Although available to foreign parents, child adoption in Ukraine is complex and hedged around with rules and conditions often difficult to understand for non-natives. Not only the future adoptive parents have to meet special requirements, but also not all of Ukrainian orphans are available for international adoption. To avoid possible problems with the international adoption, check what are the legal requirements for foreign adopting parents.
Children eligible for adoption
According to the Ukrainian law, only children of at least 5 years old are available for adoption, however there are a few exceptions from this rule. Children, who were diagnosed with serious medical conditions, such as chronic viral hepatitis, cerebral palsy, cardiomyopathy or cystic kidney disease are eligible for adoption even if they are younger than the required age. There are known cases, when children as young as 6-9 months old were adopted by foreign parents due to children’s special medical needs. Also this rule is not applied to relative and sibling adoptions. The latter is an interesting exemption from the legal point of view: if a child, who is considered for adoption is at least 5 years old and has one or two siblings, then the age of the siblings is not taken into consideration. It means that parents can adopt a 5 year old child together with one or two younger siblings. As a parent wanting to adopt a Ukrainian child you also have to remember that only children, who are registered with the Department for Family and Children for at least one year are available for international adoption. Also, according to the law, Ukrainian parents have priority when it comes to adopting Ukrainian children, therefore only children with no possibility of domestic adoption can be adopted by foreign parents. It could mean that in a situation, when a Ukrainian family is interested in adopting the same child, which was chosen by foreign parents, the Ukrainian couple will be considered first.
Requirements for Foreign Parents
According to Ukrainian law, only partners, who are both 21 years of age and at least 15 years older than the child they want to adopt, can be considered as adoptive parents. The only situation to which this rule does not apply is the relative adoption. Foreign partners applying for child adoption in Ukraine have to be married. There are no requirements regarding the number of years spent married prior to the adoption, but only traditional marriages are recognized by Ukrainian law. There are also no additional requirements regarding the size of family or the future parents income, however the financial documentation of prospective parents during 6 months prior to the adoption procedure has to be submitted along with other required documents. If you are an US citizen you also need to comply with the requirements of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service regarding your level of income. You should contact the agency to check the requirements in details. On top of that, families from United States, who want to adopt a Ukrainian child, have to submit a confirmation that they were found eligible to adopt through home study conducted by a licensed social worker.
Marta Gromadzka is a writer and editor with a wide variety of experience, including writing for websites internationally and editing books on many different subjects and in a variety of formats.