordered to stay inside for safety.

The family says they will continue reaching out to the embassy in Congo and local lawmakers for help.

Congressman Phil Roe's office says they plan to make a formal inquiry into the case, while Sen. Bob Corker's office says they are also looking for ways to help this family.

Both the adoption agency and the Carrolls say the main reason the government decided to change their policies is because they view homosexual couples as unfit parents, and they want to prevent them from potentially raising children from Congo. 

More information on the Carroll's case can be found on their Facebook page and their blog.

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