Adopted Sons from Congo Finally Reunite with Their Parents after 3 Years of Waiting
When a couple saw photographs of two boys from Congo, they felt an instant connection and knew they were meant to be a part of the family. But what they weren't prepared for was the long waiting period before finally bringing their sons home.
Adoption is a phenomenal process, enabling couples to complete their families and experience the everlasting joy of parenthood. But sometimes, the legal paperwork and overall process might take longer to complete than expected.
Generally, international adoptions might be more complex than domestic ones because they involve more than one government, caseworkers, and adoption agencies. Astonishingly, that didn't stop one couple from going the extra mile for their children.
Jennifer and James Grover from Utah had a family portrait unlike any other. They were happily married with four biological children and three adoptive kids. There was never a dull day in the Grover family, and every moment was filled with their kids' cackles.
One day in 2012, Jennifer came across a little boy's picture online and contacted the adoption agency right away. A few days later, she saw another young boy and knew it in her heart that the boys were meant to be a part of her family.
Jennifer and James explained that multiple families were waiting to take the boys in a video documenting their adoption journey, but they were lucky to get matched. From that day onwards, everything changed for the Grovers.
FIGHTING FOR THEIR SONS
The Utah couple's adoption journey was much more complicated than they expected. The two boys they wished to adopt, Bronson, 7, and Joseph, 14, were from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Grovers revealed that international adoption was difficult, given all the waiting and not having control over their boys' safety in another part of the world.
It was an international adoption, which brought along its unique complexities, and involved both the U.S. and Congo governments. Regardless, the Grovers continued to fight for their sons and couldn't wait to bring them home.
EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED
After a year of starting the adoption process, the couple received a legal adoption decree and were eagerly waiting on the boys' American visa processing. But then, something unexpected happened.
The Congolese officials suspended issuing exit letters, preventing children adopted by foreign families from leaving the country. The news came as a massive shock to Jennifer and James, and they didn't know what to do. Jennifer recalled:
"We had done everything — the lengthy court process, were financially responsible for them and had even been over to meet them. They were ours in every way. I can't describe the pain I was feeling during that period of limbo (sic)."
A RAY OF HOPE
The Grovers battled indescribable pain and longing for their sons for several months. They didn't know what to do or how to expedite the process. The wait was never-ending and emotionally exhausting.
While waiting for Bronson and Joseph to come home, Jennifer and James lost one of their adoptive sons, Jacob, in 2013 after he suffered a stroke. They were heartbroken and didn't know how to deal with the pain of parting from their sweet little boy.
In February 2016, the Grovers saw some movement by the Congolese government after many families in the same situation started petitioning on Capitol Hill.
A LONG TIME COMING
Their prayers were answered on February 19, when they received an email from the State Department granting exit letters to 119 children. A month later, and after a painstakingly difficult wait of three years, the Grovers experienced an incredibly heartwarming moment.
At 11:45 p.m. on March 1, at the Salt Lake City International Airport, the Grovers embraced their beloved sons, Bronson and Joseph. The boys were finally home, and the precious moment was captured on camera and shared online by the Grovers.
Bronson and Joseph didn't take long to settle down in their new home and were delighted to have a loving family. Joseph started school and shared classes with one of his sisters, Lauren, 14, who the Grovers adopted from Kazakhstan in 2002.
SETTLING INTO THEIR NEW HOME
Joseph loved shooting hoops and learned how to ride a bike and play the guitar. Bronson wanted to follow in his older brother's footsteps and ride a bike too, but his parents convinced him to ride one with training wheels.
The Grovers revealed that international adoption was difficult, given all the waiting and not having control over their boys' safety in another part of the world. However, they were glad things worked out for the best and said it was all worth it.
We're so glad that Jennifer and James were finally able to unite with their sons, and we hope the Grover family continues to create worthwhile moments together. Please share this story with your family and friends.
Family reunion stories happen to be our favorites, and if you're looking for another exciting read, take a look at this story where a young mother was forced to give her son up for adoption and reunited with him 60 years later. Click here to read the whole story.
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