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African leaders want to halt adoptions

Plenty of prospective parents from Louisiana and around the United States would love to adopt a baby, regardless of the baby's ethnic background and where the child currently resides. The couple looking to adopt just wants to provide unconditional love to a new child.

However, officials in Africa want adoptions from abroad to stop. More than 35,000 children have left their homes for waiting families in different lands over the past eight years. A report titled "Africa: The New Frontier for Intercountry Adoption," says prospective parents are looking at Africa for adoption as other countries have reduced the number of children to adopt.

The group that sponsored the report said Africa now has become a first resort for adoption, and in some cases, its children are merely a commodity to be sold.

Over the same eight-year period that African adoptions have grown, international adoptions from all countries have fallen to their lowest numbers in 15 years.

Children's rights advocates recently met in Ethiopia to discuss ways to protect children. One expert from the United Nations said it is known that because the demand exists, parents in Africa have sold their children, or children have been kidnapped and later trafficked.

The leaders also want to find a way for the estimated 58 million African orphans to stay with family members who can raise the youngsters in their own culture and country. In the span from 2003 to 2010, the overwhelming majority of children adopted by Africa came from Ethiopia, with more than 22,000 children changing homes. South Africa was next with nearly 1,900.

Most of the children adopted from the continent go on to families in the United States or France.

Adopting a child from any country is a blessing, but also filled with paperwork, home visits and other legal issues that must be navigated. Couple considering adoption should seek professional advice in order to avoid any potential problems.

Source: CNN, "African adoption should be discouraged 'at all costs,' group says," Hilary Whiteman, May 31, 2012

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