Saturday, January 18, 2014

Welcoming our New Executive Director at EthioStork LLC!

As most already know, Duni Zenaye has accepted the exciting opportunity to serve as the new Ethiopia Country Representative of Children's House International.

Christa Jallorina has replaced  Duni Zenaye as the Executive Director of EthioStork LLC. Christa Jallorina has a masters in social work and has been serving adoptive families since 2005. Christa lives with her husband Jay and their children Zoe and Jase in Northern Virginia.

So as to avoid any possible conflict of interest, EthioStork will no longer contract with families adopting through Children's House International.  As their representative Duni will be able to assist families adopting through Children's House International and offer them them the same expertise. However CHI families currently in the process can no longer directly contract with EthioStork LLC.  Families who have already completed an adoption may contract with EthioStork LLC for a birth parent search for their children who are already home.

EthioStork LLC will continue to serve directly all other adoptive families who are not adopting through Children's House International 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Congo Adoption Report

Adoption Status in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Report commissioned by EthioStork LLC
Date Submitted: January 8, 2014

Adoption in the DRC Overview
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). The Congolese government states that one thousand one hundred and six children have been adopted in the Congo between the years 2009 and 2013.

On September 25, 2013, fifteen embassies in the Democratic Republic of Congo received a letter from the Congolese Ministry of Interior and Security and the General Direction of Migration (Direction Générale de Migration, DGM) announcing a suspension in international adoption. The countries affected by the suspension are the United States, Canada, Uruguay, Burkina Faso, France, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Australia. The suspension is going to last twelve months pending ongoing investigation and review of welfare of adopted Congolese children from 2009 to 2013.

Why The Suspension?
In the spring of 2013, the Congolese embassy in Canada launched an investigation about adopted Congolese children living in Canada from information it received from an undisclosed source. It found that some of the children were no longer with their original adoptive parents but with a new family. The ambassador alerted the Congolese Minister of Interior Richard Muyej Mangez and in April of 2013, the DGM suspended temporarily some exit permits for adopted children.

The Minister tasked the DGM to verify the information received from the embassy and DGM corroborated the findings. The DGM report stated that some of the children were left homeless and others were sold/trafficked to same-sex couples. A decision from the ministry was made to suspend any and all adoptions to verify the whereabouts and well-beings of over 2000 children adopted in the Congo since 2009. On September 25, 2013 a letter was sent to 15 embassies from the Ministry. That same day, the director of the DGM, François Beya confirmed with the press that the international adoption of Congolese children has been suspended for the next 12 months, not on a legal basis but more so administrative.

What’s the difference between a ban and a suspension?
First, this is simply an administrative suspension and it does not carry the force of the law. It is not a ban. The Ministry of Interior and the DGM have stated numerous times to foreign embassies that later this year, starting September 2014, the international adoption will resume with a new adoption process in place. It is not clear if the country will sign on to the Hague Convention or not, though there are groups locally who have been pressuring the government to sign on to the Convention.

Are there events that helped in getting an inquiry on adoptions in Congo?
Since the French-Chad adoption scandal of 2007 which concluded in 2013, the Congo and other African countries have been more diligent in reviewing adoption. On February 12, 2013, French citizens Eric Breteau (founder of Zoe's Ark) and his partner Emilie Lelouch, were found guilty by a French Court for attempting to smuggle 103 children out of Chad claiming they were Darfur war orphans and dfrauding would-be adoptive parents in France who had paid large sums to “save” children in crisis. They were sentenced to two years in jail. The group was arrested in Chad in 2007 trying to load the children on to a plane bound for France, where they were to be adopted. They claimed the children were orphans from the war-ravaged Darfur region in neighboring Sudan, but Chad's government accused them of kidnapping and it later emerged the children were not Sudanese and most still had living relatives. An investigation by Unicefand the Red Cross found that at least 85% of the children still had living parents and were from Chad, not Sudan. The charity workers were arrested and sentenced to eight years' forcedlabour in Chad, before being transferred to a Paris jail and then pardoned by Chad's president, opening the way for a French trial.

What other concerns exist around adoption in the Congo?
Please read the two articles below:

May 31, 2013 New York Times Article
“Eager to Adopt, Evangelicals Find Perils Abroad.”

June 18, 2013 investigative reporting
“Christian Saviors and the Adoptions Industry in Congo - Exploiting Africa's Most Precious Resource: Children.”

December Washington Times Article
“An American mother fights for her adoptive daughter in the Congo.”

If adoption was approved before September 25, 2013, what’s next for the family?
If adoption by a couple was approved before September 25, 2013 by the Congolese Ministry of Gender and Family, the adopted children will still be able to leave the Congo with their adoptive family. The Congolese government does not accept any more adoption from single parents. More details on US process for adoption can be found at

Additional Info

You can contact the offices below for more information regarding adoption in the Congo.

Direction Generale de Migration (DGM)
Attn: Mr. Albert Luyinu, Administrative Secretary
65, Boulevard du 30 Juin
Commune de la Gombe
Ville de Kinshasa, R.D.Congo
Email: or

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1726 M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

U.S. Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
310, Avenue des Aviateurs