Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing international adoption programs for United States citizens. Ethiopia is a country of approximately 82,544,840 in 2008 and is located in West Africa. The ethnic make up of this country consists of Oromo 34.49%, Amhara 26.89%, Somali 6.2%, Tigray 6.07%, Sidama 4.01%, Gurage 2.53%, Wolayta 2.31%, Hadiya 1.74%, Afar 1.73%, Gamo 1.5% (Census, 2008).
World Child works in partnership with Children’s House International, Inc. of Washington. CHI is licensed to place children in Ethiopia. World Child will assist you throughout the entire adoption process, including the preparation or review of your home study and post-adoption reports, the preparation of all required dossier documents, the provision of all adoption education, the screening, evaluation and review of child referrals, travel, and dealing with any issues that arise during the adoption process or post-adoption. The staff of CHI will meet and accommodate families in the country.
Poverty, disease and war have left a large number of children without parents. The one thing we want adoptive families to know about Ethiopian children is that even though they have been through so much in their lives, they remain joyful, strong and resilient. Some children are available for immediate placement, or parents may receive a referral within 3 - 5 months for a boy and 6 - 9 months for a girl, after their dossier is approved by Ethiopia's Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Very young children (4 months and up), toddlers and older children can be referred. All children are examined by doctors in Addis Ababa and are tested for HIV and other major illness. Adoptive Parents will receive a complete child study which includes a general medical abstract with test results, legal documentation and proof of orphan status, photos and sometimes a video. Children that have been accepted by a family are transferred into foster care at our facilitator’s foster care home. Having your child live there during the adoption process allows us to assure that they receive the best care possible. We are able to send our adoptive families photos and updates of their children during the adoption process.
These children are available for international adoption for many reasons. Most often, this is due to their birth families inability to parent based on poverty. In many countries, birth control is not widely offered nor is it taught in the family, community or in school. Birth mothers also often do not have the capability to earn a living wage to support the child. In some situations, when a birth mother does become pregnant she may be shunned by both her family and her community. Many times this leads to desperate situations that force a birth parent to either abandon or relinquish their child. Sadly, there are other factors that create orphans: war, worldwide famine, drought and in some countries the AIDS epidemic have also created a need for adoptive parents.
Couples must be married for at least three year prior to application. Ethiopia does allow singles to adopt but the cases must be approved by Ethiopian officials on a case-by-case basis. The current waiting time from the time the dossier is approved until a referral is given is one to four months, although infant girls likely will take longer. There is a great need for the adoption of older children and boys - there are always waiting children in these categories.
Once you have received USCIS approval, your dossier will be authenticated and forwarded to our Country Representative in Ethiopia. A child will then be referred to you. The referral information will include photos, developmental and medical information, test results (HIV, Hepatitis B and other blood test results), along with social background that explains why the child is being placed for adoption. Families are allowed enough time to have the information reviewed by their pediatrician and international adoption health specialist. Additional information can be requested if the professionals need clarification. Our families usually receive a referral in nine to twelve months after dossier submission. The wait for infant girls is longer than for boys, and the wait time for older children can be significantly less. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) approves the adoption and sends an official approval letter to the Court.
Ethiopia now requires that all adoptive families appear in court. After the court process is completed, families return to the U.S. Our Ethiopian staff obtain your child's birth certificate and Ethiopian passport, submit all documents to the Embassy and bring your child to the required Embassy medical exam. It will be approximately 6 – 8 week before you return to Ethiopia.
When the time comes, you will travel back to Ethiopia to bring your child home. During this trip, our staff will take you to the US Embassy where you will obtain your child’s visa to enter the United States. In some cases a family may have the opportunity to meet with their child’s biological family. Cultural activities and sightseeing are planned during this second visit. Once you are back home, you will complete the required post placement reports and finalize your adoption in your State of residence.