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    Ukraine adoption procedure

    The State Department for Family and Children (DFC), a part of the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, is the only legal Ukrainian authority for adoptions. It maintains a database of children available for both domestic and international adoptions. The DFC is involved in the international adoption process from the moment prospective parents apply for registration until an adoption hearing is held in court. It has a policy of maintaining direct contact with prospective adoptive parents. Applying parents must send their documents directly to the DFC, which will communicate with facilitators only after an application is filed.

     

    REGISTERING WITH tHE DFC

    From a procedural viewpoint prospective adopting parents must first register with the Department for Family and Children (DFC) under the Ministry for Social Policy of Ukraine. 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.

    If the applicants are denied, a written explanation is provided. If favorable resolution is rendered, however, applicants are registered as candidates. The favorable resolution is valid during 18 months from the date of issuance. If other documents expire within this term, the candidates must renew them and add to their file.

    ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE CHILD 

     

    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.

    PRE-ADOPTION MEDICAL EXAMINATION

    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.

    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.

    COURT HEARING

    Once DFC issues permission for prospective parents to visit orphanages, parents may go and meet a child, check medical records, and establish personal contact with a child. 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.

    OBTAINING THE POST-ADOPTION BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND A TRAVEL DOCUMENT

     

    The Civil Status Registration Office issues a post-adoption certificate of birth for an adopted child based on the final court decree and the original (pre-adoption) birth certificate.

    Once the post-adoption birth certificate is obtained, parents may apply for a passport for their child at the Office of Visas and Registration.

    ADOPTION PROCEDURE DESCRIPTION

     

    The procedure for adoption of orphans who live in Ukraine by foreigners takes approximately 50-70 days. If a child is not selected during the first appointment, then the family should expect to add one another week to their stay as families can only obtain one appointment per week. Families are allowed up to three appointments to review and select a child for adoption. After the third and final appointment the family’s dossier will be returned to them.

    Please note that sometimes there are delays in the finalization process in Ukraine due to national and U.S. holidays, officials on vacations and this can significantly slow down the in-country process.

     

    The procedure for adoption consists of the following steps:

     

    1. Collection of documents in the country of residence.
    2. Registration with the DFC.
    3. Submission of documents to the DFC.
    4. Registration of candidates for adopters. Within 10 working days from receipt of application the Ministry reviews the documents;determines applicants’ adoption intentions and attitude to the child upbringing; prepares an act on living conditions of the applicants;considers the applicants’ ability to adopt a child;issues a corresponding approval.
    5. Receiving an invitation for an interview at the DFC.
    6. Interview at the DFC, where the candidates are provided with the following information about each child available for adoption: photo, name, age, current living and care arrangements (without indication of name and location of the institution), existence of siblings, their age and arrangements, the child’s special needs (if any).
    7. Receiving referral in order to get acquainted and establish contact with the child. If the candidates wish to meet one of the children, the Ministry issues a referral, which is valid during 10 days from the date of issuance.
    8. Meeting the child at the place of residence. During the personal meeting a representative of the Ministry and representative(s) of the child care institution where the child lives should be present. The candidates review the child’s personal file, medical certificate, receive information about such child’s life, peculiarities of child’s development, behavior, character and recommendations with regard to communication with the child and his/her care. After the first meeting the candidates have the right for further everyday meetings for the duration of the term of referral.
    9. Submission to the Office of Children's Service application for the adoption of a child. After meeting the child, the candidates may apply to the Ministry to adopt this child. The application should be in Ukrainian, with indication of full names and place of residence of the candidates, as well as full name, age and current place of residence of the child (institution), and should be supported by other documents, filed by the institution where the child lives.
    10. Receiving from the Office of Children's Service conclusion on whether the adoption is relevant and meets the best interests of the child.
    11. Submission of documents to the DFC for receiving Approval for the adoption.Within 10 working days from receipt of the second application the DFC ascertains if the child agrees to adoption;drafts conclusion on appropriateness of adoption and its correspondence to the child’s interests. The child’s consent for adoption is given in oral or in written form, depending on the child’s age and state of health. The representative of the Ministry confirms the child’s consent for adoption and explains to him/her its consequences. If the child’s age or state of health does not allow the child to realize the fact of adoption, it is performed without his/her consent. Note that the candidates should appear personally to obtain the final resolution within a month since filing their second application, and file an application on adoption with the court (see step 13) within a month from obtaining such resolution, otherwise it is considered that they refused from adoption.
    12. Receiving from the DFC Approval for the adoption.
    13. Submission of the application and documents to the court. The candidates personally file an application on adoption with the court at the child’s place of residence. A court hearing of adoption case is held, and if all requirements for future successful child upbringing and development are fulfilled, the adoption right is awarded.
    14. Receiving a court decree on adoption. Adoption is considered to be granted since entering into force of the court decree.
    15. The adopting parents personally take the child. The adopting parents may personally take physical custody of the child ten (10) days after the court decision enters into force
    16. Registration of a new birth certificate at the Civil Status Registration Office. On the basis of the court decision, and the child’s old birth certificate, the Civil Status Registration Office issues an adoption certificate and a new birth certificate.
    17. Registration of travel documents.
    18. Registration of the adopted child with the Consulate or Embassy of Ukraine in the country of residence.

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    “Magistr” is the professional Family Law Company which was established by its Managing Partner Oleksiy Gutsulyak in 2002. Combining world-class standards of legal practice, established local expertise, and 10 years of experience on the country’s young legal market, “Magistr” has unparalleled capabilities for meeting the requirements of clients in all fields of law.

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