Hana Williams was a 13-year-old girl who was adopted as an infant from Ethiopia. Her life ended much too soon after deadly abuse by her intercountry adoptive parents in 2011. Her parents were convicted of homicide and manslaughter and are currently serving time. This is one rare example, but one too many, of a very disastrous adoption experience. Since then, and over the last few years, adoptions from Ethiopia have dwindled and their parliament recently passed a law to ban all international adoptions.
Ethiopia used to be a very prominent country for adoption. According to a CNN article, “Ethiopia was among the top 10 countries from which Americans adopted children in 2016.” Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter from Ethiopia in 2005 and continues to be a strong adoption advocate. However, even after this publicity, the number of adoptions from Ethiopia continued to dwindle.
Now, with this ban, the children in their orphanages will need to be adopted by their own culture—by Ethiopian families. According to Samra Meyer, an Ethiopian college student adopted by an American woman, that is a major positive aspect, something she missed in her own childhood. Samra expressed the importance of biological culture and heritage. While she has a wonderful mother, Samra stated that at times she wished that she was exposed to more Ethiopian culture. Samra stated in a news article, “There is not much of an Ethiopian community in Idaho or Pullman, so that was one thing my mom couldn’t provide for me.”
This ban will impact “want-to-be “adoptive parents, but it will also impact the Ethiopian country as a whole. One impact is financial. The orphanages will no longer receive the gifts and donations given by parents when they came to adopt their children. Another impact is now the Ethiopian country will need to encourage and increase local adoptions. This proclamation as stated by the Ethiopian government will “[encourage] local adoption, family reunification, and reintegration that will enable children to grow up in the midst of their fellow citizens.”