Update: As of March 1, 2013 AGCI will only be accepting applications for families open to adopting a child 3+ years of age.
Every day the 75 million people of Ethiopia face famine and disease. While nearly every Ethiopian feels the impact, the 4.3 million orphans are the most vulnerable. With one of the largest orphan populations in the world, approximately one in six Ethiopian children die before their fifth birthday.
Seeing this great need, AGCI became licensed in Ethiopia and opened our Hannah’s Hope transition home in 2006. Hannah’s Hope focuses on providing personalized attention, love and care to children until their adoption process is complete and they are united with their AGCI adoptive families.
Hannah’s Hope in Ethiopia is supervised by Almaz, AGCI’s in-country program director. Almaz is an Ethiopian-American with a broad range of personal and professional experience. Almaz is incredibly passionate and committed to the children and families that AGCI serves.
Children from 2 months to 15 years of age are currently available for adoption. Also, in our waiting children program, older and special needs children may be available for adoptive parents.
Once you are contracted with AGCI, your first steps are to begin your dossier and home study. AGCI staff will assist your family in this paperwork process. After completion of your dossier, it is sent to the Ethiopian Embassy for authentication and submitted to AGCI staff in Addis Ababa for translation.
After you’ve submitted your dossier, your family could wait up to 30 months or longer to be referred a child. At this time you will receive any available medical information, including photos, birth family background information, physical examination, development assessment, blood tests, and court documents concerning why the child is being placed for international adoption. AGCI requires all families to have medical and background information reviewed by an international adoption specializing pediatrician.
Once your family accepts the referral of a child, AGCI will submit your dossier to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA) and Ethiopian courts, which will schedule two court dates. The child’s birth family is required to be present at the first court appointment, and the adoptive family is required to be present at the second court appointment. Simultaneously, MOWA reviews the adoption paperwork and forwards its opinion on the adoption to the court. The adoption is finalized once all court dates are complete and the opinion from MOWA is received.
Families will arrive between two and three days prior to the court appointment date to meet the child and initiate the bonding process. AGCI strongly recommends that both parents appear in court to finalize the adoption. After receiving clearance by the U.S. Embassy, your family will be invited to travel for your second trip, approximately eight weeks after court approval. AGCI in-country staff will assist your family during both of your trips to Ethiopia.
Once your child is home, Ethiopia and AGCI require post-adoption visits and reports at 3, 6, and 12-month anniversaries of you child’s arrival into the U.S. After the first year, annual family-authored reports are required until your child is 18 years old.
Adoption has changed our lives. We always knew we would grow our family through adoption, but once the time came, it was overwhelming. What agency? What country? How do we pay for this? What is ironic is that I’m a licensed social worker and have worked in adoption for five years! I should be ready to make such decisions. However, when it was OUR family looking to adopt, it was personal and we did a lot of research. We found that AGCI was well prepared and ready to answer all our questions. Above all, we felt that AGCI was trustworthy, efficient, and conservative in practice. Also, AGCI invested in the countries where they work beyond adoption. This was important to us.
We brought home more than a 15-pound bundle of brown eyes and curls. Our little girl Havi brings with her an awareness and conviction that will not go away. Her very presence tells a story of the millions of children who do not have, who are not found, who don’t know love. When Havi looks into my eyes, I see the mother who gave us the most beautiful gift. I cannot forget the beauty of Ethiopia because it lives with us in a high chair at the edge of the table. As Havi approaches her first birthday, we know that so many Ethiopian babies will never reach theirs. She is my daughter, she is a piece of our family, and she is loved unconditionally, but she is also a little ambassador to all she meets.
Wibnesh has transitioned beautifully into our family and it feels like she has always been here. We were concerned about her not walking; she is now running and jumping. We were concerned about her talking; she is the loudest of our children. We were concerned about her unknown medical issues; the doctor can’t find anything wrong with her. We are amazed every day by this little miracle that God has blessed us with. She has changed our world and we are so glad we took a leap of faith and adopted her. We know our journey isn’t over and there will be valleys, but we have learned in a very tangible way that God is faithful to those who are obedient and He always provides for His children.
Parents who are 23 to 41 years old are welcome to adopt a child of any age, infant and older. For a family to be eligible to adopt a child under the age of 4, at least one parent must be no older than 41 years of age at the time of application. If both parents are 42 to 55 years of age, they must be open to a child who is 4 years old and older.
Couples married at least one year are welcome to adopt. Each spouse may have two divorces and adopt. If there is a history of divorce, the current marriage must be 2 years or longer.
Children in Family
Families with children are welcome to adopt from Ethiopia.
Families will have a positive net worth and an income of at least $10,000 per family member, including the adopted child.
Applicants can have no history of felonies and no more than two misdemeanors in their lifetime.
Applicants with a past or current diagnosis of a life-threatening or communicable disease or other condition that impairs their ability to parent and/or the quality of life of a child are ineligible.
Travel in Country
Two trips are required; each trip lasts approximately seven days. Both parents are strongly encouraged to travel on both trips.
Time Frame for Adoption
The approximate time frame from dossier submission through finalization of an adoption (child arrives home) is 30 to 36 months. The approximate time frame from application through finalization for a waiting child is 12 to 18 months.
Actual costs vary due to a variety of issues, including exchange rates and number of people traveling. The following breakdowns provide a typical range of expenses, with an overview of what is included in each category.
Application Fee: $350
Initial assessment of your family’s information to assure that all country requirements can be met to complete an adoption in your chosen program.
Home Study Services: $2,200
This is the education process where a social worker will partner with your family to help prepare you for the challenges ahead as an adoptive parent. The social worker will also be learning about your family in order to prepare a document for inclusion in the dossier that explains to the courts how you will provide a stable environment and loving family for your child.
AGCI Adoption Services: $6,000
Provides staff and services from AGCI throughout the adoption process, and for years to come through the post-adoption phase. Unlike many agencies, AGCI always welcomes your call.
USCIS and Related Fees: $805-$890
Filing fees and related costs to file your documents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
International Fees: $5,500
Your dossier is a detailed collection of documents about your family. Many of these have to be notarized, certified, and authenticated. When the dossier is complete, we translate it and facilitate your adoption case in-country through our foreign service providers, the government agencies, and the courts.
Care of Child Fees: $4,500
These fees provide care for your child in their birth country. Included is an orphan care fee that supports ongoing orphan care and payment for your child’s medical checkup and HIV/PCR testing.
Travel Costs: $6,000-$15,000
Two trips are required to Ethiopia. Costs include airfare, transportation, food, lodging, a travel visa for you, and an immigrant visa for your child.
Post-Adoption Services: $2,500-$3,500
These fees provide for the creation, administration, and translation of your post-adoption reports. Other post-adoption expenses include your re-adoption fee and ongoing medical insurance.
Families are eligible for the federal government Adoption Child Tax Credit in the year adoption is finalized. The 2011 credit is $13,170 for most adoptive families.