Ethiopia bans foreigners from adopting children


Ethiopia has banned people from foreign countries adopting children over concerns they face abuse and neglect in their new homes.

Ethiopia is one of the largest sources of international adoptions for families in the US, according to the State Department. However, international adoptions were brought into contention in 2013 after a US couple were convicted of killing an adopted Ethiopian girl and abusing a younger boy from the country.

Ethiopia bans foreign adoptions

Since 1999, more than 15,000 Ethiopian children have been adopted in the US. Adoptions from the East African nation grew in popularity during the last couple of decades with celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Mary-Louise Parker among the high-profile names to adopt Ethiopian children.

However, the 2013 case where a US couple was convicted over the death of a girl from Ethiopia prompted authorities to drastically reduce the number of foreign adoptions – by 90%, according to Associated Press.

Now Ethiopia has taken the step to stop foreign couples adopting children from the country.

Sate to care for Ethiopian refugees

Ethiopian lawmakers argue that vulnerable children should be cared for by the state and grow up in their country. Aside from protecting them from potential abuse, the decision to ban foreign adoptions means Ethiopia’s orphans will live within their own culture and language.

Critics have argued for years that Ethiopia’s previous policy on foreign adoption left children vulnerable to human trafficking and other risks.

However, numerous rights groups challenge the notion, insisting that the majority of Ethiopian adoptees enjoy a better quality of life after being taken in by international families. Adoption isn’t particularly common in Ethiopia and many orphans are shuffled between family members or forced onto the streets.

Featured image: By Yasmin Abubeker/DFID, CC BY-SA 2.0,

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.