Adoptions from Ethiopia to be cut 90%

On Friday, Voice of America reported “Ethiopia to Cut Foreign Adoptions by Up to 90 Percent.” The U.S. State Department promises to issue an Alert about the subject, but so far, none has been posted.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll just ask again “Why is it so difficult to regulate international adoption?” The article states:

Ministry spokesman Abiy Ephrem says the action was taken in response to indications of widespread fraud in the adoption process… Investigations have turned up evidence of unscrupulous operators in some cases tricking Ethiopian parents to give up their children, then falsifying documents in order to claim a part of the large fees involved in inter country adoptions.

The situation was the same in Guatemala. Everyone from Embassy officials to adoptive parents meeting their childen in hotel lobbies knew the identities of the “unscrupulous operators.” Why weren’t these unscrupulous operators arrested and stopped? Instead, the entire system was shut down.

And what exactly does “falsifying” documents mean? Does it mean changing an address to protect a birth mother’s identity? Or even changing her name? In my opinion, those kinds of falsifications are very different from falsifying the answer to the one question–the only question–that matters: “Did this birth mother freely relinquish her child for adoption?” 

For families in process, the next few months could be uncertain and unpredictable. I send you my prayers.

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2 Responses to “Adoptions from Ethiopia to be cut 90%”

  1. Marianne Lonsdale says:

    Following your blog and reading your book has made me so much more aware of the global adoption situation and how volatile it is. Everyone wants all activities to be above board, and no one wants children who could be adopted not to be. Such a conflict. Thanks for keeping the dialogue open.

  2. Jessica says:

    “Volatile” is the precise word, Marianne. The frustrating part is we all want the same thing: First, for families of origin to remain intact. That’s the ideal. Second, for children to remain with relatives or in-country. Third, for inter-country adoption to be transparent and above-board.

    For the third part, at least, I can add my voice. Instead of shutting down the system, why not try harder to fix it? Thank you for caring.

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