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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Russia
Bureau of Consular Affairs

                               (202) 736-7000
     The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been advised by the Ministry of
     Education (the government agency responsible for adoptions) of
     a change in regulations for foreigners adopting in the Russian
     Federation.  This is a direct result of the decree signed by
     Prime Minister Chernomyrdin on September 15, which authorized
     implementing regulations for the Russian adoption law passed in
     March 1995.
     The new regulations are effective September 22, 1995.  As of
     that date, adoptions by foreigners will be considered legal
     only if applicants obtain a letter from the Ministry of
     Education confirming that the child has been made available for
     adoption by Russian citizens for the amount of time required
     under the Russian adoption law.  That time period is three
     months for children under three years of age, and six months
     for children older than three years of age.
     The result is that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow can only process
     immigrant visas for adoptions if the application materials
     contain certification from the Ministry of Education as noted
     previously.  Therefore, U.S. prospective adoptive parents are
     urged to ensure that this formality has been completed prior to
     their travel to Russia.
     Please note, however, that the Russian Ministry of Education
     has stated that prospective adoptive parents with adoption
     decrees signed by the local Russian Federation authorities
     prior to September 22, 1995, will be considered to have a
     legally completed adoption.  Assuming all other documentation
     is in order, these individuals should be eligible to apply for
     immigrant visas for their adopted children at this time.
     The "clock" for the elapsed 3 or 6 month time period began on
     September 22, 1995, for all children registered in the Federal
     Data Bank at that time, regardless of the actual date of entry
     into the system.  Children whose names are added to the Data
     Bank after September 22, 1995, will have a starting date
     according to when they are entered into the system.
     In light of this information, U.S. prospective adoptive parents
     who have identified a child whose adoption was not completed by
     September 22, 1995, and who is not currently in the Data Bank
     are strongly encouraged to have their adoption facilitator in
     Russia take the necessary steps to have the child entered into
     the Data Bank as soon as possible.  U.S. prospective adoptive
     parents who have not yet identified a child may wish to
     consider selecting a child who was already in the Data Bank on
     September 22, 1995.
     This information is current as of October 1995, and will be
     updated as appropriate.

     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
         Adoptions of children from the Russian Federation by
     American citizens is a relatively new phenomenon.  The Embassy
     in Moscow has advised that adoptions by private individuals are
     becoming more and more difficult.  According to the Embassy,
     adoptions are processed the quickest in Moscow and St.
     Petersburg, where there is a high volume of activity and
     officials are familiar with the adoption process.  Generally,
     the farther away from these cities, the longer the process
     takes.  Adoptive parents should expect obstacles and delays,
     especially in the outlying regions of Russia.
         The U.S. Embassy in Moscow processes immigrant visas for
     orphans adopted by American citizens.  The Embassy does not
     assist in identifying children for adoption, nor does it assist
     in the local adoption procedures.  The Embassy does not license
         According to the U.S. citizens who have processed visas at
     the U.S. Embassy for their adopted orphans, adoption in Russia
     can be a time-consuming and confusing process.  The continuing
     economic and political crisis makes travel and communication
     extremely difficult and unreliable.  In the current economy of
     scarcity, basic amenities and services which one might take for
     granted in the U.S., such as gasoline and copying services, are
     often unavailable.  Moreover, without local help, negotiating
     the multi-layered bureaucracy is virtually impossible.  Some
     applicants have spent up to six weeks gathering documents
     before coming to the Embassy for the final interview.

         The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who are
     interested in adopting a child in Russia.  This process can be
     expensive, time-consuming and difficult, involving complex
     foreign and American legal requirements.  Adoptions are given
     careful consideration on a case-by-case basis by both foreign
     judicial authorities and American consular officers to ensure
     that the legal requirements of both countries have been met for
     the protection of the adoptive parent(s), the natural parent(s)
     and the child.  Interested Americans are strongly advised to
     read the following information carefully.  Contact the U.S.
     Immigration and Naturalization Service early in the process,
     before you have identified a specific child to adopt.  Contact
     American consular officials in Russia before formalizing an
     adoption agreement to ensure that appropriate visa procedures
     have been followed.
         Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following
     pattern for visa issuance to orphans:  
                  IR-3 Immigrant Visas       IR-4 Immigrant Visas
     Fiscal       Issued to Russian          Issued to Russian  
     Year         Orphans Adopted Abroad     Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     FY-1992            226                         98
     FY-1993            552                        194
     FY-1994            851                        236
         In general, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of
     Health have authority over maternity hospitals, baby homes,
     children's homes, orphanages and other institutions where
     adoptable children are found.  The Ministry of Education
     oversees intercountry adoptions.  This organization has
     jurisdiction over the entire Russian Federation, except the
     cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg and has established working
     agreements with several U.S. adoption agencies.  In the future,
     the Ministry intends to work exclusively with a group of
     designated agencies.
         The Moscow city government has established a separate
     center to oversee intercountry adoptions within the city.  The
     center is located at ulitsa Shabolovka no. 48.  The local
     telephone number is 952-0247.  In St. Petersburg, prospective
     adoptive parents should contact the St. Petersburg City Council
     Committee on Education.  

