Sunday, November 27, 2011

EthioStork Provides Service to Adoptive Families Responding to RFE by USCIS

Was your I600 petition transferred to USCIS by the US Embassy in Ethiopia? Have you received an RFE (Request for Evidence) in regards to the orphan status of your child adopted from Ethiopia? We may be able to assist you in compiling the evidence you need to respond to USCIS. Contact us at

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to Select an Adoption Service Provider

Are you looking for an adoption agency to help you adopt from Ethiopia? Not all adoption agencies are created equal. Perhaps the most important first step is this: never base your decision on fee or speed of adoption process. Some agencies may guarantee you a baby fast and cheap. But when things seem too good to be true, they probably are. Consider these kinds of promises as a red flag.
Here are some tips and important things to consider before selecting an agency.
1.      Licensing
Ask if your agency is licensed in Ethiopia and how long they have been licensed there.  Ask for a copy of their license to operate as an agency in Ethiopia (issued by the Societies and Agencies licensing authority in Ethiopia) if you doubt that they may not be telling you the whole truth. Some agencies do not have a license in Ethiopia but claim they can help you adopt from thee. This usually means they are partnering with another agency that has license. This means they don’t really have any control over your adoption and you are at the mercy of the agency they are partnering with. And there is a reason they were  not able to be licensed in Ethiopia themselves so just go with one that has a license there.

2.      HAGUE Accreditation
This is so IMPORTANT!  If the agency has not been HAGUE Accredited then run the other way. There is a reason they didn’t pass the accreditation. They most likely have sloppy paperwork process or have low standards when it comes to the information they provide on a child.  And they are most likely to be agencies that have been involved in some form of suspicious activity in their intercountry adoption programs. Eventhough the country you are adopting from is not a HAGUE country and doesn’t require adoption agencies to be HAGUE accredited to work in their countries; it doesn’t mean you should select an agency that doesn’t have an accreditation. The fact that very few agencies couldn’t pass the high standards placed by the accreditation process should be a big red flag for you. Visit the following site to know more about what HAGUE Convention is.
If an agency fails a HAGUE accreditation then it is probable because it is not in compliance with the regulations and standards of HAGUE.   You want to entrust your adoption of a child to  an agency that meets ALL standards, not just a country that has little to no standards when it comes to adoption.

3.      Research
Always research any agency you are interested in.  You can simply Google an agency and you can find many information, from complaints to useful comments from families.   Of course every agency may have a complaint or two but avoid agencies that have many repeated complaints from current or past clients.

4.      Orphanage & Agency Relationship
How many orphanages does your agency work with? And how many orphanages does your orphanage work with? In my many years working in Child Welfare in Ethiopia, I have noticed a direct correlation between the number of orphanages an agency works with and the number of agencies an orphanage works with. If an agency works with only one orphanage and the orphanage only work with one agency (not just US agency but including others in Europe, Canada & Australia) , one must question why the relationship is set that way. Usually it is an indicator that the exclusive relationship is set up so that an agency can “own” the orphanage.

5.      Transparency
How transparent is the agency with their clients? Some agencies want to “control” everything about your adoption and expect you to ask no questions about the process or the status of your adoption. At the end of the day YOU are the one adoption and YOU are the one who will be raising the child, therefore it is important that the agency you select has a culture of transparency when it comes to giving you information about your child. An agency should give you the following before you ask for it (and if not definitely when you ask for it). It is not limited to just these three things but the following are a must when you are given a referral of a child.

1.       Complete medical on your child including lab work. 
2.       Complete social history of your child. This document should not be one that is generated by your agency. It should be a direct translation of an official document generated by the government of the country you are adopting from, declaring the child an orphan.  If an agency does not give you such a document and only gives you their own “summary” only then it is possible that they are referring a child that is not declared an orphan yet.
3.       Pictures of your child
After  the adoption is approved at court, your agency should give you copies of documents such as court decrees, birth certificates and passports as they get them. They may not automatically give them to you but shouldn’t resist when you ask for them. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Your Adopted Child Held in an Orphanage in the South?

