Our staff have personally visited with government officials and traveled throughout the country, seeing some of the finest care and orphan facilities in the world. Our adoption facilitator has over 25 years experience in Hungarian adoptions. He is well known throughout the country as a specialist in both process and accommodations and has years of good relations at the US Embassy (known on a first name basis). Our Lifeline team also utilizes the services of what many consider to be the top children’s doctor in the country (she has a great love and passion for orphaned children, particularly those with special needs, and is expert in her field). Our Hungary Coordinator has been a social worker with Lifeline for over 20 years and has successfully assisted scores of families in their adoption process. We would love the opportunity to partner with you in your adoption journey. Please call Stephanie Betsch or Jana Lombardo at 205-967-0811 for more information.
Welcome To Hungary
Hungary is an amazingly beautiful country with green rolling hills and picturesque old European style cities. The country has a stable democracy with a market economy and is in many ways one of Eastern Europe’s most advanced countries. Hungary is a member of the European Union and uses the Forint for currency, although the US Dollar is also widely accepted. Compared to a number of other countries, Hungary has a strong social welfare system that provides for children’s basic needs through well maintained and staffed orphanages and a growing foster care program. The Hungarian government is also making strides in domestic adoption, understanding that children need more than basic needs and a good education, these precious children need a mom and dad!
Adoptions from Hungary have been a bit of a mystery for American couples with most orphaned children being adopted by Italian families. But for American couples who are willing to invest 6 weeks of their lives traveling to Hungary (Going to the orphanage or foster home of your new child for the first time, fostering and bonding with your child for one month while going through the necessary court process, and then the US Embassy process that includes the acquiring of needed passport and visa) they may very well discover that the Hungarian adoption process is probably the most child-focused and family-friendly in all of Europe. ultimately designed to ensure each adoption is a positive match between parents and child.
Because of Hungary’s commitment to ensure that their children are matched into great homes they are very strict about a number of specific processes, this includes the family and the agency’s commitment to post adoption oversight and reports. Lifeline has committed to the central adoption processing authority, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (SZMM), that we will assist all of our families in complying with the rigorous standards they have established to benefit and protect their children.
Children from 3 to 16 years old are available for international adoption, although the Ministry of National Resources requires families to identify a range that includes a minimum of age 8. (Exceptions to this requirement may be made at times. Please contact Lifeline’s Hungary Social Worker for more information). Children being adopted must be younger than the youngest child in your home. Younger children are primarily adopted by Hungarian families, but there are exceptions based on conditions. Please call for more information on age ranges, availability of sibling groups (which are accepted) and children with special needs. Most available Hungarian children are Caucasian or Roma (children with beautiful olive skin and dark hair).
The Adoption Process
Your family will apply to Lifeline for acceptance into our Hungary program. Once accepted, you will complete what is called a “Home Study” (a process that involves four meetings with a social worker). With Lifeline’s guidance and assistance, you will prepare an adoption dossier (a set of documents required for adoption processing by local authorities abroad). For Hungary, dossier includes the following: USCIS permission to adopt internationally, home study prepared by a licensed agency or social worker and a number of documents verifying family income, health condition, psychological condition, etc.
Once your dossier is completed and approved it is mailed to Hungary. Once there, our in-country facilitator will have your dossier translated into Hungarian, authenticated and delivered to the Ministry of National Resources . After your dossier is processed and registered, Ministry of National Resources will forward the documents to the local child guardianship authority. The Ministry of National Resources then issues an official referral (with picture(s) and complete medical information for the family’s review). The referral presentation is an important time for your family to consider the specific needs of the child and your family’s ability to accommodate those needs (you will have two weeks to review the referral and consult with a local physician as well as our in-country doctor). When you accept the child referral, travel arrangements will begin. NOTE: When you officially accepts a referral the child is “Locked” and you can not lose your child to another interested family or agency.
Both you and your spouse will travel to Hungary to meet the child and begin your adoption process. Upon arriving to Budapest (the Capital), you will travel to the city where the orphanage or foster home is, to meet your child. You will be in that city for 5 or 9 days visiting your child and having an initial court appointment at the end of that time period. After the local court hearing, you will granted temporary custody of your child and you will begin a 30 day foster/bonding time together. Lifeline will have a nice rented home or apartment for your family during this stage. Within two to three weeks, a family will be visited by a social worker who assesses how well things are progressing: if both parents and child want to proceed with the adoption, the social worker will make an official recommendation.
In compliance with Hague regulations, an I-800 form(s) for a child being adopted must be approved by the USCIS before a formal adoption hearing is conducted that finalizes adoption. NOTE: There is no waiting period afterwards.
Once home, post-adoption appointments and reports must be made (2mo. and 12 mo.) These reports will be submitted to Ministry of National Resources .
Adoptions from Hungary may take anywhere from 1 to 2 years depending on the child requested (average time is currently estimated at 12-15 months). Specific request for known special needs children may take less time than the standard adoption.
The length of stay in Hungary is a fairly stable 6 weeks.
The cost of an adoption from Hungary is broken down into three basic categories: Agency fees, out of pocket US fees and expenses, and out of pocket Hungary fees and expenses (this includes all facilitation and other related in-country cost as well as all travel, food, and lodging expense). The total inclusive cost of an adoption from Hungary is around $31,000- $36,000. NOTE: All fees, apart from agency fees, are estimates and are subject to change without notice. American families can currently receive up to $12,150 in tax credits to assist in covering their adoption expenses through the IRS tax credit adoption program. Lifeline will also assist all of our families in applying for a number of grant and scholarship programs. Please feel free to call our office 205-967-0811 for additional details.
We’re Here To Serve You
We are excited about the opportunity to work with Hungary and help needy children find their forever families! For more information about our new Hungary Program or any of our adoption programs please call the Lifeline office at (205) 967-0811 or email us here.