Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Referral Acceptance #3!!

Triple your excitement!  We are thrilled to announce yet another referral acceptance today!! Congratulations to all families!!

No list movement.

~ IAN Staff

Another Christmas Referral!

It's a double Merry Christmas this year!! We are thrilled to announce another referral acceptance! Congratulations from everyone at IAN!!

No list movement

~ IAN Staff

Christmas Holiday Hours 2011

IAN Office will be closed on Monday December 26, 2011
In Observance of the Christmas Holiday!
IAN Will be open during normal business hours on Tuesday 27, 2011.

Referral Acceptance!!!

What a great way to start the holiday weekend!!  We are very happy to announce the referral of an infant boy today!! Congratulations to the family!

List movement:
Everyone below #6 on the infant boy moves up one spot
Everyone below #15 on the infant girl moves up one spot

Family waiting time: 15 months, one day

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

~ IAN Staff

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Waiting Kids

There are new waiting kids on the website!

Please help IAN find all of our waiting kids a “Forever Home!”

Thank you very much for helping these waiting kids they should not be forgotten!

Friday, December 9, 2011

USCIS Update on Cases Receiving a “Not Clearly Approvable” Notice

Today USCIS hosted a conference call on the current status of cases identified as “Not Clearly Approvable” by the US Embassy in Addis. Hopefully many of you were able to join the call, but for those who weren’t able to join the call, here is a summary:

In October of this year, a total of 65 cases were originally given the “Not Clearly Approvable Status” by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, and were adjudicated to the USCIS field office in Nairobi, Kenya. The Nairobi team traveled to Addis to investigate, and found:

Of the 65 Cases:

-49 were cleared and returned to the US Embassy in Addis. Of these, 46 of them have received their Visas, the other three have embassy appointments scheduled.

-15 cases were adjudicated to a USCIS field office in Nairobi or Rome. These were given Request for Evidence (RFE).

-One case received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).

Note from IAN: IAN families accounted for only one of the 65 cases, that family is now included in the 46 home with their child!

Among the points noted:

-The cases were a mixture of relinquished and abandoned cases, and included children of all ages from various regions, orphanages, and agencies.

-The most useful tool in clearing these cases was interviews with birth family members.

-Half of the 65 cases required more information than was originally submitted in order for “the totality of evidence to meet the burden of proof.”

-Less than 10% of the total cases submitted to the embassy have been identified as “not clearly approvable.”

Where we go from here:

-When cases are adjudicated to Nairobi (or Rome), USCIS has promised that the cases’ transfer will be expedited, and communication will be transparent and timely.

-Training for Adoption Service Providers will continue, both in Ethiopia and the US.

-All Adoption Service Providers will need to continue to work to improve the quality of casework. Prospective Adoptive Parents are encouraged to work closely with their Adoption Service Provider in assuring all paperwork is complete before embassy submission.

Note from IAN:IAN has already put into place procedures to assure the standard USCIS is requesting. We are in the process of putting procedures in place for parents who wish to request a copy of their paperwork before it is submitted to embassy.  Please ask your coordinator for more information on this.

USCIS is working to implement a “Pre-Processing Pilot Program” to provide better service to adoptive parents. This would allow US Embassy officials to review cases before they are finalized in Ethiopian court to ensure the orphan status criteria is being met by all cases.

IAN is excited to see this program get off the ground, as it will allow parents additional peace of mind and simplify the embassy process!

Agency Feedback

Many of you have contacted IAN recently asking about how you can best give feedback about your experience with our agency.

1.  Email IAN directly. If you have concerns or suggestions, this is the ONLY way we can address them. If you have a testimony you’d be willing to have shared by IAN, we would LOVE to hear it. (or you can call us at 303-691-0808)

2. Fill out our online survey. We do track this information to see where we need to make improvements, and where we are doing things right. They are also kept on file for our annual state inspection.

