The Legacy of Exploitation in Intercountry Adoptions from Ethiopia: “We Were under the Impression That Her Birth Parents Had Died”

Shelley A. Steenrod - Adoption Quarterly


Ethiopia legally banned intercountry adoption in 2018 following reports of corruption, illegal practices, and child trafficking. While the intercountry adoption program is now closed, the enduring legacy of exploitation continues. Through interviews with adoptive parents, this study explores what and how adoption-related exploitation occurred. It also describes a cyclical and iterative process that adoptive parents, impacted by adoption-related exploitation, undertook to understand whether and how referral, concerning, and emergent adoption narratives fit together.