Ethiopia International Adoption Process

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Adoption parents requirements

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Adoption Process for Ethiopia

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Why Consider Adoption from Ethiopia?

The Ethiopian adoption program is a flexible program that is inclusive of a wide-range of qualified potential parents, including single women, families with several children, and older parents.  There are estimates of as many as four million children in Ethiopia living without parents or families.  These children are orphaned by poverty, AIDS, political conditions and disabling infrastructure. Yet even faced with these conditions the people and children of Ethiopia live an emotionally generous life, embodying the philosophy of "It takes a village to raise a child." This means that an older child adopted from Ethiopia who has lived in an extended family environment -- even those living in orphanages – may typically manifest fewer developmental or emotional issues as a child adopted from orphanages in other countries.

Your adoption consultant will educate you on the overall process of adopting in Ethiopia, communicate to you about your case specific steps and achievements, support you during the child referral presentation and acceptance process, coordinate with the adoptive family the PAIR requirements of your country, prepare you for travel to Ethiopia, and work with you to ensure that post placement reports are completed as required by Ethiopia. We will prepare you for adopting in Ethiopia as well as becoming a transracial family, identifying a child referral for the prospective adoptive parent, arranging for the adoption through their attorney in Ethiopia, and working with government officials to ensure the necessary consent to the adoption is provided.

Children Available:

Children age 1 to 15 years are available for adoption from Ethiopia. The majority of waiting children are older children and children with special needs. We currently have a long wait for children under the age of 7. Please look through your agency’s blog for more information on wait times.  The following waiting children are available for adoption:

• Orphans with special needs who are older than 1 year are available to be adopted through our Ethiopia adoption program.

Orphans in Ethiopia who are designated as waiting children typically are in one of the following categories:

• Orphans age 7 and older
• Orphans with moderate to severe special needs
• Sibling groups
• Orphans who are HIV+

AGCI is actively working in Ethiopia to allow more of these children the opportunity to find loving families through our waiting child Ethiopia adoption program.

  • Infants, toddlers and older children available.
  • Sibling groups and twins are sometimes available.
  • Many healthy children, some with minor and correctable special needs.
  • Children reside in several orphanages in and around the capital.
  • Prior to being in the orphanage children may have resided with the family of origin, in a local orphanage, community care or in the hospital of birth.
  • The children are tested for HIV, and Hepatitis prior to being placed.

Adoptive Parents Requirements:

  • Heterosexual married couples (with or without children) may apply.
  • Single female applicants are accepted.
  • Must be 25-50 years old or up to 55 on a case-by-case basis for 7 years and older.
  • Couples should be married at least one year to apply to the program.
  • No more than 2 divorces permitted.
  • Preference is that there be no more than a 45 year (flexible) gap between the age of the youngest adopting parent and the child being adopted.
  • Use of anti-depressants, anxiety medications, criminal background or certain chronic medical conditions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Timelines & Process:

Dossier submission through arriving home with child is dependent upon child request. Approximate referral timeframe for ages 0-5 years is 36-48 months from dossier submission to referral. The wait time is showing a trend of increasing and we expect even longer wait times for new families starting the process. Families adopting older children, particularly over age 7, would have a shorter wait time.

Families typically receive a referral in 9-15 months from the time the dossier is registered in Ethiopia; and potentially longer for young sibling groups or twins.

The waiting time from referral to travel for court is about 6-9 months and can only be scheduled once the PAIR oricess approval is issued.

Final trip of 3-5 days takes place approximately 4-6 weeks after court.

Applicants will wait the longest who limit their request to twins, specific sibling age groups or genders.

Once the dossier is completed the family will be placed on a waiting list for a referral.

The family will be presented with a referral of a child and have two weeks to consider the referral.

A photo and any and all available medical and social information is provided upon referral of the child.

Upon your acceptance of the referral, notification is sent to Ethiopia where our Ethiopian partner’s attorney will begin the official legal adoption process.

The Ethiopian partner's attorney will assist with translating the dossier and submitting documents for a court hearing.

Both parents must plan to attend court.

One parent may attend court with the other’s power of attorney under select extreme circumstances and prior approval from the Ethiopian government is required. 

For the trip to receive your child and complete the immigration process, one or both parents (or escort) will travel for the final trip.

About Ethiopia’s History

ethiopia02.jpgEthiopia 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.