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.
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.
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!!!
International Program Supervisor