Update: Ethiopia Suspension of Adoptions

Last Updated: May 26, 2017

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa has been informed that the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWA) will resume its processing of intercountry adoption cases, but that it will only issue negative letters. This will apply to all intercountry adoption cases, regardless of their stage in the process or the nationality of the adoptive parents. To date, the Ethiopian government has not provided the Office of Children’s Issues or the Embassy any formal communication regarding the suspension of intercountry adoptions.

Additionally, the Prime Minister’s Office is holding government-wide, minister-level meetings with various Ethiopian government ministries throughout the month of May. Due to those meetings, high-level officials in relevant ministries have been unresponsive to requests for meetings with U.S. government officials. The Office of Children’s Issues and the Embassy will urge the Ethiopian government to release additional information following the conclusion of those meetings. We will also continue to urge the Ethiopian government to allow continued processing of cases that were in progress prior to the April 21 suspension.

The Department of State will continue to advocate for intercountry adoption from Ethiopia. However, given the uncertainty of the future of adoptions there, prospective adoptive parents should consider other countries. If you have questions about your pending case, please contact your Adoption Service Provider and continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Ethiopia. 

The Department of State is aware that, during the suspension of adoptions from Ethiopia, individuals in Ethiopia may approach prospective adoptive parents or adoption service providers offering to assist with their adoptions and/or obtain related documentation (such as birth certificates and passports). These individuals might not be employed by, or supervised by, a U.S. accredited adoption service provider. We would like to remind you that under the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) and the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), any non-governmental agency or individual providing or facilitating adoption services in an intercountry adoption to the United States must in general be accredited, or supervised by an accredited U.S. agency. Individuals who provide adoption services in an intercountry adoption to the United States without being accredited, approved, supervised, or exempted may be subject to civil or criminal penalties. Any attempt by adoptive parents or adoption service providers to circumvent Ethiopia’s process or regulations may result in dangerous situations for adoptive families and/or negatively impact the future of adoptions from Ethiopia, and may also result in delays in processing of your adoptive child’s petition and/or immigrant visa.  

If you have questions about a specific agency or individual in Ethiopia, you may contact your primary provider. For questions or concerns about an accredited adoption service provider, you may contact the accrediting entity, the Council on Accreditation. For questions about this notice and/or the accreditation regulations that accredited entities must comply with, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov.