Ukrainian Adoption Firm: What Parents Can Do While Waiting for Your Adoption in Ukraine


What Adoptive Parents Can Do When You Are Waiting For Your Adoption From Ukraine?

The adoption process, and Ukraine is no exception, is filled with rushing after paper work – adoption home study, USCIS adoption processing, endless fingerprints and finally, your Ukrainian adoption dossier. Then, all of a sudden, you have nothing to do but wait! Since the adoption process is so filled with emotion – excitement, anxiety, worry, impatience… and so many more, it is easy for this waiting period to make you crazy. But, there is a lot you can do to make waiting for your adoption productive and much less painless and insure that you will thank yourself for what you did during this waiting period after your adoptive child or children come home from Ukraine.

The most valuable investment you as a parent can make for your Ukrainian adoption:

• Learn the adoptive child’s language. In Ukraine, most children available for adoption will speak Russian. Your ability to communicate intimately with your adopted child from the first moment you meet them will go a long ways to making an immediate connection. Remember how overwhelming the adoption process if for you and must be for them. Make it as easy as possible.

• Learn the language so you can understand your child’s needs: when are they hungry, thirty, tired, or need to go to the bathroom?

• Speaking a bit of Russian will also help you bond with your adopted child, by removing a major communication barrier.

• You will enjoy your time with your child more if you can understand each other. It will reduce frustration.

• Bring a Russian/English dictionary with you so an older adopted child can point to words you don’t know.

• Learn the language to help you get around easier during your stay in Ukraine.

• You don’t need to be fluent. Memorize key phrases and if you can learn the alphabet, you will be surprised that many words, if you can sound them out, you will be able to guess the meaning as they sound similar to English words.

• Each person learns differently. There are free and paid programs on the internet, you can hire a tutor in person or on Skype, or buy a book to follow. Just remember, anything you do is much better than nothing.

Super fun preparation for adopting a child:

• Prepare a bedroom for your new adopted child or children

• Register at children’s stores. Even though you may not know the age or sex of your adopted child, as soon as you know you will need a lot of clothes and accessories. Your friends and relatives are likely as excited as you are about your new adoption. Let them help you get what you will need. As soon as you know sizes and what not, you can get online in Ukraine and post what you need at the stores where you are registered.

• Find consignment stores in your area that sell children’s clothing and mention these in your communications or adoption shower announcements. The majority of children adopted internationally will grow very fast once they have a wonderful diet and lots of love. This means they will grow out of things quickly! You and your loved ones will get a lot for the money and most of the clothes are only lightly used.

• There may be a friend or someone at your church with a ton of hand-me-down clothes you would love. Ask around and when you know sizes, you can email them from Ukraine.

• Prepare for an adoption shower or welcome party for your newly adopted child. Prepare a guest list. Get invitations. Plan when you will do this and where. You want to be sure your adopted child has time to settle in before a big event.

• Choose an adoption announcement and discuss wording with your family. Again, have a list of all you want to send this too as it might differ from the shower list. Discuss when you want to send your adoption announcement. You can have a lot of fun with these and personalize with photos and personal information about your adopted child.

• Start thinking about teaching your Ukrainian adopted child English. Bringing some ABC books is a great idea. Even better, make one with A is for Aunt May, M is for Mama, etc. you can use your city, your last name and things and places you like. Also, include necessities such as toilet and foods.

• Many families alert their local newspaper when they get home and place an adoption announcement and new family photo in the paper. Contact your local paper to find out in advance the email for the person you need to contact. Discuss if you want to do this and perhaps prepare a draft so it is ready to go from Ukraine or when you get home and don’t have time to write it up.

• Plan some activities for you and your adopted child for when you get back, especially activities which will capture these first moments and memories. Making a plaster of the adopted child’s hand or foot prints are fun, as is finger painting.

• Find a photographer to take photos of your newly adopted child and new family photos. You will be amazed by how fast your Ukrainian adopted child will grow, change and develop, even in the first few months. Document all these memories for the future.

Prepare your immediate and expended family for the Adoption journey and the addition of a newly adopted child:

• Spend time with your spouse and any existing children.

• Discuss how things may change when you bring home an adopted child or children.

• Speak about all their potential feelings and concerns and make note of them so you will remember when you come back with your adopted child to be as sensitive as you can to them.

• Make sure they understand that the initial few weeks will be intense and busy.

• Prepare friends and family for all eventualities so their expectations are realistic: what if you come home with a child that has a correctable condition like a cleft pallet? What if you come home with an older child? What if you cannot find a child that meets your needs? If you are considering adopting a special needs child, be sure to let them know. In all cases, you need their support.

• Discuss with your spouse what adoption information about you adopted child you will share with your family and how you will deal with inevitable questions about your adopted child’s birth parents and history as well as your adoption experience. Ask your adoption agency or adoption facilitator for guidance.

• Make sure everyone who might contact you while you are in Ukraine for the adoption realizes the time difference! You will need your sleep and will not enjoy being woken at 2 in the morning. Ukraine is 5 hours ahead of EST. Insist everyone set one clock to Ukrainian time!

