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‘The Child Catchers’: Evangelicals and the Fake-Orphan Racket


Babies for Sale

‘The Child Catchers’: Evangelicals and the Fake-Orphan Racket

Apr 24, 2013 8:26 pm - by Kathryn Joyce

In 2009, a van from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, carrying seven young children and babies, was stopped as it drove outside the rural, central Ethiopian town of Shashemene. The children in the van were wards of Better Future Adoption Services (BFAS), a U.S. adoption agency, and had been declared abandoned—their families unknown—in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Police outside Shashemene arrested seven adults riding in the van, including five BFAS employees. The staff, it appeared to some, had sought to process children who had living family as though they had been abandoned in another region of the country, so that their adoptions to the U.S. could proceed more quickly.

At the time, Ethiopia was in the midst of a dramatic international adoption boom, with the number of adoptions to U.S. parents rising from a few hundred per year in 2004 to more than 2,000 five years later, and around 4,000 worldwide.The boom had brought substantial revenue into the country, as agencies and adoptive parents supported newly-established orphanages that became an attractive child care option for poor families; some agencies paid fees to “child finders” locating adoptable children; and the influx of Western adoption tourism brought money that trickled down to hotels, restaurants, taxi-drivers and other service industries

~snip~

When Hawkins was finally called to Ethiopia to finalize her adoption, the BFAS staff there reassured her that her daughter had indeed been abandoned. But after the girl came to the United States she began acting out, behaving violently toward a set of baby dolls she had gotten for Christmas and systematically shattering glasses she found in the kitchen. A few months later, when she had learned some English, the daughter pointed to a picture of the orphanage that Hawkins had taped to her bedroom wall and told her, “When I lived there, I missed my mom.”

Hawkins responded, “‘Honey, that’s nice of you, but you didn’t know me then.’ And then she kind of looks at me like she’s afraid she was going to be in trouble, and you could see her really choosing her words with the little bit of English she had. And she said, ‘You know, I have another mom.’”

~read the entire article @ http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/04/24/kathryn-joyce-s-the-child-catchers-inside-the-shadowy-world-of-adoption-trafficking.

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