Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Procedures to Immigration Visa

Gladney has received information from the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia about new procedures related to immigration visa processing which will affect adoption agencies who are currently working in Ethiopia. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) wants to ensure that immigrants coming into the United States do not have active tuberculosis (TB). Therefore, all children adopted from Ethiopia (or any other country) by Americans must be screened for active TB, and any children who have active TB must complete 6 months of medical treatment prior to being issued a U.S. visa by the U.S. Embassy.

Gladney’s procedure has been and will continue to be for children to be seen by Gladney’s full-time pediatrician prior to referral. If a child is displaying symptoms of TB, the child’s condition is further evaluated by the pediatrician in order to determine if the child has active TB. If a child has active TB, the child begins 6 months of medical treatment, and Gladney waits to refer the child until after that treatment is completed.

Please click on this link to review the information from the U.S. Embassy regarding the new procedures related to active TB: http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/tb_testing.html.

Based on this information from the U.S. Embassy and Gladney’s procedures, it is Gladney’s understanding that this change will not cause delays for our adoptive parents. If we are made aware of information indicating the probability of delays in immigration visa processing, we would notify all adoptive parents in the Ethiopia Program in order to keep you updated.

In addition to this change in procedures related to TB, the U.S. Embassy announced a new schedule for adoption agencies’ Embassy appointments (the interviews that adoptive parents complete at the U.S. Embassy while in Ethiopia). Previously, each adoption agency had one scheduled Embassy interview day per week (Gladney’s Embassy interviews were every Wednesday), and the U.S. Embassy could process a maximum of 10 children’s visas per agency per week (totaling a maximum of 40-50 children’s visas per agency per month, depending on if a month has 4 or 5 weeks). According to the U.S. Embassy’s new schedule, each adoption agency now has one scheduled Embassy interview day every other week (Gladney’s Embassy interviews are now every other Wednesday), and the U.S. Embassy will process a maximum of 10 children’s visas per agency every other week (totaling a maximum of 20-30 children’s visas per agency per month, depending on if a month has 4 or 5 weeks).

Based on this information, Gladney’s in-country staff will be evaluating the number of adoptive families that they can reasonably host at a time (coordinating drivers, facilitating birth parent/relative meetings, coordinating cultural activities, and trying to make the trip as positive an experience as possible for adoptive families). Previously, adoptive parents traveled 2-4 weeks after their adoptions were finalized by the courts in Ethiopia (depending upon the day of the week that families’ adoptions are finalized, the # of families who are approved in court at any given time, the # of families that the Embassy can process at a time, and the # of families that our in-country staff can reasonably host at a time). The time period in between the court date and families’ travel dates is required for our in-country representatives to obtain the court decree from the courts, your child’s Ethiopian birth certificate, your child’s Ethiopian passport, and a U.S. Embassy appointment. Based on the U.S. Embassy’s new schedule, we expect that adoptive parents will typically travel 2-5 weeks after their adoptions are finalized by the courts in Ethiopia (again depending on the factors listed above). We will continue to keep adoptive parents updated on current time frames on the monthly conference calls.