Ethiopia votes to ban foreign adoptions

Hana Williams (photo credit:

ADDIS ABABA – In recent years, cases of abuse – or worse, death – of Ethiopian children adopted abroad, have brought great debate at home whether to continue to allow such adoptions.

On Tuesday, the Ethiopian parliament made their decision, ruling in favor to ban all foreign adoptions (though local adoptions are still allowed).

Recent data shows that Ethiopian children accounted for nearly 20% of all adoptions in the United States – the most notable of them all, Zahara, was adopted by then actor couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Bitt in 2005.

According to the BBC, Ethiopia’s leaders state that local social services “should be able to handle the numbers and more,” though many in parliament acknowledge the lack of “sufficient” services currently.

In addition to the 2013 death of Ethiopian adoptee Hana Williams, many critics cite fraud within international adoption processes, leading to human trafficking cases. As a result of such concerns, Denmark banned all adoptions from Ethipia in 2016.

Despite the vote, the Associated Press reports that the mandate will not yet become law until “it is published in the government legal gazette, which is expected in the coming weeks.”


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