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Before the adoption
Two elements distinguish Ethiopia's adoption system, according to dozens of experts. One is the existence of transitional homes for orphans that are paid for by American agencies, which are located in the countryside and in the capital. These provide services and staffing rare in the developing world.

The other is that adopting families are encouraged to meet birth families and visit the villages where the children were raised. In years to come, this priceless experience will give your child tangible information about his/her ancestry, family photographs for your child and could yield important medical and psychological information about family genetics. Some adoption agencies provide DVDs or photographs that document the children's past.

Most of the children are healthy by third world standards because medical care is so scarce that children with serious illnesses generally do not survive. Children are well cared for in orphanages or hospitals, but are in great need of a loving family environment.

The health of the children in need of adoption varies significantly based on the child's prior care environment. Some babies and children will be robust and in good overall health. Other children have suffered from severe malnutrition and perhaps a variety of infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis and/or malaria). Some children come from a loving family that suffered a tragedy, or a caring orphanage where they received proper nutrition and education. Other children come from a rural area where their birth family experienced poverty, deprivation and lack of medical care. These children may have never had the opportunity to attend school, let alone receive sufficient nutrition for proper growth and development. Families adopting from Ethiopia must be open to the range of these possibilities.


The content of this course is based upon materials found on-line at UNICEF-Statistics, UNICEF-Background, CDC, U.S. Department of State, Report - AIDS in Ethiopia, Fourth Edition, October 2002 (Ministry of Health Disease Prevention and Control Department, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), and other internet sources


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