February 21, 2013...FRUA passing along an Information request from the U.S. Dept. of State:
This week the U.S. Department of State requested help in getting the word out that additional information is needed from those families who remain in process to adopt in Russia. The info will be used by those doing the negotiating, to prepare for talks between U.S. and Russian officials regarding the adoption ban. The meetings may begin occurring as early as the week of February 25th, so completing this information as soon as possible is critical.
Regardless of whether you have already emailed your prospective adoptive family status to Russiaadoption@state.gov., the State Dept. urgently requests the following six lines of information be Emailed as a document to Russiaadoption@state.gov.:
1. Name of prospective adoptive parents
2. Name of child/children with whom you have been matched in Russia. (If you have not yet been matched, simply write "not available")
3. Region/Oblask where your child is located
4. Is the child a special needs child (If you have not yet been matched, simply note that your INS-600 establishes you as willing to adopt a special needs child and if your agency is already working on your behalf n a region, note this.)
5. Number of times/amount of time you have met with or seen your child during your trips. This is very important; as it documents that a relationship has already been established.
6. A copy of your privacy waiver; signed, and scanned to a file size no bigger than 3 megabytes. The State Dept. cannot take files larger than 3 megabytes, so please adjust your scanner sizes so the file is not too large to be received.)
This waiver form is available at the State Depts' Office of Children's Issues at adoptions.state.gov/
Should you have any questions, you can email the Office of Chidlren's Issues at Russiaadoption@state.gov. Be aware that the State Dept. does not advocate on behalf of any specific family, but on behalf of the group of American families wishing to adopt in Russia and for the human rights of children to grow up in families.
As more information becmes available, FRUA will share it here.
January 10, 2013...FRUA's comments regarding Stakeholder Update on Russian Adoption ban:
Over 1,000 family emails have been received from waiting families to the DOS email address ( Russiaadoption.state.gov ). Families continue to register. The earlier ASKCI.gov email address, where some registered, is rolling over into the Russiaadoption.state.gov.
The Bi-lateral agreement is still in effect. The Children's Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation has issued an official notification to the US Dept. of State of intent to terminate the bi-lateral agreement on Inter-country Adoption in 12 months, per the terms of the agreement. That provides a 12-month window in which, theoretically, all pending adoptions can be processed. While the ban violates the spirit of the agreement, it does not violate any of its rules.
The Russia government is back from holiday, and there appears to be much early confusion on how to interpret the ban. There are reports of postponement of court dates, of delays in the adoption process surrounding obtaining government-issued forms, birth certificates, and passports to prepare to exit the country with children already legally adopted, of government employees who truly do not know what to do.
With so many reports of authorities simply saying they will do nothing until they receive direction from authorities at the Ministry of Justice, it may be at least 30 days before there will be any definitive direction. The urgency at the moment is for pending adoptions; clarity is needed for those in the 30-day waiting period, whose adoptions are approved, whose parents are waiting for word to return to Russia to bring the children home.
As yet, we have no idea yet how the ban would affect those who facilitate adoptions in Russia, the pipeline of adoption, or those who provide American aid. The ban's language would prevent completion. No one will yet speculate on whether an amendment to the ban, allowing the adoption of special-needs children might be submitted or what the odds of passage might be. Russian President Putin used the term “those with completed court decrees” when referencing the adoptions which might be allowed to receive final documents, but we don't know yet know what that distinction means.
There is no State Dept. definition of what is meant by adoptions “in process.” FRUA supports the broadest interpretation possible. In general FRUA would like to see it include all adoption process begun before Jan. 1, 2013, even those who have not yet traveled.
Those families wishing to switch adoption countries may do so. The USCIS is accepting I-600As home studies for Russia, but families submitting them do so aware that they may not be able to complete their adoptions. If families have questions, they can go to USCIS.gov for info on the website, or they can call 877-424-8374.
An imortant point to keep in mind: Russia has a sovereign right to ban adoption of its citizens. Our government is actively engaged with the government of Russia and, coordinating with our embassy in Moscow trying to work toward an understanding of how the ban will be implemented.
There were several questions from those families who were within the 30 day waiting period of what to do about their return trip to pick up their child. The State Dept. had no details yet and can not tell people what to do. Some families are waiting to learn more, others are traveling and hoping their regions will keep their court dates. Many families approved to adopt special needs children are concerned that because they weren't exactly matched with a child, that they might not be included in the “in-process” definition. The Embassy is doing an outreach call to all adoptive families actually in Russia the week of 1-14. For those traveling, DOS requested that families let them know their Russian travel dates.