Thursday, October 21, 2010

Birth family court dates

It seems that several agencies have been told that the birth family hearing and adoptive family hearing will now be held (at different times) on the same day. Though at least 2 US agencies with recently assigned court dates were still given two separate dates as in the past, others have already started to receive one single date for both the birth family hearing and the court hearing that adoptive parents are required to attend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Court Re-Opening

A couple agencies are saying court will resume on Monday, September 27, with others saying it's closed through the 27th and re-opening on Tuesday the 28th.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

US Embassy staff shortage

At least 2 different US agencies have told their clients that embassy dates have recently been cut in half. This is supposedly due to a staff shortage at the US Embassy (unknown if its just for the summer or permanent). This change was announced suddenly, and some families with previously assigned embassy dates have recently been told their appointments have been pushed back.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A US agency has given an update concerning the situation in the Oromio/Oromia region:

-They believe the MOWA office for the Oromio region is still officially closed.

-Despite this branch of MOWA being closed, they have written the necessary letters for this particular agency's paper-ready children. [We can assume it is likely they have done or will do the same for other agencies.]

-MOWA will be implementing new procedures for this region, and last Friday they gave some training about these procedures to all orphanages in the Oromio region (20 orphanages have been shut down in Oromio, hopefully reopening soon with the new procedures in place.)

-This particular agency has not yet received any court dates for people who will need to be present at the court hearing under the new court system. They asked the court when they think new court dates will be issued, but they wouldn't give them a timeline.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More on the 9 orphanages and the Oromia hold

Here are the locations of 7 of the 9 orphanages with revoked licenses, if this is of interest to anyone (as far as we can tell, the licenses have not been restored yet.)

Adera Child- located in Addis
Almaz- located in Nazareth/Adama (Misraq Shewa Zone of the Oromia region)
Biruh Zemen- located in Sebeta (Debub Mirab Shewa Zone of the Oromia region)
Help for the Needy- the branch located in Zeway/Ziway/Zway (Misraq Shewa Zone of the Oromia region)
Holy Savior- located in Wonji/Wenji (Misraq Shewa Zone of the Oromia region)
Kunket/Kunkeet- located in Addis
Tsega- located in Addis

*The only two that have been verified by an adoption agency are Biruh Zemen and Help for the Needy. The others are according to adoptive parents with children from those orphanages.

As you can see, several of the orphanages are in the same zone of the Oromia region. The Oromia region has been a problem area for adoptions for awhile now. According to PAPs from various agencies (these apply to Oromia region only):
-New adoption guidelines will be introduced after the May elections
-The regional MOWA office is closed
-Several orphanages are having licensing trouble, as seen above
-Paperwork is not being completed for some referred children, probably due to the MOWA office being closed

To read comments discussing the situation, see this post.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

9 orphanages have had their licenses revoked

The nine are:

Adera Child
Agar Lewegen
Biruh Zemen
Help for the Needy
Holy Savior

If your child is from one of these orphanages, you should have already been informed. From the reports I have seen, this is not an issue of children being illegally obtained, and the children from these orphanages will still be available for adoption. They are being moved to licensed orphanages.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Update on Parents Attending Court-4/13 update

Several agencies confirm that a meeting to discuss the new rule change happened earlier today (Wednesday). At least 2 US agencies are reporting that the rule that parents must now be present for their prospective children's court hearings will go into affect on May 9, 2010. Any case filed for court by May 8th, regardless of when the court date actually is, will be exempt.

4/11 update:

A vast majority of US agencies have confirmed the new rule, with most stating May 9th as the effective date. At least 2 have stated that they are hopeful there will be a POA exception for families where only one parent can travel, but it seems nothing has been confirmed on that.

There is some discrepency on who will be exempt from the rule, with many saying that a case just needs to have their paperwork and court application submitted prior to the May 9th deadline, and with at least one agency saying a family will have needed to pass court before May 9th.

