Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So, You Want to Adopt a Little Kid?

Recently, Ukraine released new information regarding the 2008 quota for foreign adoptions. If you will recall, back in Dec. 2007, they issued the infamous Decree #4939, which limited all foreign adoptions to 1,453 dossiers, or families. The exact number of children this represents is unknown, but probably close to that number. By March of this year, the backlog of dossiers to submit by foreigners reached this limit, and no amount of pleading by those that didn't make it in would make them budge. That's why we got stuck all year. Now, as the end of 2008 nears, they have tallied up the number of dossiers they have processed so far, and have observed that they will actually end up under the quota. Therefore, they are allowing more dossiers to be submitted at this time. The exact number they will allow is unclear, but estimates range from 200-400. It is clear, however, that they will cease accepting dossiers on Nov. 27, regardless of whether the quota is reached. Also, if the quota is reached prior to Nov. 27, all submissions will cease.

The Ukrainian government also provided statistics of how many children are available for adoption to foreigners. You must realize that not all children in orphanages are available for adoptions. In fact, I have seen estimates that only 10% are available for adoption. There are several reasons for this. First of all, Ukrainians get first dibs on the children. When a child enters an orphanage, for the first 14 months they are available to Ukrainians only. Healthy babies are the most likely to be adopted by Ukrainians. Second, many, many children are in the orphanages for economic reasons, and still have family that loves them and visits them. Third, the Ukrainian government is having some success with their foster care system recently, especially for the younger children. Fourth, siblings will rarely be adopted separately. If an older sibling refuses to be adopted, or no one has any interest in him or her, then the younger ones will very likely not be adoptable. So, just keep this is mind when you see orphanage pictures with all those cute little kiddies.

The new official statistics presented the data broken down by age and health. There are 4 age groups, and healthy or unhealthy. The original document can be found on this US Embassy page. I have made a graph so that you can see the data visually.

The first thing you will notice is that there are about 25x more older children available than younger ones. Second, they claim that there are no children under 3 yo available for foreign adoption without "serious health problems". I have often been amazed at the blogs of people who went over there and then were told that there were NO healthy children. See for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

If you are going into your SDA appt. blind, looking for a very young child, then you can see for yourself the chances of getting a healthy child, if that is your desire. It's not impossible, just difficult. You must be prepared emotionally before you go, and both spouses need to be on the same page regarding what kinds of health problems are manageable.


Viktor and Inna said...

You are very creative and I really like the graph. Its definately hard to adopt small, healthy children. We are so excited to see when our appt. will be... Maybe we'll meet each other in Kiev. What region are your kids from?

Alan said...

Inna, the kids are in Odessa region. We also hope to get our appt. soon so that we can get on with out lives. It is a little hard to make plans right now while we are in this limbo.

MamaPoRuski said...

I too love the graph! I also would like to gently remind all prospective parents that there are NO healthy children (to our US standards) living in orphanages. Even if they physically look like it on the outside. I clicked on some of the links and read some of the disappointed blogs and my heart went out to some who really went to Ukraine without the knowledge they needed. Relying on US medical terms and childhood "milestone" standards only works in the US. My advice to prospective parents it to connect with those who have successfully adopted to know what to expect in terms of orphanage behavior, dealing with wrong medical information and how kids adapt and change once home!
Okay, off my soap box again, thanks for letting me vent :)

Makarenko's Adoption said...

Hi, just wanted to say I really like what you wrote and your graph. We just came back from Ukraine and adopted 2 boys age 8 and 9. I can't tell you how often people ask me why we didn't a baby. And most people have a hard time believing that that aren't any babies available for adoption.