Ethiopia Adoption Suspension Update for June 7, 2017

From the U.S. Department of State today:

Below are the latest updates regarding Ethiopia’s suspension of intercountry adoptions.

According to Ethiopian government officials, Ethiopia’s adoption policy has changed to favor domestic placements over international adoptions. The State Department has not received official written confirmation of a policy change. It remains unclear how the new policy will impact intercountry adoptions.

Officials from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Woman and Children’s Affairs (MOWA) informed U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa it will issue the Vital Signature document for all cases with Federal First Instance Court (FFIC) approval. They did not provide a timeline for issuance.  However, the Embassy confirms MOWA has issued the Vital Signature document for a few adopted children with FFIC approval in the past several days.

Ethiopian authorities are issuing birth certificates for adopted children with FFIC approval and Vital Signature documents. In recent days, some families have been able to obtain passports for their adopted children; however, Ethiopian immigration authorities have denied passport applications for some other adoptive children. The Embassy believes this will be resolved between MOWA and Immigration. Families are asked to work with their agencies on this issue and to keep the U.S. Embassy informed of progress by emailing

Embassy Addis Ababa’s consular section prioritizes conducting immigrant visa interviews for adopted children.

The Embassy encourages families with FFIC approval to work closely with their adoption service providers to obtain the remaining post-court documents (vital letter, birth certificate, medical, and passport). If the adoptive parents have the final court decree, they should make sure their agency has submitted it to MOWA.

The Embassy will now resume normal communications with in-country adoptive parents; that is, it will communicate with them primarily through their adoption service providers.

We trust this information is useful. If you have any questions about the information in this update, or if you have a question about a particular case, please email the Office of Children’s Issues at

Trish Maskew
Division Chief
Office of Children’s Issues 


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