A piece on Ukrainian and Russian adoptions in the New York Times (also, photos and a video that have made me cry)...
[...] the chaotic system of adoption in Ukraine was growing more chaotic.
The director of Ukraine’s new Department for Adoptions resigned, leaving the fate of the nation’s 90,000 orphans in limbo. A new application process required foreign families to quickly update security clearances and other time-sensitive information. Prospective parents anxiously scanned the State Department’s Web site and bulletins from the embassy in Kiev for clarification of rules and rumors.
Ukraine and Russia place formidable obstacles in the path of parents, among them inaccurate information about children’s availability and health status. Multiple families can wind up competing for the same child. And children themselves know they are auditioning for what the industry calls their “forever families.” Then there is an entrenched system of favors — requests for cash or gifts from facilitators, translators, judges and others who handle the mechanics of adoption overseas.
Conditions in both countries have grown so unsettled, some agencies have suspended hosting programs, and the debate is growing about the ratio of risk to reward. Do the many success stories for older orphans make up for the heartbreak when adoption is thwarted?
In countries like Ukraine, it is all but impossible to manage expectations. Adoption authorities insist that families cannot request children who spent time in their homes, but rather must come to Kiev, by invitation, look at pictures and go to orphanages to meet the children offered to them.
In that two-year span, visas to children from Ukraine fell to 460, from 723. Russia’s visas dropped to 3,706, from 5,865.