Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia

7 03 2011

Statement on the Pending Reduction of Intercountry Adoption in Ethiopia

Last week the Ethiopian Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs announced their intention to reduce intercountry adoptions by 90% beginning March 10, 2011.  The Ministry’s plan for a dramatic reduction is apparently based on two primary issues; 1) the assumption that corruption in intercountry adoption is systemic and rampant and 2) the Ministry’s resources should be focused on the children for whom intercountry adoption is not an option.  Without further announcements by the Government of Ethiopia, it is our understanding that the Ministry’s plan will be initiated this week.

The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction to concerns of isolated abuses in the adoption process and fails to reflect the overwhelmingly positive, ethical and legal services provided to children and families through intercountry adoption.  Rather than eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family, we encourage the Ministry to accept the partnerships offered by governments, NGOs, and foundations.  Such partnerships could increase the Ministry’s capacity to regulate service providers and further ensure ethical adoptions.

The Ministry’s plan which calls for the processing of only five adoption cases per work day, will result not only in systemic and lasting damage to a large sector of social services, but will have an immediate impact on the lives and futures of children.  Moving from over 4,000 adoptions per year to less than 500 will result in thousands of children languishing in under-regulated and poorly resourced institutions for years.  For those children who are currently institutionalized and legally available for adoption, the Ministry’s plan will increase their time languishing in institutions for up to 7-years.

Joint Council respectfully urges the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs to reconsider their plan and to partner with governments, NGOs and foundations to achieve their goals and avoid the coming tragedy for children and families.

____________________________________________

In addition to this formal statement,we are also preparing a large scale advocacy, education and awareness campaign, which will launch later this week.  We will post details here, so please check back for the launch of this urgent and important campaign.

We hope you will join us in advocating for the continuation of intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

About these ads

Actions

Information

31 responses

7 03 2011
veggiemom

As an adoptive mother of an Ethiopian child, I support the right of Ethiopian children to have a safe, permanent and loving family. Right now, many of them in the adoption process have that right there in Ethiopia and would still be with that family if they hadn’t been trafficked. I also support this slow-down to allow increased transparency and improved ethics in the adoption system. I am very thankful that the Ethiopian government is stepping up to the plate and facing the corruption head on.

8 03 2011
Rebekah Brummel

Wow, veggie mom, I bet you would be singing a different tune if the child in your home was still a child in an orphanage waiting for you to pick her up. Maybe you should do some research on the permanent effects of long term orphanage stays on children. I bet those kids that come home with attachment disorders because they spent years waiting to be one of the “five a day” won’t feel as supportive as you are regarding the big slow down. There is an orphan crisis, there are child headed households and children selling themselves on the street to survive because they are all alone.
Adoption corruption is a terrible evil, and we all know the agencies guilty of it.. . . but leaving all the orphans behind isn’t the solution. If people stopped using those agencies to adopt the agencies would go broke and would be forced to shut down. Why doesn’t MOWA shut down the agencies guilty of corruption instead of stopping adoptions all together? Why do the kids always end up the victim?

9 03 2011
Michelle

Good point Rebekah! I would also like to know if Veggie Mom knows about all of the new regulations and document requirements that have happened over the last year alone imposed both by the courts and the U.S. Embassy? Wonder when she was in this process last? I can tell you that I am in this process. Have been working to get my 6 year old son home for over a year. We were almost ready to go when another document change happened last week. There has been plenty of stepping up by the courts and embassy to make the changes needed and the MOWA slowing things only hurts the kids. Adopting a child from Ethiopia is nothing like it was even a year ago, I should know. We have been tangled in the red tape of all the changes.

9 03 2011
ann

Totally agree. We are also in process for our sons sister. we have been trying to bring her home for 2 yrs. just when all the regulations started changing . They have shut down alot of the bad orphanages. We were actually delayed for over six months until our child could be moved to an orphanage that was MOWA approved. . MOWA and the courts are battling over who has more power. They both have to sign the paperwork but MOWA feels like they are more powerful.

8 03 2011
8 03 2011
8 03 2011
Cathy

The children have the “right” to remain in their country of birth and with their family or extended family first and foremost. You have concerns about the quick decline of adoptions and that this will cause languishing?? Did you have these same concerns with the rapid increase that initially pulled the children into the terrible institutions that they may now languish? Find the families or relatives or communities of the children in care and get them back there safely!! The lobbying efforts are getting predictable. Business as usual?
Let’s get back to the *true* rights of the child!

