are many children in Russian orphanages, but not all of them are
adoptable. To be legally adoptable, biological parental rights must
have been terminated involuntarily by a court, or relinquished voluntarily
by the parents.
children may be true orphans (parents are deceased) or abandoned.
If children are abandoned, legal proceedings to terminate parental
rights must be completed prior to proceeding with adoption. Only
about 20% of younger children in orphanages, and about 10% of older
children in orphanages, are legally adoptable.
and domestic adoptions in Russia are not a personal affair between
the parties (adoptive parents, adoption agency, and child and guardians).
As in the United States, adoptions are a highly regulated legal
procedure. The adoption agency and prospective parents have to follow
and respect the applicable Russian laws and regulations. The regional
Departments of Education are legal guardians of orphans residing
in their regions and provide referrals of children for adoptions
through approved agencies to agency clients. AIA agency and its
regional representatives work with the Departments of Education
to obtain such referrals. Russia is a country with strong bureaucratic
traditions, and numerous state offices and agencies within various
regions and at the national level in Moscow are involved in each
parents are personally involved in their adoption procedure and
both spouses have to personally appear in the Russian court proceedings.
any court procedure in the United States, an adoption requires pre-hearing
preparation work, filing of paperwork and case scheduling, a court
hearing, and finalizing paperwork
agency is competitive as to fees, and invites comparison with any
other agency in terms of fees charged and services provided. Our
charges covers numerous services provided in Russia and USA, including
costs of agency operation and the agency's share of charitable contributions
to the orphanages.
understand adopting a child may be a very emotional procedure, and
waiting to complete the procedures may be a difficult experience.
To facilitate this process our agency seeks to empower each adoptive
family to be proactively involved in their own case, and to become
educated consumers by learning about the adoption process. This,
coupled with our devotion to realizing a family for each referred
child, helps pass the time quickly until the happy conclusion.
1. Agency registration
Please submit a free application to the AIA agency. Based on this application the agency will screen applicants to ensure that they qualify under Russian regulations. After approval of application, we will ask you to send a $1,000 nonrefundable registration fee to start your adoption procedure. However, AIA’s acceptance of clients is contingent on its review of their homestudy, and if AIA does not accept the clients based on review of the homestudy, it will refund all fees except for $200 to be retained as a processing fee).
Initial dossier for obtaining referral of adoptable children
The procedure for obtaining officially sanctioned
referrals of children for adoption is as follows:
will provide adoptive parents with necessary forms and instructions
for preparation of the initial dossier, and assist in preparation
of the documents, in accordance with Russian federal and regional
parents send properly authenticated documents to AIA for review;
the documents and prepares numerous additional required documents;
all materials, properly authenticated, to the agency representative
in the region you are adopting from;
representative ensures a proper translation and certification
of each required document is completed;
representative files the paperwork with the regional Department
of Education in anticipation of receiving referral.
Further procedural details are provided after receipt of registration
materials and the registration fee. For further information on securing
authenticated (apostilled) documents click on travel.state.gov web site.
3. Child referral
Depending on parents' criteria for their desired child, the referral will take from 2 up to 9 months after receipt of your initial dossier in Russia. AIA strictly complies with all Alaska regulations regarding provision of information about the child to be adopted. Under Russian law, the adopting parent is entitled to certain information contained in the institutional (orphanage) file on the child, including health, development and social background information. After receipt of your referral (which contains very limited information on the desired child), parents will travel to Russia to meet the child and then can inquire about any additional available information about the child. During this visit AIA strongly advises each client to consult with the health care provider of client's choice regarding health and development issues of the desired child. We recommend clients also consider requesting supplemental medical evaluations of the child by an independent local Russian doctor during their trip or to contact the American Medical Center in Moscow in arranging supplementary health evaluations for their child.
After deciding to accept a referral, clients complete the full adoption dossier. A list of all necessary documents will be in your adoption guide and the agency will assist as needed while you complete the required documentation.
4. Applying to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
Each American wishing to adopt must receive permission
from his/her local USCIS District Office to adopt a foreign child.
To qualify for approval, one petitioning parent must be an American
citizen, 25 years of age or older. To obtain this permission it's
necessary to submit USCIS form I-600-A to your local USCIS office.
You may order this form by calling 800-870-3676 or download this
form from the USCIS web site.
Usually, a notice of approval takes 60 days or more, depending on
the USCIS office which processes the form, so we advise you to start
the procedure early. The approval will be valid for 18 months from
date of issue. Please contact us should you have any questions on
the USCIS I-600-A form.
5. Home Study
You must choose a home study agency in your state
of residence to secure a home study report. This requires completing
a series of meetings with an assigned social worker to determine
your ability to parent an adopted child and help you to prepare
for international adoption. The home study caseworker may require
that you secure a health evaluation from your doctor, and a police
clearance form from your local police. Your USCIS approval will be
contingent on obtaining a favorable home study recommendation. AIA
agency provides home study services for its Alaskan clients.
6. Adoption timeline
After submitting a completed adoption dossier and filing it in Russia, a court hearing date for your adoption will be scheduled depending on regional procedures.
7. Finalizing your adoption
Depending on the region you are adopting from
and your flight arrangements, you may be in Russia for 10-20 days,
during which time you will complete a court hearing, secure post-adoption
paperwork (new birth certificate and passport for your adopted child)
and apply for the child's US immigrant visa at the US Embassy in
Moscow. Some regions waive a 10 day appeal period after the adoption
court hearing, while others do not, which accounts for the different
time frames. Further information is set forth in the agency adoption
Please note that in all regions agency personnel
will be assisting you from the time you arrive until you board your
plane to return home.
After the adoption
is completed, but before returning home, an agency associate will
assist you in registering the adopted child at the Russian Ministry
of Foreign Affairs in Moscow, as required under new Russian regulations.
Additionally, 4 post-adoption reports will be required for the initial
3 years after arriving home. The agency will, without cost to you,
translate, authenticate, relay (via Federal Express), legalize and
file all required post-adoption reports to Russian authorities as
required by law.