This summer my family hosted an orphan from Ukraine. We are really thinking of adopting her. How do I know that she is adoptable? Where do I start?

I have to admit that not all orphans, who come through hosting programs, are adoptable. Some of them lack certain legal features, which make them eligible for adoption. Features that make a child eligible for adoption are as follows:

  • Status of an orphan (or a child, deprived of parental care). It implies that this child, due to different reasons, does not have parents or other legal guardians (e.g. relatives) who take care of this child permanently
  • The orphan’s file is available for international adoption. When a child receives an orphan status, the local Social Service completes the file of documents, which prepares the child for further adoption. From this time on, the child is available for adoption by a native in Ukraine. While being available for Ukrainian adoptive parents, the child’s file is sent further to the regional Social Service to be sent to the Government Institution –State Department for Adoption for registration. But only after a year after such registration (which allows a Ukrainian to adopt the child) the orphan becomes available for international adoption.
  • Certain illnesses/special needs which make the child eligible for international adoption immediately. Check out the list of diseases here: http://lawyerinukraine.com/?page_id=219
  •  Adoption of a relative
  •  Sibling adoption. Adoption of a child, whose siblings has been adopted by the same adoptive family.

My personal recommendation to a family like that would be – to find out whether an orphan is eligible for international adoption before starting anything else. To receive such information the family needs to submit a letter-inquiry about this specific child. The letter is written in a standard form, which can be provided by your adoption facilitator.

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