Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his wife are all smiles after a court approved their request to adopt a child from an orphanage in the country.
The couple applied to the federal first instance court on January 22 to get permission for the adoption of the child from the Kibebe Tsehay Orphanage.
They had argued that the child, named Million, would be better off with them, reports the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA).
Approving the adoption last week, the court said that the decision is in the best interest of Million, who is under two years and hence could not comment on the adoption.
The prime minister’s wife, Zinash Tayachew, who attended the court in person, said her family will give Million all the needed love and care.
The development comes on the back of Zambia’s first lady’s decision to adopt an abandoned month-old baby last December. The baby girl was abandoned by her mother a few days after she was born at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka.
First Lady Esther Lungu announced that she will keep and raise the abandoned baby whether in State House or outside.
Other former first ladies in Africa have also adopted children, including Ghana’s Lordina Mahama and Zimbabwe’s Grace Mugabe.
Ethiopia’s first couple have three children of their own and their decision to adopt Million has been hailed by many people.
Supreme Court President Meaza Ashenafi said the move is “exemplary to others to adopt needy children.”
The development should also encourage people to make adoption through the legal process, the Women, Children and Youth Ministry said.
Ethiopia took a strict stance on adoption last January after it approved a law tabled in 2017 in parliament banning international child adoption.
The law restricts the adoption of children by foreigners to protect the adoptees from abuse, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
The legislation came about after reports of abuse and sometimes death of children adopted from Ethiopia by foreigners.
In 2013, a U.S. adoptive mother was sentenced to 37 years in prison for starving her Ethiopia-born adopted daughter and leaving her to die outside in the cold in Washington state.
Carri Williams was convicted of homicide by abuse in the 2011 death of 13-year-old Hana Williams, who was adopted in 2008. Her adoptive father Larry Williams was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Ethiopia is estimated to have the highest number of adoptions into US families. Some lawmakers in Ethiopia, however, questioned the availability of proper adoption facilities in the country before the law was passed.