US/ Russia Bilateral Adoption Agreement

The US Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security announced today, that at 2pm EST, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have signed a bilateral adoption agreement between the two countries. After 15 months of negotiation, both countries have agreed upon the process necessary to safeguard and improve international adoption from Russia.

Now that this agreement has been signed, it must now be ratified by the Russian Duma. At that time, we will see specific requirements that will be in force under the agreement. The US Department of State in cooperation with the Russian Federation will publish criteria, procedures, and clear guidance related to the Agreement prior to the Agreement’s entry into force.

Since Beacon House began working in Russia in 1998, Russia continues to be one of the most well established and consistent international adoption programs in the world and continues to be one of the top countries of choice for international adoption.

It is expected that Russian adoption, while never prohibited, yet somewhat slower in the past year, will increase in speed. We anticipate that inactive regions will resume adoptions, and regions currently closed to singles could once again open doors to singles, which would allow more single women to adopt from Russia.

The following are proposed key points to the new agreement:

1. Adoption Agencies working in Russia will have to be Hague Accredited. (Russia is not a member of the Hague Treaty on Intercountry Adoption.)

2. Independent adoptions will no longer be allowed.

3. Improvements in post adoption reporting, pre-adoption education training, and child’s medical and social history records that are provided to adoptive parents.

4. Additional requirements for Adoption Agencies that are Accredited/ Russian Permit for Adoption Activity.

5. Enforcement of Russian citizenship requirements for children who retain Russian citizenship until the age of 18; to include passport updates and change of address.

For current Beacon House families, any changes to adoption procedures, documents, etc. will be addressed as soon as we receive these details. Our commitment to excellence includes assisting you in making any changes that may affect you as effortless and efficient as possible.

Families, who are interested in learning more about Russian adoption, can get the most up to date information about our Russian adoption program by attending a Russian Adoption Webinar, or attending an adoption workshop. A complete listing of events can be found at:  .

A list of questions and answers on the agreement can be found by reviewing the website of the state department. See
for further information.

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