• Read our articles on awkward questions for adoptive parents. They can seem funny, but we guarantee you will hear most of them. Share them with your spouse and children or even close family and friends. Your family will learn a lot and grow close through this process of sharing, and be ready with answers you all feel comfortable with.

• Prepare yourself to be overwhelmed when you come home.

• Ask friends and family to provide meals for the first weeks.

• Everyone close to you will want to rush over and meet your new adopted child, make sure they understand that this is a huge and overwhelming adjustment for your new arrival and introductions will need to be made slowly and gradually and they should not be offended. Explain that it will help them bond better, not only with you, as adopted parents, but with all those they meet.

• Make sure you have a support system in place before you come home. You will need to take naps. You will need a break. Have someone close to step in and give you this time for yourself.

Prepare for your referral appointment in Ukraine:

• Understand very clearly which illnesses or issues you feel comfortable with and which you will not accept.

• Know your limitations and stick by them. Remember adoption is forever.

• Go online and research conditions and characteristics you may be presented with when choosing an Ukrainian adopted child.

• Meet with a pediatrician and discuss common issues in international adoption such as fetal alcohol syndrome and learn the characteristics to look for.

• Have your adoption agency or adoption facilitator run through mock referral interviews based on their actual experience so you know, as much as possible, what to expect.

• Prepare a notebook you will take into the Ukrainian referral meeting with you. List notes you do not want to have to remember.

Get ready to meet your Ukrainian adopted child for the first time and spend time with them in Ukraine:

• Prepare a photo book of everything that will be new to your adopted child. Yes, this is pretty much everything: your home, each room, your family, relatives, pets, cars, etc. Go crazy with this. This photo book or books will be a lot of fun to go through with your adopted child while you are still in Ukraine. In addition to providing hours of activity, it will help your new child become familiar with people, places and things that will become part of their lives shortly. It will help ease the trauma of such a massive change.

• Ask relatives what they would like your newly adopted children to call them. This way you can introduce them by name when you show photos.

• Prepare a list of all the things you would like to know about your adopted child from the Ukrainian orphanage. These can be health questions, lunch and meal schedules, your adopted child’s first words, anything and everything. You will not get answers to everything, but you won’t get any if you don’t ask. Come prepared.

• When you meet your adopted child for the very first time you will want to give them a warm and fuzzy stuffed animal. Chose it carefully as it may be the favorite animal for life.

• Learn essential Russian! What will your first words be to your future adopted child? Wouldn’t it be great if they understood!

Prepare to be a new parent to an adopted child:

• Discuss if or when you might want to change or add to the adoptive child’s name. Discuss name ideas if you are considering this option.

• Agree on behaviors that will be tolerated and what to do when you have problems.

• Understand that like every child, an adopted child will start testing their limits and finding your “buttons” right away. Don’t expect a honeymoon period. If anything, it can be toughest in the beginning.

• Be consistent in your parenting. When you are in Ukraine spending time with your adopted child, don’t accept behaviors that you will not accept back at home, that will just make the transition harder and more confusing.

• Read books and online posts about speaking with your adopted children about adoption.

• Read about child development and what to expect.

• Read as much as you can, but read with a critical eye. Every child is different. One story or problem does not mean you will encounter the same issues. I do believe, it is best to plan for the worst and be thrilled when things turn out much better.

• Join a support group you feel comfortable with.

Prepare for traveling to Ukraine to adopt a child:

• Go online and familiarize yourself with Ukrainian currency. The look of the different denominations and exchange rate. (Currently $1 USD is about 8 Ukrainian Hryvnia) Practice converting prices to dollars.

• Make a list of places you want to see in Kyiv while you are there. You want to make it memorable.

• Your clothing needs will vary depending on when you travel to Ukraine. Make sure you break in all your footwear and plan to travel light.

• Start pricing flights to Ukraine and determine the best routes and time options for flying to and from Kyiv. Remember you will need to have an open ticket as you don’t know your exact return date. Speak to agents of the airlines and discuss if it is best to buy a closed ticket and pay a change fee or buy and open date ticket. There can be a big difference in price. Remember you will have a child flying back with you so you will also need a one way ticket! If you are considering using frequent flyer points, find out what you need to do so there are no surprises.

• Go over your travel budget with your adoption agency or adoption facilitator. Think about what type of accommodation you want: hotel or apartment for example, and what your budget will be. Will you eat out or prepare your meals?

• Bring 2 cameras you know how to use well. I suggest one for each spouse. You want to document everything. This is a once in a lifetime experience, just like the birth of a child. You will always look back on it and wish you took more photos of your adoption journey. Each spouse should have a camera so there are photos of both adoptive parents with your newly adopted child. (Would you like to bring a camera for your newly adopted child so she or he can take photos and capture the adoption experience through their eyes?)

• Go over and over the adoption process, steps and timeline with your adoption agency or adoption facilitator. Traveling and adopting will be stressful and very emotional, the more you can understand and be comfortable with in advance the better.

