A combination of the country's relatively easy adoption paperwork and large number of children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic has drawn an increasing number of adoption agencies over the past few years, said Merrily Ripley, director of Adoption Advocates International, the agency that helped the Stimelys adopt Masene and Safiya.
Wait times for adopting Ethiopian children are longer than they've ever been, said Ms. Ripley
, as agencies realize that Ethiopia's clear adoption procedures make it a good country for international adoption.
Also, because of new drugs that reduce the risk of spreading HIV, American families can now adopt HIV-positive children, Ms. Ripley
placed about 30 HIV-positive children from Ethiopia last year, she
"That's something we never thought we'd be able to do 5 to 10 years ago," she
American families are aware that HIV, malaria, yellow fever and poverty have left many children orphaned.
"I think because they're aware of the need there, the orphans, a lot of folks are motivated by wanting to adopt a child," Ms. Ripley
The agency has placed as many as five siblings together, Ms. Ripley