Why do adoptees want to know about their Ethiopian families?

Every human being deserves to know where they come from.

What non-adopted people take for granted, like seeing themselves reflected in their families and communities, is often out of reach for adoptees. Cultural, genetic and historical information about ourselves is beneficial for healthy emotional development.

Individual adoptees have their own personal feelings and hopes regarding reunion and ongoing relationship with their natural families. Not every adoptee will choose to search for their birth family. However, in order to have a choice, there must be information available. Sadly, for many adoptees there is no historical information whatsoever included in their adoption files.

Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption

Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections

It is the vision and hope of Beteseb Felega that every adoptee has access to his or her birth information and the opportunity for contact with his or her family of origin.

Why would an Ethiopian family search for their child who was adopted?

In Ethiopia, the concept of adoption does not exist the way we understand it in the West. Full termination of parental rights through adoption does not occur under Ethiopia law. See the Revised Family Code, Chapter 10, Article 183. Many of the families who placed children for adoption did so with the expectation that they would receive updates and that their child would return as an adult.

Unfortunately for many Ethiopian birth families, updates have not been received and ties have been cut so completely through adoption that they have no idea what happened to their children. Some don’t even know to which country their children were adopted or if their children are alive or dead. Indeed, adoptive families who travel to Ethiopia bring back stories of mothers begging for information about their children.

Reconnecting can mean the world to a parent in this situation.

Is It Legal to Search?

Yes!  It is legal to search and have ongoing contact between adoptive families and natural families. Please see this document, Chapter 10, Article 183,  for detailed information on relationship of an adopted child to its family of origin.

Federal Negarit Gazetta of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia: The Revised Family Code

Ethiopian Adoption Connection supports the voice of adoptees and natural/first/birth families.