Thursday, January 27, 2011

Update on Referral Process and Court and Embassy Procedure

Good afternoon IAN families! After so many changes in the last few months, we want to provide you with an update on the referral process at IAN as well as what to expect after a referral in regards to your court and embassy appointments.
What is the Referral Process at IAN?
It can take some time to gather all documents required to refer a child to a family. We want to walk you through this process.

· IAN receives information on a child from our Ethiopian staff (we typically receive a photo, name and age).
· As soon as the child is referred to IAN from the orphanage, they are taken into our care. 
· Our staff will take them to their medical appointment for their blood tests, developmental test and exams. If the child requires a PCR test, this takes approximately 9 days.
· The social worker prepares the social background.
· Once all required information is sent to the IAN office in the US, we will contact our Ethiopian director for clearance.
· Once we have clearance that the child’s file is ready to be opened, we will give the referral!

What documents are required for a referral to be given?
1. 1-2 Pictures
2. Social background
3. Medical report
4. Laboratory report
5. Developmental report
6. PCR results (if child is under 18 months)

Is the birth certificate required for a referral to be given to a family?
· No, the regional birth certificate is not required until the scheduled court date. The case can be opened and a family can receive a court date without the regional birth certificate.
· The birth date seen on the regional birth certificate is irrelevant. The most accurate age of the child is on the medical report.
· Depending on the child’s age and situation, it can take a few weeks to months to gather the birth certificate.
· Families have the right to request the birth certificate at time of referral but must let their coordinator know.
· If a family requests to wait for the birth certificate, the referral will be held for the family.
· Holding a referral while waiting for the birth certificate will delay the wait time for the adoptive parents and the child.
What happens after matching?
· Our Ethiopian staff is alerted of the match as soon as the referral acceptance letter is sent to IAN.
· It takes our staff about one month to prepare all documents to open the case for a court date.
· The court will alert our staff when the families have been assigned a court date.
· The approximate wait time to hear of a court date after being matched is 4-8 weeks and the court date will be approximately 1-3 months out.
· The adoptive family will have approximately 1-3 months to prepare before their court date.
· The total estimated wait time from referral to court date is 2-5 months.
What is required at court?
1. The adoptive parents must appear before the judge.
2. The birth family or guardian (if child is relinquished) must appear before the judge.
3. MOWA must give a positive approval and provide a letter for the courts.

What happens after a family passes court?
· The courts will prepare a court decree. This will be sent to our office and to the family.
· A new birth certificate will be prepared with adoptive parents names included. This will be sent to our office and to the family.
· Our staff will use the adoption decree and birth certificate to apply for a passport for the child.
· Our Ethiopian staff will take the child to the Embassy medical appointment.
· These documents will be submitted to the Embassy (Wednesdays)
· The approximate wait time between court and embassy is 5-8 weeks.

What happens after the documents are submitted to the Embassy?
· The Embassy will review the documents within 72 hours.
· They will inform our Ethiopian staff if they will require more documentation.
· When the family has been cleared for travel, the Embassy will send confirmation to our staff with available embassy appointment dates.
· Please keep in mind, this is a new procedure and the timelines are unknown at this time.

We hope this helps clarify the most current process at IAN! As always, please feel free to contact our staff with any questions you may have or join us for our chat on Wednesdays at 1pm MST!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Department of State Conference Call on Ethiopia

As many of you know, the Department of State hosted an extensive conference call on the status of adoptions from Ethiopia today. IAN participated in the call, and we want to give you a summary of what we took from this call.

1. There is consensus that there are issues involving corruption within the system governing Ethiopian adoption. Right now adoption from Ethiopia can be seen as risky, but the next 12 months will determine the future of the program. Everyone involved is committed to solving the problems we have seen.

2. We can all do a better job of providing access to family based care. Both UNICEF and USAID will be implementing regional and national programs to make access to basic needs easier for families to remain in tact. There is no way that the 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia can or should all be adopted internationally, hence the need for better in country support.

3. The US Embassy in Addis confirms the slow down we have all seen in the last weeks. Currently 90% of cases presented to the embassy require some form of investigations for everything from inadvertent “typos” to intentional falsification of information. This slowdown will remain until new procedures are put into place to solve the need for investigations before cases arrive at embassy.   The embassy did confirm the new scheduling procedure, and hopefully this will help.

