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Articles about adoption from Ukraine

These orphans need parents!

Ukrainian adoption links

Notice: This is info on June 2005 and it may be outdated. For up to date info please contact State Department for Adoption and Protection of Rights of the Child (SDAPRC) in Kiev.

USA embassy in Kiev - adoption info

Resolution about adoption from Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine

The foreigners who want to adopt a child, who is the citizen of Ukraine and resides in its territory, shall address to the Centre of Adoption at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine with written application.

While writing an application, it is necessary to pay special attention on correct spelling of home address (to write postal code, name of city/town, street, number of house, number of apartment and telephone numbers of the applicants).

It is necessary to add the following documents to the application:

1) salary certificate or copy of income declaration, that shall be certified in prescribed manner (the income shall be no less than average subsistence minimum of the country of residence for previous year);

2) copy of marriage certificate, if the applicants are married;

3) medical certificate of the health of each adopter that shall be properly made in accordance with annex 4 (conclusion shall be made on a form of medical institution, contain the date of examination, date and number of laboratory analysis' results. Special attention shall be paid on availability of the final conclusion of the doctor and institution or doctor's seal;

4) notary certified written consent of other of the couple (in case of adoption by one of the married couple) if otherwise in not envisaged by legislation;

5) police certificate issued by the bodies of Internal Affaires in the place of residence (control of criminal offenses shall be made on the state level);

6) conclusion issued by competent authorities of the country of residence that certifies the fact that they can be adopters. It shall contain information about their housing and living conditions, their biographical data, family composition, own children and other information. If this conclusion is issued by non-governmental institution, it shall be accompanied by the copy of the license that proves the right of institution to exercise adoption related activity (Please, pay attention that it is necessary to mention in this conclusion, why do the adopters want to adopt a child exactly in Ukraine. If the family adopts the second child in Ukraine, the adopters are obliged to give information about the first child adaptation and indicate the time of reports presentation to correspondent consular authority of Ukraine). The citizens of Italy shall give certificate issued by accredited body that proves the application for international adoption in addition to conclusion.

7) permit of competent authority of the country of residence for entry and permanent residence of adopted child in the country (the citizens of the USA shall present the permit of Immigration and Naturalization Service of the USA Justice Department (form 1-600); citizens of Italy and Canada permit of correspondent diplomatic authority in Ukraine; citizens of Spain Main police department; citizens of Germany District department of the correspondent district of Germany; citizens of France Mission of international adoption of the Ministry of Foreign Affaires of France);

8) copy of the passport or other identification document (the copy shall be with clear photo);

9) obligation of the applicant to register a child in correspondent consular authority or diplomatic mission of Ukraine within one month from the date of child arrival to the country of permanent residence (the applicant shall indicate authority/mission where he/she registered a child). The applicant is obliged to give periodical (at least 1 for a year) report that shall be made in accordance with annex 5 about housing and education conditions of a child to this authority/mission, to give its representative an opportunity to communicate with a child. While writing an obligation application, it is necessary to pay special attention on correct spelling of home address (to write postal code, name of city/town, street, number of house, number of apartment and telephone numbers) and to indicate address of diplomatic authority of Ukraine where a child will be registered.

The mentioned documents of foreign citizens shall bear appostille made by correspondent authority of the country of residence, unless otherwise is not envisaged by international agreements of Ukraine. The documents and their translation on Ukrainian shall be given to the Centre of Adoption.

The documents of the citizens of Belgium and Germany (except the copy of passport or other identification document) are legalized in the correspondent foreign diplomatic authority of Ukraine.

The validity term of the documents for adoption is one year from the date of issue, unless otherwise is not envisaged by legislation of the country of issue. Centre of Adoption examines an application and documents of the citizens of Ukraine who live outside of its territory and the foreign citizens within 20 working days. In case of positive decision the applicants are registered as prospective parents, in witness thereof they receive notification.

In case of refuse in registration, the applicant receives reasoned written answer and all his/her documents.

For quick and efficient connection, you can use FEDEX-post or other type of high-speed connection. For this you should pay in advance the connection services and to send an envelop together with your documents.

Adoption of a child who is the citizen of Ukraine but lives outside its territory by Ukrainian or foreign citizens is realized in consular authority or diplomatic mission of Ukraine or correspondent public authorities in the country of child residence, on conditions that the adopters received permission of the Centre of adoption at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.

