UPDATE: Thanks to Laura for pointing out that this is not the first time this agency has come under scrutiny. I wrote about a separate scandal they were involved in last September. Isn’t it sad that I’ve read so many of these stories that I forgot it was the same agency!? They just start to run together…
Yesterday, CBS news broke the story of an Ethiopian adoption scam. Three Ethiopian girls were said to be aged 7, 6, and 4. Their adoptive parents were told that their mother was dead, and that their father was dying from AIDS. In reality, the girls are ages 13, 11, and 6. Their father is alive and healthy, living a comfortable life, and the girls had been cared for by a large network of friends and family. However, Christian World Adoption approached their father, convinced him to give up the girls for adoption, and paid him for them.
CBS News reporter Armen Keteyain spoke to one of the girls, now living with her adoptive parents in the US:
“Your dad was paid,” Keteyian asked Meya.
“Yes,” she said.
“From Christian World Adoption,” Keteyian asked.
“Yeah,” she replied.
“For you to be adopted?”
“You were sold?”
“Yeah,” she said.
Further, the investigation uncovered the lies the adoption agency told the girls to pacify them:
Beyond the alleged payment to their father, the Bradshaw sisters say they were told by local employees of Christian World they were only coming to America for an education; that they could return home when school was out. Not true. In fact it’s virtually impossible to reverse an adoption in Ethiopia.
“I thought I was going to be kind of like an exchange student,” Journee said. “Honestly, I never knew that I’m going to be here forever.”
The girls’ new mother in the United States said,
“We have watched our kids grieve and cry and scream and melt down from the bottom of their souls over the loss of their country and their family,” Katie Bradshaw said.
The article also says,
Christian World was founded back in 1991 by Bob and Tomilee Harding. In 2008, records show, the non-profit agency took in nearly $6 million dollars – charging a fee of about $15,000 per child.
I’ve just added Bob and Tomilee Harding to the list of people I would like to punch.