The Ethiopian government has banned the adoption of children by foreigners in an attempt to protect vulnerable minors from abuse and neglect abroad. According to media reports, Ethiopia is the most popular country to adopt from, and accounts for about 20 percent of total international adoptions by the United States (US).
Ethiopia’s Parliament passed the ban on Tuesday amid a fierce debate on the death of a 13 year-old child in the US in 2011. Hana Grace-Rose Williams, the adopted Ethiopian girl, allegedly died after prolonged exposure to cold temperatures (hypothermia) before her adoptive US parents were convicted of manslaughter in 2013.
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Mary Parker and Connie Britton are among celebrities that reportedly adopted children from the East African nation.
US pop star Madonna also adopted Malawi’s David Banda and Mercy James in 2006 and 2009, respectively and twins Esther and Stella Mwale in 2017. Child adoptions have sparked controversy in many African countries as critics say they facilitate child trafficking.