In order to receive permission of the Centre of Adoption, it's necessary to present conclusion that adoption is advisable and in the interests of child issued by foreign diplomatic authority of Ukraine together with all other documents mentioned above.

In case of adoption of a child of one of the married couple by another one, the adopter shall give the application of adoption permission to the Centre of adoption. The applicant shall present birth certificate of a child, documents that confirm legal base of adoption (death certificate of one of the parents or copy of court decision on deprivation of parental rights or declaration of their inability and parents consent (father/mother) on adoption that shall be certified by a notary).

If a child lives on the territory of Ukraine, it is necessary to add the conclusion of care institution that adoption is advisable and in the interests of a child. If a child lives outside the territory of Ukraine and adoption is realized in the consular authority of Ukraine or in correspondent authority of the state of residence of a child, it is necessary to add conclusion of correspondent consular authority or mission of Ukraine that adoption is advisable and in the interests of a child.

The court takes decision about adoption in condition if all documents are available.

State Department for Adoption and Protection of Rights of the Child Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports

Ms. Ludmyla Volynets
Director State Department for Adoption and Protection of Rights of the Child Ministry of Family, Youth and Sports
14 Desiatinna Street
Kyiv 01025 Ukraine


All children in the world have a right to a permanent nurturing family. If children cannot remain with the birth family, then in-country and international adoption should be considered. International adoption is a viable alternative for orphaned and homeless children living in foreign countries. These informative questions will hopefully will help you decide if international adoption is for you and your family.

- Why must we travel to get our child?

- All the countries that we work with have laws in place regarding international adoption. Most of these laws require parents to be present in the court proceedings presided by the county judges. Many U.S. state laws also require the parents to see the child before adoption, these are called pre-adoptive requirements and you should check to see what your states' pre-adoptive requirements are before beginning an adoption. The length of travel is dependant on the country's laws.

- Are the children guaranteed to be healthy?

- Whether you give birth to a child, or adopt one there are no guarantees on health. Many of our children are living in institutions and orphanages and may have undiagnosed problems or only partially diagnosed health issues. Some of them have been socially, medically and emotionally deprived for periods of their lives. Some of them may have been legally relinquished by the courts because of a neglect or abuse issue. To help assure that the children are healthy and with the potential to adjust well, we only work with experienced professional facilitation organizations, who see the children themselves, and many of which hire private physicians, social workers and psychologists to evaluate the children. When and if at all possible we try to obtain video tapes of the children so parents can have them evaluated by medical professionals. Know that sometimes it is impossible to obtain the same type of information as you would have on a child born in the United States, but we strive to help our parents discover everything about the child's current and past medical report.

- What age children are available in Ukraine?

- Boys are more available for adoption from Ukraine than girls. Girls with minimal health problems are available from about age 6, and boys from about age 4. Children of both sexes are available from about 6 months with fairly major health problems, such as missing limbs, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, etc. Children between the ages of 18 months and 4 years (boys) or 6 years (girls) will most likely have at least minor surgical needs (for crossed eyes, cleft palate, club foot), or more severe conditions. Ukraine's laws on international adoption make "healthy" children available to Ukrainians first for one month locally, one month regionally, and one year nationally after they are registered for adoption. After that, they are available for international adoption.

- Are all the children in the orphanages available for adoption?

- Many children in the orphanages are not available for adoption. The majority of the children in orphanages are there in a sort of "foster care." They have relatives who can't care for them for some reason, but who continue to visit them and hope to take custody of them again at a later date. In addition, many orphanages don't have the staff, funds, or the interest in registering children for adoption right away, and so often children are not available simply because the paperwork has not yet been processed. This is also the reason why children become available for adoption sometimes at age 2, but often at an older age - even up to 15 years of age. Just because a child is 6 does not mean they have been "passed over" for 4 years by other families.

- Do children adopted from Ukraine typically have attachment problems?

- Children adopted from Ukraine seem to adjust more quickly to their adoptive parents than children from many other countries, even older children (4-8 years of age). There are several theories about why this might be - the most popular being that it is due to the low ratio of caregivers to children. In Ukraine, you will typically find one caregiver per 5 children, and a very low turnover in the caregivers. So the children have usually attached well to their orphanage "parents" and "siblings," which typically means that they'll attach well to their new forever family (although it may be initially painful leaving the caregivers and friends that they love at the orphanage).

- How quickly do older adopted children learn English?

