Yesterday we got a letter from our international adoption agency updating us on the current situation in Russia. We get these letters almost weekly and usually they aren’t very informative. This one was:
“Dear Russia Families,
On Wednesday the Department of State held another conference call regarding the current situation in Russian adoption. Our hope was to see some shift of direction within the Russian government but unfortunately the prospects continue to remain bleak. In the course of the DOS call, they reported the situation is neither good nor hopeful; Russia is sticking to its interpretation of the new law by applying the ban to all adoption processes where no court ruling was issued prior to January 1. Based on this information, (We) believes there is no recourse for your family to proceed with our Russia program.
As per the current Russian regulation, US Adoption Agencies are not allowed to work in Russia and more and more agencies have already closed their offices. (We) had just one case that was allowed to proceed in line with Russia’s Supreme Court ruling last month, which permitted families with a successful court date prior to 2013 to complete the adoption. That family is returning home in the coming days and it marks what we believe is our last Russian adoption until/unless the adoption ban is lifted. Consequently, it has become necessary for (Us) to start working on a plan to close our Moscow office in the near future. We will retain minimal staffing – only enough to handle the post-placement reports that are still due to Russia.
We sent you a couple of e-mails in January regarding the need to consider your options by devising a different plan, which may or may not involve (Us), and we have already been contacted by a few families to discuss alternatives. We want to support all of you in identifying a different path to move on to. I will be contacting each of you next week to answer your questions and discuss your options. If you prefer that I try to reach you at a specific date/time, please let me know. Likewise, if you’d like to include your social worker and/or spouse on the call, I would like to accommodate your preferences – just let me know.”
So those final fleeting hopes that Russia would grandfather us in have been answered with a cold “no.” Not that we expected any different, but the news is still hard to stomach. If you have been following my posts you surely know that Josh and I depend on God with every ounce of our beings. We know He is bigger and He will bless our family with another child through adoption somehow. But this is still a difficult time. We have wanted to adopt from Russia since we went there together in 1997. Our lives have in some way been intertwined with the thought for 15 years. For the past three years we have been on a hard and fast (well, not as fast as we wanted, haha) course toward that end. Our time, our money, and our prayers have all somehow centered on an unknown little girl from Vladivostok, Russia. So this letdown, however expected, brings to the forefront how unfair it is that we have invested so much only to never see our goal be met in the way we had anticipated. And c’mon, we’re human. It hurts. ….It sucks.
You are wondering what our next step is; what our plans are.
We have investigated every country on our planet earth that does foreign adoptions and found only one match. Most countries are resolute not to adopt out their children until they have turned eight years-old, or unless the adoptive parents can become citizens in some way. There are all kinds of crazy rules and they vary from country to country. But for our needs, there is only one real option. And it’s a Hague Convention-ruled country. Russia was not. That would mean completely starting over with everything from the VERY BEGINNING, even the home study. Every paper, every authorization, every form; is all oriented to the Hague status of a country. Switching would mean starting from scratch, and there is no fast track for people who have already been waiting for three years. We could easily end up waiting another three. And we’re tired. And we don’t even know or love this other country like we do Russia. (sigh.)
In light of the above, Josh and I have decided not to pursue an international adoption at this time. We’re plumb spent. We need a rest and to pull ourselves together and pray over our next step. So give us some time before you expect us to know what the heck we’re doing, because we really don’t know what to do with ourselves just yet.
In closing, I would like to ask for prayers but don’t know what for. I would also like to tell you that if you’ve given us money for this adoption process we are so incredibly grateful to you- and sorry that the money and hopes are all spent. We do have some money still in the adoption account that is sitting there until we know how to proceed. We will keep everyone informed as to what happens to it. The money in that account will not finance anything other than adoption-related expenses, one way or another. Even if that means donating it elsewhere.
Thanks for loving us and staying with us through all of this. And I know this isn’t really “the end,” it just sort of feels like it right now.