Adoption in Ukraine
The matters of International Adoption in Ukraine are adjusted by such legislative acts as follow:
Family Code of Ukraine;
"The Order of transfer of children, who are the citizens of Ukraine, on adoption to the citizens of Ukraine and foreign citizens and realization of the control behind conditions of their residing in new families" , authorized by the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on August 28, 2003, #1377
The adoption of children will be carried out under the application of person wishing to adopt the child in the judicial order. The presence of the prospective adoptive parents at the Court is obligatory.
The registration of the foreign citizens, who wish to adopt children, is conducted by the National Adoption Center (NAC) at the Ministry of Education of Ukraine extremely.
THERE IS NO LEGAL PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING THROUGH GUARDIANSHIP IN UKRAINE.
THERE ARE NO UKRAINIAN ADOPTION FEES EXCEPT THOSE FOR COURT FILING, NOTARIAL, TRANSLATION AND SIMILAR SERVICES.
Under US law, prospective American parents wishing to adopt a child in a foreign country must, in all cases, initiate the process with the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States (INS) by filing form I-600A, Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition. This petition must be filed at the appropriate INS office in the United States with jurisdiction over the adoptive parents' place of residence.
The State Department is pleased to announce that as of April 19, 2004, the U.S. Embassy in Kiev adjudicates immigrant visa applications for Ukrainian adopted children. Prospective adopting parents who are traveling to Ukraine to complete an adoption after April 19 are strongly encouraged to verify that their I-600A and related documents are at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev - not at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, which had been processing these cases - before they leave for Ukraine.
REGISTRATION WITH NATIONAL ADOPTION CENTER
Citizens of the United States wishing to adopt a child from Ukraine must register with the National Adoption Center (see Documentary Requirements below) to begin adoption proceedings in Ukraine. The National Adoption Center is operated as part of the Ministry of Education and is the ONLY legal Ukrainian authority that maintains a database of children available and qualified for both domestic and international adoptions. The National Adoption Center is involved in international adoptions from the initial to the final stage, e.g. from the moment prospective parents apply for registration to the point when, once a child has been identified, the case is forwarded to a court for adjudication.
The National Adoption Center processes the documents submitted by adopting parents and enters them into their database within twenty working days. Once an application is approved, the prospective adopting parents will receive an invitation to visit the Adoption Center. When adopting parents arrive in Ukraine, the Adoption Center shows them information about orphans available for international adoption within the parents' specified age range. The Center then issues a letter of referral to allow the prospective parents to visit orphanages to meet, select, and establish contact with a child. Along with the letter of referral, adopting parents will be given their documents, bound, numbered, sealed, and signed by an official in charge of the Adoption Center, with a separate sheet specifying the number of pages and the prospective parents' registration file code.
Adoption Center in Kiev, Ukraine
27-A Taras Shevchenko Boulevard
Kiev, Ukraine 252032
Tel # (380)(44) 246-54-31/32/37/49
Fax # (380)(44) 246-5452/62
Please keep in mind that translators or interpreters are not available on the staff of the Adoption Center, so callers or visitors have to be prepared to speak Ukrainian, or have their own interpreters.
The intermediary commercial activity concerning adoption of children, transfer them under guardianship or on education in families of the citizens of Ukraine or citizens of other states is forbidden, and there will be NO fees except those for court filing, notarial and translation and similar services.
IMPORTANT: The temporary changes in the procedures of the Center for Child Adoption.
The Ministry of Education of Ukraine informs about the recent changes in the procedures of the Center for Child Adoption in Ukraine.
According to the information received by the Consulate, the Center for Child Adoption has introduced new temporary regulations on registration of prospective adoptive parents' dossiers for adoption and placing them on a waiting list.
It is a temporary procedure, which will be used until the Ukrainian Government approves the final regulation.
According to these regulations, after official registration of the adoption dossiers, prospective adoptive parents will be notified by mail by the Center for Child Adoption that they have been registered with the Center for Child Adoption. After a family receives a letter to this effect, they should inform the Center for Child Adoption about the desired appointment date. The Center for Child Adoption will then schedule them for the next available dates and send invitations directly to the families. Upon receiving invitations adoptive parents should confirm the appointment date via mail, fax or e-mail. The Center for Child Adoption plans to serve ten families per day.
Additional information from the Center for Child Adoption of the Ministry of Education of Ukraine on above mentioned regulations will be placed at our web site as soon as the Consulate will receive it from the Center for Child Adoption.
