Ethiopian adoptions: German Higher Regional Court denies recognition

On 31 May 2010 the German District Court of Düsseldorf ruled that an Ethiopian adoption may not be accepted under German law, as it is obviously incompatible with the fundamental principles of German law, in particular with the fundamental rights. This decision was was appealed by the adoptive parents.

On 18 January 2011  the German Higher Regional Court (Dusseldorf) confirmed this ruling. This cannot not be appealed.

The ruling was based on the fact that article 21-b of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was not complied with, meaning that a child may only be transferred for adoption into a foreign country and into another culture, when all avenues have been exhausted for the placement of the child in his own family and in its own country.

Article 21
States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:
(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin;

Additionally, the appointment of new (adoptive) parents further requires that they have factually grown into the role of the failed parents, so in terms of German law that between the child and his new parents and vice versa, a parent-child relationship has been founded or its formation can be expected.  Therefore, the personality right of the child has not sufficiently enough been respected, as far as before the adoption no initiation of a parent-child relationship took place, which for practical reasons (visa handling ) should have taken place in Ethiopia.

For the full text (informal translation):

Translation LG Dusseldorf – Ethiopian Case