Lithuania Adoption Overview
Lithuania offers an opportunity to adopt special needs Caucasian children and sibling groups through a well organized adoption process. Available children can be ages 1-15 although the majority of children available are ages 4-15. There are sibling groups of various ages. Citizens of Lithuania can apply to adopt a relatively healthy child from a separate list. The Lithuanian Central Authority publishes a list of special needs children available for international adoption approximately two times a year. This list is given to our agency and shared with our waiting families. The type of special needs vary from moderate to severe needs. Families select a child that they would like to be matched with or that they want more information on from this list. If the Central Authority matches them with their requested child, our representative in country can visit the child and get pictures and updated medical and social information. The family receives these pictures and a report from our representative and decides if they want to apply to be officially matched with this child. If so, we send an application on behalf of the family to Lithuania and wait for the official referral. If the family doesn’t want to apply for that child, they continue to search future lists for the right child. The Central Authority can also propose a child that meets the criteria a family is approved for to a prospective adopting family.
- Adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older than the child
- Couples must be married 2 1/2 years. (agency requirement)
- You may have other children.
- Previous divorce is acceptable
- The Agency seeks Christian adoptive parents for our children.
- Lithuanian Central Authority prefers the adopted child to be the youngest in the family but it is not a requirement.
- Certain medical conditions can disqualify prospective adoptive parents. Please contact the program coordinator for more details.
- Adoptive parents can be registered only on the list of children with special needs (regardless of Lithuanian heritage) unless one of the adoptive parents is a Lithuanian citizen.
Almost all orphanage children experience some emotional issues and developmental delays from the loss of family and simply from institutionalization. Special needs children from Lithuania are able to be adopted internationally. The family will be presented with all available information on the child’s medical condition and social history. A special report will be prepared by the central authority based on all available information. The adoptive family has the right to make the final decision on the selection of their child. Based first on medicals, and then on time spent with the child, each family decides whether the referred child is right for their family.
Training in international adoption is offered by our agency, the home study agency and/or on-line resources. The training prepares the adoptive family for the adoption process, for identifying and avoiding any significant emotional problems, and ultimately for helping an orphan child reach their full potential. We have consistently found that families which have earnestly sought their child in prayer have ultimately been blessed with the right child for them.
The adoption process begins with an application to An Open Door Adoption Agency (downloadable from our web site), a Service Agreement, followed by a home study, Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) application I800A, and a relatively brief dossier. For most families, the process of completing this dossier takes about six months.
Once the dossier is completed, a legalization process begins, followed by translation, then review and approval by the Lithuanian government. Families are registered on the list of waiting families approved to adopt from Lithuania. The Lithuanian Central Authority publishes a list of special needs children available for international adoption approximately two times a year. This list is given to our agency and shared with our waiting families. Lithuania permits international families to adopt special needs children. The type of special needs vary from moderate to more serious. Families select a child that they would like to be matched with or that they want more information on from this list. If the Central Authority matches them with the requested child, our representative in country can visit the child and get pictures and updated medical and social information. The family receives these pictures and a report from our representative and decides if they want to apply to be officially matched with this child. If so, we send an application on behalf of the family to Lithuania and wait for the official referral. If the family doesn’t want to apply for that child, they continue to search future lists for the right child for their family.
Lithuania requires 1, 2, or rarely 3 trips to finalize an adoption. The judge will determine how many trips are required. We work closely with our facilitator to try and minimize the number of trips a family must take. 90% of our families receive an urgent execution at court and are able to finalize the adoption in one trip. A 2 ½-3 week stay in country is usually needed to finalize the adoption in one trip. Both parents must visit the child and attend court. One parent can go home after court while the second parent stays in country to finalize the adoption. The following description applies when one trip is required.
- You will travel to the capital city of Vilnius, where you will be met by the bilingual representative of An Open Door and will travel together to the region where the child lives. You will be permitted to visit the proposed child (children), to observe the child in his/her living environment, school (if he/she is a school age child) and then to have individual time with the child for approximately a week. The Hague requires that adoptive parents spend at least 5 working days with the child before court.
- During this visit, you will have the opportunity to meet with the direct care-giver, teacher (if applicable), the doctor, director of the orphanage, and the social worker in order to obtain thorough background information on the child. This is also the time in which you will decide if this child is a good match for your family. If you make a decision to proceed, then our representative will prepare, and you will sign, a special application to the Central Authority for inter-country adoption – the State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor – regarding your decision and readiness to proceed with an adoption of the child.
- Both parents must be present for the court hearing, which is always in Vilnius. You will be represented in the court hearing by the reputable attorney that our facilitator works with. The adoptive parents should be prepared to speak to the court and explain why they want to adopt this specific child and why they want to adopt from Lithuania. Our representative and attorney will help you prepare for your court hearing. The judge can decide to do an urgent execution or proceed in regular fashion. If the decision is made for an urgent execution, the judge will issue the final adoption decree between the 3rd-7th day after the court hearing. The family stays in Lithuania (at least one spouse) and will be in the country about two weeks to get the new birth certificate, passport, medical exam and visa. One parent is permitted to return home after the court hearing.
- If the judge decides to move forward in the regular process, following the court and its issuance of the Final Decree, there is an appeal period of 30 days. The family can decide to return home during this period or wait in country. If you return home, this trip to return to Lithuania to pick up your child is approximately ten days in the country. Only one spouse needs to return if there is a second trip to complete the adoption. You will go with the Open Door representative to the town where your child lives to apply for his/her passport and pick up your child from the orphanage. You may stay in the same town for a few days until the passport is issued or travel back and forth from Vilnius. After three to five working days, you will visit a U.S. medical clinic for your child’s exit medical, as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Our representative will make the medical appointment for you and accompany you to the clinic. You will then visit the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, for a final review of your child’s Lithuanian documents and to obtain your child’s immigrant visa. This immigrant visa allows your child to travel home with you.
The Open Door’s representative will accompany the family and provide ground transportation throughout their in-country adoption process. You will find the representative to be both personable and extremely knowledgeable of the adoption process – having previously served as Director of the National Center for Adoption herself.
Lithuania offers one of the few truly pleasant travel experiences to the former Soviet Union. Vilnius, 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. The country is among the most prosperous of the former Soviet republics.
Hotel accommodations range up to four star ratings and include quaint hotels in the Old Town, modern western style hotels, and elegant European hotels. Many selections may be found on line at Travelocity.com, Expedia.com and Hotels.com or Hotels.lt . One comfortable, new, yet quaint hotel in the Old Town is the Atrium. The Sarunas Hotel is a very attractive and modern hotel across from the Vilnius sports stadium. Western style hotels include the Radisson and Crowne Plaza.The majority of our families stay in apartments. Our representative will help you arrange for accommodations, especially when traveling outside of Vilnius.