Ahrens & Schwarz Kyiv

Adoption in Ukraine


Types of adoptions

Basically, there are two types of adoption involving participants from different countries: international adoption and private adoption, according to the national legislation of the country of origin of one of the participants, usually the child.

International adoption/private adoption in accordance with the national legislation of Ukraine

International adoption

According to the legal definition in § 2a, paragraph 1, sentence 1 of the Adoption Assistance Act, an international adoption procedure is an adoption procedure in which a child with a habitual residence abroad is brought or is to be brought to the country of adoption. An international adoption procedure also exists if the applicants for adoption have a habitual residence in the country and the child was brought to the country within two years before the application for adoption in the country of adoption or in the country of origin. Thus, a foreign child is adopted in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention.

For this, it is always necessary to involve the state service for children, which is responsible for your place of residence, or the international department for employment recognized by the state (public organizations). They then confirm suitability/or ability to adopt, who in turn want to see the foreign government assist in the adoption. This procedure means international adoption under the Hague Adoption Convention.

Private adoption

In the case of private adoption or adoption under the national law of the child’s country of origin, couples wishing to adopt do not go to one of the state-approved adoption agencies, but try to find an adoption abroad under the national law applicable there. Today, it is believed that at least 60% of all adoptions are private adoptions. Private adoptions clearly outnumber foreign adoptions involving state agencies.

Domestic adoption or separate adoption should be distinguished from international adoption procedures. This adoption is in accordance with the national legislation of the child’s country of origin.

If the applicants for adoption have a place of residence abroad and want to adopt a child there, then this is a so-called foreign domestic adoption. Such an internal adoption is not an international adoption.

In assessing whether an international adoption has taken place, the habitual residence of the child and the person seeking adoption is relevant. Nationality does not matter in this case.

Here is an example from the Federal Department of Justice

Example: Applicants for adoption have German citizenship but live and work permanently in Thailand. You want to adopt a child in Thailand who also lives in Thailand. The applicants for adoption do not intend to return to Germany in the near future. In this case, it is an internal adoption in Thailand. Applicants for adoption must contact the competent authorities in Thailand to carry out the adoption.

The same applies to Ukrainian private adoptions.

Ukrainian rules, laws and regulations on adopting a child in Ukraine

Ukrainian private adoptions are currently possible without any problems even in emergency conditions and are carried out constantly.

1. Legal definition of adoption

Adoption, in accordance with the legislation of Ukraine, means accepting a child into one’s family, and not through adoptive parents on the basis of a court decision.

2. Who can be adopted?

Only children recognized as orphans or children left without parental care are eligible for adoption. This is possible in children whose parents have died.

The status of a child left without parental care is granted to children whose parents:

  • Lost parental custody or were declared missing or incapacitated
  • Parents were declared dead, serving sentences in prisons.
  • Parents are wanted because of alimony debts and are constantly ill, which prevents them from fulfilling their responsibilities for the care of the child on a permanent basis.

The above applies to the adoption of minors. However, there are also adult adoptions, in which an adult can be adopted if he is an orphan or his parents were legally deprived of parental rights before the child reached the age of 18.

3. Who can adopt children?

Ukrainian legislation defines who can be an adopter:

  • Able-bodied persons over the age of 21 who are at least 15 years older than the adopted child.
  • When adopting adults, the age difference must be at least 18 years.
  • Conjugal adoption.
  • Persons living in the family.
The following persons have priority in adoption:
  • Citizen of Ukraine or a citizen of Ukraine, whose family has a child;
  • Citizens of Ukraine who are related to the child;
  • Father’s wife, mother’s husband;
  • Persons who have adopted several siblings.

4. Who cannot adopt?

  • Limited to legal capacity or incapacity
  • Persons deprived of parental rights
  • Persons whose adoption was cancelled
  • Alcoholics or drug addicts
  • Non-residents
  • People without a fixed income
  • People suffering from some diseases
  • Unmarried foreigners, unless the foreigner is related to the child;
  • People with a criminal record.

5. What must be done to adopt a child?

In order to become a candidate for adoption, persons wishing to adopt a Ukrainian child must submit an application for the status of a candidate for adoption to the competent Ukrainian service for children.

The following documents must be attached to the application:

  • Copy of the passport for traveling abroad and the passport of the citizen of the country of residence;
  • marriage certificate;
  • Certificate of income for the last 6 months or a copy of the declaration of income for the previous calendar year.
  • Health certificate of each applicant;
  • If necessary, notarized written consent of another spouse to adopt a child;
  • Certificate of no criminal record;
  • lease agreement or certificate of ownership of housing;
  • Certificate of successful completion of the course on adoption of orphans and children left without parental care. Currently, this can be done online with our help.

After submitting documents and an application to determine suitability for adoption, the children’s affairs service is obliged to do so within 10 working days:

You need to familiarize yourself with the documents.

The Children’s Affairs Service conducts interviews with applicants and explains to them the rights and obligations of adoptive parents, the legal consequences of adoption and the procedure for monitoring the living conditions of adopted children.

Children’s services must visit the applicants at their place of residence and examine the living conditions to check whether the applicants are suitable adopters.

A corresponding conclusion is created.

In case of a positive conclusion, the adopters are entered into the database of potential candidates for adoption and, thus, can contact children to be adopted throughout Ukraine.

After contacting and getting to know the child, the candidates for adoption submit an application to the department of guardianship for the adoption of the child. The guardianship department draws up an expert opinion on the feasibility of adoption in accordance with the interests of the adopted child.

However, experience shows that processing usually takes more than 10 days.

After receiving the opinion, the applicants apply to the local court at the place of registration of the child with an application for adoption with all the attached documents:

*Copy of passport;
  • Copy of the marriage certificate;
  • Copy of the child’s birth certificate;
  • Certificate from the place of work;
  • Income statement;
  • Characteristics of a child from school or kindergarten;
  • Establishment of a guardianship department in adoption cases;
  • Certificate of no criminal record;
  • Health certificate;
  • Certificate of residence registration;
  • Receipt for the payment of the court fee.

After the positive decision of the court and its entry into legal force, the child is adopted, and the adoptive parents are obliged to take the child from the place of residence. This takes place in the presence of a representative of the adoption guardianship department.

6. Adoption by foreigners

Adoption of Ukrainian children by foreigners takes place in the same way as described above. However, there are some differences.

A child with Ukrainian citizenship can be adopted by foreigners only if he has been registered with the competent authority as adopted for at least one year and has reached the age of five.

Adoption can be carried out before the end of the specified period and before the child reaches five years of age, if:

  • The adopter is related to the child;
  • The child suffers from a disease included in a special list of diseases approved by the central health care body;
  • All brothers and sisters are accepted into the family, if one of them has reached the age of five and has been registered with the relevant executive authority for at least one year;
  • Foreigners want to adopt a child who is a sibling of a child they previously adopted.
  • The privilege of adopting a child with Ukrainian citizenship is enjoyed by foreigners who:
  • are related to the child;
  • Citizens of countries with which Ukraine has concluded an agreement on the provision of legal assistance (such countries include, in particular, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Georgia).

These authorities send a request to the law enforcement authorities of the country of origin and to Interpol to check foreign nationals who wish to adopt a child for criminal records. Only after that, foreigners are granted the right to adopt.

An adopted child retains Ukrainian citizenship until the age of eighteen.

Legal basis:

  • Constitution of Ukraine
  • Law of Ukraine on Citizenship
  • Law of Ukraine on family law
  • Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine
  • Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 905

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