Hi everyone !
I need this info to help a friend who is there to adopt. Does anyone know if people have to pay ''extras'' to have healthy children ? They want a child under 5 years old boy or girl.
They just present them sick children and serious sickness. So if anyone knows and can help that would be appreciated. They work with an agency.
Thank you all for your help
Out of curiosity I asked two co-workers who are immigrants from the Ukraine (one recent, one about 10 years ago) if they knew the answer to this question. Although they both admitted to knowing nothing about the adoption system in the Ukraine, they both agreed that they would be shocked if paying "extra" didn't result in a healthy referral. According to my Ukrainian co-workers, just about everything in the Ukraine - from medical care, to college admissions, to being excused from mandatory military service - works on an unspoken system of bribes.
I am not adopting yet but will most likely adopt an HIV+ kid from UKraine...please consider adopting one..In the past month I have been around 7 children recently adopted from Ukraine that are going to live a long life here in the US. many of these children are gorgeous and are adjusting well...
mom to 6 kids (3 adopted from Ethiopia and one from Guatemala, 2 by birth)
Michael--What makes you say that a healthy child can be acquired on the 2nd and 3rd referral? Do you know of many recent accounts that attest that this is the norm? Or is this just one person's experience? I would not want any prospective adoptive parents to be misled and go to Ukraine with that assumption. You will find more personal reports, as well as those of the Ukraine government, that indicate special needs children are available for foreigners, regardless of when the referral was made.
We did not receive a referral for a healthy child at our second referral, but were willing to accept our son and bring him home to USA where he could receive treatment.
There are many children available with treatable diseases who need treatment - Hep., HIV, etc. Notice, I said treatable, not curable.
This is my personal experience, more over during the time we’ve been to Ukraine, the other families also noticed that on the 2nd and 3rd referral of the kid’s profiles were completely different
What do you mean 2 or 3rd time Michael? Do you mean 2nd or 3rd trip back? Or 2nd or 3rd trip back to the SDA for a refferal after having been to region?
Be wary. Michael's experience is not everyone's. I know a lovely couple who are in Ukraine right now and after their 2nd SDA referral, they are finalizing their adoption with the most healthy child they were shown--still special needs. They pray she will be able to live independently as an adult, at best.
A good point. Special needs can refer to a child with a limb difference, who will not require any special medical treatment and who will function almost like any other child. It can also refer to a child who has had a heart defect corrected in his/her home country prior to adoption and who is now perfectly healthy. And it can refer to a child who has something like asymptomatic Hep. B carrier status. While these children technically have special needs, they often require no medical interventions and have no or few limitations on what they can do.
Whether such children are available in Ukraine is not clear, and you won't know whether any will be shown to you until you are in the country, so this is still a risky matter. It IS possible to find such children in other countries, however, and often to adopt them more quickly than a NSN child could be adopted.
I know of a situation now where a family accepted a referral for a child with a displaced hip (I believe) and some digestive issues - all things that can be corrected once in US. They are adopting from a difficult region where they must have a lawyer represent them. They also had to go before city council to request to adopt their son. Since their paperwork did not state that they were approved for a child with special needs, they have had a problem. Finally, the lawyer was able to speak with the mayor and they have been approved for a court date. This was after their translator made two trips back to Kiev for two different letters from the US Embassy - and neither were satisfactory to the council. We did not have this in our paperwork anywhere and did not have a problem. You will be shown children with special needs whether you state that or not. Ours read one to two children with correctable/treatable health issues.
Don't kid yourselves. In June 2010 we saw 21 referrals!!!!! All terrible, terrible, terrible. Some people on these sites along with too many facilitators/agencies are trying to white-wash the truth, or they have a skewed view of it. If you are looking to accept children who have only "correctable/treatable health issues," Ukraine is not for you. The SDA will tell you that, the Ukraine govt. will tell you that, the orphanages will tell you that, and Dr. Yuri will tell you that---of course, only after you have flown to Ukraine and paid him. If you want to accept children who need a lot of life-long special help and may or may not ever be able to live independently as adults, go for it, but with your eyes wide open.
I don't mean to sound insensitive, but people who have accepted children with special needs want to act like it is not that bad and it is all correctable in the US, and that is fine. It helps them cope. But believe me, they are not giving you the details about what their lives are like with those kids, and they become very defensive if anyone mentions it--because understandably, they do grow to love their children and are as proud as any parent would be.
But my message is not aimed at them. It is for prospective parents who seek generally healthy children. They need to know the truth before they go to Ukraine and get into that whole situation, which is not just financially taxing, but an emotional nightmare. If you decide to adopt in Ukraine, know your limits and the kind of situation you can and cannot accept, and be wary.
