Bethany Meacham

Regional
3:33 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Kentucky Families Impacted by Impasse Over Adopted Children in African Nation

Malachi Meacham, at his orphanage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bethany and Jon Meacham of Louisville adopted Malachi over a year ago, but he remains in the DRC.
Credit Meacham Family

A decision by the government of an African nation is having a big impact on U.S. families trying to bring home adopted children, including at least 20 families in Kentucky. Citing concerns about the health and well-being of children previously adopted children, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last fall cancelled the exit permits needed by adopted children to leave the country and join their new families abroad.

Bethany Meacham of Louisville is one of the mothers caught in limbo due to the decision. Bethany and her husband, Jon, decided to look into adoption after a miscarriage made them think they might not be able to have a child naturally. Bethany has since given birth to two children, now ages 4 and 1. But after learning about the conditions of orphans in the DRC and doing further research, the Meachams decided to adopt a son from that country.

“So we started the paperwork process to adopt from there, three-and-a-half-years ago before we ever set foot in Congo. Since then, my husband was able to go last November for the first time and meet our son, who was legally adopted and who was ours at that time.”

“His orphanage had actually just burned down, so my husband took supplies to the orphanage.”

The Meachams named their son Malachi, and he became their legally adopted son last July. But the Meacham’s hopes of bringing their son to Kentucky were derailed when the Congolese government announced it was halting the issuing of exit visas for foreign adoptions. Since then, Bethany Meacham says she has had to be content with getting bits and pieces of information about Malachi, the son she’s never really gotten to know.

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