Denmark stops all adoptions from Ethiopia

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After a series of inspections at adoption facilities in the country, the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs and the Interior has decided to stop all adoptions from Ethiopia, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The ministry said that a recent trip to Ethiopia by the Social Appeals Board (Ankestyrelsen) found “a worrying situation in relation to the handling of the adoption process in Ethiopia”. The board’s report, which was obtained by Politiken through a freedom of information request, said that Ethiopian adoption agencies often gave “inconsistent information” on the origins of children within the system and that the for-profit adoption system relies too heavily on money from foreign agencies, giving the Ethiopian centres a financial incentive to send children abroad rather than look for national solutions.

Adoptions had previously been suspended from both Ethiopia and Nigeria over concerns that women in those countries were illegally selling their children for adoption. Recent years have also seen a series of media stories that cast adoptions from Ethiopia in a negative light. As a result, Denmark put adoptions from Ethiopia under tighter controls but allowed them to continue in contrast to several other countries, including Sweden and Norway, that cut them off completely.

Now, Social Minister Karen Ellemann said that Denmark will follow suit.

“I no longer have the necessary confidence that adoptions from the country live up to the requirements we have in regards to the adoption process and that adoption is the best option for the children,” she said.

“We have followed the developments in Ethiopia for a long time and have sharpened our handling of cases in numerous ways in order to increase security. It now appears very doubtful that Ethiopia is moving in the right direction and the Ethiopian authorities themselves say that the various measures have had little actual effect,” Ellemann added.

The ministry’s decision means that Danish International Adoption will no longer add Danish parents to the waiting list for Ethiopian children and the agency will no longer accept new children from its previous Ethiopian partners.

Due in large part to a number of high-profile media cases, the number of Danes looking to adopt a child from abroad has plummeted in recent years.

In 2015, just roughly 100 children were brought to Denmark through international adoptions and only seven of those were from Ethiopia. By comparison, 1,183 Danes applied for international adoptions in 2005.
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The Local (news.denmark@thelocal.com)

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