We have been asked several times about what will happen, and why it takes so long in country. I just found this on another adoptive family's blog.... This is what we have coming when we land in Ukraine.
1. You were assigned an appointment date with the Department for Adoption and Protection of the Rights of the Child (DAPRC) (formerly SDA). Your first step is to attend this appointment. They will ask you a few questions and then show you information about children available for international adoption. *Note: if you have filed for a specific child, they will show you that childs information if she is available for adoption. (This is that magic date of December 4, for us.
2. The next day, you will return to the DAPRC to pick up your referral for the child which will allow you to visit her at the orphanage. You can now travel to the region of the orphanage. Depending on the location, you can take a car, bus, train, or plane.
3. There will probably be a visit to a Notary before you depart for the orphanage, to notorize some of your official documents. Your facilitator will arrange this.
4. You will arrive at the orphanage and be formally introduced to the regions Social Services person, the orphanage director and then to your child. You will have time to visit with the child (a day to several days) before you ask her if she wants to be adopted.
5. Once you commit to the child, you will meet with the regional Social Services persons (one, two, or more meetings). These officials will review your requests for adoption and issue their stamp of approval in order for you to apply for a court appointment. Your child may (depending on age) be required to write a statement saying that she wants to be adopted by you. Then your child may be taken to a local group of physicians for some medical exams.
*Note: steps 4-5 can take from 1-5 days, or more if you need more time to visit with the child before committing to her.
6. Once you receive the approval from Social Services, your facilitator will file paperwork with the DAPRC requesting a court date. There may be additional Notary fees at this point.
7. The waiting time for your court date can depend on several factors; the region, the judges schedule, holidays, etc. It is possible to only have a couple of days between the time you request the date and the time you receive the court date. But it is more likely to take several days to a week or two, or more. Be patient.
8. On the appointed date, you will attend court. Also in court will be, your facilitator, the child, the orphanage director, the Social Services person, a DAPRC representative, and other officials if necessary. There will be a judge and a jury of two or more members. You will be asked to stand and address the court. Your facilitator will assist you with the process. The judge will hear the appeal, recess for a deliberation period, and return with his decision. Upon completion of the court process, the child will officially be your son/ daughter, although she may or may not be allowed to stay with you during you 10 day waiting period.
**note: one parent is allowed to return to the US after completing the court appointment. That parent should make an appointment (by email) at the US Embassy in Kiev to sign necessary documents before departure.
9. After court, you will enter into a 10 day waiting period. During the waiting period the decision can be appealed (although this rarely happens). There is nothing else to be done during this time. Use this time to enjoy Ukraine with your new family.
10. After the 10 days, you will receive an official copy of the adoption decree and then you will begin the final processes, usually in the region of your child's birth. You will need to return to the Notary one more time.
11. Your facilitator will now file for your childs new Birth Certificate and ID number. You will apply for these based on where the child was born and where he is registered. It will probably take 3-7 days to get the returned ID number.
12. Now you will make application for a new Passport at the official passport office in the region of your childs birth (fees required). You will be required to submit a passport sized photo with your application. It may take 2-5 days to receive your new passport. You will return to the office to pick up the passport.
13. After receiving your passport, you can go to Kiev to the Medical office to complete the travel exams (fee required). They will give you a sealed envelope after the exams.
DO NOT OPEN! You will deliver this envelope to the Embassy official.
14. You can now make your appointment for the Embassy(make appointment at the US Embassy website). You should ask them to send you a list of the required documents that you should bring with you to the appointment. This will be a two day process. On the first day you will register, deliver the appropriate documentation (sealed medical envelope, adoption decree, passport, etc), and pay the Embassy fee (fee required). On the second day you will be interviewed by an Embassy official and then receive your stamped passport and your Visa. You will also receive another sealed envelope that you should keep with you during the flight home. You will present this sealed envelope to the immigration officer at your point of entry into the USA!
**note: if one parent has returned home prior to the Embassy appointment, he/she should have signed all necessary documents at the Embassy before departure.
15. You can now go home!
This whole process, on average, takes approximately 5-8 weeks. But there are factors that could extend this time.
Ukraninan or American holidays
Judges or officials on vacation
Correcting inaccurate documentation
An appeal during waiting period (unlikly)
Adopting multiple siblings
Adopting unrelated children
Adopting children from two (or more) different regions