Politiken | 11/08/2014 | Page 6
ADOPTION The Danish authorities have determined that the adopted child Amy is not allowed to visit her family and her country of birth, as long as she is a minor. That means four more years of waiting for her.
by Dorrit SAIETZ
After almost five tumultuous years as an adopted child in Denmark, the girl Amy has no greater desire in all her life than to be allowed to visit his family in the home country, Ethiopia, but it’s not going to happen. The Appeals Board has previously decided this year that Amy cannot travel to Ethiopia, as long as she is a minor and placed outside the home.
“I was so sorry that I got sick and threw up for days,” says the now 14-year-old Amy about her reaction when she heard the decision.
She was taken to Denmark when almost 10-year-old with her little sister. But in Amy’s case the relationship with the adoptive parents was so bad that she today, after many wrangling and fighting with the municipality and authorities, lives with her foster family, she has been closely connected with, without, however, having reduced the strong need of her mother, older sister and other family members in Ethiopia.
Therefore, experts in adoption of Social Affairs advisory unit Viso recommended that she be allowed to visit Ethiopia. The Appeals Board and the Parliamentary Ombudsman ruled in March 2013, with regard to inter alia the European Convention on Human Rights, that children who were adopted at an age where they know their biological parents have the right to maintain contact.
In February this year Amy therefore would have been away on a week’s family visit to Ethiopia organized by Næstved.
But travel plans were disrupted because of legal proceedings in Ethiopia where Amy’s mother seeks to undo the adoption.
‘A living hell’
Initially Næstved postponed the trip. But the Appeals Board says in a new decision that Amy may not have to travel to Ethiopia before she is an adult. Especially considering that an Ethiopian lawyer, who the municipality has consulted, strongly advises against traveling.
“The lawyer has stated that if the adoption was revoked Amy will be subject to her biological mother’s custody, and the Danish authorities will no longer be able to represent or help her,” wrote the Appeals Board.
The private Ethiopian lawyer was hired through the Danish Embassy in the country and had been asked to assess the possible consequences of the legal proceedings, and his view is that if Amy’s mother wins the case and gets custody back, it will be ‘a disaster’ for Amy and send her into “a living hell. “This argument, however, has caused deep amazement at Ethiopia’s ambassador to the Nordic countries, Woinshet Tadesse. She is highly critical of the emphasis the Danish authorities gives to the lawyer the statement, “I totally disagree with what he writes. He does not work for the government, but a private attorney, and he expresses his personal feelings. We cannot dictate what to think, but what he says is not true – it is a gross generalization, “she says.
Amy’s mother has indicated that she would like to see Amy stay with her current foster family and do her schooling in Denmark. However, it is not enough insurance for the Danish authorities. Even the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s opinion on adoptees’ right to contact with the biological parents weigh not heavily enough.
A lawyer of Amnesty International’s Danish branch Claus Juul has read the reasons for the decision and considers that the case is not easy: “It is not a case with many clear answers. I do not think there is anyone who has thought about this situation here, “he said.
On the one hand there are the international conventions that an adoptee can go back when it’s gone awry, as in Amy’s case. The UN Children’s Convention protects children’s right to contact with their parents, “If the Danish authorities prefer it short, she is a risk that the Ethiopian authorities want to hold her back, and we do not know what life she gets – so short the proceedings complete. The cuts the Gordian knot by referring to the child.
What matters is whether you think it’s true what the lawyer says that it will be hell on earth for her in Ethiopia.
Doing so will, all things being equal, it is the correct decision, “said Claus Juul.
Psychologist Niels Peter Rygaard, who for some time has been Viso’s expert advisor in Amy’s case and involved in de case, she should be able to visit her native country, calling the situation “almost impossible” because Amy was again the pawn between different authorities and agencies.
“If there is something that children need, it’s about who’s in charge of their lives. There are too many different players in this case – parents and foster parents, the commune, the Social Appeals Board, Viso – and thus, decisions are not taken from the child, but from a random balance of power, “he said.
Springtur: Amy ran off to get to Ethiopia
Politiken | 11/08/2014 | Page 6 | 883 words | Article ID: e48679e7 | Original Article
A jump to the Ethiopian Embassy in Stockholm was Amy’s latest attempt to be allowed to visit his mother.
by Dorrit SAIETZ
So angry was Amy when her trip to Ethiopia was ultimately canceled, that the energetic 14-year-old girl herself decided to take action. “I thought if no one else will help me, then I have to do something,” she says.
At 1 o’clock on a dark night in March she left on tiptoe out of the care of the family country house. With her she has a bag packed for a week’s trip and his Danish passport. Just down the narrow dirt road two activists from the NGO Against Child Trafficking (ACT) wait for her in a rental car.
The goal of the trip is initially Stockholm, where Ethiopia has its embassy for the Nordic Countries. The hope is that the embassy will issue an Ethiopian passport to Amy which she can use to get around the Danish authorities’ travel ban and take a trip to Ethiopia.
Amy already knows German Arun Dohle, who is her mother’s legal representative in Denmark, and the Danish Jin, who is adopted from Korea, and last year helped to arrange a visit of Amy’s Ethiopian mother in Denmark. They stand at her side. So she has no qualms about putting herself in the back seat of the car, which is made up with a pillow and blanket for her.
Then she lays down to sleep while the car rolls over the bridge and further north. “I slept well, there were no problems,” says Amy.
Early in the morning they arrived at Stockholm. In Naestved Amy’s foster mother, Hanne Keller, discovers now that Amy is not in his bed. She calls her cell phone, and Amy readily explains where she is and with whom, and Hanne Keller immediately contacts Næstved and tells what has happened.
