The Latest

Here is what we received from our agency just now:

US Department of State Ethiopia Adoptions Conference Call Update
Good morning families! What a week this has been for all of us! Thank you so much for your commitment to getting the word out about the petition for the children of Ethiopia these past few days! We are hopeful that the voices of these precious children will be heard.

As we had shared in previous communications, there was a conference call that we participated in this morning with the US Department of State to discuss the changes the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs (MOWA) announced. Not all Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) were able to join the call due to the number of adoptive parents on the line. According to Joint Council, it was understood that this conference call would be geared towards informing ASPs specifically about these changes and how the US government would react. Unfortunately, the call ended early and several ASPs were not able to address more detailed questions geared towards the ramifications of these changes for the program as a whole. While we admire adoptive families’ desires to be a part of these discussions, we are looking forward to opportunities to connect more exclusively and candidly as a professional network with the US Department of State and Joint Council as they learn about these details in the coming weeks. This will allow us to better communicate with you factual information about how this impacts your family’s adoption more specifically while also being mindful of Ethiopian adoptions as a whole. Again, though, as evidenced by the feedback in this call by the US Department of State, at this time there is little to no information that is being disclosed. Here is what we did learn:

Although this change has been supposedly confirmed to have gone into effect on March 10, 2011, there is no information available on what the process could look like moving forward, what cases it impacts, and if and for how long it will remain in effect.

It was mentioned that cases already registered with the Ethiopian court could possibly experience up to an estimated 12 month delay. It was made very clear by the US Department of State that this was dependent on a number of factors, all of which are yet to be determined, i.e. how many cases are registered, what cases this change will impact, if this change continues to be in effect, etc.

There is a vast amount of rumors going around related to this change, and none of them are able to be confirmed at this point.

The head of MOWA has been terminated, effective next week, for unknown reasons.
We are hearing that there will be meetings between the US Department of State, US Embassy, MOWA, network of ASP Foreign Service Providers, and Ethiopian government offices during the next week. We believe these meetings will begin on Monday, March 14th; however, there is no way to know if there will be concrete solutions that develop.

At this point, we are all still in a waiting stage to see how this change will be implemented. We have greatly appreciated your prayers and understanding as we have all tried to grasp this announcement. As we continue to pursue a better understanding, we encourage you to be wary of rumors that you hear about this change and know that we will continue to keep you up to date on the information we receive. Along with being updated through our office, you can also continue to stay informed by monitoring Joint Council’s website at

We continue to do our best in addressing your questions and concerns as quickly as possible and appreciate your patience. Our primary goal remains to facilitate the progress of your adoptions, which continues to show movement on a daily basis. Despite all of this uncertainty, we hope you go into this weekend feeling hopeful and staying focused on preparing your hearts for the road ahead.

The Joint Council also posted notes from the conference call: 

Notes from Dept of State Ethiopia Call

Following are our notes from the Department of State Office of Children’s Issues conference call regarding Ethiopian adoptions.  These notes do not represent nor are they  in any way attributable to the Department of State or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.  We are providing the notes with respect to those adoption service providers who could not participate in the conference.
We extend our thanks to the Department of State for conducting the conference call and to US Citizenship and Immigration Services for their participation and contributions.

The Department of State is Actively Involved
•    The Ethiopian Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs announced a reduction in the processing of intercountry adoption cases from 50 per day to 5 per day, effective March 10, 2011.
•    The Department of State is actively involved in discussions with the Government of Ethiopia, other governments and stakeholders.
•    A coalition of countries is preparing a proposal to assist the Ministry increase its capacity.
•    Embassy suggested that children with special need’s cases should not be delayed.
•    The US Embassy officials have a scheduled meeting with the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs for Monday, March 14, 2011.
•    There are areas of concern related to intercountry adoption, however the reduction is disproportionate.

Adoption Cases
•    Currently there are no implementation guidelines for in-process cases.
•    For adoption cases registered with the Ethiopian court, the best estimate is a one-year delay.
•    The staff change at the Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has been confirmed as taking effect the week of March 13, 2011.  The impact this will have on adoption cases is not known.
•    It is estimated that between 800-1,000 adoption cases are currently on the docket of Ethiopian courts.

At this point we don't know how this will affect us. Angela just posted here on how she thinks it may play out. We'll see.