Child: U.S. Adoption Agency Bought Me – By Armen Keteyian (CBS)

February 16th, 2010 Print Print Email Email

CBS News Investigates Serious Questions about the Legitimacy of Some Ethopian Adoptions. (more…)

CBS News Investigates Serious Questions about the Legitimacy of Some Ethopian Adoptions.

Videotapes showing poor orphans from third world countries melt the hearts of prospective parents every day in this country.

Watch the Video – http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6211026n&tag=related;photovideo

Three children, sisters from Ethiopia are shown in a video – ages, you are told, 7, 4 and 6. Their mother is dead, their father dying of AIDS. A life of prostitution is all but assured – if not adopted – saved – by a loving American family.

It was just such a pitch that spoke to Katie and Calvin Bradshaw, reports CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian. They adopted all three girls through a U.S. agency, Christian World Adoption.

“Aside from the gender of the children, everything else proved to be a complete lie,” said Katie.

In truth, the three sisters, Journee, Maree and Meya – were actually much older: 13, 6 and 11.

While their mother was dead, their father was healthy and very much alive. He was living, by local standards, a middle-class life – an extended family able to take care of the girls as middle sister Meya showed us first hand.

“My godmothers, my aunt, those are my mom’s friends, my uncles, my dad, my dad’s friends, that’s my brother,” she said.

In the last year adoptions from Ethiopia to the U.S. have skyrocketed – growing faster than any other country in the world. They have risen from 731 in 2006 to more than 2,200 last year. That’s nearly six children per day.

Now a CBS News investigation has discovered that growth has turned Ethiopia into fertile ground for child trafficking – a country in which some American agencies and their staff engage in highly questionable conduct.

Adoptive families allege that many children brought to the U.S. are not even orphans, that prospective parents are misled about a child’s health and background, that local families are recruited – and sometimes even paid – to give up their kids.

Which the Bradshaw sisters say is exactly what happened to them.

“Your dad was paid,” Keteyian asked Meya.

“Yes,” she said.

“From Christian World Adoption,” Keteyian asked.

“Yeah,” she replied.

“For you to be adopted?”

“Yup.”

“You were sold?”

“Yeah,” she said.

Christian World Adoption is one of 70 agencies licensed to operate in Ethiopia. Beyond the alleged payment to their father, the Bradshaw sisters say they were told by local employees of Christian World they were only coming to America for an education; that they could return home when school was out. Not true. In fact it’s virtually impossible to reverse an adoption in Ethiopia.

“I thought I was going to be kind of like an exchange student,” Journee said. “Honestly, I never knew that I’m going to be here forever.”

“We have watched our kids grieve and cry and scream and melt down from the bottom of their souls over the loss of their country and their family,” Katie Bradshaw said.

A 2007 video shows Christian World representatives entering an Ethopian village and appearing to recruit children from poor villagers – an unethical practice against Ethopian law.

“If you want your child to be adopted by a family in America you may stay,” said Michelle Gardner. She spoke those words on a tape produced by Christian World for American parents seeking to adopt in Ethiopia. And now says she deeply regrets it.

“I was aware of a number of times when things were problematic,” she said. “And several families where children came over and the children didn’t understand that the adoption was permanent.”

Christian World was founded back in 1991 by Bob and Tomilee Harding. In 2008, records show, the non-profit agency took in nearly $6 million dollars – charging a fee of about $15,000 per child.

Citing ongoing litigation, the Hardings declined to speak with CBS News at their offices in Charleston, South Carolina.

One such case, filed last month, includes charges of “wrongful adoption,” “fraud” and “intentional misrepresentation.”

“How do you respond to charges that CWA knowingly deceived or misled adoptive parents through the adoption process in Ethopia?” Keteyian asked.

“Those allegations are completely unfounded,” said Curtis Bostic, attorney for CWA. He told CBS News he was prohibited by law from discussing specific adoption cases.

“I’m talking to parents who are really upset,” Keteyian said. “Who are devastated with their dealings with CWA.”

“Sometimes, people are upset when they just simply misunderstand things,” Bostic said. “I believe that’s exactly what you’re hearing. There have been thousands and thousands of adoptions conducted by CWA all over the world. Is there going to be a handful of folks who misunderstand, who – or who aren’t happy with their adoption? There’s going to be, and we regret that.”

The Bradshaw family lives with its own set of regrets. Parents who trusted and believed they were doing the right thing. The three young girls are learning to adopt a life far from the country they still call home.

