Friday, August 9, 2013

ADOPTING FROM…(Country Spotlight): Ethiopia

1. Why did you choose to adopt from Ethiopia?

After waiting on a Taiwanese wait list for nearly six months, God abruptly placed it on our hearts to switch countries {and continents!}.  We spoke to everyone we knew who had adopted children and eventually had brunch with two families in our community who had children who'd been adopted from Ethiopia.  Twenty-four hours after that conversation, we were sure that God had called us to adopt from Ethiopia as well.  {As a side note, our son was conceived the same month that we switched and began to pursue an adoption from his birth country.}

2. Did you adopt independently or through an agency? 

Though we initially hoped to complete an adoption independently, once we chose Ethiopia, it became clear that we would use an agency.   

3. Is the country still open for adoption? 

Ethiopia is still open for adoption and is a strong program.  The country seems to be ever-evolving in regards to rules and regulations about the actual adoption process in an attempt to make the process more ethical and seamless.  

4. How long did it take?

Our process took almost two years from application to having our son home, but more recently, the trend seems to be longer.  However, there are so many variables...age/gender preference, openness to special needs, amount of orphanages a particular agency works with, regions the agency works with (some regions in Ethiopia are more open to international adoption than others), amount of waiting families on a particular agency's wait list, etc.

Our kids on July 4th, 2010 {the month we applied to our agency}
Melia (age 5) and Camden (age 3)

Our kids on July 4th, 2012 {two days after bring Bek home}
Melia (age 7), Camden (age 5), and Bekele (age 1)

5. How many times did you have to travel? 

Ethiopia is a two-trip process.  The purpose of the first trip is to meet your child(ren) and appear in the Ethiopian court to agree to the adoption.  One the second trip, the family has their official "gotcha day" and appears at the US Embassy for the visa appointment.  Our wait between trips was almost three months.

Court day {and B's first birthday}

Bek at our Guest House just after our Embassy appointment

6. What is the average cost of an adoption through Ethiopia?

Agency costs for adopting from Ethiopia are roughly $16,000 to $20,000.  Additionally, the two trips together average an additional $8,000 to $10,000.

7. What has been your biggest joy of adopting from Ethiopia?

Obviously, our son has been the biggest joy of adopting from Ethiopia.  But, in addition, adopting from Ethiopia has brought awareness and a love for a country halfway across the planet.  Ethiopia is a country rich in history and brimming with pride.  Our family has grown to love this beautiful, amazing culture and country.

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