Last year, we learned about a dysfunctional, largely unregulated adoption industry operating in Ethiopia, where children were being harvested from families, some of them middle class. The families and the children were told they were going to America on a study trip and would be able to return home, but in fact, they can not return until they are eighteen, and then they must find the means to do so on their own, often after living with families here who adopt them. ABC's program, Foreign Correspondent, found that Ethiopian mothers were being tricked into surrendering their children, and that children were being pitched to adoptive families as being as young as seven--when, in fact, they were teenagers.
Ethiopia has not signed the Hague Convention on inter-country adoptions, but many American adoption agencies, including the infamous Christian World Adoptions (CWA) are allowed to continue doing business with corrupt officials in that country, and claim they have no blood on their hands. When one adoptive mother, Lisa Boe, spoke out about the long list of serious, life-threatening problems of the child she adopted--whom she was told was healthy--CWA sued her. This was after she lost a first child to SIDS, and is devastated that the child she is raising might not live long.
Another family who adopted three sisters encountered huge emotional problems with the oldest--the girl was thirteen, not nine, as the mother, Kate Bradshaw, was told. When she and her husband, Calvin, complained to a consumer watchdog, CWA's response was to claim the Bradshaws were unfit parents and tried to have both their adoptive and biological children taken away from them permanently. Kate Bradshaw said the problem was ultimately cleared up, and they did not lose their children. The oldest daughter, Journee, ultimately went to live with Kate's mother in Iowa Falls, and attends high school. Here is what Journee Bradshaw told ABC:
"I’m trying to make other people’s lives better, because mine was horrible. I don’t want anybody to go through the things I did. What happened just happened, you know? You can’t really change the past but you can change the future for yourself and others – that’s what counts."American adoption-reform advocate Maureen Flately claims that JCICS is stacked with adoption agency figures and does a terrible job of regulating itself: "We've really let the fox guard the henhouse,"she said. Quoting from the ABC story:
"They are the 'big tobacco' of adoption. They are a trade association that nominally espouses the highest standards but which is harboring the very people who have been involved in some of the biggest abuses in adoption - and they haven't laid a hand on them. The JCICS has one goal and one goal only, and that is to avoid federal regulation of adoption.ABC has a 27-minute video on the child trafficking accounts from Ethiopia with interviews with three American families that have spoken out against the agency that arranged their adoptions, Christian World Adoptions, and anyone interested in international adoption--from any country but especially Ethiopia--should watch. It is an eye-opening, chilling look at what can only be called child harvesting that is being touted as saving the children from starvation and prostitution.
"Here is one of the biggest pieces of hypocrisy in adoption. If they're Hague-accredited, why are they doing business with a country that isn't a Hague signer? The answer is that they know they have much more freedom to do whatever they want to do and to bully people in countries that aren't Hague signatories."
The slick, double-talking "christian" attorney for CWA, Curtis Bostic, will make you ill. And it's all being done in the name of Christianity. Please take the time to see the video, at this link: Fly Away Home. And another shorter, but incisive, report comes from a CBS affiliate in Richmond, CNET-TV:
Watch so that the next time you hear that someone is thinking of adopting from Africa, you will be informed. Maybe you can save one mother from losing her child, and save one child from being harvested for families here who pay big money to fill their homes. I may be particularly sensitive to this issue because I live in a world where that nice young cousin of someone I know tells me at dinner that she is thinking of adopting: from Africa. What does CWA say about adoption from Ethiopia at their website?
Our Ethiopia adoption program is one of CWA’s largest and most affordable adoption programs.The cost, according to the CBS report is about $15,000. Harvesting children is good for business. --lorraine
This link will take you to CWA's response to ABC where they basically deny, deny; and ABC's response. where they reaffirm their reporting. Telling is that the head of CWA, Tommy-Lee Harding. has repeatedly refused efforts to be interviewed. CWA is based in Charleston, South Carolina.