War in Ukraine halts adoptions of another aspect of human life

Saturday, May 21, 2022
author picture Noah Rousseau
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international adoptions ukraine jessica pflumm ryan hanlon american families national council for adoption intercountry maks adoption agencies u s department of state war in halts another aspect human life

LEEDS (ME) -- The ripple effect of. Russia invades ukraine families of all types have suffered devastating consequences‚ including for those who saw their adoption plans put on hold. Ukraine used to be a partner of the U.S. in international adoptions. But the war changed everything. The country is now struggling with its social services and courts‚ and has stopped all international adoptions. Children are many. Orphans included‚ also fled the country or were displaced. Ryan Hanlon (chief executive officer‚ president‚ and chief operating officer of the National Council For Adoption) stated that there had been more than 300 Ukrainian-born children in American homes who were looking to adopt them when the conflict began. Representatives from adoption agencies stated that this means that at least 200 families are currently in the process of adopting children. This can take between 2 and 3 years depending on how ideal it is. The National Council For Adoption stated in a statement that this was not the right time and context for citizens of the United States to consider adoption. Adoptions cannot be made for children who have lost their parental rights or are otherwise clearly disabled. Many children in Ukraine don't know how to establish identities or family status‚ so this group stated. Jessica Pflumm is a mom-of-two who owns a smoothie company and lives in Kansas City with her two children. She's one of the potential adoptive parents. Pflumm hopes to adopt Maks -- Pflumm wasn't able to give his age due to safety concerns. They hosted Maks for four weeks during December and January. Maks has returned to Ukraine where his director of orphanages moved him to relative safety in the west. Each day can be difficult. Pflumm stated that we pray often and try to see what he's experiencing as opposed to what we are experiencing. It's difficult for us but not compared to his experience. Intercountry adoptions have been disrupted by war‚ natural catastrophes‚ and other disruptive events for a while. Hanlon stated that Ukraine was a significant piece of international adoption. While international adoptions are declining in popularity in recent years they remain relatively widespread from Ukraine. It was responsible for over 10% intercountry adoptions‚ Hanlon stated. Ukraine is home to one of Europe's highest numbers of orphaned children. According to U.S. Department of State statistics‚ there were nearly 300 adoptions in Ukraine in 2019 and more than 200 in 2020. Russia‚ meanwhile‚ american families have banned the adoption of children in 2013‚ there were approximately 60‚000 Russian children had been adopted american citizens in the preceding two decades. Hanlon stated that many prospective adoptions start with U.S. parents temporarily housing older Ukrainian children via a network orphan-hosting programs. Hanlon stated that it's very different if you already have a connection with one child. These families feel a strong connection with their children when they have them live in their home. Pflumm stated that she and her family have a language barrier when it comes to Maks. They do not speak Russian. He only speaks Russian. He spoke only Russian‚ she said. They communicate via telephone and he typed everything in Google Translate. She said that a friend from Belarus can sometimes translate for her. Pflumm stated that the Maks family was more connected through their experiences than by language. She said that he opened his first Christmas gifts while he was visiting Kansas. Pflumm stated that they also had a connection over sports and Maks was introduced baseball. Pflumm stated that Maks is now constantly awakened by the sounds of air raids and often cannot sleep. She said that he deserves a family and the opportunity to succeed. These kids feel lost in the shuffle. Tracy Blake-Bell‚ her family‚ and two of their brothers (now 14 and 17 years old) hosted them in rural Maine for one month through Host Orphans Worldwide‚ a Wyoming-based program. After the family had completed the informal adoption process‚ which was already complicated due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the subsequent war‚ the process became more complex. According to the Blake-Bells‚ both brothers were raised in orphanages and are now in relative safety in a Polish center. The Blake-Bells have Jack and two sons as teenagers. Tracy Blake-Bell stated that my husband and I are as passionate about these children as anyone else in the world. The wait for most families isn't over soon. Spokesperson Vanessa Smith stated that the State Department was working closely with Ukraine to resolve cases involving parents who received final adoption orders‚ but still need other documents in order to process the immigrant visa application. According to a March statement by the Ukraine government‚ intercountry adoption under these conditions is not possible. They are one of 15 families that still await clearance from the Ukrainian court. They said that they will continue to do so for as long as necessary. Nat Blake-Bell‚ Tracy Blake Bell's husband‚ stated that these boys qualify. They should have the opportunity to experience more than just an orphanage. ___ Follow AP’s coverage of Ukraine's war: https://apnewscom/hub/russia-ukraine