  1. justice for all
    | #1

    Woyane government only see a dollar sign:- selling our young women to Arab countries to be slaved…taking Ethiopian children away from their parents and sell them to foreigners…selling our fertile land to foreigners…our gold, our coffee as long as the scumbags get the money, they will sell their own children too. The current government of Ethiopia have no ethics what is so ever–they have killed many, many Ethiopians in order to stay in power and they do not care the average Ethiopian citizens are bought and sold right under their noses. Money and material things will never replace the love of biological parents and immediate families. These kinds of heart wrenching stories could be stopped if the adoptive parents do their homework a little more harder for the sake of innocent children and themselves. It will save the adoptive parents and their children future counseling expenses if the adoptive process is fair and legal.

  2. mateos
    | #2

    What other evil acts are taken place in todays Ethiopia by the aiga jungle products whom principles are below any human kind! As it looks, Meles and his boss Bereket must have many unrevealed missions for the people of Ethiopia as well as the whole region. More than any other time the people of Ethiopia as well as the whole region must unite, set aside their difference, and start living in peace and harmony. The days of Meles and his boss must end now!!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous
    | #3

    @justice for all
    I don’t think you understand what the story is all about. Any place in the story, the investigative reporter said the Ethiopian government knew about these shortcomings in the adoption process. I don’t think it is fair to blame the government for this. It is the CWA that is responsible for creating the conditions for the parents of these poor children to lie and break the law. The Ethiopian government can be blamed for a lot of things, but not for this.

  4. justicer for all
    | #4

    M.r. Anonymous Woyane, if you think your government is not involved or not aware of what is happening to thousands of underage children being taken outside Ethiopia in the broad daylight–then they have slept at the switch and they are incapable of governing. The current government is very paranoid of being overthrown and they are aware of how people run their businesses and make their livings. Non-woyne Ethiopians have no freedom to run business as they please. Isn’t the Woyane government that has given passports to thousands of children to be taken outside Ethiopia by foreigners? The majority businesses in Ethiopia are owned and run by Woyanes– and there is no doubt that this despicable humane trafficking run by Woyanes or someone who has connection in the government.

  5. Assta B. Gettu
    | #5

    Ethiopia, the land of modern-day slavery!

    The Ethiopian children, unlike the children of West Africa, might have escaped from being captured or kidnapped and being sold to the European slave-traders during the 16th and 18th centuries because of the good leadership that existed then in the Ethiopian Christian Kingdom.

    This, however, does not mean the Ethiopian leaders were absolutely in control of some of their subjects who were involved in selling and buying those dark skin Ethiopians whom they called baria or Galla. Later, of course, slavery was banned in Ethiopia and those who were enslaved were set free to follow after their own interests.

    When Ethiopian black children were sold in that dark history of Ethiopia, modern education was not yet fully implemented in Ethiopia that might have prevented Ethiopia from conducting immoral activities – selling and trading one’s own children because they were black, and that they should serve as domestic workers for the affluent Ethiopians.

    It has been the convincing convictions of many people that modern education would change the bad governance of a country to protect its citizens from being exploited by its own authorities in power and some times by foreigners who have had mutual interests with the existing dictatorial leaders of a country, like the Ethiopian Woyanne government with the West and with the Arabs.

    Modern education has been in Ethiopia for some time now, from Menelik II to Meles Seitanawi (Zenawi), and has produced many Ethiopian scholars in various fields; however, it has not changed the leadership in Ethiopia that matters for most Ethiopian citizens in their day-to-day and immediate lives. Under the leadership of Meles Seitanawi, who is the product of modern education, Ethiopian citizens could not afford to raise their children properly, could not have health insurance, and do not have the freedom to express their thoughts without fear of being forced to go to jail and die there without seeing their family and their friends again.

    With all the education, the wealth, the history, nationalism, and the moral duties the Woyanne government has toward Ethiopian citizens, the most oppressed human beings on this earth are the Ethiopian children.

    According to some of the Ethiopian cultures or traditions, when a child is born, there is a great celebration; families and neighbors get together to congratulate the parents of the new born child, and they are eager to know what his/her new name would be.

