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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
How I went about researching Russian adoption
One of the first things CS and I did when we decided to adopt was to go buy a journal. We had grand intentions of journaling everything about our journey. We didn't know what the heck a blog was at the time. We agonized over a dumb journal. Eventually the journal would become a catch-all for my little tid-bits of stuff. I have our timeline written down, email addresses of people, quotes and verses I have found, and sure... a few journal entries thrown in there. I used it as a resource for things I found on the internet. I am pro at writing things down on little scraps of paper and losing them in the abyss of my desk.

I am (was) a stay at home wife. I worked when the mood suited me or someone called asking me to design them a garden. Mostly I researched. I spent nearly every free waking hour researching Russian adoption. I would type in Russian adoption, Russian orphans, international adoption, adoption grants, anything adoption related into google to find as much as I could. And would you believe it I never found a single blog. I did find all kinds of websites with info. I found FRUA, Adopting from Russia, lots of Yahoo groups, APRuss message boards (of which I don't suggest), websites by different families. Elizabeth Case is one in particular. If you haven't read her site do it. She explains (in graphic detail) exactly why you do your research about the country you want to adopt from AND the agency you select. I also found Karen's Adoption Links. This is linked on our side bar for a good reason. She has tons of info out there.

I was a reading fool. CS was too. He spent countless hours reading also. He would be at work and I at home and I would get an instant message with a link attached. This was my cue to read that page. I would do the same to him. (We still IM each other all day long) We wanted to be the most informed parents we could be.

I read info on the state of Russian orphanages, the life expectancy of Russian orphans, info about the process and what it entailed. It was only after we had exhausted nearly every resource on the internet that we finally decided that yes... Russia was for us. Once that decision was made I ordered the "Bible." It is the only book I suggest for people going through a Russian adoption. It is The Russian Adoption Handbook, by John McLean. I have read it over and over and over. I read it cover to cover in about a week after receiving it. And it is a pretty hefty book.

One of the things that I did as an ongoing research measure was to read about what could go wrong with a Russian adoption. What are the things that we need to be aware of and where could we avoid these pitfalls. We learned that you could lose a referral (happened to us), you could be asked for countless bits of paperwork (happened to us), you could have to complete an 8 doctor medical form (happened to us) and we learned that there could be unexplained delays (also happened to us).

At the time we started our adoption research things were moving fine in the world of Russian adoption. Unfortunately things were about to take a very wrong turn. In late 2004/ early 2005 the Russian government slowed things down to do yet another rework of the system. This is when they decided that orphans must remain on the databank for a longer period of time. Immediately this upped the age of our child. We were still hoping for a baby.

I spent hours reading posts on FRUA about this whole delay thing. What did it mean? Would it cause us any problems. This is when posts about reaccreditation started cropping up. At the time I didn't think anything of it. The handbook said that reaccreditation wasn't really that important. Of course they didn't say anything terribly negative about AMREX either and we all know how that worked out.

So set with our decision to adopt an orphan from Russia and knowing full well what we were getting ourselves into we started the hunt for an agency.
8 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
L,
I want to say thank you for taking the time to walk us through your adoption decision making process. It might not be as exciting as posting stories and pictures of O, but these are the things I need to hear. I'm in the decision making stage and really value hearing your opinions and experiences. Your earlier post referred to wanting to share "the completed family point of view". I got excited when I read that because that's what I need to know.

Thanks,
Michelle in AK

Anonymous Candy said...
I enjoy reading your story brings back many memories, sad and happy ones:)(((hugs)))

Elle, this is awesome! I wanted to know how long were you in the researching stage before you finally got to start. I apologize if I have forgotten. It IS hugely significant. However, as I am reading your story, it is helpful to keep in mind. this is a great insight. Thanks for taking the time to share.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love to hear how people started their journey!
Serena

Blogger Melissa said...
Hey girl! This is a great idea...I'm enjoying reading about your experiences. You're right...the Elizabeth Case story had a very profound impact on me as well! Thanks again for sharing! :)

Blogger Ann said...
Wow you really did do your research. Now I feel like a shmutz. We did research, but not nearly as much as you did.

Blogger Lauri said...
I remember coming across Elizabeth Case's story and we exchanged a few emails... very sad story indeed


I also researched IA until I could research no more

Blogger adoptedthree said...
I began our adoption process for Russia (and Perm) with my dossier in Perm when they closed down in April 2000 and my agency could not get reacreditted for a long time so we switched to Ukraine. Elizabeth was one of the first people I ever met online and we talked and emailed like crazy since her son was from Perm. Coincidentally, the Corrigans she mentions in the story were with us in Ukraine in region. Such a small world. Congrads on pickle he is a cutie

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