Ethiopia Adoption Program

Please note that at this time IAN is not taking applications for families desiring to adopt from Ethiopia. U.S. Department of State has issued an adoption notice that Ethiopia adoptions are no longer being processed by the Ethiopian Parliment. Streamlined cases in process have some exception. Please contact your coordinator for specific details if you are in process. At this time of uncertainty, we cannot accept new applicants for this program.–ethiopia-passes-legislation-banning-in.html

The wait times for referrals are unpredicatble, and processing times from match to home can take up to two years due to delays throuh out the process. This program is not the best option for every family. We do have several opportunities for families interested in older child and medical need adoptions, espessially those open to HIV+ children. We are still processing cases at this time, but on a smaller scale due to the increased difficulty of this program. Families should be prepared for both longer wait times for a match and adoption processing times for an Ethiopia Adoption in 2017. Please contact our office for details.

We have a full staff of case workers in Ethiopia who make these adoptions possible. IAN has brought over 500 children into loving families from Ethiopia since the program started in 2007, and hopes to continue to be able to serve children through this program.

Children Available

Age: Children new-born to 15 years of age. Cases must be filed with USCIS before the child’s 16th birthday.

Gender: Both boys and girls are available for adoption. Parents should be flexible in regards to gender selection.

Health: Children are generally healthy, but may have parasites and other treatable conditions caused due to living conditions. Children are tested at minimum — for HIV/AIDS, VDRL, Parasites and Hepatitis. We also have many children with medical conditions that are in need of families as well.

Adoptive Parents Requirements

Marriage: Married couples may apply. Couples must be married at least one year. Applications cannot be accepted from pregnant women. Previous divorce is usually allowed. One parent must be a US Citizen.

Age: Parents must be at least 25 years of age. Those 25-49 may adopt an infant. Those over 50 may adopt an older child. In most cases there must be a 17 year age difference between the adoptive parent and adoptive child.

Children: Families may have no more than 4 children in the home.


Travel is two trips, approximately 5 days each and comfortable accommodations are available. Clients are facilitated while in country by our bi-lingual staff in Ethiopia. The opportunity for one longer stay is also an option if at least one parent can stay for 3 weeks.

Time Frame

Depending on the processing of case by USCIS and the Ethiopian authorities it will take approximately 8-12 months to complete the adoption from match to bringing the child home. The time frame will depend greatly on the type of case and the paperwork needed for the child’s adoption. Processing times can and do go longer than this estimated time frame, so families need to be flexible and committed to this process.


The family will be placed on our waitlists based on their preferences. Most wait lists right now are looking at wait times of 18-36 months, sometimes longer if you have narrow preferences (younger in age, one gender only). Once you are at the top of the list and we have a referral available, the family will be provided with photos, lab results, and known medical/social history. Please note that social and medical history is scarce and frequently incomplete due to many factors. IAN will provide you with any information that is given to us by the orphanage.

Alternatively, families could decide to adopt a waiting child from our site. Most of these children are 8 years or older, or may have medical needs. In this case families will skip the wait list portion of the adoption. Once the family signs up, we will work to get all the adoption paperwork together to make the match. Once the match is made, the processing times are generally the same as any other referral. Medical expedites are attempted for children with urgent conditions, but very often not approved by the Ethiopia authorities.

Ethiopia Information Resources:

CIA World Factbook – Ethiopia

USCIS (for Adoption Petition Forms)

US State Department – Ethiopia Travel

Ethiopian Embassy in USA

History, Culture and Facts of Ethiopia

For more detailed information on the program, process or fee schedule, please contact International Adoption Net or at 303.691.0808

Ethiopia: Adoption Process

What does the process of adopting from Ethiopia look like? See the step-by-step process below.

1. Sign up with International Adoption Net.

You may submit the online application or print and mail the application. IAN will review your application and get back to you within 24 hours.

2. Begin home study and IAN policy paperwork.

Your Adoption Coordinator can help you find a Hague accredited agency in your area to complete your homestudy. We will also send you our agency policies to start your file.

