President’s Commissioner for Children's Rights Yuri Pavlenko has taken the initiative to cancel the closed adoption, which is regulated by the Article 228 of the Family Code of Ukraine. Currently, the relevant bill is under development. After going through all the procedures, it will be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada.

"The bill on closed adoption is in its final stages of development. The constructive suggestions have been expressed by the expertise, employees of services for children, psychologists, representatives of public organizations, who conduct consistent work in the field of children’s rights protection. In addition, we held meetings with adoptive parents and adults, who were adopted in their childhood. Number of provisions of the bill will be amended and expanded. We do not hurry to submit it. The bill will be in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine only when we are sure that the legislative changes will not harm any child," Pavlenko stressed.

According to the children's ombudsman, the child has a right to know the truth about himself.

"It is the right of the child we want to protect. The vast majority of experts and parents agree with us. Analysis of the effective Family Code has shown that the closed adoption protects the interests of adults, not children. Hiding the truth about adoption from a child, the parents seem to protect the child from the trauma, excessive attention from the third persons. In fact, sooner or later the child will learn the truth. The later it will be, the more unexpected effects this information may cause. The fact that the adoption of a child should be open does not mean that it shall be known to the third persons. Access to information on adoption will be limited, especially for the biological parents of a child," Yuri Pavlenko said.

According to him, the bill speaks not only about the confidentiality of adoption.

"We will insist on the introduction of compulsory education of candidates for adoptive parents (now their training is carried out only on request). Experience proves that people, who want to adopt a child, cannot always objectively evaluate their capabilities, what results in bad consequences for both adults and children. We must also analyze and improve the system of control over the living conditions and upbringing of the adopted children. The current system is not quite effective," he said.

In his view, it is virtually impossible to preserve the secrecy of adoption. "People should understand this and do not expose their child to unnecessary danger, creating needless tension in the family. Let's be honest and sincere with a child, since the adults do not like being deceived as well," said the President’s Commissioner for Children's Rights said in comments.

In this respect, ForUm has decided to ask the experts, psychologists, MPs and human rights activists whether the closed adoption should be cancelled in Ukraine.

Oksana Moskalenko, coordinator of programs on children's rights of the All-Ukrainian organization "Women's consortium of Ukraine":

- You know, I was in Moldova, and closed adoption is cancelled there. And they did not just cancelled it, but explained adoptive parents how to tell the child about it. There are special training programs teaching parents how to prepare a child to the fact the he was adopted and how to explain that there is nothing bad in it. If the state provides similar support to adoptive families I sand for this draft bill, if not, it would be better to wait with such innovation. The attitude towards adoption is rather negative in Ukraine. People are afraid. Everything depends on whether the state is ready to help such families and to upgrade the system in general.

Yevhen Zakharov, human rights activist, chairman of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union:

- This issue is a kind of triangle, which includes the birth parents, adoptive parents and children. It must be taken into account that each side has the right to privacy. Yuri Pavlenko refers to the various conventions on children’s rights. Yes, there are all of these documents. However, the problem is so complex that it is impossible to create a single pattern to resolve it. In my opinion, every adoption case should be considered separately. The secrecy of adoption should be protected in some cases and disclosed in others.

Bohdan Benyuk, MP of "Freedom" (Svoboda) union, member of the committee on human rights:

- Yuri Pavlenko has been involved into the subject longer than I have, and he knows more nuances than I do. However, in my opinion, secrecy of adoption must be preserved.

There was a reason for the secrecy to be adopted in the first place - not to traumatize a child. We all know that our society is ignorant and intolerant. In my childhood, children from single-parent families or orphans were punchballs. Such children were limited in rights comparing to children who had moms and dads. Nowadays, adoption remains a complicated and painful process for children, and the society must everything for children to suffer less. 

Oksana Bryk, psychologist, lecturer of social sciences faculty at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy:

- In my opinion, first of all, society should be ready to the closed adoption. Our society undergoes the active phase of changes, hence there are a lot of different views on the issue. Some people have beliefs of the older generation, and others are very progressive. Frankly, I think that such a decision is a premature one. Previously, the secrecy of adoption was considered sacred. Of course, that approach might cause negative moments: when, for example, a child found out that his parents weren’t his birth parents, it was a shock. The outcome was different. There were cases when such a child refused to communicate with his foster parents. Now the progressive point of view dominates. The child should know that he has been adopted, everyone else can know about this, and there's nothing wrong with that. However, opinions are opinions, but every human soul is very individual and subtle. In this regard, I think that it is the right of the adoptive parents to tell him the truth. They should choose the right moment and to decide how to say this. I understand that they are not deprived of that right, but the intimate relations between the child and the parents will be lost with the abolition of the closed adoption. The relations between the adoptive parents and the child are not easy from the very start. I think that canceling the closed adoption will not contribute to the easier, simpler communicating, etc.

Yaroslav Sukhoy, MP of the Party of Regions, member of the parliamentary committee on social policy and labor:

- I stand against such initiative. I believe that disclosure of adoption secrecy must be persecuted, and offenders must face criminal responsibility. As for Pavlenko's arguments on that closed adoption does not let to follow adopted children I can say that social services know very well who adopted a child, where he lives and how he is treated. In my opinion, we should focus on following our children adopted by foreigners.


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