The Ethiopian adoption program is more popular than ever. Over the past ten years or so, adoptions have gone along without huge problems and the program is considered a stable one. This has attracted many adoption agencies to Ethiopia and in the last year or so the system in Ethiopia has been bogged down. What used to take 6 months now can take 12. Prospective parents who assumed they would be able to adopt a child in a little over a year are now waiting much longer. Earlier this year, court cases were suspended for abandoned children for an investigation. There has also been a change in public perspective in Ethiopia about adoptions and traveling parents are having to stay at guest houses and smaller hotels and are not permitted to travel in country with their adopted children. The Hilton is being called the “Baby Hotel” by some. All of these issues are being complicated by the lack of water and electricity in the country due to draught and ineffectively used resources.
I am not trying to be negative, but realistic. As waiting parents we tend to get mad at the country or the agency, the paper work or the government. Heck, sometimes we are mad at the mailman for not delivering the paperwork we are waiting for! It is important to stay on course and continue with your due diligence. I know how frustrating it is to wait, how you think about changing your age range or sex of the child to get a quicker placement. I have been through this and it is not easy.
So what can we do to improve the adoption process in Ethiopia? Work with a good agency. One that has been there a while and knows the ins and outs of it all. An agency that doesn’t “recruit” children who already have parents, one that doesn’t promise a “better life” to Ethiopian parents and that they will have contact with their children and then not make that possible. Ask your agency if you are allowed to meet with the birth-family in Ethiopia. In most cases meeting with the family can be very helpful as the child gets older. Any agency that does not allow this could easily be hiding something.
As adoptive parents we can be as transparent as possible with perfect ethics, but if the agency we work with is unethical the adoption is unethical. Frustrating as it may be, waiting for the process to go through properly is better than having to tell your child about an unethical adoption that took place.
Lately I have been writing a lot about ethics. It seems to be a hot topic right now and after reading this article the other day I just knew I needed to talk some more about transparency in Ethiopian adoptions. Ethiopia is apart of our family now, and I want the country to do well, become stronger and improve conditions to where they no longer “need” international adoption to help with the orphans. I don’t want the country closed to adoptions because of bad practices of adoption agencies and unethical workers.
To lighten my post up a bit: Amharickids.com is having a great sale on the book Tsion’s Life. They are also offering bookplates to put in the books if you are donating them to a library or classroom! Check it out.
If you are in Philidelphia this week Abshirokids.com is having a program: