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Our Ukraine adoption time-line

Posted Sep 07 2008 12:00am
Someone asked about this on a listserv I belong to. they wanted to know how long our Ukrainian adoption from commitment to coming home took.

We took longer than some folks, I wrote this out a while ago, earlier this year, and I thought I would share it. I will say that adopting from Ukraine can be like trying to hit a moving target, some folks had easier adoptions than others, some of us had our hearts broken more than once. In the end, the precious child who is living with us, the child(ren) we love were always the child(ren) who were going to come home, we just did not know it at the time. God is in control.

We decided to adopt from Ukraine in October 2006; but their international adoption programs were closed until January 2007. Because of this no one wanted to do a home study for us until they had proof the SDA would honor their word and actually begin accepting dossiers again.

In December 2006 we got this newsNew guidelines, one facilitator can submit 2 dossiers a month. We were told not to worry about this. We tried not to.

In January 2007 we began our home study, started collecting the birth certificates, passports, medical reports, and everything we needed for our dossier for Ukraine.

In February, we were upset to hear that a family was in Ukraine for 1 1/2 months, we were told 3 weeks, sometimes 4...at the time there was a 30-day wait after the court date, which was subsequently switched to a 10 day.

March 5th, and something new again!

CHANGES IN LAWS
Inform families that when they send their dossier, all documents should be valid for 8-10 more months, because the SDA will reject all dossiers if one or more of their documents will expire in 6 months or less from date when they will considered your dossier.

Good way to have update for your home study before sending so in this way you can have all documents valid, and they will not expire 10 or more months.

For families who have appointments and for new families. If any document in dossier expires less than 1 month before the appointment date, SDA will cancel appointment and reject dossier
.

OK, so we had to be certain our documents were as current as possible, OK; this would mean redoing our medical reports later...

And them BOOM, another hit March 14Dossiers per year for Americans: 543 Dossiers at SDA currently registered: 180

The resolution that the SDA passed does NOT supersede the Ukrainian Law on Adoptions (Resolution 1377) that was amended last year, and these quotas are actually in violation of that law.

That law was passed by the Cabinet Ministry, which gives it a higher standing than a resolution that was offered by the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sport.

Legal experts in Ukraine are already aware of this and are already taking this to the courts. The courts will likely challenge this and hopefully overturn the resolution in accordance with the Law on Adoptions.

Until then, this is how things will operate, but it is a good sign that already Ukrainians are challenging these rules, which seem to be chosen somewhat arbitrarily by the SDA.

With quotas controlled by the SDA, set by the SDA, and monitored by the SDA,

The US average numbers during the years the looked at were as follows: (2006) 460; (2005) 821; (2004) 723; (2003) 702; (2002) 1106, according to official State Department fiscal year totals for immigrant visas to orphans from Ukraine. So this number is a serious decrease.

Well, OK, that meant we had to get our dossier together and submitted as soon as possible. Problem, our home study was not close to being completed, and we did not have our I-171H yet.

March 20, another really big problem for our family.

Dear Members of the American Adoption Community Interested in Ukraine: On March 20, 2007 the Parliament of Ukraine passed bill #2562
On Legislative Amendments to Ukraine's Laws (regarding adoptions).
The bill will come into effect after the President's approval and its
publication in the official newspaper of Ukraine's Parliament.
This process can take at least one week. This bill introduces the following
major changes to current Ukrainian legislation- The minimum age of prospective adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old;
- The maximum age difference between adoptive parents and adopted children cannot exceed 45 years;
- Unmarried foreign citizens cannot adopt Ukrainian children.
The final text of this bill will be available after its official publication.

This was a big problem because the little girl we wanted to adopt would likely be 3 when we got there, but my husband was turning 49, which would prevent us from adopting her. We were trying to get everything we needed as fast as we could and then we ran into another huge issue, but this was directly about Ukraine and adopting special needs children. Thankfully resolved before we submitted our dossier; they reversed this, but this year, 2008, reinstated this rule, and the president signed it into law this time.

In April 2007, Ukraine closed all dossier submissions until after Orthodox Easter, until the 16th. Soon after the SDA director and all of her staff walked out, I think that and the issue above made us completely lose faith that we would ever adopt from Ukraine. It was during this time we briefly thought of going to Estonia to adopt a little girl named Kristel (we did adopt Kristel-our Amanda this year). After that crisis of faith though, we regained hope and resolved to see our adoption through.

July 16th, while doing our final dossier assembly, we realized we did not have one very vital part of the dossier, we believed it was with the homestudy, but of course was not. After this we learned we could not get the letter from our state police that Ukraine required saying we had no criminal history. I ended up calling every government office I could to find out what to do. We ended up submitting fingerprints to the FBI and finally got those back August 6th.

In the meantime this news came from Ukraine August 3rd, this change stranded a few adoptive families in Ukraine for many weeks.


Update on Ukrainian Passport Issuance:

The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has informed the Embassy that effective immediately Ukrainian passport issuance for adopted children will take a minimum of ten business days in addition to the required ten-day waiting period after the adoption has been finalized. Therefore, following the court decree that recognizes the American adoptive parents as the legal parents of the child or children being adopted, passport issuance will take a minimum of 20 additional days.

We realize this places a substantial hardship on U.S. parents, many of whom have already spent a good deal of time in Ukraine prior to the adoption.

However, this new policy is based on Ukrainian law, and the U.S. Embassy cannot influence the issuance of individual passports in accordance with this policy. We urge Americans adopting in Ukraine to take this additional period of time into account when making their travel plans.

Sincerely,
Adoption Unit/Immigrant Visa Section
Consular Section American Embassy

Then on August 14th we got the worst news an adoptive parents can get, one of the little girls we thought we were adopting was not coming home with us. The referral to adopt her was given to another family. All we could do is accept this news and cry and pray, they were home by September.

We remained committed to adopt Eva (Daria), sent our dossier August 24th to our agency and it was on it's way to Ukraine the 25th. On September 10th our Dossier was submitted to the SDA (the same day we mailed our application to adopt Kristel (Amanda).

We got our travel date on October 30th (we plead with them to give us a date in 2007, the original date they gave us was in January, adoption paperwork showed this date in the referral letter the SDA sent our agency), we were given another families date as they were in another country and could not be there, they got the third date chosen for us in the end of November.

We left AZ on the 7th of November and met with the SDA the 9th, were we learned we could not adopt Eva. Instead we got a blind referral for Karina (Kara).

We came home December 20th, 6 weeks later.
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