Ethiopia Adoption Notice: Additional Information Concerning New Referrals

Last Updated: December 12, 2017

In our November 8 Adoption Notice, the Office of Children’s Issues stated that adoption agencies should not make new referrals in Ethiopia. Since that time, we have learned that some agencies continue to encourage adoptive families to accept referrals, contrary to our recommendation.

The Department understands that families find the current situation regarding the closure of intercountry adoptions in Ethiopia difficult. We encourage adoptive families to carefully consider the risks involved with accepting a referral in Ethiopia at this time. The Ministry of Women and Youth Affairs has stated that it will not process any new cases beyond the current agreement (as detailed in our November 8 Adoption Notice). The Embassy has received no information indicating that the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Youth Affairs’ decision will change even if regional processing or court processing continues to occur.

Families may wish to review their contracts or other agreements with their Adoption Service Provider (ASP) to determine if there are financial implications to accepting a referral in Ethiopia at this time. We are aware that some ASPs require significant fees at the time of referral. These fees are often nonrefundable. Additionally, following a referral, ASPs may require adoptive parents to pay monthly fees to support the ongoing care in Ethiopia of the child with whom they have been matched. If a court finalizes an adoption but the Ministry does not allow it to proceed, a family may be legally and financially responsible for a child they are unable to bring to the United States. For this reason, families are encouraged to seek legal advice if they have questions and to consider the emotional risks of initiating adoptions that, based on the Department’s current information, will not be allowed by the Government of Ethiopia to conclude.

Only information provided on reflects official guidance about adoptions from a given country. Information provided by non-U.S. (.gov) websites may not be correct or up-to-date. Consult for the latest, authoritative information.