07. April 2016
Masho (left) and Amy Steen (right) were both adopted for couples in Denmark from Ethiopia, but ended respectively orphanages and in foster care. Now an Ethiopian court overturned their adoption. Photo: TV 2
Rikke Struck Westersø
A court in Ethiopia has overturned the adoption of two children who were adopted by couples in Denmark.
The Ethiopian court on Thursday morning overturned the adoption of the 15-year-old Amy Steen and Masho who was known from the documentary “Mercy Mercy”. This tells the Danish journalist Rasmus Sønderriis after the trial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
– The lawyer came from a closed meeting with the judge and told us that Amy and Masho’s adoption are canceled, says Rasmus Sønderriis who is with Amy Steen and her biological mother Genet Kedir in Addis Ababa.
– They are happy. They are now sitting drinking coffee and celebrating it, he says.
Danish legal system must also assess the case
The children’s biological parents went to court because they felt they had been cheated by so-called child harvesters to let their children go for adoption. They have now regained custody in Ethiopia.
It will be up to a Danish court to see what consequences the Ethiopian ruling will have in Denmark, explains Claus Juul, who is Legal Adviser at Amnesty International Denmark.
– If a representative from the Ethiopian authorities or the parents travel up here, they can force the Danish authorities to look at the cases. But it is a sovereign Danish decision. So one will only cancel the adoption in Denmark, if one believes that it is best for the child, says Claus Juul.
Back in Ethiopia
Amy Steen is currently in Ethiopia with her biological family. She ran away in February and travelled to Ethiopia with the organization Against Child Trafficking, although the Appeals Board in Denmark had forbidden her to return to her country of birth.
Amy Steen and her biological mother are reunited in Ethiopia, although the Appeals Board had forbidden the girl to visit her family. In 2012, it made it big impression when footage was shown on how she was screaming and forcibly removed from her foster family.
Photo: Against Child Trafficking / TV 2
Masho came to Denmark when she was four years old in 2008. Since her adoption became deadlocked, she has lived in an orphanage in Holbaek Municipality.
Both girls’ younger siblings live with their adoptive parents. Mashos brother Roba is not part of the trial in Ethiopia.
But Genet Kedir has requested the court to overturn both the adoption of Amy Steen and her sister, both of whom were adopted by a couple in Næstved in 2009. However, no decision was made in the case of little sister.
In early March, the Interior and Social Affairs Karen Ellemann (V) decided that in future adoption of children from Ethiopia is over, as one can not have confidence to get it right in the country.