The Country and the Children

Ukraine

Ukraine, an independent country, is situated in the south-eastern part of Central Europe. It borders on Russia, Byelorussia, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Poland on land, as well as Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey on sea.

The territory of Ukraine is mostly a level, treeless plain, called "steppe". There are the Crimean Mountains in the Crimean peninsula and the Carpathians in the west. Mixed forests of pine and fir-trees, beeches, limes, oaks, and elms cover the mountains, but the thickest woods can still be found in the northern part of the republic, in Volyn. Kiev and Cherkassy lie in the midst of Ukrainian’s southernmost pine forest. The main Ukrainian river is the Dnieper. It is one of the longest European rivers and one of the republic's main sources of hydroelectric power.

The climate of the country is moderate. Winter is rather mild, with no severe frosts but with regular snowfalls everywhere except the south. The rivers and lakes freeze in winter. The average winter temperature varies from -20 centigrade in the north to -5 centigrade in the south. Summer is quite hot and dry, with occasional showers and thunderstorms.

Due to favorable climatic conditions, Ukraine is traditionally an agricultural area. It grows wheat, maize, buckwheat and other corn, red and green vegetables, all kinds of fruit, melons, and berries.

Ukraine is one of the world's main centers of sugar production. It produces sugar for its own needs and for export.

Children

The country of Ukraine lies between the border countries of the Russian Federation and Moldova/Romania. It is a country that has been hit with great strife and economic hardship during its connection with and since its separation from Russia. There are struggles for power and control that have resulted in mass poverty. Alcoholism is a significant result of the depression that overshadows this country. About nine out of ten children in Ukraine’s institutions are considered “social orphans,” meaning they have one or more parents living who are unable to care for them. Most children were taken out of their homes because of extreme neglect or physical abuse. Very few come from families in which both parents are deceased.

Ukraine has specific requirements that a child must meet in order to be eligible for adoption. You cannot adopt a child in Ukraine unless he or she meets these requirements, and is listed on the database of adoptable children available for inter-country adoptions maintained by the central adoption authority in Ukraine, the Ministry of Social Policy, the Department of Families and Children. In general, families need to be open to children who are older, age 7 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
  • poor dental health

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