Fly Away Children – Andrew Geoghegan (ABC Australia)

September 16th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

Since Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara in 2005, the number of Americans adopting Ethiopian children has quadrupled. (more…)

Since Angelina Jolie adopted her daughter Zahara in 2005, the number of Americans adopting Ethiopian children has quadrupled.

A pop-media obsession with celebrities adopting children in Africa has resulted in a queue of adopting foreigners dealing with opportunistic adoption agents in operating in a regulatory vaccuum. In Ethiopia – and beyond – its creating a heartbreaking mess.

Fly Away Children.

International adoptions may seem like an ideal solution to the dreadful deprivation among the young in Ethiopia and the often impossible circumstances confronting parents trying to feed and raise their children.

The reality though, is far from ideal.

Some adopting parents suspect or discover the new child they’ve taken in is not an orphan as they’d been assured. The child may also have a litany of health problems that has been covered up by corrupt officials.

Also many ‘relinquishing’ Ethiopian parents or carers may have been duped into giving up their children through a heartless process called ‘harvesting’ and can’t hope to re-establish contact with them.

Ethiopia has 5 million orphans needing homes and the United States has millions of homes needing babies. Africa Correspondent Andrew Geoghegan and producer Mary Ann Jolley, discover it’s not a simple mathematical equation or zero sum game. There are virtually no government regulations or policing of the process. Many international adoption agencies flashing Christian credentials are taking advantage of the situation. Corruption, fraud and deception are rife.

Foreign Correspondent follows a Florida couple in their mid fifties as they travel to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to pick up their three adopted children, aged three, four and six. It’s a gut wrenching moment when they meet the birth mother who has come to the orphanage to say a final goodbye to her children. This transaction appears above board but it’s all too common for Ethiopian parents to give up their children for international adoption after being coerced by adoption agencies.

Foreign Correspondent investigates the activities of one of the biggest American agencies operating in Ethiopia. In a remote village in the country’s south, the agency openly recruits children with parents. Each child offered for adoption is then filmed for a DVD catalogue which in turn is shipped out to potential adoptive parents.

A world away in California a mother of one – looking for a brother for her son – chooses from a CWA DVD catalogue. The agency’s sales pitch promised a healthy, abandoned child, but that could not have been further from the truth. Her story is tragic and disturbing and exposes the callousness of the profit oriented international adoption business

A group of grieving mothers who have given up their children for international adoption gather at an orphanage to tell their stories. All claim they were told by adoption agencies they would receive regular information about the whereabouts and wellbeing of their children, but have heard nothing.

It’s a thought-provoking edition of Foreign Correspondent and a must watch for anyone considering adopting a child from another country or who has celebrated the apparent social consciousness of Hollywood A-listers.

  1. mateos
    | #1

    The weyane mafia families are not done destroying what makes Ethiopia and Ethiopians so unique; as disingrating the country into tribal land placks is not enough they are also in the business trafficking children all over the world, including the immoral holywood homos! I just heard the king of all gay man, John Elton, is also in a process to adapt a child! As a concerned parent my heart and prayers goes to the children and people of Ethiopia and I hope the weyane mafia families eradicate from the face of the planet sooner than later!

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    It is heart breaking, may God bless the families that are taking all the consequences to help orphaned children. May also God give judgement to shameful government, churches and organization benefiting from this cruel act. This kids are at least better of, and much better than those abandoned at London airport by Ethiopian airlines employees who are misinforming people the kids will be admitted to boarding school. So many crimes! so many cruelty to this poor nation with a government working to its destruction.

  3. Give up
    | #3

    Ethiopians who live in US and Europe we can solve this problem , forget about ethiopian goverment what do they care , the whole thing is there creation please dispora stope talking & more action be needed from as let’s be the voice for this poor kids & kick out all the International adoptions agences from ethiopia , there is many adoption agencies who take money rise the kids in ethiopia this is the only answer.This is the sadast article i seen for long time it make me cry & why we waitig for.

  4. Anonymous
    | #4

    Oh God where are we people. We got to inform ourselves. Yes we, people in the US can do a lot but how? is the question. How many of us do really watch the video. Yes it is touching and make anybody cry but are we going out and talking about it with others? Lets have ourselves togethere first.Form unions and artleast have awarness to ourselves first.

