Latvia offers an excellent opportunity to adopt school age Caucasian children. Many times children are from small-town orphanages or loving foster families where they have been nurtured. An adoption from Latvia offers the unusual opportunity to be surrounded by Christian staff, including government officials and orphanage directors at all levels of the process. Children nine years and older, sibling groups, and children with special needs are available. There is a short wait for school age children over age 9 or siblings groups of various ages. An Open Door was the first adoption agency completing adoptions from Latvia in 1994.
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Both Christian married couples and Christian single women may apply for adoption from Latvia.
Parents must be at least 25 years of age. Currently there are no upper age limits for adoptive parents provided they can show good health and the financial means to support the child/children.
Both adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older than the child.
Latvian law requires a parent/child relationship be established before the final court decision can be made. This is done during the first trip to Latvia.
Adoptive parents may not have been convicted for violence or threat of violence, sexual or sexual abuse crime, discharged from the duties of guardianship, denied from being a host or foster family, deprived of custody rights, or charged with alcohol or drug abuse or mentally ill status requiring treatment.
Almost all orphanage children experience some emotional issues and developmental delays from the loss of family and simply from institutionalization. However, with the cooperation of orphanage directors, and with medical and psychological reports, children are selected who offer the best chance for integration into family life. In most cases, adopted Latvian children have soon mastered English and have caught up developmentally. Many are bright and talented children who have blessed their families greatly.
The adoptive family still maintains final responsibility for selection of their child. Based first on medicals and then on time spent with the child, each family must decide if the referred child is right for their family. Part of the training offered by An Open Door, in Georgia, by home study agencies in other states and on-line, prepares the adoptive family to identify significant and potentially disruptive emotional conditions. These include fetal alcohol syndrome, reactive attachment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, autism and other conditions which are most difficult to overcome.
Adoptive families must go into the adoption with awareness that there will be adjustments to make and issues to overcome for even the most well-adjusted of orphan children. At the same time this agency does not want any family to accept a child who may be utterly disruptive to their family. This risk exists. We must all work together to select the child best suited for each family. We have consistently found that families, who have earnestly sought their child in prayer, have ultimately been blessed with the right child for them.
Once the dossier is completed, a legalization process begins, followed by translation, then review and approval by the Latvian government. Following approval and a matching process, a referral will be sent to the family including photo, medical and description of the child. Allow approximately two- three months for this referral process once your dossier has been sent to the country. After the family accepts the referral, an invitation to meet the child/children is issued and travel is scheduled. The family will travel to Riga, where they are met by the bilingual staff of An Open Door and proceed to the region where the child lives.
The Orphan’s Court grants temporary custody to the family to spend approximately two – four weeks with their child/children to prove an established a bond exists between parents/child. A social worker will visit with the family and child/children and make a report regarding the bonding and relationship that she observes developing. This time is also the time in which the family decides if the match is a good match or not. Afterward, the Orphan’s Court hearing will occur which grants the family the right to adopt this specific child(ren). Latvia is unique in that your child can return home with you, after the first visit, on a visitor’s visa.
After returning home to the U.S. for about two – three months, a final adoption court is scheduled.
The second court trip can be as short as 48 hours in the country, followed by a 20 day appeal period in which parents and child are not required to be in Latvia. Only one parent is required to travel and attend the adoption court in addition to any child being adopted who is age 12 or older.
One or both parents and their child/children make the third and final trip to Latvia to obtain the new child/children’s passport and visa and complete the required exit medical exam before bringing their child home as a new American citizen. Typically, this final trip is Sunday-Friday with appointments in Riga scheduled throughout the week for medical clearance for the child, photo for new passport, submission of court and medical documents to the Embassy, interview at the Embassy and issuance of the child’s immigrant visa. It’s a rather relaxed and typically fun trip which allows some time for sightseeing in beautiful historic Rig
Latvia offers one of the few truly pleasant travel experiences to the former Soviet Union. Riga, the capital city, is a beautiful European city with modern shops in the quaint old town area, combined with western hotels, grand architecture and beautiful parks.
Hotel accommodations range up to five star ratings. Very comfortable rooms are available at both Hotel Riga and the Radisson. The Hotel Riga is an elegant and recently renovated older hotel right in the popular Old Riga district. The Radisson is an excellent, modern hotel on the banks of the Daugava River directly across from downtown Riga. Many other hotel options are available on line through hotel reservation web sites such as Travelocity.com and Expedia.com. We suggest private apartments for families traveling on the first trip and have suggestions on apartment options.
For those families adopting from orphanages outside of the capital city of Riga, our representative will suggest comfortable accommodations for you in the city of your child’s orphanage. Shops and restaurants will usually be within a short walk for your convenience.