International adoption is a popular option for many who want to bring a child or children into their families. While international adoption can be incredibly rewarding in the long run, you must be prepared for the long, and sometimes emotional, process of adopting a child from Ukraine.
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Find a reputable adoption agency and adoption attorney with whom to work. Make sure you interview several agencies and attorneys and request and check references before you engage the services of an adoption agency and an adoption attorney.
Schedule your homestudy and prepare the required paperwork for your social worker. Once the homestudy is complete, your social worker will send the homestudy to the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services.
Register with State Department for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child. Once you have been approved for adoption, you will be contacted by officials and you can start making travel arrangements.
Prepare for your trip to Ukraine by applying for a visa and a passport, if you don’t already have one, and by going to the doctor to get the required vaccinations and physical.
Prepare your dossier. To adopt from Ukraine, you will need to provide a complete dossier of documents, including proof of income, a copy of your marriage certificate if applicable, a copy of your passport or another form of identification, and a statement that asserts that you do not have a criminal record.
Make your travel arrangements once you have received approval from the INS. You will need both a passport and a visa for your travel to Ukraine, so be sure to apply for both.
Go to Ukraine to meet a child at a local orphanage. If you have concerns about the child's health after viewing medical records, you may request that the child undergo a physical exam and blood work.
Once you’ve found a child or children you want to adopt, you must attend a court hearing where the judge will approve or deny the adoption. Generally, the judge makes a decision on the day of the court hearing, but you must wait 10 days for the approval to actually take affect.
If you’ve been approved, after 10 days have passed, you will become the legal parent of the child.
Obtain a new birth certificate for your son or daughter. You will be required to go to the local Vital Records Office, where you will present officials with the court decree granting the adoption and your child’s original birth certificate.
Apply for a Ukrainian passport for your new child at the Ukrainian Office of Visas and Registrations. Expect to receive the passport in a minimum of 10 days.
Head back to the United States with your newest family member.
Tips and warnings
- To be eligible to adopt from Ukraine, you must be at least 18 years old, and you must be at least 15 years older than the child you are adopting, unless you are adopting a relative. U.S. law allows both married and single people to adopt from Ukraine.
- Expect to spend three weeks in Ukraine, which will encompass you finding a child and going through the court proceedings to adopt that child. When you return to the United States, you will do so with your new son or daughter.
- The process of adopting from Ukraine can take as long as a year.
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