The Ethiopian suspension on international adoptions could have devastating consequences for a four-year-old boy. Tilahun was born with a heart condition. His heart doesn’t pump blood correctly, so he tires easily, gets clubbing in his feet, and endures heavy bruising in his legs as a result. In the United States, such a condition would have been repaired at birth. At his age, the doctors aren’t sure how long he will survive.

A West Michigan family has vowed to do whatever it takes to get the boy healthy. Kate and Corey Swiftney are no strangers to to Ethiopian adoption. The couple has two biological daughters and a four-year-old boy they adopted from the country when he was four months old. Kate first read about the boy on a Facebook post. When she contacted the social worker to see how they could help, she was asked to adopt him. After a 30-minute conversation the couple said yes. The adoption was going as planned when the Ethiopian government announced all adoptions were to cease immediately. The reason is unclear, but in the past they have suspended proceedings while investigating a specific orphanage.

Adoption Associates, the agency the Swiftneys are using, has been working with Ethiopia for over a decade. They have successfully placed 370 of the country’s children with loving U.S. families. The agency currently has 26 adoptions that have been halted due to the suspension.

In desperation, Corey flew to Ethiopia to try to get an expedited court date. So far he has been unsuccessful. He has been able to spend some time with Til and has shared with Kate how hard it is to leave him after visits. No one knows when the suspension will lift, but until then this child’s life hangs in the balance.