His Beatitude Lubomyr: “We do not want to send our children abroad; we do not want to lose them. But is it better to lose a child in Ukraine?”

Monday, 23 September 2013, 10:13
During this week’s session deputies will decide for the eight time whether they should join the Convention on Protection of Children and Collaboration on Issues of International Adoption, which aims at regulating this process. It is international adoption itself which, unfortunately, quite often becomes the last resort for an older or sick child to join a family. Representatives of the press agency of the Ukraine without Orphans Alliance had the opportunity to converse with His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar) and to listen to his thoughts on orphans, orphanages, national and international adoption.

Your Beatitude, Can you please comment on the situation regarding international adoption of orphans in Ukraine and in general the attitude of the authorities about the document, Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption, that was already six times voted on by the Parliament?

This Convention was not supported by the deputies, based on the fact that we cannot control the children and that here, in Ukraine, all is well.  These children are growing and they cannot wait until there is a family found for every sick child, for every older child.  Some political parties are even saying: all foreigners should be forbidden to adopt our children.  What do you think about that?

We should remember that within the last months special attention has been paid to the fact of how orphanages for children look in Ukraine.  If I am not mistaken, even in very recent days the President, on visiting one place, Promin nadiyi [Ray of Hope] in the village of Makariv, Kyiv region, noted that there should be serious attention paid to the condition of orphanages, namely, how they function and   what benefit do they provide, and what should be done in order that they truly begin to serve appropriately.  According to many people, the state of these orphanages is terrible, there are many abuses, thefts; children are not receiving that which the state accords them – children go hungry, suffer.       

In one word, the situation is very relevant.  Therefore, I think, that procrastinating, as it has already been done many times, -- is on the one hand an expression of Indifference and on the other, forgive me that I express myself so strongly, a certain kind of cruelty, a non-comprehension of the situation. I think that these important issues should be treated with extreme attention.  If we are referring to the ones responsible - the deputies – then such actions done be them, testify to their indifference towards children who are suffering.

When we talk about the contents of such a Convention then, in my opinion, we should be aware that the best situation is a natural one, when the child has a father and a mother who care about them.  There are many situations when the child does not have the care of natural parents due to many reasons –orphans, total orphans, or the inability of the parents to guarantee the upbringing of children.  In such cases, what should one do?  Already for many, many years, in various countries, different ways have been undertaken to guarantee the upbringing of children and care for them in order to permit them to develop normally and to go into life as healthy children.

One should consider that adoption is a very fitting resolution; after all, there are people who are truly ready to receive a child as their own.  Even those people who have their own children are even ready to receive others who do not have parents and to raise them together with their own.  There are also groups in which qualified people attempt to create a community – almost a family in which a relatively small number of children live together and get raised together.  However, all of this is not enough.  It would be ideal if it were possible to adopt every single child - or better yet- if there existed no orphans at all!  But, they exist, and therefore it is good if they are adopted.  And what if this cannot be done?  Then one has to search for another solution.

There is no doubt (as the President stated, there needs to be work on assuring that orphanages be on a certain level) so that children don’t suffer, but develop and grow.  Therefore, there is always the possibility of adoption beyond the borders of Ukraine.  Someone can say that we do not want to send our children abroad; we do not want to lose them.  However, is it really better to lose a child in Ukraine? Or, perhaps to give the child the possibility to develop normally, even in a foreign environment, where nevertheless, the child will remain a person and develop as a person?  I myself know of one or two cases where there was an adoption outside of Ukraine when a sick child was received, embraced, and now, although the child is growing up beyond the borders of one’s native national environment, one has everything necessary for normal development: care, school and other elements to prepare for maturity. We do not have to convince ourselves that this is an ideal solution, but it is very possible, given all the circumstances.   Of course, it is worthwhile to take into account whether there are certain guarantees on the side of the country to which the adopting parents belong, so that there exists appropriate monitoring and clear agreements with Ukraine.  

Today we are discussing about Ukrainian children who are being adopted abroad, but why are we not considering the other possibility – maybe, there are foreign children who will be adopted in Ukraine?  I will cite an example: when the Nazis came to Ukraine and began to destroy the Jews, there were very many incidences of Ukrainian families accepting Jewish children, taking care of them, bringing them up, and ensuring them a normal development and life circumstances.  We, Ukrainians, brought up foreign children.  I heard the testimony of one Jewish woman who was raised by Ukrainians – who not only raised her, but also embraced her and treated her as their own daughter.  She talked with enormous gratitude about those people who raised her.


Please tell us, how would you answer if asked the question – why do foreigners come here to adopt Ukrainian children if in their own country there are their orphans?

Here we have to consider one issue: this is a political thought, not a humane one, not a social one, but basically a political one.  We know that Russia has refused to permit Americans to adopt their children and Russia did it for political reasons.  I would ask something else.  What does that person think who says: why do Americans, being a big country, go to various countries of the world and get married there – are there not enough Americans for them?  No, it is for some reason that a certain person wants to tie their life with a person of another nationality.  Maybe these Americans want to have a tie with Ukraine, by receiving a needy child?  Why here, in Ukraine, do we still have children who need adoption?  Do they really not have parents?  Of course, Ukrainian parents should be encouraged to adopt Ukrainian children, but they cannot be forced to do so.  Life is strange and circumstances are different.   For example, I can imagine why someone in Italy would want to adopt a Ukrainian child: maybe his father or grandfather perished on Ukrainian lands during the war?  But I do not think that all of Italy is simply waiting to adopt Ukrainian children.  This is not a mass tendency neither in the United States nor in other countries.  However, in my opinion, there should not be external impediments to doing so.

And a final question.  When the Parliament voted on this Convention, the deputies divided into several groups.  The party Svoboda and the Communists voted decidedly against this document stating that all is well with us and expressing the opinion that it would be worthwhile to totally  forbid international adoptions.  Another segment voted in favor of the document, understanding its importance.  And the President’s party totally abstained from voting, although the President himself introduced this Convention.  What can one say to those who oppose it and to those who abstain from voting on it, in order to at least a bit turn their attention to the issue, to tempt them to support this document, since the children cannot wait longer?

You posed a very complicated question.  I think that those who vote on such significant issues should first of all, and above all, love people because this is   most important.  They should attempt to find ways in which these children can be taken care of in the best way, so that their development is not harmed.  I think that it is, so to say, a political game, when some false, incomprehensible principles begin to resolve an issue which concerns the well-being of individual people, especially these poor children who in being devoid of parental care, are especially vulnerable.  Therefore, I think that those who plan to vote in whatever way – yes, no, or abstaining – should let their conscience decide, rather than thinking “politically” – in the bad sense of that term.


Ukraine without Orphans Alliance, Press Service



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