Beteseb Felega – Ethiopian Adoption Connection was begun by one adoptive mother named Andrea. In 2000, when she and her husband met their first child from Ethiopia, Andrea was overwhelmed with the knowledge that his mother in Ethiopia did not know where he was. So, she set about to try and find her. In 2004 she found her Ethiopian daughter’s mother, however after fourteen years, four searches, three trips to Ethiopia, thousands of dollars, and radio and newspaper ads, she still had no leads on her son’s family.
It was then that Andrea founded her nonprofit, Beteseb Felega – Ethiopian Adoption Connection, with the hope not only of finding her son’s family, but of helping other Ethiopian adoptees learn their birth history.
There are few places for adoptees to turn for help researching their roots. They are truly on their own, and in many cases, it costs hundreds to thousands of dollars to search, with no guarantee of success. For their Ethiopian mothers and fathers, the situation is worse; there are no resources for them to find their children after adoption, despite having been promised updates.
BF-EAC started in Andrea’s kitchen with $3,000 and the tech skills of birth mother Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy. Today, the organization is registered in Ethiopia, has reunited over 200 adoptees at no cost, provides free services to Ethiopian family members, and maintains a search registry of over 1000 cases. They have three highly trained social workers in Ethiopia and volunteers all over the world lending their skills to the cause. Andrea and the team work tirelessly on a volunteer basis.
Adoption is more than joining a family. It is also losing a family or a child, and often, trying to find them later in life. Adoptees and birth families deserve lifelong post adoption services. BF-EAC is proud to provide these services ethically and compassionately.
Beteseb Felega – Ethiopian Adoption Connection (EAC), is a grassroots effort to reconnect family members separated by adoption and to provide support services to adoptees, birth family members, and adoptive parents. Our internet database contains Ethiopian adoption information provided by adopted people/adoptive parents and birth families who are looking for each other.
ቤተሰብ ፍለጋ ወይም የኢትዮጵያ ጉዲፈቻ ትስስር ፤ በጉዲፈቻ ምክንያት የተለያዩ የቤተሰብ አባላትን የሚያገናኝ ድርጅት ሲሆን ለጉዲፈቻ ልጆች ለተፈጥሮ ወላጆችእንዲሁም ለጉዲፈቻ ወላጆች በጠለቀ መረዳትና በርኅራኄ የተሞላ የድጋፍ አገልግሎትን ይሰጣል፡፡ በድህረ ገፃችን ላይ ያለው የመረጃ ቋትም በመፈላለግ ላይ ባሉ የጉዲፈቻልጆች፤ የጉዲፈቻ ወላጆች እና የተፈጥሮ ወላጆች የሰፈረ የኢትዮጵያውያን የጉዲፈቻ መረጃ የሚያሳይ ነው፡፡
What is the Database?
Adoption search registries have been around for a long time. The EAC database can be compared to a missing person poster placed in the center of a village. Users can can list their information in the database, search entries submitted by others, receive assistance with making initial contact, and find resources on maintaining communication. Caseworkers in Ethiopia work with Ethiopian families to explain how the database functions, what they can expect from using it, and help them list their information. Siblings adopted to different families may also be located through searching our database.
Put your information into our database and continue your search for free, with no further effort on your part. It will remain until your people are found.
All entries are reviewed and any explicit identifying information is edited (last names, address, etc). We allow full names only of those people already in the public eye, such as an adoption agency representative in a receiving country.
How Do I Use the Database?
Enter your information: Adoption information is accepted through website forms in Amharic and English. Case information is not accepted through Facebook or email, though we can assist Ethiopians via phone as needed.
Search our database for your child or your Ethiopian family.
Filtered and Keyword Search: Filter your search by adoption agency, receiving country, child’s gender, orphanage, Ethiopian region, Ethiopian zone, or country to which child was adopted. Search all submissions, Ethiopian family submissions, or adoptee submissions. Add a keyword to your search (remember that there are a variety of spellings for most Ethiopian names and places).
View a sortable table of all data.
Scroll through all submissions.
What You Can Expect From Using Beteseb Felega
This is a long term project begun in January 2014. It will take time for the database to populate. In addition to our outreach efforts, we rely on word-of-mouth advertising, especially in Ethiopia. If you choose to use this website to assist in your search, please pay it forward by donating to our continued work through the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. Most of all, be patient and do not expect immediate results.
I Think I Found My People in the Database – What Now?
Contact us through our contact form. Be sure to give a link to the case your are referencing. In most cases, we have additional information such as a phone number or email address. Our Ethiopian volunteers and caseworkers will make contact for you and translate initially. If, after communicating, you are still convinced you have the right people, we recommend verifying the the relationship. In some cases that will mean sharing photos and adoption case information. In other cases, DNA testing will be the best way.
We have made over 200 free reconnections through the database since 2014. Thousands of people view our database weekly. Residents of Ethiopia make up the second highest group of visitors to our website.
Why We Do This Work
The mission of Beteseb Felega / Ethiopian Adoption Connection is to reconnect adopted children and adults, often referred to as adoptees, with their families in Ethiopia. When first presented with this concept, especially outside adoption circles, people are often confused. They may be thinking, “Why open a can of worms?” or “The kids have a new family, look forward not back.”
It’s a lot more complicated than that. Adoption creates a new legal family but it doesn’t erase the original family bonds. All the feelings and connections are still there, even for babies. It can be confusing for kids to grow up not knowing where they came from or why they were adopted. When you know your roots it’s easy to underestimate how hard it can be for those who don’t.
It is the vision and hope of Beteseb Felega (EAC) that every adoptee has access to their birth information and the opportunity for contact with their family of origin. We are a bridge across continents.
The second part of our mission is our work with mothers and fathers in Ethiopia. Many of the parents who placed children for adoption from Ethiopia come from poor, rural areas lacking the basics we take for granted. Life is hard and living abroad is a dream for many. Frequently, parents who gave children for adoption were convinced to do so with promises of a good education, financial support, and that the children would return as adults to support them. Others simply had social or living conditions that made it difficult for them to care for their children and they believed sending them abroad would be better. They were never told their family ties would be legally severed and that their children would never return.
These mothers and fathers never forget their kids. Beteseb Felega offers emotional support and provides information that endeavors to prepare families for a potential reunion. Many Ethiopian families report that this is the first time anyone has ever asked them about their adopted kids or how they felt about life without them. Some tell us they cry every day. Many don’t know if their children are even alive. Our work is for them, too.
Resources about Search and Reunion in Adoption
See our Resources section for articles on the following topics and more:
Why Search?, Academic Research on Birthmothers in Ethiopia, Birth Family Contact in Ethiopia: Myths Debunked, Movies about Adoption Search and Reunion, How Do I Maintain Contact with My Family? Birth Mothers in Ethiopia: Who Are They?, Online Ethiopian Adoption Discussion Groups, and Searchers, Couriers, Drivers, and Translators in Ethiopia
How You Can Help
Would you like to show your support for our cause? Check our our How You Can Help page.