Last Updated: April 13, 2022

The Department of State recognizes the security situation in Ukraine brought about by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion is of great concern to prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) at any stage of the process, as well as to host families who do not yet have official referrals from the Ukrainian Adoption Authority. Most of the PAPs seeking to adopt in Ukraine are in the earliest stages of the adoption process, working to obtain U.S. and Ukrainian approvals to proceed. The Department has tremendous empathy for families who are connected and committed to Ukrainian children, including children they already know through hosting programs.  The Department recognizes that these families may develop an emotional attachment to child throughout the process, well before the legal parent-child relationship is established. Until the court issues the final adoption order, however, the Ukrainian authorities have sole jurisdiction over decisions about the best interests of these children.   

The Department remains in close communication with the Ukraine Ministry of Social Policy and the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and continues to advocate on PAPs’ behalf. The Department also continues to host information sharing and Q&A sessions with PAPs and Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) and is committed to relaying updates to affected families and their ASPs on the ongoing situation as new information becomes available.  

On March 13, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy issued a statement announcing that adoption in Ukraine is not possible at this time, and they will not support any measures to circumvent or expedite the intercountry adoption process. This position is consistent with global consensus on the importance of deferring adoption during times of war and crisis in order to provide the opportunity for family reunification and for civil documents to be obtained. On Travel.State.Gov, in the Information for U.S. Citizens in the Process of Adopting Children from Ukraine section, there are recent statements from many child protection organizations about the reasons adoption is not advisable or appropriate at this time. The Department will continue to advocate for resumption of the adoption process in Ukraine as soon as it is appropriate. 

The Ukrainian government is aware that many PAPs have offered to provide these children with a temporary safe haven in the United States with promises to return the children when it is safe to do so. The Ukrainian government has confirmed they are not approving children to travel to the United States at this time.  Ukrainian authorities have jurisdiction over decisions about Ukrainian children’s safety and welfare, including needed permissions to move them to a different country and approval of their temporary placement. They informed the Department of State they are moving these children into Poland and other European countries for safety and care.  They indicate these measures are temporary, and we are hopeful that as the security situation in Ukraine improves, courts will once again be fully functional and intercountry adoptions will resume.  

The United States has long maintained a close and positive partnership with Ukraine to assist thousands of Ukrainian orphans in finding permanent and loving homes with U.S. families.  We respect that Ukraine maintains legal authority over Ukrainian children in this crisis and that it is their right to determine what is best for their citizens of any age or familial status.  Actions that undermine the Ukrainian government’s legal authority and safeguards for its citizens could jeopardize the long-term viability of intercountry adoption from Ukraine to the United States. These actions could also affect adoption cases already in process.  We continue our bilateral engagement with Ukraine with this in mind and with the goal of seeing intercountry adoption resume as soon as possible. 

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