Hungary is one of Eastern Europe's most developed
countries, with stable economy and politics. It is a
member of both European Union and NATO. It has a good
social welfare system that provides well for children left
without parental care in both orphanages and foster
homes. Although Hungarian government makes sure all
basic needs of these children are met and they receive
excellent care and good education, nothing can replace
forever families that every child needs.
there have been very few American adoptions from Hungary up
until now. One of the reasons may be a comparatively
difficult adoption process that requires significant time
commitment from the adoptive family. Hungary requires
foreign adoptive families to spend at least a month
fostering a child before adoption can be finalized.
This allows for longer bonding time in a child's familiar
environment, easing his or her consequent adjustment to the
new home and culture. Overall, the Hungarian adoption
process is probably the most child-centered and
family-oriented in Eastern Europe, ultimately designed to ensure each adoption is a positive match between parents and child./p>
Although both U. S and Hungary are now part to the Hague convention on
international adoption, the central adoption processing authority,
Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (SZMM), prefers to place children
with European families that have stricted post-adoption oversight from
their equivalent of Social Services rather than private agencies.
Please see U.S. Department of State
for more details.
We have reopened our Hungarian program now that
SZMM has issued clarification on what children are truly
available for adoption. We have submitted a number of
dossiers on behalf of families in years 2007-2008 and at this time
do not believe families with submitted dossiers requesting younger
healthier children would get referrals any time soon.
Children from 1 to 16 years old are available for
international adoption. However, healthy infants are usually adopted by
local families. By a recent regulation, SZMM will only accept dossiers
for healthy kids over 8, sibling groups of 3 or more children (any age and health), and children with severe special needs. Many kids are Caucasian, but there are also a
lot of Roma children with beautiful olive skin and dark hair.
While in the U.S., prospective families are
required to prepare an adoption dossier (a set of
documents required for adoption processing by local
authorities abroad). For Hungary, dossier
includes USCIS (former INS) permission to adopt
internationally, homestudy prepared by a licensed
agency or social worker and a number of documents
verifying family income, health
condition, psychological condition, etc.
Once the dossier is completed, it is mailed to Hungary.
There, it is translated into Hungarian, authenticated
and delivered to SZMM. After the dossier is
processed and registered, SZMM forwards the documents to the local child
guardianship authority TEGYESZ (former GYIVI). TEGYESZ issues
an official referral with video and complete medical
information for family's review. About A Child
does not withdraw a referral until the prospective adoptive parent(s) have had two
weeks (unless extenuating circumstances involving the child's best interests require
a more expedited decision) to consider the needs of the child
and their ability to meet those needs, and to obtain physician review of medical
information and other descriptive information, including video of the child if available. If a family
accepts the referral, an adoption trip to Hungary is
arranged. At this point, a family can no longer
"lose" their referral to another agency or
international adoptive family that might be interested
in the same child.
Both parents must travel to meet the child(ren) and
accept their referral. Upon arriving to Budapest,
they then travel to the orphanage or foster home to meet the
child(ren). Upon acquaintance, parents are
required to rent an apartment, a small house, or any
other family-type dwelling (not a hotel) where they
will live for the next four weeks together with the
child as a family. This time allows both parents and child(ren) to begin the bonding process and ensure a positive family match has been made. The
family has a right to refuse a referral for any reason
and go back to the SZMM for a new referral to TEGYESZ.
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(ren) want to
proceed with the adoption, s/he makes a recommendation
for a local guardianship authority.
Because of the new Hague regulations, an I-800 form(s)
for child(ren) being adopted must be approved by the USCIS
before a formal adoption hearing is conducted that finalizes
adoption. There is no waiting period afterwards.
After the adoption hearing, one of the parents may
leave Hungary after signing the spousal power of attorney
at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. The other
parent would wait for child's new documents to be issued,
complete some final paperwork in the
region and return to Budapest for an exit interview at U.S.
Embassy and the child's medical clearance.
Within a year's arrival to U.S., parents need to submit two
progress reports about their child's well-being to SZMM .
Adoptions from Hungary may take anywhere from 6
months to 3 years depending on the child(ren)
requested. Recent regulations restricting dossier
submissions to older and special-needs kids, as well as
large sibling groups result in most adoptions completed within
12-18 months. Typically, it takes
3-5 months for dossier preparation, but unexpected
circumstances and USCIS delays might extend the wait
time. Once the dossier is mailed to Hungary, it
usually takes one to two months to be registered as
prospective adoptive parents and one to seven months
after that a family might expect to receive their
The length of stay in Hungary is quite predictable, about
four weeks on trip 1 and 2 weeks on trip 2, though one of the
parents may leave soon after adoption hearing on trip 2 while the
other parent stays behind with the child.
Hungarian adoption is very affordable, especially
to families able to take long vacations or FMLA leave at
work. It costs only slightly more to adopt more than
one child, and American families adopting siblings groups
may cover their expenses entirely through the IRS tax