Who Can Adopt from Ethiopia

The Semien Mountains.

In addition to U.S. immigration requirements, you must meet multiple requirements in order to adopt a child from Ethiopia.


There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents. However, the Government of Ethiopia generally requires adoptive parents to travel to Ethiopia prior to finalizing the adoption in Ethiopian court. In practice, this results in most adoptive parents making at least two trips to Ethiopia.

Age of Adopting Parents

The prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years of age. The maximum age limit for adoptive parents is 65. In addition to these age requirements, the Ethiopian Government has sometimes limited the age difference between the prospective adoptive parent and the adopted child to no more than 40 years.


While the Ethiopian Government has shown a preference for placing children with married couples who have been married for at least five years, unmarried women are eligible to adopt under Ethiopian law as of February 2013. As the change in Ethiopian government policy regarding adoptions by unmarried women is new, adoption service providers in Ethiopia may still have different policies regarding whether or not they make referrals of adoptable children to unmarried women and under what circumstances. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa urges adoptive parents to contact their agency to clarify their current policies. In general, unmarried men are ineligible to adopt under Ethiopian law unless they are of Ethiopian descent and are adopting a family member.


A prospective adoptive parent must prove financial ability as determined by the Ethiopian courts, although there is no set minimum income requirement.


Ethiopian law prohibits adoption by gay and/or lesbian individuals or couples.

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