Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Court Travel Decision Made

As many of you know, today the adoption agency representatives and court officials in Ethiopia spent the entire day meeting and discussing the new requirement of having families present for their court appointment.

The court is standing by the original decision to require families to travel for court. This regulation will not begin until mid-May, 2010 in order to give as many families as possible the opportunity to submit their paperwork and court application.

Many of the details at this time are unknown because the meeting went until very late in Addis Ababa. We know there are many questions you may have, but we don’t have reliable answers yet. IAN’s executive director will be traveling to Addis Ababa next week to be our eyes and ears “on the ground” to continue our efforts to do everything we can to get answers as quickly as possible

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Update for March 26

We know that everyone is anxiously awaiting news on the new travel requirement in Ethiopia.  We are in daily communication with our Ethiopian facilitator, and are monitoring all news on the issue.

IAN will not confirm or deny any information unless it comes directly from the court in Ethiopia.  At this point, the president of the court has not made an official statement, so we are not able to confirm any information regarding when or if the new regulations will take effect.

Please bear with us as we do our best to get reliable information to you in a timely manner. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adoption Tax Credit...Good News!

Please see the following announcement from the Joint Council on International Children's Services on the Adoption Tax Credit:

Joint Council is pleased to confirm that the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC), which was scheduled to expire in 2010, was extended for one-year (through December 31, 2011). The highlights of the ATC are;

The maximum credit was increased from $12,150 to $13,170,

The ATC is now retroactive to January 1, 2009. This represents a potential increase of $1,000 for adoptive families.

The ATC was made refundable. If a family has no tax liability, the IRS will refund the amount due.

The extension of the ATC through 2011, was passed as part of the health care reform bill which was signed into law by President Obama on Monday, March 22, 2010. There was some concern that the ATC would be included in the reconciliation process, however we have confirmed that it is not part of reconciliation. This means that the ATC is law until December 31, 2011.

Joint Council along with many other advocates and adoptive families have long advocated for making the ATC permanent. We applaud Congress and the Obama administration for the extension and continue to call for a permanent tax credit.

The ATC is a critically important element in finding permanent families for children in the U.S. foster care system and the children of our world, who live without permanent parental care. The ATC makes adoption a viable option for many families who may otherwise be unable to afford to adopt. We again applaud the extension and improvements to the Adoption Tax Credit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Update for March 12

Dear Families,

The latest news from our Ethiopian facilitator is that parents will need to begin attending the court hearing in Ethiopia. We believe this will become effective sometime in April but do not have a confirmed date yet.

Families who already have a referral, depending on where they are in the process, should have a confirmed court date in the next few weeks and may not have to travel to attend the court hearing. Our facilitator in Ethiopia is doing everything he can to move these cases along and we will keep you posted.

Thank you again for your continued patience in this matter. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some Good News!!

A lucky family accepted the referral of their beautiful baby boy this morning!!!  Everyone below #1 on the baby boy list moves up one spot.

Questions and More Questions

With yesterday's news of the new travel requirement for court appointments, many of you are asking the same questions we are:

1.  What if the family does not pass court the first time?  Will they need to travel again?
2.  Will there be a change in the time between court approval and embassy appointment?
3.  Will both parents need to travel, or will one be enough?
4.  Will there be cases "grandfathered" in?  If so, what would the cut off be?

These seem to be the questions everyone has.  We don't currently have the answers, but bear with us as we work dilligently at finding them.  Please feel free to add other questions in the comments here, and we will continue to update. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Dear IAN families,

Evidently, this morning the Ethiopian government announced an additional change that will be implemented and will impact all agencies facilitating adoptions in Ethiopia, including IAN.

All adoptive families must now travel to Addis Ababa to be present for their court appointment. There have been rumors of this change for several weeks now, and the change is a direct result of the dramatic increase of "revocation" cases - cases in which the adoptive parents decline to bring their children home after they have passed court. This will mean families will make two trips to Ethiopia to complete their adoptions, which will certainly increase the time and money required for adoption.

On a positive note, if parents see their child before the court appointment, the child will be eligible for an IR-3 visa, thus making the child a US citizen immediately upon arrival in the United States.

There are many unanswered questions and we have no further details at this time. Please bear with us as we await further news and seek further information. Your coordinator will be contacting you as we learn how this will impact your specific case. Please feel free to email your coordinator if you have specific questions, and they will do their best to find out the answer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

IAN Statement on Ethiopia Updates **UPDATED**

Updated on March 9:  We have heard definitively from the US Embassy in Addis Ababa that the current changes in Ethiopia will NOT affect IAN at this time. 

We know that many of you are very concerned about the recent news regarding Embassy appointments in Ethiopia. It is always IAN’s goal to keep families fully up to date, but sometimes information is unclear and needs to be sorted through. We have been in contact with the US Embassy in Addis and with our in-country facilitator, and this is what we know of the situation:

The I-604 form is not new, but has always been done in every case. The in-country facilitator generally submits it at the time of your embassy appointment. What is new is that now specific cases will be more thoroughly investigated.

Right now the investigations are only for specific agencies and specific orphanages, not everyone. IAN does not appear to be among the agencies, nor does Sele Enat appear to be among the orphanages that will have their I-604 applications investigated at this time. Therefore, IAN does not expect a change in the time between court approval and embassy appointment.
If in the future these changes do impact IAN, the time frame for embassy appointments does not appear to be significantly impacted. IAN has always followed the policy of insisting families wait for embassy confirmation before travel is confirmed. Now all agencies will be following that policy. The impact we see will be in the amount of notice families receives to plan their travel.
Please be aware that these changes are clearly an assurance that your adoption has been done correctly and ethically. It is very reassuring that the US embassy has moved swiftly and surely in addressing any concerns of improper adoption practice. Although no one wants to see increased wait times until travel, those few weeks are certainly worth it for the health of the program and the children.
We understand your concern and fears in this situation, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to actively pursue additional information and answers. In the interest in getting the information out as quickly as possible, please check the IAN news and updates blog for updates: Please contact your coordinator directly if you have further questions.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Important Ethiopia Update

Today there was information coming out of Addis Ababa that could potentially impact the wait time to travel for IAN families.  Please see the following announcement:

At this time it is unclear what, if any, impact this will have on IAN families.  We are currently in communication with our Ethiopia in-country staff, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, and the Joint Council on International Children's Services.   

IAN is supportive of any and all efforts made to ensure the highest ethical standards for all children adopted from Ethiopia.  At the same time, we are very aware of the concern that an additional wait time poses to adoptive families.  It is our intent to clarify the changes, determine their impact for our families and post an update as soon as we have further information. 

Thank you for your patience.

Referral Acceptance!!

A family accepted their referral for two beautiful children today!!  They were on multiple lists, so the following movement took place:

Baby girl list: Everyone below #9 moves up one spot
Baby boy list:  Everyone below #3 moves up one spot
Toddler girl list:  Everyone below #2 moves up one spot
Toddler boy list:  Everyone below #1 moves up one spot
Sibling list:  Everyone below #1 moves up one spot. 

As always, please contact your coordinator if you have questions about your place on the lists. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Referral Acceptance!!

The number one family on the baby girl list accepted their referral for a beautiful baby girl today.  Everyone below #1 moves up a spot. 

Congratulations to the happy family!