Monday, September 13, 2010

Program to Keep Ethiopian Adoptees in their Home Country Instead of Overseas

Ethiopia is becoming the nation of choice for international adoptions. Part of the reason is that they've had fairly lenient rules about the adoption process, and therefore adopters can get kids quicker. Another reason is that they have an overwhelming number of orphans (something like 5 million).

Well, here's some good news: The Ethiopian government, faith-based U.S. charity the Buckner Foundation, and Ethiopia's Bright Hope Church are teaming up on an experimental project to help orphans thrive in their home countries rather than be put up for adoption overseas. It's a program that provides two meals per day + education to hundreds of Bantu orphans. Read about it here. (Thanks to Lisa Marie for the link.)

I'm a bit surprised about the Buckner Foundation, as they seem to support international adoption and provide transnational adoption services. Perhaps this is a new experiment for them--we need to let them know it's a good thing!

It's encouraging to see the growth of a program like this that recognizes the importance of a child staying close to his/her home culture and family if at all possible, making international adoption a last resort. (The usual disclaimer: That's not to say international adoption is always "bad," or that many kids have benefited from it, but we know that cross-culture/cross-race adoptions must be treated with care. We have to consider what will be most beneficial and least traumatic for the kid.) A program like this will have a lasting positive impact on Ethiopia and its economy and its working population, moreso than a temporary fix of permanently sending the kids abroad.


Von said...

Sometimes a really good set up for kids to keep them in their own
country with their own names, people and language, culture etc can be far preferable to transnational adoption.I know it's not a popular view and one the adoption industry generally would find reduces their profits but so much better than creating adoptees.

Liberty said...

Von: I agree, especially considering the problem of child trafficking when it comes to international adoption.

Lisa said...

I have come to learn international adoption is mostly about money and profits. I was totally ignorant of this fact several years ago. Only I am to blame. But with years of reading, research, and personal experience I do believe this is the truth. Some adoption agencies will not be very happy with this, but it sounds to me the same thing as any sponorship programs which many adoption agencies have in place to show they are for keeping children in their home country. Unfortunately I am quite convinced that in the case of EThiopia more children are coming overseas when there should be alternative options. The agencies are partially to blame but then again they are out for the profit, yes they want to help children maybe??? but their first priority is adoptions b/c adoption= money. Sad sad sad. They would not be in business if not for adoptions. Not sure what we can do at this point though??? Other than of course not pursue an international adoption ever again(which is quite certain probably my course) and to support sponsorship programs. I am still floored about what I have learned about international adoption. And transracial adoption. Well thats an entirely different topic of discussion! ANyways thanks for your writing. You and others help previously uneducated adoptive parents learn what it really is all about.

Liberty said...

Lisa: You're right--it IS sad. And I agree with you...there's no perfect solution. The issues are so deeply entrenched in society that simply not adopting isn't going to help Ethiopia. There are so many changes that need to happen with the adoption system in this country and all over the's exhausting to think about sometimes.

I'm honored you've been reading my blog! I'd love to hear more about your experience adopting from Ethiopia. Do you write about it?