About the Author: Jeffrey Ladenson serves as the Adoption Unit Chief in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu traveled to Ethiopia from September 1-4 and met with Ethiopian government officials and representatives of international and local organizations in order to discuss children's issues, including the plight of orphans and other vulnerable children in the country. During her stay in Ethiopia, Senator Landrieu visited orphanages, child care centers, and other facilities and interacted with over 500 Ethiopian children at these venues. She also met with the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, His Excellency Girma Wolde Giorgis, at the National Palace.
Ambassador Susan Jacobs, who serves as the U.S. Department of State's Special Advisor for Children's Issues, Gary Newton, the U.S. Agency for International Development's Special Advisor for orphans and vulnerable children, and a prominent group of American business and NGO leaders traveled with the Senator.
During their visit to Ethiopia, Senator Landrieu and the other members of the delegation shared the U.S. experience on children's issues, including adoption and foster care, and learned from Ethiopian experts and child welfare specialists about the Ethiopian situation. Senator Landrieu noted, “In my first visit to Ethiopia, I have been struck by the dedication of all those committed to assisting children and families in need. Their efforts have had a profound effect on me.”
The visit allowed Embassy Addis Ababa to raise the issue of vulnerable children at multiple levels of the Ethiopian Government, and with other stakeholders in adoption and child welfare policy. Embassy Addis Ababa hopes to build on these discussions and support the Government of Ethiopia's goal to accede to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption.