Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!

From all of us at IAN, to all of you, our best wishes for a wonderful 2011!!
Our offices are closed today, December 31. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ending 2010...and a request

As 2010 draws to a close we find ourselves looking back over the year at IAN.  We have so many reasons to celebrate, including children finding their forever homes, new orphanages to work with, new humanitarian projects, new staff...we are going to need a newsletter to describe it all!  In fact, you can look for IAN's Newsletter to launch in January of 2011. 

At the same time, we want to enter 2011 with plans to continue to improve our service. We need your imput on this.  If you have comments, suggestions, concerns, or even praises, please take a moment to email them directly to IAN's Executive Director Joan Strauss at   We value your thoughts, and look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you in advance!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

IAN Office Closed Tomorrow

The IAN office will be closed tomorrow, December 24th for Christmas!  We will be back in the office on Monday, December 27th.  Happy holidays everyone!!

~ IAN Staff

Friday, December 17, 2010

Yep - Another One!!!

One more family accepted their referral for a precious baby girl today.  Congratulations to the happy family!

Everyone after #2 on the infant girl list moves one step closer to their referral!!

Happy Holidays!!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another referral!

Congratulations to another happy family today!!  A gorgeous baby boy found his forever home today! 

The waiting lists move as follows:

Everyone below #3 on the infant boy list moves up one spot
Everyone below #15 on the infant girl list moves up one spot
Everyone below #3 on the siblings list moves up one spot

Referral Acceptance!

After a very long and emotional journey, we are very happy to announce the referral of a beautiful baby girl!  Congratulations HD and Baby S!

An exciting referral acceptance!

We are very excited today to announce the referral of a beautiful infant girl and a four year old boy who has been waiting over 4 months for his forever family!!!

The wait lists move as follows:

Everyone below #3 on the infant girl waiting list moves up one spot
Everyone below #4 on the toddler boy waiting list moves up one spot
Everyone below #19 on the siblings waiting list moves up one spot

Congratulations to the very happy family!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Moving Day!!!

IAN is expanding our offices today!  For those of you who have visited us, we will now have our current office space, AND the old space we used to have across the hall. 

There may be times today when our phones and / or email are down, please be patient with us and we will get back with you as soon as we can!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Notice from State Department

Dear IAN Families,

The following notice was posted on the State Department website this morning. 

Adoption Alert: Ethiopia

Adoption Processing at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa
December 7, 2010

The Department of State continues to be concerned about reports highlighting adoption related fraud, malfeasance, and abuse in Ethiopia, and acknowledges the concerns expressed by families over the integrity of the adoption
process.  The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa actively tracks all adoption visa cases, incorporating information
provided by adoption agencies and the Government of Ethiopia, to ensure that the adoption process continues to
operate transparently and ethically.

The Ethiopian government requires that adoptive parents must appear at the Ethiopian federal court hearing for their adoptive child in order for the adoption to be approved.  If there are two adoptive parents but only one parent can attend the hearing, special permission from the federal court must be obtained in advance,* and the attending parent must have a power of attorney from the other.  It generally takes three weeks or more after the court date for the adoption agency to obtain the documentation necessary for an immigrant visa application, including the adopted child’s birth certificate and Ethiopian passport.  Adoptive parents can expect to wait at least one month after the court hearing for a visa interview appointment. 

Adoptive parents should be aware that in all adoption visa cases worldwide, an I-604 investigation must be
completed in connection with every I-600 application.  Depending on the circumstances of the case, this
investigation may take several weeks or even months to complete.  Additional information may be required to
determine the facts surrounding a child’s relinquishment or abandonment and whether a child meets the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law.   The Embassy strongly recommends that adoptive parents who return to the U.S. after the court hearing not travel again to Ethiopia for the immigrant visa process until they have confirmed with their adoption agency that the Embassy has scheduled a visa interview.  Those who plan to stay in Ethiopia
between the court hearing and interview should obtain Ethiopian visas in advance of travel, and ensure the validity of their visas to avoid immigration proceedings and/or significant fines.

* If only one parent meets the adoptive child before the court date, the child will qualify for an IR-4, not an IR-3 visa (which means that the child will not become a U.S. citizen upon entry to the United States and will have to be re-adopted in the United States).

The Embassy's Adoptions Unit can be reached at

Please continue to monitor for updated information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Letter from Joan about pictures

Hello Families,

Thank you for the outpouring of responses from so many of you in regards to the new procedure for pictures. Our intention is to take the burden of taking photos off of our families and make the entire process better for the children, staff and parents. For a long time, we have been heavily reliant upon our parents for new pictures of the children. All of our parents have been gracious about giving their time and energy for this, which includes taking the long list of all children, making signs for the kids, spending their time taking pictures of all children at the IAN Care Center and Orphanage, and sorting and sending them to IAN upon return. IAN has grown, and with that growth has come challenges. We have been working on a way to make the process of picture taking more ethical and easier for all. After much discussion, I have created the photo policy, as well as all other IAN policies.

We have added two more staff to our in country team. In the coming weeks, we will have an additional third employee. With the new staff and increased number of children, IAN will now be responsible for taking children’s photos and updates. We will get updated photos once a month. We hope this will take the pressure off of traveling families so they will have more time to spend with their child(ren) and enjoy their time at the IAN Care Center and Orphanages. If for some reason we are unable to receive pictures from our staff on a regular basis, we will modify the policy and make whatever changes are necessary to ensure families are receiving pictures of their children.

Adoptive Parents will still be permitted to take photos of children and distribute them to families if they wish! With this policy, this can be done without first sending pictures through IAN. Parents will just need a signed release from the adoptive families before they can do so.

IAN understands the importance of having photos of your child(ren) for their future, and we want to continue to provide these to you.

We have emailed the updated Photo Policy with the Photo Release to all families. If you have any questions or concerns about this new policy, please contact your coordinator.

Thank you,
Joan Strauss, MA
Executive Director

Referral Acceptance

Happy Holidays indeed for the lucky family who accepted their referral for an adorable four year old boy today!!    The list movement will be as follows:

Sibling list:  - Everyone after #21 moves one spot
Infant boy: Everyone after #30 moves one spot
Toddler boy:  Everyone after #6 moves one spot. 

Congratulations to the happy family, and to all of you who are one step closer to your referrals!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Letter from Liz!

Dear IAN Families,
As many of you know, I recently visited Ethiopia for a very quick but exciting trip. In just four short days, I was able to meet all of our in country staff (including some new staff!), go to court and embassy, visit the new care center, and of course meet many beautiful children waiting to come home. It was wonderful to finally meet our in country staff and see the process first hand from Ethiopia. I learned many things and brought back exciting news and updates!!

Children and Staff
From visiting the care center and orphanages, it was easy for me to see how happy and well cared for the children are, and how much the staff absolutely loves them! The kids spend time in school every day, and I even had the chance to hear them sing songs in Amharic and in English!! It was a wonderful experience being able to meet so many children we have been working hard to bring home!

The New IAN Care Center
As you all know, we have now moved into a new, bigger care center. I visited the new location before the move and it will be great for the children and staff. There are more rooms and space for the children to play. We have a big indoor classroom and a wonderful setup for all of the bedrooms and offices.

New Staff
We are happy to introduce a new member of the IAN Ethiopia Staff. His name is Robel and he will work primarily as our Ethiopia Travel Coordinator. All traveling families will get the chance to meet Robel. He has years of experience working with inter country adoption and has so much to bring to our team! I met with him and I know all of you will find him friendly and helpful.

New Guest House/Hotel List
With the new move and staff, we have updated our list of Guest Houses and Hotels to include the most convenient and comfortable choices for your stay in Ethiopia. This new list will be effective starting January 1st.  Please contact your coordinator if you would like the updated sheet with contact information. The list includes:

1. Yebsabi Guest House
2. New Flower Guest House
3. Ethiopia Guest Home
4. Addis View Hotel
5. Ethiocomfort Guest House (for extended stay only)

Procedures in country
I had the chance to visit many of the important people and different sectors involved in the adoption process in Ethiopia. It was a very eye opening experience!! First, I can’t tell you all enough how knowledgeable and motivated our in country staff is. They work tirelessly to get everything together as quickly as they can to help bring the children home! My second eye opening observation was the size of the staff at MOWA and the courts. The MOWA adoption team is very small, making it easy to fall behind and difficult to get even a small mistake corrected. There is only one judge working on adoption cases for all of Ethiopia! It is amazing that such a small team can do so much every year!!

One thing observed at the care center and orphanage was parents taking pictures of the children while they were there visiting their child(ren). This is uncomfortable for the staff, the children and many of the adoptive parents. It is taking too much from the adoptive parents limited time with their child(ren). While I know many of you love being able to help us, and help families by bringing pictures back of their child(ren), this will no longer be allowed. We have arranged for our in country staff to take regular updated pictures of the children (without nametags!) so adoptive parents will no longer be responsible for photographing children other than their own.  If you have pictures for your own personal use with other children included, this is fine but remember these cannot be posted online.  Please understand that this is being implemented to help relieve the stress on the children and staff, as well as help adoptive parents have a better experience in country.

For Embassy
It has been confirmed that the only required document needed at Embassy for the IR3 visa is the entry stamp in your passport from your court visit. They will not require a photo of you and your child(ren) or a notarized copy of your entry stamp.

Photo Book for Birth Families
Adoption is always a family’s last choice and no family ever wants to say goodbye to their child(ren). It is heartbreaking for these families and while they are saddened by this loss, they are happy to see what their child(ren)’s life will hold in the future. One thing that birth families’ love is to have a photo book of the adoptive family. We have always known that it was only ok to bring loose photos and a letter, but we have now learned it is fine (and strongly encouraged) for adoptive parents to create a small, simple photo book for the birth family.

Overall, while the trip was short, it was extremely productive and helpful!! Ethiopia is a wonderful country filled with rich culture and incredible people. I feel more honored than ever to be working with such an amazing country. I am excited for you all to make your trip to Ethiopia!!!


Liz Bogetveit
International Program Supervisor