9 03 2011
ann

I think it’s interesting for someone who probably has never adopted or even better probably never even been to Ethiopia to have such an ignorant view of the situation. The fact is that their are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia , and realisticly impossible to have them all stay with relatives. Ethiopians don’t adopt other people’s children unless it’s to be a servant or kitchen help. The law in Ethiopia is also that the children to be adopted are true orphans with no one able to take care of them. They are not just randomly taking these children to give to american’s . These kids will die if someone doesn’t help them . By the way Adopting out of country is by far more difficult than you could ever imagine. I have adopted both international and domestic. What an ignorant comment from someone with plenty of advice to give. I personally think that these kids have the “right ” to live . But that’s just me. The conditions that most of these kids live in before they are adopted is horrific. My son was found living on the streets , he was 5 . I think your right , that might be better.

8 03 2011
Thaddaeus

Veggiemom…
Do you have information about specific trafficking that has occurred? I am doing a film about IA and have heard these allegations for some time now. Considering this is going to keep thousands of children from becoming part of a loving family, (its own form of abuse) it would be important to know specific cases of corruption. Please share how you can confirm this corruption is real, so I can take a look as well.

8 03 2011
Gary Cooper

Though undoubtedly good intentioned, if you do the math it is obvious that this dramatic reduction will absolutely prevent children who need a permanent home from arriving in one by stopping or severely delaying thousands of non-corrupt adoptions. It is a record that plays over and over again — countries shutdown and children who are in need *now* are thrown aside as “collateral damage” in the war against corruption. It is not the criminals that end up paying. Thousands and thousands of children do – with their lives.

8 03 2011
Cathy

Gary, maybe they will lobby to make manditory sentencing for traffickers/trafficking *for adoption* including any agencies caught harvesting kids and PULLING kids away from families for the main reason of IA. Let’s see if joint council will lobby to pass a minimum sentencing law for these crimes??
And Joint Council membership supporting such a law! Right now it’s become an open market with very weak laws. Kids may languish if the program slows but surely all the non-profit NGOs dedicated to orphan care in Ethiopia will make sure that continuing assistance is a priority??? Including agency NGOs?? Certainly they won’t just pack up and move to another country…

8 03 2011
Jay

I hardly think this change will “eliminate the right of Ethiopian children to a permanent family.” Perhaps instead it will keep some Ethiopian children with a permanent family – their first family.

I found the overall tone of this statement to be very inflammatory. If I were a representative of the Ethiopian government, I’d be offended by it.

8 03 2011
Adoptions to be Slowed in Ethiopia « Heart of the Matter Seminars | adoption education

[...] A blog post by Joint Council on International Services illustrates the impact of such a slow down.  Highlights are mine: [...]

8 03 2011
Katie Prigel Sharp

I wanted to respond to Cathy. Oddly enough, I honestly believe that your core concerns are shared by JCICS and the vast majority of international adoption agencies. Where we part ways is at the idea that there are other options for these children. Competent, ethical agencies do not pull children away from families in their country of origin. These are children who do not have families to care for them and their reality is horrifying. Take a look at this blog post I wrote in October about this very subject and especially about one agency who stuck in with the kids even after adoptions in Romania closed down: http://heartofthematterseminars.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/keep-international-adoption/

8 03 2011
veggiemom

Thaddaeus –

I have talked to many parents who’ve searched for birth family post adoption, only to find the adoption information is wrong. I’ve talked to several parents who’s older adopted children have told them stories of being told to lie about their history, how they came into the orphanage, etc. While my own daughter was actually trafficked, her entire story was completely falsified. It took my own trip back to Ethiopia to meet with her family with an independent translator to get the truth. The problem is people are flamed for pointing out problems so many people keep their stories to themselves or share only privately with other families.

8 03 2011
Christina Anderson

Veggiemom – what do you do then? When you find your daughters family who “didn’t intend for her to be adopted” but would prefer her to have remained as part of them?

