Ethiopia bans foreigners adopting children

Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are among the thousands of Americans who have adopted children from Ethiopia. Jolie

Ethiopia bans foreigners adopting children

Ethiopia has been considering placing a ban on adoption of children by foreigners following controversies surrounding the process and reports on physical abuse and even death of Ethiopian children overseas. Jolie adopted a six-month old girl Zahra back in 2005.

The east African country is one of the main sources for adoptions by USA citizens. Other celebrities to have adopted children from Ethiopia include Mary-Louise Parker and Connie Britton.

MPs said it was better for orphaned and other disadvantaged children to be cared for locally in order to avoid abuse from prospective parents allowed to adopt them.

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NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton reports that in making their decision "lawmakers in Ethiopia point to the vulnerability overseas of Ethiopian children adopted by foreigners".

On Tuesday (9 January), the Ethiopian parliament approved legislation banning worldwide adoptions.

The issue was thrust into the limelight in 2013 when U.S. couple Larry and Carri Williams were found guilty of starving and beating their adopted Ethiopian daughter to death. The couple were also found guilty of the assault of a younger boy they had adopted from Ethiopia.

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An official with the State Department tells NPR that State officials, including those at the Addis Ababa Embassy, have repeatedly spoken to the Ethiopian government to try to move pending cases forward and to emphasize the importance of intercountry adoptions and will continue to do so.

In 2016, Denmark banned adoptions from Ethiopia, claiming a lack of data on the origins of children adopted from the country could facilitate trafficking.

Legislation was passed in Ethiopia's parliament despite concerns over the availability of local adoption facilities.

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