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Interesting Facts about Belarus
  • The official name of the country is Рэспу́бліка Белару́сь (Respublika Belarus), which is translated as the Republic of Belarus.
  • Etymology.  The “bela” in the name Belarus stems from the common Slavic root for “white”.  The origin of the “Rus” part of Belarus is somewhat uncertain. It may be from the Byzantinian name for the territory of Eastern Europe, the name used to describe the Chirstian part of old Ruthenian lands, the name for the white clothing worn by the local Slavic population, the name for the old Rus' lands that were not conquered by the Tatars or the Mongols, or from the Latin forms of Russia or Ruthenia.
  • Government. Belarus is a presidential republic, governed by a president and the National Assembly
  • Size. Belarus is slightly smaller than Kansas.
  • Geography. It is landlocked, low-lying with thick forests, flat marshes and fields. Almost 1/3 of its border touches Russia to the north and east. It also borders Ukraine to the south, PolandLithuania and Latvia to the west.
  • MinskIts capital, and largest city, is Minsk.  Minsk was settled by the Early East Slavs by the 9th century.
  • Climate. Belarus has a moderate continental climate, transitional between continental and maritime.  The weather in Belarus consists of cold and humid winters, warm and moist summers.
  • Population.  Most of Belarus' population reside in the urban areas surrounding Minsk and other oblast (regional) capitals. 
  • Ethnicity. More than 80% of the population are native Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians.
  • Language. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and RussianThey are both East Slavic languages, share many grammatical features, and to some extent are mutually intelligible.
  • Economy. Most of the Belarusian economy remains state-controlled, and has been described as "Soviet-style".
  • Imports. The country relies on imports such as oil from Russia. 
  • Cuisine. Food consists mainly of vegetables, meat, and breads. Stapels include pork, cabbage, potatoes, and bread.  Foods are usually either slowly cooked or stewed. One of the most popular Belarusian dishes is draniki (a potato pancake) with machanka (meat-based stew made with pork, sausage, onion, sour cream and flour).
  • Natural Resources of Belarus include timber, peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomitic limestone, marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay. 




Statistics for Belarus



9,625,888 (July 2013 est.)


 Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.81 years 
male: 66.14 years 
female: 77.82 years (2013 est.)


Total fertility rate:


1.46 children born/woman (2013 est.)


Eastern Orthodox 80%

other (including Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim) 20% (1997 est.)

The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox Christianity, the second most important is Roman Catholicism.


GDP - per capita (PPP):


$15,900 (2012 est.) 


definition: age 15 and over can read and write 
total population: 99.6% 
male: 99.8% 
female: 99.5% (2009 est.)


School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):



total: 15 years 
male: 15 years 
female: 16 years (2011)


Belarusian 83.7%

Russian 8.3%

Polish 3.1%

Ukrainian 1.7%

other 3.2% (2009 census)









There are 1,773 children being raised in institutions in Belarus. Hundreds of children were adopted to the USA from Belarus between 1992 & 2005, but then adoptions were suspended.  Fetal alcohol effects are common in the children in Belarus orphanages, as well as in other Eastern European “social homes”. 








On October 4th, 2004 President Aliaksandr Lukashenko imposed new strict restrictions on adoptions, but adoptions have yet to move forward. Since that time intercountry adoptions have been on hold. Belarus hasn't said why there is an apparent suspension or how long it might last. 




The following refers to inter-country adoption from Belarus as it was before it was put on hold, and taking into account the new regulations.


Numbers: In 2011, U.S. citizens adopted one children from Belarus.

Children Available: Will likely include boys and girls, ages 6 months to 16 years, healthy and special needs. These children reside in orphanages.

Visa Processing: Since visa processing will likely be completed in Poland, a trip to Warsaw will be necessary once formalities are completed in Belarus.

Travel required: Both parents (if married) will need to travel; one trip, approximately ten days.

Hague Convention Country?: Yes.

Singles accepted: Yes

Proceedure: Children eligible for adoption will be placed on a central registry for six months, making them available for adoption locally, before being considered for intercountry adoption. The National Adoption Center will review cases on the list over six months and then send files to the Minister of Education for approval before proceeding to court.

Post Adoption: Child must maintain Belarusian citizenship until age 18 (dual citizenship), with post-placement reports.


We strongly urge you to comply with the requirements established by the Belarusian government and complete all post-adoption requirements in a timely manner.  Your adoption agency may be able to help you with this process and/or provide you with more specific guidelines.  


If your agency is unable to help you with this, or no longer has an active program, the Joint Council on International Services suggests that families in this situation contact them for guidance.


In Fall 2006, the following advice was obtained by Karen's Adopiton Links for all families who needed to file their own Post Placement Reports:

  1. Use a Licensed Social Worker to do the Post Placement Report 
  2. Translate report with a Certified Translator. 
  3. Get the Post Placement Report apostilled.
  4. Include 5 pictures
  5. Suggested Sample form 
  6. Send directly by DHL or FedEx to the Minister of Education in the country or region of adoption. 







Resources below are presented for information purposes only. Unless noted specifically as a FRUA INC group, FRUA INC does not endorse, nor have any connection with the following.


FRUA INC Belarus & Kazakhstan Chat 

Belarus Adoptions (U.S. Department of State)


Belarus Adoption News

Official Website of the Republic of Belarus

Belarus (Wikipedia)

Belarus (CIA Factbook)

Belarus (Info Please) 

Karen's Adoption Links

InterCountry Adoption Service Provider Search

PEAR (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform) 

International Adoptive Medical Clinics & Physicians

Child Welfare Gateway

North American Council on Adoptable Children

Hague Accreditation and Approval


 There are also other online parent support groups, lists and forums related to adoption from Bulgaria on Yahoo GroupsFacebook, the EEACAdoptive FamilesAdoption Services Support Groups, and


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