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Mykola Kuleba: Ukraine needs a state program for adopters to ensure well-being of an adopted child and adoptive parents

Mykola Kuleba: Ukraine needs a state program for adopters to ensure well-being of an adopted child and adoptive parents

Without a doubt adoption is quite a complicated process that many Ukrainian and foreign families go through. According to official data, as of the 1st September 2021 Ukrainians adopted 712 children in Ukraine whereas foreigners adopted 199 children. In addition, 1095 candidates are still on a waiting list to adopt a child.

It should be also mentioned that the number of adoptions has decreased during the pandemic. For instance, according to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, 1239 orphaned children were adopted in 2020 while 1810 orphans were adopted in 2019, 1730 orphans were adopted in 2018 and 1841 orphaned children were adopted in 2017. Foreigners adopted 247 children from Ukraine in 2020 that is 128 less than in 2019.

On the International Adoption Day iDemocracy team has carried out an interview with family psychologists and expert in psychotherapy Anton Yermolaev on issues that appear among adopters.

Motivation is definitely the first aspect in the process of adoption. The expert believes that before adoption future adopters should make sure whether they are mentally ready to have a new member in their family. The motivation itself should also be clarified.

According to Mr Yermolaev, a clear and straight answer to this question may be an indicator that potential adopters are ready to welcome a child in their family. At the same time, inability to bear a child due to physical problems virtually should not be perceived as an indicator that someone is ready to adopt a child. That is why there is a need to harness your emotions as the decision whether to adopt or not should be well considered and conscious.

Director of iDemocracy NGO Human Rights Initiative Mykola Kuleba believes that families who are planning to adopt a child should have special training. Article 52 of the Constitution of Ukraine puts the responsibility on the State to take care and raise orphaned children and those children who are deprived of parental care. That is why the state should establish all necessary conditions for such care. A draft law that the Ministry of Social Policy forwarded to the government also provides so. Unfortunately, today there are many cases of returning children to the orphanages. So we need to make every effort to stop it.

We witness only an increase in the number of cancelled adoptions and deprivation of parental rights among adopters. According to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, courts cancelled adoptions of 93 children with 80 of them having been adopted by Ukrainians. At the same time, residents of Ukraine who had adopted 36 children were deprived of parental rights by a decision of a court.

Undoubtedly this transforms into a human tragedy for both sides. In particular, returning to an orphanage is an additional trauma, a confirmation that nobody needs the child. The severance of relations with adopters provokes distrust and unwillingness to have a family in the future. On the other hand, parents who have failed to adopt a child seldomly manage to get rid of emotional pain and the feeling of guilt.

The future adopters should think in advance about real motives and should not seek solutions to their problems, self- affirmation or a way out of boredom via adoption. Welcoming a child to their family does not solve their life challenges. Instead it will bring happiness and sadness of parental worries to their lives. And adopters should adapt to these worries.

Unfortunately, when they face the problem alone without qualified state support, adopters sometimes are unable to deal with their own adaptation and the adaptation of an adopted child to a new life.

There are virtually no programs that would provide appropriate support for adopters at the state level. However there are such programs only in some regions of Ukraine. The existing system of permanent visits by workers of children’s services is more like a revision of the controlling authority when parents should thoroughly prepare beforehand. It does not look like real support and assistance. Families of adopters who have faced a problem of adaptation often are afraid of asking for help as they do not know how this assistance of state bodies will turn out for them.

The appropriate programs of adaptive assistance for families of adopters (both for parents and children as well as for family environment) should be introduced nationally and should receive adequate financing.