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Anderson family looks to Washington for help after delay in adoption

Courts approved the adoption of a 3-year-old boy from Ethiopia, but the Ethiopian government is reluctant to file paperwork for an exit visa.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - After a recent unsuccessful trip to Ethiopia to bring home an adopted 3-year-old son, an Anderson family is turning to Washington for help.

Jon and Rachel Oren had completed the court adoption process, but while their plane to Ethiopia was in the air, the government put a halt on international adoptions.

"He is almost 4, so he knows, but does not understand," Rachel said of Genene, the boy they went to bring home. "The government has given us the legal responsibility to parent this child forever...We are being denied that right because we cannot take him home."

Their situation caught the attention of Indiana's Jr. Senator Todd Young. During John Sullivan's confirmation hearing Tuesday, Young explained that although the adoption had been successfully completed, the Oren's were unable to bring Genene home because the Ethiopian government is unwilling to submit the paperwork necessary for an exit visa. Young asked Sullivan if he would address the issue if confirmed.

"Senator Young, if confirmed I would be honored to do so," John Sullivan responded.

"This must be resolved. It's important we elevate the issue and resolve it not just for Hoosiers impacted but others being left in a lurch," Young said in a follow-up interview.

For the last two years, Genene and his adoptive parents have had to communicate by video. The Oren's have witnessed Genene's walking and talking thanks to technology.

"I miss you. I miss you," Genene Oren said on his dad's cell phone.


"We ultimately want our son to come home in a timely fashion," Jon said. "We don't want him waiting any longer than he already has. He has waited long enough." Rachel added.

The parents aren't the only one feeling incomplete without their new addition. Mekonen, 8, also adopted from Ethiopia, had a message for his little brother.

"I want him to come home."