International Adoption from Ethiopia

Photo of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Adopt from Ethiopia

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Ethiopia Adoption

We are no longer accepting applications for this program.


Ethiopia is a beautiful country situated in Eastern Africa near the Red Sea with a population of 53 million. It is one of the oldest countries in the world and was the home of the Queen of Sheba. Seventeen years of civil war bankrupted the country and left thousands of orphaned children. The numbers continue to increase as the diseases of poverty cause premature deaths of parents.

Available Children:

Thousands of children are living in institutions because their parents can no longer care for them. Many children are orphaned due to poverty, the residual effects of war, drought or famine, or their parents may have died of disease, including but not limited to AIDS related illnesses. The children are well cared for in orphanages or hospitals, but are in great need of a loving family environment. The representative and staff in Ethiopia monitor the health and care of the children. The children are beautiful! They tend to have a cheerful outlook despite their difficult lives. All children are tested during the process for HIV, Hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and venereal disease. The children range in age from a few months to 10 years.

The children are:

  • Male and female.
  • As young as two months old, at time of referral, up through school age
  • Sibling groups available.


Once your dossier is complete, it will be sent to Washington D.C. for certification and then to Ethiopia where it will be translated, certified and registered with the MOWA (Ministry of Women’s Affairs). A referral will be given in approximately 2-7 months depending on the age of child/ren requested. The child/ren’s paperwork and your dossier will be presented to the court so a court date can be set. Upon receiving a court date (approximately 3-5 month after dossier submission) prospective adoptive parents will travel to Ethiopia (approx. 5-10 day trip). Both parents must travel on the first trip. The Ethiopian court finalizes the adoption at that time. You will return home and wait for the visa appointment that will be issued by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Abba (2-5 months later). One or both parents will then return to Ethiopia on a second trip at which time the child’s visa is secured and the child is allowed to travel home. The total timeframe from receipt of dossier in Ethiopia until your child comes home is approximately 7-16 months. Timeline may be shortened for those adopting a waiting child.

Requirements for Adopting Parent(s):

  • Heterosexual single women and couples (with or without children) may apply.
  • Couples must be married for at least 2 years.
  • Previous divorce (up to two) is permitted.
  • Up to five children in the home permitted.
  • No restriction regarding religion.
  • There cannot be more than 43 years difference in age between the adoptive parent and child; however, there are exceptions for older children, special needs, and sibling adoptions.

NOTE: IFS works with Adoption Avenues as the primary agency in the U.S. and the registered agency in Ethiopia. Families will enter into agreements with IFS and AA that define which agency conducts what services.

Fees & Expenses

IFS Application Fee:


IFS Agency Coordination Fee:


Siblings adopted at the same time:

$500 for each additional child.

Unrelated children adopted at the same time:

• From the same program same region: $1,250 for each additional child.
• From the same program, different region $2,000 for each additional child.

Expatriate (clients living out of the U.S.):

Additional $1,000

Ethiopia Program Fee:

Contact IFS for the latest information regarding program fees. Fees will be reduced for two children adopted at the same time and for the adoption of special needs children or children 6-14 years of age. Contact your Adoption Consultant for more information.

Additional Expenses:

• Document authentication fee: $100- $500 (depends on your state).
• Post Adoption follow up reports: $1,000+ (depends on agency).
• Travel: varies- depending on airline and the season you are traveling. Usually the ticket is anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500.
• Money wiring fees: As noted above but subject to change without notice.
• Accommodations: Guest Houses vary from $65 – $135 per night.
• Guide and transportation: $70/day for transportation within the city of Addis Ababa. If the family wants to go outside of Addis Ababa to visit the country the cost charged for transportation will be $100/day plus fuel expenses. If more than one adoptive family is traveling the fee can be divided.
• Child’s Medical Examination in Ethiopia: 35-$45.
• Child’s Visa $405 (paid to US Embassy.
• Visa for the Parents: These will be obtained in Addis Ababa before you leave the airport in the Ethiopia Consular section. The fee is $20 per person.
• Passport for child: $97.

A Note about Post-Adoption Report Refundable Deposits:

Refer to the IFS Adoption Services Agreement and Contract regarding your refundable Post-Adoption Report (PAR) deposits. Deposits will be required at the time of signing of your Child Acceptance Agreement. Contact your IFS representative for current refundable PAR deposit requirements or proof of prepaid post adopt services may be submitted in lieu of deposits.
Don’t forget about the federal adoption tax credit offered by the IRS.  This is a $13,170 per child tax credit to adoptive families based on qualified adoption expenses.

Subsequent IFS adoption anytime after initial adoption:


Adopt from Ethiopia

Explore Adoption to begin the journey through the process of helping a child find a forever family.

Explore Adoption

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Since our beginning in the early 1990s, International Family Services (IFS) has helped nearly 4500 orphaned children find forever homes.

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