Sunday, January 3, 2010

One Woman's Decision NOT to Adopt from Ethiopia

A while back we posted a blog from Charissa who was planning to adopt three children from Ethiopia, but instead of rushing ahead, she did some digging and discovered that the agency handling the adoption (Celebrate Children International in Oviedo, FL) was more interested in supplying children to families willing to pay their fees than making sure of ethical practices in international adoption. We have written about corruption in international adoption several times (those links go to two posts, more to be found if using one of the search functions on our blog), and will continue to do so.

When last we heard from Chrarissa on December 1, 2009, and she was appalled upon learning that the children actually had mothers in Ethiopia. Charissa writes about deciding not to adopt the three children she and her husband were considering here, and tells the rest of the story in at Urbanfunnyfarm:
I wish I could have ended this story with "the children were returned to their families" but sadly that is not the case. We are absolutely heartbroken knowing these children are still orphans. We could have continued with the adoption, and I don't think we would have been wrong to do that. However, knowing what we knew, how could we look into their eyes years down the road and tell them the story of how they came to be in our family without feeling like we took part in their pain and rejection? The one thing that gives us peace and comfort in this is that the orphanage saw a problem too, and now the children are listed with a REPUTABLE agency who is carefully investigating each of the CCI cases.
She ends the post with some very good questions to ask fro all those considering international adoption.
Thank you Charissa, for your courage and doing the right thing. If we had a small part in helping you reach that decision we are gratified.--lorraine


  1. Courage is right. She has my admiration. I am sure that was not an easy decision.

  2. Bravo - I applaud her, my admiration is total. Not many people are doing this for the children and not themselves. And for the right reasons seems to be her thoughts and motivations.

    So, my absolute gratitude to her and praise for her courage and wisdom.

  3. The thing is, the original mothers of these children will not take them back at this juncture. The family doesn't know the reason and they been lied to so royally that they probably wouldn't believe any reason given to them. Now the kids will be in a new adoption pool, waiting again to be adopted. It's so hard to say whether simply *not adopting* is going to be any kind of solution for these kids. What is their fate now? It seems that some initiative to help the families of origin might be in order, but nothing was in place--at least not in this situation--to achieve that.

    There is no doubt this family made an ethical choice and did the public a service through their actions, although some of their readers seem not to realize this problem is systemic.

  4. I'm confused. The original families won't take the children back, and the orphanage has cut ties with CCI and is now working with a more reputable agency. But Charissa and her partner won't be adopting the children? It's better that they languish in an orphanage?

    These are serious questions. I'm not being combative. I'm curious about the thought process.

  5. Me too, Maura. I was wondering the same thing and thinking I missed something.


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