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  • Single women are eligible to adopt, but the cases are approved by Ethiopian officials on a case-by-case basis.
  • Couples must be married for at least 3 years prior to application.
  • Prospective parents must be at least 25 years of age, and no more than 50 years older than the child. The maximum allowed age to adopt is 65 years.
  • Families must be able to demonstrate financial stability.
  • No more than 2 divorces for either parent are accepted.

Children Needing Families:

  • Children may be aged between 4 months and 13 years at the time of referral.
  • Sibling groups are available. It is also possible to adopt two unrelated children.
  • Children are raised in orphanages.
  • Ethiopian children are typically of African descent.
  • Each child’s referral comes with a photo, a blood test, and a social report.
  • The country makes a huge effort to keep toddlers with their biological families.

Requirements & Process:

The first step in an Ethiopian adoption is to complete a home study and dossier. KidsFirst understands the requirements of an Ethiopian dossier, and is available to help families through each step of the process. Once these items are done, they can be submitted to the country.

Avg. Referral Waits:

After the dossier and paperwork has been submitted to the country, referral wait times run approximately 6-8 months for a boy, and 8-11 months for a girl.

  • For children 2-5 years old, the wait can be 1-2 years.
  • For children over 5 years old, the wait can be between 6-8 months.


The first court hearing in Ethiopia takes place 3 months after a referral has been accepted, for the child’s biological family. Approximately 2 months later, court is held for the adoptive family. There is a total wait of 5 months before the family travels to Ethiopia for their first trip. Both parents must travel. 1.5 to 3 months later, the family will travel back for their second trip. Only one parent may travel if necessary. Both trips are approximately 5 days in length each.