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Ethiopian children sold by the State

December 16, 2012

December 2nd, 2012
Written by: Kristoffer Pinholt

“Poor Ethiopian mothers are under intense pressure to give up their children for adoption to prospective parents in the Western world,” says DR correspondent Line Gertsen, an investigative journalist reporting from the impoverished African nation of Ethiopia, which right now is at the center of adoption scandal to richer parts of the world.

Masho sold by the state

Investigative reporter Line Gertsen traveled to Ethiopia on a seven day trip in the wake of a new Danish documentary film about an Ethiopian married couple who were persuaded to transfer their two children, Masho and Roba, into what they perceived as temporary arrangements that would provide education before their children eventually return home to their parents. But in an unfortunate turn of events, the Danish adoptive parents were not prepared to meet the needs of the two children who already had parents, and who had suffered severe psychological trauma (attachment disorder) as a consequence of the adoption, thereby compelling the Danish parents to place the older adopted child, Masho, in an orphanage in Denmark.

“Masho’s parents feel that the Ethiopian government has sold their children,” says Line Gertsen. “There is massive pressure on poor parents to give up their newborn babies for adoption.” A 20-year old mother who fled a women’s shelter with her baby said government officials had attempted to take away her baby and put the baby up for adoption. “They tried to discourage me from raising my child,” said the young mother.

Big Business

There are several actors involved in the adoption process in Ethiopia. But it is the Ethiopian government and the adoption agencies that are first and foremost to persuade the women to give their children up for adoption. According to DR Information, the Hospitals also pressure women to give away their new-born babies for adoption. The reason behind it is money.

There is a lot of money to be made in Ethiopia in the name of adoption. It costs $135,000 Danish Krone (US$24,000) to adopt a child from Ethiopia through an agency such as DanAdopt. Of the money $33,000 Krone (US$6,000) goes to the Ethiopian government, $49,500 Krone (US$8,000) goes to DanAdopt agency, and $39,900 Krone (US$7,000) goes to the orphanage. The rest goes to administration fees.

“In a country where the courts charge a modest $10 Krone (US$2) fee to process adoption papers, the biological parents whom we spoke to were dismayed to find that the government is charging foreign adoptive parents $135,000 Danish Krone (US$24,000) per child,” said Line Gertsen.

No_name_866644dMasho’s parents are unsettled

According to an Ethiopian attorney Muluembet Tilahun, adoption agencies falsify birth certificates to claim the adoptee are younger than their actual age to justify adoptions, and convince parents to hand over their children through fraud or misleading information. He advises Masho’s parents to be very concerned about their daughter’s fate who’s now placed in an orphanage in Denmark, and also about their younger son, Roba who still lives with the Danish adoptive parents.

Masho’s parents, however, haven’t decided yet to whether they want to see their daughter return home to Ethiopia or not.

Watch video report in Denish

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