Major Change to Russian Adoption Process

Major Change to Russian Adoption Process

First of all, I received an outpouring of encouragement from people after yesterday’s post.  Here are some of the very kind and very wise words I had sent my way:

Thanks for “keeping it real”! Your strength, patience and persistence are encouraging to me! Stay strong and know you are in our prayers!

Whininess or jubilation, right there with ya honey!

Frustration is a healthy feeling I am so glad to hear I am not the only one who goes through being let down..I am praying for your baby and your family..support whenever u need it

I love you! A verse came to mind. This in no way shape or form is meant to take away or minimizes the hurt or frustration. I would never want to do that to you. Feel it all my friend. But remember that very short verse that says “Be still and know that I am God.”

Sarah, Hannah, Elizabeth . . . they waited, and they were blessed. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. ♥ Praying for you, Sarah.

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praises to you; you, God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Love you all!

U r on my heart constantly

Love you sister dearest!

The challenges have been really hard, but God will move the mountains for you! We went to a church lunch the other day and the pastor said that you have “to trust to trust God.” That really hit me. Then this past weekend the pastor spoke about finishing the race. He spoke about Heb 12:1-2 that talks about finishing the race that God has put before us. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He has surrounded us with a cloud of witnesses to encourage us. Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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Second of all, I feel much better today.  As you can see, I have been surrounded with love and encouragement.  And it is both an immediate relief as well as a reminder that God is there for us.  In this case, He is showing up through all of my friends and family.  His love is real to me today.  So thank you.

But thirdly, I am here to enlighten everyone as to just how flexible you have to be to adopt. (!) Some things change constantly.  We have seen changes in the way certain forms are laid out just in the short time since we’ve submitted our dossier.  Routine changes in paperwork are expected.  Delays are expected. Struggling to find the copious amount of money needed to adopt: expected.  But what we didn’t expect was the latest change to the Russian adoption format;  there will now be three trips required to finalize the adoption instead of two.

An excerpt (slightly edited) from our international agency:

We have just received confirmation that a new amendment to Russian civil law will impact all court proceedings in Russia, including international adoption cases.  Previously, a ten day waiting period for appeal was imposed after the court hearing.  Instead, starting now, judges will orally declare a court decision at the end of the in-person court hearing.  After five days the judge is required to issue the court decision in written form.  The decision will come into effect thirty days after the written decision is issued.  Only after this can the parents apply in person for the child’s passport and citizenship.

This change will require that parents travel to Russia for the court hearing (generally known as Trip 2), then return home after the court hearing is complete.  A third trip for at least one parent will be necessary after the court process is completed to take custody of the child and complete the visa process in Moscow.  This third trip will probably occur around eight weeks after the court hearing and will last approximately one week.  We are not aware of any changes to the first trip at this time.

Translation:

First trip remains the same.  This is where we go have medicals done on us and the child and essentially decide whether or not we want to proceed with the adoption.  This trip is the one afforded to us so that we can determine that the child referred to us is in fact a “fit” for our family and vice versa.  (After the initial phone call/referral it can be a month or three (or more) before we are able to travel on this first trip to make this decision.)

After the first trip it can be another couple of months or even six or more before we are able to return to Russia to go to court.

Second trip (original):  We would have gone to court, had the adoption approved by a judge (hopefully!) and then had a (usually) mandatory 10 day waiting period where we got to hang out with our child in relief that it was all over but in anticipation of getting the child home.  After the 10 days we would stop in Moscow on our return trip home for a couple of days to secure the child’s passport and visa to get them into the United States.  (the ten days was a “way out” for parents who found they had made the wrong decision, and a nuisance for those who were sure they had made the right one.  It was a way for the Russian government to essentially give one more chance to back out, rather than have families doing that in the US and dumping these unwanted kids into the US foster system, far from their homeland.)  After all of this though, we would be done.  Congratulations!  You’re family is one child bigger.

Second Trip (new rules):  Apparently the approval for the adoption is still being given in court, but only orally.  And even when it’s in writing (within five days of oral declaration) it is not effective for thirty days.  Is this just a way for them to give and extra, EXTRA chance for families to back out? I’m not sure what the driving force behind this change is at this time.  I do know that Americans adopting from Russia have basically made idiots of themselves and neglected their adopted children enough times that Russia is starting to pull out all the stops in protecting these kids rather than stop adoptions with the US altogether.  (This latter option has been visited but not settled on, thank goodness.)  So because the written approval is not valid for thirty days, we will have to return home and wait for it to become valid.

In between the second and third trip, as stated in the memo above, there is expected to be an eight-week wait.  That’s eight weeks longer we will have to wait to get our child home.  Stinky.

Third trip:  As of now, this trip will exist solely to take custody of the child and travel through Moscow (as we would have had to do anyway) to get the child’s visa and passport.  As stated, they are expecting this trip to last about one week.

I have to tell you; the travel is such a HUGE part of our finances for this trip that this will surely cause the cost to go up even further.  Accommodations, food, and plane tickets are almost half of the entire process.  Divide half by the original two trips and each trip costed nearly a quarter of our total expected expenditure.  This means that we may be looking at an additional quarter needed to finance the trip.  So it may be that it will cost 125% of what we expected. This is off the top of my head and I am much more exacting than that.  I will have answers soon with a more realistic goal for money we need to raise.  But for now start sending up those prayers.  We are really on a bumpy ride!  It will all be worth it.  But my butt is already starting to get bruised.  : )

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