Guest / Limited Access /
A Crackdown on International Adoptions
Rick Egan

Trevor and Marlene Janzen's first miracle took nine months. To the Saskatchewan, Canada, couple, that seemed a natural time to wait for a baby. They adopted their first son, Eyob, from Ethiopia in 2005.

Although they had been through the process once before, their second adoption took twice as long. After waiting 18 months, the Janzens welcomed little Sofoniyas home in 2007.

Soon, they were ready to bring a third child into their family.

"We thought it might take two years," Marlene said. "And we waited and waited."

In May 2011, they returned to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to pick up their second daughter, Biruktawit. The "roller coaster" process took four years.

Long considered one of the easiest nations from which to adopt, Ethiopia is in the midst of dramatic changes that are making the adoption process tougher, longer, and more expensive. Government officials say the shift will ensure the legitimacy of such adoptions. But critics, including many adoptive parents, argue the new policies are punishing young children who need families by slowing down a process that can already take years to complete.

For some, it has stopped things entirely. Since it began facilitating adoptions in Ethiopia, Oregon-based Holt International has placed more than 500 orphans with American families. This fall, the organization stopped taking applications from families wanting to adopt from Ethiopia.

"It's not fair to families to say, 'Sure, come on in and begin the process,' and then have them wait and wait and wait," said Susan Soon-keum Cox, Holt's vice president for public policy and external affairs. "We already have families waiting longer than we ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only As USCIRF Faces Possible Closure, Funding Divides Religious Freedom Experts
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is preparing to shut down.
RecommendedWhere the White Working Class Went Wrong
Subscriber Access Only Where the White Working Class Went Wrong
J. D. Vance loves his 'hillbilly' tribe—yet hates what they’ve become.
TrendingDied: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Died: Tim LaHaye, Author Who 'Left Behind' a Long Legacy
Jerry B. Jenkins: 'Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul.'
Editor's PickIs There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
Is There a Better Way to Fight 'Political Correctness'?
When language is a tool for coercion, nobody wins.
Christianity Today
A Crackdown on International Adoptions
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.