Be prepared to turn down a referral or child. This is probably
the hardest thing adoptive parents might do. The medical and
social history of the child you will be given during the referral
meeting needs to be carefully considered in light of your
capabilities and desires. Likewise, the time you spend in Ukraine
with a potential child is very valuable and if there are clear
signs that this child might be more than you can handle, you need
to think with your head and not just your heart. This is easier
said than done. Parents will feel guilty that they are condemning
the child to a loveless institutional life. This is natural and
should be expected. However, as Susan Kibler, owner of Adoption
Services International states, "Often when parents come back to
Kyiv after adopting, they can learn that every child they were
offered in their referral meeting, even the most severe special
needs children, have already been adopted."
You need to remember that adopting a child is for life and be
sure that you are ready for the challenges that arise. Like when
you give birth, you can never predict and prepare for how you
child might develop by the time they head off to college.
However, if you are considering a child with special needs, be
sure you understand what you are getting into as best you can.
Adopting in Ukraine provides you the opportunity to have as many
as three referral meetings and receive referrals for up to 2
children (or sibling groups).
Discuss ahead of time with your spouse and family what you can
handle and when you would turn away a referral. Knowing this in
advance will make it much easier to handle your decisions when
you are in your referral meeting in Kyiv.
Thinking through some of these issues within the family will help
you ahead more quickly toward getting a referral. Talking about
potential complications will help you avoid delays and
disappointment if issues do arise with referrals as the process
If you or someone you love want to welcome a child into their
lives and families, as my husband and I did, we can help.