Has anyone done an independent adoption? I've researched the agencies and am thoroughly unimpressed.
I'd like to hire someone who: can facilitate, help w/the dossier, and knows Ukrainian adoption law.
Is Open Heart Adoption any good?
Thanks for any thoughts.
We didn't adopt through an agency and we loved the person we worked with here in the U.S. and the facilitator and translator we worked with in Ukraine. They worked hard for our adoption to move as smoothly as it did. I can send you that information if you want. Just go to my blog and shoot me an e-mail at the e-mail address I have listed there.
Elliott
[url=http://snapshotsfromourjourney.blogspot.com/]Snapshots From Our Journey[/url]
I adopted independently twice from Ukraine in 2009 and 2011.
Both my sister and our neighbors took my adoption trail this year (2014) and adopted successfully using the adoption facilitator we used.
You can read my posts regarding our Ukraine adoption experience, analysis of independent adoption versus agency adoption here:
[url]http://forums.adoption.com/international-adoption-support/404512-anyone-contemplating-international-adoption.html[/url]
[url]http://forums.adoption.com/international-adoption-support/404544-cost-duration-international-adoption.html[/url]
Feel free to contact me, if you need an update on the current adoption situation.
Cathy.
Dear CathyStone Is it possible to reach you somehow to ask for your advice? I cannot send PM here, I don't see how to do it. Thank you! Kind regards
All adoptions in Ukraine are, technically, independent. Ukraine’s law prohibits foreign agencies from conducting adoptions.
If you wish, you may have an agency help you get your dossier ready for submission, or have your agency link you up with drivers, guides, and so on. The agency cannot go with you to the Ukrainian government office where you look at books of available children and select ones you think you can parent, so that you can be taken to their orphanages to meet them. The agency cannot receive a referral for you before you travel, and help you evaluate your ability to parent the child. And so on. Any agency that tells you otherwise should not be trusted.
Personally, I don’t like this system. It may work well for a prospective parent who knows the foreign language, who is familiar with the culture, who is experienced with Ukrainian medical records and the common physical, mental, and emotional problems of adopted children. But, frankly, it can be disastrous for people who have not parented before, who are unfamiliar with the country, and who haven’t dealt with issues such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders or attachment problems. While the Ukrainians say that using an agency just drives up costs, NOT using one can actually cause a family more expenses and more heartache.
When you don’t get a referral before travel, you can’t evaluate it at home when you are relaxed, and when you can easily share it with relatives or friends, check out community resources for handling medical and psychological issues, have a doctor review it with you – not by long distance phone – etc. The agency can’t provide guidance or check with the foreign country to clarify certain information. If you decide that you can’t parent the child, you can save yourself some money by not having to go to the country and see him/her; you’ll either ask for a new referral or decide to make other arrangements, such as choosing a new country. And you don’t have to worry that you’ll get to the U.S. Embassy after adopting the child, only to learn that he/she does not meet U.S. adoption visa requirements; the agency will take care of all that.
Remember that, with Ukraine, if you don’t find at least one child you can parent in the books you are shown in the government office, you generally can’t ask to see other books. You will usually be told to .go home to your country and wait for a new invitation to see more books. And if you visit children you have selected and decide that you can’t parent any of them, you will also be sent home to start over. You may be offered up to three chances to find a child and complete an adoption. There is some evidence that some of the Ukrainian officials, who truly want to see the most hard-to-place children find homes, give families books featuring the hardest to place children first; without an agency, you will have to rely on in-country people who may not understand either your concerns or the American view of unethical practices, to advocate for you and get you to see children that are a better fit for your family.
When you get to Ukraine, without an agency, unless you are very savvy, you won’t be able to tell whether your in-country facilitator is doing anything illegal or unethical or out of ignorance, not just trying to bribe the staff of the government agency to show you books of healthier children, but also translating medical records inaccurately, or conveniently omitting something that an orphanage director or doctor says, that might suggest a medical or psychiatric issue you can’t handle. Licensed American agencies have certain responsibilities for contracting with or hiring overseas representatives, and can lose their licenses or lose a lawsuit if they are found to have let their overseas people behave illegally or unethically. When you contract directly with overseas people, what can you do if you are the victim of fraud, deception, or incompetence?
