I think I’m going to go crawl under a rock now (or at least abstain from reading more of these articles for the rest of the week).
Watch this video about adoption in Ethiopia, called Fly Away Children.
Some adopting parents suspect or discover the new child they’ve taken in is not an orphan as they’d been assured. The child may also have a litany of health problems that has been covered up by corrupt officials.
Also many ‘relinquishing’ Ethiopian parents or carers may have been duped into giving up their children through a heartless process called ‘harvesting’ and can’t hope to re-establish contact with them.
Ethiopia has 5 million orphans needing homes and the United States has millions of homes needing babies. Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan and producer Mary Ann Jolley, discover it’s not a simple mathematical equation or zero sum game. There are virtually no government regulations or policing of the process. Many international adoption agencies flashing Christian credentials are taking advantage of the situation. Corruption, fraud and deception are rife… it’s all too common for Ethiopian parents to give up their children for international adoption after being coerced by adoption agencies.
From the video transcript:
GEOGHEGAN [Reporter] : The crude reality is that children have become a big Ethiopian export. A child welfare agency here estimates international adoptions are generating revenue for the government of around one hundred million dollars a year, and the government is showing now sign that it is going to jeopardise that income for the sake of the children.
Ethiopia is not a signatory to the Hague Convention which requires international adoption be used only as a last resort. So as a result, a completely unregulated industry has grown up. More than 70 agencies operate here, almost half are unregistered. Corruption, fraud and deception are rife. The unscrupulous practices of this industry alarm one of the country’s top human rights lawyers, Mehari Maru.
MEHARI MURU: “I have heard several words which I don’t accept in these adoption processes, ‘harvesting’ is one of them is…. completely wrong, that you harvest the child for adoptive parents.”
GEOGHEGAN: Lisa Boe was assured – guaranteed – that the little boy was an orphan, but it didn’t take long before she had doubts.
LISA BOE [Adoptive Mother]: “There was a picture of the people that had found him and there’s a man and a woman in the picture, I point to the woman and he calls her ‘mamma’. I would have never…. never brought home a child that has a mum…. never.”
GEOGHEGAN: Eyob Kolcha quit his job at Christian World Adoptions in December 2007 after more than a year with them. He’s still in the Internet and adoption business and runs an orphanage in Addis Ababa.
EYOB KOLCHA: “It was considered good for the children in the community and that people. So they were informed that they would go to America and they would live with families. There was no information before that time. There was no information after that.”
GEOGHEGAN: “Did their parents realise that they were now legally someone else’s children?”
EYOB KOLCHA: “They didn’t understand that. Even I don’t think most people, most parents understand even elsewhere in Ethiopia right now.”