New information

Here’s a little update about a portion of the process that has changed a bit – our agency just sent this along to everyone “in-process”

1) Court Procedure- When the court process changed in May of this year, two court hearings were being scheduled. The purpose of the first one was to have the birth parent’s testimony approved and to obtain approval from MOWA. The purpose of the second one was for the adoptive parents to verify that they have met their child and wish to proceed with the adoption. The adoption was then finalized.

As of last week, there is only one hearing automatically being scheduled. This hearing will include all aspects that that the two hearings originally covered. We are not sure exactly what this will look like but assume that the birth parent will complete their portion and then the adoptive parents will complete theirs after the birth parent has left the court room.

There are at least two benefits to this change. First of all, this will move the process along and ultimately allow your children to come home sooner because you will not need to wait for that second hearing. Secondly, the meeting between you and the birth parent would take place in Addis, at our AAI office, after the court hearing. This means less uncertainty with whether or not the birth parent meeting can take place than if you met them in the South.

The negative or risk with traveling to Ethiopia and attending this hearing is the slight possibility of the case not being approved and the permanently closed. This would be extremely rare, however, the risk is there.

If, for example, MOWA did not submit their letter of consent on time for the court hearing, this will be accepted later and neither the birth parent or the adoptive parents will need to re-appear in court. This result of this would be a possible delay in the case, although, this delay would typically be not more than a couple weeks.

If the adoptive family is not comfortable with the risk involved with having just the one hearing, the court is allowing, as of now anyway, a second hearing to be scheduled.

It will be at the time that you accept your referral that we will ask if you would like to attend the one hearing or if you would prefer that two hearings be scheduled.

2) Meeting Birth Parents – A couple months ago we were informed that, due to government restrictions and safety concerns, a birth parent meeting was not possible if your child was from the South and residing at EnatAlem or Africa Orphanage. We are pleased to tell you that in most cases, this meeting will be possible, afterall. As stated above, if you attend the court hearing the same day as the birth parent, this meeting will take place at our AAI office in Addis, after court. If you do not attend that hearing, we will do everything possible to make this meeting possible when you travel South on your trip.

3) The courts are requiring that both parents, if applicable,attend the court hearing. We were told initially that there would be exceptions to this requirement, but they would need to be extreme situations, such a inability to travel due to medical condition. The courts are now allowing “less extreme” exceptions. An example would be if you currently have 5 young children at home and it is very difficult for both parents to be away from home. There is not a set list of exceptions that will be accepted; it will need to be determined on a case by case basis.

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