Change in Processing Timeline for Adoption Cases
March 5, 2010
The Department of State shares families’ concerns about recent media reports alleging direct recruitment of children from birth parents by adoption service providers or their employees. In response to these reports, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has implemented some changes to adoption visa processing. Adoptive parents should be aware that an I-604 (Determination on Child for Adoption, sometimes referred to as “orphan investigation”) must be completed in connection with every I-600 application. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this investigation may take up to several weeks or even months to complete. Therefore, adoptive parents should not plan to travel to Ethiopia until they have confirmed with their adoption agency that their visa interview appointment has been confirmed.
Adoption agencies submit case paperwork to the U.S. Embassy for review before the Embassy schedules the immigrant visa appointment. In some cases the I-604 determination could take several weeks or more from the time a case is submitted to the U.S. Embassy to the scheduling of a visa interview appointment. We understand that in such cases this will result in a longer period before parents are able to bring their adopted children to the U.S. However, this additional scrutiny is required to ensure that the adoption is legal under both U.S. and Ethiopian law. The U.S. Embassy will work with adoptive parents and their adoption agency to ensure that each case is processed in the most expeditious manner possible in accordance laws and regulations. Families should continue to work through their agency to schedule immigrant visa appointments and answer questions regarding pending cases.
If families have concerns about their adoption, we ask that they share this information with the Embassy, particularly if it involves possible fraud or misconduct specific to your child’s case. The Embassy takes all allegations of fraud or misconduct seriously.
When will we meet our baby? I guess God only knows.
We recently found out that our agency already uses this form and it will not effect our process in any way. Because of questionable adoption practices within other agencies, Ethiopian and U.S. Embassy changes are becoming more frequent. It is a very important responsibility for everyone who plays a part in international adoption to make sure the best interest of the child comes first.