3. Share your experience publicly.

4. Connect with us on Facebook. We love to hear your stories, and although IAN cannot recommend any specific groups run by our families, many of our adoptive parents have connected this way and are a source of support and encouragement to one another.

Thank you to all of our wonderful families for your support, and for your feedback about how to improve our services to you, and the children.  As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You Will Be Missed!

It is with a combination of sadness and excitement that we announce the departure of IAN Program Supervisor, Liz Bogetveit. 

Liz has made the exciting decision to relocate to Bergen, Norway. Much of the Bogetveit family lives in Norway and this move will give Liz the opportunity to live near her grandmother and many cousins. As many of you know, Liz has previously lived in Thailand and Bosnia, so this will be another chapter in adventure for her. She is anxious to see where the adventure will lead and what opportunities await her there.

IAN has grown and thrived with Liz’s involvement. Her dedication, passion and expertise will be impossible to replace. She has made multiple trips to Ethiopia to train staff, network with Ethiopian officials and supervise the care of children. She has implemented programs to streamline the process and improve the adoption process for parents. She has been tireless in her efforts to ensure that children from Ethiopia be treated with the highest moral standards while finding their forever families. Most of all, Liz has grieved alongside families during their adoption struggles, and celebrated families as they came together.

We are happy for Liz as she begins this new adventure, however, she will be greatly missed. We will be introducing you to our new staff member in the coming weeks. Liz is currently training our new staff, and making sure the transition will go well for all staff and families.

Monday, December 5, 2011

More Great News !

 Another beautiful toddler girl found her forever family today! Congratulations!!!

There was no list movement.

Referral Acceptance 12 05 2011

More exciting news today!! A beautiful toddler girl and toddler boy found their forever family today. Congratulations!!!

Wait list movement:
Everyone below #20 on the infant girl list moves up one spot
Everyone below #10 on the infant boy list moves up one spot
Everyone below #8 on the toddler girl list moves up one spot
Everyone below #3 on the toddler boy list moves up one spot
Everyone below #5 on the siblings list moves up one spot

Family wait time: 12 months and 3 weeks

Thank you soooo Much!!

We are so proud of our families for raising a total of $4510 in auction and donations for the three waiting children. $3900 in bids and $610 in donations. Thank you so much for your time and energy and to everyone who participated. We are grateful to work with such an amazing group of parents and can't wait to see these boys come home to their forever families!!!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good News !

More good news!! Our four most recent families submitted to embassy were cleared within two weeks of their submission date and we will be welcoming them home before Christmas!! Let's hope this continues!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We are THRILLED to announce the referral acceptance for our waiting boy, "Z". He has been waiting for his forever family since May of 2010! In addition, he will be coming to Colorado, where his friend "L"'s adoptive family also lives!! We could not think of a more perfect way to start the week! Congratulations to Z and his family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Referral Acceptances

What a wonderful way to begin Thanksgiving week – thankful that TWO children have found their forever families! 

Congratulations to the family of “L” from the waiting child site.  L is a nine year old boy who has waited more than a year to be matched.  The family was not on the wait list. 

Congratulations also to the family of  “KA,” an eight year old girl also from the waiting child site.  KA has been waiting for her family for about six weeks.  This family realized KA was their daughter after just over a year on the infant and toddler girl lists.

Wait list movement:

Infant girl list:  everyone after #18 moves one spot.

Toddler girl list: everyone after #15 moves one spot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dear IAN Families,

The IAN office will be closing today, Wednesday, November 16th at NOON for our Staff Appreciation Day. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful team!! Thanks to everyone at IAN for your hard work and dedication!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello to ALL,

International Adoption Net (IAN) is beginning an official policy concerning the passing of ANY information electronically on the web to include any form of social media, web pages / groups, or blog sites. ALL communication electronically will be through official sites and channels ONLY. IAN will establish a point of contact for the purpose of addressing any and all questions / comments families may have. The purpose of this policy is to allow adoption questions and issues to be addressed quickly, accurately, and in a timely manner.

