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By Mary Ann Jolley
March 2, 2010 /
Last year Foreign Correspondent exposed deep flaws and appalling practices in the international adoption industry operating in Ethiopia and the United States. Our story Fly Away Children generated a massive viewer response, triggered an industry investigation in the US and propelled the American media to probe the system. CBS News recently broadcast an investigation into the activities of an American adoption agency at the centre of Fly Away Children.

Fly Away Children drew an extraordinary response and demonstrated a deep concern about the way some international adoption agencies are operating and dramatically affecting the aspirations of many Australians looking to adopt overseas.

Our story unearthed a great deal but we knew there was so much more to examine, so much cause for concern and urgent reform.

In a powerful and disturbing new report we uncover major failures including children portrayed as young as 7 or 8, destitute and in danger of being pressed into prostitution who were in fact much older - teenagers - who did have a family who could support them at home. And another harrowing and cruel dimension – children unaware that they’re on a one way trip to a new family.
They say they were told they’d be returning to Ethiopia.

In this report we hear from the children.

Journee Bradshaw, aged 16: ”I didn’t know that I’m going to stay here, I mean, they never told me that I’m going to have a family that I’m going to stay with and I’m supposed to be their daughter. They never told me that, I just found out when I got here.”

Kate Bradshaw (who adopted Journee) “You can’t imagine the depth of her pain. No one will understand the damage, it was seriously as if someone had ripped the soul out of her body and just left her. It was unbelievable, it was absolutely unbelievable.”

We meet other families in the same predicament and show how one agency at the centre of the scandal attempts to discredit anyone who questions the process, including adoptive parents and Foreign Correspondent.

Maureen Flatley, Adoption Reform Advocate: “If we don’t reign in American adoption agencies and if we don’t regulate adoptions, adoption will continue to be a human rights catastrophe.”

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