Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Ethiopia Adoption Program Suspensions and Investigations

Due to the following timeline of events in 2009, we urge caution on beginning an Ethiopian adoption. Furthermore, we recommend that prospective adoptive parents work with agencies that have programs in other countries as a contingency plan should Ethiopia slow down considerably or shut down. It is important to mention that many agencies who currently are working in Ethiopia are not Hague accredited (see accredited list: http://adoption.state.gov/hague/accreditation/agencies.html ) and some have been denied Hague accreditation (see denied list http://www.adoption.state.gov/hague/accreditation/deniedagencies.html ).

Timeline of 2009 Ethiopia Adoption Suspensions & Investigations

January 24, 2009
Austria: http://tt.com/tt/tirol/story.csp?cid=2778626&sid=56&fid=21 (original article)

“INNSBRUCK - After two cases in Lower Austria, where children were taught as a putative orphans have now been halted adoptions from Ethiopia in Austria…” (Google translation)

September 9, 2009
Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2009/s2686908.htm

ABC Foreign Correspondent airs "Fly Away Children" regarding US and Canadian agency adoptions

September 23, 2009
Netherlands: http://www.ethiopianreview.com/news/6790

“A large adoption agency in the Netherlands, Wereldkinderen, has temporarily stopped adoptions from Ethiopia as a result recent reports about abuse of the system by the government in Ethiopia and local adoption agencies...”

September 25, 2009
Spain: http://www.coraenlared.org/index.php?id=78&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=28&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=f8663fb0ad

CORA is a member of the Advisory Council of International Adoption in representing the families in Spain and has mostly adoptive parents as its members.

“CORA requests the suspension of adoptions from Ethiopia
CORA Federation demands in a letter sent to the Adoption Advisory Council is halt the adoption of children from Ethiopia in the absence of control mechanisms to ensure that adoptions in that country are made pursuant to the principles of the Hague Convention.

In recent months, various reports have appeared on adoption in Ethiopia to raise serious questions about the guarantees of the adoption system in this country.

The facts alleged by both the international press for a number of Spanish families are so serious that the Spanish government can not remain pending. They must take action on the matter at all cost to prevent the perpetration of a single defect that involves dragging a child from his family. For the partnerships we form CORA adoption is a means to a family of girls and boys who do not. It is a means of satisfying the desire for parenthood of western citizens can make donations to the third world.

Therefore, from CORA demand a halt to adoption of children from Ethiopia in the absence of control mechanisms to ensure that adoptions in that country are made pursuant to the principles of the Hague Convention.”(Google translation)

September 28, 2009
US: http://www.jcics.org/Ethiopia.htm

Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) is a US-based adoption service provider organization.

"Joint Council's President, Tom DiFilipo, and Director of Programs and Services, Rebecca Harris, will travel to Ethiopia on October 2, 2009 for nine days. Meetings are currently being arranged with Ethiopian, U.S., and other government officials, adoption service providers, and other NGOs working in child protection and/or children's services. While the goal of this advocacy trip are many, just one is to continue Joint Council's broad-based review of intercountry adoption practices in Ethiopia.

Just as the Summary Statement of September 21 is not focused on one individual or entity, Joint Council's review includes all individuals and organizations practicing intercountry adoption with particular attention to those practices that abuse children and families..."

October 12, 2009
US: http://www.jcics.org/Ethiopia.htm
"Joint Council’s Director of Programs & Services, Rebecca Harris, and President, Tom DiFilipo, conducted an advocacy trip to Ethiopia from October 2 through October 9, 2009.

Meetings were held with officials of the U.S., French, Australian and Ethiopian governments, Joint Council Member Organizations, The Network and other stakeholders. Details of Joint Council activities in Ethiopia will be published soon."

November 12, 2009
PEAR blog: http://pear-now.blogspot.com/2009/11/where-is-jcics-ethiopia-report.html

"...PEAR respectfully asks why there has been such a long delay in posting a response to this mission, particularly as the JCICS said they would “collaboratively identify all abuses, take action consummate with our mandate and policies, and, as appropriate, to demand a thorough investigation by the appropriate authorities...”

November 23, 2009
US: http://www.jcics.org/Ethiopia.htm

“...While some have questioned Joint Council as to why findings of the review have not been published, it remains Joint Council’s policy to publish information only when it is appropriate and incompliance with Joint Council internal policies and procedures and in alignment with our Mission...” (emphasis theirs)

November 2009
Australia: http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/IntercountryAdoption_WhatsNew_WhatNew#visit
“Interim Suspension of the Ethiopia-Australia Program”

“…A key reason for the suspension is a new requirement of the Ethiopian Government that the program enter into a formal agreement to provide community development assistance. The Australian program has previously been exempt from the requirement to provide financial/material assistance because of its unique Government-to-Government arrangement. We have recently been advised that this exemption can no longer continue. The review is considering whether implementation of the new arrangements is consistent with Australia's obligations under the Hague Convention…"

December 9, 2009
Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/09/2766965.htm
"Australian couples who have been waiting for years to adopt a child from Ethiopia say they are devastated by the Government's decision to suspend the program..."

December 18, 2009
Australia: http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/IntercountryAdoption_WhatsNew_WhatNew#visit
"Ethiopia-Australia Program–Possible delegation visit to Ethiopia–18 December 2009"

"...The Department has previously committed to completing its review of the Ethiopia-Australia program by the end of 2009. The review of the program is now expected to be completed in early 2010, after the visit..."

December 28, 2009
Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/12/28/2781307.htm
"The Australian Government has suspended all child adoptions from Ethiopia over fears that it could be breaking human rights laws against child trafficking..."

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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