Five helpful hints to assist families considering an International Adoption from Russia:
1. With adoption things can change very quickly, check agency references of families who have completed their adoptions in the last 6-18 months.
2. When possible, have medical information reviewed by a pediatrician who specializes in working with internationally adopted children-one who can assess the individual risk factors as they relate to the specific child. The role of the pediatrician is to assist you in making an informed decision, not to tell you whether you should or shouldn't adopt a child.
3. Use an Adoption Agency that is Russian Accredited (Russian Permit for Adoption Activity) or an agency that partners with an accredited agency, but only if they are following acceptable guidelines. If considering a non-accredited agency, be very sure that the adoption is coordinated by the accredited agency’s staff in Russia, not the non-accredited agency.
If the non-accredited agencies staff in Russia would be coordinating your adoption in Russia then this is considered an umbrella rather than a partnership and is outside the guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. It also brings an added risk factor, in the event that something goes amiss. There could be accountability issues as well as limitations to the accredited agencies ability to advocate on your behalf.
4. Beware the blacklist. In 2009, Russian Ministry of Education & Science sent a letter (commonly known as the blacklist) to regional adoption officials advising them not to accept adoption documents- Homestudies, etc. from homestudy providers, and agencies who they believed to be were delinquent in submitting post-placement reports. Since its inception, the list has been updated periodically and the majority of Russian accredited adoption agencies will not accept Homestudies from an agency that is on the most updated list. Should a family choose to use a homestudy provider on this list that is accepted by their adoption agency, this could result in numerous issues, including having to have a new homestudy completed, delays in the adoption process, or even denial of the adoption petition by the MOE.
5. Avoid rumor mills. You should be able to rely on your agency for the most up to date, reliable information. Russia is very diverse, remember every region works differently and their may be variances with each agency- even when they work in the same region.
Labels: Adoption 101, adoption facts, Russian adoptions