Welcome Trish Maskew, New Chief of the Adoption Division
September 24, 2014
The Office of Children’s Issues is pleased to announce the appointment of Trish Maskew as the new Chief of the Adoption Division.
Trish joins the Department of State from the Department of Justice where she worked in the Civil Division for almost six years. Before joining the U.S. government, she held several positions in the intercountry adoption field: as a program coordinator for an adoption agency; a board member and interim administrator for the Joint Council on International Children’s Services; the founder and President of Ethica, a non-profit organization dedicated to ethical and transparent adoptions; and as an expert consultant to the Hague Conference on Private International Law. She is the author of “Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child” and numerous articles on adoption ethics and practice. She earned her J.D. from American University.
to reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), officials
intercepted an attempt by three American adoptive families to remove
their children from Congo without proper authorization (http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2014/09/14/trafic-denfants-la-dgm-demantele-un-reseau-dirige-par-un-citoyen-americain/). This news story has been reported as "child selling" or trafficking by DRC news outlets (http://youtu.be/Ym4kecKFvIM).
PEAR understands that the three families in question had legally
adopted the seven affected children according to DRC regulations, that
they had US visas, and that they were attempting to take the children
from the country without the permission of the Congolese government in
the form of the mandatory exit letter from Congolese immigration (known
by its acronym "DGM"). The seven children are all believed to be in the
custody of the Congolese government; the American adoptive parents had
all left the country prior to the police operation. Congolese news has
reported that one American, M. Jessy Samuel, was implicated in the
that the Congolese government has officially stated that no exit
letters will be issued until such time as the suspension is lifted, PEAR
does not believe that the United States Embassy in Kinshasa should be
issuing any entry visas, as this deliberately contravenes current DRC
policy and puts prospective parents in the difficult position of having
children that are “legally” adopted in DRC and permitted to enter the
U.S., but are unable to leave the country under until such time as the
suspension is lifted.
such, PEAR calls on the US Embassy in Kinshasa to immediately cease the
issuance of entry visas until such time as the suspension is lifted.
Continuing to issue visas during the suspension will only encourage
adoptive parents to attempt to circumvent Congolese laws to remove their
adopted children from the country.
also call on members of the adoption lobby, DRC prospective parents,
adoption bloggers, and adoption agencies to be truthful in their
knowledge of the issued exit letters, of any “underground” routes
that may have been used to illegally remove adoptees from DRC, and to
advocate for a fully transparent and legitimate adoption process. We
would also remind all adoptive parents with legally adopted
children in DRC of the risks of attempting an illegal exit from DRC, and
that a valid exit letter from DGM in Kinshasa is required in order for
your children to legally exit Congo.