Adoptions: Used false death certificates

I have used fake death certificates of biological parents of Ethiopian adopted children who have come to Denmark.

08TH APRIL 2013 KL. 21:34

By: Line Gertsen and Ditte Bannor-Kristensen

Ethiopian adopted children have come to Denmark, in which were used fake death certificates for the biological parents. The children’s parents have been declared dead in order to get the adoption to go through. That recognizes DanAdopt now to DR News.

– When there is a registry office in Ethiopia, and it only requires the meeting of three witnesses who say that a person’s death for a death certificate, then it is a very difficult system to have to do, says Senior in DanAdopt Mette Garnæs to DR.

The problems are known

According to Ethiopian law, the biological parents sign and testify if they are to be adopting a child, while a death certificate of the parents, conversely, leads to a quick and easy original separation process. Therefore, it has repeatedly been shown that false death certificates were made for biological parents.

The problems are well known in Ethiopia, where DR News has spoken with a social worker who wishes to remain anonymous, as she repeatedly been threatened because of her job.

– In many of the cases orphanages have to demonstrate that the biological parents are dead before they can be allowed to carry out an adoption, and therefore produces most of the time these false death certificates and pay witnesses some pennies to sign that the person is dead, she says.

Got her own death certificate in hand

DR News have met Ethiopian Abeba, whose daughter was given up for adoption five years ago. Abeba had been diagnosed with HIV and therefore asked her aunt to care for her daughter while she was hospitalized. But when she returned, the aunt had given up for adoption her daughter. For this to be possible, a false death certificate was fabricated. Abeba, when she asked for his daughter’s adoption case, suddenly sat with her own death certificate in her hands.

The child was not given up for adoption through DanAdopt, and the only thing Abeba knows about the daughter today is that she now lives in the Netherlands.

– If I could, I would love to have my baby back, she says

But there are also Ethiopian adopted children who came to Denmark on false death certificates, recognized DanAdopt.

No reason to stop adoption

But when it happened, they first found out, after the children had come to Denmark. Adoptions have therefore not been stopped, and it surprises children organization Unicef. Here, says Secretary-General Steen Andersen:

– I think it’s terrible. It’s again a way to circumvent one of the problems around adoption, where it is about whether one adopts a child from a family that actually exists, or whether it is a genuine orphan, he says.

But Mette Garnæs does not believe that DanAdopt should have stopped adoptions from Ethiopia when they found out that there were fabricated false death certificates in some of adoption cases.

– It’s not something that happens so interchangeably. That’s quite a few times this has happened. And there we have acted on it, and we make every effort to ensure that this does not happen again, says Mette Garnæs.