Ethiopia Orphanage Closures and US Agency Activities in Awassa UPDATED
US adoption agencies have been confirming Ethiopia orphanage closures to clients all week long. The best public source we have found is a blog of the letters from the agencies . Kudos to the adoptive parents and prospective parents who are actively trying to figure out what is going on because official information from the US and Ethiopia will at best always lag behind other sources of information IF they say anything at all. If they do, we will post updates.
The WACAP letter from the blog states that Special Mission Development Association (SMDA) in the Hadiya Zone has been closed.
The Adoption Associates of Michigan letter from the blog states that 15 orphanages in Awassa including Enat Alem and EVADO. Enat Alem was implicated in older Ethiopia investigations dating back to 2001. We mention this in our analysis of Part 2 of the Fruits report. According to the AAI (MI) website ”Many families have adopted children from the Enat Alem and EVADO orphanages” as they fundraised for $40,000 for mini-buses in October 2010.
The Gladney letter from the blog states that “Initiative Ethiopia, an orphanage in Awasa (the capital city of the SNNR) from which Gladney has previously received referrals of children for international adoption, has been closed.” Gladney currently receives referrals from “The Bana Center orphanage in Mekele, Bridge of Hope orphanage in Gonder, Kebebe Tsehai orphanage in Addis Ababa, Kechene orphanage in Addis Ababa, Kolfe orphanage in Addis Ababa.”
The IAN letter from the blog states that “The Southern Region (or SNNPR) regional government has closed 18-20 orphanages at this time. It is possible more will be closed in the future. These investigations began more than six months ago.”
Information from Canada from the blog includes “23 orphanages have not passed the regional reviews and havebeen shut. This agency’s partnered orphanages (which passed the reviews in their regions) are in SNNP and Harar so perhaps this number of closures represents two regions?”
Adoption Advocates International Washington letter from the blog does not reveal who they work with or which orphanages closed. Instead they state “several orphanages have recently been closed in Ethiopia, although we do not yet have details from the government as to the circumstances that led to the closures. In the last 8 months, AAI had developed a new relationship with one of the orphanages that was closed. Three AAI families received referrals from that orphanage and those families have been informed of the circumstances for their child or children. Those children have been reassigned to other licensed orphanages and it is the goal that AAI will work with the new orphanages to process the adoptions.
It is important to understand that children that are offered for adoption come to AAI via different Ethiopian orphanages that are licensed to place children for international adoption. AAI works consistently with 5 local orphanages in Ethiopia and is open to establishing relationships with other interested orphanages around the country. Currently, we work with a total of 12 orphanages. “
In the past they have worked with Sele Enat (now Ahope) and Kbebe Tsehay Orphanage.
Movement of Children to Other Agency Locations
In our May analysis of the USCIS teleconference slides , we characterized Ethiopia issues as stemming from the orphanage, facilitator/service/ASP or Ethiopia Government. The numerous closings that have been hinted at since a year ago do help solve some of the orphanage issues. At this point, we do not see the facilitator/service/ASP issues being addressed as the children that may have paperwork issues are being shifted to other orphanages that still deal with the same US agencies.
The Holt letter states that their Mussie Durame children were shifted to “other Holt partners.” “Mussie’s Wolayita orphanage have been transferred to another licensed child care center in Wolayita.”
As we said in our last post on Mussie Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia , the children from the CHSFS orphanages were transferred to Kingdom Vision International. Some blogs put the Mussie shutdown as early as May 2011. So, we found it interesting that in June 2011, an effort funded by a group of US agencies (Bethany, Gladney, AGCI. American World Adoption, in conjunction with Christian Alliance of Orphans) were in Awassa and supposedly starting a new domestic adoption effort along with Kingdom Vision International. This 2011 effort, Seed Adoption, was reported about in Ethiopia media with the emphasis on the KIDMIA organization. The article does mention some of the ties: ”KIDMIA is processing the adoption of the 35 orphans that found adoptive parents through the seed adoption workshop by working jointly with Kingdom Vision International, American World Adoption, and Bethany Christian Services. “
More information can be found at the recently-established Seed adoption website. This blog post explains how the effort only cost $30,000 (about the charge of one Ethiopia international adoption) for bringing together 530 pastors” in Addis Ababa, Nazareth, and Awassa, 3 of the largest and most strategic cities in Ethiopia.” They even had Dr. Adissu, Member of Ethiopian Federation Council and Vice Chairman of Ethiopian Election Board speak at this function. They did NOT appear to have anyone involved with child welfare or adoption, like MOWCYA, speak.
This blog post explains who is training these local pastors: Kingdom Vision International, Bethany, Gladney and American World Adoption. Gladney and American World are even “training staff and government officials; case management; application, documentation and legal processes; family eligibility; home studies; placement; and post-placement and monitoring.”Additionally, Bethany “has deep and far reaching experience with orphan care and adoption in Ethiopia, even overseeing one of the largest foster care programs in the country.”
So, US adoption agencies are schooling locals on local laws and running their foster care system yet they never are to blame for anything that goes wrong there. It looks like any way you cut it, they will continue to get a piece of the Ethiopia $$ pie and may be “sainted” too, now that they discovered the domestic adoption market that they apparently are training and running.
