Ethiopia outlaws adoption of its children by foreigners

Children at a vaccinations clinic near Sululta, Ethiopia, May 2012. — Photo: Yasmin Abubeker/DFID

Ethiopia has finally approved a law tabled last year in parliament banning international child adoption.

The law restricts the adoption of children by foreigners to protect the adoptees from abuse, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The legislation came about after reports of abuse and sometimes the death of children adopted from Ethiopia by foreigners.

In 2013, a U.S. adoptive mother was sentenced to 37 years in prison for starving her Ethiopia-born adopted daughter and leaving her to die outside in the cold in Washington state.

Carri Williams was convicted of homicide by abuse in the 2011 death of 13-year-old Hana Williams, who was adopted in 2008. Her adoptive father Larry Williams was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

Ethiopia is estimated to have the highest number of adoptions into US families. Some lawmakers in Ethiopia, however, questioned the availability of proper adoption facilities in the country before the law was passed.

In 2014, Kenya banned all adoptions by foreign adoptive parents.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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