Christian International Adoption Agency Buys children in Ethiopia
“Orphan Doctor” Helps World’s Children
Videotapes showing poor orphans from third world countries melt the hearts of prospective parents every day in this country.
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.
dinsdag 16 februari 2010 12:47 door Ethiopian Times
South Carolina adoption agency investigated for purchasing children
Tagged with: adoption christian CWA ethiopia world
The Christian World Association, with a base in Charleston, South Carolina, is currently involved in litigation over two Ethiopian sisters. It has been reported that their father sold the siblings to CWA. However, the two sisters said they believed they were coming to the United States for an education, not to have a new family.
The CWA specializes in adoptions from Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine, China, and Bulgaria and has been doing so since 1991.
However, the CWA has posted a response on their website that suggests original reports by CBS news were intentionally sensationalized and left out important facts that proved CWA had done nothing wrong. Below is the CWS response:
It was with great disappointment that CWA was made aware of the various criticisms expressed by the Bradshaws to CBS news. In an effort to address each of these allegations, CWA agreed to an in-depth interview with CBS reporter Armen Keteyian. During the course of this interview, lasting well over an hour, CBS was provided facts and documents which discredit the allegations made against CWA. Instead of allowing its viewers to consider the position of both parties, CBS chose to exclude every piece of information provided by CWA during its lengthy interview.
Sadly, the appearance is that CBS is more interested in the sensational than the factual.
The truth is that CWA does not and has never given compensation of any kind to influence a parent to surrender a child for adoption. CBS was made aware that CWA workers had no contact with the parent in this video who allegedly “sold” his daughters. And, by virtue of the process in Ethiopia, CWA seldom has any contact whatsoever with relinquishing parents. An accurate understanding of the adoption process (as was provided CBS) bears this out:
In Ethiopia, a relinquishing caregiver who seeks to have a child declared an “orphan” and available for adoption initiates the process by appearing before a local court with three witnesses. These four individuals must swear to the court that the child either has no parents or that the child’s surviving parent does not have the financial ability to care for the child. Should the local court make a finding of need based on the testimony of these four individuals, an investigation is triggered by Ethiopia’s social services department called “Ministry of Women’s Affairs” (MOWA). MOWA is then responsible to conduct its independent investigation as to the need of the child and render its findings, together with those of the local court, to a higher court for yet a third review into the need of the child.
This entire process is undertaken by the Ethiopian government, without any involvement by international adoption agencies. Most often, the entire process is completed before international adoption agencies like CWA are even made aware of the child. Finally, before a child can immigrate to the United States, the entire adoption, including the “orphan” status of each child is investigated by the United States government through the U.S. Consular’s office prior to a child’s visa being issued.
While paying a relinquishing caregiver for an adoptive child would be deplorable in any context, as it relates to Ethiopia the concept even violates common sense. This desperate country has an estimated 6,000,000 orphans of whom only .03% per year will be adopted into the United States. This means that for every child chosen for adoption there is a pool of approximately 3,000 legitimate candidates from whom to choose. There is never a justification for paying a parent to surrender a child, but in Ethiopia there is also no motive to do so. The sad fact is there is no lack of children in Ethiopia needing homes, and no motive to “buy” them. This is particularly true for children who are not infants or those in sibling groups, like the ones in the CBS interview. It is hard to imagine any adoption agency being willing to pay for a child and risk criminal conviction when Ethiopia has an enormous number who are legitimately available.
CBS chose to withhold all of this information from its viewers in exchange for the more fantastic notion that these children were simply “bought” from their father and offered to an American family for adoption. The CBS position is absurd and is a sad and revealing commentary on the reliability of CBS reporting.
CWA does not misrepresent the ages of adoptive children. As was explained to CBS, adoption agencies do not make age determinations. The age of a child is determined by the Ethiopian government during the governmental process of investigating the orphan status of the child. The age determined by the government is then documented by the government and made a part of the child’s adoptive record to be provided to adoption agencies. Adoption agencies are not given the liberty to change the determination made by the government.
CBS was also made aware of the fact that determining the accurate age of children adopted from Ethiopia presents unusual challenges. Many of these children have no birth record from which ages may be calculated; for others, the only record upon which the Ethiopian government has to relay is the oral testimony of a relinquishing caregiver. CWA is deliberate in its adoption materials to repeatedly advise parents to be cautious concerning the government’s represented ages of prospective children. CBS was provided copies of these documents and an article CWA requires adoptive parents to review and sign authored by a prominent orphan doctor discussing the difficulties in assigning an accurate age to children from Ethiopia. Finally, in order to assist parents in making their own determinations as to age, CWA provides pictures and videos of prospective children so parents are given the same graphic “evidence” of a child’s age as is presented to CWA.
When CWA suspects a wide age variation in the reported versus actual age of a child, CWA caseworkers communicate an additional warning to parents. This communication becomes part of the adoptive record. Additionally, because of the nature of the Ethiopian adoption process, further information regarding a child’s age may be forthcoming immediately prior to a child’s visa being issued; when this occurs, this information is also documented in the adoptive record. CBS is aware that the Bradshaws chose not to cooperate in allowing CWA to give CBS documents from the adoptive record regarding the children’s ages.
The mission of CWA is to see orphan children and capable families come together to form permanent, mutually-rewarding family bonds. CWA is not a “business.” Revenue generated from adoptions goes to support the services as well as ongoing efforts to place children in families and to feed, clothe, house, and educate those who can never be placed.
CWA does not expect that every individual hearing the accusations will find no fault with CWA. All CWA would ask is for an opportunity to be heard and for open minds to consider all the facts before reaching a conclusion.
Adopting Foreign Children is a Cruel Joke
Aster C. Lilly
Celebrities who adopt foreign children assume a few things about themselves. First, it’s a huge ego trip. Adoption is like one big Nietzsche-style charity.
Adopting a child provides these feelings for a celebrity: superiority, willfulness, godliness, and cultural imperialism.
Although this individual act may be noble, and indeed, children are the “future”, the underlying problems within the society have not been solved by that act of charity.
Adopting a baby does not create infrastructure in a country. Adopting a baby does not discourage the spread of AIDS. Adopting a baby does not provide clean drinking water for a village.
Adopting a baby saves one life; choosing that child is pretending to play God, even though it was probably done for sympathetic reasons.
And even though that adoption was meant to be an act of goodness, the native culture of the adopted child may have been caused serious harm by that act. Adoption of foreign children could be considered a form of international humiliation. Call it crass cultural imperialism. Imagine if a celebrity from another country came to America and adopted one of our children. What would our response be? I imagine people would find it repulsive and strange.
After a foreign child has been adopted, the celebrity can sit back and say “What a benefit I have made to the world!” This attitude contains a self-important subtext. As far as the actual benefits to the “world” that a celebrity has made, most of the time, they have simply acted in a few decent movies or are a musician.
Brad Pitt was in Thelma and Louise; Angelina Jolie was in Tomb raider. Madonna sang “Ray of Light”. Apparently if you earn enough money, you deserve to have a say in international affairs, regardless of credentials.
Another effect of celebrities is the lessening of the tragic perception of the nations where they adopt.
We will recognize Cambodia as the land of adopted babies; not the land of children-warlords, the killing fields, and cold-war espionage.
© 2010, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.