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Frequently Asked Questions

UKRAINE  CHRISTIAN  ADOPTION

UKRAINE CHRISTIAN ADOPTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

   Here we posted the most commonly asked questions. We, as well as those families who already completed their adoptions, prepared the answers for you. If you don't find your question here, please contact us and we will try to answer it or have other families share their experience with you.

   Our prayer is that God will bless you and provide His guidance so that you could make a wise decision about adopting from Ukraine.

   “Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it...” (Prov. 16:22, NIV).

1.  Can a family adopt two or more children at the same time?
Yes, you can if such availability, determined by the NAC, exists. Some NAC conditions or restrictions may apply. In fact, we always encourage families to consider doing that. From our part, it is going to be the same amount of attention and diligence for absolutely NO EXTRA MONEY. We take this opportunity to remind you that, unlike many others, we don't charge "per child". There will be no additional fee for adopting more than one child. Please pray and consider adopting several children at one trip.

2.  What are the restrictions on who may adopt?
As you may already know, to get a status of prospective adopters, a family has to submit a dossier with certain documents. Complying with that list for further processing by the Ukraine government is the sole official requirement.
 Then, the Adoption Center attorney will process submitted adoption dossier. The Adoption Center has to either approve or disapprove of your intentions to adopt in Ukraine. If you are rejected, you will be given written explanations from the Adoption Center within 3 days. The situation could be corrected sometimes even if that happens. Adoption Center personnel tolerate some minor errors to the extent of waiting till the corrected document is submitted. No family working through us was ever rejected.
However, being a private business, our personal requirement is that our families must be Christians who share our faith in the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And finally, we do not provide our services for single men.

3.  Is there a restriction on the number of children the family already has?
The number of children a family already has will be taken into consideration by the US Social Worker and BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services), former INS, which approvals must clearly specify that they favorably recommend/allow adopting additional children into such family.

4.  What is minimum or maximum age for prospective adoptive parents?
The age difference between the children and the adopters should be at least 15 years. Each and individual decision on applicants’ either registration or denial is within the NAC authority.

5.  What are income requirements for prospective adoptive parents?
No certain requirement. The more, the better. Your family's yearly earnings help the Social Worker in the first place to evaluate if you are financially stable and can provide for adopted children. Then, based on US Social Worker's recommendations and supported by your personal Employment statements, the Adoption Center attorney will make the final decision.

6.  Do both prospective parents have to travel to adopt?  Or can just one parent travel with a power of attorney from the spouse?
Both parents have to be at the court hearing. Afterwards, one parent may return home, if necessary. Both parents have to be familiar with the course of their adoption process.

7.  Can someone who is not the prospective parent complete the adoption and escort a child out of the country?
Absolutely not. The original signatures of the adopters and their physical presence are required at certain offices and at certain stages of the process. Keep in mind that Ukraine is unique in that it advocates for parents’ personal direct involvement every step of the adoption process.

8. What medical reports or information do the parents receive from the Adoption Center?
When parents are interviewed at the Adoption Center, they usually are referred to the child's diagnosis only. And that is a couple of sentences. At that point, if they seem comfortable with a general description of existing medical conditions, they are very much encouraged to make a trip and meet with orphanage administration, doctors and nurses, and children personally. At the orphanage, a head doctor would disclose all medical history of the child. If any suspicions appear, parents can request a medical check-up of a child at a local hospital. If not satisfied even there, a family could hire a doctor from licensed clinics in Kiev to perform all necessary tests and check-ups on the child. All additional examinations are rendered at the discretion of the orphanage administration.

9. Several families have written notes to mailing lists on the internet and they have said that they traveled to the Ukraine to adopt but after visiting several orphanages they were only shown very handicapped children and no children with minor special needs and no healthy children.  Does this indeed happen?  How often?  Are there still plenty of children to adopt?
Yes, it does happen. The major reason of this problem is as simple as the right timing, which as we believe is provided by God who has His plan for all details and provides the best for each family and the children.

The number of children coming out of the NAC database is not a public record. It is against the law to pre-identify specific children and hold them unavailable for others until the family comes to adopt them. Please always remember that.

Then, the number of adoptive applicants coming to Ukraine is fluctuating daily and could be bigger than the number of immediately available children at certain moments by several times. Obviously, at such high picks there are families who are very disappointed at what they are referred to based on current availability.

We would advise that you consider three major factors. One is educate yourself as much as you can on what it takes to adopt in Ukraine. Pray hard and make sure you understand all risks involved in adopting from Ukraine. Make sure that you sincerely believe that Ukraine adoption process is the best option for your family. Thoroughly compare adopting in Ukraine with other options and other countries.

