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KELLER Six photos of the Richardson kids line the living room mantle, but only four of them are home in Keller.

Mercy and Josias remain stuck in a foster home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

'I think my greatest fear would be them never being able to come home,' said Laura Richardson, bouncing two-year-old Autumn on her lap.

Greg and Laura Richardson have been the legal parents of Mercy and Josias since last spring, and a judge in the DRC finalized the adoption in May.

But before they could bring the children to Texas, the DRC put a moratorium on all exit letters for children adopted to the U.S.

'They had concerns about safety of children once they're adopted and brought home,' Greg said. 'We went through a thorough background investigation.'

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition supporting the Richardsons and perhaps 100 other families caught in the same heartbreaking limbo. They say both Texas senators have signed a letter to the Congolese president.

Signs on bedroom doors at the Richardson home already have the names of Mercy and Josias and the outline of Africa. The signs say, 'Worth the wait.'

The Richardsons have never even met their new son and daughter, but they send money to care for them. Through e-mailed photos, they've watched them grow from infants to toddlers.

And they've worried especially about the little girl they named 'Mercy,' because it seemed so appropriate.

'When we first saw her picture, she was so small,' Greg Richardson said. 'She was eight months old and weighed about eight pounds... very malnourished.'

The Richardsons said she was found abandoned in a field.

She's doing much better now, and her adoptive parents say she'll do better yet in the arms of her family, including eight-year-old Emma, who says she prays for them every morning and every night.

'I love you,' she says holding their photos. 'I'm ready to bring you home. I'm your big sister.'

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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