{{show_title_date || "Woman shares story of being adopted from Ethiopia against her will, 4/28/13, 11:31 AM ET"}}

Adopted against her will: One woman shares her story


What would you do if you arrived in a foreign country ready to study on an educational exchange and only to discover you had been “adopted” by a family that thought you were an orphan?

It may sound like a nightmare, but it happened to Tarikuwa Lemma, who told her story on Sunday’s Melissa Harris-Perry. Lemma came to the United States from Ethiopia for what she and her family thought was an educational exchange program when she was 13 years old; after she arrived, she was told she had been adopted.

Once she learned what her adoption meant for her future, Lemma felt “a lot of grief and anger.”

“I didn’t want a new family because I had a family in Ethiopia,” said Lemma, who will start her freshman year at college in the fall. The family that tried to adopt Lemma and her two younger sisters changed their names and even stopped them from speaking their native language.

Adoption is a multibillion-dollar industry, rife with corruption and dissemblance, and in recent years it has morphed into an evangelical movement.

“There is so much emphasis on and enthusiasm for adoption in the United States,” said journalist Kathryn Joyce, author of “The Child Catchers.” “When adoption agencies prey on families’ desire to ‘help’ children they believe to be in need, there have been lies and misinformation seeded in from the very beginning” of the adoption process.

How can the adoption process be reformed? Is it even possible to do so? Watch the full discussion on MHPshow.com and watch the show every Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM ET.