Saturday, March 6, 2010

The sweet soul of Ethiopia

I woke up this morning to a slew of posts that left me confused. I've since gone back and tried to read and re read updates blogs and posts about why all the outrage and am now, for the first time, somewhat worried. I'm worried that we may have a large bump in the road and be delayed in picking up our kid.
So here is whats going on...(see below)
From my understanding the Dept of State has implemented a longer process in making sure that all orphaned children are actual orphans. Where the way for getting an embassy/visa apt in Ethiopia, allowing you to take your child home, may be lengthened from what was 2 weeks, to now being 8 weeks. Now of course I want to ensure that Bay is in fact an orphan, I hate that our adoption is being threatened because of a "few bad apples". I'm sure many of you have seen on the news lately about the child trafficking going on and adoptive parents finding out that their children do have healthy living families capable and willing to raise their children, but have been convinced to let them go and promised they would see them again etc....Well this stuff is real and scary and sickening that their are people out there doing this, just to make $. 
Luckily we are with a wonderful honest agency who is not doing such things and hopefully they will only be targeting some suspected agencies while the rest of us can carry on as normal.  So there are 2 things I worry about with all this. One, we will be delayed a few months in picking up Bay and he will have to spend unnecessary time in the care center and we will be missing him dearly. And two, something much worse, the government will shut down the ET program.  I don't think the latter will happen.  But it has happened in other countries where families have had to give up on a child they believed they would bring home.  Obviously I hope none of this effects us and we carry on as normal. But if it does, I hope we just have to wait a few more weeks.And I really hope that this won't ruin future adoptions from Ethiopia for any families who could have been blessed with a sweet soul of Ethiopia.

Adoption Notice
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

Change in Processing Timeline for Adoption Cases

March 5, 2010

The Department of State shares families’ concerns about recent media reports alleging direct recruitment of children from birth parents by adoption service providers or their employees.  In response to these reports, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has implemented some changes to adoption visa processing.  Adoptive parents should be aware that an I-604 (Determination on Child for Adoption, sometimes referred to as “orphan investigation”) must be completed in connection with every I-600 application.  Depending on the circumstances of the case, this investigation may take up to several weeks or even months to complete.  Therefore, adoptive parents should not plan to travel to Ethiopia until they have confirmed with their adoption agency that their visa interview appointment has been confirmed.

Adoption agencies submit case paperwork to the U.S. Embassy for review  before the Embassy schedules the immigrant visa appointment.  In some cases the I-604 determination could take several weeks or more from the time a case is submitted to the U.S. Embassy to the scheduling of a visa interview appointment.  We understand that in such cases this will result in a longer period before parents are able to bring their adopted children to the U.S.  However, this additional scrutiny is required to ensure that the adoption is legal under both U.S. and Ethiopian law.  The U.S. Embassy will work with adoptive parents and their adoption agency to ensure that each case is processed in the most expeditious manner possible in accordance laws and regulations.  Families should continue to work through their agency to schedule immigrant visa appointments and answer questions regarding pending cases.  

If families have concerns about their adoption, we ask that they share this information with the Embassy, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case.  The Embassy takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously. 

The best way to contact the Embassy is by email at ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov.  Please include your name, your child’s name, your adoption agency, the date of the adoption (month and year), and, if possible, the immigrant visa case number for your child’s case (this number begins with the letters ADD followed several numbers and can be found on any document sent to you by the National Visa Center).  Please let us know if we have your permission to share concerns about your specific case with Ethiopian government officials.

We strongly encourage you to register any complaint that you may have about an adoption agency in the following ways:
  • You may file a complaint with the state licensing authority where your adoption agency is licensed and conducts business.  The Child Welfare Information Gateway, which is maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides such a list at the link below:  http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/rl_dsp.cfm?rs_id=15&rate_chno=AZ-0008E
  • You may also file a report with the state’s Better Business Bureau.  Following is the link to the Better Business Bureau’s website where you may file a complaint on-line:  https://odr.bbb.org/odrweb/public/getstarted.aspx  
  • If your agency is a Hague-accredited adoption service provider, you are encouraged to file a complaint on the Hague Complaint Registry located at the link below.  This information will be used by the accrediting entities to evaluate the agency in connection with the renewal of its accreditation status.  http://adoption.state.gov/hague/overview/complaints.html

    The U.S. Embassy continues to work with the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist to protect prospective adoptive children, their birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents.  Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information.


  1. I too hope this does not affect the future of adoptions from Ethiopia. I am praying for it all to work out.

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