This contact will be:

                                    William "Bill" Dickerson

Program Development Specialist

7500 E. Arapahoe Rd. #250

Centennial, CO 80112

Ph: 303-691-0808

Fax: 303-703-8250

Bill will be responsible for the accurate and transparent dissemination of information to the families. Bill will be easily contactable by phone, email, and if desired in person.

Please understand this is necessary in order to conduct business in a professional manner and is part of IAN’s desire to improve its services to families and streamline the passing of accurate and up to date information.

IAN thanks you for your patience as we continue to improve our services and assist these wonderful children to their forever families.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Referral Acceptance!!

Congratulations to the happy family who accepted the referral for a beautiful baby girl today!! 

List movement:
Infant girl: everyone after #10 moves one spot.
Siblings:  everyone after #4 moves one spot.

Family's time on the waiting list: Sixteen months, five days.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

IAN Office is Moving!

Dear IAN Families and Friends,

The IAN office will be moving to a new location (only 3.5 miles away). Our new address is 7500 E. Arapahoe Road, Suite 250, Centennial, CO 80122. Our office will be closed on Friday, October 28th while we move. We will be in touch with our in country staff and will contact families with important information about their adoptions. We will be back as usual on Monday. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to seeing you at our new location soon!

Joan Strauss
Executive Director

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

State Department Notices

Hello IAN Families,

Below you will find the notices posted on the state department's website this month regarding Ethiopia adoptions.  These can be found at  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your coordinator.

~ IAN Staff

Notice: Confirmation of Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia

Ethiopian government officials confirmed the closure of several orphanages in the Southern Nations state due to revocation of the orphanages' operational licenses. Each orphanage in Ethiopia receives an operational license that the Charities and Societies Administration administers and monitors to ensure compliance with Ethiopian regulations. This is an update to the previous Adoption Notice posted on August 3, 2011.
These orphanages are:
  • SOS Infants Ethiopia (Arbaminch, Dila and Awassa branches)
  • Gelgella Integrated Orphans (Tercha and Durame branches)
  • Bethzatha Children's Home Association (Sodo, Hosaena, Dila, Haidya, Durame, and Hawassa branches)
  • Ethio Vision Development and Charities (Dila and Hawassa branches)
  • Special Mission for Community Based Development (Hosaina branch)
  • Enat Alem Orphanage (Awassa branch)
  • Initiative Ethiopia Child and Family Support (Hawassa branch)
  • Resurrection Orphanage (Hosaina branch)
  • Musie Children's Home Association (Hadiya, Hosaina, Dila, and Kenbata branches)
  • Organization for Gold Age (Kucha, Dila, Hawassa branches)
  • Hidota Children's Home Association (Soto branch)
  • Biruh Alem Lehisanat, Lenatochina Aregawiyan (Hosaina branch)
According to officials in the Charities and Societies Agency office, which oversees the licensing and regulation of orphanages in Ethiopia, the children in the care of those facilities have already been transferred to other orphanages.
Ethiopian officials indicate that cases involving orphaned children from these facilities which are already pending with the Federal First Instance court will continue to move forward. The Embassy in Addis Ababa is working closely with Ethiopian officials to determine if children from these facilities who had been previously referred for matches will be allowed to continue in the adoption process. Regional officials have confirmed that the affected children's case files are currently being reviewed on a case by case basis by regional Ministry of Women's Affairs offices.
We continue to ask prospective adoptive parents and agencies that are hearing news of specific closures to inform the Department. Please send any specific information regarding orphanage closures to with the subject line "Ethiopia Orphanage Closures."
Prospective and adoptive parents are encouraged to remain in contact with their adoption service provider to stay up-to-date on any information pertinent to their individual case. The Department will post any confirmation on as we receive it.

