Nineteen-year-old Tarikuwa Lemma is a survivor, of an international adoption scandal. When she was 13, she was effectively sold from her native Ethiopia to an American family. The corrupt “adoption agency” convinced her father, who was a widow, that Tarikuwa and her younger sisters were headed to the U.S. as part of an educational exchange program, and that they would return home every summer and on holiday breaks. Little did he know, his daughters had been placed with adoptive couples in the U.S., never to return. Tarikuwa’s name was changed against her will, and she was forbidden by her American “family” from speaking her native language.
The issue of transnational adoption, its evangelical Christian component, and the exploitation of communities that sometimes results, is the subject of the book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce, who appeared, along with Tarikuwa, on last Sunday’s “Melissa Harris Perry” show on MSNBC.
Here’s Tarikuwa’s satirical look at the “rescue” of children from her home country, to “better lives” in America:
"It is a tragedy to travel to this deeply historical country of Ethiopia. We see the streets, the roads, the shack doors, crowded with poor Ethiopian mothers, women who have been collecting whatever scraps they can find to feed their hollow-eyed children. Teenagers, living on their own on the streets, shoot their own looks of desperation. Ethiopian men lie on the ground with exhaustion from not having been fed for days, for instead of eating, they feed whatever tiny amounts of food they get to their children.
I think it is agreed by all parties overseas that we should come up with a solution to help Ethiopian children we see on a late night TV programs: children with flies on their faces, no clothes, no food or water, begging for families to sponsor or adopt them. It is time that America comes up with an easy and simple solution to save all these children.”
Click here to read the rest at The Grio.