Congolese Children En Route Kinshasa Holiday Camp Ended Up As Orphans In Belgium: Six years ago, some parents in Gemena, a town hundreds of miles north of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, took advantage of a rare opportunity and permitted their children to go on what was intended to be a holiday camp to the city.
Unbeknownst to them, their action effectively put an end to their hopes of seeing their children again in their lifetime.
Because of the work of two Belgian journalists, Kurt Wertelaers and Benoit de Freine, what these parents believed was a case of their children going missing or maybe dead, turned out to be a case of child trafficking from Congo to Belgium.
When they arrived in Belgium, their children were placed in an orphanage, with some of them being placed for adoption.
As of 2019, when this report was first made, it is possible that these parents, who have each maintained photographs of their children while praying and hoping that they will return to them, are on the edge of reuniting with their children. However, it will not be a simple riddle to solve in the end.
A Belgian court is looking into the matter of the orphanage (Tumaini orphanage), where the four children (three girls and one boy, then aged between two and four years old) were kept before being placed for adoption. It is being investigated for the kidnapping and trafficking of minors from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Because the parents of these children are still alive and are thought to have never given their children up for adoption or any other reason, there is a quandary as to who can legally claim ownership of the children in question. Either the adoptive parents of the children in Belgium (who went through legal formalities to adopt them) or the biological parents of the children in Belgium are to blame (who were kept out of the picture because of the criminality behind how their children were taken from them).
“This photograph was taken on the day she went to Kinshasa, and she was overjoyed. We will never get the opportunity to visit Kinshasa. We are unable to pay for the flying ticket. The last time Abdula Libenge saw his daughter, he was 34 years old and the father of one of the children. He characterized the day he last saw his daughter as “proud” for him and his family.
All these parents could do up to this point was wait, as they did not have access to legal representation or aid from local government agencies.
When Wertelaers and De Freine learned of an investigation into adoption fraud in their home nation of Belgium, they decided to take the case to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was in Gemena that they were able to locate the relatives of the children, who were able to provide them with even more information and evidence about their ‘missing’ children.
Following that, the journalists presented their evidence to public prosecutors in Brussels, who then proceeded to Gemena to collect DNA samples from the local population. The results of the testing were positive.
As of November 2013, the DNA requirement extended to all Congolese infants adopted in Belgium, and it comes as an 18-month inquiry is gathering momentum ahead of its scheduled conclusion.
Because of these DNA tests, it has been discovered that some of these youngsters were not orphans, as had been assumed by their adopted parents in Belgium.
“This is a drama. What is the best way to explain such things to those children? Not to mention the anguish that actual parents must be experiencing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” Lorin Parys, a Flemish politician who has an adopted kid, told the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
It has been reported that the children’s names have been changed in many instances. At the very least, the names and birthdays of three young women, identified as Samira, Zakiatu, and Jalle, have been changed.
The biological parents of these children have only one wish: to reunite with their children, but they are no longer optimistic about this possibility. “Please give us the opportunity to contact our children or adoptive parents at the very least. Who knows, maybe one day our children will come back to us.”
“We have never been aware of the true facts,” the adoptive parents in Belgium claim in response to the scandal. We simply want an orphan in order to provide a better life for our children. Grow up in a safe and loving environment. We had no intention of removing a child from his or her birth parents.”
President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) halted exit permits for adopted children from the central African country in September 2013, creating uncertainty for hundreds of children sent to international families.
More than 80 Congolese children were illegally removed from the country two years before this judgment, with evidence indicating that adoptive parents were paying networks of local brokers to transport them out of the country illegally.
Congolese authorities explained their decision by stating that it was prompted by worries and investigations into child abuse in U.S. households. However, advocates claim that the decision has spawned a profitable sector in which children are smuggled across borders for a fee.
According to the United Nations, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is home to more than four million orphaned children in Africa, while having a population of only 68 million. UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund.
According to data from the United States Department of State, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was one of the most popular nations for international adoption by American parents, ranking alongside China, Ethiopia, and Ukraine. Between 2010 and 2013, the United States of America According to the Department of State, adoptions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo by nationals of the country increased by 645 percent.