Ethiopia legislators are placing a ban on all international adoptions. It should be put into effect in the coming weeks. With the new National Child Policy, Ethiopian officials claim to be protecting their children from abuse and neglect. It states that children should be raised at home with their own culture and traditions. However, some fear this move is merely condemning those children to a life of poverty and hardship.

The ban has been a long time in the making. In 2013 a couple was convicted of murdering their daughter, who had been adopted from Ethiopia. That sparked a heated debate over the issues of abuse and neglect that occur with kids who have been adopted internationally. Since that little girl’s death in 2011, Ethiopia has been steadily increasing the restrictions placed on foreign adoptions. During the next year, they decreased foreign adoption by nearly 90%. The country’s adoption process has also been accused of being easily abused by human traffickers.

Ethiopian lawmakers have decided that children will be better cared for in their home country. Others have expressed concern that they lack adequate resources for such an undertaking. Americans have adopted over 15,000 children from the country since 1999. Actress Angelina Jolie is among them. Many others kids were adopted into European countries.

An Ethiopian orphanage coordinator, who wished to remain anonymous, told the press that Ethiopia would find a way to ensure these children were cared for. She said, “These are our children. We are already seeing many Ethiopians choosing to sponsor one child or two through their education and other needs. For now things are up in the air, but who knows, it might be reversed and these needy children will find families, here or abroad.”