3. Complete home study and dossier draft to be placed on the waitlist.

You will be working with a social worker who will help you through this process.

Once the home study and dossier draft are complete, you will be added to the waiting list(s).

4. File I-600A with USCIS.

You will receive instructions from IAN/home study agency about how to apply after your homestudy is completed.

5. Parents may accept referral.

Your Adoption Coordinator will call you with information on your referral.

6. Start the PAIR (I-600) process and finalize dossier for Ethiopia.

We will send in all the child’s adoption paperwork to USICS that will be reviewed there, and at the US Embassy in Addis. This review can take 3-6 months, or longer. During this time you will work with your coordinator to complete your dossier and send that to DC to be authenticated, and then over to our Ethiopian team to be prepared for court.

7. Get PAIR approval and start court process in Ethiopia.

PAIR letter will be sent for seperate authentication in DC and dossier is submitted in Ethiopia to the Ethiopian Federal First Instance Court to be reviewed. Cases will be given a first court date for the birth families to relinquish or for abandonment cases to be reviewed. After that, the Ethiopian Ministry of Womens, Youth and Children’s Affairs (MOWA) will also review the case and give its opinion. Please note there is always a chance that the family or child’s case may not be approved by USCIS, COURT or MOWA. The court process can take 2-4 months or longer. Federal MOWA has to approve the case at this stage, and this is where agencies are seeing significant delays.

8. Adoptive family court.

Once court and Federal MOWA both give the green light, the adoptive family’s court date will be scheduled relatively quickly (usually in under two weeks). Families will travel to Addis for one week to meet their child and attend court. Both parents must attend court. Trip is about 4 days, unless the family decides to stay over.

9. Child’s court decree, birth certificate and new passport are created. Child attends visa medical appointment.

These can take 2-4 weeks to gather. These documents will be submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa for review.

10. U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa schedules a final interview for Adoptive Parents.

Adoptive Parents travel to Addis Ababa for their Embassy interivew (4 days).

The U.S Embassy provides immigrant visa for child to come to US.

11. Family Travels Home

The family returns to the U.S with their adopted child!!

12. Post Adoption

Our post adoption and validation coordinators will walk you through the final paperwork needed for your child to gain a US birth certificate and citizenship. We are here to help during your transition period, and any time that you may need assistance once you return home with your child. Post adoption reports completed by a licensed social worker are required 3,6, and 12 months after you arrive in the US with your child. Parents are responsible for submitting reports and pictures online every year thereafter until the age of 18, as required by all Ethiopian Adoption decrees.

Travel in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian Government requires adoptive parents to make two trips to Ethiopia for their adoption. Exceptions can sometimes be made if both parents are unable to travel for both trips.

From the families:

“Thank you for everything. I never doubted you even a single minute as we were struggling all along. Thank you and God Bless you.” G. N.

“Thank you so much for all your help, patience, understanding and kindness over the last year. I can’t tell you how we appreciate all that you have done for us.” M.R

” Thank you so much, Kathryn. You are heaven sent 🙂 I will let {my daughter} know how hard you worked for her.” S.C.

“Thank you again for keeping us so well prepared and informed. We are thrilled we are almost to Ethiopia. Also, a huge thank you for arranging for {our son’s} family to meet. This is also very exciting. CAN’T WAIT! IAN is the greatest agency ever!!!!!!”- R.S.

“We are rejoicing!!!!! God is great, and you have blessed so many by being such a passionate member of His team. Keep on and do not grow weary of doing good. Your hard work and determination in your sometimes very challenging profession is changing lives. ” -T.W.

” We realize that you all care for every child the same but we feel that you have really treated our girl special. You guys have fought so hard for to make sure that she has received the best care available and we couldn’t be more grateful. You have been our advocate, comforter and educator throughout this process and we are eternally grateful. {our Daughter} is the luckiest little girl to have so many people fighting so hard for her. I only hope that we can raise her to do the same for others. What a wonderful world that would be. I wanted you to know that your efforts do not go unnoticed. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” D.B.

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