Q: My wife and I were referred to you as a reputable source of information about international adoption. We are considering adopting a child. Through some people we knew here and local press coverage we’ve learned of an Ethiopian orphanage that is saving children who have apparently been determined by tribal elders to be “bad luck” (“Mingi”) and we are told are facing death. My wife and I are wondering if you have any information about the legitimacy of these circumstances. We’ve contacted some of the people involved and have every reason to believe that they are doing good and important work. But we are also wary just because of everything we’ve heard and read about problems w/ international adoptions. So we’re seeking some objective information about this particular orphanage and other similar facilities and possibly adopting a child from this area. Any info or feedback would be greatly appreciated.
A: No, we haven’t heard of this specific orphanage, so I can’t give you specific information, but can give you general advice. If you are hearing “Hurry up. Send us your money so you can save a child” be cautious! Go to our adoption chart for Ethiopia, and if you are hearing something significantly different from the information there, be even more cautious.
You will need to use a reputable licensed adoption agency to adopt from Ethiopia. You mentioned the orphanage, but not the adoption agency you would be using. We have extensive resources for selecting an adoption agency. Do NOT skip this step because of the perceived urgency of saving a child. You will want to get with a good solid agency with a long standing program in Ethiopia. Check out our list of red flags for unethical adoption agencies. If your adoption agency shows any of the signs on the list, ask more questions. Bottom line: If it sounds too easy or too fast or the children too healthy or too young, then be suspicious.Image credit: Dietmar Temps (this child is not available for adoption)