A Needle in a Haystack?
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Adoption from Ukraine has various benefits for families and children. Since 2010, between 300 and 650 children have joined U.S. families from Ukraine each year1. While it is a less popular adoption program than in years past (a decade low of 303 children joined their families in 2015) it is still an adoption program that may be the right fit for your family.
Critical Need for Adoption of Older Children
The greatest need in international adoption isn’t from a specific country; instead, it’s for older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs. Ukraine’s adoption requirements mean that children are not legally free for international adoption until they’re over the age of five or have significant special needs. Unfortunately, this creates a smaller window of time for children to be matched with families before they age out of the welfare system. Without a family to meet their needs, orphaned children face dismal futures, and often turn to lives of prostitution and crime. Families who choose to adopt from Ukraine have decided to adopt an older child and are therefore meeting this critical need.
Speed of the Adoption Process
In other countries, families may wait years from when they submit their dossier to the country’s central authority. When adopting from Ukraine, families usually receive an invitation to travel within several months of dossier submission. It is on this trip that families are presented with a profile of a child who needs a family and meets the characteristics that the family indicated they were open to adopting. The travel requirements for an adoption from Ukraine can be more difficult than other countries, with about eight weeks spent in-country, but the entire adoption process can take less than a year. As the timeline for international adoption from other countries gets longer and longer, the shorter time frame of an adoption from Ukraine appeals to prospective adoptive families.
Opportunity to Meet Children Before They Join Your Family
When adopting from Ukraine, instead of receiving an official referral for a child and deciding to move forward with the adoption of that specific child, shortly after dossier submission, families are invited to travel to Ukraine to be presented with the referral of a child. While in Ukraine, before accepting the referral of that child, families are able to meet the child and get to know him or her. This is increasingly uncommon for international adoption programs. Pictures, medical reports, and social reports can be limited in what a family is able to learn about a child, and while one visit will not fully capture the child’s behavior and demeanor, the face-to-face interaction can be so valuable.
Families interested in adopting from Ukraine can begin their adoption process and be matched with a child, but they may also decide to participate in a Ukraine Hosting Program. Hosting Programs allow families the opportunity to meet a child in need of a family from Ukraine, and decide if adoption of an older child could be a good fit for their family.
1 Statistics provided by the U.S. State Department
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