Adoptions Deepen U.S.-Ukraine Connections

Posted by: Stephen MacLeod, Consular Officer

Families discuss the adoption process in Ukraine with Ambassador Tefft

On a bitterly cold February day in Kyiv, Ambassador John Tefft hosted a special discussion with four American families who adopted seven children from Ukraine. The excitement in the room was palpable as the kids had just received their visas to travel to their new homes and would be departing within a matter of days. Being in the room with these new families, hearing their stories, and imagining the opportunities awaiting the adopted children, was truly a heartwarming experience which softened the cold temperatures outside.

Ambassador Tefft greets Natalia Rainville as the Wells family looks on

Since 1997, over 9,000 Ukrainian orphans have found new homes in the United States. Due to rising number of Ukrainian families adopting children in Ukraine and changes in Ukrainian law, over the past few years the overwhelming majority of inter-country adoptees have been older children, teenagers, or special needs children, including those who are HIV positive or with other serious health or developmental issues. In 2010, American families adopted 451 children from Ukraine; in 2011 that number rose to 641.

During their time with the Ambassador in the new embassy facility, the families shared their personal adoption stories and some of the challenges they faced along the way. In turn, the Ambassador highlighted the embassy’s efforts to facilitate inter-country adoptions and explained other elements of the embassy’s work. Unfortunately, time was short as the families had planes to catch and the work of the embassy continues, but the impressions from the day will likely remain with everyone for some time.

More information about how the embassy supports adoptions can be found on the embassy website at:

Ambassador Tefft with four new families (from left to right)—the Eubanks of Liberty Hill, TX, the Rainvilles of Wexford, PA, the Wells family of Montverde, FL, and the De Havens of Brockport, NY

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