  5. Sisa
    | #5

    የወያኒ ያባንዳ ቡድን:
    1. የባሕር በር እንዳይኖረን አደረገ;
    2. ሕዝባችን በበሽታ እንዲያልቅ አደረገ;
    3. እየተራበ ባለው ሕዝባችን ላይ የኢኮኖሚ እድገት አለ እያለ ቀለደ:
    4. የሕዝብ ምርጫውን ኮረጀ;
    5. መሪታችንን ለሱዳን አስረከበ;
    6. ለም መሪታችንን ለአርብ እየሸጠ ነው;
    7. የተማረውና አቅም ያለው ሕዝባችን አገሩን ለቆ እንዲሂእድ አደረገ – እያደረገም ነው::
    8. ኤህቶቻችንን ለአረብ ግርድና አሳልፎ ሸተ::
    9. ያም አልበቃው ብሎ ሕጻናትን የመሽጡን ጉዳይ አያጧጧፈው ነው:: ዘመናዊ የባሪያ ሽያጭ መሆኑ ነው::
    ወ.ዘ.ተ. ወ.ዘ.ተ.
    ተነስ; ተነስ: አትነሳም ወይ!
    የወያኒው ግፍ አይበቅህም ወይ!

  6. Father to an adopted child
    | #6

    This story is an incredibly hopeful one alongside a tragic reality. The truth is that there are wonderful agencies taking kids off the streets that otherwise would have died. There are true orphans and children that if left in their current situations would not be able to live. However- I do not think that taking these children out of the country is the answer in every situation. Unfortunately there are agencies practising outside the boundaries of the Hague compliancy policies. If someone is interested in adoption, they should look there first wether the country participates or not, the agencies must follow these guidelines in order to ensure protection for children from trafficking. I know the Gooley family personally and I know the children are doing very well. Much of their story was untold, and the adoption was 100% appropriate. My daughters adoption was due to the birth mother dying in the delivery, and as I sat with the maternal grandfather, there was no doubt that this partnership between our families was above board, and in the best interest of the child. For every adoption nightmare, there are hundreds of incredible stories, sadly- those stories don’t often get the press they deserve. We are our brothers keeper, and we do have the responsibility to care for children around the world and in our own backyards.

  7. Lemlem Tsegaw
    | #7

    In the name of Jesus: for Children of Ethiopians
    The new pastor
    Singing Hallelujah
    The children
    As they stand for sale
    The pastor
    With crocodile tears
    As he collects
    His share
    Of the resources
    At the expense of parents
    In the name of Jesus
    The new breed pastor
    The helpless
    In the land of Ethiopia
    Everything is on sale
    The liberator
    godless and boorish
    Selling children
    To stay just five more years
    September 17, 2009©Lemlem Tsegaw, inspired by
    Fly Away Children – Andrew Geoghegan (ABC Australia)

    Please Note to listen you have to press the control key and click on the address above.

  8. new
    | #8

    There is news in Dutch media about an adoption agency suspending its activities in Ethiopia.

  9. bebyshaaaaaaaa
    | #9

    my question is for to the father of adopted child…with all do respect how much of the story u believed u are told about the child u adopted if u see the documentary as we all do even the DR who give the children clean health bill is saying that he was forced by this agencys…the fact of the matter is Ethiopia is under dictatorship who not only sold children for profit they even sold our land ….i beleive you yourself was told not to leave the hotel they furnished for buyers so u wont hear the real story behinde this….if u trully believeu are against child traffiking help us to stop child abduction in Ethiopia……if this happen in the USA the amber alert will be everywhere but in my country the dictators profit from inoccent ppl like u and the gooley family.There is no appropriate adoption in Ethiopia everything is done for a profit…

  10. henok
    | #10

    weyane/tlpf has been profiting in poor ethiopian since 91′

  11. henok
    | #11

    weyane as been selling ethiopian childr3ed for a long time.
    Its not only bireket all woyane bandit groupe will face the the end of the day.victory for true Ethiopians .

  12. Dawit
    | #12

    Henok, why don’t you join the EPPF rather than being a cyber warrior. If you are genuine about your determination to topple woyane then go to Eritrea and sacrifice yourself for your country. There is no struggle from America/Europe buddy. EPPF is in need of personal so why don’t you grow a pair and join.
    weregna bicha beza…wuy habesha…

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