Ethiopia Bans Foreign Adoptions Over Fear of Abuse and Psychological Damage

Ethiopia has banned adoption of children by foreigners, amid fears they might be subjected to abuses abroad. The parliament approved the ban on January 10.

The move prompted mixed reactions, with some parliamentarians arguing it was too soon, given a lack of adequate child centers in the country.

However, members backing the ban said it would help "alleviate the identity and psychological problems of children," state-affiliate Fana Broadcasting Corporate reported.

"[Orphans] should either be adopted locally or supported by a guardian family, tutor or help them to reunite with biological parents or relatives," Ehiopia's new National Child Policy reads, according to AP.

Last year, the country blocked a number adoptions preventing foreign parents from reuniting with orphans they had legally adopted, AFP reported.

Debate on foreign adoption has been ongoing in the country for years. The death of an Ethiopian teenage girl adopted by an American couple in 2011 sparked outrage in the east African country.

Ethiopia bans foreign adoptions
US actress Angelina Jolie (2R), accompanied by her children Maddox (L), Zahara (2L), Pax (3L) and Shiloh (R), arrives at the Narita International Airport on July 26, 2010. olie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt adopted Ethiopia-born Zahara Marley in 2005, when she was just months old. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Two years later, the foster parents, Larry and Carri Williams, were convicted of manslaughter after they starved and beat Hana Williams until she died. The couple were also convicted of a first-degree assault of a younger boy they had also adopted from Ethiopia, according to the BBC.

The ban comes two years after Denmark stopped adoption of children from Ethiopia, claiming the country provided "inconsistent information" on the origins of children.

The U.S. is among the countries that adopt children from Ethiopia. Last year, the State Department said it would "continue to advocate for inter-country adoption from Ethiopia. However, given the uncertainty of the future of adoptions there, prospective adoptive parents should consider other countries."

Celebrity Angeline Jolie and her ex-husband Brad Pitt adopted Ethiopia-born Zahara Marley in 2005, when she was just months old.