These sweet faces all have one thing in common...they were once living in an orphanage in Ukraine, but now have been adopted into their forever families and are orphans no more!
Below you will find some Frequently asked Questions about adopting from Ukraine. Please feel free to email me directly if you don't see the answer to a question you are wondering about.
How long does the adoption process in Ukraine take?
The process to obtain all the needed documents and complete your adoption dossier and home study on average takes 3 to 6 months, depending on how much time you devote to the process and how long it takes to receive approval from the US government (I-171 H). Once all the documents are gathered into a complete dossier, they are sent to Ukraine, to your translator to be translated into Ukrainian and notarized at the local level. After that is done, the representative in Kiev will attempt to submit the dossier-- this can take awhile, because of the amount of people wanting to submit. The submission line for documents also depends on the age of the child you desire to adopt. There is no wait to submit documents for those desiring to adopt children older than 10.
Once the documents are submitted to the State Department for adoption (SDA) in Kiev, the department has 4-6 weeks to process the documents and then notify the family (via the translator) about the date of their appointment.
Once in Kiev families are shown photographs of about 3-5 children/sibling groups in the age-range they specified (sometimes more). The family then travels to the region that child lives in to meet him/her and if they decide to adopt that child they begin the paperwork process. Time in country currently averages 5-7 weeks. There is a mandatory 10-day wait after the court hearing, and often some parents (or one of the parents) opt to travel home during this period. However, if two trips are needed, only one parent will be required to come the second time.
Can I adopt a baby?
There are no infants available for adoption in Ukraine. Children must be available for adoption by Ukrainian families for at least one year prior to being available for international adoption. As of July 2011 a new law was adopted by Ukraine to limit international adoptions to children 5 and older. Adoptions are only allowed for children under 5 if they have a disease or disability that is stated by the government. Down's syndrome and CP children fall on that list-- HIV+ children do not, unless the HIV has other complications.
What ages of children are available?
Children can be adopted from age 5-15 (and till 18 if with siblings under 15).
There are more sibling sets available than single children and more boys available than girls. As of recently (2014) it is VERY difficult to adopt a single healthy girl under 10. If families are only interested in single, young, healthy girls, Ukraine is likely not the best country for this family to consider.
Are there only sick children in Ukraine?
While many children in Ukraine are labeled as 'sick,' many of these sicknesses can be treated with better medicine. Many of the children in Ukraine also have mental delays and Fetal Alcohol effects. There are healthy children, however the adoption department typically will show foreign families unhealthy children prior to showing healthy children. Families have up to 3 appointments in Ukraine to select children. Again, most healthy children are older than 10. This is because national adoptions are increasing and young children are being placed in Ukrainian homes.
How much does adoption from Ukraine cost?
If you work with an adoption agency, an adoption from Ukraine can cost anywhere from $25,000-40,000. If you work independently with a private facilitator and do more work yourself, you can complete an adoption for around $20,000.
How many orphans are available for adoption?
Though statistics point to over 100,000 orphaned and abandoned children in Ukraine, in reality this does not reflect the number of children who are available for adoption. Currently on the international database for adoption there are somewhere around 20,000 registered children. The reason for the low number of adoptable children is because many children live in institutions and yet have never had their parental rights removed for a variety of reasons. Some parents or guardians place their children in the orphanage but continue to maintain legal rights- making these children not available for adoption. Once a parent’s rights are removed, the child must remain on the National registry for one year, so that he/she is available for Ukrainian families to adopt. Once that year ends, the child is then available for international adoption.
Currently the State Department for Adoption and the Protection of Children’s Rights (SDA) allows only a limited amount of international adoptions each year. In 2008 only 1,453 foreign families were able to adopt from Ukraine.
There are more sibling groups of 3, 4 and 5 children available for adoption then there are single children. Since Ukraine does not allow the separation of siblings, it is good to consider the adoption of sibling groups.
Do I have to use an adoption Agency?
Currently Ukraine still allows independent adoptions, though this could change in the near future.
How do I find a Facilitator?
Many independent facilitators can be found through the Internet and through other families who have pursued independent adoptions (you can send me an email for personal comments). Warrant caution and check references of families that have worked with specific facilitators before making a decision to move forward.
If you would like to work with an adoption agency, you can check out various ones that are connected with the Christian Alliance for Orphans: http://www.christian-alliance-for-orphans.org/
I have several contacts that I can connect you with as well if you are in need.
What is a Home Study and how to I begin?
A home study is a required for all adoptions and is a step you can begin on right away. Home studies range anywhere from $2,000-3,000. The home study must be conducted by a licensed social worker. Make sure the social worker’s license is not near expiration. The person doing your home study will supply you with a list of documents that you will need to provide.
Checklist of Documents for Adoption in Ukraine
- Adoption Home study
- Agency License (or Social Worker License)
- Letter of approval for adoption from immigration (Form # I-171 H)-(This approval letter is received after completing and submitting the I-600A form (petition to classify orphan as an immediate relative) which can be found here: : www.uscis.gov
- Statement of employment and income from previous year (for husband)
- Statement of employment and income from previous year (for wife (if applicable))
- Proof of Income- W-2 forms for the most recent 6 months or tax returns for the last calendar year, certified by the issuing authority or notarized.
- Statement of health from physician for prospective parents (for husband)
- Statement of health from physician for prospective parents (for wife)
- 2 notarized Copies of marriage certificate
- Copy of passport for husband
- Copy of passport for wife
- Letter of clearance from police for husband
- Letter of clearance from police for wife
- Letter of obligation that adopted child/children will retain Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age and that he/she/they will be registered with the Ukrainian embassy until 18 years of age
- Application to adoption authority
- Ownership/Rental Documents- your dossier must include a notarized copy of the document confirming the ownership or rental rights of the adoptive parents for their house or apartment, indicating its total and living area as well as the number of bedrooms.
- Power of attorney for representative in Kiev
On the date of submission of your documents to the SDAPRC they should remain valid for at least six months. Documents are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance or notarization, except for the I-171H form, which is valid for 18 months.
All Documents in your dossier must be Notarized and Apostilled in their state of origination. An Apostille on a document is the process that legalizes the documents for use in Ukraine. Apostilles can be received in the capitol of the state where the document was created.
*This site gives addresses, phone numbers and emails for all 50 states and information about apostilling documents.