Central Indiana couple says legally adopted son can’t leave Ethiopia

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ANDERSON, Ind. — An Anderson couple said they’re the legal guardians of a 3-year old boy from Ethiopia after a year’s long adoption process, but they’re unable to bring him home after the Ethiopian government suspended inter-country adoption.

Jon and Rachel Oren have a room at their home already set up to bring home Genene, and are determined to get him there.

“There’s no word on a timeline or anything,” Rachel Oren said.

The Orens 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.

“There’s no definitive end in sight but we’re doing everything we can right now,” Jon Oren said.

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

“To have your child on a completely different continent on the other side of the world that you can’t physically care for is very difficult, it’s putting your trust in God in a whole completely different category,” Rachel Oren said.

Senator Todd Young brought attention to their 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.

Tuesday, he said he followed up with the Ethiopian ambassador.

Sen. Young released this statement:

“I followed up this morning with the Ethiopian Ambassador to emphasize the need to unite families without delay.  While I was encouraged by my conversation with the ambassador, I will not be satisfied until the Orens can bring their son home.”

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.”

In the meantime, the Orens are left with more questions than answers waiting to bring Genene home to their three biological daughters, and 8-year old son, also adopted from Ethiopia.

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