Our son has been cleared by our pediatric specialist and he does not have Hep. C. But, we did think he had it when we adopted him.
These are the health problems that we saw in the files that we reviewed.
cerebral palsy
mental delay
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
cystic kidney
development of movement and movement
cleft palate
brain dysfunction
hole in heart
chronic osteomylitis (sp?) - bilateral
strophy of eye nerve
doesn't walk or talk at almost 3 y.o.
delay of speech
big mental delay
delay of movement, speech & development
pitosis of eye
brain damage
delay of speech & mental
Hepatitis C
proeblem with penis
Hep. C
developmental delay
doesn't digest protein
delay of mental, speech & movement
heart defect
spinal hernia
only 30% of sight and getting worse
virus infection
heart disease
stenosis of lung artery
mitral valve prolapse
cycsic Fibrosis
almost deaf
mental retardation
TB positive
Slow in growth - thyroid problem
Many of these diagnosis were duplicated and most children had more that one diagnosis.
We saw 14 files at the first appt. and 24 at the second.
Our son was included in the files at both appointments.
I think that prospective parents have to research and know what they can and can't handle. A lot of the issues above can be treated here some can't. Some may prevent a child from living on thier own, many won't. The thing is, I have found that dealing with the emotional after affects of orphanage life can be far worse than the physical problems. I will take a wheelchair and missing limbs over RAD any day. Many things are on a spectrum. For instance cerbral palsy can be anyhing from a lovely girl who attends our church who has weakness on one side, but otherwise is a normal, healthy 7th grader. There is very little she can't do. She is a straight A student. Barring unforseen circumstances, she will go to college and then live on her own with out a problem. Her mom says she requires fewer doctors visits than her supposedly normal brother. Another child with cp I know is in a wheelchair and will need lifelong care.
Most children in orphanges will be delayed, simply because they are on orphanages. A child presented as deaf, may truly be deaf or may need ear tubes or hearing aids. (for the record a deaf person can live on their own just fine)
If you want a perfectly healthy, very young child, then likely Ukraine isn't for you. I have two special needs children and they will both live on thier own.
I will say that my day to day life is impacted by RAD, but not by my kids physical special needs. We deal with prosthetic limbs, and wheelchairs and they are honestly not that big of a deal. I am not sugar coating it or pretending, it really is not. I do not see my children as burdens. I am perfectly willing to give details of my life with my children. The ones that will scare perspective parents are ones that involve RAD which will not be on any paperwork from any orphanage in Eastern Europe. A child with RAD will present as very healthy, charming and adorable.
Alex's Mama:
Many of the diagnoses that are on your list are extremely ambiguous. In some cases, the child may be almost completely healthy, and the diagnosis may have been put on the chart simply to make it easier to get him/her adopted. In others, however, the child can have a serious problem. It would be important to visit the orphanage, meet the child, and talk to the orphanage director and doctor about him/her. Here are some examples:
1. "Hole in heart". This description fits several diagnoses. As an example, the child may have atrial septal defect, a hole in the wall between the top two chambers of the heart, or ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall between the bottom two chambers of the heart. In particular, it often is used to describe patent foramen ovale, a particular atrial septal defect. In many cases, a child may be diagnosed as a newborn, but the hole in the heart may close up without any intervention as the child matures. In others, the hole may exist, but may not affect function significantly, so no medical intervention is needed. But in still others, a child may benefit from surgical closure of the hole, especially if diagnostic imaging suggests that the child could be susceptible to strokes and other blood vessel problems.
2. Anemia. Many children in orphanages have iron deficiency anemia because they do not have a good diet, with lots of iron rich foods such as meat. When they are adopted, some children will attain normal iron levels simply by eating a healthy diet, while others will overcome their anemia when given a multivitamin with iron daily. But not all anemia relates to iron deficiency. There is also a category of anemias called thalassemia. Thalassemia is an inherited condition in which the body lacks the ability to make a certain component of hemoglobin or makes a defective form of that component. It tends to be found in people from certain warm parts of the world, such as around the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, and South Asia, and particularly in places where malaria is endemic, as it probably evolved to protect people against this disease. Many people can have the thalassemia "trait" without having any symptoms of illness; they simply need genetic counseling, because if they marry another person with the trait, their children could have a more serious form of thalassemia. However, some people with certain forms of thalassemia may need regular blood transfusions to stay alive, or chelation therapy, which removes excessive iron from the body. Sickle cell anemia is yet another type of hereditary anemia, and is found primarily in Black people from sub-Saharan Africa. As with thalassemia, a person can have only the trait and be perfectly healthy, or he/she can have a form of the condition that will often cause death before age 50. People with symptomatic sickle cell anemia may have crises in which improperly formed red blood cells block blood vessels, creating great pain, and possibly causing damage to the organs that don't get enough blood. They may also suffer painful episodes in which their spleen enlarges massively and circulatory failure is possible. And if they catch certain viral illnesses, they may also suffer aplastic crises, in which they stop making red blood cells and become extremely tired and weak.
