Ethiopia has banned the adoption of children by foreigners amid concerns they face abuse and neglect abroad.
Ethiopia is one of the biggest source countries for international adoptions by US citizens, accounting for about 20% of the total.
Celebrities Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are among those who have adopted children from Ethiopia.
However, in 2013, a US couple were convicted of killing an adopted Ethiopian girl.
That case triggered a debate about foreign adoption, the BBC’s Emmanuel Igunza in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa says.
The adoption process in Ethiopia has also faced serious questions with rights groups saying that it was prone to abuse by human traffickers who saw it as lucrative market.
Two years ago, Denmark stopped the adoption of children from Ethiopia.
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Lawmakers now say orphans and other vulnerable children should be cared for under locally available support mechanisms in order to protect them.
But some MPs said that the country has insufficient local services to cater for vulnerable children.
Ethiopia’s international adoptions in numbers:
- One in five international adoptions in the US from Ethiopia*
- 15,217 adoptions from Ethiopia to the US from 1999-2016*
- Families in Spain, France and Italy also adopt several hundred Ethiopian children each year
*Source: US Department of State
What next for Ethiopia’s orphans?
Emmanuel Igunza, BBC Africa, Addis Ababa
Debate over foreign adoptions in Ethiopia has been rife since the 2013, so the country’s ban didn’t come as a major surprise.
The question now is what will happen to the thousands of orphans and vulnerable children who can no longer be adopted?
Parliament says the country’s social services should be able to handle the numbers and more importantly local adoptions are still permitted.
However, adoption is not a big part of Ethiopia’s culture and many orphans find themselves shuttled between relatives or on the streets.
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but millions of people live in poverty.
Although there is a fast growing safety net programme to cushion the poorest from the ravages of droughts, critics say the country simply doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the huge number of orphans.