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Ethiopia Adoption &

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International Adoption Page


Cutting for Stone

Historical Context of Ethiopia Adoption

Ethiopia, a land of rugged beauty, is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. The ancient home of the Queen of Sheba, it was left bankrupt by years of civil war. Drought, floods, famine, and disease have pushed many thousands of Ethiopian children into institutions because their parents are either no longer living or are unable to care for them.

There are seven U.S.-based adoption agencies authorized by the Government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services, and several others pending accreditation. The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA). Private adoptions are permitted in Ethiopia, but discouraged by MOLSA because they take place under local adoption rules and may bypass the process and protections put in place by the Government of Ethiopia relating to international adoption.

Schoolboys in Nakempte, Western Oromia-Taken from Flickr - Ethiopian Highlands by Giustino at
Ethiopia's population has grown dramatically, from 33.5 million in 1983 to 75.1 million in 2006 Ethiopian Highlands with Ras Dashan in the background.

Ethiopia requires post-placement reports on Ethiopian orphans at 3 months, 6 months, and one year after the adoption. Yearly reports until the child turns 18 are also required.

View over Churchill Road in Addis Abeba

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia and the African Union. As a chartered city, Addis Ababa has the status of both a city and a state.

The children are beautiful. Children waiting forplacement are male and female, infant to 15 years old, healthy as well as special needs. Single birth and sibling groups are available. Many children have resided in a local orphanage, community care or in the hospital of birth prior to being matched with a family. The children are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis and Venereal Disease prior to being placed.


Quick Facts:

Number of adoptions from Ethiopia

2006: 732

2005: 441

2004: 289

2003: 135

2002: 105

Age/gender of children adopted from Ethiopia in 2005 60% Female
21% under 1 year of age
23% 1 – 4 years of age
Estimated Cost $15,000 to $22,000
Profile of Children Both boys and girls, infants up through school age, and sibling groups are available.
Timeline Approximately six to 24 months from completion of dossier to referral.
Parent Requirements The Ethiopian government prefers to place children with married couples who have been married for at least five years.  In general, single persons under age 25 may not adopt, nor may openly gay or lesbian individuals or couples.  However, the Ethiopian government has occasionally approved cases involving persons in all of these categories.

There is no statutory maximum age limit on the adoptive parent.  However, Ethiopian practice is to limit the age of the parent to no more than 40 years greater than that of the adopted child.
Travel One or both adopting parents may choose to travel or may have their child escorted. The in-country stay in Ethiopia is generally about one week long.
Family Status The Ethiopian government prefers to place children with married couples who have been married for at least five years. In general, single persons under age 25 may not adopt, but the Ethiopian government has, on occasion, approved adoptions by single persons.


Join one of these Online communities:

EthiopiaAdopt · Ethiopia Adoption - This on line, email community supports families who have adopted from, are in the process, or considering, adopting from Ethiopia.


Consult these websites to stay up to date:

U.S. State Department Country Adoption

Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, DC

JCICS The Joint Council for International Children’s Services (JCICS) is one of the oldest and largest membership associations of licensed non-profits international adoptions agencies, child advocacy groups, parent support groups and medical clinics. 


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