Ethiopia Adoption Program
Illien Adoptions International, Inc. has been licensed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs of the Government of Ethiopia since the beginning of 2006 to find permanent families for abandoned children. Since beginning its work in Ethiopia, Illien Adoptions has partnered with the Illien Foundation for Children, Inc. to assist with humanitarian projects to benefit many poor and destitute children and help address the causes of abandonment. If you or your family or friends want to donate to any projects during the course of your adoption, you may make donations through Illien Foundation for Children, Inc..
Illien Adoptions International, Inc. maintains an in-country office and staff. These people's experience, energy, passion, and commitment to the children of Ethiopia are the heart and soul of Illien’s Ethiopia program. The Agency works in cooperation with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) licensed by the Ethiopian government to give orphanage care to children.
Children Eligible for Adoption in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is a wonderful program for families who wish to adopt a child of any age, ranging from babies to sibling groups and children with special needs. Families may state their preference for the gender and age range for the child at time of referral (with certain restrictions). Currently, our families are experiencing a longer wait time for a referral of a baby girl than for a baby boy. When our agency makes a referral to a Prospective Adoptive Parent(s), we send a complete Child Profile Report (CPR), which includes all available information on the child’s family history, as well as medical information including lab workups, which detail HIV, Hepatitis and venereal disease status. The child(ren) are referred to the orphanages by the Ethiopian government officials. In Ethiopia, it is not the custom to register a child at the time of birth. Therefore, the age of the child is estimated according to the information available. When the child comes to the orphanage, the age of the child is already established by the official documentation. Our Agency’s staff in Addis has the child examined by a panel physician of the US Embassy before we give the referral to a family. Therefore, an official / legal age, as well as a medically estimated age are both provided to families.
Ethiopia is a great program for those interested in adopting a group of siblings. To learn more about one family's journey check out the story of a recent Illien Adoptions Ethiopia Program family currently featured on our Family Stories page:
Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents
Single women and married couples are eligible to adopt. The government of Ethiopia prefers to place children with couples who have been married for five years, but couples married for at least one year are also acceptable. In general, the upper age limit for Prospective Adoptive Parents is 60. However, if the Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) are open to considering children age 10 and older, then these parent(s) may, on a case by case basis, be accepted to adopt. Prospective adoptive families are not limited by the amount of children currently residing in the home.
As of May 9, 2010, Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) are required to travel to Ethiopia for the Court Hearing for the adoption. The purpose of this requirement is for the Prospective Parent(s) to see the child, spend time with the child, and appear before the judge to affirm in person their decision to adopt this child(ren). The Ethiopian authorities hope that this will prevent disruptions and ensure a safe and permanent relationship between the parents and the child(ren). If a married couple is adopting, both parents are required to attend the court hearing. Adoptive Parent(s) are not required to attend the US Embassy appointment in Ethiopia. However, if no parent is able to attend, then the child may be escorted. Choosing to have an escort can add several months to the adoption process. If escort services are needed, this can be arranged through the Agency.
Why Ethiopian Children Are in Need of Adoptive Placement
Ethiopian children have become orphaned, relinquished, or are abandoned for a number of reasons stemming from the country’s overwhelming social issues of widespread poverty and disease. Many of the children are orphaned because their parents did not have access to adequate nutrition or medical care. Many children have minor special needs which are operable, treatable, manageable, or considered high-risk. There are some children who have tested positive for HIV/AIDS, and they are considered special needs children. Because HIV/AIDS is affecting more and more children in Ethiopia, our agency has increased its efforts to help these children find loving homes.
How To Learn More About or Begin the Adoption Process for Ethiopia
First, if you are interested in learning more about our Ethiopia Program and our agency, go to our website's "How To Get Started" inquiry page. This is a form that helps us respond to your questions more efficiently, and there is no cost or obligation. Please fill it out completely, click on SUBMIT, and our staff will respond soon after (please be sure to include your email address, so that we may send out our informational documents to you).
Second, for more details about the Ethiopia program, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and request the extended edition of our Ethiopia Program Description and other information. For a breakdown of actual and estimated fees, see also left sidebar of this Ethiopia Program page; this "Program Details" PDF is a 1-page downloadable fee worksheet.
It is very important with any international adoption program that we make sure that you qualify for this program and that you understand how the country’s adoption process works. We always enjoy speaking with our prospective adoptive parents. We also encourage you to follow up your inquiry by calling Debbie Thornton at (941) 729-0325 or (404) 815-1599, ext.107, or by calling the Ethiopia Program Director, Kellie Surratt (ext.105), or our Ethiopia department-wide number: (404) 815-1599, ext. 11. We also welcome you to fill out our online inquiry form to request information about our Ethiopia Program or any of our programs.
RECENT UPDATES from the U.S. Department of State re: ETHIOPIAN ADOPTIONS
11 Dec. 2012: MOWA requested a clarification on the status of EthioStork International Social Service Consultants: They are not able to facilitate adoptions; they are able to provide adoption consulting services. Read the complete announcement here at adoption.state.gov } Country Information } Adoption Alerts & Notices.
4 Dec. 2012: International Adoption Guides, one of 2 agencies that had been suspended since November 2012 while undergoing investigation, has now been reinstated. Read the complete announcement here at adoption.state.gov } Country Information } Adoption Alerts & Notices.
9 Nov. 2012: Two agencies (International Adoption Guides and Adoption Advocates International) were suspended temporarily while undergoing investigation for compliance. Read the complete announcement here at adoption.state.gov } Country Information } Adoption Alerts & Notices.
10 May 2012: Summary of Adoption Service Provider Meeting with the U.S. Embassy (fee changes, etc.) Read the complete announcement here at adoption.state.gov } Country Information } Adoption Alerts & Notices.