Update: Well, a generic DOS posting has been posted. As you can see, giving information to the DOS is on an honor system. All they can do is ask the agencies to give them information. You can view the notice here and we have pasted it below.
“Notice: Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia
The Department of State has learned that several agencies are reporting to their clients the closure of Mussie Child Care Center in Hosana, Ethiopia due to a revocation of their license to operate by Ethiopian authorities. The Department is aware that rumors of several other orphanage closure are circulating through the adoption community.
The Department is seeking confirmation from Ethiopian authorities regarding the revocation of Mussie’s license and subsequent closure. We ask prospective adoptive parents and agencies that are hearing news of specific closures to inform the Department. The Embassy in Addis Ababa is working to gain confirmation of orphanage closure rumors from the appropriate authorities. Please send any specific information regarding orphanage closures to AskCI@state.gov with the subject line “Ethiopia Orphanage Closures.”
Prospective and adoptive parents are encouraged to remain in contact with their adoption service provider to stay up-to-date on any information pertinent to their individual case. The Department will post any confirmation on www.adoption.state.gov as we receive it.”
Update 2: DOS issued a specific notice on August 3, 2011 that can be found at here and is pasted below.
“Notice: Confirmation of Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia
Ethiopian government officials have confirmed that several orphanages in the Southern Nations state are closed due to revocation of their licenses to operate by Ethiopian authorities.
These orphanages are:
- SOS Infants Ethiopia (Arbaminch, Dilla, and Awassa branches)
- Gelgella Integrated Orphans (Tercha and Durame branches)
- Bethzatha Children’s Home Association (Sodo, Hosaena, Dilla, and Awassa branches)
- Ethio Vision Development and Charities (Dilla branch)
- Special Mission for Community Based Development (Hosaena branch)
- Enat Alem Orphanage (Awassa branch)
- Initiative Ethiopia Child and Family Support (Awassa branch)
- Resurrection Orphanage (Hosaena branch)
According to officials in the Charities and Societies Agency office, which oversees the licensing and regulation of orphanages in Ethiopia, the children in the care of those facilities have already been transferred to other orphanages.
Ethiopian officials indicate that cases involving orphaned children from these facilities that are already pending with the Federal First Instance court will continue to move forward. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is working closely with Ethiopian officials to determine if children from these facilities who were previously referred for adoption or matched with prospective adoptive parents will be allowed to continue in the adoption process. MOWCYA officials have confirmed that the affected children’s case files are currently being reviewed, a process that is expected to last at least one month.
We continue to ask prospective adoptive parents and agencies that hear news of specific closures to inform the Department. Please send any specific information regarding orphanage closures to AskCI@state.gov with the subject line “Ethiopia Orphanage Closures.”
Prospective and adoptive parents are encouraged to remain in contact with their adoption service provider to stay up-to-date on any information pertinent to their individual case. The Department will post confirmed information on www.adoption.state.gov as we receive it.”
Extra Information about Orphanages in DOS Announcement
Note that there are multiple spellings of the towns and orphanages.
SOS Infants Ethiopia is also known as SOS Enfants Ethiopie. The Arba Minch and Awassa (aka Hawassa) orphanages were built in 2010 according to their website here . The Arba Minch facility was to house 40 children and the Awassa orphanage was to house 75.
The Dila (spelled with one ‘l’) location has information here .The manager’s name is Ajebush Legese Abegaz and it was to house 12 children aged 1 month to 5 years.
Now SOS Enfants Ethiopie has OTHER locations that remain OPEN. Their Addis facility known as Toukoul works with at least Dove, Adoption Avenues and Building Arizona Families (that partners with Dove.) This blog indicates that French agencies also use Toukoul.
Gelgella Integrated Orphans is also known as Gelgela and Gelgela Integrated Orphans and Destitute Family Support Association. Bethany, CWA, and AWAA have had associations with Gelgela. The Dutch Fruits of Ethiopia report specifically mentions Gelgela. Gelgela was the subject of a March 2010 US Embassy memo available at PEAR’s blog.
Bethzatha Children’s Home Association has many spellings and also was integral in the Fruits report.
Ethio Vision Development and Charities is also known as EVADO and is the orphanage that AAI Michigan works with.
Special Mission for Community Based Development is also known as SMCBD. IAN works with this organization in the Soddo (Sodo) Region.
Enat Alem Orphanage is an AAI Michigan and Children’s Hope orphanage and is in the Fruits report.
Initiative Ethiopia Child and Family Support is also known as Initiative Ethiopia. Gladney used to place from this orphanage.
More Closings Discussed
Others are reporting that their agency gave the following names of closed orphanages. Hopefully these were reported to DOS by the agency. Except for the Bethzatha organization, we did not find further information about the other names.
- Bethzatha in Durame
- Organization for Gold Age in Kucha, Dila and Awassa
- Biruh Alem for Children, Women and Old People Association in Hosanna
- Tinsae Old Women Ministry, Orphaned and Vulnerable Children Care Organization in Hosanna
- Hidota Children’s Home Association in Sodo
New Ethiopia Ethics Blog
Some adoptive parents are collecting horror stories of Ethiopian adoption unethical behaviors at http://etadoption.blogspot.com/. So far there are six stories.