- Three of the children were adopted by American citizens
Eight Ethiopian children, who were being raised in the Saint Francesco orphanage in the Wolaita Zone of the South Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State, were reported to have died due to chicken pox on November 21. Three of the children were adopted by American citizen and were waiting to be given to their respective adoptive families while the death of one is yet to be confirmed. The orphanage reported the death of the three adopted children to the First Civil Bench of the Federal First Instance Bench at Bole, the court which approved the adoption contract of the children, after it was ordered by the court to return 14 children it took from the regional state for safe keeping.
The orphanage received the 14 children, for which an adoption process was pending except for three which got approval, from the regional state for safe keeping because Special Mission for Community-Based Development, an orphanage where the children used to be raised, was closed by the regional state for failing to comply with mandatory requirements.
Though the court ordered Saint Francesco to return the children to the agencies that represent the adoptive parents, they informed the court on October 19 that they cannot give the children to the agencies because they received the children from the regional state for safe keeping.
Presided over by Judge Rehila Abas, the court then ordered Saint Francesco to return the children because a final decision has been given on three of them and the case of the rest is pending. The court also ordered the regional state’s Women, Children and Youth Affairs Department to return the children to the agency, which it did on November 22 escorted by the Federal Police because it initially failed to obey to the court’s order.
Of the three dead adopted children Tegegne Tadesse, who was adopted by Bernard Franklin Lowis Jr and Erin Christina Lowis, a couple from Nebraska, USA, was found abandoned when he was two months old back in March 30 of this year.
The couple signed a contract of adoption with Special Mission for Community-Based Development through their agent World Association for Children and Parents (Wacap) on May 11. The court approved the contract by on July 13.
The husband, a software engineer, and the wife, a music therapist, had earlier adopted a girl named Hope Allyson Lowis from the China.
The other victim of chicken pox, Terefe Haile, who was adopted by Breakwell Dhabih Eng and Tana Erin Rychetnik Eng, a Baha’i faith follower couple from Kirkland Washington, USA, was also found abandoned when he was 10 days old on March 23.
Breakwell Eng, who is a senior artist at Valve Software and Tana Eng, Business operations coordinator at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, signed a contract of adoption with the same orphanage through the same agency on April 29, which later was approved by the court on June 5.
The third child, Mihiret Mohammed, who is 11-month-old and was adopted by Dr. Ilana Nash, a single mother from Michigan, USA, was relinquished by her mother who works at a hotel. The identity of her father is unknown.
Dr. Ilana also signed a contract with the same orphanage through the same agency on May 18, which the court approved on June 5.
The death of the fourth child, Terefech Abuko, which was reported by the regional state, is yet to be confirmed since no one has applied requesting the file to be wrapped up claiming the child is theirs.
The court ordered the Federal Police to conduct an investigation into the cause of the children’s death and adjourned the case for December 30.