The Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (DAPRC), a part of the Ministry of Social Policy, is the only legal Ukrainian authority for adoptions. It maintains a database of adoptable children available for domestic and international adoptions. Ukraine has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption and listed in the database. Foreign citizens must be married (male and female) in order to be eligible to adopt from Ukraine.
Under current Ukrainian law, prospective adoptive parents must be at least 15 years older than child. If only one adoptive parent meets this age requirement, adoption may be completed in the eligible parent’s name only. When a child is being adopted by a relative, age difference is not considered. Foreigners may adopt orphans 5 years of age and older, or at any age if an orphan has a severe diagnosis as determined by the Ministry of Health Care. A sibling group (2 or more biologically related children) having at least one child older than five years is eligible for international adoption.
Although no income requirements are specified in law, prospective parents are required to submit documentation of income and assets.
Hague Requirements and Ukraine
Ukraine is not a part of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter Country Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention).
1. Passport each parent notarized and apostilled [4 copies, each copy on a separate sheet].
2. Marriage certificate - notarized (or authenticated by the court or authority of issuance) and apostilled [2 copies].
3. Tax returns for the previous year or certificate from work which must include information on the salary for the last 6 months for both parents, unless the Home Study says that the mother doesn’t work and is a full-time housekeeper – notarized and apostilled [1 copy of each].
4. Medical certificate for each adoptive parent must have dates next to each specialist’s diagnoses, dates next to each blood test. Any diagnoses must have International Classification of Diseases code next to diagnosis itself (like F33) – notarized and apostilled (sample is available) [1 copy].
5. License of Doctor who issued medical certificate [1 copy].
6. Property Ownership Certificate issued by a competent agency must contain the data on general square footage of the house, living square footage, and number of bedrooms. Preferably a deed [1 copy] and letter from a Realtor [1 copy] (in this case realtor’s license is required [1 copy]) – all notarized and Apostilled.
7. National Police Clearance for each adoptive parent – notarized and apostilled [1 copy].
8. Interpol Consent – notarized and apostilled [2 copies].
9. Application giving permission for data processing – notarized and apostilled [3 copies].
10. Power of Attorney for the adoption services provider in Ukraine – notarized and Apostilled [1 copy].
11. Power of Attorney for each other (husband to wife and vice versa) in case one parent needs leave, so the other one can continue the process – notarized and Apostilled. If only one parent is adopting this power of attorney is not needed.
12. Home Study must contain the following information: address, living conditions (number of bedrooms, living conditions for the adopted child or children), biographical data of both parents, family structure (number of members living together with the applicant, degree of relationship, biological children, if any), applicant’s attitude toward adoption, whether the adoptive parents have undergone any training on preparation to accept and take care of the adopted child, previous introduction to the adoption requirements in Ukraine, information regarding previously adopted children, their health, development, upbringing, living conditions, post adoption information on living in the family under the social worker’s supervision. Home Study must include an approval and a recommendation for the number, age and health conditions of children that may be adopted by the adoptive family. If the family is recommended to adopt a special need child, specific diagnoses (diseases, illnesses) must be stated in the Home Study. It is also necessary to state the following in the Home Study: whether the adoptive parents have ever been recognized as incapable by the court, have been deprived of their parental rights, or whether the adoption of previously adopted by them children have been cancelled, or the previously adopted by them children have been taken away from them, or if the adoptive parents have ever refused to take care of their children, biological or previously adopted – such facts must be described in the Home Study. If the family doesn’t have a history of such facts then it also needs to be stated in the home study. Home Study needs to be signed by the social worker that prepared it, it needs to be stated that the social worker that prepared the Home Study is licensed in the state in which the Home Study was prepared, or that he (she) works for the adoption agency that is legally authorized and licensed to complete home studies in the state, and that this agency conducts adoptions for the agency that is Hague approved (and give that agency’s name and address). Home Study needs to be approved by the Hague approved agency – notarized and apostilled [3 copies] with original stamps and signatures. If only one parent is adopting, Home Study must contain the information on such permission and recommendation for one parent to complete the adoption process stating the reasons for such recommendation and a Statement of Consent must be given by the other parent. Consent must be notarized and apostilled.
13. License of the agency that shows permission to conduct home studies for adoptions (must be valid at the time of conducting Home Study) – notarized and apostilled [3 copies].
14. Hague Accreditation Certificate (document that contains information on the accreditation of the adoption agency in the foreign country) – notarized and apostilled [3 copies].
15. Copy of Contract signed between the adoptive parents and the agency for adoption in a foreign country, which guarantees the fulfillment of the following by both parties of the contract: submission of timely reports, informing of Ukrainian consulate office or any other diplomatic office on any unusual events, including the child’s address change, arising of a possibility of the adoption termination or transferring the adopted child to be taken care of by other foreigners, to a child care institution for children who lost parental care, taking the child away from the adoptive parents, violation of the adopted child’s rights, accidents, death of the adopted child, etc. This may be an extract from the contract – notarized and apostilled [3 copies].
16. Notification that the adopted child will be issued a visa at the your country Embassy in Kyiv – notarized and apostilled.
17. Obligation to register the child at the Ukrainian Consulate notarized and apostilled - [3 copies] (sample is available).
18. Application to the Ministry of Social Policy to be registered as candidates for adoptive parents – notarized and apostilled (sample is available).
19. If a family has adopted from Ukraine before, an additional document, Information of the Consulate Office (Embassy) of Ukraine on timely submission of reports and the absence of facts of incorrect fulfillment of their duties by adoptive parents. Does not need to be notarized or Apostilled.
