ethiopian adopted baby .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
An Israeli-American family has been banned from bringing their newly adopted Ethiopian son into Israel on suspicion of trafficking and kidnapping.
The Kamil family, who live in Montclair, New Jersey, did not take into consideration that they would be suspected as potential children traffickers when they bought their plane tickets to Israel.
The father of the family, Amos, was born in Israel and raised in the US. His wife Madeline does not have Israeli citizenship while the couple's two biological daughters, Maia and Lea, 10, do.
A year ago, on their way back to the US after working and living in Israel for two years, the Kamils stopped in Addis Ababa to pick up the son they had struggled to adopt for nine long months.
The family finally made it to the US with 20-month old Itai, who had been staying at a local orphanage and was suffering from severe dehydration, after battling with Ethiopian authorities for approval of the adoption.
Over the next year, Itai was issued a green card and a social security number, but according to his adoptive parents, the adoption had not yet been officially approved.
Unaware of any potential problem, a few months ago the Kamils purchased plane tickets to Israel in anticipation of a family vacation. However, four weeks ago they discovered that the Israeli consulate in New York had rejected Amos Kamil's request to bring Itai along to Israel since the adoption process had not been completed.
With the father and his two daughters' scheduled flight to Israel only a day away, and five days before Itai and his adoptive mother's planned departure, it seems the Kamils will not be able to enjoy, after all, their annual vacation together in Israel.
"They are [the Interior Ministry] saying that they can't be sure because of all the child trafficking going on in the world. When the New York consulate told the ministry the US wouldn't have let Itai enter the States if the adoption were illegal, it didn't seem to move them," Amos Kamil told The Jerusalem Post.
The Interior Ministry said in response: "The case has been brought to the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry and in shared agreement it was decided to reject the visa application at this point. The application was rejected mainly because the adoption process was not completed in the US or in Israel and the applicants have not registered as the child's formal parents. Since the child is a minor the parents were asked to present a guardianship order and a biological parents' approvals or an equal document."
The Foreign Ministry added that for the time being, with no formal documents attesting to the legality of the adoption, any entrance visa for the adopted child was not within reach.
"As far as we know, the American authorities have just begun processing the adoption request and it is expected to last longer than two months. Only after the adoption will be formally arranged and it will be clear beyond any doubt that this is a legal adoption and not a kidnapping nor trafficking, the child will be able to enter Israel," the Foreign Ministry said.
Ruth Eglash contributed to this article.