8 03 2011
Loving Mom

Veggiemom, I know dozens of families formed through international adoption and have never heard any allegations of corruption. Adoption background information is rarely 100% accurate because children cannot always explain their own history. Facts about age and medical status are also frequently inaccurate. This is not the result of corruption. I’m African-American (African Dad, American Mom), I’ve lived in Africa and have relatives in Africa who’ve adopted. I’m also the happy Mom of an Ethiopian daughter through adoption. People run into problems when they unwittingly or otherwise work with dishonest individuals. I know my agency was very ethical. And I did my own background checks to make sure that I felt extremely comfortable with the ethics of my adoption. When there are enough Ethiopian families willing and able to adopt Ethiopian children, then Ethiopia should end its international adoption program. That isn’t today’s reality. And growing up in an orphanage is not the answer. Maybe the government could: Increase funding for those screening applications. Advertise pending adoptions in a broader geographical area instead of solely in the placement city. Increase public education on adoption (not just focusing on fears). There are many more effective approaches.

8 03 2011
Loving Mom

Cathy, in legal Ethiopian adoptions, extended family members are given the first opportunity to raise a child who has been placed for adoption or found abandoned. When no family member can be identified notices are posted throughout towns for several months before an adoption takes place. I’ve been in one such town and talked to the officials who post those notices. It is only after no one responds that an adoption is allowed to go through. Maybe there are some people who use private lawyers or go directly to public orphanages in an effort to bypass this system. I don’t know. But I believe the majority of adoptions are legal. And in many cases, US agencies actually require that adopting families meet with the birth mother or extended family before an adoption can be finalized so that all of the facts and feelings are on the table.

8 03 2011
Joint Council Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian Children | Joint Council

[...] plan to reduce intercountry adoption by 90%. The Statement can be found on our blog by clicking here. As part of our continued advocacy, Joint Council has launched an Emergency Campaign for Ethiopian [...]

8 03 2011
Missy @ It's Almost Naptime

Ethiopia has approximately 5,000,000 orphans. Less than one half of one percent of those orphans were adopted internationally last year. The rest languished in orphanages or on the streets of Ethiopia.

An orphan’s chances of being adopted are statistically a needle in a haystack.

I don’t think IA is the problem, y’all. It’s an itsy bitsy teeny weeny part of the solution for a ridiculously small percentage of orphans. An easily scapegoated part of the solution. And stopping IA will do absolutely nothing to remedy the problems that led to nearly 5,000,000 children being UNABLE TO BE CARED FOR by their birth
families – in fact, it will worsen it significantly.

8 03 2011
Tammy

After spending time througout Ethiopia on a medical mission, I saw first hand the homeless children living on the streets, parents dying of AIDS and trying to find someone to take are of their children, and orphanages overflowing with very needy children. Not to mention, the children hanging at the gates in hopes for a spot to open up for them. Yes, this is reality.

There is corruption around every corner, whether it be in the U.S. or Ethiopia. The issue should not be focused on just corruption, as the need for these Ethiopian children are far greater then you and I can see. And their need far out weigh the criminals. In an ideal world, there will be family and friends willing to take a child or children who have been orphanaged, however, due to the great poverty, extended families and friends are more often then not unable to take on more children. Their love is great, but their circumstances are dire.

Cleaning up the system is always a good thing, but stopping the adoptions will be detrimental to many. Are you willing to tell a child “Sorry, we cannot find you family because adoptions have stopped”

I have two children from Ethiopia. I do know their circumstances, and they were sad. Niether one would have been able to survive without medical intervention.

Trafficking does exist, but the percentage is so very small, and again, the needs of these orphans are great.

8 03 2011
Rebekah Brummel

So well said Tammy!

9 03 2011
Honeybear

So I just want to be clear – Adoption agencies in Ethiopia are taking perfectly fine babies/children from their homes to adopt out to people in other countries who are non-the-wiser? So the gov’t now wants to stop that by limiting 5 adoptions per day? How many are being illegally adopted vs. legally?

9 03 2011
Tammy

When I was visiting an orphanage, I saw a woman asking the director to take her child. Yes, her child was perfect in every way, with the exception that her mother did not have food, job or support. She asked that her child be placed in the orphanage where she would have a chance at life.
I can tell you first hand that many of these “perfectly fine” babies have a story behind them.
Why would an agency take them from their homes when so very many are homeless on the streets?
One child found on the streets was suckling his dead mother. This isn’t trafficking, this is desparation.

9 03 2011
Joe S.

As a PAP waiting on a referral from Ethiopia, I get that this is a troubling issue. But I found the writing of this blog post to be inappropriate and quite possibly rude – especially to those in Ethiopia. Lines such as “The Ministry’s plan is a tragic, unnecessary and disproportionate reaction…” are so biased and speculative that I have a hard time taking this seriously. How do you know? Has MOWA even clarified their decision yet? Doesn’t Joint Council have enough influence and experience that it can handle such situations with tact and objectivity?

