The Country and the Children

Latvia

Lativa, an independent country, is situated in north-eastern Europe with a coastline along the Baltic Sea; Latvia is geographically the middle of the three former Soviet Baltic republics.

It has language links with Lithuania to the south and historical and ecumenical ties with Estonia to the north. Latvia regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has enjoyed stability ever since. Presence of a large ethnic Russian minority is a sensitive issue.

Area: 64,589 km² (24,937 sq. mi.)

Terrain: Fertile low-lying plains predominate in central Latvia, highlands in Vidzeme and Latgale to the east, and hilly moraine in the western Kurzeme region. Forests cover one-third of the country, with over 3,000 small lakes and numerous bogs.

The climate is temperate and wet, with four seasons of almost equal length. January temperatures average -5°C (23°F); with July temperatures averaging 17°C (63°F).

Religions practiced in Latvia include Lutheran, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic. The language spoken is Latvian. Russian also is spoken by most people. The literacy rate is 99%.

Natural resources include peat, limestone, dolomite, amber, hydropower, wood, arable land.

Agriculture products are primarily grain, sugar beets, potatoes, vegetables; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish. Industries include automotive industry, railroad cars, agricultural machinery, fertilizers, electronics, synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, and textiles.

Latvia is a stable democracy and has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union. On January 1, 2014, Latvia joined the euro zone. Most goods and services can be found in the capital of Latvia, Riga. However, in other areas outside of the capital, many western goods and services cannot be located.

Children

Children are placed for adoption due to family dysfunction, including neglect, abuse, mental illness and/or domestic violence, much as they are here in America. There are also social factors, such as poverty and lack of acceptance for single mothers that can contribute to a child being placed for adoption.

Most children in need of adoption in Latvia are age 9 and up, or part of a sibling group. Younger children with various degrees of special needs requiring medical attention are also available. Both girls and boys are available. Children live in orphanages or in small group and foster care settings.

Latvia has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Latvia unless he or she meets these requirements. The Ministry of Children’s Welfare may provide you with a referral for a child based on a review of your dossier and the needs of a specific child in Latvia. In general, families need to be open to children who are older, age 9 up to 15 years of age.

Children’s Health at Placement

The children are tested, at minimum, for TB, HIV/AIDS, VDRL (syphilis), parasites, and Hepatitis B. Special Needs children are available for adoption. CCAI wants families to have a realistic expectation of their adopted child and what their first few weeks together may be like. It is important to remember that an orphanage is not a home, so some of the children may have:

  • parasites
  • physical or mental developmental delays
  • malnutrition
  • colds
  • rashes
  • scabies
  • bug bites
  • effects from water and/or air pollution

For more information on known health risks in Latvia, please visit the World Health Organization’s website at http://www.who.int/countries/lva/en