The Ethiopian parliament approved a proclamation Wednesday that bans foreign families from adopting Ethiopian children.
Members of the House of People’s Representatives said local initiatives are better suited to protect orphans and other vulnerable children. Debate in the legislature highlighted the presence of many non-governmental organizations in the country working to ensure the health and welfare of at-risk children.
The legislation, a revision of Ethiopia’s Family Law Proclamation, encourages local adoption and family unification so children can grow up with fellow citizens, the state-operated Ethiopian News Agency said on Wednesday.
Awareness of the practice of foreign adoption was raised after celebrities began adopting Ethiopian children, notably actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who adopted an Ethiopian girl, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, in 2005.
The issue of the adoptees’ vulnerability was highlighted in 2011, when an adopted Ethiopian girl, 13, died of starvation and beating at the hands of her adoptive parents in Washington state. The mother, Carri Williams, was convicted of homicide by abuse. The father, Larry Williams, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter.
Denmark banned all adoptions from Ethiopia in 2016, citing inconsistent information from Ethiopian adoption agencies on children’s’ origins, which could lead to instances of child trafficking.
By Ed Adamczyk