Can I Adopt a Child from Russia?
Currently a US citizen cannot adopt a child form Russia. The following information was applicable at the time when Russian adoptions were allowed for U.S. citizens.
Adopting a child from Russia generally takes 12-18 months, with the age of children available for adoption being 6 months to 16 years of age. The following information can help you understand what to do and what not to do if you are considering adopting a child from Russia.
What was the Adoption Process in Russia?
International adoptions have been possible in Russia since the early 1990s. To date, over 25,000 thousand adoptions have been completed by U.S. adopting families in Russia, and that number is increasing.
Since its inception in late 1991 the Russian adoption infrastructure has undergone many changes. In spite of the constant changes, Russia continues to be one of the most popular international adoption programs. Every region in Russia has infants, children, and sibling groups living in orphanages who can be adopted. In order to work in Russia, agencies must be approved or accredited by The Russian government. At the present time there are approximately 50 agencies who have received their accreditation documents. Americans wishing to adopt in Russia must work directly with a Russian accredited agency or a child adoption agency which is an affiliated partner with an accredited agency.
The Russian adoption process must be broken down into several steps. The first step, like any other foreign child adoption, is to apply to the Department of Homeland Security – Bureau of Citizen Services to be approved to be eligible to adopt a child born in Russia. Additionally, as part of this first step, couples or individuals wishing to adopt internationally must complete a Home Study and various other documents which all together makeup a family or individual’s adoption dossier.
The second step in the process involves submission of your dossier to Russia.
The third step happens when the adopting receives information from Russia regarding a child which has been referred to them. If a family or individual proceeds with the referral, the family or individual will travel to Russia for their first trip. While on their first trip they will visit the region in Russia where the referred child is located. They will meet with officials from the region, and they will visit the child in the orphanage where he or she resides. If the child referral continues to be acceptable, then the child adoption process proceeds to the fourth and the final step of the Russian adoption process.
After meeting the child and accepting their referral, the family or individual on this first trip return to the U.S. without the child. Following the first trip, the child’s documents are prepared and processed, your dossier is processed, and a court date is scheduled to complete the child’s adoption. The adopting family is then ready for the final step of the Russian international adoption process which requires them to make a second trip to Russia.
During the second trip to Russia the family will attend the court hearing before a Russian judge who will decide if adoption is in the best interest of the referred child. If the judge rules favorably, and they very rarely do not, the family must wait for the required 10 day "after-the-finalization" waiting period. Most families spend this waiting time in Russia visiting with their child, but families do have the option of leaving Russia for the 10 day period. Once the 10 day waiting period is up the judge issues the official adoption decision, the final adoption documents are prepared by the Russian government, and the documents are registered with the Russian Consulate.
Once the family is in possession of the final adoption documents the family visits the US Embassy in Moscow to obtain a U.S. visa for the child. After receiving the U.S. visa families are free to travel home with their child to the United States.
Who Can Adopt a Child from Russia?
The Russian government allows both single persons and couple to adopt Russian children. The Russian government has no restrictions regarding how long a couple must be married prior to adoption of a child. In recent years, the Russian government has not allowed single males to adopt in Russia while single females have had no difficulty. Age requirements for adopting couples and individuals are fairly loose in Russia compared to other countries. The Russian government prefers that person adopting be at least 25 years of age, and there can be no more than 45 years between the mother’s age and the child’s age. The Russian government does not discriminate against families with biological and/or adopted children already in the home.
How Long Does the Child Adoption Process Take in Russia?
At the present time, the time to complete a Russian adoption varies greatly from adoption to adoption. The time necessary to complete your adoption depends on several things including the region your referral comes from, the sex of the child you choose to adopt, what you are willing to accept in terms of health conditions, your motivation to complete your paperwork, and how the process is moving in Russia at the time you begin your adoption process.
Currently families are receiving referrals for boys approximately 3-6 months after their dossier has been submitted to Russia, and families who are looking to adopt girls can expect a referral in 6-8 months after their dossier is submitted. It generally takes families between 12-18 months to complete an adoption in Russia.
Who are the Guatemalan Children Available for Adoption?
Both boys and girls are available for international adoption from Guatemala. The children typically range in age from newborns to teenagers. Families can adopt more than one child at a time from Guatemala. But, unless the children are siblings it can be a very difficult process to coordinate. Sibling groups are sometimes available. Guatemalan children are generally healthy but, as with any child adopted internationally, there are several possible health problems that adopting parents should be aware of. These conditions include such things as low birth weight, problems that come from mothers not receiving proper prenatal care, malnutrition, developmental delays, and bonding issues. Additionally, if children have spent any time in orphanages, there is always the possibility that they will also be affected by institutionalization.
What Travel is Involved on a Russia Child Adoption?
It is necessary to travel to Russia to adopt. As stated previously, two trips to Russia are required to complete the adoption process. As with any international adoption program, the adopting family's U.S. based agency will assist you in making your travel plans.
The first visit is scheduled after your dossier has been processed, and after a preliminary match has been made. This trip allows you the opportunity to meet and interact with the child and to make the final determination as to whether or not the match is a positive one for you as well as for the child. This first trip normally can be completed in 4-7 days.
You will then be required to return to Russia to finalize the adoption in court. Although the estimated wait time to be granted a court date can vary widely from region to region, the second trip can usually be scheduled within approximately 6-12 weeks after your return from the first trip. The second trip is 10-25 days approximately with the purpose of this trip being the completion of the process of finalizing the adoption.
Who are the Children Available for Adoption in Russia?
Every child who is available for adoption from Russia resides in an orphanage and is a ward of the Russian government. The two groups of children typically available for adoption are babies relinquished in the hospital at birth to the state and than placed in an orphanage, and older children who are removed from their families because of neglect, abuse or other circumstances and placed in an orphanage. Children in Russia who are available for adoption range in age from approximately 6 months to 16 years of age.
Can We Adopt More than One Child?
Yes, it is possible to adopt more than one child from Russia. Families can adopt sibling groups and it is possible for families to also adopt two or more unrelated children.
How Much will a Russian Child Adoption Cost?
Total expenses will include your registration, application, and home study fees. Additionally, there may be a home study review fee as well as a program fee, agency service fee, foreign fee, dossier fees for notarized, authenticated, and apostilled documents, INS fees, state criminal, child abuse, and FBI clearances, Russian governmental fees, orphanage fee, post placement fees, travel fees and more. Your total estimated cost, including travel, should be approximately $30,000 to $40,000. Expenses will increase if you adopt siblings or more than one child.