Megan and Mark Iannelli say they are ‘gutted’ after a federal government decision to halt adoptions from Ethiopia. They have been waiting six years to adopt a child.
Megan and Mark Iannelli say they are ‘gutted’ after a federal government decision to halt adoptions from Ethiopia. They have been waiting six years to adopt a child. Felicia Kosegi

Adoption dream shattered

A TWEED Heads couple may never have a child to call their own after Australia’s Ethiopian adoption program was put on hold.

Megan and Mark Iannelli were informed in November their agonising wait to adopt a child may have been in vain after the Federal Government suspended the program with the African country.

Mrs Iannelli on Friday said she had been hopefully of being matched with a child this past Christmas.

“Instead, it was heartbreaking,” Mrs Iannelli said last week.

“I was absolutely gutted. This meant the world to us.

“I think it was a really unnecessary decision that has been made.”

Federal Attorney-General Rob McClelland put the adoption program on hold in November because of concerns over a request from Ethiopia that Australia enter into a formal aid agreement as part of the arrangement.

The future of the program is unknown until a formal review, which was originally due for completion last month, is concluded sometime this year.

A spokesman from the Attorney-General’s office said they also hope to hold discussions with representatives from the Ethiopian government early this year.

“I just want to know what the Attorney-General is thinking,” Mrs Iannelli said.

“It was a rushed decision.”

The Iannellis have been trying to adopt a child from Ethiopia for more than six years after they discovered they could not have children of their own.

Ethiopia was one of the few places they were qualified to adopt from.

The gruelling application process lasted five years with constant police checks and medical tests.

Their file for adoption was only sent to the east African country in December 2008.

They received a phone call in November from New South Wales Community Services informing them of the government’s decision.

Mr Iannelli said they have felt stuck in limbo ever since.

While they tried to remain optimistic over the situation, Mr Iannelli said it was looking unlikely the program would be restored.

“That’s just what we’ve heard. It would be devastating if it’s true,” he said.

The Iannellis are part of support group Australian African Children’s Aid Support Association, which has several Tweed members.

Uki couple and fellow AACASA members Graham and Helen Dietrich, who adopted Ethiopian girl Selam two years ago, said the suspension of the program would have been devastating.

“There are couples ready and able to adopt these awesome kids who need homes. They should be together,” Mrs Dietrich said.



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