News / Africa

Ethiopian Adoptee Wins Legal Case to Revoke Adoption

In this photo made available by Loes Zuidervaart, Betty Lub's current foster parent, the 14-year-old Ethiopian girl shares her court victory against her adoptive Dutch parents with her current foster mother in Addis Ababa, February 9, 2012.
In this photo made available by Loes Zuidervaart, Betty Lub's current foster parent, the 14-year-old Ethiopian girl shares her court victory against her adoptive Dutch parents with her current foster mother in Addis Ababa, February 9, 2012.
An Ethiopian court has revoked the adoption of a girl by a family in the Netherlands. This is the first time a foreign adoption has been revoked in Ethiopia’s long history of overseas adoption.
 
Betty Lub is a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl that was adopted at the age of seven by a Dutch family that abused her. She stayed with them for two years, but still carries their last name because of legal procedures.
 
Betty got the adoption revoked through an Ethiopian court. Her lawyer, Mulemebet Tilahua, said Betty now wants to change her name to Betty Demoze, her Ethiopian last name.

“Revocation of the adoption contract will have an effect on Betty and in a way she will be reinstated to her family of origins. And the other thing is, she will not be forced to be called after the adoptive parents who abused her in their home for a long time,” said Tilahua.

Falsified documents

The documents in Betty’s adoption file were falsified and were full of errors. They gave the wrong age, and wrongly stated that Betty’s parents had died. After a failed criminal case two years ago against those involved with providing the papers, the 14-year-old started a civil case.
 
Betty said that getting her adoption revoked in Ethiopia is only the first step of her journey.
 
“I want to try in Holland to also revoke my adoption and then we will see,” she said.
 
Almost 4,500 children were adopted from Ethiopia in 2010, with about half of them going to American families. Because a growing number of adoption cases from Ethiopia appear to have irregularities, the legal process has been under investigation in Ethiopia and other countries.

Child trafficking

Arun Dohle investigated the files of Ethiopian children going to the Netherlands for the Against Child Trafficking NGO. He said Betty’s case is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
“We found that the adoption process is riddled by fraud and other clear-cut criminal activities. But most important, the demand-driven inter-country adoption process is breaking up families who could be helped in building up their lives with a fraction of the money involved in inter-country adoption,” said Dohle.

Adoptions are big business in development countries, with Western parents usually paying more than $20,000 for a child. Ethiopia’s adoption business grew rapidly after several countries in the world, such as Romania and Vietnam, stopped allowing overseas adoptions because of legal irregularities and corruption.
 
Dohle believes that the inter-country adoption process is systematically misleading parents.
 
“Most of the Ethiopian and African parents in general, do not understand the Western concept of adoption, which completely severs all ties with the child. The child gets a new birth certificate a new identity, and all ties are completely severed, there is no such thing as international foster care,” said Dohle.

Preying on parents

Many parents are not told they are losing their child, they are promised financial support and are made to believe their child will receive a better education somewhere else and will return home soon.
 
Lawyer Mulemebet said parents in developing countries are an easy target for adoption agencies.
 
“Most of the time they are not aware of their legal rights and they are not in a position, especially in a financial position, to claim their rights and to ensure the best interests of their children,” said Mulemebet.
 
Betty was adopted through the Dutch adoption agency Wereldkinderen. It is accused of fraud and criminal activities in research done by the Against Child Trafficking group.  Wereldkinderen chose not to comment on the first revoked adoption case.

Betty Lub is pictured with her biological father and cousin in this photo taken by Loes Zuidervaart, her current foster parent, Feb. 8, 2013.Betty Lub is pictured with her biological father and cousin in this photo taken by Loes Zuidervaart, her current foster parent, Feb. 8, 2013.
x
Betty Lub is pictured with her biological father and cousin in this photo taken by Loes Zuidervaart, her current foster parent, Feb. 8, 2013.
Betty Lub is pictured with her biological father and cousin in this photo taken by Loes Zuidervaart, her current foster parent, Feb. 8, 2013.
Betty hopes her actions will inspire other adoptees.

“I hope that it will have impact on other children to do the same thing that I have done,” she said.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs decided in 2011 to cut adoptions by 90 percent because of fraud during the adoption processes.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Adoptive Father from: Pacific Nortjwest, USA
February 28, 2013 12:33 AM
We have had our child home from Ethiopia for almost two years - it has been the most enriching part of my life and I love my child and I would do it again. Cost is high, but you cannot put a price on the love you have for your family. Over the last several years we have seen even more changes to international adoption with some countries expiring their participation in the process, leaving many families with lost hope of finding their little loved ones. Even Ethiopia has changed their guidelines, making it more difficult to bring children out of the country and into loving homes. What I witnessed during our process is an interruption in the process due to money and politics that left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Our story is a success and I hope all adoptive families are as lucky as we were.

As for those families that have been abusive with their children, they should be punished to the full extent of the law.

For those families in process - do not give up. We lost our first child and were blessed with another that puts a smile on my face every day.

Adoptive Loving Father!

by: Alyssa from: idaho
February 25, 2013 10:22 PM
My husband and I live in Ethiopia for 2 years. While there we completed an adoption of 5 children. Having lived in Ethiopia for an extended amount of time, we were able to see the adoption world from many angles. You can learn more about our experience here http://goo.gl/dmPLi
In Response

by: Hassen from: Tipton, ok
October 04, 2013 7:47 AM
Thank you for loving Ethiopia and her people by living and doing the right thing! I was adopted when I was 14 by wonderful mom and dad here in the Usa. I love adoption but lately I have been so depressed to see many of my friends who were adopted decided to take wrong way of life and I have one friend who has been homeless for last 3 years:( and don't know what to do!
Of- course there are many sucessful stories, thank God but please pray for those are not.

by: Valerie Bolduc from: Toronto
February 11, 2013 9:22 PM
Excuse me, western parents don't pay up to 20k for a child, the bulk of the money a western parent pays to adopt a child is airfare and hotel costs. Yes, it can add up to up to 20k. Don't spread lies. Yes there is corruption, yes there are problems, but don't insinuate that we buy our kids.
In Response

by: Karen from: New York
February 12, 2013 11:55 AM
Ghost responder: If paying fees to agencies to facilitate the adoption process (and to shelter and feed your child until the adoption process is complete), paying travel costs, and paying fees to government agencies to process necessary paperwork = buying a child, then what is it when birth parents pay doctors for pre-natal care and delivery expenses? They are paying funds for a service that provides them with a child -- particularly if they have had to undergo any type of infertility treatments. So they are then buying their children too? They are exchanging currency for a service resulting in the "desired goods" (what a nice way you have with words), so using your flawed logic, they are paying for their children. This is inflammatory and demeaning language, and is not at all helpful. Corruption exists, sadly, and needs to be stamped out, but to paint all adoptions with the broad brush of "paying for children" insinuates that all adoptions involve child trafficking, which is wrong.
In Response

by: Tuna Ghost from: Osaka
February 12, 2013 8:57 AM
Exactly! Except, no. That is PRECISELY what you are doing. You are providing funds for a service that provides you with a child. You may have altruistic intentions, but you are very literally exchanging money for a child. How you are not understanding this is a complete mystery to me and anyone else that understands the exchange of currency for a service resulting in desired goods.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs