Great News for Families Adopting HIV+ Children


Something important happened in the world today, President Obama announced the end of a 22 year ban on travel for HIV+ people wanting to enter the United States. This ban has prohibited adoptive families from easily getting their new children’s visas and bringing them home.

I can only write intelligently (or somewhat) about how the ban affected HIV+ children being adopted from Ethiopia. HIV+ children go through the same adoption process as all other children. With the ban in effect, after the child passed court, the family was issued an appointment at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa. The family then traveled to Ethiopia (unless they chose to have their child escorted), attended the appointment and was told that their child’s application for a US Visa was denied based on his HIV status. At that point the family would submit a waiver along with multiple supporting documents, and pay an extra $545.00.

A few years ago, there was no way of knowing how long a family would wait for the waiver to be processed and the visa approved. Often the waivers sat for a long time on a particular desk in the USCIS office in Nairobi; according to one agency representative, this resulted in an average processing time of five months for the waiver. Due to the efforts of Project Hopeful and EACH, the waiver time was successfully shortened to ten business days, which was a dramatic improvement. However that still lengthened a family’s stay in Ethiopia and prevented children who had been adopted by US citizens from coming home to their families as quickly as possible.

Today this ban was lifted, which benefits all families adopting HIV+ children internationally. As President Obama stated, the ban was “rooted in fear rather than fact”. I should note that it was President Bush who signed this into law in July of 2008 as part of approving legislation for reauthorizing funding for PEPFAR. President Obama states he is now “finishing the job.”

You can read more about it in this Washington Post article.

We are particularly happy for our special friends who are bringing home a sweet little girl we adore!


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Andrea H.
    October 31, 2009

    Amen! What an unforgettable and glorious day.

  2. coffeemom
    October 31, 2009

    This is fantastic news!!! And it is about time! Good for EACH and Project HOpeful for the great work they've done! Sometimes things change for the good! e

  3. Marissa
    October 31, 2009

    A joyous day I will never forget!

  4. Rusty
    October 31, 2009

    I'm so excited about this fantastic news! It must be very encouraging to families in the process.


  5. Hannah
    October 31, 2009


  6. Jan J.
    November 1, 2009

    Wahoo! I had not heard about this! This rule seemed to smack of discrimination to me, and I am glad it is gone!

  7. darci
    November 2, 2009

    wonderful news!


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