Ethiopia is the only African country that was not colonized as various European nations scrambled to divide and rule Africa. With the brief exception of the Italian occupation from 1936-1941, Ethiopia has remained an independent nation.
With a population of over 91 million people, there is an assorted collection of food, languages, customs and people groups. Ethiopia also contains a diverse landscape, including parts of the Nile River and the Great Rift Valley. As an East African landlocked country, Ethiopia is bordered by Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Eritrea and Djibouti.
Ethiopia, an ancient Christian nation, has deep-rooted Ethiopian Orthodox customs and practices. The Judaic-Christian roots of Ethiopia can be found in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Today, about half the population of Ethiopia is Christian.
Unfortunately, this country that is about twice the size of Texas has an estimated 4.3 million orphans. The children are primarily orphaned due to poverty, and live in both government-run and privately established orphanages.PROCESS
Ethiopia’s international adoption process is relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated. After filling out an application, receiving approval through America World’s intake process, and signing an Agreement with America World, prospective parents initiate what we call the “paper chase," which takes 4-6 months to complete. During this stage of the adoption, families begin assembling their dossier (set of adoption paperwork). America World assigns each family a personal Family Coordinator to help them compile their dossier, which includes a home study and approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Before America World can submit a family’s dossier to the Ethiopian government’s Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, it must be sent through a careful process of certification and authentication in order for it to be used as a legal framework for adoption. Certification and authentication is a three-step procedure in which dossier documents visit their respective Secretaries of State, the U.S. Department of State, and Ethiopia’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. Family Coordinators will assist families through this process as well. The authentication process concludes the paper chase, and America World delivers the finished dossier to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.
Once the dossier is in Ethiopia, it is translated, processed and examined by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. Our staff works with government officials and orphanages as a match is made between prospective parents and a child. Currently, families are being matched with a referral 36-42 months after dossier submission. This wait time is subject to change and shows a trend of increasing. We expect families starting the process will wait longer than the current wait time due to the fact that the wait time has increased every year. These parents are given a picture, medical test results and a short profile of the child’s life. All children are tested for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and other medical conditions. Prospective parents are given the option to accept or reject the child referral they receive. America World plans travel arrangements for families choosing to accept their referral.
There are two in-country stays required in Ethiopia. Both parents must travel on the first trip, which is typically 5-7 days. Only one parent is required to return for the second trip, which generally lasts 3-5 days. America World’s staff will coordinate travel logistics, including air and ground transportation, lodging, translators, and some meals. Families fly into the capital city, Addis Ababa, where they are assisted by an America World representative. During their second stay, adoptive parents visit the U.S. consulate in Addis Ababa to receive their child’s visa.
America World is pleased to be able to offer families the opportunity to adopt from this beautiful African nation, and we are also eager to partner with others in our commitment to provide humanitarian aid and sustainable development projects for orphans’ welfare in Ethiopia. Your decision to adopt through America World will not only change your life and the life of the child you adopt — but will also affect the life of your friends, family and community.
We believe that our adoption program in Ethiopia offers a great opportunity to build families through God’s plan of adoption. As the 9th US agency licensed in Ethiopia, our program staff is experienced and ready to help serve your family in your adoption.