Just Ask Joe: Donnelly Assists Granger Family in Cutting through International Red Tape to Bring their Adopted Daughter Home from Ethiopia

In latest installment of “Just Ask Joe” series, family details how Senator’s office helped them adopt daughter after running into challenges with Ethiopian government

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly today released the latest installment of his “Just Ask Joe” video series, which highlights the many services available to Hoosiers from his office. In November, Sarah and Kenny Petty of Granger contacted Donnelly’s office for assistance with the adoption of their daughter from Ethiopia. The adoption process had been stalled by the Ethiopian government, but Donnelly’s office worked to help the Petty family navigate the process, advocated on behalf of the family to the U.S. State Department, and pushed for the Ethiopian government to lift newly placed restrictions on pending adoptions. In this video, the Petty family shares how Donnelly assisted them in bringing their adopted daughter home from Ethiopia.


To watch the “Just Ask Joe” video featuring the Petty family from Granger, click the image above or click here.

In 2017, the Ethiopian government took steps to limit intercountry adoptions, requiring the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia to negotiate with the Ethiopian government to allow some in-process adoptions to move forward. The Petty family had an in-process adoption, meaning they had been matched to a specific child, but their case was not part of those negotiations.

Donnelly pressed the State Department to advocate for the Petty family and other Hoosier families in a similar situation. Donnelly urged the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, in a letter, to proceed with all in-process adoptions. Donnelly’s staff worked with State Department officials and the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, consistently over several months regarding the Petty family’s pending adoption and to get them updates on the situation.

In January, the Ethiopian government allowed the Petty family’s adoption to move forward. The Pettys flew to Ethiopia in February 2018 for their court appointment and Embassy interview. The day after the interview, they were able to travel home with their daughter.

Donnelly encourages any Hoosier in need of assistance with a federal agency to contact his Indianapolis office at 317-226-5555. For more information about these and other services provided by Donnelly’s office—including federal casework, veterans’ resources, and applying for federal grants—please visit his website at www.donnelly.senate.gov/help. To see past installments of “Just Ask Joe,” click here.