What You Need to Know About Adopting from Ukraine

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Resources and information for present and future adoptive parents of children from Ukraine including agencies, independent adoption guidance, legal considerations, and procedures.

Legal Requirements

Ukrainian adoption regulations are very specific on these (and other) points:
  • Pre-selection is not allowed.
    The law does not provide for the adoption of "known" children. "Under Ukrainian law, disclosure of information on children available for adoption to agencies or private citizens by Ukrainian officials is forbidden." (Source: U.S. State Department)

  • Parents must maintain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until age 18, register them with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consular office within 30 days of their arrival home, and provide annual reports on the child's well-being.
    The dossier submitted by adopting parents contains their "commitment, if granted an adopted child, that he/she must be registered with Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in their home country within one month. You will need to supply information (at least once a year) about the adopted child's living conditions and educational process to the Ukrainian consular office (see sample report), and arrange for Ukrainian consular officers to keep in touch with the adopted child, and retain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age." (Source: U.S. State Department)
Points to Remember
  • Ukraine, and every other country, has the right to do whatever it feels best to protect its children, and to expect compliance with its laws;
  • Parents in the process of considering or adopting from Ukraine shouldn't panic; wait to see what develops. Even if the current National Adoption Center is closed, another agency will most likely be set up to handle adoptions. Reports are that parents in Ukraine are proceeding with their adoptions.
The most important point to remember is that you do have it within your control to adopt responsibly. It may take a little more time, a little more reading, a little more talking, but this is a lifetime at issue.

Your Responsibilities

As an adopting/adoptive parent, it is your responsibility to:
  1. Know and abide by the law;
  2. Research your agency and/or facilitator;
  3. Listen past what you "want" to hear, and
  4. Whether you have a good or bad experience, share it with others to help them make their best decisions.
Best Resources: Mary Lib Mooney, an advocate for adopting parents, cautions:
"It is your responsibility to find out the laws in the country you are adopting from. You are only hiring an adoptionworker to guide you, and you are responsible for anything you do, such as pre-selection. Even ifyour child was pre-selected and you had a good experience, that does not make it right to break the laws of other countries."
A couple of years ago, I wrote an article about the tightrope adopting parents are often asked to walk, part of which bears repeating:
"As too many adopting parents have learned the hard way, just because someone says it's legal doesn't make it so. And just because someone says it's ethical doesn't make it so. More and more, adopting parents are finding themselves in the position of investigated (homestudy) as well as investigator, as they try to sort through the maze of legal and ethical practices, risks, and potentially fraudulent situations. Balancing these responsibilities with the emotion of the adoption process is, indeed, akin to walking a tightrope."

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