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UNICEF supports removing “secrecy” of children’s adoption in Ukraine

© UNICEF Ukraine/2011/G.Pirozzi

Kyiv, 29 September 2012 – On the eve of Ukraine’s Day of Adoption celebrated each year on 30 September, UNICEF has released the position supporting access to information by adopted children concerning their origin, with appropriate guidance. According to UNICEF, “secrecy” of adoption is contrary to international conventions.

“Adoptive parents need support to feel comfortable to address issues of adoption with their child.  Fear of stigma by society is one of the underlying pushes for secret adoption.  Change must come from all of society to recognise the value of different types of families,” said Gabrielle Akimova, UNICEF Ukraine Child Protection Specialist. 

EU countries largely do not have secrecy provisions. According to the Hague Convention (Article 30.2) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 7.1) adopted children has the right to access of information concerning their origin, personal and family history and, as far as possible, identity of the birth parents, under appropriate guidance. Professional mediation is of course needed in all cases relating to access to information by all concerned parties.  Furthermore, eliminating the secrecy provisions does not remove the need to respect confidentiality of the procedure and of the adoption records as far as third parties are concerned.

“Secrecy in adoption also raises difficulties for social workers, making it impossible to carry out any follow-up of the child’s situation,” added Gabrielle Akimova.

UNICEF calls for removal of "secrecy" of adoption after the necessary preparation is carried out in Ukraine, namely:

  • a high-profile public awareness campaign is conducted explaining the benefits of adoption and changing people’s attitudes to prevent stigmatization; 
  • adoption should always involve procedures such as selection, matching, and bonding, to ensure appropriate placements;
  • greater support to birth parents is ensured through identifying problems at earlier stages and supporting families to address those problems before they turn into crises;
  • greater support and outreach to adoptive parents are provided, so that they feel the possibility to reach out for assistance after adoption if necessary.

UNICEF recognises the complexities of adoption and the need for greater dialogue among all community members − professionals, families, children, and the general public.

Full position of the UNICEF office in Ukraine on secret adoption.


About UNICEF: UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is the world leader in protecting the rights and interests of children. The Fund operates in over 190 countries and territories to protect and support children from an early age through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF office in Ukraine was opened in 1997. More info at: Join us on Twitter and Facebook



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