We received news yesterday that Ethiopia's Federal Court is now requesting that adoptive parents be present (IN Ethiopia) at the first court hearing for the adoption of their Ethiopia-born child/ren. Previously, the agency had the family's POA, and was present on our behalf for the hearing -- this just made sense since only 50% of adoption cases are granted on the first hearing.
This now makes Ethiopia a 2-trip program. Both parents must travel to Ethiopia to meet their child/ren and to testify regarding their desire to adopt this child/ren. Even if the hearing results in a finalized adoption, the process is far from over--meaning the parents must return to the US, and then make a second trip to Ethiopia 2-3 months later to bring their child home. This 2-3 month delay involves Ethiopia's adoption decree and new birth certificate processing-time, as well as the US Consulate's own investigation into the legitimacy of the adoption (prior to issuing a visa).
So what does this mean?
An extra trip to Ethiopia = $4-7000 in additional expenses.
Plus, meeting your child, but not being able to bring him/her home for several months.
However, because a family meets their child/ren prior to the adoption, it will no longer be necessary to re-adopt the child/ren for US citizenship (good thing!!).
We have a conference call with our agency this afternoon to discuss these changes in detail -- I'll share that info tonight.