American Family Adopt Girl From Uganda, But After Learning Her Story, They Sent Her Back
In the past decade, adopting a child from a third world country has become incredibly popular with wealthy families in the West.
The cause for this trend is up for debate, some attribute this surge in third world adoptions to A-list celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Madonna, both of whom have adopted children from countries stricken by war, poverty and corruption.
Meanwhile, there are those who argue that the influx in third world adoptions and charity campaigns have raised awareness for children’s suffering around the globe.
Of course, with any trend, there are always those who try to exploit it for their own financial gain. So it’s no surprise that scammers have found an opportunity within the adoption market to make some quick cash.
One family who fell foul to an elaborate adoption scam was the Davis family from Ohio. Jessica and Adam Davis already had four children, but they didn’t feel totally complete. To remedy the situation, the couple decided to adopt a child from Africa.
They were matched to a six-year-old girl from Uganda, who they believed to be an orphan.
Listen to Namata’s traumatic tale here…
“We were told her father was deceased, that she was being severely neglected at home and her mother was leaving her open to abuse,” Jessica explains. “They couldn’t provide an education [for her and she’d] never been in school.”
The adoption agency kept telling the Davis family that the young girl’s mother wasn’t able to care for her. Naturally, they decided that they needed to intervene and give the child a better chance in life.
So, in 2015, they flew to Uganda to meet Namata. But they didn’t meet her in the tiny village in which she’d lived her entire life. Instead, they traveled to an orphanage four hours away, where she was held in a room with “no toys” and “bars on the windows.”
Desperate to do what they could to help, Jessica and Adam took Namata home with them.
Quickly they fell in love with their daughter who thrived in her new environment. But, six months later, everything would come crumbling down when Namata learned enough English to be able to tell her adoptive parents that she missed her mom.
Everything she told them was vastly different to what they’d been told by the adoption agency. Immediately, alarm bells began to ring as the Davis’ slowly realized the truth.
“Every single thing that we were told in that file … she unraveled to be a lie,” Jessica tells CNN.
Horrified that they may have “participated in taking a child from a loving family,” they alerted the US State Department to their situation.
Meanwhile, they organized a FaceTime video call with Namata’s biological mother, who by now had been tracked down by volunteers at Uganda Reunite, a non-profit organization that aims to reunite children taken from Uganda under false pretenses with their parents.
For the Davis family, that phone call was extremely enlightening. They witnessed Namata light up when talking to her mom, an unlikely reaction for an “abused” child. It was clear to them that Namata’s mother wasn’t the villain she’d been made out to be.
Then to confirm this, they spoke to her. She told the Davis family how she’d agreed to send Namata to an American family for education, but she’d been told that Namata would return once she’d completed school. She had no idea that she was signing away all parental rights with no chance of ever seeing her daughter again.
“With that FaceTime call, we learned that her mother was tricked,” Jessica explains.
According to representatives at Reunite Uganda, the scheme that Namata’s mother fell foul to is a common one in African countries.
Usually, a representative will go to the church of a small village and talk of a better life for the children, of education in the Western world. They will then convince the mothers, who are usually single and struggling, to part with their children under the pretense that their child will return with a full education.
Then, the child is taken to an orphanage where they are sold for as much as $15,000 each to families who are seeking to adopt.
According to Reunite Uganda, they took seven children from Namata’s village that day.
The Davis family knew they couldn’t keep Namata. It didn’t feel right to do so given that they knew the truth. So, one year after they brought her into their family, the Davis family returned Namata to Uganda, where she was reunited with her beloved mother.
Namata is now back home where she truly belongs. Her story, whilst a traumatic and turbulent tale, is helping to raise awareness with other families looking to adopt. So whilst it was heartbreaking for her to endure it, and her mother and the Davis family, there is no doubt that she is helping save hundreds of other children across third world countries who are being trafficked to wealthy families seeking a new addition to their home.
We wish Namata and the Davis family the very best for the future, now that this nightmare is behind them.