Country-specific adoption information for parents considering adopting from Ethiopia.
Intercountry adoption from Ethiopia has undergone significant change in the last year since the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA), the government office in charge of adoption, announced in March 2011 that it would be assessing the process and would review only five adoptions per day, owing to concerns about fraud. The time it takes to adopt a child from Ethiopia has therefore lengthened considerably.
Because Ethiopia is not party to the Hague Convention, adoptions by U.S. citizens must be reviewed by the U.S. government. Once adoptive parents or their authorized agent are in possession of the final adoption decree from the Federal First Instance Court, approval letters from MOWA, and the child's birth certificate and Ethiopian passport, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa begins the process to determine if the child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law. This can take several weeks or months.
For more information, visit www.adoption.state.gov.
Ethiopia Adoption Requirements and Facts:
- 2011 adoptions: 1,732 children
- Hague Accredited: No
- Estimated Total Cost: $20,000 to $40,000
- Profile of Children: 43% of children are from one year to four years old (2010).
- Parent Ages: Single adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old. If married, there is no minimum age. Preferably, no more than 40 years' age difference between the adopting parents and the child.
- Family Status: Married couples that have been married for at least five years are preferred. Gay and lesbian parents cannot adopt. Single women's eligibility is currently under review; single men cannot adopt.
- Travel: One or both adopting parents must travel twice to Ethiopia.
- Timeline: Three to 18 months from dossier submission to referral.
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