Monday, May 22, 2017

Ethiopia Adoption Suspension

As of April 21, 2017, adoptions from Ethiopia have been put on suspension by the  Ethiopian 
government.  Regardless of what stage an adoption is in, the Ministry of Women and Children's 
Affairs, MOWA, has indicated that only negative letters will be issued preventing an adoption from 
being finalized or an exit visa from being issued.  As of now, there is no official communication from
the Ethiopian government about the rationale for the suspension.  The Department of State is fighting 
for any adoption completed prior to the suspension date of April 21 to be allowed to continue in the 
process.  Ethiopian adoptive parents are meeting with their U.S. Senators and Representatives to urge 
involvement at the highest level of government.  This is extremely difficult for families who have 
already met the children they are adopting.  In some cases, the families have already completed the 
Court process in Ethiopia and the children are expecting to join their U.S. families in the near future.
For more information adoption.state.gov.  Click on country information under Ethiopia.  You can also sign up for information calls on this topic through that web-site. For those families in the early stages of the process, the Department of State suggests that they switch to another country. This will involve an updated home-study and notifying USCIS of the change in country.  For more information, see below from www.uscis.gov

Change of Country
Prospective adoptive parents may file for a change of country at any time. 
Prior to Approval
Prior to the approval of the Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition or Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country:

  • You must notify the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC) in writing for the change to be made.
  • There is no fee associated with a change of country prior to the initial approval of the Form I-600A/I-800A.
  • For a Hague Convention adoption case,  you must submit an amended home study specifying the new country.
  • For Orphan cases, you may need to submit a new home study if the recommendation for the child to be adopted was country specific.

After Approval

After Approval of the Forms I-600A/I-800A:

  • All requests must be submitted in writing to the NBC.
    • Please note that only first change of country request is to be sent to the NBC.  All later significant change of country requests must be filed according to the directions for Form I 600A or Form I 800A
  • There is no limit to the number of change of country requests that may be submitted. 
  • There is no fee for the first change of country request.
  • For an Orphan adoption case: for any subsequent change of country request, you must submit Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition, with fee.
    • You may need to submit a new home study if the recommendation for the child to be adopted was country specific. 
  • For a Hague Convention adoption case: a change of country request is made using Form I-800A, Supplement 3 and an amended home study.

Change from Hague to Orphan process, or from Orphan to Hague Process

Prospective adoptive parents may not simply change from the Hague process to the Orphan process, nor from the Orphan process to the Hague process. 
  • Someone who has started the Hague process may withdraw a Form I-800A or Form I-800 and begin the Orphan process by filing a Form I-600A or Form I-600, with a new filing fee. 
  • Someone who has started the Orphan process may withdraw a Form I-600A or Form I-600 and begin the Hague process by filing a Form I-800A with a new filing fee.
The filing fee for the earlier case will not be refunded.


Drafted by Karen S. Law, with assistance from Brittany Alness, staff member of the Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC.

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This web site and the information contained within have been prepared by Law Offices of Karen S. Law, PLC for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, nor does receipt of it constitute an attorney-client relationship. Viewers should not act upon information found here without seeking legal counsel. All photographs shown on this web-site are depictions of clients and are not actual clients of this law firm. Copyright Karen S. Law, 2017.