You were most likely in church or at a church related function or talking to an adoption agency when you first became aware of orphans needing families in the country of Ukraine, Latvia, or China etc. The church most likely was asking you to host these children for a couple of weeks during the summer break or for Christmas vacation. It touched your heart and you thought, “we have room in our home and family, for one or two children over Christmas or the summer.”
These kids come to your home, you fall in love with the kids and “I could host these children for Christmas or the summer” becomes “I could adopt these children and give them a forever family.”
Sounds perfect doesn’t it? “Orphan Kids Find a Family!” What a perfect headline for your local newspaper.
Before you rush out and start filling in the paperwork, you have to develop an adoption plan. The hosting agency that you initially worked with to be approved hosting parents, is most likely not an adoption agency who can help you through the international adoption process. Adopting a child is very different from hosting a child. There are many issues you have to think about and explore before you make a decision to adopt. The best resource for helping you explore the possible adoption opportunity, is locating a Primary Provider who has a program in the country where your child is from. This agency can educate you on the costs, the process, and the risks involved in adopting a child you have hosted.
A Primary Provider Adoption agency can explore with you issues, such as, other siblings a hosted child may have. Sometimes you may know because the child tells you and sometimes the child is not aware that the very young sibling she/he has will have to be adopted with her/him. The child may also have an older sibling in Ukraine where the older child has to consent to the adoption of the younger sibling. Sometimes a hosted child is available for adoption but an elder sibling will not consent to the adoption.
In other situations, the child may be free for adoption in the country but not internationally or the child may return home to his country and be adopted by another family before you have your paperwork done.
This can be particularly painful and disappointing.
Families have to understand that neither the hosting agency, the adoption agency, or the Supervised Foreign Service Provider can predict or prevent this from happening. While many families successfully adopt the child they hosted there is NO guarantee that you will be able to adopt the child even if you have hosted them. In Ukraine, there is no legal way to guarantee or attach the child to your promise to adopt. Hosting parents are often successful when the child is an older child (12 to 16 years old), has special needs, or is part of a large sibling group that has to be adopted together and you are willing to adopt all of the children. Families can arrive in Ukraine to be matched with children they have hosted and find that they are still available, but there is no legal way to hold the children.
It is also important to understand that hosted children have the legal right to say no to the hosting family and when they do it can be disappointing. Sometimes children who have been hosted say no to another family and they wait for you. Some families arrive in Ukraine for their appointment with the central authority hoping to locate the child they hosted only to find out that they are not yet available for adoption or that they were adopted by another family just days ago. Some families adopt another child(ren) in the traditional blind referral. The in-country paperwork registering available children can also have mistakes so that only a part of a sibling group is currently legally available. Ukraine usually corrects the paperwork but a family may have to make extra trips and have extra financial costs. These are all typical risks that are associated with trying to adopt the children you have hosted.
All of these are examples I have seen over several years of observing Ukraine and other countries where children have been hosted. Sometimes people have expectations regarding timing, and outcomes, and they believe outcomes will be better, less risky, than the usual blind referrals from Ukraine. Sometimes this expectation is realized and sometimes it is not. Like all adoptions, there is always a plan and like all adoptions there are many factors that can interrupt, delay, end the plan. Usually the plan ends up working despite a glitch, an unacceptable notary, a misspelled name or a lost document or any number of events can cause delays that interfere with the plan.
Hosting an orphaned child can inspire you to adopt the hosted child or another child or it can inspire a relative or a friend to pursue an international adoption of an older child who does not have a family. You have to understand that hosting a child(ren) does not give you any rights to the child(ren). A successful adoption is the providence of God.
Do you have questions about hosting? Or would like to talk with an adoption professional regarding whether or not an International adoption would be a good opportunity for your family? Feel free to give us a call at 1-607-756-6574.
Or check out our website at http://www.adoptfamilyconnections.org/