ANGELINA WAS DUPED OVER ADOPTION OF BABY ZAHARA

Published on: September 20, 2005
ANGELINA WAS DUPED OVER ADOPTION OF BABY ZAHARA

By ANTHONY MITCHELL and NYRA MAHMOOD

Outraged Angelina Jolie has vowed never to give up her baby girl after African authorities ordered an investigation into claims that eight-month-old Zahara was illegally adopted.

An Ethiopian government official told The National Enquirer that the 30-year-old Tomb Raider star may face a new court battle if the probe confirms the alleged irregularities.

The devoted mom may even be asked to return to Ethiopia and reapply for Zahara's adoption.

The shocking new development will stun the star, who has nursed the baby back to strength since bringing her to America in July.

"Angelina spent a lot of time trying to ensure everything went smoothly," said a source close to the star in Los Angeles. "She is certain no laws were broken — but she will not risk going back to Ethiopia with Zahara. There is no way she will ever give up that child. She would rather give up her life."

Angelina did not return calls for comment, but she is understood to be furious that questions have been raised over the adoption.

The conflict centers on a claim that an Ethiopian member of Wide Horizons For Children, the U.S.-based agency representing Angelina, misled the African authorities.

Documents filed in court stated Zahara's mom was dead. However, new reports suggest that she is alive — and named her as 18-year-old seamstress Mentaweb Dawit, who says she gave birth after being raped.

"I want them both to know I love them very much," the Ethiopian teenager told The Sun newspaper in Britain. "And I want to say thank you to Angelina for giving my baby this wonderful, loving family." The sensational claim has thrown the adoption back under the legal microscope.

"The adoption could be illegal because the law in Ethiopia says that if the mother is still alive she must give her consent and in this case that may not have happened," said Ethiopian adoption law specialist Belay Ketema. "If the mother is in fact alive, the adoptive mother — Angelina Jolie — must appear in court to nullify the old papers and re-apply for the adoption. The baby's mother must also appear to give her consent.

"If the real mother refuses, that could cause all sorts of problems and mean the adoption would never become legal."

Angelina believed Zahara was an orphan when she flew into Ethiopia on June 28 with Brad Pitt and her adopted son, Maddox, three, to pick up her new daughter.

It was reported at the time that Zahara's grandmother was Almaz Blfnhe, 45, from the squalid town of Awassa, and that she had given up the baby for adoption after her own daughter died following childbirth. Angelina is understood to have paid around $10,000 for the adoption.

To read the rest of this article, pick up this week's issue of The National Enquirer — on newsstands now!