ADOPTION OF CHILD IN UKRAINE
The law of adoption in Ukraine is governed by the Ukraine family and marriage code. The code deals with the procedure for adoption of Ukrainian child by foreigners in, registration with adoption center and court hearings for adoption.
ADOPTION OF UKRANIAN CHILD BY FOREIGNERS
Citizens of foreign countries may adopt only those Ukrainian children that
- are qualified for adoption; and
have either been registered with the Adoption Center for 1 (one) year without any Ukrainian family's coming forward to adopt them or become their guardians, or suffer from a disease (according to the list of diseases issued by the Ministry of Public Health Protection); in this case, one-year waiting requirement may be waived.
The information regarding the children available for adoption may be obtained from the orphanages which are responsible for providing full and complete information to the Adoption Center database in a timely fashion (within 1 week).
The local (district or 'rayon') office of the Ministry of Education creates a file for each child available and qualified for adoption and prepares an application that contains basic information about the child and his/her photo.
They retain the application at their office for one month, during which they encourage Ukrainian families to adopt the child. After being kept at the district office for 1 (one) month, the application is forwarded to the regional or 'oblast' office of the Ministry of Education. This office has 1 (one) month to find a Ukrainian adoptive family for the child.
Under Ukrainian law, disclosure of information on children available for adoption to other organizations or private citizens by Ukrainian officials is forbidden.
If the child still has not been adopted by Ukrainian citizens, his/her application is further forwarded to the Adoption Center to be input into its database. Once a child's application reaches the Adoption Center, the Center has 12(twelve) months to find a Ukrainian family for the child. If the legal status of the child changes, the guardian authority will have to notify the Adoption Center for this change within 7 (seven) days.
Children who, in accordance with the list of diseases of the Ministry of Public Health Protection, are determined to be unhealthy are not subject to the 'one-plus-one-plus-twelve month' waiting period and will be available for international adoptions immediately.
REGISTRATION WITH ADOPTION CENTER
The prospective parents wishing to adopt a child from Ukraine must register with the Adoption Center to begin adoption proceedings in Ukraine. The 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 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 current adoption law states that no commercial intermediaries may take part in the process of adoption and that there will be no fees except those for court filing, notarial and translation and similar services.
The Adoption Center's current address and telephone numbers are:
27 Taras Shevchenko Boulevard
Kiev, Ukraine, 252032
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 petition:
- Home Study, an affidavit issued by a competent authority in the adoptive parents' country, attesting to his/her eligibility, specifying his/her housing and living conditions, containing curriculum vitae, and other information; if this affidavit is issued by a non-governmental entity, a copy of the license authorizing this entity to conduct adoption procedures shall be appended.
- Entrance and permanent residence permit for the adopted child, issued by the competent authority in the adoptive parents' country.
- Proof of income (bank statement on the parent's family yearly incomes).
- Bill of health issued in the name of each of the adoptive parents with a declaration that the child is not suffering from any kind of psychic; communicable, internal, skin or venereal diseases as well as that you are not drug addict; also, AIDS and syphilis tests must be included.
- Copy of the marriage certificate (if applicants are a married couple).
- Copy of the passport or other identification papers of prospective adoptive parents.
- "No criminal record" statement supplied by a competent authority for each adoptive parent, attesting to his/her having no criminal record.
Adoptive parents' commitment, if granted the adoption, to have the child registered with Ukraine's consular office in their home country within one month; to supply information (at least once a year) about an adopted child's living conditions and educational process to the Ukrainian consular officer, to arrange for consular officers to keep in touch with the adopted child, and to retain the child's Ukrainian citizenship until 18 years of age.
All documents must be properly legalized at the Ukrainian Consulate or Embassy in the State or country of the adopting parent and such documents will remain valid for one year. Once the documents are legalized, they must be translated into Ukrainian and notarized.
The Adoption Center must, within ten days, process the documents submitted by adoptive parents and enter them into the database. Once parents identify the sex and the age of the child they wish to adopt, the Adoption Center shows them applications of orphans available for adoption within this age group.
The Center will then issue a letter of referral to allow the prospective parents to visit orphanages and to meet, select and establish contact with the children. Along with a letter of referral, adoptive 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.
GROUNDS FOR DENIAL TO REGISTER
No standards have been established by law for approval or denial of prospective parents' application to register. Eligibility is determined through a personal interview at the Adoption Center.
However, based on previous experience, 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 there and meet with a child(ren), check medical records and establish personal contact with him/her. When a child is selected for adoption, the Adoption Center then removes the child's name from the database of orphans available for adoption.
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 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. In cases where one of the parent cannot be present at the hearing due to 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, it does not take effect for ten calendar days, within which it can be appealed.
Once the decision takes effect, the new parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.