I can see both sides of the issue: finding good homes for these kids, and ensuring ethics and transparency. Do I want the process to slow down? No. Do I want my child home? Yes. But is this change good in the long run? Maybe… I don’t have enough solid information to have an answer yet.

I was going to send out the petition to everyone I know, but right now it does not feel legit.

9 03 2011
Cynthia Lewellen

I am concerned for the orphans in Ethiopia. So many parents are willing to lovingly adopt these children. I know – I’m a grandparent of a wonderful Grandson from Ethiopia. He is such a blessing – and I would love to have more grandsons from this country! please keep your “doors” open to future parents & grandparents for your children.

9 03 2011
Freyde

The drastic increase in fraud and corruption in Ethiopia is driven by agencies and the amount of money they bring into the country. The JCICS has so far done very little to stop this. It’s recent report on adoptions from Ethiopia doesn’t address any of the serious concerns by the Department of State and the Ethiopian government. It is is no position to urge the Ethiopian government or launch a legitimate campaign against the decision to slow down adoption. Until the JCICS doesn’t take its ethical responsibility towards its member organisations more seriously, its so-called campaign does not deserve any support.

9 03 2011
Trouble in Ethiopia « Our Ethiopian Adventure

[...] adoptions from Ethiopia will decrease by 90%.  If you wish to understand the plan better, you can read this statement from the Joint Council. The bottom line is that the action would drastically cut down the number of adoptions from [...]

9 03 2011
veggiemom

@Christina – I was preparing myself to return my daughter to Ethiopia to be with her family if that is what they wished for her.

@Loving Mom – If you haven’t heard of any stories of corruption in international adoption, I’m sorry but you’ve had your head buried in the sand. In my daughter’s case, I’m not talking about a few inaccuracies. The only thing on her paperwork that was correct were names. Nothing else at all was correct. Nothing. Last night, a friend and I sat down and started listing problem adoptions that we know of. In 2 minutes we came up with 15 adoptions in which living birth parents were listed as dead, relinquished children were listed as abandoned, non-related children were presented as siblings, and siblings were seperated. Those are not small inaccuracies. Those are huge ethical issues and that was just the 15 cases we came up with in 2 minutes.

@Tammy – We do need to focus on corruption precisely because of the needs of children. They are the ultimate victims of these criminals. They are the ones who are separated from families willing and able to care for them in country.

10 03 2011
Monica Meyer

As a mother of two beautiful adoptive children, I am so discouraged by the news of any country wanting to stop adoptions. My children are so grateful to be adopted. I feel even more blessed when they have written stories for school about how different their lives would have been had they remained in their country of South Korea. While they are proud of their heritage, they know their lives would not have been the same. When we look at our children, we don’t see them as not our own. THEY ARE OUR CHILDREN that God blessed us with. There is more to being a parent than giving birth. I can’t imagine life without them. In-state adoptions are so difficult. When we first started our adoptions in the late 80’s i don’t know what we would have done without foreign adoption. The wonderful adoption agency we went through (Dillon Southwest in Arizona), took such good care in make sure children were placed with the right families. Years ago they began to place children from Ethiopia. I can’t imagine what the families waiting for their children must be fearing right now. Every family we ever met always had so much love to give. How can you possibly deny these children of that love. How can remaining in a orphanage with hundreds of other children, not receiving even a hug sometimes because they don’t have enough caregivers to give the individual attention, be a better choice.

My prayers are with those who are waiting for their children.

11 08 2011
angry

SAY NO TO ADOPTION PERIOD !!!!!! THE CASES OF ABUSE ARE HORRIFYING….ABSOLUTLY HORRIFYING !!!! YOU HAVE ENOUGH CHILDREN IN THE STREETS OF AMERICA…TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN. OR BETTER YET, CLEAN UP THE ELITE PEDOFILE RINGS THAT HAVE INFESTED YOUR COUNTRY TO THE CORE!!!!! LET THIS BE A WARNING… A LITTLE GIRL BY THE NAME OF HANNA, AGED 11 WAS FOUND OUTSIDE HER ” HOME “, FROZEN TO DEATH. THIS MADNESS HAS TO STOP AND IT HAS TO STOP NOW……

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 270 other followers

%d bloggers like this: