Dear Andy & Erin,
We are sending out this email as a response to recent information regarding the status of adoption in Ethiopia. Over the weekend in Ethiopia a multiday meeting was held by the House of Representatives along with MOWCYA officials. In attendance were numerous Ethiopian government officials and public stakeholders, roughly 400 people were present. A research paper prepared by MOWCYA in conjunction with Parliament was presented regarding issues of sexual harassment, drug abuse and adoption within Ethiopia. Following the presentation of the research, the group of attendees were divided into six groups to discuss and respond to 15 questions. Roughly seven of the 15 questions were directly related to adoption. (America World is in the process of translating the research paper and questions.) Each group had a mixed representation of parliament officials, MOWCYA officials, Court President and officials, NGOs, adoption agency representatives, teachers, and public attendees. America World’s In-Country Director, Adey, was present at the meeting and in one of the working groups.
The groups reviewed the material, discussed for several hours, and then had one individual from each group present to the larger group suggestions for addressing the issues noted. Regarding adoption issues, it was noted that many Parliament officials involved strongly lobbied for the closure of international adoption while many of the groups encouraged a greater focus on domestic adoption while continuing international adoption as a good option for children. At the conclusion of the group presentations, the speaker of the House of Representatives stated that government officials were shown to have had conflicts of interest leading to corruption and did not speak positively regarding international adoption. In closing he noted that a strategic plan would be provided after 10 business days.
We know many of you will have questions regarding this. We have provided as much information as we have available at this time. There have been numerous changes in Ethiopian adoption over the last few years and we are hopeful that any changes made will not disparately impact your family’s process. Discussions of Ethiopia “shutting down” to international adoption are not new. Nevertheless, this is a crucial time in Ethiopia regarding the direction of international adoption. Ethiopia is a country that values their children and has been historically very supportive of international adoption. While the prevention of corruption and safe guards on behalf of children are critically important and reform is needed, adoption is a very politically charged issue within Ethiopia. Several government officials continue to be greatly supportive of international adoption and recognize that numerous children are in great need of a permanent family.
We know all of you are deeply concerned regarding your adoption as well as the welfare of Ethiopia’s children. We share your concern. Please join us in praying for the Ethiopia officials and the children of Ethiopia. We will continue to keep families updated with any new information as it is received from Ethiopia.