Prospective adopting parents must first register with the Department for Family and Children (DFC) under the Ministry for Social Policy of Ukraine (see Documentary Requirements below). The DFC processes the documents submitted by adopting parents and enters them into their database within twenty working days. Once an application is approved, the prospective adopting parents will receive an invitation to visit the DFC. When adopting parents arrive in Ukraine, the DFC shows them information about orphans available for international adoption within the parents' specified age range. DFC then issues a letter of referral to allow the prospective parents to visit orphanages to meet and establish contact with a child. Along with the letter of referral, adopting parents will be given their documents, bound, numbered, sealed, and signed by an official in charge of the DFC, with a separate sheet specifying the number of pages and the prospective parents' registration file code.
DFC representatives will not meet with prospective adopting parents who arrive in Ukraine without an appointment or on a day other than when they are scheduled for an appointment. Please visit our Documentary Requirements page for the full list of required documents.
The DFC, the central adoption authority in Ukraine, maintains the database of adoptable children available for both domestic and intercountry adoptions, and will help you meet and identify an eligible child to adopt. If you are eligible to adopt, and the DFC approves your application, you will receive an appointment (invitation) to visit the DFC. At this appointment DFC officials will show you information about orphans eligible for intercountry adoption, and issue a letter of referral to allow you to visit an orphanage to meet and establish contact with a child, and check his or her medical records.
As of December 1, 2008 the DFC will allow only three appointments to each adoptive family to look at the children's files. If you have not chosen a child after the third appointment, your adoption dossier will be returned to you immediately. You will need to submit a notarized statement to request a second/third appointment with your dossier to the DFC and then they officially have ten business days to respond with the date of your second/third appointment. The DFC also limits the number of adoption referrals issued to each family to two referrals.
Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child.
While meeting a child at the orphanage, you will be shown his/her medical history. If any doubts arise, or if you would like to get more details on the child's health condition, you may request an additional medical check-up of the child (including blood tests etc.). According to the law, every prospective parent has the right for additional pre-adoption medical examination of the child conducted by a private physician in the presence of the orphanage staff member.
The panel physicians of the Clinical Hospital of Ministry of Health of Ukraine in Kyiv have expressed their readiness to perform pre-adoption medical examinations. Please check with them directly on their services and fees.
Parents should make every effort to thoroughly understand the medical conditions diagnosed by local physicians. Please be sure the facilitator and/or interpreter you hire are competent to translate and explain complex medical diagnoses. Knowledge of the child's medical conditions is required for the I-604 interview at U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. Parents should verify that medical reports from the orphanage are thorough and reflect all information provided to the Ukrainian court for the hearing.
After prospective adopting parents identify a child for adoption, the file for the case is presented to a judge in the region where the child lives. The power to approve or deny an adoption remains solely with an individual judge. The judge's decision, in turn, is based on a review of various documents of each individual adoption case during the court hearing.
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 days. During the ten-day period, the adoption can be appealed, which the Embassy understands is rare. If an application for appeal is submitted to the court within ten days after the court hearing, an additional period of 20 days is added for filing the actual appeal case with all the supporting documents with the court. The waivers of appeal period are rarely granted in cases when there is clear evidence that a delay in executing the court decision is not in the best interest of the child (for example, damage to health).
Once the decision takes effect, the new adopting parents are granted parental rights and legal responsibility for the child.
Adopting parents must attend the hearing. In cases where one of the parents cannot be present at the hearing (e.g. major surgery, disability etc.), a judge may permit one parent to provide a power of attorney for the other parent.
The local RAGS office (Ukrainian abbreviation for Office of Vital Records) issues a post-adoption certificate of birth for an adopted child based on the final court decree and the original (pre-adoption) birth certificate. The pre-adoption birth certificate is not be returned to the adopting parents, so parents should make sure that they make a copy of the pre-adoption birth certificate before handing it over to the RAGS authorities.
Adopting parents should make sure that there are no discrepancies in the spelling of names of the parents and children in the court decree. If noticed, please ask the court clerk to correct them immediately. Failure to do so may cause delays in issuing the post-adoption birth certificate and in authenticating Ukrainian documents.
Once the post-adoption birth certificate is obtained, parents may apply for a passport for their child at the local VVIR (Ukrainian abbreviation for Office of Visas and Registration). Parents are required to present a written and notarized statement requesting that the travel document be issued. The post-adoption birth certificate, final court decree, and 4 passport-size photos of the child have to be submitted along with the statement. The new name of the adopted child in the travel document is spelled in English transliterated from Ukrainian, so it may look different from what appears on the parents' passport. There is no need for concern as long as the child's name in Ukrainian on the travel document is the same as in the court decree. However, parents can request that the correct English spelling be noted on the blank page in the passport.
At the time the passport is issued, a special, mandatory stamp is put in it showing that the child is departing Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. It is called a "PMZh-stamp" for the words "permanent residence" in Ukrainian. Although under Ukrainian law immigration authorities have up to ten working days to issue passports for adopted children, they are often issued earlier, especially if the child requires medical care.
TIME FRAME: Three to 12 months can pass between the prospective adoptive parents' submission of their application dossier and the DFC appointment date. In addition, there is usually a three-to-four week wait between the initial filing of the adoption petition in the local court and issuance of the final adoption. Overall, the adopting parents report that it can take anywhere from 8 weeks up to three months from their first appointment with the DFC until their departure from Ukraine.