Do you have a child who is being held in the Southern Region even though their adoption is approved by MOWCYA and Federal Instance Court? We can help. Here is a testimony from a family we gave consult to over the summer and was among the first to get their child out of the south.
The process of adoption can be challenging and at times, uncertain.  As government policies tend to shift without notice, it was good to have Duni advising us not only because of her knowledge, but because of her relationships in Ethiopia.  Her guidance,  and professionalism were of great value to us  R&B Ward
We can help, contact us at The SNNPR or Southern Regions of Ethiopia  recently changed its adoption policy. Children with no parental care who enter institutions were cleared for adoption by the Zone where the institution is located. That has now changed and a new committee is being set up to clear cases at the Kilel level. The Kiliel is the regional authority and presides over  the zones. Kilil has now taken over  the responsibility to approve children for adoption to MOWCYA. MOWCYA can only recommend children for adoption to the Federal Court only when it has a letter clearing children from the Kilil level.
Now with the children who were in institutions that closed and have been moved to other orphanages. The SNNPR is requiring them to have new paperwork through the new orphanage and fall under the new requirement of having a Kilil clearance.
Do children who have been approved by the Federal Instance Court now have to go through this new requirement? Legally, no. However families should work with experienced lawyers and adoption professionals to ensure their children leave without further delay.    
Contact us at

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why is it so expensive to trace a birth family/history?

We get this question a lot. Expensive is subjective and depends on the product or service one is getting for their money. 10 dollars for a candy bar is expensive. 2,000 dollars for brand new Mercedes is not expensive. And some things, such as finding firth parent tracing are priceless (see our blog posted on September 21st Three Priceless Reasons for Tracing a birth parent or family).

How much does it cost to trace a birth family?

Now Eventhough it is priceless, we work hard to keep costs down for families while delivering the best service we possibly can.  Depending on proximity of abandonment of birth country (proximity to Addis where EthioStork main office is) and information provided by families (fee to find a parent whose name is mentioned on a document and fee to find a parent of a child who is abandoned and whose document has no names of knows relatives) varies. Even with these various factors included, the fee is usually no more than 2,000 dollars. While it can range between $600-2000,he average fee is 1,500.
The fee covers cost of EthioStork searchers transportation and expenses related to searching. Search of birth families is a tasking escapade that requires much knowledge about the various rural areas of Ethiopia and long hours of searches and gathering of information. Fees also include a DVD of birth parent interviews once they are found. Only half of payment is due upon the start of a search and remaining fee is due upon completion. Need a payment plan? Let us know and we can arrange one. Contact us at for more information

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 Web Seminars Scheduled in October & November!

Four Web Seminars Scheduled for October & November! 

Ethiopian Culture and Adoption Webinar
Recommended for families currently in the process of adoption or considering adoption these web seminars provide resources to equip you in the adoption of your Ethiopian child.  We give web seminars covering
*Ethiopian Culture and History,
*Ethiopian Adoption laws and current issues.
*What to expect, how to tell if anything in your adoption is of concern or outside the normal time  
*Equipping yourself to ensure your agency is doing its due diligence.
Cost: 60 dollars per couple
Friday, October 21st 2:00PM-4:00PM (EST)
Monday, October 24th 2:00PM-4:00PM (EST)
Friday, November 11th 2:00PM-4:00PM (EST)
Monday, November 13th 2:00PM-4:00PM
 Sign up for the next web seminar


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Priceless Reasons for Tracing a Birth parent or family

1.       Help a child understand why his mother chose to abandon him
Even though most children who are abandoned are adopted while they are still babies, the fact that they were abandoned creates many questions as they grow up. It is not unusual to attribute something negative about themselves and claim that is why their birth mother abandoned them.   In most cases, a mother in Ethiopia chooses to abandon a baby because of lack of knowledge that she can relinquish her child or because she was unable to. Finding a birth mother will help answer these questions to an adopted child.