- Research done so far shows that children ages 5 and older will know a few words by the time they leave Ukraine, and understand a good bit of basic conversational English. Within 3 weeks of being in the US they will speak in sentences and understand almost everything. Within 3-6 months they will be conversationally fluent, with only small grammatical mistakes that most people will miss. If they are school age, it is generally possible to put them into school almost immediately on arrival in the US with some ESL assistance classes, and they are typically reading and writing in in a limited fashion in about 6 weeks after arrival. (Research based on 50 children ages 5 and up, published in the EEAC Ukraine-L list, April 24, 2001, post #2001-174).

- What info do you have on Hepatitis B & C testing in Ukraine?

- In general, it's not practical for prospective parents to try to have the children tested for Hep. B in Ukraine before adoption. We have researched this in Ukraine and in the US as it has become an issue of concern for parents. The tests are not considered conclusive even in the best of circumstances - there is follow-up testing in the US if someone has a positive test result here. In Ukraine, you don't have time to verify the test results even if you felt okay about the testing equipment. In addition, a child recently infected would not necessarily test positive right away, so even if you asked for testing, and the testing were reliable, the infection might not show up until months later in the US. As far as testing for birth mothers, throughout Ukraine, women are tested for AIDS, syphilis, and TB before giving birth in any hospital. (I know this from firsthand experience as well as from the paperwork we see on the birthmothers of adopted children). If the mother tests positive for AIDS or syphilis, then the child is given tests every six months after birth for that disease. The children are routinely tested for AIDS and syphilis in the normal course as well, but not as frequently. Some orphanages are also testing children for Hep C and for Hep B, as we have had some referrals shown recently at the Adoption Center and they told the parents which children were positive for Hep. B and Hep. C. Birth mothers are not routinely tested for Hep B and Hep C - it would be more unusual to find that information on their medical records. Unfortunately, these tests are not conclusive - it's possible that these children are not infected, just as it is possible that other children are. Sadly, this looks like one of the risks of adoption in Ukraine that cannot be eliminated, just as there are risks in taking any child (birth or adopted) into your care.

- How can we shorten the time spent in Ukraine for one or both parents?

- It is required that both parents be present to meet the child and attend the court hearing. We recommend that both parents be present for the entire trip if at all possible, since it is stressful, and is also a wonderful opportunity for bonding to the child/ren when you take them from the orphanage through all their first-time experiences! However, some parents have time constraints which don't allow 3 weeks away from home or office, and in this case, there are a couple of possible scenarios. The most common is for both parents to travel to Ukraine together, identify the child/ren, attend court, and then one parent to return home. In the case where one parent's time is severely limited, the parent may fly in for just the court hearing, leaving the other parent to both identify the child/ren, and to escort them home (not recommended, of course, but is a legal option and has happened in some extreme circumstances). In addition, there are ways to speed the process in Ukraine to some degree: 1. An experienced interpreter can save you a great deal of time by knowing the required paperwork and the ways to streamline each step. 2. In some cities it is possible to hire a lawyer, judge or other official who can represent you through the process in the orphanage city. 3. In some cities it is possible to pay a fee to the passport office's account for expedition of the child's passport.

- Should I take gifts for the orphanage and individuals or buy them there?

- It is good to have a few gifts for individuals with you for the times when you don't have a chance to run out and pick something up. Popular items include perfume, leather goods, gold chains, and some electronic items. For the orphanage, it is always good to carry over the counter medical and first aid items - infant & children's vitamins, pain relievers, cold medicines, band-aids, bandages, tape, triple antibiotic creams, and stomach medicines. Keep a first aid kit for your own child, as these are hard to find in Ukraine! You can often get these donated from church groups, local pharmacies, and pharmaceutical companies, so that you can use the cash you have available to buy items needed by your particular orphanage in Ukraine. We recommend setting aside at least $500 for a donation to the orphanage (in the form of clothing, repairs, food, toys, etc., purchased in Ukraine - not a cash donation).

- What are our costs for international adoption and what does it go for?