All in all, the Ukrainian system is not generally admired by adoption medicine specialists, even though the children often receive decent care. Too many parents come home without a child, and having lost a great deal of money. And too many parents come home with a child whose issues they did not understand because they were not working with an agency committed to effective parent preparation; one of the reason that the Hague Convention on international adoption was ratified by over 90 countries is that it calls for serious parent preparation, in terms of medical issues, attachment, grief over loss of birthparents, racial differences, and so on. And too many parents are in denial about the fact that they will NOT generally be able to find a relatively healthy baby – that they will be looking at children over age five, in most cases, with the youngest of them often having the most physical needs, and the oldest often having the most issues from being exposed to difficult home and orphanage situations.
On the other hand, there are many parents who have completed successful adoptions from Ukraine, without using an agency, and I won’t deny that. However, these are usually people who have had excellent preparation and are going into the process with eyes wide open, people who are extremely comfortable with adopting children with special needs or older children who have had negative experiences in their birth families or orphanages, and people who are very attuned to issues of adopting in a foreign country.
Sharon
All adoptions in Ukraine are, technically, independent. Ukraines law prohibits foreign agencies from conducting adoptions.
If you wish, you may have an agency help you get your dossier ready for submission, or have your agency link you up with drivers, guides, and so on. The agency cannot go with you to the Ukrainian government office where you look at books of available children and select ones you think you can parent, so that you can be taken to their orphanages to meet them. The agency cannot receive a referral for you before you travel, and help you evaluate your ability to parent the child. And so on. Any agency that tells you otherwise should not be trusted.
Personally, I donҒt like this system. It may work well for a prospective parent who knows the foreign language, who is familiar with the culture, who is experienced with Ukrainian medical records and the common physical, mental, and emotional problems of adopted children. But, frankly, it can be disastrous for people who have not parented before, who are unfamiliar with the country, and who havent dealt with issues such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders or attachment problems. While the Ukrainians say that using an agency just drives up costs, NOT using one can actually cause a family more expenses and more heartache.
When you donҒt get a referral before travel, you cant evaluate it at home when you are relaxed, and when you can easily share it with relatives or friends, check out community resources for handling medical and psychological issues, have a doctor review it with you Җ not by long distance phone etc. The agency can֒t provide guidance or check with the foreign country to clarify certain information. If you decide that you cant parent the child, you can save yourself some money by not having to go to the country and see him/her; youҒll either ask for a new referral or decide to make other arrangements, such as choosing a new country. And you dont have to worry that youҒll get to the U.S. Embassy after adopting the child, only to learn that he/she does not meet U.S. adoption visa requirements; the agency will take care of all that.
Remember that, with Ukraine, if you dont find at least one child you can parent in the books you are shown in the government office, you generally canҒt ask to see other books. You will usually be told to .go home to your country and wait for a new invitation to see more books. And if you visit children you have selected and decide that you cant parent any of them, you will also be sent home to start over. You may be offered up to three chances to find a child and complete an adoption. There is some evidence that some of the Ukrainian officials, who truly want to see the most hard-to-place children find homes, give families books featuring the hardest to place children first; without an agency, you will have to rely on in-country people who may not understand either your concerns or the American view of unethical practices, to advocate for you and get you to see children that are a better fit for your family.
When you get to Ukraine, without an agency, unless you are very savvy, you wonҒt be able to tell whether your in-country facilitator is doing anything illegal or unethical or out of ignorance, not just trying to bribe the staff of the government agency to show you books of healthier children, but also translating medical records inaccurately, or conveniently omitting something that an orphanage director or doctor says, that might suggest a medical or psychiatric issue you cant handle. Licensed American agencies have certain responsibilities for contracting with or hiring overseas representatives, and can lose their licenses or lose a lawsuit if they are found to have let their overseas people behave illegally or unethically. When you contract directly with overseas people, what can you do if you are the victim of fraud, deception, or incompetence?
All in all, the Ukrainian system is not generally admired by adoption medicine specialists, even though the children often receive decent care. Too many parents come home without a child, and having lost a great deal of money. And too many parents come home with a child whose issues they did not understand because they were not working with an agency committed to effective parent preparation; one of the reason that the Hague Convention on international adoption was ratified by over 90 countries is that it calls for serious parent preparation, in terms of medical issues, attachment, grief over loss of birthparents, racial differences, and so on. And too many parents are in denial about the fact that they will NOT generally be able to find a relatively healthy baby Җ that they will be looking at children over age five, in most cases, with the youngest of them often having the most physical needs, and the oldest often having the most issues from being exposed to difficult home and orphanage situations.
