As reported by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues, the Ukrainian legislature is preparing to vote on a bill (4313) that would suspend all intercountry adoptions from countries that do not have bilateral agreements with Ukraine. This would appear to include new and pending adoptions from the United States. In Ukraine, a bill must pass two votes in the Rada and be signed by the president for it to become law. At this time, bill 4313 has passed the first vote with an overwhelming majority, thus showing favor towards the suspension of intercountry adoption from Ukraine. We expect that the second reading could take place in the next few weeks. It is our understanding that if bill 4313 is approved after the second reading, it could be signed into law as early as the end of 2010. The approval of this bill would also mark the beginning of the implementation of The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (The Convention) in Ukraine.
It is Joint Council’s opinion that that while this change may promote long-term protections for vulnerable Ukrainian children, immediate implementation without the proper safeguards is not in the best interest of Ukrainian children in need. The Hague Guide to Good Practice clearly expresses that ratifying countries should access and strategically implement The Convention, rather than prematurely ratify. The Guide to Good Practice also states that Intercountry Adoption should not be suspended during the period in which The Convention is implemented. It is clear that passage of bill 4313 is not in line with the recommendations of The Hague Permanent Bureau and will effectively end intercountry adoption in Ukraine for an undetermined amount of time and, therefore, eliminate a viable option for children in need of families.
Joint Council and its Member Organizations remain committed to the children and families of Ukraine. We continue to work closely with both the U.S. and Ukrainian governments for the best interest of each child. Joint Council urges the Ukrainian government to implement The Convention in accordance with the Guide to Good Practice. Further, if the Ukrainian government chooses to continue down its current path, we urge the creation of a ‘grandfather’ provision, which would allow adoptions currently in process to continue.
We continue to seek clarity on the bill and continue to work with our colleagues in the Ukrainian and U.S. governments to ensure every child’s right to a family, the proper implementation of The Convention by the Ukrainian government and, if necessary, the creation of a ‘grandfather’ provision. Joint Council will update our website and blog as soon as more information becomes available. Interested individuals are encouraged to sign up for Joint Council updates regarding Ukraine by clicking here.