Ukraine Adoption Program
A Helping Hand offers a Ukraine program through our affiliate agency Nightlight Christian Adoptions.
Ukraine adoption is a wonderful program for families desiring to adopt children (6 and above) or children with special needs ages 14 months and older. Many sibling groups are also available. The types of special needs include cleft palate/cleft lip, club foot, hole in the heart, orthopedic needs, and vision or hearing impairments; there are also more significant needs such as alcohol-related birth defects, Down syndrome, and mental retardation. Many older children with only minor (and correctible) health challenges are also in need of adoption (in the 3-5 age range, and even more in the 6-15 range). Children who would otherwise have little hope for a future can have a better life with the emotional and physical security that a loving family can offer, along with the availability of excellent medical care in the United States.
Eligibility To Adopt
Based on Ukrainian law, you must be married and be at least 15 years older than the child you seek to adopt and no more than 45 years older than the child. If you have any criminal background or any mental health history, please let us know so that we can determine if the authorities in Ukraine will accept your application.
1. Begin your adoption homestudy and submit form I-600A to CIS.
2. Submit your homestudy to SDAPRC and be registered. At this time, you will be given a date to submit your dossier.
3. Begin to assemble your dossier. We will give you detailed instructions.
4. While you are waiting for your CIS approval, Nightlight assists in the apostilling of your dossier.
5. Once CIS has approved your adoption homestudy, you will receive your I-171H pre-approval notice.
6. About 3-4 weeks after you have received your approval from Immigration (I-171H), you should receive a packet of information from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.
7. Your dossier will be hand delivered to the SDAPRC by the translator in Ukraine after all the documents are gathered, including your I-171H approval from CIS. Once your documents are submitted, they are reviewed and the facilitator will be notified that your dossier is in good order or if corrections need to be made.
8. At the time that you are notified of the status of your dossier, you should also be given a travel date.
Travel & Adoption
You select your child once you are in the country. When you arrive in Kyiv (Kiev), an English-speaking representative will meet you. The next day you will go to the SDAPRC, where you will be given information about a child who is the same sex and approximate age that you requested. You will most likely see a picture of the child. Once you have identified a child to adopt and met with the child at his orphanage, you proceed in that region with the completion of the adoption. You will go to court and meet with a judge about one week after you have met with your child. At this time, you will be required to have a 10-day-wait period. During this time you can go home or you can stay in Ukraine. You then receive your child, and your guide will make arrangements to get your child’s new birth certificate and Ukrainian passport, as well as file paperwork with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev for your child’s U.S. visa. This process takes about 1 week to 10 days. Usually you will stay almost 4 weeks in Ukraine for the entire adoption process or you could make two shorter trips.
The in-country stay gives you time to visit your child daily at the orphanage and to begin the bonding process. It is amazing to see how children change while their parents are there visiting with them. It is quite common for a toddler to begin walking during this time and reaching other developmental milestones. The bonding process is very important, and being in the country allows your child to transition from being in an orphanage to being with you, his new family.
Within 30 days of your arrival home, you must register your child with the Ukrainian Embassy. Your homestudy provider will prepare two post-placement reports and submit them to Nightlight: one report will be completed after the social worker visits your home within 3 months of your child’s arrival home and another about 10 months after your child is home. Each year for the first three years that your child is home, you must send a post-placement report to Nightlight. The first two reports will be conducted by your homestudy provider as stated above. These reports include your child’s developmental progress and pictures. This is a very serious commitment; in the past Ukraine has placed a moratorium on adoptions because adoptive families did not send in yearly post placement reports as requested by the Embassy of Ukraine. Therefore, Nightlight requires that families make a good faith deposit into their Nightlight account. Upon submission of these post-placements, a portion of that deposit will be returned to you.
The program fee for a Ukraine adoption is $16,000. Additional estimated expenses of $9,500 – 14,530 will bring the total cost to approximately $28,800 to $36,000.
If you would like print materials about the program, download the Ukraine Adoption Overview. For additional information about this program please click here or contact Laura Godwin at 864-268-0570 or LauraG@Nightlight.org.