- Usually, the cost to adopt internationally is about $10,000.00-24,000.00 total costs, about the same or less than adopting a child or infant domestically. The cost for adopting a child in Ukraine varies from $11.500 to $14.000. These fees are not paid in one lump sum, but paid as you move along in the adoption process. Consider just the overhead of operating an office. Multiply that by 2 because you will be dealing with at least 2 offices with business expenses, legal staff and operating staff. Then you have drivers and transportation on behalf of yourself as your facilitator runs around doing preadoptive paperwork. Sometimes they have to travel great distances to file paperwork and get the ball rolling. Facilitation agencies spend a much money on fed-ex and communication with the US based office. Office supplies are more expensive and harder to come by overseas. The dossier is many pages and takes translator hours of non-stop work to translate and type. The costs overseas are numerous and add up. The services that the family pays for are well worth all that is paid; yet the amounts are sometimes out of the agency control. Our agency fees are for the case management and professional services. Foreign fees are for services abroad and orphanage donations. To maintain licensing and provide high quality services we have to cover all operating expenses and provide a sufficient reserve for emergencies or problems. Problems do occur during international adoption sometimes and it is comforting to know that you have a caring agency that you can call, before, during or after your adoption. In addition you will have travel expenses, home study expenses, INS processing expenses and document gathering costs.

- What are the requirements of the parents to adopt internationally?

- This depends on each country. The INS requires that you have to be 25 years of age to adopt internationally. We accept all race and religious affiliations. Couples must be married, unless a special exception is made. A prior divorce is acceptable. Applicants must have enough money to pay all the agency and adoption expenses and raise the child. Applicants with chronic diseases or handicaps must obtain a doctors statement as to their ability to cope with an adoption and parent a child.

- Can we be specific about the age, sex and health of a child we wish to adopt?

- Yes you can in most all of the countries. We try to match a child that fits the family acceptance criteria. All of your choices can be listed on our application.

- Why does it take so long and require so much paperwork? Why don't they try to speed up the overseas process, the kids are waiting, don't they want their children adopted?

- Many times, no. A stigma has loomed over the international adoption world that darkens adoptive parent's intentions to adopt and raise these beautiful children. These ideas sometimes are well founded and other times outrageous rumors like; couples wanting to use the child in slavery all the way to; adoption on the basis of organ harvesting and black-market selling of the organs. Foreign governments worry about the safety of their children; they mourn the loss of their treasures, their children, and would love to see the children reunited with their families or adopted domestically in their own country, although economically this isn't often possible. Sometimes it is an embarrassment for countries to open their orphanages, hospitals and institution doors to Americans to judge their ideas and reasoning behind socialized institutional settings and childcare. Some regions or counties in each country are more adoption friendly than others. Ukraine is considered one of the most favorable countries for international adoption.

- What information will I receive about the child?

- You will have a photo to review prior to the commitment to your referral child. You will receive a current medical report and usually if available a social history explaining how the child came to be in the orphanage. These reports vary in quantity and quality of information. Sometimes you will receive observations about the child's personality and school records. Very little information is usually available about the birth parents unless documentation exists to prove health or social problems. The children are all tested for communicative diseases, and must pass an additional medical exam to receive the exit visa out of their countries, however one cannot assertain what has occured with the child after the initial medical evaluation before we receive the information. All of our children are legally available for adoption.

- How is the child selected for our family?

- Our social work staff, combined with your homestudy agent's recommendation, along with the support of our foreign social work staff, starts at the beginning by counseling parents to locate their strong and weak spots in order to make decisions regarding the age, race, gender, health and number of children to be adopted at the same time. We consider whether the parents can handle the risks involved in adoption of two unrelated children, two unrelated children of the same age "artificial twinning" and the placement of children out of birth order. All of these criteria will be evaluated on each and every family. We work with the foreign staff, after your home study is complete to locate a child or children that will best suit your family according to the descriptions we are able to come up with in our information gathering about your family. We only place siblings in the same family when there is knowledge of available siblings.

- What things would disqualify us to adopt internationally? What is our first step to adopt the child of our dreams?

- You will need to fill out a LMI application and send it in with the application fee. If you wish you may send it in for prior review without the fee, but your adoption will not be processed until the fee is paid. Then the adoption process will begin. If you reside out of the Texas Panhandle LMI will assist you in locating a home study agent that is affiliated with an international adoption agency. The home study assesses your ability to handle the stresses of adoption and parent the child, and provides proof that you are physically, emotionally and financially healthy and stable in your relationship. There will be specific documents you must gather for the homestudy and may also require that you be fingerprinted and run through the child abuse registry in your state. In addition to the home study you will be required to fill out an I-600A form from the INS. LMI will assist you to fill this out. This will begin the process of your international adoption on the immigration side. You can submit the I600A without your homestudy, and send it after it is approved. Getting started with your adoption.

Ukrainian adoption links

If you have interesting information or adoption or guardianship experience write to us and we will publish your information on our Website.