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Sen. Young drafts letter asking Ethiopian Prime Minister to reconsider suspension of inter-country adoptions

Jon and Rachel Oren with their son adopted from Ethiopia.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) has drafted a letter to send to Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, regarding the decision to suspend all inter-country adoptions.

Earlier this week, we shared the story of an Anderson couple who are the legal guardians of a 3-year old boy from Ethiopia, but they can’t bring him home.

Jon and Rachel Oren said they started the adoption process in 2015 and were matched with the now toddler. Last month, they boarded a plane planning to bring Genene home from an orphanage in Ethiopia. But during their trip, the country suspended inter-country adoptions.

The Orens were able to become the young boy’s legal guardians while there, but that the paperwork needed to obtain his visa was denied.

In Sen. Young’s letter, which you can read in its entirety here, he says Congress would like to work with him to “ensure that orphans in Ethiopia have the opportunity to find safe, loving and permanent homes.”

He calls on Desalegn to reconsider the adoption suspension, and says more than 200 families in the U.S. are in a “difficult and heartbreaking position.”

Before drafting the letter, Sen. Young brought attention to the Orens’ case during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

“According to our state department this has left dozens of US families in the late stages of the adoption process unable to obtain the necessary paperwork to bring home their legally adopted children,” Sen. Young said during the meeting.

The state department wrote in an adoption alert update it was informed “…the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWA) will resume its processing of inter-country adoption cases, but that it will only issue negative letters.”

Young expects dozens of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to sign it next week.