Ethiopian Adoptions

Many of us thought China was the next “big” sending country via intercountry adoptions.  However, Chinese adoptions have slowed almost to a halt.  Across the country, agencies that began to thrive off of Chinese adoptions are shuttering to make room for agencies that have programs in Ethiopia.  The waits are shorter, the price?  It’s cheaper, and sexier for that matter.  Can we please stop talking about Madonna and Angelina now, please?!?!

Intercountry adoption needs more regulations, more international oversight.  Who is holding these governments accountable for profiting off of children?  Apparently the Ethiopian government makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million dollars for their intercountry adoptions.  And of course, when there is money to be made, there is corruption to be found.  This report is unfortunately not a surprise to me.  We’ve seen this before in many countries whether it’s in Korea, Samoa, Guatemala or Ethiopia.

Apparently there are around 70 adoption agencies in Ethiopia…70!!!  Over half are unregistered.  That’s freaking unbelievable!  Christian World Adoption is just one example of how gruesome adoption practices can become unchecked by the Hague.  And that’s not saying the Hague can completely control the illegal recruiting, selling and harvesting that takes place around the globe either.  Watching the scene where a CWA worker is harvesting children from these families makes me feel ill.  I’m sorry, to think there is a DVD catalogue where you can CHOOSE your child makes me want to throw up.  Children should not be treated like products!  Agencies like CWA can sugar-coat their euphemisms as much as they want, but at the end of the day how can you ever think that this sort of practice is humane or ethical?

“The father has died, and this is their mom…”  the social worker says with a big smile as she hugs the mother and children[violin music plays in the background]…How, on earth, can you say that with a smile?  How can you sit there and effectively make a sales pitch for a child’s life on a dvd catalogue?  They celebrate the tragedy of one family as the potential for another family’s gain.

Let’s back up a bit and discuss what is at the root of this issue.  If there really are poverty issues, and hunger issues in this country, and I think we can all honestly agree that there are-why are we not working on reinforcing social infrastructure?  If adoption agencies are truly invested in their missions which tends  to be something like “Looking out for the well-being of children,” why is the placement of children more important than helping to create systems that can assist poor families raise their children?

There is no blame being hoisted upon any one party.  This is part of much bigger and more complex industry that has developed over the past several decades.  Intercountry adoption has some incredibly large gaping holes that are still not yet visible to the general public.  Human trafficking seems to not apply when they are children or their “families are absent.”

It’s tough watching this piece at certain times, but it is something that you should watch.  -GS


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