On the other hand, there are many parents who have completed successful adoptions from Ukraine, without using an agency, and I wont deny that. However, these are usually people who have had excellent preparation and are going into the process with eyes wide open, people who are extremely comfortable with adopting children with special needs or older children who have had negative experiences in their birth families or orphanages, and people who are very attuned to issues of adopting in a foreign country.
Sharon
Dear Sharon
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Ukrainian case.
It looks like you know it pretty well.
I also know how this post-Soviet system works. I just need a contact from inside the system excluding officials to get their opinion on existing situation.
Dear Sharon,
It is not the first time both of us have been involved in discussion of Ukraine adoption process here.
We can agree or disagree on some disputable/subjective points regarding the topic. But there are some things that are unequivocal and refer to provisions of law and they do not tolerate any distortion.
You wrote Remember that, with Ukraine, if you donӒt find at least one child you can parent in the books you are shown in the government office, you generally cant ask to see other books. You will usually be told to .go home to your country and wait for a new invitation to see more books. And if you visit children you have selected and decide that you canҒt parent any of them, you will also be sent home to start over Ԗ These are absolutely false statements. Is your purpose to delude prospective adopters and discourage them from considering Ukraine as a country for adoption?
The Ukrainian laws (Regulation # 905 and Family Code of Law) that regulate foreign adoptions does not have any provisions that would agree with your statements.
Moreover, it is not only the law but also is my own, my sisters and our friendsҒ adoption experience (the last two adoptions took place in 2014-2015). All of us had more than one interview. Our friends had three interviews with the Department for Family and Children (DFC). None of us were asked to come back to US to wait for the second interview just like all of us were able to see the books with many other kids within age groups we had been approved to adopt which is a right of any approved adopter according to the Family Code of Law of Ukriane.
I do not think that officers of the DFC are trying to impose very sick children first. Our experience proves that indeed there are many children with severe conditions, especially among younger kids, in the database of the DFC and in our case officers tried to find profiles of kids that matched our adoption criteria as much as possible and moreover they intentionally tried to prevent us from wasting our time looking through the books with real sick kids. Finally we looked through most of the books we wanted and we made sure that they did not try to delude us.
I should admit that all of us had the same adoption facilitator who was excellent and perfectly guarded our rights and interests. But I do not think that officers of the DFC can play dirty games with kids profiles when families come with other facilitators. Though I cannot be absolutely sure of that.
At least, we did not have to pay for anything at the DFC neither directly nor through our adoption facilitator and all of us successfully adopted at that.
Olga, I sent you a message at your email address (slackova@... I am not sure if I can post it here) on 03.28.15. I sent you name and email address of our adoption facilitator.
If you have not received it, please, let me know.
Best,
Cathy.
Olga, I sent you a message at your email address (slackova@... I am not sure if I can post it here) on 03.28.15. I sent you name and email address of our adoption facilitator.
If you have not received it, please, let me know.
Best,
Cathy.
Olga, unfortunately I have been able to find a way to send you a private message.
It looks like this option has been removed.
I tried to email you again. I hope my message has come through this time.
Cathy.
Cathy,
If you don't mind, would you be able to tell me who your facilitator in Ukraine was? I am just at the beginning stages of the process, and I've been in contact with a facilitator thanks to a Facebook group. I'm trying to figure out how you could contact me without me posting my info here for everyone to see. Perhaps look me up on Facebook? I think I'm the only Tina Paczek on there. If not, I'm the one with a pic of my husband and I at a Steelers game!
Also, you mentioned that you know people who have adopted recently so I was wondering if you know anything about the new UAA regulations that went into effect in July 2014. I'm confused over whether you have to hire a an adoption agency, or whether you just need to make sure that the person/agency who does your home study is Hague Accredited. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Cathy,
My name is Marianna and I'm also starting gathering info about the adoption in Ukraine. I really appreciate your posts - they are very informative and since your friends & relatives went through adoption process already I was hoping you could give me some suggestions. I sent you an e-mail several days ago. Hope you could help me ;-)
sak9645,
Thank you for such a relevant post. Thanks for sharing all that. My situation is unique. I am a Russian with US citizenship but I find the latest wave of Russo-phobia in Ukraine troubling. To the point where I am not even sure I should engage in that process, despite having lived in US almost all of my life. I do not speak Ukrainian, just Russian so that's a part of the problem.
Respectfully yours,
Ilya B.
Last update on June 1, 8:20 pm by etcetera99.