         Amendments to the existing marriage and family codes will
     make it possible for foreigners to adopt healthy babies.  In
     addition, adoption processing will be centralized under one
     governmental agency, with the goal of better regulating the
     process.  Among other significant changes to the current law,
     only non-profit agencies accredited to the Government of Russia
     would be able to provide adoption assistance.  Also, criminal
     penalties would be imposed for persons involved in baby selling.
         Requests by foreigners to adopt children must be submitted
     with appropriate U.S. documentation for approval by both
     regional and local authorities.  For example, American adoptive
     parents have been required to submit evidence of their ability
     to support the child, character references, police certificates
     and medical examination results.  Usually, documentation which
     has already been submitted in the U.S. as part of the homestudy
     or advance processing procedure satisfies these requirements.  
         Several U.S. agencies have successfully processed adoptions
     in the former Soviet Union.  Most of these agencies have local
     coordinators who assist in negotiating with local officials,
     interpret and prepare translations and offer other general
     services to prospective parents.  Other agencies send their own
     U.S.-based Russian speaking representatives to assist the
     visiting Americans.
         All documents prepared for transmission to Russian adoption
     authorities must be accompanied by a certified Russian
     translation.  Furthermore, any documents submitted in Russian
     to the Embassy in Moscow for the visa issuance process must be
     accompanied by an English translation.  All documents must be
     notarized and affixed with an "apostille" in accordance with
     the Hague Convention on the legalization of foreign public

         The address of the Russian Embassy is as follows:
                   1125 16th Street, N.W.
                   Washington, D.C.  20036
                   tel:  (202) 628-7551
     Russia also has consulates in the following U.S. cities:
                   San Francisco, CA
                   New York, NY
                   Seattle, WA
         The address of the American Embassy in Russia is as follows:
     Street Address                         Mailing Address
     U.S. Embassy                           U.S. Embassy
     American Citizen Services              American Citizen Services
     Novinskiy Bul'var 19/23                APO AE 09721
     Moscow, Russia
     tel:  (7) (095) 252-2451               fax:  (7) (095) 956-4261
                          telex:  413160 USGSO SU
     The United States also maintains consulates in St. Petersburg
     and Vladivostock.
         Since it is difficult to predict how long it may be
     necessary for you to remain in Russia with your adopted child,
     you may want to consider what articles you might want to bring
     with you.  You should be aware that not all U.S. style baby
     products are readily available abroad.  You may wish to
     consider bringing certain items with you.  These might include:
         - Plastic or cloth baby carrier
         - Bottle nipples
         - Disposable paper diapers
         - Baby wipes
         - Baby blankets
         - Infant wear
         - Thermos bottle, for hot water to prepare dry formula
         - Milk bottles (plastic, glass, and disposable)
         - Disposable plastic bags for milk bottles

         The U.S. Embassy/Consulates all maintain current lists of
     doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your
     child encounter health problems while still in Russia.
         Specific questions regarding adoptions in XXX may be
     addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's
     Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S.,
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded
     information concerning significant changes in adoption
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. 
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour
     automated system includes options to speak with consular
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for
     immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and
     Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed
     in the federal pages of your telephone book, under  U.S.
     Department of Justice.
         In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,
     this information is accessible through the automated fax
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S.
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information,
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing
     consular information via computer, please request document
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
         Questions about naturalization of an adopted child as a
     U.S. citizen after the child has entered the United States
     should be addressed to the INS office with jurisdiction over
     the adoptive parent(s)' place of residence.  The process
     requires that INS Form N-643 Application for Certificate of
     Citizenship in behalf of an Adopted Child, be filed with the
     INS before the child is 18 years of age.
         Interested Americans should be aware that the process of
     adopting a child in Russia and bringing the child to the U.S.
     may be time-consuming and difficult.  The American Embassy and
     Consulates General and the Department of State stand ready to
     assist adoptive parents, within the limits of our authority. 
     U.S. citizens arriving abroad to finalize an adoption are
     advised to proceed carefully with all local foreign adoption
     procedures.  They should also work closely with the nearest
     U.S. Embassy/Consulate throughout the adoption process to
     ensure that the child selected will qualify for U.S.
     immigration benefits and that all the necessary documents are
     in order.  Any feedback adoptive parents are willing and able
     to provide about their experiences while trying to adopt
     children would be very helpful to us in ensuring the validity
     and usefulness of the information in this and similar
     brochures.  Please contact the Office of Children's Issues with
     ideas about how we can try to make the experience easier (if
     possible) or at least easier to understand.
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