2.       Family history
Once a child grows up he starts to realize he has a birth family far away. Ancestral history is something children love to hear about and cherish. Fining birth families and learning about his extended family, grandparents, and culture and family traditions helps an adopted child with his or her self esteem.  Knowing your adopted family will not only enrich him but the adoptive family as a whole.

3.       Medical History
Family medical history is important in knowing and preventing some medical problems.  Finding a birth family will help answer some questions about any medical problems an adopted child may be predisposed to.

would you like EthioStork to help you trace a birth family? Contact us at

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Web Seminars Scheduled for September!

    “Kids can’t go forward without a past!”
                                                    --Jean MacLeod

Studies show that children adopted by parents of different race can have identity issues that need to be addressed. One of them is a shame based identity that stems from their mixed emotions about their ethnicity, race or birth country.

As an Adoption Professional and Ethiopian, Duni Zenaye addresses questions adoptive parents have but are afraid to ask. This seminar educates families about culture and race as well as shows them how to help children build healthy self esteems while instilling a sense of pride about who they are.

Some of the few things addressed at the seminar are:





Post Placement

Do’s and Don’ts while in Ethiopia
Overview of the adoption process
What to expect...and not expect
 Doing your part to ensure your adoption goes smoothly
Three web seminars being held in September
Wednesday, September 14th 9:00-10:30AM (EST)
Saturday, September 17th 9:00-10:30 AM (EST)
Monday, September 19th 3:00-5:30 PM (EST)


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Services Offered by EthioStork

1.       Ethiopian Culture and Adoption Webinar
Recommended for families currently in the process of adoption or considering adoption these web seminars provide resources to equip you in the adoption of your Ethiopian child.  We give web seminars covering
*Ethiopian Culture and History,
*Ethiopian Adoption laws and current issues.
*What to expect, how to tell if anything in your adoption is of concern or outside the normal time
*Equipping yourself to ensure your agency is doing its due diligence.
 Sign up for the next web seminar

2.       International Document Consultation
So you just received your referral! This is  one of the most exciting milestones in your adoption process. It also means in the midst of all the excitement you have to review and understand all the social and medical documents in the referral packet.  It is recommended that you send your referred child’s medical information to an International pediatrician to make sure you know all there is to know about your child’s medical condition. Have you ever considered having your child's official social profile reviewed by a professional? You should! This helps you avoid any delays or heartaches at the final stages of your adoption. You want your new child home with no unnecessary delays.
Have an international adoption document specialist review  your child’s social document to ensure everything is in order for court and embassy.  This will help you be your own advocate and hold your agency accountable to do all things necessary to complete or correct any errors. Most importantly, it will help you determine if you are adopting a true orphan who needs a loving home.

3.       Over the phone translation services
The first few months your adopted child is home will be stressful as your child transitions into his or her new life. The language barrier can add additional stress and confusion as you try to communicate with each other.  While it is true that an adopted child will soon be able to tell you in  English what she wants, it may be necessary to have someone translate for you. The older your child is, the more important it is to know what she is trying to tell you about her past or something important that she can’t articulate in English just yet.   We will personally work with you to set up time that works for you to help you and your child communicate better. This is not simply translation but also help you and your older child foster a healthy relationship.
4.       Birthparent/history Tracing
We have highly specialized staff in Ethiopia who can help trace your Child’s birth history.  As adopted children grow they start to ask about their birth parents. We help families trace parents and history of their adopted child who was abandoned or relinquished with little known family history. Contact us at

5.       Travel and In country Accommodations
We work with reputable travel guides, transportation providers and guesthouses that cater to adoptive families.  Our staff know everything from where you need to go to complete your adoption, the best place to shop to the best clinic to go to incase you or your child gets sick.  Contact us and arrange your travel to Ethiopia through us.