25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from Ukraine
Click on each factor to learn more. Current as of November, 2014. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.
+ Parental Age
Parents must be at least 21 years old and between 15 and 45 years older than the child.
No country requirement, but some agencies may have a requirement.
+ Children Available
Healthy children 6 to 16 years old, children with special needs of all ages and sibling groups. Special needs can range from minor and correctable to severe; Ukraine maintains a list
of what is considered special needs under Ukrainian law.
Boys and girls; parents may request a gender. There are more boys available than girls, and boys have shorter wait times.
+ Referral Method
Blind referral. Once the SDAPRC approves the application, both parents travel to Kyiv and are given a referral for a child that meets their general criteria. Parents then travel to the child’s region to meet the child before deciding whether to accept the referral. If the parents turn down the referral, they return to Kyiv and are given a referral for another child. Parents are allowed 3 possible referrals. Once the parents accept a referral, the case is presented to the judge in the child’s region who approves the adoption. There is a 10-day waiting period after the hearing, after which the adoptive parents have full parental rights.
+ Travel in Country
1 long or 2 shorter trips; approximately 6 to 8 weeks long or 3 to 4 weeks and 10 to 14 days long. Both parents are required to travel. On the first trip, parents receive the referral, meet their child and appear at an adoption hearing. After the hearing, 1 or both parents can either return to the US for the 10-day waiting period or stay in Ukraine and continue to visit their child at the orphanage. Once the waiting period is over, the parents return to Ukraine to apply for an immigration visa and escort their child home.
+ How Children Enter Government Care
Relinquishment due to poverty and social stigma and lack of support for single mothers; removal; abandonment. Removal is more common than in many other countries due to abuse and neglect often related to alcoholism.
+ Prevalence of FASD
Alcoholism is a serious social and medical problem in countries of the former Soviet bloc. The IA doctors interviewed reported seeing a higher incidence of FAS in Ukraine than in other placing countries. One report estimated the FAS rate in Ukrainian orphanages as 8 times the worldwide average; approximately 15 per 1000 births (Aronson 2003b). Ukrainian orphans are at an increased risk for FAS and FASD. For more information about FASD in Ukraine, listen to the Creating a Family show
with Dr. Julian Davies, pediatrician with the University of Washington FAS Clinic, the longest standing FAS center in the US, and the Creating a Family show
with Dr. Dana Johnson, the founder of the International Adoption Clinic at the University of Minnesota.
+ Adequacy of Medical Reports
Good; some diagnoses may be confusing to western trained doctors, but IA doctors are well versed in interpreting Ukrainian medical records. The medical information provided during the referral meeting is usually limited, but there are more in-depth medical and development records at the orphanage. Parents are allowed and encouraged to have the child examined by an independent doctor before accepting a referral. Lab results are fairly accurate and parents can usually get growth records over time. There is usually very little birth family or prenatal history available.
+ Program Stability
Variable; it is unknown how the current political situation in Ukraine will affect adoptions.
+ Additional Information
- Adoptions are finalized in Ukraine.
- Child must be registered with the Consular Office of the Ukrainian Embassy within one month of returning home.
- Child must maintain dual US/Ukrainian citizenship until age 18 when child can decide to drop the Ukrainian citizenship.
- The Ukrainian Adoption Authority (SDAPRC) has the right to refuse to register your dossier if, at the time of the dossier’s submission to the SDAPRC, the central database of Ukrainian children available for intercountry adoptions does not contain any children complying with the recommendation in your home study. Given the statistics published by the SDAPRC, there are currently no healthy children (or children with minor, correctable health problems) under three and very few under six years old. Therefore, if you are recommended for a healthy child or a child with minor/correctable health problems under six years of age, the SDAPRC is very likely to refuse even to accept and register your dossier.
- As of July 2014, the Universal Accreditation Act requires all American adoption agencies, whether they work with Hague countries or not, need to be accredited under the same standards that apply to Hague Convention adoption cases. This has the potential to effect adoptions from Ukraine, including kinship and independent adoptions. Listen to this Creating a Family show for more information on how the Universal Accreditation Act will effect international adoptions.
© Creating a Family
Available from www.CreatingaFamily.org, the national adoption and infertility education and support organization. Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.
Image credit: travelbusy.com