[Originally intended for publishing on Facebook. However, I decided to publish it here on my blog instead, seems more fitting. Due to this change, there may be some statements that don’t seem to fit the context, this is the reason why.]
One of the basic facts that most people know about me is, I love information. Ask anything about basically anything and I usually can answer, even in several languages. I’m like a walking Wikipedia, as some people close to me say.
However, that doesn’t mean I know everything. This includes about the subject of adoption, especially about something I have previously criticized the USA for. Something I wasn’t aware happens also in a country way closer to me…
The country is Ukraine, the country where I was born and which I didn’t leave without a reason. Both the legal and political system are broken in Ukraine, that’s something that is well-known. Especially politicians are notable for abusing this, one of those being infamous for pushing Ukraine towards Euromaidan riots and the war with Russia with his moves against the Ukrainian people. This person is obviously V. Yanukovych. Factually speaking, the problems remain until this day, regardless of the effort to change this…
However, directly related to this is something that is not known, the consequences of vulnerable children, beside the IDPs.
[Source: ABC News – 2010, republished with permission]
During the search of a couple, friends of mine, who were wanting to adopt a Ukrainian child, they stumbled upon a boy. A boy which would be familiar if you ever read my blog posts about a certain Russian charity, the Change One Life foundation. Yeah, as you might have already guessed, the boy appears in one of the promotional material of the Russian Change One Life foundation. Worse than just that, with his name, age and location within Russia stated in the video. The reality is, the Ukrainian boy and the Russian boy are 1 and the same, as also his name, age and some rather specific facial features confirm. Beyond that, through some of my sources I was further able to confirm that it was true, even allowed to share it as long as I won’t share who the child actually is.
Now, before sharing what actually happened, I want to note the connection to the USA here. For those who haven’t read this on my blog before, the USA have rather complicated naturalization laws, which in case of adoption are actually even controversial. When it comes to adoption, these laws can make it happen that after an adoption falls through, the child who was adopted still has to remain in the USA and is not allowed to return to his home country. (Feel free to confirm this is true. My source of this information is one of the USA’s Department of Children and Families. Which State I will keep to myself.)
There are exception, especially in the past. Russia was a notable country which most often forced the USA to return their children if adoption fell through. One of the reasons Russia wanted this is also one the reasons for Americans being banned from adopting Russian children nowadays, which is the fact that abuse by American adoptive parents is rather high when it comes to specifically Eastern European orphans, including Russia. And also the Hague Adoption Convention is a notable example of which limits this practice, but that only applies if both countries are part of the convention, which a lot of countries aren’t.
This is one of the reasons why the illegal practice of “re-homing” and the specialized practice of “second chance adoptions” are actually highly common in the USA.
Going back to Ukraine, there’s not actually a law that makes this possible. (At least, not according to my sources.)
However, there is an exception here, which is the unofficial war that is ongoing with Russia. And you may say that international law doesn’t work like this, and you’re right. However, Ukraine is one of actually quite some countries in Europe that (technically) require you to give up your previous nationality while living in the country. And, no, I’m not mistaking nationality and citizenship here, as I am well-aware of the difference. We are actually talking about nationality, which is the exact problem in the regard to adoptions.
A citizenship is something you acquire, like I have several citizenships. However, your nationality is something you have only 1 of and can have only 1 of, as it’s usually based on the country you were born at. This is among the reasons why in a lot of cases adopted children can be return to their home country, as while they did acquire citizenship by neutralizing, they most often didn’t lose their nationality.
When it comes to Ukraine, it’s literally part of the law that adopted children don’t lose their Ukrainian nationality after adoption. However, at the same time, it seems the Ukrainian constitution forgets about the fact that children can be adopted towards Ukraine as well, and not just from. When an adopted non-Ukrainian child naturalizes in Ukraine, the child loses her/his citizenship and usually also nationality, it would be seen only as a Ukrainian. The moment the adoption falls through, which actually happens a lot, the child is stuck in Ukraine, similarly as happens in the USA. But unlike the USA, there is no chance to return to the home country is Russia, as there are no official relations between Ukraine and Russia due to the ongoing conflict. And in a lot of cases, staying in the country the child is adopted to is not a benefit. Like in case of Ukraine, it will take a select amount of time before a child becomes available for international adoption (again) which I believe is 2 years, but I could be mistakes. Regardless, during this time the child remains in an unfamiliar location, setting and with people the child doesn’t really know, sometimes even with a language the child doesn’t even speak and/or understand. It’s a psychological nightmare, which actually in most cases lowers the child’s chance of even getting adopted, worsened if the child is a boy and/or above the age of about 12, as then adoption generally doesn’t happen at all. It will mean that a child will have to remain in this all without actually having anyone truly helping, as most often social workers are overworked and don’t have enough time to give the proper amount of intention to children without parental care.
Still, what most would probably ask is, is there a solution? Honestly, yes and no.
The reality is that changing the citizenship and nationality laws won’t change much in regards to the problem. In fact, the true problem isn’t that the children don’t return to the home country, it’s that there is not enough support in most cases in the countries they are required to stay. A huge part of this has to do with the fact that adopting in general is something that is too expensive and takes too much work. According to the information a lot of charities share, about 95% of potential adoptive parents already end the adoption process before even seeing any child. This would be the true solution to this all, making adoption a proper alternative to birthing. The previously stated Hague Adoption Convention has the statement of it needing to be about the child, not the adoptive parents. However, as it is right now, it’s about neither the child or parent(s), it’s about governments earning from the children. As I’ve, as well as others, previously shared: an adoption can easily cost as much as you will on average pay for all the needs of a child from the age of 0 to 18. That means if you would adopt an older child, which are the least adopted right now, you could possibly pay anywhere to once to around 20 times the amount you would need for the upbringing of the child you’re adopting. It’s basically buying a child, which is wrong!
And let’s be real, adopting is the only solution to begin with, as more social workers is something that is nearly impossible to resolve this situation, as in some locations you would need 20 more social workers already for the amount of children who are not getting proper care. Sure, you could fight unemployment by that quickly, but it would cost governments way more than what they would lose on finding adoptive parents for a child and monitoring that the child is properly taken care of.
However, the lacking adoptions has way more problems than just that… Problems that are surprisingly easily to resolve. Like the fact that the majority of children which are adoptable have a disability. For the best care, you would need someone who actually understand the disability. Well, in most cases, we are talking about potential parents with the same condition. However, that is again not possible because either adoptive parents are denied based on their condition, or based on the condition of the child not being dared to be shared more openly. It’s still annoys me how in many countries autism is among the conditions which disallows adoption, even while there is in most cases of autism no reason for the parents to not take proper care for the child. And beyond just that, a huge amount of adoptable children are even autistic! Worse than that, some sources even claim that a lot of adoptions fall through because of adoptive parents not being able to handle autism. Autistic parent and autistic child works, I am literally an example of this myself…
Anyhow… I can continue writing, but it will not help when it never reaches those who it should. And those who are able to change this, they clearly do not care. Still, I wish that thing improve and that every child has a proper and happy upbringing, which means not being stuck in institutions, homes or among social workers. It means having a parent, and preferably even 2…