    Protected, fed, clothed, and sheltered by their parents and neighbors, children will grow up and become adults and establish their own families. This natural and healthy process of growth and development – being born in your own home, being raised by your own family, learning your family history including the history of your village, your church and your close friends – is now cut off by modern education. The child is sent miles away from his/her home to a school to learn modern education. His/her parents cannot afford to pay his transportation to come and visit them unless he has some part-time jobs that could pay for his round ticket transportation to go and visit his parents at home. If he does not succeed in school, Meles Seitanawi will put him on the adoption list or simply sell him or her to foreign agents, and he/she may never see his/her parents again, and the parents live confused as to the whereabouts of their child until they die.

    Having more than one or two children in Ethiopia is now a curse to some Ethiopian parents but a great blessing to someone, and that someone is Meles Seitanawi or his wife Jezebel, whose great fortunes have been established by selling the wanted and the unwanted Ethiopian children to the Arab merchants and profiting millions of American dollars from this lucrative modern day slavery.

    The Ethiopian parents, the Ethiopian educated college and university professors, and especially the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, ran by the sub-human Patriarch Aba Paulos, know what Meles and his wife Jezebel are doing to the Ethiopian innocent children and what kind of crimes they are committing by running a modern-day slavery in Ethiopia. But they don’t have guts like the prophet Elijah, John the Baptist, Mahatama Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. to confront the killers and denounce their evil actions. Of course, they are intimidated by the killers, and the killers have silenced them either by bribing them, in the case of Aba Paulos, or by threatening them to fire them from their jobs, in the case of the college and the university professors and in the case of some parents.

    Therefore, the selling of Ethiopian children to the wealthy Arabs will continue for the time being until the God of the Ethiopian children revisits the criminal activities of Meles Seitanawi and his wife Jezebel.

    Selling the children of one’s own citizens to foreigners is like killing them and sacrificing them to the unknown gods and idols or demons. On this particular issue, King David says: “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood.” (Psalm 106:37-38)

    Yes, that holy land of Ethiopia has been polluted by the multitude of crimes such as murders, theft, greed, and human trafficking committed by Meles Seitanawi and his wife Jezebel. Those Ethiopian children sold to the Arab demons will never return to their homeland, and Meles and his wife Jezebel are accountable for the Ethiopian children who die homeless in the streets of Addis Ababa or in the compounds of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church or around the Ethiopian Arab-Muslim Mosque near Merkato area.

    One day, the God of the Ethiopian children will hear the cries of these hungry and sick children and the cries of those who are separated from their biological parents and sold out to foreign slave traders with the complete consent of greedy Meles and his wife Jezebel. God heard the cry of Ishmael left in the desert to die, but the compassionate God told the boy’s mother to lift him up, and God “opened her eyes and saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.” (Genesis 21:17-19)

    Yes, one day, Ethiopia will open her wealth, fill her granaries, and feed her hungry children who are left in the streets to die of hunger and thirst. As the merciful God opened Hagar’s eyes and commanded her to give her boy a drink of water, God the Almighty will open the eyes of Ethiopia and show her where the water and the food is, so that she could feed her children freely and happily.

    The psalmist tells us that “children are a gift from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3); however, in Ethiopia, where there is a defective and an ineffective government, the values of children are less than the values of a puppy for sale. No one knows how many Ethiopian children are abused, beaten up, neglected, and finally sold out without their parents’ will.

    The Ethiopian children cannot defend themselves against their daily abusers – Meles and his wife Jezebel – and there is no law that protects the Ethiopian children from being abused or being sold out; even if there is one, Meles and his wife Jezebel are above the law, and they can easily break the existing law and continue trading the Ethiopian children for the millions of the Arab petro dollars.

    In the United States, the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides equal protection to all its citizens, young or old. In fact, in America, a child can take his/her parents to court to terminate his/her legal ties to his parents. Not so in Ethiopia, whose oppressive leaders benefit millions of dollars by selling Ethiopian children to any one who is able to pay cash money in hand and in a timely manner and keep such business activities secret and never reveal to the media.

    The fortunate American children still ask their government to grant them more protection and power, but the unfortunate Ethiopian children don’t even have the basic legal rights because the interests of the individuals in Ethiopia are not protected when we see the Meles gang squad come to any person’s house and force the honor of the house to leave his house and go to jail with no questions asked as to why the government is doing such illegal activities against its citizens.

    We have hundreds of Ethiopian mothers still wailing and crying day and night for their children because they don’t know where they might be, and the government is unwilling to tell them their whereabouts. So the heart-breaking cries of these Ethiopian mothers are like the cries of the Biblical Rachel: “A voice is heard in Rama (Ethiopia), mourning and great weeping, Rachel (an Ethiopian mother) weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.” (Jeremiah 31:15)

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