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5 Things You Should Know About Orphanage Life and Your Child
When it comes to international adoption, every country is different. There is no one-size-fits-all set of rules. Expectations can and do differ from country to country.
If you are considering adopting a child from Poland, here is what you need to know.
Located on the Baltic Sea in central Europe, and shaped deeply by the events of World War II, Poland is a post-communist member of the European Union that shares some cultural ties to the United States but which boasts its own vibrant and unique culture. Like other countries in the region, Poland fell under communist rule following World War II. There it remained until the 1980s, when the first hints of democracy began to creep into its culture. By the early 1990s, full and free elections were being held.
Poland has long boasted an excellent social welfare system that takes good care of underprivileged children and orphans. Foster care is embraced by the Polish people, and institutions designed to care for orphans and place them in good homes, including via international adoption, are well-funded. Orphanages there are plentiful, and these facilities are tasked with taking care of a child’s healthcare and psychological needs. Because of this, Polish orphans have gone on to lead rich, fulfilling, loving lives in America with their caring adoptive parents.
Also take into consideration these key facts:
Most Polish children do not speak English as their first language, though upwards of 30 percent of Poles speak English as a second language.
When English is not a second language, it will most likely be either Russian (about 26 percent) or German (about 19 percent).
Most (but not all) children from Poland are Caucasian. Light-colored hair and eyes are typical.
Schooling in Poland is structured much like in the United States, with children entering Kindergarten at age five or six, before entering a three-year form of Junior High around 13, then either three or four years of schooling equivalent to our high school.
Poland joined the European Union in 2004, meaning today’s Polish children have grown up in an environment increasingly influenced by Western European culture as opposed to that of the communist regimes that collapsed in the early 1990s.
A study by Prof. Sandra McNally of the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics found that Polish-speaking children placed into English classes tend to catch up to their classmates very fast. That same study found that their presence in the classroom had a positive effect on native English speakers.
Poland is primarily a Roman Catholic nation, with 87.5 percent of the population saying they are adherents. That means when adopting an older child, they are most likely to have been exposed to Roman Catholic beliefs over others.
Under Polish adoption requirements, adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old, but may not be more than 40 years older than the child (though in some cases they will make exceptions if just one parent exceeds that upper limit).
The typical time frame to adopt a child from Poland is 12 to 18 months. Once the Polish Central Authority issues an official referral, the adoption is typically completed in six months or less.
International adoptions from Poland are similar to other international adoptions, with a few minor differences depending on your unique situation, so if you’ve researched international adoption options you should already have some understanding of the process.
Avoiding the Pitfalls
Worth the Wait!
Part One of Two
A realistic look at International Adoption
Practical tips for new adoptive parents
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