45.jpgWith the assistance of an adoption agency accredited by the Russian Government, prospective adoptive parents first apply to a regional Ministry of Education office for permission to adopt in that region.   The prospective adoptive parents does not travel to Russia at this stage.  The agency obtains the referral without the presence of the parents. 

2.  The Ministry of Education, upon approving the application, directs the prospective parents to an orphanage. 

3.  Adoptive parents must travel to Russia to meet prospective adoptive children. 

4.  Prospective adoptive parents travel to Russia , and with the assistance of their accredited adoption agency, make arrangements to visit the identified orphanage.  There they may select a child and apply to the court to get a court date. 

Note:  Prospective adoptive parents cannot pick any child from the orphanage.  A child is pre-selected by the agency in cooperation with the local MinEd and according to the parameters the PAPs specified in application.  If the PAP does not bond with that child they can ask for another referral.  The PAPs receive whatever information the orphanage has about the orphan’s medical condition and his/her biological parents.  Sometimes there is no information available.  The prospective adoptive parent can review the medical information on the orphan at the orphanage at the time of the first meeting. 

5.  After prospective parents identify the child, they should fill out an adoption application (a court document), which can be obtained at the Russian court where the adoption hearings will take place.

6.  Prospective adoptive parents may return to home country after applying for a court date. However, the prospective adoptive child must remain in Russia during this time.Prospective adoptive parents may stay in country but the wait for the court date can be 4-6 weeks and often the PAP is not allowed to spend time with the orphan prior to the court decision.  It is expensive to wait in country and there can be problems with visa validity so it is advised that the prospective adoptive parents return to their country and make a second trip once the court date is established.

7.  For their court date, prospective adoptive parents will be required to produce three additional statements on the issues below.  The prospective parents must sign these statements in front of a Russian notary:

a. Prospective adoptive parents have been informed about the health conditions of the child and they accept them;

b. They will register their adopted child with the MFA;

c. They will provide the Ministry of Education with periodic, required post-placement reports on time. Post-placement reports are periodic reports on the welfare of the adopted orphan in his new family. The first post-placement report is due six months after the court decision went into effect; the second report is due six months after the first one but not later than 12 months after the court decision went into effect.  The third post-placement report is due at 24 months, and the fourth, at 36 months.  

8. After the court hearing, the new parents will obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate (showing the child's new name, and the adoptive parents as the parents) from the civil registration office (ZAGS), after which they can obtain the Russian passport for the child from the visa and registration department (OVIR).

Note: The child's passport will be issued in the child's new name, which will appear in Cyrillic characters and in the Roman alphabet.  However, the Russian officials will transliterate the name from Cyrillic into the Roman alphabet and the result usually will not be spelled as your family spells it.   For example, Smith will be Smit (there is no "th" in Russian); Callaghan will be Kalahan, etc. The fact that the child's name is "misspelled" in the passport will NOT cause a problem when you travel and should not be a cause for concern.)

9.  Once the new birth certificate and Russian passport have been issued, parents then can contact the Embassy in Moscow to make an appointment to apply for the child’s immigrant visa.