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.