America World's Ethiopia program began in 2006 and grew quickly. Although Ethiopia is still one of the largest adoption programs out there, there has been a steep decline nationwide in the number of children adopted from Ethiopia since 2011. America World has seen the process become more lengthy and more complicated throughout the years.
Unfortunately, this country that is about twice the size of Texas has an estimated 4.3 million orphans. The children are primarily orphaned due to poverty, and live in both government-run and privately established orphanages. The need is great in Ethiopia. There are many, many children in need of families, however many of them will not get the opportunity to be adopted because they are not documented for international adoption. America World is committed to partnering with families to provide homes for those who do.
We do currently have profiles of Waiting Children in Ethiopia who are ready for international adoption. You can request to view their profiles by visiting our Waiting Children webpage. Waiting Children are orphans who have medical needs or are older. Families interested in learning more about these children must first submit a full application to America World. Once accepted into the program, families have access to the full referral file of Waiting Children which generally includes photos, a social report, a psychological report and medical information.
After filling out an application, receiving approval through America World’s intake process, and signing an Agreement with America World, prospective parents initiate what we call the “paper chase," which takes 4-6 months to complete. During this stage of Ethiopia's adoption process, families begin assembling their dossier (set of adoption paperwork). America World assigns each family a personal Family Coordinator to help them compile their dossier, which includes a home study and approval from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Before America World can submit a family’s dossier to the Ethiopian government’s Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, it must be sent through a careful process of certification and authentication in order for it to be used as a legal framework for adoption. Certification and authentication is a three-step procedure in which dossier documents visit their respective Secretaries of State, the U.S. Department of State, and Ethiopia’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. Family Coordinators will assist families through this process as well. The authentication process concludes the paper chase, and America World delivers the finished dossier to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs.
Once the dossier is in Ethiopia, it is translated, processed and examined by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. Our staff works with government officials and orphanages as a match is made between prospective parents and a child. Currently, families are being matched with a referral 48-60 months after dossier submission. This wait time is subject to change and shows a trend of increasing. We expect families starting the process to adopt from Ethiopia will wait longer than the current wait time due to the fact that the wait time has increased every year. These parents are given a picture, medical test results and a short profile of the child’s life. All children are tested for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and other medical conditions. Prospective parents adopting from Ethiopia are given the option to accept or reject the child referral they receive. America World plans travel arrangements for families choosing to accept their referral.
When adopting a child from Ethiopia, there are two in-country stays required in Ethiopia. Both parents must travel on the first trip, which is typically 5-7 days. Only one parent is required to return for the second trip, which generally lasts 3-5 days. America World’s staff will coordinate travel logistics, including air and ground transportation, lodging, translators, and some meals. Families fly into the capital city, Addis Ababa, where they are assisted by an America World representative. During their second stay, adoptive parents visit the U.S. consulate in Addis Ababa to receive their child’s visa.
America World is pleased to be able to offer families the opportunity to adopt from this beautiful African nation, and we are also eager to partner with others in our commitment to provide humanitarian aid and sustainable development projects for orphans’ welfare in Ethiopia. Your decision to adopt through America World will not only change your life and the life of the child you adopt — but will also affect the life of your friends, family and community.
We believe that our adoption program in Ethiopia, including older and special needs children, offers a great opportunity to build families through God’s plan of adoption. As the 9th US agency licensed in Ethiopia, our program staff is experienced and ready to help serve your family in your adoption.
Be sure to visit our Financing Adoption page to learn how to reduce or eliminate your adoption expenses!