I have gotten many questions lately about the Russian adoption process…I guess I have never blogged about it. Silly me.
Basically, right now our paperwork is in Russia, registered in Volgograd. We are waiting on a referral. That could happen today or in several months…no way to know. :) When we get that referral we will receive a picture of the child and the background information. Sometimes this information is questionable…they might have diagnoses on the background information that are not accurate, they might have diagnoses that are not identified, etc. For this reason, we will take all of the information that we receive and let a doctor from the UAB International Adoption Clinic review it and let us know their professional opinion. All they do at the clinic is work with international adoptive families, so they are used to reading these referrals. They will give us their opinion as far as if it looks like the child has fetal alcohol syndrome, if there are any troubling diagnoses in there, etc. At that point we will have the opportunity to accept the referral or turn the referral down and wait for another child. I can’t even imagine turning down the referral once we have seen the face of that child, but…it’s part of the process.
If we choose to accept the referral we will then wait for a travel date. The last family from our agency that adopted from Russia waited 6 weeks between accepting the referral and traveling for the first trip. We will travel to Volgograd for one week (well, we will be gone one week…but travel time is about 24 hours each way, so we aren’t exactly in the country for a whole week) and get to meet our child and spend some time with them each day we are there. At the end of the trip we can officially accept the referral or again, choose not to accept.
We then come back to the US, :( BOO, and do some more paperwork and wait for the next travel date. During this period, there is a possibility that we could lose our referral. The Russian government puts first priority on Russian families adopting, so if a Russian family comes forward interested in our child, they will get priority. This is something that I just can’t think about because I can’t imagine how hard that will be after meeting that baby. Please pray that this doesn’t happen, that God allows the referral that we get to be our child that we bring home!
At some point, typically 1-4 months after that first trip, we will head back to Russia and do some more stuff - court hearings, physicals, psychologicals, etc. The second trip we will be in Russia 3.5 weeks! Loooong trip. Sometimes this trip is broken into two trips, so we would have to make THREE trips to Russia. Yikes. All of this traveling is what makes adopting from Russia so expensive. At the end of the 3.5 weeks we finally get custody of our child and can come back to the US!
So, that is basically the process in a nutshell. Hope that helps answer some questions! :)