ADOPTION CENTER DATABASE
The National Adoption Center recommends prospective adopting parents who wish to adopt two or more children to submit a separate, authenticated dossier for each child. However, submission of two or more dossiers is not a guarantee adopting parents will allowed to adopt two or more children. Current adoption policy is for adopting parents to adopt one child at a time, unless you adopt a sibling group.
Adoption Center representatives will not meet with prospective adopting parents who arrive in Ukraine without an appointment or on a day other than when they are scheduled for an appointment.
Effective January 1, 2004, the NAC no longer releases information about adopting parents' registration numbers and dates of their appointments to third parties, including to facilitators or others who have obtained the parents' Power of Attorney. All communication between the Center and prospective adopting parents is conducted only by direct exchange of official letters. The NAC sends two standard letters to adopting parents: (1) notification regarding the date and registration number of a dossier and a suggested month for an appointment, and, (2) an official invitation for an appointment with the NAC, indicating a specific date and time. The Center currently uses normal postal mail when sending these letters, which can delay notification by three or more weeks. In order to expedite and facilitate communication, the NAC advises that families may wish to include one or two prepaid, self-addressed international express mail envelopes (DHS or FedEx) with their dossier. These envelopes are used by the NAC for mailing registration and appointment letters to U.S. families. The inclusion of these envelopes with a dossier is completely optional. The absence/presence of prepaid envelopes has no relation to expediting the actual process of registration of a dossier or the scheduling of an appointment date.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR REGISTRATION WITH THE ADOPTION CENTER
Ukrainian law states that foreign citizens wishing to adopt Ukrainian children must submit a petition to the Adoption Center, requesting to be registered as prospective adoptive parents and to be permitted to visit orphanages in order to select, meet and establish contact with an orphan.
The following documents must be part of the adoption application submitted to the Ukrainian adoption authority: :
1) Home Study , issued by a competent authority in the adopting parents' country, attesting to their eligibility, specifying their housing and living conditions, containing their curriculum vitae, and other information. If a home study is issued by a non-governmental entity (a private agency or social worker), a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct pre-adoption reviews must be attached.
2) Entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child, issued by the competent authority in the adopting parents' country. For American citizens, the Form I-171H, Notice of Approval of Advance Processing issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) serves as this document .
3) Proof of income . Bank statements showing the adopting parents' yearly income, W-2 forms or tax returns and a statement from adopting parents' employer indicating salary. To avoid confusion, please do NOT copy blank pages of tax returns .
4) Bill of health . Adopting parents are given a specific medical form to complete. Adopting parents must demonstrate that they are specifically not suffering from any kind of psychiatric, communicable, internal, skin or venereal diseases. There must also be a statement that parents are not drug addicts, and that parents are free from AIDS and syphilis. Medical certificates for prospective adopting parents should be issued on official letterhead of the medical office where the examination took place. Alternatively, the document can bear a stamp/seal of approving clinic/doctor, if available. The doctor's signature must be notarized. If letterheads/seals are not available, the NAC requests that a copy of the doctor's medical license be attached to the form.
5) Copy of the marriage certificate (if applicants are a married couple) .
6) Copies of the passports or other identification papers of prospective adopting parents. A copy of the Permanent Resident Card should be included, if one of the parents is not an American citizen.
7) "No criminal record" statement supplied by a competent authority for each adopting parent, attesting to his/her having no criminal record at the State level. Statements from the city or county level are not accepted by the National Adoption Center. If the criminal background check statement is issued by the local sheriff/police office (not State authorities), it should clearly indicate that each prospective adopting parent has no criminal record in the state of his/her residence .
8) Adoptive parents' commitment to register their adopted child with the Ukrainian Embassy or Consulate in their new home country within one month of the completion of adoption. Adopting parents also agree to supply information about the adopted child's living conditions and educational progress to the Ukrainian Consular Office at least annually during the first 3 years following the adoption. Under Ukrainian law, an adopted child remains a Ukrainian citizen until age 18, at which time the child can decide to remain a Ukrainian citizen .
Please note that all eight documents must be separate documents; one cannot be part of another. The documents remain valid for one year from the date of issuance. The Adoption Center prefers that the documents be translated in the United States, but understands that it may be difficult to find qualified translators. Therefore, the Center allows facilitators to come to the Center with a properly notarized, authenticated and translated power of attorney to take the documents to have them translated and notarized locally .
AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS
All U.S. documents submitted to the Ukrainian government/court must be authenticated. Ukraine is a party to the Hague Legalization Convention. Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must bear the seal of the issuing office and an apostille affixed by the state's Secretary of State (an apostille is a special seal applied to a document to certify that a document is a true copy of an original). Documents must be apostilled in the state where they are issued. Tax returns, medical reports and police clearances should likewise be authenticated. Prospective adopting parents should contact the Secretary of State of the state where documents originated from for instructions and fees for authenticating documents. Documents issued by a federal agency must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office, 518 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5002.
For additional information, call the Federal Information Center: 1-800-688-9889. For additional information about the effects of joining the Hague Legalization Convention, please visit this page . For additional information about authentication procedures, see the "Judicial Assistance" page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at http://travel.state.gov.
GROUNDS FOR DENIAL TO REGISTER
No standards have been established by law for approval or denial of prospective parents' applications to register. Eligibility is determined through a personal interview at the Adoption Center.
However, violation of adoption procedures and regulations (e.g. visiting an orphanage without the Center's permission, meeting and selecting children for adoption prior to registration, not arriving for an interview, etc.) can be considered as grounds for denial to be registered with the Adoption Center. In case of registration denial, prospective parents must be notified of the denial in writing and all the documents they submit should be returned to them.
MEETING A CHILD
Once the Adoption Center issues permission for prospective parents to visit orphanages, parents may go and meet a child, check medical records and establish personal contact with a child.
It is important to mention that, in compliance with recent changes in and amendments to the Family and Marriage Code of Ukraine, the power to approve or deny an adoption is solely with an individual judge. The judge's decision, in turn, will be based on a review of various documents of each individual adoption case during the court hearing, where adoptive parents have to be present. The law states that adoptive parents must attend the hearing. The Adoption Center has stated that this requirement will be strictly enforced following the recent resolution of the Supreme Court of Ukraine. Adopting parents must attend the hearing. In cases where one of the parents cannot be present at the hearing due to a compelling reason (e.g. major surgery, disability etc.), a judge may permit one parent to provide a power of attorney to the other parent.
The packet of documents for the adoption case is presented to the judge after being carefully examined by the Adoption Center. As a general rule, the judge's decision is announced and issued the day of the hearing. However, unless the judge grants an "immediate execution," the decision does not take effect for one month. Such waivers are granted only when there is clear evidence that a delay in executing the court decision is not in the best interest of the child (for example, damage to health). During the one-month period, the adoption can be appealed. Once the decision takes effect, the new adopting parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.
OBTAINING A TRAVEL DOCUMENT
RAGS (Ukrainian Office of Vital Records) will issue a post-adoption certificate of birth for an adopted child based on the final court decree and the original (pre-adoption) birth certificate only. Please remember that the pre-adoption birth certificate is not be returned to the adopting parents. Therefore, please make sure to that you make a copy before handing it over to RAGS authorities.
Adopting parents should make sure that there are no discrepancies in the spelling of names of the parents and children in the court decree. If noticed, please ask the court clerk to correct them immediately. Failure to do so may cause delays in issuing the post-adoption birth certificate and in authenticating Ukrainian documents.
Once the post-adoption birth certificate is obtained, parents may apply for a passport for their child at the local VVIR (Ukrainian Office of Visas and Registration) .
Parents are required to present a written and notarized statement requesting that the travel document be issued. The post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and 4 passport-size photos of the child have to be submitted along with the statement.
The new name of the adopted child in the travel document is spelled in English transliterated from Ukrainian, so it may look different from what appears on the parents' passport. There is no need for concern as long as the child's name in Ukrainian on the travel document is the same as in the court decree. However, parents can request that the correct English spelling be noted on the blank page in the passport.
At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing that the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. It is called a "PMP-stamp" in Ukrainian. Although under Ukrainian law immigration authorities have up to 10 working days to issue passports or travel documents for adopted children, they are often issued before then, especially if the child requires medical care.
In accordance with Ukrainian Law, the Consulate General of Ukraine should include your child (children) adopted in Ukraine, into the list of Ukrainian citizens permanently residing in the USA.
In order to process appropriate paperwork you should mail to the Consulate the following documents:
Completed registration form;
Your child(ren)'s original passport(s) (Travel document of a child);
A copy of the Ukrainian Court's Decree on adoption (in Ukrainian).
Please include a return self-addressed postage-paid envelope.
For FedEx Account number is required. Credit Card number is not acceptable.
In case you change your place of residence, you are also requested to inform the Consular Office.
Please be advised that you should send your application to the Ukrainian Consulate that has jurisdiction over the district of your residence by mail.