Adoption Update

The most up-to-date adoption news


ELIGIBILITY TO ADOPT: The Ethiopian government prefers to place children with married couples who have been married for at least five years.  In general, single persons under age 25 may not adopt, nor may openly gay or lesbian individuals or couples.  However, the Ethiopian government has occasionally approved cases involving persons in all of these categories.

There is no statutory maximum age limit on the adoptive parent.  However, Ethiopian practice is to limit the age of the parent to no more than 40 years greater than that of the adopted child.

There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Adoption agencies will advise adoptive parents approximately how long an adoption can take.  Recent adoptions have taken between 6 and 24 months.

Once the Ethiopian adoption process has been completed, it normally takes about an hour to apply for an immigrant visa for an adopted child for families working through approved adoption agencies.  Approved visas are typically picked up by the agencies the following morning.  It may take months for private adopters, depending on the completeness of the application and the need for follow-up investigations.

(All information taken from the U.S. Department of State website)

March 2010 Update

Ethiopia is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).  Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Ethiopia did not change.

NOTE: Taking into consideration recent allegations of misconduct in intercountry adoptions in Ethiopia the Department of State would like to remind adoptive parents that before an immigrant visa may be issued to an adopted child, a U.S. consular officer must ensure that the adoption is legal under Ethiopian law and that the child is qualified under U.S. immigration law to immigrate to the United States.

The Department of State reminds adoptive parents that consular officers are required by law to conduct an orphan investigation (I-604) to verify the child’s orphan status prior to the issuance of an IR-3 or IR-4 immigrant visa.  Depending on the circumstances of a case, this investigation may take up to several months to complete.  Adoptive parents should therefore carefully consider whether to file their Form I-600 Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative at the USCIS district office closest to their place of residence in the U.S. or at Embassy Addis Ababa, and are urged to work with their adoption service provider to confirm the status of their case before traveling to Ethiopia.

There are more than twenty U.S.- based adoption agencies authorized by the government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services that are actively referring children to American families, as well as several others whose accreditation is pending.  Americans contemplating adopting in Ethiopia should take great care in selecting an agency.  They should research different agencies, seeking the input of families who have used these agencies in the past.

Information taken from Adoption State Gov


  1. yU2UzA Thanks for good post

    Comment by johnny | December 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. You just copied someone else’s story

    Comment by Kirk Hassett | August 19, 2012 | Reply

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