Ethiopia - Process
OverviewEthiopia is a landlocked country situated in East Africa and is estimated to have a population of 83 million people that is growing rapidly. It is one of the oldest countries in the world and was the home of the Queen of Sheba. Ethiopia enjoys the distinction of being one of the few countries in Africa that was never colonized by Europeans. The empire, which started with Sheba's son, Menelik, continued until 1974 when the death of Emperor Haile Selassie marked the end of the 3000 year dynasty. Following his death, there was a civil war in the country until 1991 when a transitional government was formed. The seventeen years of civil war bankrupted the country and left thousands of orphaned children. The numbers of orphaned children continue to be high because the diseases associated with poverty cause premature deaths of parents.
Available ChildrenAAI has placed over 1,000 infants and children from Ethiopia. The children tend to have a cheerful outlook despite their difficult lives. AAI's goal is to find families for the most vulnerable children, those with disabilities, medical problems, or who are part of sibling groups who need to be placed together. Most of the children we are currently placing have mild to severe special needs or are HIV+. All children are tested during the adoption process for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and syphilis.
We are currently accepting applications for children of all ages with minor to major special needs, sibling groups with at least one older child, and children beyond infancy who are HIV+.
Parent EligibilityCouples (with or without children) may apply. Couples must be married for two years. There are no restrictions regarding religion and previous divorces are permitted. There cannot be more than forty-three years difference in age between the youngest adopting parent and the child. However, there are exceptions for older children, children with special needs, and sibling adoptions.
Ethiopia no longer routinely accepts single women applicants for healthy children. Single women able to parent children with special needs, most notably HIV, can still complete Ethiopian adoptions at this time.
Hague ConventionAAI is has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation and thus works in compliance with Hague requirements. Ethiopia is not a signatory country for the Hague Convention at this time.
TrainingParents are required to complete 10 hours of formal training. This includes two courses required by AAI. One is in DVD format and the other is an online training. The DVD and online training information is sent to the family after AAI receives the family's application.
Referral InformationA photo and available medical information is provided upon referral of the child. A DVD of waiting children is available from time to time--check with the office for current availability. There is a small charge.
TravelCurrently, families travel to Ethiopia twice during the adoption process, first to meet the child and attend the initial court hearing. The second trip occurs several months later to finalize the visa for the child and escort the child home. It is possible for the child to be escorted for the second trip and arrangements for this can be made through the AAI office.
If only one parent will attend the visa interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia, the non-traveling spouse must sign a power of attorney allowing the traveling spouse to act on his/her behalf. This document is available here.