PEAR's Statement on MOWA's Decision to Reduce the Number of Adoptions Processed Daily in Ethiopia
Last week, PEAR was alerted by various sources to the Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) decision to reduce the number of adoptions it processes daily from 40- 50 cases down to 5 in the near future. According to these sources, the decision was based upon MOWA’s concern about corruption in the intercountry adoption process as well as a need to concentrate its limited resources on addressing the needs of its children who would likely never be adopted. On March 9, the US DOS confirmed the situation in an Adoption Alert - http://adoption.state.gov/news/ethiopia_alert.html .
It has been PEAR’s opinion that the process in Ethiopia as it currently exists is riddled with unethical actions and policies to the point where it is almost impossible to discern an ethical adoption from an unethical adoption. We issued a statement to that effect in January 2011 and called on prospective adoptive parents to boycott Ethiopian adoptions except in the instance of waiting child (special needs) adoptions with agencies that met our very strict ethical criteria.
If MOWA has indeed committed to a slowdown based upon their concerns about corruption and their need to properly care for the children of Ethiopia, then we support and respect their decision. PEAR believes that intercountry adoption can provide a solution for many children in need of families that respects their best interests. However, PEAR believes that continuing to process large numbers of adoptions is not in the best interests of children when there are severe allegations of fraud and misconduct. We hope that in taking time to properly address each child’s case, the Ethiopian authorities will be able ensure that every adoption is an ethical adoption. The focus needs to be on the quality of adoptions rather than the quantity of adoptions. We would rather see 5 ethical adoption per day than 40 questionable adoptions. We are also pleased that the Ethiopian authorities are increasing their efforts to care for all of their vulnerable children rather than spending a disproportionate amount of their resources on processing assistance that will help only .001%* of its vulnerable child population.
At this point, we would like to urge prospective adoptive parents to exercise caution and restraint in partaking in any “Call to Action”, petition or drive to pressure the Ethiopian authorities to increase the number of adoptions processed. Remember that many of these programs are self-serving and motivated by the financial consequences of slowing adoption programs and not necessarily in the best interest of the children they purport to serve. In addition, placing undue pressure upon the government of Ethiopia to act in accordance with the wishes of non-Ethiopians may do more to harm the adoption process then to help it. Please place the needs, rights and interests of the children before your wishes to parent a child.
*According to a study conducted by the Joint Council on International Child Services, only .001% of Ethiopia’s orphans are served by intercountry adoption. http://betheanswerforchildren.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/statement-on-children-and-family-services-in-ethiopia/
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.