The Wall Street Journal article is making its way around the adoption community and to me that is a good thing. Yet at the same time, I cannot understand how this is news to anyone. Department of State has issued numerous warnings that can be found at PEAR or Ethica. PEAR has 54 posts on Ethiopia, and Ethica has numerous posts as well here. In this post I did from December 2010, I link to two articles from Voice of America on Ethiopia which is only one, of numerous posts I have done on Ethiopia.
Quotes from the Wall Street Journal article below but please read the entire article as it is important.
Ethiopia has become one of the busiest adoption destinations in the world, thanks in part to loose controls that make it one of the fastest places to adopt a child. Nearly one out of five children adopted by Americans hailed from Ethiopia the past two years, second only to China.
“Ethiopia is a classic example of the next boom country where there are warning signs,” said Karen Smith Rotabi, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies global adoption. While there is no proof of widespread fraud, the State Department says, in recent months it began requiring DNA tests and interviews of Ethiopians who have relinquished children, to ensure they are related.
No – the warning signs happened way back when Guatemala was closing and Ethiopia was just starting to be the go-to country. People just did not want to see, or hear, the message being provided. Nor does it appear that the “Voice” (JCICS) for International Adoption with all those Adoption Agencies members, mandated best practices protocol of DNA testing at the very beginning in Ethiopia – that was the protocol implemented in Guatemala, at least towards the end, (despite the problems with it – at least it was a start). The very fact that the protocol existed as a means to deter fraudulent adoptions in Guatemala, yet to my knowledge, they failed to mandate it to their member agencies for Ethiopia from the start, which to me if they didn’t, speaks volumes.
Four years ago, he claimed, a stranger—a middleman in the adoption trade—came to his village and persuaded him to give up a child with the promise that she would grow up and send money to support him. “White people are taking children of the poor and helping them get a better life,” Mr. Delebo said he was told. “It will be good for you.”
If I remember correctly, this exact practice was detailed in the Fly Away Children produced by ABC News Australia back in 2009. JCICS made this statement about the Fly Away Children program, but to the best of my knowledge, never published the results of the promised investigation into the allegations, nor can I find further mention of it on the website.
Adoptive parents who found out the truth after the fact have spoken out, repeatedly.
Ethiopia has shut down over two dozen orphanages, many that appear to be pipe-line orphanages (feel free to correct me here).
Tom Di Filipo head of JCICS back in 2007 videos from Al Jazeera English spoke on Guatemala and the problems and about Ethiopia and to how some families could stay together for between $20 and $50 dollars a month and that should happen first. He also spoke to the problem of a program becoming too big, too fast and how it allows for corruption. Take the time to watch these videos, please. Understand that problems were known and acknowledged way back then, but it still persists today – that’s not right. They knew up-front there would be problems, but didn’t do anything I can see to stop it from happening in the first place.
At the end of the day the talk is not solving the problem, but at least Ethiopia seems to have put the brakes on the revolving door. But what about Uganda or the DRC? Is the same thing going to happen again and again?