“I’m watching the news and saw children in Ukraine without a family. Are they orphans? How can I help them?”
It is normal to see events like the ones we are witnessing in Ukraine and want to help. Many people are drawn to images of children who are too young to understand and seem as though they may be alone in the world. Our hearts go out to them, wanting to provide safety, shelter, and protection.
At Lifetime Adoption, we get many calls and emails from warm-hearted people asking how they can adopt one of these children. While these are certainly the best of intentions, the answer is far more complicated than they may expect.
First and foremost, U.S. citizens may only adopt foreign children who are truly orphans or have parents whose parental rights to them have been terminated. This determination is not something that happens quickly or in the midst of a war. It is something that is investigated and verified by governmental authorities. Children impacted by this war are not currently eligible for adoption.
While some Americans have adopted from Ukraine and others may have intercountry adoption plans from Ukraine in place, adoption plans will go on hold during a conflict like the one unfolding. In addition, travel is not safe for anyone, and many people, including orphans currently living in orphanages, are being displaced to Poland and other parts of Europe.
Yet many people, especially Christians, still feel called to do something, anything to help these children who are witnessing this conflict in a traumatic way. There are many ways to help Ukrainian children and children in our own country who need the love and care of a family. Here are a few ways you can help financially:
- Support Ukrainian Relief Efforts: Samaritan’s Purse is flying in field hospitals and disaster response teams to deal with the great humanitarian crisis as displaced Ukrainians flee their war-torn country.
- Donate Supplies for Ukraine: Originally from Ukraine, Dancing with the Star’s pro dancers Maks and Valentin Chmerkovskiy have established a humanitarian aid drive called Baranova 27, after the address in Odesa where they grew up.
- Support Ukrainian Children’s Programs: Lifesong for Orphans, founded by Steven Curtis Chapman, operates camps for orphans in Ukraine, with over 400 employees in-country. The program gives children hope and teaches them Christ’s love and salvation.
If you truly have a longing to help a child in need, please remember that there are children here in the U.S. who desperately need a loving, stable adult as a parent, mentor, or encourager.
There are also many ways you can help and support adoption efforts at home. Many American children have experienced traumatic events and need the same love and support as foreign children. Here are a few more ways to open your heart:
- Adopt a Waiting Child: Many older children are waiting to be adopted in the United States. Adopt U.S. Kids maintains a listing. Interested families need a completed home study and need to be prepared to be adoptive parents.
- Support an Adoption Charity: Adoption charities like Lifetime Adoption Foundation provide help and support in many ways, including providing grants for families seeking to adopt. Making a tax-deductible donation or purchasing a product that supports adoption can make a difference.
- Donate Your Time: Every community has a Boys’ or Girls’ Club that would welcome the gift of your time. Schools, churches, and many other organizations that provide help or services to children are always looking for caring volunteers.
Do You Feel God Calling You to Adoption?
Many Christian families, seeing the need to step forward in faith and adopt a child, are choosing to learn more about the miracle of families created through adoption. There are various types of adoption today. Explore this book to learn about being Called to Adoption. Order your copy today!
While adopting a child from Ukraine may not be a possibility right now, there remain many ways that you can help children and the people of Ukraine.
For updates on when Ukraine may again be open for adoption or any information about travel, status, or availability of international adoption, visit the U.S. Department of State Intercountry Adoption information online.
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Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”