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Connecting children to families

Lives Touched:


143 million children around the world and in America need the love and support of a family. Our New LIFE Adoption helps one child at a time. New LIFE Adoption does home studies for families who wish to open their homes to children in need. These home studies are available for both domestic and international adoptions.

For More Information, please contact:

Cecilia Aranzamendez, LMSW, Esq.
Executive Director for Community Services

Latvia Adoption Program (This program is currently on hold)

Lutheran Social Services of New York works in cooperation with the Ministry for Children and Family Affairs in Latvia to find families for children living in Latvian orphanages. Children are placed for adoption due to family dysfunction, including neglect, abuse, mental illness and/or domestic violence, much as they are here in America. There are also social factors, such as poverty and lack of acceptance of single mothers, that can contribute to a child being placed for adoption.

Most children eligible for international adoption are those who cannot find permanent families in Latvia. These are likely to be children between 8 and 16 years of age; however, children as young as two with medical (correctable or chronic) conditions can also be adopted. Families for sibling groups of three or more are especially needed. Prospective parents can make requests as to age, health status and gender, but doing so may add to the waiting time.

About Latvia:

Latvia is a country in Northern Europe. It shares land borders with Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south and both Russia and Belarus to the east. It is separated from Sweden, in the west, by the Baltic Sea.

The capital of Latvia is Riga. Latvia has been a member of NATO since March 29, 2004, and a member of the European Union since May 1, 2004.

Latvia today is renewing the old, creating the new and proudly displaying a revitalized presence on the European scene.

The rest of the world is rediscovering Latvia, as well. It is discovering a country that has been a sovereign state since 1918, with a unique and diverse identity.

Latvia is a country that has survived two world wars and 50 years behind the Iron Curtain, and is now even more committed to the principles of freedom, democracy and international cooperation. Latvia is a keystone of Northern Europe’s Baltic Sea region, a country of 2.3 million people who are experiencing once again what it means to live, work and raise their families in a free country.

Few Restrictions on Parents:

The Latvian program is open to single women, single men and married couples, between the ages of 25 and 50 (some exceptions are possible). Families with Latvian heritage will be given special consideration by the Ministry. Following adoption, all parents must commit to preserving their child’s Latvian heritage.

Advantages to Adopting in Latvia:

1. Quality of care The quality of care in the orphanages varies according to the location of the orphanage or children’s center. The orphanages located in Riga are set up as family centers, with children living and sharing in family responsibilities. The children are grouped by age and assigned to a caregiver who is responsible for the welfare of each child.

The younger children sleep in dormitory settings. The older children are assigned to sharing 2-4 in a room. The children are supervised by the staff administrator who is accountable to the Ministry for Children and Families. Staff members are either degreed social workers or trained child care specialists. Medical attention is provided by the Ministry.

In the rural areas, the orphanages are self-contained and the children are less likely to be part of the wider community. The rural orphanages also tend to be older and in need of repair.

During the summer months, many of the orphanages in the city also have summer camp in country settings, where the children spend 2-3 months. These camps are very similar to our summer camp programs, with the emphasis on sports and other summer activities.

2. Education The children living in the orphanages and children’s centers are required to receive formal education, either on the premises or in the public school setting. In the cities, they attend the local school and receive the same education as other children. English is now part of the educational curriculum; however, most children are not fluent in English.

3. Good communications and knowledge of in-country staff Lutheran Social Services of New York has developed excellent rapport with the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs and has, contracted with an in-country staff person to support those families traveling to Latvia to complete the adoption process.

For More Information, please contact:

Cecilia Aranzamendez, LMSW, Esq. Executive Director for Community Services 212-870-1115