Ukrainian Orphans Need Our Help
Ukrainian Orphans Need Us
Ukrainian orphans, many of whom have been displaced and left to fend for themselves, are in need of international assistance to survive. While Ukraine has thousands of children in care, nearly 8,000 of these have been taken abroad or relocated within Ukraine. Without a final adoption or guardianship order, children cannot qualify for an adoption-based immigrant visa. And, of course, there are also problems within the system. Traffickers have targeted Ukraine's orphanages.
8,000 minors in care have been taken abroad or relocated within Ukraine
The conflict has created a dangerous situation for children in care in Ukraine, with human traffickers preying on the lucky survivors. Some children have been transferred to Moldovan or Romanian orphanages, where the trafficking problem is even worse. Ukraine's care system has been weakened by the conflict, and a recent survey has found that 8,000 minors in care in Ukraine have been taken abroad or relocated within the country.
The war has cost the country millions in lost remittances. The World Bank has estimated that Ukraine's economy will contract by 45 percent this year, with the Russian invasion causing the country's economy to suffer. The conflict has closed half of the country's businesses, cut off imports, and damaged a vast amount of critical infrastructure. But the deteriorating economic situation isn't the only problem. Ukraine has a lot of work ahead of it.
Thousands of orphans are in care in Ukraine
In Ukraine, over 100,000 children are in care, many of them orphans. Most are abandoned by their family, but others suffer from alcoholism, abuse, crime, or poor medical care. Some are even abandoned after birth. Orphanages and crisis centers are places of high risk for vulnerable children. Tales of sexual exploitation are commonplace. The future of these children is bleak. They need our support.
Despite the conflict in the Ukraine, people in the United States are doing their part to help these vulnerable Ukrainian children. Before the war, conditions for orphans were horrible. While many have been evacuated to neighboring countries, there is still much uncertainty about the fate of some orphans. One Oklahoma couple has called on the government to provide aid to the orphanage industry in Ukraine. It is not easy to reach orphanages that are under threat.
Children without a final adoption or guardianship order aren't eligible for an adoption-based immigrant visa
Under U.S. immigration law, children without a final adoption or guardianship order cannot enter the country for adoption-based immigrant visas. However, children may go to neighboring countries with legal guardians, as long as they have a final adoption order in Ukraine. The State Department website lists information for parents in the adoption process from Ukraine.
In the aftermath of the Russian attacks in Eastern Ukraine, Colleen Thompson, an adoptive mother, had her plan to adopt a Ukrainian teenager scrapped. Fortunately, she had been close to completing the adoption process when the conflict started. She begged the orphanage coordinators to move the children the morning of the first Russian attack. The orphanages were full of children who were being protected from the fighting outside.
Traffickers are targeting Ukraine's orphanages
In the chaos of the war in Ukraine, thousands of vulnerable children are at risk of being trafficked by criminal gangs. Many are hiding in care homes, and some have escaped amid explosions. Thousands of orphans have been left unaccounted for. The situation is particularly worrying as there are more than 100,000 children in orphanages across the country. A representative of Roads of Hope, an organization that works to help displaced people and abused children, spoke to the Ohio Christian University audience.
Since 1991, Ukraine has been a separate nation from Russia, but the conflict with Russia has left millions of people displaced. Those who are displaced are more likely to be targets for the trafficking trade. Ukraine's Roma community, a nomadic Indo-Aryan group, is a popular target for traffickers, as are state-run orphanages for displaced Roma. In addition to orphans, there are also vulnerable groups of youth, including low-skilled workers and Roma people.
American veterans are rescuing Ukraine's orphans
American war veterans are helping the Ukrainian government to rescue orphans from the encroaching Russian occupation. The group, called Aerial Recovery, has rescued over 460 children and expects to rescue more than 1,000 children. The children have many different medical and emotional needs, and the Aerial Recovery team is helping them. The group is working closely with the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Salam charity, which help refugees.
The State Department has not yet spoken out about the current efforts of American military veterans to rescue the Ukrainian orphans. Despite the concerns about the safety of civilians, the Ukrainian military and Russian government officials say they are only targeting legitimate targets. The State Department has not commented on the specific rescue missions, but a spokesperson indicated the agency disapproves of the current humanitarian crisis. Most families adopting a child from Ukraine aren't setting off on a flak-jacket mission to rescue a kid.
Christian missionaries are helping Ukraine's orphans
The Ukrainian orphan crisis is a serious problem for the country. About 60 percent of children graduating from orphanages end up in prostitution, organized crime, or worse. Ten percent become suicide victims. Christian missionaries have found a way to help the situation, and one church is partnering with them to provide for the needs of the orphan population. The missionaries are a welcome sight for travelers, and their compassion for the children is infectious.
In Ukraine, there are thousands of children living as orphans. In Eastern Ukraine, a transition home orphanage houses kids for 90-100 days before being placed in a long-term orphanage. Eric Mock, vice president of ministry operations for the Slavic Gospel Association, says the separation from parents is a traumatic experience for the children. He says that many Americans are unaware of the procedures that are in place to protect the children.