Ukrainian child adoptions on hold for Alabama families as the war rages on

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:06 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Dozens of families in Alabama are waiting on their adoptive children. Some of them have been waiting for over a year because their kids are in war-torn Ukraine.

There were about 70 families in Alabama waiting for their children to come from Ukraine when Russia invaded.

Over 365 days later, they’re still waiting

The invasion was a significant turning point in every way of life in Ukraine, including international adoptions.

Jana Lombardo leads the effort to connect Ukrainian children with American parents through Lifeline Children’s Services in Alabama. She explains that before the invasion, the nation of Ukraine had a robust adoption structure, simplifying the process for international parents to adopt Ukraine children.

“Ukraine had a very positively defined process for intercountry adoption,” says Lombardo. “It was a solid one that structure is just not in place at this time due to the conflict still happening and actual fighting still taking place.”

It all came crumbling down when Russia crossed the border.

Everyone scattered, and officials don’t know where all the children are.

“In Ukraine, the ones who were evacuated to other locations, the knowledge of where all of the children are is just unknown and where all of those orphanages ended up even if they were in a neighboring European country, a good many of children ended up in Poland, It’s just one of those things that we will never know, in my opinion where all of the children ended up,” says Lombardo.

She says asking when international adoptions will resume is like asking when the invasion will end, there’s just no way for her to know.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

The prospective parents have to make a tough decision. They have to decide whether or not they want to wait out the war in hopes of connecting with their original potential child or going in a different direction.

Lombardo says it’s a deeply personal and sensitive choice they have to make on their own.

“There are so many families out there that have a strong heart for Ukraine,” says Lombardo. “They either met their child in a hosting situation or they just have a call to that country. Unfortunately, there are no parameters for families to apply and adopt from Ukraine.”

WAFF is working with Lombardo to connect with prospective parents who want to adopt a child from Ukraine.

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