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It is not the purpose of our foundation to provide an international adoption service, but of course, people come to us with questions about how to do it. Our colleagues from the Emmanuel association in the Adoption's Gift project have done important work in this area and provide valuable advice on how this can be done correctly.
We are pleased that the idea of adoption is in your heart. The information proposed below will help you understand how adoption in Ukraine is processed, which children are eligible for adoption, and where to start. As a basis we used the adoption procedures applicable to citizens of the United States of America. For citizens of other countries, the process of adoption will be the same on the Ukrainian side, while some aspects of collecting documents in the home country may be different.
How many children in Ukraine are eligible for adoption?
Statistics show that in Ukraine there are more than 100,000 orphans and children that are deprived of parental care, but not all of them are eligible for adoption. In October 2008 the data bank of the State Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child registered 21,701 children available for adoption by foreigners and Ukrainians living abroad. Why are there so many orphans not able to be adopted? The parents of many children in orphanages or boarding schools, for various reasons have not been deprived of their parental rights. Apart from this, some parents or guardians can place their child in a boarding school, while continuing to maintain their legitimate rights, so the child is not eligible for adoption. If parental rights are taken away from their parents, and the child acquires the status of "orphan or a child deprived of parental care", the child must be registered for national adoption for one year, and only then he or she can be adopted by foreigners.
Currently the State Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child allows a limited number of international adoptions a year. In 2008, only 1,453 foreign families adopted a child from Ukraine.
Among children who are registered for adoption, there is only a small number of single children. As a rule, most of the children are part of a group of brothers and sisters comprising 3, 4 or 5 individuals. Since the law in Ukraine does not allow the separation of the brothers and sisters (except in special conditions), it is better to consider the adoption of one of these groups.
A child cannot be adopted by foreigners before he or she is two years old. At the moment it is difficult to adopt a healthy single child under 5 years old.
Do I necessarily have to use an adoption agency?
No! Many people quickly abandon the idea of adoption when they hear about the amount that the agency requests for their services, which can be from US$20 - 40,000. While many of these agencies can be a great help, you still have an alternative to adopt without paying such large amounts of money.
To register to adopt a child, you can optionally go via an agency. However, adoptive families can save a considerable amount by processing the documents themselves. Many families were able to adopt independently for under US$10 - 15,000 - much cheaper than it would have been using the aid of agencies. Independent adoptions excluding brokers and allow you to work directly with the assistant/translator for adoption in Ukraine.
How to find an assistant/translator?
An independent adoption assistant may be found on the Internet or through another family with previous experience an independent adoption. Be careful and ask for the family’s advice about a particular assistant before making a decision. There is one group of independent assistants who work in Ukraine, called Ukrainian Angels. Kathy Harris, head of the group, takes a small fee for consulting services and connects the family directly with one of the assistants working in Ukraine. Hundreds of families have worked with her and have given good feedback about her services.
Ukrainian Angels can be found on Internet at: www.ukrainianangels.org
How to start the adoption process?
To adopt a child from Ukraine you have to meet all immigration requirements of both countries: in this case the U.S.A. and Ukraine. These requirements are presented below with links to web resources.
The most useful information for the initial phase of adoption can be found at the website of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, in the category of Adoption: http://ukraine.usembassy.gov/adoption-procedures.html. The information there explains the process very well, including the time frame, just take a certain time to read everything carefully.
Several Christian adoption agencies are mentioned at Steven Curtis Chapman's web page about adoption: http://www.showhope.org/. There you can also find a way to provide financial support to families in need (but in this case the family must arrange adoptions through one of the recommended agencies, and not attempt an independent adoption), and also find a lot of encouraging stories about adoptive families.
After you have determined how you will process the adoption - through the agency or by yourself - you need to be screened for your living conditions.
A survey of living conditions
This procedure is obligatory for all adoptive families. You can start the process immediately. The cost of living condition surveys ranges from US$1,000-3,000 and must be produced by a licensed social worker. Make sure that the social worker’s licence to operate has a fairly long validity. You can find such a worker in the telephone directory (for example, Yellow Pages), or ask other people who have adopted in your area. This procedure can be started immediately. The person doing the inspection of your living conditions will provide a list of required documents.
Form I-600A must be completed for the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and it is the beginning of the process of obtaining the U.S. Government’s consent for adoption. You can download the form at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis under “forms”.
Compilation of the dossier
As soon as you have had the survey of living conditions and completed the form I-600A, you can start to prepare your dossier for delivery to Ukraine. The dossier is a collection of all of your documents to be submitted to the Department for adoption in Ukraine. Below is a list of these documents.
The list of documents required for filing for adoption in Ukraine
The survey of living conditions for the adoption
Licence of agency (or social worker).
Letter of consent to the adoption by the Immigration services (Form # I-171 H). This consent is obtained after completing and submitting to the form I-600A (application for classification of orphans as a direct relative). This form can be found on the web page INS: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
Declaration of employment and income for the last year (for husband).
Declaration of employment and income for the last year (for wife, if applicable).
Health report from the medical professional for the future parents (for husband).
Health report from the medical professional for the future parents (for wife).
A copy of the marriage certificate.
A copy of the passport (for husband).
A copy of the passport (for wife).
Certificate of absence of previous convictions from the police for husband.
Certificate of absence of previous convictions from the police for wife.
Letter of commitment that the adopted child(ren) will be able to keep Ukrainian citizenship and will be registered at the Ukrainian Embassy up to the age of 18.
Statement of adoption to the adoption authority.
Proof of ownership of your home or a lease.
Warrant in the name of representative in Kiev.
All documents in your dossier must be notarized and have the Apostille according their status. The Apostille is a stamp on a document that gives the status of legality for use in Ukraine. The Apostille is placed by the competent authority in the state capital, where the document was issued.
If you refer to http://www.statelocalgov.net, you can find the addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all 50 states authorities which can place an Apostille on the documents.
How much time is needed to complete this process?
The process of obtaining all the necessary documents and assembling the dossier requires an average of 4 to 6 months, depending on how much time you can devote to the process at an each stage. As soon as all the documents have been collected in the dossier, they must be sent to Ukraine Adoption assistant or interpreter for translation into Ukrainian and notarized at the local level. After this step is completed, the representative in Kiev will try to submit the dossier to the Department for Adoption. Submission may take a certain amount of time depending on how many people are waiting to file documents. You can expect this stage to take from 3 to 8 months.
After the documents are submitted to the Department for adoption in Kiev, the Department reviews the documents within six weeks and notifies the family (through an assistant) the date of their interview. During the interview, the photos of an average of 5 children (or groups of brothers and sisters) in the age group that the family specified are displayed to the future parents. Then the family travels to the region, where there is a child to meet him, and if they decide to adopt this particular child, start the paperwork at the place of residence of the child. Normally, the time you need to stay in Ukraine to adopt a child will be on average 5-7 weeks. After the court hearing on adoption there is a 10-day waiting period in which the court decision becomes legitimate. At this time, the parents (or one of the spouses) can go home. The second time only one parent needs to come.
After the 10-day period, the family takes the adopted child(ren) and receives his (her, their) new birth certificate(s) and passport(s). Now you need to go to Kiev to get a visa. A visa is issued for each child separately. This process usually takes 6 to 10 days.
It is not an easy journey! But it's worth it.
Adoption actually requires a lot of time and effort. But this way it is also full of many blessings. Please take the time to pray, obtain fellowship with other adoptive families and study its features and benefits.
You can contact us with any questions and assistance related to adoption.
Mobile: 380 93 144 3193
Work: +380 44 529 3474