One agency has recently given a list of requirements for exemption. Before May 9th:
1) The family’s dossier must be in Ethiopia
2) The family must be USCIS approved and [this particular agency] must have a copy of the I-171-H on file
3) The family must have a referral
4) The child’s documents must be complete
5) Second medicals must have been done and approved
6) Child’s documents and family’s dossier must have been submitted to court

If your agency gives you any further clarification on this new rule, please feel free to post it in the comment section or email me. Thanks!

4/13 update
The US State Department has announced the new change in Ethiopian adoptions:
The Federal First Instance Court of Ethiopia has announced that as of May 9, 2010, adoptive parents must appear at the federal court hearing for their adoptive child in order for the adoption to be approved. This new requirement will affect all pending and new adoption cases that have not yet been presented to the court. If there are two adoptive parents but only one parent can attend the hearing, the attending parent must have a power of attorney from the other. However, please note that 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).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gelgela Orphanage

PEAR has posted some very important information regarding Gelgela Orphanage.

(Some agencies passed this information on to their clients at the time of the latest State Department update.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Parents now required to attend court

updated 3/31 11:30 am EST
As many of you know, an announcement was made today that adoptive parents are now required to be present at the court hearings of their prospective children. This has been verified so far by at least 7 US agencies. Several agencies are saying the change is due to the high number of families who choose not to bring their new children back home with them after passing court, despite the child being legally theirs. This new change is supposedly affective immediately, though there is some discrepancy on how this will affect cases with court dates already assigned. Some say it will and these dates will likely be postponed; one says it will not affect those with upcoming court dates.

*Additional info: It's believed that the parents will be required to testify in Ethiopian court that they are committed to the child and have a desire to adopt the child.

3/11 update
More conflicting information today. At least one agency reported that the sign/note indicating the change had been removed from the court, and a couple agencies have amended their announcements to say they aren't sure if or when the rule will go into effect. At least one US agency has stated that this information is just a false rumor, while at least two others have indicated that the rule is agency specific.

3/13 update
A family scheduled for court yesterday passed, and they say that several others from their agency have also passed since the announcement. The change is so far not effecting those with court dates already scheduled.

3/23 update
According to one US agency, any applications for court dates submitted prior to April 8th will be exempt from the new rule, regardless of when the actual court date takes place. For applications submitted to the court after April 8th, both parents will be required to attend the hearing in Ethiopia. They will give a statement to the court that they will adopt the referred child. If the court date gets postponed or the case does not pass for any reason, the adoptive parents will not be required to come back on the rescheduled date; their statement to the court will suffice.

3/24 update
One US agency is reporting that today a sign was posted at the court saying that the new rule of having families appear at court had been suspended, indefinitely. Another US agency says that the meeting to discuss the rule change has been postponed, not the rule itself.

3/30 update
At least 2 US agencies confirm that a meeting to discuss the two trip change was to take place today, Wednesday. If anyone has any information about the results of this meeting, please let us know!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

One US agency is saying that the new State department rule is currently only affecting children from one particular orphanage, and that the prospective parents of those children have been notified of the change to their process. If you are in process and have not been notified, they say the new change will probably not affect you.

*Note: The I-604 has been required for some time, with little impact on the adoption timeline.

Friday, March 5, 2010

State Department Adoption Notice

The United States has issued a statement regarding the I-604/orphan investigation of all children before an immigration visa can be issued. It is unclear at this time if they are requiring a more extensive investigation than what has been done previously.

Also, Australia has recently decided to lift their suspension on Ethiopia adoptions. Details here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Relinquishment hold in Oromia region

An email:

We have been told since September that there is a "hold" on relinquishment cases (Oromo Region). Does anyone have any information about this. How long is this hold supposed to last?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Requiring parents to appear in court

One US agency is reporting that the Ethiopian government is currently discussing the idea of requiring prospective adoptive parents to be present at their children's court hearings. This would mean either 2 trips for parents or an extended stay until embassy, and possibly the end of the escort and one parent traveling options. If anyone has any additional information to share, please feel free to email me or comment here.

Friday, January 1, 2010

For those who have not yet read the story about one family's recent experience with adoption corruption, please see this blog post (posted with permission).