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. Below is 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 testing, 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.
After all, as an adoptee, I have already been saved, and no longer feel attached to the Ethiopian ways, since everything in America has been so much better. So many malls, convenient fast-food restaurants, smooth roads, and everyone has a car. My intention is to help my fellow Ethiopians, as I was helped, when perfect strangers sought to save me from my family.
Ethiopian children are dying on the streets by their mothers’ — sometimes their father’s — sides. I can no longer stay silent. It is time for me to address this world crisis by joining American Christians, who are on the mission to save the world’s orphans. Americans are sick and tired of hearing about everyone in Ethiopia with HIV/AIDS along with their other diseases, starving and uneducated. Life is so much better in America because everyone is living in better conditions — and let’s not forget that we have democracy.
For example, what will happen to the family of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who ruled Ethiopia for 21 years and died recently, leaving his wife, his three children, his extended family and Ethiopia. What is going happen to those children? I must worry, because by United Nations (UN) standards, a child living with one parent is defined as an orphan. One of the American adoption agencies surely will save them from their horrible life with a single mother, and bring them to America so they can have better opportunities. They will have to start a new life. They will learn a new language, their names will be changed to American names, they will have to go to a new school or even better be home-schooled. They will have everything they ever wanted including things like: ipod, iphone, Wii, etc. Once you give them all those things, they will forget about their country, their culture and their loved ones because they will be living a better life here in America.
How uncaring are the Ethiopians who had children when they are poor. How could they offer their children opportunities when they can’t even feed them? They should have thought twice before deciding to have a big family. And they say it is their “culture.” Don’t worry because American superheroes are ready to save Africans, but first they will start with Ethiopians.
Therefore, dear friends, we will have the Ethiopian government sign over all the current and future children of Ethiopia to America. Americans will give them better opportunity. I, along with many other grateful Ethiopian adoptees, will be helping with this American Christian mission. The Ethiopian government, along with American missionaries and with the assistance of Ethiopian Airlines, will start delivering children age eighteen and younger to the United States. A mother or a father who fight to keep their children will be put in jail, since all this is happening in the best interest of the children. The Ethiopian government surely will give death sentences to anyone who tries to stops this Christian practice. The Ethiopian and American government won’t let the Devil stand in the way of this Christ-like act.
We understand that there will be mommies and daddies that will be crying as American missionaries take the children from their “homes” and pluck them from the streets. Once the children have left their homeland, we will prevent their heathenish childrearing. We will exceed the rationale of China and have a NO CHILD policy for Ethiopia. How are we going to make this work? Well, scientists are in the process of testing a one shot solution. Then, when our Ethiopian mission is complete, we will move into another ruined African country.
MHP: History of trans-national adoption rife with abuse
Now every Christian church in America, by order, will have Ethiopian children in stock, so anyone can drive through, at anytime, and select as many Ethiopian children as they desire. Please, look for Ethiopian children in churches near you. No background check required; surely anyone in America can provide a better life than those poor souls would have had in Ethiopia. We will of course, waive the typical adoption fee of $25,000. We black and brown people should be lucky that someone wants us, especially white people, so we should make this Christian practice at no cost.
In fact, if you bring Ethiopian children home and realize you didn’t need that many, or find they are not useful, you can always gift them to a family member or friend, or even post an ad on Facebook to find them new parents. By the way, each child will come with a special gift: if you get a girl, we will give you hair supplies. If you get a boy, we will send a bottle of lotion with him.
I am a reasonable person. I am for women’s and children’s rights. I made this proposal out of my concern for those who are STUCK suffering through hell of living in Ethiopia. As you can see, this is a genuine crisis. I have no personal interest of gaining anything in return, it’s simply for the good of the children.
Therefore, I am open to any reasonable suggestions from anyone who may have better ideas than I do. They must be innocent, simple, and free. I would love everyone to consider two points before coming up with your own proposals. First, the way things stand in Ethiopia these days, the government doesn’t have enough money to take care of its children. Second, many Americans want to adopt from Ethiopia so they too can feel like the Savior himself, but they don’t have money for adoption fees.
The American government will fund this Christian movement to take action immediately. It is our duty as Americans to help the children of Ethiopia and, in the future, the world. After all, every few minutes that we don’t help Ethiopia, another Ethiopian child is born. We must stop this.
When Tarikuwa Lemma was thirteen, she was adopted (sold) to an American family.
A corrupt adoption agency operating in her homeland of Ethiopia coerced her widowed father into believing he was sending Tarikuwa and her younger sisters to America for an educational exchange opportunity — that they would come home every summer and on school breaks. Instead, they found themselves caught up in an international adoption scandal. Her story has been featured in CBS Evening News and ABC News . She is also being featured in upcoming book The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.
For feather more reading on Ethiopian adoption you can go on Facebook “Ethiopian International Adoption News”.