Second is timing. It will usually take 4 to 6 months for a family to complete Ukraine adoption dossier. Most families admit that after waiting for so long in the USA, their excitement builds up so much that 3 to 4 weeks of the process itself in Ukraine will seem like years of life. Time for many families just freezes in Ukraine. Many of them may have to take two trips to finalize the adoption as ruled by local courts. As much as we realize that many families leave their own children at home in the U.S., their important jobs and habitual lifestyles, you will have to stop thinking about timing in Ukraine to be completely focused on your children. We will do most of the legwork for you but unfortunately we can't make time fly faster for you.

And the last, you should be concerned about who you hire in Ukraine. If you don't have a direct contact with your helper in Ukraine before your actual travel, if that person takes on too many obligations from other families, if that person is unwilling to make as many trips to orphanages as needed for you to look at different children, and if no refund is even discussed with you, then you need to be careful. The orphanages are still full to the best of our knowledge.

10. Families report regularly on these lists about drivers and facilitators and translators who demand bribes from families or they threaten to not help them complete the adoption. Do we need to be concerned about this?
Please consider very carefully those offers that look extremely low and unbeatable. What may happen is that hidden costs are not objectively discussed with you. Request a detailed break down of costs and fees ahead of time. Very often facilitators will have another family coming shortly and as such facilitators need to complete your process ahead of reasonable time, allegedly caring for you, the only way to achieve it is to give, which is to extort from their own clients, bribes.

11. Has the list of AC required documents for registration been affected recently?
It truly has been affected slightly. The National Adoption Center (NAC) of Ukraine has asked us to inform Americans planning to adopt children in Ukraine of the Center's new policy regarding police records (as of summer 2002). The NAC has told us that it now requires criminal clearance documents at least on a state level.  The NAC has informed us that it will not accept clearance on a county/city/village level.

The US Embassy in Kiev alerted the NAC to the fact that some states do not issue such documents, and that prospective parents from these states can therefore only present documents issued at a local level.  In these cases the NAC said it would accept locally issued documents if they clearly include a statement to the effect that the prospective adoptive parent has no criminal record in the state of his/her residence.

The US Embassy alerted the NAC to the fact that all Americans who have BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services), former INS, pre-approval for an international adoption have passed a federal background check.
However, the NAC referred to Ukrainian regulations on international adoption that require the criminal record check to be presented in a separate document issued by the competent authority of a sufficient level.

Therefore, police clearance at a local level cannot be supplemented by the police clearance information in the home study.

The NAC also said that police, medical and income records must be issued on the letterheads of respective agencies (e.g. sheriff's office, physician's office/clinic, employer) and signed by respective authorized officials. Otherwise, the NAC said it could not guarantee that the dossier will be approved and the family will be registered promptly. The NAC said it would not accept such records printed on the letterhead of the U.S. adoption agency that helps prospective adoptive parents with their dossier.

 As of February 2003, the NAC introduced a new requirement regarding adoption dossiers. Effective February 2003, the National Adoption Center began requiring prospective adoptive parents who are approved for adoption of more than one child to submit a separate authenticated dossier for each child. Please note that the fact that such families submit two or more authenticated dossiers does not guarantee that they will be able to adopt two or more children. The NAC officers will determine the availability of children during the interview upon family's arrival in Ukraine.

And lastly, according to the Consular Office of the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington DC, “starting May 1, 2003 a background report (home study) should be accompanied by a translation into the Ukrainian language provided by authorized companies that meet Consular Office qualification's criteria to ensure proper and adequate translation. Consular Office should certify the translation. A background report (home study) and its translation will be returned to the applicants in a sealed envelope to be opened only by the Center for Child Adoption of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine". For the list of such approved translation agencies in the United States please inquire at the Embassy of Ukraine, Washington DC http://ukraineinfo.us/consular/adoption.html

However, to the best of our knowledge dossiers forwarded to the Consulate of Ukraine in Chicago, IL need not to be translated by approved translation agencies in the United States prior to being submitted for legalization.

12. In May 2003 the NAC returned to regular interview schedule by canceling appointment system. How soon can we come in Ukraine to be interviewed by the NAC? Can we come right after dossier clearance? Is it a fixed or recommended arrival date?
As of August 2003 the National Adoption Center again interviews adoptive families by appointment. Once a family has been assigned a registration number at the NAC, such family will be scheduled a travel date. Only the NAC determines how quickly you can come. This period could be from several days to several months. The NAC interviews about fifteen families each day.

13. Would the NAC counselors open the database for a family on the date of their arrival? What if there's no match on that particular day and the family is already in Ukraine?
The families are shown the information on available children on the day of their interview at the NAC. It sometimes happens that prospective adoptive parents cannot find the child they wanted from the first NAC referral and have to stay several more days in Ukraine, if they wish, to request further referrals. The NAC helps such families with searching the database to ensure that they considered all possible options.  
 