4. There are some very encouraging signs as well. The problems in Ethiopia have been caught very early and the Ethiopian government is very willing and open to making the needed changes. IAN is already compliant with all of the suggested changes, and we are ready to participate in positive change.

Many of you also participated on your own, and you are welcome to add your comments here. The complete transcript will be available later this week, and we will make it available.

Referral Accepted and Other Good News

Congratulations to the family who accepted their referral today for a beautiful baby boy!!! 

The wait list movement is:
Everyone after #3 on the baby boy list moves one spot.
Everyone after #12 on the baby girl list moves one spot.


One of our precious waiting boys has found his forever family!  Although it doesn't move the wait list, sweet "T" will join his two little brothers and a baby sister who was adopted from Ethiopia last year. 

We are so happy for both of these families!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Possible New Embassy Procedure

Hello IAN Families,

We have received information from the Embassy regarding Embassy procedures. This information was not posted as an Embassy Notice, but rather sent to IAN in an email. We want to keep families up to date on all procedures and want to make sure families are prepared for possible changes.

In the past, IAN has been given scheduled Embassy dates every other Wednesday. It was rare that IAN was given approval for a family to attend embassy outside of those scheduled dates. According to the email sent to us today, this may be changing.

The new embassy procedure:

1. IAN will submit the required documents as soon as they are complete (and can now do this every week).

2. The cases will go through screening at the embassy as usual.

3. The Embassy will inform the agency if they need additional documents.

4. When the case is cleared, the Embassy will email IAN stating the families are cleared and informing the agency by mail and will provide us a list of available slots for embassy interviews.

5. After speaking with the families, we will inform the embassy which date families will travel.

We are happy about these possible changes, as they will hopefully make the entire process easier on Embassy, families and our staff. We will have more time to submit the documents, and have more flexibility. We hope this will reduce the chance of having to bump families from their Embassy appointments, and increase the number of children we can bring home to their forever families every month.

We do not have confirmation when this will be in effect but we want you all to be aware of this possibility. If you have any questions, please contact your coordinator.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another baby boy referral!!

The day is getting better and better!  Another beautiful infant boy found his forever home today!  Congratulations to the very happy family!

More list movement:
Everyone below #4 on the infant boy list moves up one spot
Everyone below #17 on the infant girl list moves up one spot
Everyone below #4 on the siblings list moves up one spot

With all this movement, feel free to call your coordinator for confimation on your spot(s) on the list(s)!

Baby boy referral accepted!!

We are happy to start the day by announcing the referral of an infant boy!  We are excited to help bring him home to his forever family!

Waiting list movement:
Everyone below #4 on the infant boy list moves up one spot
Everyone below #3 on the siblings list moves up one spot

Congratulations to the happy family!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And ANOTHER Referral Acceptance!

Congratulations to the family who accepted the referral of a tiny, beautiful baby boy today!!!

Everyone else after #4 on the baby boy list moves one spot.
Everyone after #14 on the baby girl list moves one spot.

Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another referral acceptance!

A beautiful infant girl found her forever home this afternoon!  Congratulations!!

List Movement:
Everyone below #3 on the infant girl list moves up one spot
Everyone below #17 on the toddler girl list moves up one spot

Referral Acceptance!

We are very happy to announce the referral of a toddler girl this morning!  Congratulations to the happy family!!

The lists move as follows:
Everyone below #5 on the toddler girl waiting list moves up one spot
Everyone below #32 on the infant girl waiting list moves up one spot

Monday, January 17, 2011

Update on New Ethiopian Adoption Procedure

All adoptive families will now be required to submit a notarized, certified and authenticated copy of their I-171H approval letter (also sometimes called Notice of Favorable Determination) for MoWA review before they can be given court approval. Depending on where the family is in the process at this point, the requirements will vary.

1. If the family has passed court no additional proof of I-171H is required. The original will still be required at Embassy.

2. If the family has been to court but not given approval, or has an upcoming court appointment scheduled, they need to submit the notarized, certified and authenticated copy of their I-171H approval as quickly as possible. Please see procedure below.

3. If the family has submitted their dossier, but has not yet received a referral for a child, they must submit their notarized, certified and authenticated copy of their I-171H approval before they can be matched with a child in Ethiopia. A family CAN still receive their referral, but it will not be made official with MoWA until the I-171H is received.