Do you know Amy’s case
Woinshet Tadesse, Ambassador of Ethiopia, know well to the case of Amy and instantly recognizes her face. She welcomes heartily and appeals to her immediately with her Ethiopian name, Tigist.
As they explain to her what the goal of their visit is, and if it dawns on her that she is a minor Danish national who has run away from home, contact her immediately both the Danish and the Swedish authorities to find out what is going to happen.
In the meantime, she invites Amy and escorts home in his private residence.
“We were driven in a limousine with driver and we got Injeera (Ethiopian food, ed.) At lunch.
It was luxury, “says Amy. “We talked about my mother and her children, and she showed me pictures of them.
She also gave me his phone number and said that if there was anything I should just call. “Woinshet Tadesse says to Politiken: “I myself am a mother of two children, so I know and understand the pain that Amy experiencing. I know her story in advance, and then she comes to my office and explained to me how much she needs to see her mother. What can you expect from me when I hear these kinds of feelings expressed? ‘.
Abduction of a minor
There is a flurry of activity over the next several hours. Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Appeals Board and the police are consulted.
Technically, the case of abduction of a minor.
But Amy enjoying themselves at home with the ambassador.
As the determination pulls out, she was invited to spend the night.
“Me and Jin got a room overlooking the water and a large luxury bed. And they asked many times if I wanted something to eat, but I was too excited. “Next day must ambassador tell Amy that she cannot help her, but have to send her back to Denmark. She is obviously disappointed – she was ready to move on to Ethiopia with the same if she had been allowed.
“But anyway, I think it was a great experience to meet such a lady,” said Amy today.
After long negotiations with the various departments of Næstved green light to let Amy go home again in the same way she came – in the car with activists Against Child Trafficking.
The municipality finds this solution ‘least intrusive and safe for Amy (…) There is therefore emphasized that the way has taken place as quiet as possible without resistance from Amy’.
Struggling against a concrete wall
This removes the two ACT activists also the additional charges of abducting a minor. Arun Dohle from ACT defender organisations use of what he calls “unconventional methods” in the case.
“We’re up against a concrete wall, as the entire Danish system has been set up. There is no one who intends to hold Amy back in Ethiopia, but it is her mother’s right to go to Court and Amy’s right to decide whether she will testify and tell the same Court that gave up her what happened to her in Denmark, “he said.
Woinshet Tadesse regrets that she could not help Amy more.
“It was a dramatic visit. I was not expecting to see them in my office. When it comes down to it, she of Ethiopian origin, even though she is a Danish citizen.
But I have no option to allow her to travel to Ethiopia.”
Woinshet Tadesse has no intention not to drop the case here. The next time she is in Denmark, she will ask to meet with Social Manu Sareen (R), which has responsibility for the area of adoption.
Amy: My mother is the world’s best mom
Politiken | 11/08/2014 | Page 6 | 602 words | Article ID: e48679e6 | Original Article
Although Ethiopia is poor, Amy does not think it is ‘a living hell’. On the contrary, she has fond memories of his childhood and her family.
by Dorrit SAIETZ
Amy has now nearly 5 years experience in the adoption system in her own body. First, she came to Denmark, things went wrong in the adoptive family, and she was placed with a foster family. 11 months later she was dragged kicking and screaming out of the family care home to be send in an institution where she could be a few months before the authorities let her come back and stay with her foster family.
Since then daily offered joy and love in the foster family – but deep frustration with many other conditions, for example, that she was not allowed to see her little sister living here.
In all that time, she longed for her family in Ethiopia. And now some unknown Danish officials determined that it she is not allowed to visit before she is an adult.
“Why? Who are they and why do they order me? They never talked to me. They never asked me for anything. People do not talk with me before they make decisions, so it has always been, “she says.
Amy would dearly love to appear in court and support her mother with her testimony.
“I support my mother’s fully. She is and will be my mother, but it would be nice for both her and me also to get that in writing,” she says.
Amy’s mother visited Denmark in October last year. In seven hectic, wonderful days mother and daughter were together again.
“It was almost indescribably lovely. My mother was exactly as I remember her – just as sweet, just as annoying! It took only a few days, before she threw a shoe at me because I was not listening ..
and we danced and did silly every night, “says Amy with a smile.
She and her mother are two sides of a piece: fiery, temperamental and always ready for fun and games. They quickly found the song together after the long separation.
That visit was too short, but it did not matter as Amy at the time had been promised a trip to Ethiopia in February this year: “The week just flew away.
I thought that now it would be my turn to travel to Ethiopia from time to time. Had I known that it was not so, I would have used and enjoyed every moment so much more. ”
Could get used to Ethiopia
The mother is not the only thing that Amy misses; her 3 years older sister, Bethlehim, and her grandfather are two of them. They do not have the slightest chance to come to Denmark, “My sister is everything – just as much as my mother. I love her because she cared for me throughout my life when my mother was at work.
She is not just my sister, but my best friend. “But your mother lives in a shack with only a space where all sleeping in the same bed where there is a shower and toilet – would you be able to get used to it again? “I can remember what it is. And I know that there is no toilet and stuff. But give me two weeks – so I get used to it, so fine it is, “said Amy.
Could you live without your iPhone, your room, your computer, your clothes and jewelry and makeup? “I would give all my things in order to get to Ethiopia – although it sounds hard when you say it like that.
Better to be missing something and have full love from his mother and siblings than to stay here with such a complex life like mine. It is better to starve a few nights and have love.
My mother is the world’s best mother. ”