NOTE: Documents to SDAPRC should remain valid for at least six months. Documents are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. Additional documents may be requested.
1. Choose an adoption service provider in your country. Adoption service providers must be licensed by your country and conduct a home study. To bring an adopted child from Ukraine to your country you must apply to be found eligible to adopt by the government of your country.
2. If you are eligible to adopt, submit your application to SDAPRC. SDAPRC processes the documents submitted by the prospective adoptive parents and enters them into its database (within 20 working days). Upon approval of the application, the prospective parents receive an appointment to visit SDAPRC. NOTE: SDAPRC officials will not meet with prospective parents who arrive without an appointment or on a day other than when their appointment is scheduled.
3. At this appointment, parents view information on eligible orphans who are within the parents' specified age range. SDAPRC issues a letter of referral allowing the parents to visit an orphanage to meet the child/children and review medical records. Prospective adoptive parents receive their documents (bound, numbered, sealed, and signed by an official in charge of SDAPRC) along with a separate sheet specifying the number of pages and the prospective adoptive parents' registration file code. (If you need another appointment, you must submit a notarized statement to request a second/third appointment with your dossier to SDAPRC. Within ten business days, they will respond with the date of your second/third appointment. SDAPRC allows only three appointments to each prospective family to look at children's files. If you have not chosen a child after the third appointment, your adoption dossier will be returned to you immediately. The number of adoption referrals issued to each family is limited to two.)
4. The family must decide whether it can meet the needs of a particular child and provide permanent placement for the referred child. The child must also meet the definition of an orphan under your country’s law.
5. Adopt the child in Ukraine.
Role of the children services: With the referral and sealed and signed dossier, the prospective adoptive parents travel to the region, city or town (or stay in Kyiv if the orphanage is in Kyiv), come to the local Children Services (Department of the local administration authorities), talk to the head of the Children Services Department and then go to the orphanage in which the child they have a referral for is residing accompanied by the representative of the Children Services. Prospective adoptive parents have ten office days to create contact with the orphan they are planning to adopt. During those ten days the Children Services collect child’s status documents from the orphanage, copies of prospective adoptive parents’ dossier and work on a document which describes a possibility of adoption. When this document is ready prospective adoptive parents (or their translator/assistant/facilitator) submits it to the adoption authority (SDAPRC of the Ministry of Social Policy). Ministry of Social Policy will take ten office days to work on their final document, which is called “Agreement of the Ministry of Social Policy for Adoption”.
Role of the court: After parents have received the Agreement of the Ministry of Social Policy, the file for the case is presented to the court in the region where the child resides. The power to approve or deny an adoption lies solely with the judge, who bases his or her decision on a review of various case-specific documents during the court hearing. Adoptive parents must attend the hearing. The judge's decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, it will not take effect for 30 days. During the 30 days the adoption can be appealed. Once the final decision takes effect, the adoptive parents have full parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.
Role of adoption agencies: As stated above, Ukrainian law does not allow adoption intermediaries.
Time frame: Two-four months can pass between the prospective adoptive parents' submission of their application dossier and the SDAPRC appointment date. In addition, there is usually a 3 weeks-2 months wait between the initial filing of the adoption petition in the local court and issuance of the final adoption.
Adoption fees: There are no Ukrainian fees except those for court filing, notarial, translation, lodging, transportation, authentication of Ukrainian documents, fees for expedited services, and interpretation/translation services.
6. Apply for the child to be found eligible for immigration to your country and obtain necessary documents. After you finalize the adoption in Ukraine, your country Government MUST determine whether the child is eligible under your country law to be adopted.
7. Once you receive the court decree on adoption you are almost done but there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for several documents for your child before he or she can travel to your country:
Birth Certificate. You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate. Once the final decree has been issued, the local Vital Records Office (RAGS) issues the child a new birth certificate. In order to receive the revised birth certificate, parents must submit both the court decree and the child's original Ukrainian birth certificate. Parents should make notarized copies (usually five will be needed) of the pre-adoption birth certificate because it will not be returned.
Ukrainian Passport. Your child is not yet your country, so he/she will need a Passport from Ukraine to travel abroad. After receiving the post-adoption birth certificate, parents may apply to the local Department of Migration and Passport Services for a Ukrainian passport for their child. Parents must present a request that the travel document be issued. Along with the request, parents should provide the post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and four passport photos of the child. Issuance of the passport may take up to 10 days following the application submission. At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. The stamp is called a "PMP-stamp" for the words "permanent residence" in Ukrainian.
Immigrant Visa. After you obtain the new birth certificate and passport for your child, you also need to apply for your country visa from the Embassy for your child. After the adoption is granted, visit the Embassy for final review and approval of the child's immigration petition and to obtain a visa for the child. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you. As part of this process, the Consular Officer must be provided the "Panel Physician's" medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.
NOTE: In Ukraine, the 10-day waiting period for the passport issuance is in addition to the 30-day waiting period following the final court hearing.
What does Ukraine require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Ukraine requires adoptive parents to supply information about the adopted child's living conditions and educational progress to the Ukrainian consular office annually during the first three years following the adoption and once every three years thereafter, until the child's 18th birthday. Note: Under Ukrainian law, an adopted child remains a citizen until he/she turns 18 years old. At that time, he/she can decide whether or not to remain a Ukrainian citizen.
DAPRC contact information:
Ministry of Social Policy
Department for Adoptions and Protection of the Rights of the Child