Notice: Information regarding processing of Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative, Filed at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa

In January,April and September, 2011, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, the Office of Children’s Issues of the Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted public meetings for adoption service providers (ASPs), adoptive parents, and other stakeholders to address concerns about the quality and completeness of intercountry adoption cases presented in Ethiopia. To ensure prompt adjudication and avoid concerns about possible malfeasance, it is important that I-600 petitions (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) and accompanying evidence be fully and carefully prepared before presentation to the Embassy.
Approximately 80% of I-600 petitions submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa in recent months were incomplete, contained inconsistencies or errors, or did not contain sufficient evidence to document the child as an orphan under U.S. law. In addition, the Embassy continues to see cases which involve abandoned children but do not include sufficient evidence to document the abandonment and/or evidence of appropriate efforts to locate a child’s birth family. The Embassy also has received evidence of unethical recruitment of children from birth relatives and cases involving known birth parents from whom parental rights have not been severed by the Ethiopian courts. In these cases, consular officers in Addis will need to take additional measures to confirm that a child meets the legal definition of orphan, which could delay processing by several months.
The Department of State and USCIS remind all families interested in adopting from Ethiopia that consular officers are required to forward any I-600 petition that is not “clearly approvable” to the USCIS Field Office in Nairobi for adjudication.
For families that already have an I-600 petition on file at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, consular staff will advise them when a determination is made to approve the petition and the case may be scheduled for an immigrant visa interview in Addis Ababa, or when the petition is not “clearly approvable” and forwarded to USCIS Nairobi for adjudication. Upon receipt of a petition,” USCIS in Nairobi will notify the parents that the case has been received and issue any requests for additional evidence if necessary. Families can find more information about processing I-600 petitions referred to USCIS Nairobi at under “Adoption/Country Information.”
It should be noted that, although this update specifically addresses I-600 petitions filed with the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, USCIS sees similar problems with I-600 petitions filed with the USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC). Families can contact NBC at
If families have concerns about their adoption, we ask that they share this information with the Embassy, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to their cases. The Embassy takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.
The best way to contact the Embassy on issues related to adoption is by email at Please include your name, your child's name, your adoption agency, the date of the adoption (month and year), and, if possible, the immigrant visa case number for your child's case (this number begins with the letters ADD followed by several numbers and can be found on any document sent to you by the National Visa Center). Please let us know if we have your permission to share concerns about your specific case with Ethiopian government officials and any other person or entity.
We strongly encourage you to register any complaint that you may have about an adoption agency in the following ways:
  • You may file a complaint with the state licensing authority where your adoption agency is licensed and conducts business. The Child Welfare Information Gateway, which is maintained by the Department of Health and Human Services, provides such a list at the link below:
  • You may also file a report with the state's Better Business Bureau. Following is the link to the Better Business Bureau's website where you may file a complaint on-line:
  • If your agency is a Hague-accredited adoption service provider, you may file a complaint on the Hague Complaint Registry located at the link below. While Ethiopia is not a Convention country, the ASP’ practice in a non-Convention country may impact its substantial compliance. U.S. Embassy continues to work with the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that appropriate safeguards exist to protect prospective adoptive children, their birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents.
We encourage prospective and adoptive parents to remain in contact with their adoption service provider to stay up-to-date on any information pertinent to their individual case. The Department will post relevant information on as we receive it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thank You!!!!!


We would like to send a big THANK YOU out to the families who have provided donations to the Care Center and Ajuuja Orphanage.  The staff and children of Ethiopia are so grateful for your big hearts and efforts!!

Since October, Ethiopia has received the following donations at the Care Center/Ajuuja.  This list is separated by different groups that traveled to Ethiopia.
- Formula and medications.
- A large container of formula and several jackets for the worker going into the villages.
- Another large donation of formula, a bumbo chair and Children's Tylenol.
- Toys, formula, and a monetary donation for the staff to buy formula. (they ended up buying this $250 worth of it!!)
- A new water filtration system.
- Many handmade baby hats.
- Other miscellenious items such as baby clothes, small games, blankets, shoes etc.!!

And on it's way now:
- A bible (requested by Sister Almaz)
- Pants for the older kids.
- Vicks for children.
- 48 scrubs.
- More formula and rice cereal.

