Frequently Asked Questions about Adopting from Ukraine


When families consider which countries they are interested in adopting from, the country of Ukraine is at the top of families’ lists for many reasons. In fact, U.S. families adopted over three hundred children from Ukraine in 2015¹. If you’re considering adopting from Ukraine, you probably have some questions, hopefully we’re able to answer a few of them!

Who matches children with families?

Families adopting from Ukraine will be matched with a child by Ukraine’s Adoption Authority, State Department for Adoptions and Protection of Rights of the Child (SDAPRC) based on the family’s dossier. The SDAPRC maintains a database of all children legally free for domestic or international adoption in Ukraine. A family’s dossier is submitted to the SDAPRC, and then the family receives an invitation to travel to Ukraine. Most of our families adopting from Ukraine have received this invitation to travel about two months after the submission of their dossier. Once the family arrives in Ukraine, they presented with a referral of a child or children.

What information is given at time of referral?capture

Limited medical and social information is given when the SDAPRC presents a family with the referral of a child. This is unlike the referral process from Bulgaria, Burkina Faso or Haiti because it’s more difficult to have an international adoption doctor evaluate this limited information, especially with the family already in Ukraine. The referral process from Ukraine is much quicker than other countries, where families may wait 12-24 months to be matched with a child, but the limited information presented after traveling is a defining element of adopting from Ukraine. If a family decides to move forward with the referral of that specific child, more social background information may become available throughout the court process.

What aged children are legally free for international adoption?

The children in Ukraine who are legally free for international adoption are typically over the age of six. Occasionally, families interested in adopting a sibling group from Ukraine may be matched with a child under the age of six, but that is because the younger child has a sibling over the age of six. We ask our families entering our Ukraine program to be open to a child up to the age of nine, and share that a girl under the age of nine is the type of child that most prospective adoptive families are hoping to adopt.

Do I have to participate in a hosting program in order to adopt a child from Ukraine?

To pursue an adoption from Ukraine, families do not need to participate in a hosting program. However, many families do participate in a Ukraine Orphan Hosting Program in order to learn more about how their family would respond to the adoption of an older child. While a two to three week program cannot adequately prepare a family for the experience of adding a child to their family through adoption, but it can help a family better know how their biological children may interact with another sibling. The Ukraine Hosting Program may help families learn if adopting from Ukraine could be a good fit for their family.

If a family does participate in the Ukraine Hosting Program, they may be able to request the adoption of that specific child, but the SDAPRC is responsible for matching children with families and MLJ Adoptions cannot guarantee that the family would be able to adopt that specific child.

Do I have to use an adoption agency to adopt from Ukraine?

Yes, since the Universal Accreditation Act went into effect in 2014 in the United States, now families adopting from any country must use a Hague Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider to complete their adoption. This is different from completing a home study and then partnering with a facilitator in Ukraine. This Adoption Service Provider (ASP) will oversee the entire adoption process from Ukraine, as is required to do by U.S. Law.

If you are interested in adopting from Ukraine or learning more about our Ukraine Hosting Program, please contact us.

¹The U.S. State Department’s 2015 Adoption Statistics

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.