4. If the family is in the process of assembling their dossier, they will need to submit the notarized and state certified letter with their dossier. They will not need to have it authenticated separately, it can be done with the rest of the dossier. Beginning immediately, families will not be able to be put on the wait list without the I-171H.

The procedure for submitting the I-171H is as follows:

1. Notarize a copy of the I-171H. Attach a separate sheet stating:

We/I, (insert adoptive parents names here), hereby affirm that the following document is a true and correct copy of my original I-171H approval.

_______________Sign and date here

Subscribed and sworn to before me, a Notary Public, in the county of _________, state of ______________, this _____ day of ______________, 2011.

Notary signature and date here

2. Send or take the notarized copy to your secretary of state for certification. A list of locations and requirements can be found at:

3. Send the notarized and certified copy, along with payment, to IAN. We will then send it to Washington DC for certification by the secretary of state and authentication by the Ethiopian embassy. We will have it sent directly on to Ethiopia.

Fee schedule for I-171H approval

Authentication Fee (Ethiopian Embassy): $94

Certification Fee (US Secretary of State): $8
Document handling fees: $30

Shipping: $40
TOTAL $172

Friday, January 14, 2011

IAN Offices Open Monday

IAN offices do not close for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  We will be in as usual: 8:30am - 4:30pm MST.


The Ethiopian government announced yesterday that beginning immediately all adoptive families will need to submit their I-171H approval letter with their dossier.  The impact of this will vary by where you are in the process.  This is our understanding of the requirements at this time:
1.  Families who have had a court appointment, whether they have passed or not, will not need to present their I-171H until their embassy appointment.

2.Families who are scheduled for a court appointment but have not yet attended court, will need to get their I-171H approval letter notarized and state certified as quickly as possible.  IAN will take care of having them authenticated at the federal level.  If this cannot be done before the court appointment, it could delay the court decision. 

3.Families who are currently on the wait list and have submitted their dossier will need to begin the process of having their I-171H approval letter notarized and state certified so IAN can have it authenticated at the federal level. 

4.All families who are currently in the process of assembling their dossier will need to provide a notarized and state certified copy of their I-171H approval with their dossier, which will then be authenticated with the dossier.  This will effect when families go on the wait list. IAN will release a policy statement on this early next week. 

There are still many unknowns.  We have made several urgent requests to Ethiopia for information, and hope to have information by Monday.  An email will go out to all IAN families on Monday with more answers and specifics.  We will hold an additional chat session Monday at 11am MST to address your questions. 

Thank you for your patience as we sort out this new information. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

IAN Chats!!

IAN chats are here!

If you are new to IAN and looking for information, stop by on Mondays from 6-8 pm MST.
If you are already an IAN client, stop by on Wednesdays from 1-3 pm MST.

IAN coordinators will be available during this time to answer your questions and provide information!  We hope to see you there!

To join the chat, just follow the following link and log in!

Friday, January 7, 2011

News, Changes and Updates

We are ready to start off 2011 with some exciting changes and developments at IAN:
  • Online Chats!  IAN will now be hosting online chats, available to anyone who is interested.  Our coordinators will be available to answer your questions directly.  Come and visit us online!!
New Families Chat: Monday 6:30 - 8:30pm MST
Current Families Chat: Wednesdays 1:00 - 3:00 pm MST
Details to be posted Monday on how to log in!

  • Newsletter!  Due to popular demand, IAN will be debuting the IAN News early next week.  We look forward to this becoming a monthly service to all of our families! 
  • Referrals!  Everybody's favorite IAN topic!  The time between when we find out about children who are needing a family and the children being paper ready for referral is a bit longer than it used to be, as IAN is always increasing our efforts to ensure all the proper pathways are followed.  However, there is no shortage of children who are currently waiting for their families in the care of IAN, and we look forward to them becoming completely paper ready in the coming months!!!
More changes and developments are in the works - check back soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Referral Acceptance of 2011!!

What a great way to start the new year - celebrating a child finding their forever family!  Congratulations to the family on their new baby boy!!

The list movement is as follows:
Baby girl:  Everyone after #14 moves TWO spots, everyone between #10 and #14 moves one spot.
Baby boy: Everyone after #3 moves one spot.
Toddler boy: Everyone after #1 moves one spot.
Toddler girl: Everyone after #3 moves one spot.
Siblings:  Everyone after #3 moves one spot.

As always, please contact your coordinator if you have any questions about your place on the list!