• Work on your Russian!

Find resources for your Ukrainian child when they are home in the US:

• Is there a Russian food store in the area? What would be more awesome than having some of their favorite foods from time to time?

• Consider if you would like to maintain your adopted child’s native language, and if so, explore options for doing this in your area.

• Is there a Russian speaking community nearby? They may be able to share resources from babysitters to movie rentals in Russian.

• Look into Russian television options.

• Is there a Russian speaking doctor nearby?

• Discover Ukrainian food. Find a cookbook. Be daring and try some receipts.

Clear your schedule and free your time for when you come home with your adopted child:

• Clean now! You won’t want to do it later!

• Get all your home projects done. Whether it is replacing an old shower curtain or emptying out a closet or fixing a running toilet. Do it now.

• Prepare your tax work. Depending on when you are traveling to Ukraine to adopt, this can disrupt your tax prep. Have everything organized and ready to go as much as possible.

• Stuff your freezer with meals that are easy to prepare.

• Take care of all your usual annual appointments before you travel to adopt: dentist, pap, mammogram and colonoscopy if needed.

Work on yourself!

• Take care of yourself. The adoption process is stressful and international travel is too. Keep healthy by ensuring you get enough rest and exercise.

• Work out, especially with weights. If you are adopting in Ukraine, you will most likely be adopting a toddler or older child. Are you ready to lift and carry your new child? Get your back and upper body ready to lift and hold!! Your body will thank you later!

• Don’t hesitate to find a great counselor to work with you and your family. It will be helpful to discuss the new challenges you are facing and healthy to have a safe non-judgmental outlet for venting frustrations. You may want to start before you travel to have another outlet for all your emotions regarding the Ukrainian adoption process. Ask for recommendations from your adoption agency or adoption facilitator.

• Keep a written or scrapbook journal documenting your feelings and activities daily throughout this once in a lifetime adoption process.

Important adoption administrative issues:

• Make sure you know what you need to do to have your health insurance cover your newly adopted child from the moment they become your children legally. Before you travel to Ukraine to adopt, have all these forms completed and sent.

• Most children in any international institutionalized setting with have some developmental delays. Early intervention is extremely valuable. Each State has different policies regarding providing the services your child will most likely need, but all States have a legal obligation to provide your child what is necessary. Unfortunately, you will have to advocate to make sure you get everything your children need. Find out now from your school district exactly who is in charge of these programs and speak to them before you travel so they know to expect your call. Often this person differs depending on the age of your adopted child. Get everyone’s name and all the contact information you can. Most States have a certain number of days in which they must assess the needs of your child after they are notified. Find out how they need to be notified – in writing, by email? You should plan to notify them as soon as your adoption is completed, while you are still in Ukraine. Make sure they know in advance that the assessment must be done in Russian. This is your right under the law.

• Find out from your school district about providing English as a second language. Learn all you can and do everything you need to get your child in all the programs you can, as soon as you can.

• You will want to have an appointment with your family physician for your newly adopted Ukrainian child as soon as you can when you get home. Speak to them ahead of time so they will be ready and accommodating in their schedule when you return.

• Get the documents you need to get a Social Security Card for you newly adopted child.

• Make sure your funds for the adoption are ready and waiting. If you are working with a good adoption agency or adoption facilitator (At Adoption Services International, you pay in parts, not all upfront.), you should not have to pay everything in advance and you may need to send a check while you are in Ukraine. Have the checks written out and with a friend to send.

Prepare for your absence while you will be in Ukraine adopting:

• Your adoption agency and adoption facilitator should provide you with a mobile phone; however, calling to the U.S. will be expensive, but you will want to stay in touch with loved ones at home.

• Will you bring a computer or tablet to Skype? If so, speak with your mobile carrier about fees and costs. In most cases if you use Wi-Fi, you will not be charged for anything you do, but make sure to confirm this as every wireless plan is different and you don’t want a very unpleasant surprise when you get your bill.

• Make sure you have electrical adaptors. (Your adoption agency or adoption facilitator should provide you with a sample packing list.)

• What if your trip goes longer than expected? Discuss if one parent will return to the US. Is there a friend or family member who might come over and help? If so, make sure they have all their travel documents in order and are prepared.

• If you have children, where will they stay? How can you help them adjust to your absence? Do you want to leave daily notes for them?

• Do you want to prepare birthday and other event cards for those you might miss during your absence?

Share your Ukrainian adoption experience:

• Ukraine is the 5th largest source of adopted children in the US, yet many parents who would love a family, have never heard of it. Sharing your experience can be powerful.

• Present at your church or library about your experience.

• Offer to speak with other parents considering international adoption in Ukraine.

• If you like to write, depending on the amount of privacy you want, start a blog, write on online forums and Facebook pages related to adoption.

• Co-write articles with your adoption agency or adoption facilitator.

• Write an article for your church bulletin or local paper

So hopefully you realize that there is a lot you can do to make a difference later. Go for it and you might just find the waiting racing by!


Source by Susan R Kibler

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