Ethiopian quick-adopt plan ‘slow’

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott's plan to make overseas adoption easier has provided little comfort to prospective parents who have tried for years to adopt from Ethiopia.

The Daily understands that three Sunshine Coast couples were left in limbo when the Federal Government suspended Ethiopian adoptions in 2009 and then closed the scheme.

The Prime Minister this week announced that an interdepartmental committee would be established to make it easier for Australians to adopt children from overseas.

Barrister Michael Garner, who represents some of the Sunshine Coast families and others caught up in the Ethiopian adoption closure, welcomed improvements to overseas adoption, but said the Prime Minister's announcement did not go far enough.

Mr Garner said the Government's 12-month timetable was too slow, and Ethiopian adoptions could be restarted quickly.

"We're still praying for the government to make an early decision on its re-opening," he said.

"We say there's no good reason for closing the program down.

"There are still children living in Ethiopia. There are Australian parents still willing to adopt and give the children loving homes.

"We don't see why the program couldn't be opened quite quickly in the circumstances."

Bokarina's Bronwyn McNamara, who, with her husband Scott, began trying to adopt children from Ethiopia 10 years ago, said concerns were held for the welfare of some of the children who had been on the list for adoption when the program closed.

Mrs McNamara, who is in Ethiopia, has tried to help some of those children by buying medical provisions, food and clothing.

She said the children had been let down by the closure of the program "and we need to help these children right now".

"We just want someone to listen," she said. "We're just trying to be the voice for the children."

Mrs McNamara said she was unsure what the chances were of her husband and her ever adopting through the Australian-Ethiopian scheme.



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