Ukraine Adoption – The Long and Winding Road to a Foreign Adoption

Chelsea and Fred met many other people going through adoption when they were in the Ukraine. One lady was returning to take a third child, the brother of two others she already had. When Chelsea and Fred found out that Nadia had a brother, Alexi, they decided to take him, too, and make their family complete. Part of their reasoning was that the two would help each other adjust in the U.S. They also didn’t want to break up what little family they had.

With a Ukraine adoption, Chelsea and Fred flew over to personally choose their child. Chelsea later told me that the trip itself was an insight into their new children’s lives. “They don’t turn the heat on over there until January. The Government controls everything, electricity, heat, water, HOT water; you name it. Things we take for granted over here in the U.S. are nonexistent over there. “They stayed in a small hotel room that was advertised as “four star”. They had their own bathroom but no hot water. Used to a king sized bed at home, they made do with a double bed in the Ukraine. It was cold in the room because the heat hadn’t yet been turned on. We learned to layer our clothes even as we slept. Both of us came back with bad colds.”

In the Ukraine, Adopters have to be married; they don’t place their children with single parents. The children in the orphanages range in age from 2-15. There are rarely many infants available. These children are of European descent; mostly Caucasian or Romany. Both adopting parents have to agree on the adoption choice. They both have to be present at the first court hearing. There are pre and post adoption reports that have to be filled out. Reports continue until the child reaches age 18 at intervals of 2 -4 years.

Adopters should be prepared for the costs. Costs start out around $11-$12,000 and can be much higher. This includes your air fares, your lodging, and your food (it is cheaper to eat in restaurants). You need to bring supplies with you and gifts. You will need to purchase clothing and toys for your new child (or children). Also, you will pay for passports and visas, home studies, adoptee dossiers, immigration fees, medical fees, shots and vaccinations, city and country documents required, fees for interpreters, fees for facilitators, attorney fees, and miscellaneous fees such as passport photos, trips back and forth to the orphanage from the hotel, rental car or taxi, and a few things I have forgotten (and, yes, there is the odd greasing of the palm….or expediter fee).

Once you have had your child’s passport made through the American Embassy in Kiev, you can return to the U.S. as a family. Your child may not ever have learned to say mommy, daddy, grandmother, grandfather. He/she will say these words for the first time to you. He or she may have spent most of his/her life in the orphanage where there was little in the way of kind words, sweet voices, loving hugs and kisses. It will be your job to bring all of these things into this child’s life. You will be rewarded in return with smiles that will break your heart. Your child will learn English quickly and will begin to make friends. You may find your child will have strange little habits caused by his/her life in the orphanage. He/she may hoard food or snacks or treats such as candy (remembering times of hunger). It may take the child a little while to trust adults or new friends his/her own age but it will happen. Soon no one will suspect they came from a third world country to live in the land of opportunity. kazakhstan adoption

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