Adopting Russian OrphansWe do not provide any adoption services. For general adoption questions please feel free to contact our friends at Heart to Heart.
4,939 Russian orphans were adopted by American families in 2002.
Russia is likely to provide the majority of adopted children to the families
in the United States for the next three years, as China has sharply reduced their
quota for international adoptions. It only takes six to twelve months to complete
adoption process in Russia. Supporting Russian orphanages helps American families find and adopt
Based on interviews with adoptive parents by U.S. Embassy officials,
the average cost of an adoption from Russia is approximately $20,000 including travel. It
is much less expensive to adopt a child over 18 months old or a child with special needs.
There are no age requirements, however most adoptive parents
are 25-55 years old. Singles and divorcees are permitted to adopt.
Russia requires that singles show evidence of above average financial ability
and a child care plan if they are currently employed. Singles are also
required to submit a psychiatric evaluation for the Russian Government and
are only allowed to adopt one child at a time. In addition, there must be at
least 16 years difference between single parent and adoptive child. There are
no residency requirements for adopting parents.
Recent U.S. immigration statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans from Russia (IR-3 and IR-4 visas combined)*:
*Immediate Relative (IR)-3 visas are issued to orphans adopted in Russia. IR-4 visas are issued to orphans whose adoption will be finalized in the United States.
Russian law requires that a child must have been registered in the state database
for children left without parental care for at least three months before he
or she is considered eligible for international adoption.
The government office responsible for adoptions in Russia is the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.
Ministry of Education
Prospective adoptive parents are advised
to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for
adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective
adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and licensing office of the Department
of Health and Family Services in the state where the agency is located. The
U.S. Embassy in Russia has a list of agencies accredited by the Russian authorities
to provide adoption services. The list is available at the
Adoptions page of the U.S. Embassy's
in Moscow Web site.
Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State can vouch for the efficacy
or professionalism of any agent or facilitator. Please see Important Notice Regarding Adoption Agents and Facilitators at
the Web site for the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Parents first apply to a regional Ministry of Education,
which directs them to an orphanage. Adoptive parents are required to travel
to Russia to meet prospective adoptive children. There they select a child
and apply to the court to get a court date. Adoptive parents may return to
the United States after applying for a court date. However, the prospective
adoptive child must remain in Russia during this time. Adoptive parents travel
a second time to Russia to attend the court hearing. After the court hearing,
they obtain the adoption certificate and a new birth certificate (showing the
child's new name, and the adoptive parents as the parents) from the ZAGS (civil
registration office), after which they can obtain the passport for the child
from the OVIR (visa and registration department). Parents then can contact
the Embassy to make an appointment to apply for the immigrant visa. (Note:
the child's passport will be issued in the child's new name, which will appear
in Cyrillic characters and in "English." However, the Russian officials
will transliterate the name from Cyrillic into English 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.)
Adopted Russian children must be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave the country. For U.S. citizen families, this is done after an adopted child receives an immigrant visa to the United States.
The Consular Section of the MFA is open for the registration of adopted children
The fee for the registration is $65 (the equivalent in rubles)
The following documents are needed for registration:
1. Original of the child's passport
The following documents are required by the Russian court for an adoption:
1. Home Study
All of these documents should be translated into Russian and apostilled (see below for information on authenticating documents). After prospective parents identify the child they should fill out the adoption application, which can be obtained at the Russian court where the adoption hearings will take place.
Additional required statements for the court hearings from the parents, which should be signed in front of a Russian notary, are:
1. Prospective adoptive parents have been informed about the health conditions
of the child and they accept them;
1. Photocopies of Birth Certificates for each family member.
Because you are adopting from abroad, you need to get their approval for a visa for the child. If you do not have the forms for an adoption packet application you may obtain them directly from BCIS. Call BCIS at 1-800-870-FORMS or download from http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/i-600.htm. Also see INS Forms and Fees.1. Fill out the I-600A only.
2. Send photocopy of Birth certificates, or proof of citizenship.
3. Send photocopy of divorce decree if applicable.
4. Send photocopy of marriage certificate if applicable.
5. Favorably recommended home study.
6. Submit $460.00 plus $50 per person for fingerprints, must be cashier's check or money order.
All U.S. documents submitted to Russian government must be authenticated. Russia is a party to the Hague Legalization Convention. Generally, U.S. civil records, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, must bear the seal of the issuing office and an apostle must be affixed by the state's Secretary of State where the document was issued. Copies of tax returns, medical reports and police clearances should likewise be authenticated. Prospective adoptive parents should contact the Secretary of State for the state where documents originate for instructions and fees for authenticating documents.
Documents issued by a federal agency must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office. Their address is Authentications Office, Department of State, 518 23rd St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20520, (202) 647-5002. Fee: $5.00. For additional information, call the Federal Information Center: 1-800-688-9889, and choose option 6 after you press 1 for touch tone phones. Walk-in service is available from the Authentications Office from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Monday-Friday, except holidays. Walk-in service is limited to 15 documents per person per day (documents can be multiple pages). Processing time for authentication requests sent by mail is 5 working days or less.
Embassy of the Russian Federation
U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS
A child adopted by a U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa to enter the
U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. The child must be an orphan, as defined
by U.S. immigration regulations. Children who do not qualify under this definition
may not immigrate to the U.S. as an orphan even if legally adopted by a U.S.
citizen. There are two distinct categories of immigrant visas available to
orphans adopted by U.S. citizens. The two categories are Immediate Relative-3
(IR-3) and IR-4. An IR-3 is issued when a child is adopted under the laws of
a foreign country. An IR-4 is issued when a child will be adopted in the United
States. (That is, the American parents have custody of a child to take him
or her to the United States to be adopted there.) An IR-4 is also issued when
state pre-adoption requirements require that a child be adopted in that state
or if both parents have not seen the child. The Department of State encourages
U.S. citizens to verify that a particular child is an orphan according to U.S.
immigration law and regulations before proceeding with an adoption.
If an adopted child has not resided with and been in the legal custody of the adoptive parent for at least two years (or if the child has not yet been adopted) the child must qualify under section 101(b)(1)(F) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act in order to apply for an immigrant visa. The main requirements of this section are as follows:
The child is under the age of 16 at the time an I-600 Petition is filed with
the BCIS on his or her behalf;
The adopting parent(s) must meet the following BCIS requirements in order to file the I-600 petition for the immigrant visa for an adopted child:1. If the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent is married, his or her spouse must also be a party to the adoption;
2. If the adoptive or prospective adoptive parent is single, he or she must be at least 25 years of age;
3. The adoptive or prospective adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen.
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