Thank you to all the families who donated, knitted, carried, built, and coordinated these donations for our children, staff and friends in Ethiopia.  

Have a wonderful day!!

~ IAN Staff and Kids

Monday, October 10, 2011

Embassy Updates

Hello IAN Families,

As many of you know, the Embassy has been making numerous changes to their process over the last few months.  While we agree with their intentions, and know that these changes are all in the best interest of the children, there have been some challenges.  The Embassy, Ethiopian Government and Agencies are all working to improve the adoption program.   

The following is a letter that was presented to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia from the many adoption agencies working in Ethiopia. The letter clearly outlines the frustrations that agencies are having and requests input to work these frustrations out and improve the overall Ethiopian adoption process. There has been no response as of yet to this letter by the U.S. Embassy, IF and when a response is given, IAN will do its best to post it on the blog in order to keep families in the loop. This letter has not been edited or modified from its original format.

The only way to make positive change is to work together towards a common goal.  We are happy to see these positive changes and improvements being made with the Ethiopian adoption program.  We all want to ensure the orphans of Ethiopia have an option of finding a forever family, and want the entire process to be as ethical and smooth as possible. 

Also, please note the US Embassy posted a new adoption Notice for Ethiopia on their website at in regards to their case review procedure.

Few Comments by US Adoption Agencies on the US Embassy prescreening process

It is evident that Us Embassy has greater responsibility in ensuring the US immigration law is full enforced in the issuing of visas to adoptable children. We also feel that we all have the same purpose of finding permanent home and loving families for children with dire need.
Having this common objective the US Adoption agencies with the unreserved support they received from the US Embassy had placed more the 9000 children during the past 7 years (2004-2010)
From our understanding of the Embassy in the past we have been encouraged to share concern and bring any question to the table in order to create more understanding and cooperation.
To this end we recently had a meeting to discuss on the Embassy’s prescreening process that has been put into effect since some time now.
Here is summary of the comments forwarded by participants in our meeting we had on August 27, 2011.
1.     General
·     The new Embassy screening process came into perspective without enough preparation from the government side. As a result getting responses for some of the questions asked by the Embassy were not that easy.
·                 These include posting announcement for finding birth parents of abandoned children, information on abandoned children, information on witness which include statement, signature, occupation, and death certificates or burial letter, life history based on the new form, etc.

2.     Agencies requested to do things beyond their mandate
·       Agencies are requested to put public notice to find parents who abandoned their children. The truth is that Agencies are not mandated to put notice to find the parents who abandoned their child. Anyone who abandoned his or her child is simply criminal by the Ethiopian law and searching for criminal is the right reserved for the law enforcement institution which the police, not for adoption agencies.
·       It took a lot of effort and time to convince the Embassy that the Ethiopian law did not recognize the parent-ship right of step fathers/mothers.
·       In some cases the Embassy Adoption Unit ask Agencies to bring amended court decision, Court decision as we know is the final step and should not be amended or altered unless there is a major error committed in the approval process.
·       Eg. One Agency had a court decision on a case of abandoned child. The court decree says’’ Abandoned Child” but the Embassy Adoption Unit asked the Agency to correct the court decree by saying” Child abandoned by the mother”. The unit could have seen the details from other documents attached in the Embassy paper work instead of asking the Agency to get the court decree amended.
1.3            Knowing the Context
·       We believe it would be helpful to know the context to give proper judgment on adoption cases. Although it is true that the Embassy’s current practice would definitely contribute to the effort being made by the government to improve the adoption screening process it would also be important to know the country’s situation and the practices carried out at different levels in order to set relevant criteria for reviewing cases.
·       Sometimes the requested additional documents are not obtainable within the law of the land. So in such situation the best way Agencies can do is provide explanation on the case and bring documentation that can be provided within the law of the land. However in most of the cases the Embassy did not seem to give attention to the explanations.
2. Document Review Process
2.1            Issue related to consistency
·       Agencies have noted some inconsistencies in the document review process. This problem is further revealed when similar cases are reviewed by different Embassy staff.
·       Further sometimes the Embassy’s adoption unit gives documents back to Agencies without providing enough explanation, only stating ‘’ something is missing”.
·       There have been situations where cases were cleared the next day after Agencies submitted copy of announcements for abandoned cases while it takes some weeks for the Embassy to clear some other cases even after it has received copies of the announcements.
2.2            The need to give comments exhaustively and oversight in reviewing documents
·       Agencies have experienced that some time comments are not given exhaustively, as a result Agencies are called by the Embassy now and then to provide additional information for the same case.
Such practice has become a cause of delay in processing the paper work at the Embassy leaving many adoptive parents to despair and frustration
·       Agencies are sometimes asked to provide additional information while the same information is already available in the attached documents submitted earlier.

