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Ethiopia Waiting Parents

Adoptions effected by UNICEF's anti-adoption campaigns

We recently learned that UNICEF is campaigning to orphanages in Ethiopia to NOT adopt their children out.  They offer financial aid to orphanages and foster parents to put orphans in foster care instead of allowing them to be adopted to other countries.  The problem is that many of these foster parents just want/need the money, and the kids become a child slave in many cases.  Eventually the funds run out, and the kids end up back in orphanages. 

Does anyone have any insight on this?  We are #4 on our agency’s waiting list to adopt.


Perhaps you might like to provide a link? 

Here is UNICEF’s version of events:

In other countries like Uganda, there are people who are helping to preserve families.

Here is a recent thread by person interested in Ethiopian and some interesting links in the replies:

I personally believe there should be proper processes followed before adoption takes place.  I am concerned by those who feel that international adoption should be on the frontline of “orphan care” - adoption has its place but much further down the line.

Posted by catherinenz on Oct 13, 2013 at 4:37pm

Fiona it is totally not true that MANY children in Ethiopian orphanages have parents who are deluded and place their children in orphanages like boarding schools.  Where are you getting this “information”?

In every country - including US Adoption Agencies - there are problems with child trafficking. It behoves an adoptive parent to be sharp and aware. But to assume Ethiopians are somehow more ignorant,or naive smacks of arrogance.

Ethiopia has nearly 5 times the HIV rate of the US (per capita). (See Wikipedia and CDC figures)  There is also such a stigma that people with HIV, or with a spouse with HIV, are often fired from their jobs, even before they become ill and so just barely able to survive on the streets, unable to afford shelter or food let alone treatment (or provide for a child). Adoption of children whose parents have died of HIV is virtually non existent in the country.

In the US being poor is one reason birth parents place children for adoption. In Ethiopia that also is even more of a concern as the country as a whole is so poor, a significant number of the population (from 10,000 - 93,000 people) die every year of starvation.

In poor countries where a foster or adoption subsidy becomes available it can be a wonderful thing to help families adopt IF there is good supervision and training. However, if there is a stigma against adoption, there really MUST also be the good supervision or the child is only adopted for the money, as a slave of sorts, exactly like C Faucette says.

There is no Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene is a book written about adoptions and an orphanage in Ethiopia. The author spends a good amt of time in Ethiopia, follows a number of children and their adoptions, and eventually over years adopts 4 children into her own family from Ethiopia. She’s returned, visited some of her children’s bio parents,and her own grown children have volunteered in some of these orphanages.

In the book, there are actual examples of children whose parents are homeless, or have died, relatives too poor or afraid of HIV to adopt their kin, children found starving on the street and brought in by the police or a church,  many children who are ill themselves, children whose relatives only think about adopting when they need a worker, and one child whose mom is poor and hopes for better for her son.

As far as I am concerned the best choice for any child is the one that provides most quickly for the child to have the family most suited to love and care for them. No type of care (whether in their country of origin or not, with kin or not) should be given precedence to the detriment of the child.

So to C Faucette I say, do your careful research on your organization. Keep your eyes open.  Go to the country. Meet with the children if they are older, go visit the child’s parents if you can. If there is any indication of traffiking -  speak out and help the child get home to his/her rightful parents.The same as anywhere in the world.

Otherwise, go on adopt your child with a happy heart knowing you have saved a child’s life. If the family could have provided for them, and wanted to, they would have. Do what you can to help the countries people and the child’s family, and to maintain the relationship, as they now are also your kin.

Posted by Happy Camper on Oct 21, 2013 at 4:51am

I have read thru several of the sites above.  While I remember the horrific film of an Ethiopian Adoption where everything was done horribly and unethically that Regina referenced on site, still many of the sites above twist and distort info.

For example….

PEAR survey of all the unethical adoptions was listed but it didn’t seem to be available to read.

People in many of the sites seem hesitant to mention the names of any corrupt agencies.  Why is this?  Does not impress me with their intentions if they are unwilling to speak up.

Some People in PEAR claim they were told to lie during the adoptions of their children.  These people went ahead with this but then after they adopted their own, now claim all adoptions should be stopped,  These are ethical people?  I don’t think so!  You don’t lie to adopt a child.  You blow the whistle and demand that the adoptions be done right or the children returned to parents if they are stolen or fraudulently obtained.  (Like the folks in Finding Fernanda).

  Ethiopian Bio Parents were considered naive who thought their children would have a better chance of life and better education in the US and they’d later get to see them again.  Is this, it just is a different world view.  Native Alaskans also gave children to community members to adopt also retained some occasional connection.  Some people who are ethical do help their kids remain connected to their first families.

They praise Hague standards…but even some of the original people involved in fighting for and forming the standards say they have not lessened trafikking and have only tied up adoptions. 

They claim orphanages have closed and there are no orphans with counties closing international adoptions - this is pure fantasy.

They belittle people like Craig Jutenan and the work they are doing and the millions they are donating and raising to expedite adoptions and help the people of Haiti (setting up schools, and helping with funding for children in orphanages)...yet you don’t see the people writing in the sites above actually doing much to help the children without parents in these countries.

They claim the parents featured in the film are parent centered adoptions…  yet the children featured were left to languish without medical care, food or any parents who came forward to adopt in their own countries for many years. These parents actually went to great lengths to help these children..unlike those criticizing them.

The agencies that are so unethical in Ethiopia and other ocuntries are often started and or run by agencies located in the US.

There are corrupt agencies handling domestic and Foster US adoptions too…but we don’t just then decide all adoptions in the US should be stopped and children should just be dumped out on the streets instead.  The reasonable, intelligent and ethical person uses care in adoptions, speaks out against corrupt agencies, and then attempts to help the birth parents or countries of their children.

Posted by Happy Camper on Oct 24, 2013 at 8:55am

Thank you everyone for responding.  Before deciding to adopt, I read many of the resources listed above and appreciate you posting others.  My concern is for the orphans without parents or a potential in-country, loving family.  I’m all for UNICEF helping to re-establish first families when proper care and resources are available. I’m well aware that they do A LOT of good. I just had heard that they are going overboard by trying to ban ALL international adoptions in order to further their mission, which I disagree with. 

In one scenario, I learned of UNICEFs attempt to reconnect an orphaned child to its grandmother who was already caring for 8 children. The grandmother reluctantly took the child in due to UNICEF’s pressure.  When the UNICEF worker went back a week later to check on the child, the grandmother informed him that she had sold the child for $100.  These are the kind of scenarios I am concerned about. The ones where reconnection to first families lead to abuse, neglect, starvation and child slavery.  There are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia.  It is hard to believe that there are just as many families in-country ready, willing and able to adopt these children or take their own children back, even with the help of organizations listed above and UNICEF.  There is a deficit, is there not?

Posted by CFaucette on Oct 29, 2013 at 7:24pm

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