The decision to ban foreign adoptions comes six-and-half years after the death of Hana Williams, a 13-year-old girl adopted from Ethiopia and found unconscious outside her family’s Washington State home on a cold night.

By Amy Held (NPR) |

The Ethiopian Parliament voted Tuesday to ban all foreign adoptions, months after suspending them, amid fears children will suffer abuse and neglect overseas.

An official with the State Department tells NPR that State officials, including those at the Addis Ababa Embassy, have repeatedly spoken to the Ethiopian government to try to move pending cases forward and to emphasize the importance of intercountry adoptions and will continue to do so.

NPR’s Ofeibea Quist Arcton reports that in making their decision “lawmakers in Ethiopia point to the vulnerability abroad of Ethiopian children adopted by foreigners.”

The decision comes six-and-half years after the death of Hana Williams, a 13-year-old girl adopted from Ethiopia and found unconscious outside her family’s Washington State home on a cold night. Three years after joining the family, the girl showed signs of long-term starvation and physical abuse. Her adoptive parents were convicted in her death and are serving prison time.

Accusations of international adoption misconduct have come from the outside as well. In 2016 Denmark halted adoptions from Ethiopia citing concerns about fraud, corruption and mistreatment of the children.

The Associated Press reports, “Ethiopia’s new National Child Policy says orphans should grow up only in their homeland while honoring their culture and traditions. ‘They should either be adopted locally or supported by a guardian family, tutor or help them to reunite with biological parents or relatives.'”

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