According to the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), the country has banned all foreign adoptions due to concerns over child abuse. The ENA released a statement saying children adopted by foreign families have been exposed to “crime and social crises in the country they grew up in”.
Ethiopia is one of the popular countries for adoptions to the United States. Over 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted by U.S citizens, though there has been a decline in the adoption rate since 2010. The American actress Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter, Zahara from Ethiopia back in 2005.
In 2011, a 13- year old Ethiopian girl named Hana Williams died in the U.S from “hypothermia brought on by malnutrition and being forced to remain outside on a cold rainy night”. Her adoptive parents were convicted of her murder in 2013. The couple were also found guilty of maltreating their younger son who is also from Ethiopia.
The ban was placed by the government to ensure that children grow up in their homeland, being exposed to their own culture and language. The country also claims the ban will “encourage local adoption, family reunification and reintegration that will enable children grow up in the midst of fellow citizens”. Vulnerable children will be placed in state child care centers. The U.S embassy in Addis Ababa is yet to know how this ban will affect pending adoptions.