2.3            Conclusions not based on general practice
·       Sometimes conclusions are drawn based on single or few experiences that do not represent the overall agencies’ practice in Ethiopia.
·       It is true that all Agencies are not the same; it is possible that irregularities could be seen more in some Agencies than others, However it would not be correct to assume that agencies are dominantly corrupted.
2.4            Birth parent or Relinquishing Care Takers’ interview
While many of us realize that the Embassy must do its own version of investigation we feel that the Embassy needs to consider some situations when planning to interview birth parents.
·                 Birth parents or relinquishing care takers travel a lot, from Kebele, Woreda to Federal level, to process the paper work, coming to Embassy for interview would be additional burden for them.
·                 In most cases birth parents come from remote areas, from entirely different environment. The interview apparently will create some stress especially when they are persuaded to say what the Embassy staff would like to hear from them.
·                 Some birth parents find it difficult to travel to Addis Because of different reasons, like chronic health problem, physical disability, and older age problems etc.

In summary we would like the Embassy – Adoption Unit to consider the following
1.     We believe there should be lead time between the initiation of a new procedure and the execution of the same so that we could prepare ourselves and our stakeholders who in most case are not receptive to changes, This period will also help to explore areas where the new procedures needs to be improved or changed before they are enforced.

2.     Although we know it is partly the responsibility of Agencies to keep the government stakeholders informed about changes of procedures and polices it will also be helpful if the Embassy takes the initiative to create awareness on changes of procedures and policies among relevant government bodies, This will obviously help all involved in the service have informed understanding and better cooperation in their duties intended to address children with dire need.

3.     We are asking the Embassy to make the interview process birth parent friendly if this tool is considered to be indispensable in the prescreening process.

4.     It is our hope that the document review process would be more consistent, comments are given exhaustively at one go to save our time and all agencies are not judged based one or two specific cases.
5.     We all believe we are learning agencies; we should be ready to learn from our mistakes. We are asking the Embassy to give us more time and opportunity to discuss on our issues and irregular practices before these are communicated to the government regulatory bodies.

6.     We believe training should be an integral part of the pre-screening process so that we all provide the service with capacity and efficiency.

Otherwise we very much appreciate the Embassy’s effort to make sure that the adoption cases are ethically processed and children who qualify for the service get a permanent home and loving families in USA.

Thank you

US Adoption Service Providers in Ethiopia.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mentor Program and Waiting Children Update

Hello IAN Families,
Just a quick Update concerning the Adoptive Family Mentor Program.
The program is completed and will be presented for final administrative approval next week.
Thank you to the families who volunteered and provided input in the composing of the beta version of this program. It was appreciated.
Also on another note there are new children on the waiting kids portion of the website please go take a look and assist us in finding these wonderful children a forever home.
There is also an Online Training Section in the family center of the website now, please contact your coordinator for log in information.
Finally there is also a way to log into the data base from the family section of the website. Your log in information has not changed.
IAN would like to say Thank You for your support and patience as we continue to improve our services to you and work to provide a more central communication arena as well.
Have a great weekend!
IAN Staff