3. Ptosis of the eye. Ptosis is a Greek word meaning "fall". Ptosis of the eye is a condition, usually present from birth (though it can be acquired in adulthood through head trauma or certain serious illnesses, such as stroke or diabetes), in which an eyelid droops because of weakness in the muscle that raises the eyelid. In many cases, congenital ptosis is not very serious; some people will choose cosmetic surgery to correct the drooping and some will not. However, if the eyelid droops over the eye consistently and covers the eye, a person's vision could be affected. In children, minor surgery is often recommended to prevent amblyopia, or "lazy eye" from developing because the droopy eyelid has covered the eye and kept it from working properly. If amblyopia does occur anyway, "patching" can help to correct it in many cases, though failure to treat amblyopia early can cause long term inability to use that eye.
4. Tuberculosis. This is a strange finding to have in an adoptable child's medical record, as TB is an infectious disease and treatable with antibiotics in most cases. In some countries, a vaccine called BCG is given routinely in orphanages and doctors' offices to prevent TB, although it is not used in the U.S. because American doctors view it as inaccurate. The PPD test, used in most countries, can screen children for the disease. If the child has not been given BCG and gets either no reaction to the injection of PPD or a reaction of under 10 mm. in size at the injection site, he/she is probably negative for the disease; if the reaction is under 15 mm. in a child who has had BCG, he/she is also considered negative. If the reaction is 10 mm. or greater (15 or greater in a child who has had BCG), or if the doctor believes that the person is immunocompromised or has other risk factors for TB, then a chest x-ray and physical exam should be done to see if TB is present, and whether it is active or not. There are some other, more accurate tests that can be done, but they are probably too expensive to be available for orphans in poor countries. If TB is "latent", meaning that the person cannot infect anyone else but that the TB bacteria are present and could become active at some point, he/she is usually put on a course of isoniazid, an antibiotic, for six to nine months; this will kill the bacteria so that the disease cannot become active. If the TB is active, the person will usually have symptoms such as a bad cough that lasts for several weeks and may cause blood to be coughed up; fever, fatigue, weight loss, etc. If TB goes untreated for a long time, it could spread from the lungs to the joints, spine, brain, bladder, and so on. He/she will have to be treated with a combination of antibiotics, usually four of them. Since a person cannot get a visa to enter the U.S. if he/she has active TB, an orphan with TB would have to be treated with antibiotics and pronounced free of active infection at a U.S. Embassy-approved clinic before he/she could be adopted and immigrated to the U.S.
5. Speech delay. Orphanages are not good places for children learning to talk. Unlike parents, who often talk to young children constantly to expose them to speech, orphanage workers may have little interaction with the individual children as they go about the work of feeding, changing diapers, etc. As a result, even "healthy" kids who have been institutionalized are likely to have some speech delays. Some adopted children who have not learned the language of their birth country well will pick up the language of their new parents quickly, but others may need therapy and may struggle with speech issues for several years. On the other hand, speech delays can be a sign of deeper problems, such as autism spectrum disorders, hearing disorders, brain damage (e.g., cerebral palsy, untreated viral infections like encephalitis), mental retardation, other genetic disorders such as Fragile X or Retts Syndrome, etc.
One thing I don't like about the Ukraine's system of not giving referrals and not allowing agencies to work directly with them is that the prospective parent has little opportunity to evaluate information that is given to him/her about a child, and may not be able to determine whether a diagnosis is "real" or overstated to get him/her listed as adoptable. He/she does not get a referral that can be reviewed in the comfort of his/her own home, or in the presence of doctors and therapists. He/she cannot consult with agency staff who met the child on a visit to the orphanage. Unless he/she speaks Ukrainian and knows Ukrainian medical terminology, he/she may not be able to translate information in profiles, or to have a meaningful dialogue with orphanage workers, with a high degree of accuracy. And he/she is rushed to make a decision, often having well under 24 hours to review a child's profile and determine his/her state of health.
All in all, I do not recommend adopting from Ukraine, unless you are medically very savvy and familiar with the language and culture of the country, or unless you are open to a lot of health "unknowns".
From my wife and my experience, there is little or no chance to adopt healthy babies or toddlers from the Ukraine. The adoption agency we used gave us the impression there was but the reality is completly different. The in-country support people we worked with told us the truth, that there are thousands of ukrainian parents waiting to adopt the healthy kids first. Almost exclusively, all children presented to int'l parents have significant medical conditions.