Message from the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

23. August, 2011UncategorizedOne comment

Ethiopia Adoptive Parents,

Please read the following message we received from the U.S. Embassy today regarding Orphan Investigations:

Dear Adoption Agencies,

Several issues have arisen over the past few weeks that make it necessary for us to clarify some points with you regarding how we screen documents and schedule interviews with adoptive parents.

We want to stress that we will not expedite cases simply because parents are in country. We screen cases in the order in which they are received and we schedule interview appointments in the order in which the cases are cleared. We recommend that all adoptive parents wait to travel until the Embassy has confirmed a scheduled appointment. We will not fast track any case because adoptive parents chose to travel to Ethiopia without a scheduled appointment.

Our documentary requirements for cases do not change when the parents are in-country. If in the course of screening the documents we determine that we cannot clear the case because of errors or inconsistencies in the file that require further investigation, adoptive parents could find themselves spending significantly more time than expected in Ethiopia.

Families should not book return travel without a confirmed interview date. We will not expedite appointments on this basis.

Please keep the following in mind when communicating with your adoptive parents. We will be sharing the same information:

  • adoption cases will be screened in the order received
  • interviews will not be scheduled until a case has been screened and cleared, including any required corrections
  • Embassy staff require several business days to screen a case
  • corrections may require several days to weeks to complete
  • investigations and/or interviews with birth or relinquishing relatives may take a significant amount of time to complete
  • interview slots are normally available within one week of a case being cleared
  • it takes 48 hours from the time of the interview until we are able to deliver a printed visa.

We respectfully ask you to continue informing your parents of our recommendations regarding travelling for the visa interview.

Esther Bell

Vice Consul

US Embassy

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


U.S. Embassy Delays in Ethiopia

9. August, 2011UncategorizedNo comments

Attention Ethiopia Adoptive Families: As many of you are aware, effective July 1st the staff at the U.S. Embassy has changed.  Since this change we are experiencing greater delay with case processing, in addition to new requirements and multiple requests for additional documentation or evidence.  Although these new requests and requirements were not expressed in advance to Agencies by the U.S. Embassy, our staff is working diligently to meet the needs of each request.  It has never been possible to predict what the U.S. Embassy may request for additional evidence, and we will continue to work with the Embassy on each case and individual request.  We are noticing greater delay on abandonment cases, but even this has not been consistent across the board.  We are asking all families to prepare for this delay and allow West Sands Adoptions the time needed to satisfy the U.S. Embassy’s requests.  The U.S. Embassy will email you if there are any additional requests for your case, you do not need to respond to their email or notify West Sands.  We receive all additional requests and will begin working on it immediately.  You will also receive an email from the U.S. Embassy when your case has been approved, again you do not need to respond to this email, we will submit a request for your interview date at that time.

We do not see any reason for families to panic or have fear over their case and should allow the U.S. to preform whatever investigation they feel is necessary to ensure the integrity of the overall process of Ethiopia Adoptions.   We understand how hard the wait is at this point in your adoption process and share your frustrations.  However, it is more difficult now for our staff to update each family on the progress of their case within the U.S. Embassy, and ask that you be patient and allow our staff to focus their work on fulfilling these requests rather than providing updates.  If any information is received we will pass it along to you, but we are unable to update each family every step of the way.  This only takes our staff away from doing what we need them to do most.  Please trust in us, and know that our staff cares about each child and every family we work with.   Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.

U.S. State Department Notice: Orphanage Closures

5. August, 2011UncategorizedNo comments

The U.S. State Department has issued a notice today confirming the names of the Orphanages that have been recently closed by the Ethiopian Government. West Sands Adoptions has provided some sponsorship to Special Mission Orphanage and have placed several children from their care.   We have been informed that The Special Mission’s Hosaena Branch’s license was revoked due to lack of funding and required projects. No West Sands Adoption cases will be effected by the revoketion of these Orphanages licenses. Following is the State Department’s Official Notice:


August 3, 2011

Notice: Confirmation of Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia

Ethiopian government officials have confirmed that several orphanages in the Southern Nations state are closed due to revocation of their licenses to operate by Ethiopian authorities.

These orphanages are:

  • SOS Infants Ethiopia (Arbaminch, Dilla, and Awassa branches)
  • Gelgella Integrated Orphans (Tercha and Durame branches)
  • Bethzatha Children’s Home Association (Sodo, Hosaena, Dilla, and Awassa branches)
  • Ethio Vision Development and Charities (Dilla branch)
  • Special Mission for Community Based Development (Hosaena branch)
  • Enat Alem Orphanage (Awassa branch)
  • Initiative Ethiopia Child and Family Support (Awassa branch)
  • Resurrection Orphanage (Hosaena branch)

According to officials in the Charities and Societies Agency office, which oversees the licensing and regulation of orphanages in Ethiopia, the children in the care of those facilities have already been transferred to other orphanages.

Ethiopian officials indicate that cases involving orphaned children from these facilities that are already pending with the Federal First Instance court will continue to move forward.  The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is working closely with Ethiopian officials to determine if children from these facilities who were previously referred for adoption or matched with prospective adoptive parents will be allowed to continue in the adoption process.  MOWCYA officials have confirmed that the affected children’s case files are currently being reviewed, a process that is expected to last at least one month.

We continue to ask prospective adoptive parents and agencies that hear news of specific closures to inform the Department.  Please send any specific information regarding orphanage closures to with the subject line “Ethiopia Orphanage Closures.”

Prospective and adoptive parents are encouraged to remain in contact with their adoption service provider to stay up-to-date on any information pertinent to their individual case.  The Department will post confirmed information on as we receive it.