14. Our initial thought is that we will be adopting one child.  However, we don't want to close the door on the Lord should He lead us to adopt another.  Is there something we should do now to prepare for that possibility?
Yes, there are several things to consider in order to be approved for adopting 2 children from Ukraine. First, your Home Study must clearly recommend you for adopting 2 children. Consequently, BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services), former INS, must approve of this recommendation. Second, your Application to Adopt Form to the NAC must clearly specify that you request to adopt 2 children from Ukraine. And finally, you have to collect and submit a separate authenticated adoption dossier on each child to the NAC. This requirement was introduced by the NAC in February 2003 (see question 18).

15. Are there specific sample forms that are preferred in Ukraine for our dossier?
We have helped more than 100 families with their adoption dossiers for Ukraine. As soon as you start formal relationships with us, not only do we help you with the list of required documents for BCIS (Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services), former INS, your Social Worker and Ukraine, but we will also email you all sample forms where applicable.

16. Where will we be staying?
When in Kiev, families usually choose to stay either in a hotel or in a rented apartment. To our sadness, you have to be ready for somewhat harsh living conditions after you leave Kiev and travel to the region of your adoption in Ukraine. By far, not even every big city has a regular hot water supply, or heating in winter. Very few places are air-conditioned. So, when you travel to other regions of Ukraine, please be ready to adjust to inconveniences.

In Kiev all lodging locations are usually within walking distance to places where you often need to be. Walking in general will be a very common thing. Get yourself in good shape before you travel to Ukraine.

17. How much money should we bring with us?
It will be bound to a fee plan that you choose and ultimately to your preferred lifestyles and speed of the process in Ukraine. Your total (Ukraine and US combined) adoption expense, if working through us, is estimated between $10000 and $12000. As soon as you determine which fee plan meets your needs better, we will objectively help you make financial estimates of what you may incur before and during your trip to Ukraine.

18. Do we need to bring any special equipment or supplies?
Usually, we do not recommend bringing supplies. You can find almost everything here for the children. Especially, do not bring clothes for them. You don't know the sizes of the children and you don't know the weather here. You will have plenty of time to do shopping. After you get back home, buy nice things there.

19.  Are orphans tested for HIV and Hepatitis B? How much do we know about children's vaccination?
Yes, orphans who are eligible for domestic and international adoptions are tested for HIV and Hepatitis B. In most orphanages the administration has children's vaccination cards with current immunization records.

20. What is the youngest age a child could be adopted?
As you may already know, citizens of foreign countries may adopt only those Ukrainian orphans who qualified for adoption and have been registered with the National Adoption Center of Ukraine for 1 (one) year without any Ukrainian family coming forward to adopt them or become their guardians. The one-year registration requirement may be waived only if children have one of the medical conditions stipulated by the list of the Ministry of Public Health Protection of Ukraine.

On January 21, 2002, the Ministry of Public Health Protection issued an updated list of diseases allowing foreign adoption without the one-year registration requirement. On February 15, 2002, the National Adoption Center started the registration of children under the new list. Children registered before that day, with the health problems stipulated by the old list, can be still adopted by foreigners without the one-year registration requirement. Only such orphans could be then younger than 1 year old.

21. Do you recommend or prefer a specific region?
Our policy is that we will go with a family to where desired children are available. Our reasoning again is that finding the desired children is much more important than being in a preferred region. We do not ask for preferred regions at the NAC. Yet, if it were our choice, we would certainly prefer to work in our home Donetsk region.

22. It is our desire to adopt children 4 yrs old or younger; we would prefer to have at least one boy and one girl.  Would you consider this a likely possibility these days?  We know the Lord has already chosen our children for us and we are willing to accept them, this is what we currently have on our hearts.  We do not expect you to promise something only the Lord can know, just reassurance that our desire is not an unrealistic goal?
Our personal advice is that you should write a personal letter to the director of the NAC. The NAC appreciates a direct contact with each family a lot. We will only serve you faithfully by your side as instruments. Tell the director about your true-life story (why Ukraine, what children, etc.) Then, fax this letter to us. We will translate it and deliver it to director’s office. Also, we will certainly ask director about your realistic chances of seeking to adopt desired children.

We want you to always understand and remember though that the money you pay us does not provide for or take care of locating the desired children before or after you come in Ukraine. We cannot give you guarantees about availability of the desired children. In fact, no one can, as it is illegal in Ukraine. 

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St. Bessonova 33/206

Gorlovka 84642, Ukraine