Adoption Alert—Suspension of Adoptions from Ethiopia

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On April 21, an official from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women and Children (MOWA) informed U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa that it is suspending its processing of intercountry adoption cases, effective immediately. The U.S. Department of State does not yet know how long this suspension will last. The Office of Children’s Issues and the Embassy are working with MOWA to seek more information on the terms of the suspension. We will urge MOWA to complete processing of cases that were in progress prior to this suspension.

If you have questions about your pending case, please contact your Adoption Service Provider. You may also write to ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov if you have questions about an adoption-related visa application or immigrant petition. You may copy the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov on your email to the Embassy if you wish.

Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

Another Fabulous Blog Post by Katie Jay!

U.S. State Department Covers Up Smear Campaign Against Families Adopting From Ethiopia

Source: http://childrendeservefamilies.com/u-s-state-department-covers-smear-campaign-families-adopting-ethiopia/

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Look at four thousand of anything and you’re bound to turn up a bad apple. Or egg. Or fraudulent adoption.

Except looking didn’t find one–not one out of 4000, even though the U.S. State Department wanted and needed to find one.

In January of 2011, a joint team from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State reviewed 4,000 consecutive adoptions from Ethiopia, looking for evidence that fraud was prevalent in Ethiopian adoptions. The State Department needed evidence to back up a smear campaign they had begun to wage against Ethiopian adoptions. But after a field investigation and an extensive, careful analysis, the team found that not one single case among those 4,000 was fraudulent.

Read more.

ALERT: [Intercountry Adoption] Adoption Notice: Ethiopia

Notice: Implementation of Pre-Adoption Immigration Review (PAIR) Program in Ethiopia

Effective September 1, 2013, the Government of Ethiopia will require all adoption cases filed on behalf of U.S. prospec­tive adoptive parents with the Ethiopian courts to undergo the U.S. PAIR process. The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MOWCYA) will require a PAIR letter issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as one of the criterion for its best interest determination. To comply, the adoption dossier submitted by prospective adoptive parents to the Federal First Instance Court (FFIC) to initiate the adoption, will need to include the PAIR letter issued by USCIS. The FFIC will then forward the dossier, including the PAIR letter, to MOWCYA for review. The new criterion will not affect pending adoption cases filed with Ethiopian courts before September 1, 2013.

To enable prospective parents adopting from Ethiopia to comply with Ethiopia’s new requirement, USCIS issued a policy memorandum, effective immediately, that allows prospective adoptive parents to begin the PAIR process and file a Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, before Ethiopian courts finalize an adoption in Ethiopia. These procedures allow USCIS to assess the child’s likely eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits and make a prelimi­nary determination before Ethiopian courts finalize the adoption decree. A copy of the policy memorandum is available on USCIS’ website.

To begin the PAIR process, petitioners adopting children from Ethiopia should file the Form I-600 petition and support­ing documents through the appropriate lockbox for forwarding to the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) before fil­ing an adoption case with the Ethiopian courts. Please refer to USCIS’ website for filing instructions for the NBC. USCIS overseas offices and the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will continue to accept Form I-600 petitions, but such petitions will be forwarded to the NBC for PAIR review.

Prospective adoptive parents filing their Form I-600 petition should include all available required documentation when filing a Form I-600 petition, except the adoption decree or grant of legal custody. Additionally, the following PAIR-specific documentation must be submitted when the child’s country of origin is Ethiopia:

· Evidence of the match between petitioner and child such as:

· Adoption Contract between the Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) and the orphanage, together with a power of attorney appointing the Adoption Service Provider (ASP) to represent the PAP, in cases where the contract is signed by the ASP on behalf of the PAP; or

· Adoption Contract between the PAP and relinquishing birth relative.

· Evidence of child’s availability for intercountry adoption, such as:

· Court order from Regional, Zonal, or Woreda authorities;

· Police report from local authorities, placing the child in the care of a licensed orphanage; or

· Adoption Contract between PAP and relinquishing birth relative, in cases of intra-family adoption only.

The FFIC will make its own determination regarding the child’s adoptability. After completing the adoption and receiv­ing the adoption decree from the FFIC, U.S. adoptive parents will submit their adoption decree and all necessary docu­ments to Embassy Addis Ababa for final Form I-600 petition review and immigrant visa processing.

You may refer to adoption.state.gov for additional information about adopting from Ethiopia.

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