Blogging about life and raising our five kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Ukraine Passports

A friend of mine who does not have a blog asked me to post this, as it is information Ukraine adoptive families would like to have.  I wanted to keep it in it's original form, but wasn't able to get it in one screen shot so it's cut into two.

10 comments:

Kathie Brinkman said...

Wow! What a difference. Have you considered a career in investigative reporting?

Lisa said...

In theory that is great but the US embassy in Kiev does not issue Ukrainian passports so you can toss that number out the window. Different regions charge the amount they want. Has nothing to do with facilitators but the region itself. We were told by government officials that we could pay $400 and get it anywhere from a week to a month or pay $1000 for that afternoon. Might not be right but it occurs and you can cause a stink or just plan ahead. Nobody can deny officials in that country work on an uneven playing field but it is what it is. Just remember to cast blame on the right people and not toss accusations to those who do not have control.

Leah S. said...

Lisa, thanks for your input. There is nothing in this blog post that points blame at ANYONE. Not a Ukraine official, not a Ukrainian citizen simply working as an office clerk, not a facilitator, nor anyone else. Apparently people have asked, "How much IS the passport anyway?" Because they, like the poster on Facebook, paid significantly more than that. It doesn't matter WHERE the corruption is happening, people have a right to know that it IS. If it's happening with passports, where else is it happening?

Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

I think that it raises suspicion when your facilitator asks you for the money instead of instructing you where and how the official payments are to be made. And when they are unable to provide an official receipt.

These are legitimate issues for us to be discussing.

Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

I'm curious Lisa, which government officials told you that? Did the speak English or were you told through your translator/facilitator?

Lisa said...

We had a mission friend in region that came with to the passport agency and told us. We again expected that additional expedited or red passport. The only thing that came up that really caught us off guard was his birth certificate and we just had our translator with us (she was awesome btw) this was a new area that they had never gotten a birth certificate from and normally they set aside so much grivna but they said they were going to charge us double to get it done quickly and my translator took us aside and said they were demanding double or it would take a week and she said I apologize for my country.. then she told us it was up to us whether we wanted to pay it or wait because she thought it was extreme. We were right there when it was paid so i know she did not pocket anything. This gal in region opened our eyes to a lot of government corruption. You know there is government corruption when your prosecutor is only 20 years old and playing on his iphone during court. I asked how he could get such a job at a young age and she told us much corruption. If you pay the right money to people you can do anything. When we were having issues with our medical appointment she called us from her region and said did you ask if they wanted bribe and I said well they work for the international community and she stated well they are Ukrainian and if they act so badly it might be they want money. I would never say their system is on the up and up but the costs at least for us was well within the quoted costs. And the reason I posted about blame is the original email stated costs because of regulations or the people that the family work with and it is a bit misleading as the answer just listed what our embassy thought was the cost per passport and did not address the discrepancies or reason. I just know from my experience many officials had their hands out and did not find that to be my particular teams case.

Grace said...

What I can tell you is every family that I know of adopting though RR from Simferopol has paid at least $300 per passport. When we went though a non-RR facilitator our expedited passport was $68.
How much did you pay Stephanie?

steph said...

We are in the middle of a Ukraine adoption right now and were told all of the same things that Lisa has said. I have also been in appointments for the adoption, while in Ukraine, where the other party has asked for extra money to simply do their job. I understand enough Russian to have followed these conversations. Our facilitator also tried to argue the 'extra' fees, and we were told it could add an extra week to the process. Our facilitator also gave us the option to pay extra or to wait. The 20 yr old that physically hands you the passport may also be the 'official' asking for the money. There is often no rhyme or reason to things. It is best to find an agency who has a facilitator familiar with the region you will be adopting from so that they, hopefully, have established relationships with enough people in the region to not get pushed around.

Hevel said...

My sister, too, was charged double for same day passports, so she paid $160. In Odessa she paid $65 the first time she adopted, and $89 the second time for the 5 business day type of passports.

AddingOn said...

I think debates are healthy, so I'll chime in here. We paid 600.00 for a one day passport. However they tried to tell us they couldn't do ( the facilitator and translator) however I pushed and said I know you can. They said OK, we can but it costs a lot. We said we know, we will pay. So, that lends to it not looking as if that money goes to the facilitator but rather the passport person themselves. We have also adopted from Russia and instead of money as bribes it was leather purses and brand name perfume. The facilitator would give them to the people when she went in. But we were never to be there when she did it, that is a nono. Handing money over in public in Russia and Ukraine is a big no no, even legitmate money, it a cultural thing. We all know there is corruption, and yes it is very region specific, that is whey certain facilitators only work in certain regions. People need to research before they start any adoption. If you're not OK with dealing with the corruption of a certain country then don't do it. For us, it was all that much more reason to get our daughters out of there!