Adoption Connections Make the Difference


The success of any adoption depends upon the ability to connect, whether that is with your child, your local resources or your support team. Connections are so crucial when considering adoption and it is important to also connect purposely with your primary and home study agencies. Additionally, your primary agency’s ability to both obtain and maintain crucial in-country connections with adoption officials, intermediaries and supervised staff can be the most important ones needed to assure your adoption is done well, in an ethical manner and with the support of orphanage staff. In Ukraine, MLJ Adoptions International has those all-important connections!

Our International Program Director for Eastern Europe, Lydia Tarr, is well connected and passionate about helping families complete successful adoptions from Ukraine. Not only does she love to help families throughout the international adoption process with tasks such as working with USCIS, completing dossiers, matching the family with a child, and helping them with their travel plans, but she also knows firsthand about the process. Lydia and her husband, Jeff, have adopted 4 children from Ukraine!

Lydia is perhaps one of the most passionate adoption professionals I have ever met. Her enthusiasm for adoption began even before she started an adoption ministry with her church in 2001. Before bringing her first daughter home from Ukraine, she worked fervently with a hosting organization to bring Ukrainian children to the United States in hopes that they could not only have an amazing opportunity for travel, but also hopefully find their “forever family.” Since helping to start MLJ Adoptions International, Inc., Lydia has worked with multiple country programs, hosting programs and advocacy for adoptive families. She was recognized in 2013 as an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).

My understanding of Lydia’s connectedness was tremendously enhanced when I accompanied her to Ukraine this year. Her love of the country and its people literally shined as she encountered familiar faces and places. She is very astute in her knowledge of Ukraine’s history and the passion of its people for their democracy. Lydia knows where to go in Ukraine, especially Kyiv, for delicious foods, beautiful artifacts and amazing architecture. She knows the adoption system in Ukraine and understands the “red tape” involved to complete the legal process. However, her personal connection to the adoption community in Ukraine is truly amazing!

Because of her personal involvement in adopting and long history of advocacy for Ukrainian orphans, she knows so many people connected to the adoption community, whether they are intermediaries or Ukrainian officials. Her experiences working with so many individuals there have provided her with an unusual understanding and acceptance that most people will never achieve. She was embraced by so many adoption professionals while we were there and they discussed in depth the changing processes, regulations and requirements with each person describing particular previous adoptions in which Lydia shared a major role. She is clearly trusted and sought out by Ukrainian adoption professionals. One person who had actually retired from adoption service traveled a very long distance just to have coffee with Lydia because their friendship had been solidified for so many years. It was so clear that Lydia not only “talks the talk” of adoption, but she has successfully “walked the walk” too by building international acceptance and recognition in Ukraine.

If you are interested in adopting a child from Ukraine or Bulgaria, MLJ Adoptions should be your first call! Our years of experience in working with this beautiful country and strong ties with Ukrainian adoption professionals allows MLJ to be a leader in in the field. Thanks to Lydia’s passion for adoption, compassion for orphans and love for the Ukrainian people, MLJ can help assure a successful adoption for you and your family.

For more information about adopting from Ukraine, contact us.

Karlene Edgemon works as MLJ Adoptions’ Director of Social Services. Throughout her 25 year social services career, Karlene has been able to watch adoption transform the lives of children and she is always brainstorming new ways to support adoptive families before, during and after their adoption.