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.