ALERT: In late April 2017, Ethiopia announced an immediate suspension of intercountry adoption. Read more in this new brief.
The government office responsible for adoptions from Ethiopia is the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s, and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA). The Ethiopian government currently grants approval to more than 20 U.S.-based adoption agencies to place children.
Ethiopia is not a party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. U.S. citizens adopting from Ethiopia are required by the Ethiopian government to use a licensed U.S. adoption service provider that has been authorized by the Ethiopian Government. Ethiopia participates in a Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) program, which requires prospective adoptive parents to receive a preliminary determination on the child’s likely immigration eligibility in order to gain adoption approval.
Families must travel to Ethiopia to complete an adoption. Generally, parents make two trips. Ethiopia requres families to submit post-placement reports at three months, six months, and one year after the adoption. Then, yearly reports are required until the child turns 18.
For more up-to-date information on how to adopt from Ethiopia, visit the Ethiopia Adoption page on the U.S. State Department’s website. Get parent-to-parent advice and support in the Ethiopia Adoptive Families group in our online community, Adoptive Families Circle.
Ethiopia Adoption Fast Facts
- 2015 Adoptions: 335 children
- Hague Country: No
- Estimated Total Cost: $30,000 to $40,000 (see Ethiopia adoption cost breakdown)
- Profile of Children: 46% of children are between ages 1 and 4. 56% are boys (2014).
- Parent Ages: Parents must be between age 25 and 65, sometimes the Ethiopian government limits the age difference between adoptive parents and children to 40 years.
- Family Status: Ethiopia has shown a strong preference for couples that have been married for more than five years. Single women may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Same-sex couples may not adopt. Single men are ineligible to adopt.
- Travel: One or both adopting parents must travel twice to Ethiopia.
- Timeline: 24 months or longer.
Helpful Articles from Adoptive Families Magazine
- “My Rockin’ Ethiopian Sons”: When my husband and I dreamed of raising bilingual children, we had no idea that one of their languages would be rock and roll.
- “On the Outside, Looking In”: Phil Bertelson, an award-winning filmmaker and transracial adoptee, explores issues of racism and transracial adoption in an interview.
- “Learning to Care for My African-American Daughter’s Hair”: As a white mom learns about her black child’s hair, both come of age.
- “Honoring My Ethiopian Daughters’ Heritage”: An adoptive mother finds her way, parenting two girls whose stories are distinctly different from most other African-American children they meet.
- “A Home for Helen”: A mother’s story of adopting a girl from Ethiopia.
Books Related to Ethiopia Adoption
- Ethiopia: The Bradt Travel Guide, by Philip Briggs