Travel to Russia for Adoption / Travel to Russia for Adoption

Travel Issues During Adoption from Russia

It takes two trips to Russia to complete the child adoption process.

What Travel is Involved to Adopt a Child From Russia?

Two trips to Russia are required to complete an adoption.  Please take note that in both the first and second trips, the adopting family will have very little, if any, control over how the process works once you step off the plane. The less you get upset at not being in control, the better you will feel and the more smoothly the time will pass.

The first visit is scheduled after your dossier has been processed, and after a preliminary match has been made. There are a number of factors such as age, sex, ethnicity and availability that can impact on how quickly you are matched with a child. The more flexible you are on these factors, the faster you can expect to receive a referral with the information regarding a specific child. The Russian adoption authorities require this first trip to allow the adopting family the opportunity to meet and interact with the child and to make the final determination as to whether or not the match is a positive one for you as well as for the child. If you feel confident with the match, the adoption will proceed. However, if for any reason you feel the match is not a good fit, you will usually be given the opportunity to be matched with another child before you leave the country. This first trip normally can be completed in 4-7 days.

Upon your return to the states, you must then undertake the process of completing the paperwork of the region-specific documents in your Dossier, if any.   Once all the documents have been completed and returned to Russia, and the case has been reviewed by regional officials and a prosecutor for the Ministry of Justice, your final adoption court date can be set.  You will then be required to return to Russia to finalize the adoption in court. Although the estimated wait time to be granted a court date can vary widely from region to region, the second trip can usually be scheduled within approximately 6-12 weeks after your return from the first trip.

While the first trip involves the meeting with the child and the final acceptance of the referral, the second one is needed to complete the adoption. As mentioned above, the average waiting time before the second trip is typically 6-12 weeks from the first trip, but this time can vary greatly.  All regions require both parents to make both trips to Russia. In some regions, and in some situations, it may be necessary for a family to make three trips to Russia. While the first trip is usually 4-7 days in length to visit the referred child, the second trip is 10-25 days approximately with the purpose of this trip being the completion of the process of finalizing the adoption.

During the second trip the adopting family must appear in court. Civil law in Russia stipulates that a judges' decision regarding an adoption can not go into effect for 10 days. Historically, many of the judges in Russia were waiving the 10 days, and putting their decisions regarding adoption cases into effect immediately. In rare instances, some judges did not waived the 10 day requirement, thus making it necessary for families to stay in Russia an extra 10 days or to travel home and return a third time to Russia once the 10 waiting period was over. Currently, in most regions, the 10 day waiting period after the hearing is not waived.  Only one parent must remain in Russia after the court hearing if their 10 waiting period is not waived. Accordingly, we advise all families to be prepared to stay in Russia during this waiting period, thus making the expected length of the entire second trip approximately 10-25 days.

As with any international adoption program, the adopting family's U.S. based agency will assist you in making your travel plans. It is important to recognize that it is virtually impossible to plan your adoption travel around a personal calendar. Largely, your adoption will be completed according to the time schedule and prerogatives of the Courts and Judges, and not what would be most convenient for you or the agency. Your stress will be less if you are prepared to be flexible. Typically, your agency will help you with the travel plans and will arrange for you to be met and guided through every step of your trip to Russia by representatives working with the agency. While in Russia you will have the opportunity to stay in a hotel or, in some regions, you will have the option of a hotel or a stay with a host family.

Please remember to be flexible.  Travel outside the U.S. is often much more unpredictable and more challenging than traveling within the U.S.  The Russian culture, psyche, food, language, and concepts of service and time are different than those most U.S. citizen are accustomed to.  Remember to be patient, be flexible, expect the unexpected, expect delays and frustrations, and always try to be a courteous and friendly representative of the U.S. and its adopting families.

Additional Information

If you want additional information and help regarding travel involved in a Russian adoption, please contact our adoption agency.