04 April 2006

inspired by devon (parenthetically laden)

Yesterday, I had my homestudy (explained in the next four paragraphs, I promise). It was changed from Tuesday to Monday at the last minute. Since we're on spring break (God is good to me) it was easy to accommodate the change in schedule. I didn't sleep the night before. I got up early to make sure everything was ready--and to bake muffins we didn't eat and buy milk they didn't take in their tea.

A social worker (from the US) and the head of her Russia program came to my flat. They spent four hours talking to me. I had filled out checklists (What concerns do you have about adopting?) and written an autobiography (limited to 5 pages--sheesh) so that they'd know what to ask me about. Basically, these are the people who decide if I am fit to adopt. They studied my "home" (read: ME) and also my flat. (I do have quite a posh pad here in St. P...but may be moving soon.)

They basically said I was Pollyanna (anyone surprised?). (Actually, they said Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but I think they meant Pollyanna. I am very good at the glad game.) They think fact that I moved to Russia (to learn about the Russian culture and language) when I knew I wanted to adopt from Russia will be looked upon favorably by the minister of education for my region (they approve the referrals--see below) and the judge who rules on my adoption.

BUT there are many more hoops to jump through before I'm approved. There are forms to fill out, references to acquire, financial statements to compile, documents to gather, fingerprints to run through the FBI computer...All this from St. Petersburg.

We talked about the age/gender/number of children I want to adopt. I'm thinking a girl aged 2-5 or sisters aged 2-6. The lack of space in Russian children's homes (dvetsky dom) means that siblings are often separated. If they are young enough, they may not even remember each other. But, it's also possible that siblings are either together in a dvetsky dom or were together doma (at home) and know each other. I think what I'll do is say I'm open to either 1 or 2 and see who is referred to me.

Referral--After my homestudy is completed, and after I've chosen an agency (goal for the week), I will wait for a referral. My agency will receive basic information about children available for international adoption from the minister of education in the region of Russia to which I'm assigned. (Russian children must be available to Russian families for 9 months before they are available for international adoption.) I will be asked whether or not I want to travel to meet the referral. Then, after meeting the child and having her medical records reviewed (or even having a physical done at the local English-speaking clinic) I can make a decision. At that point, if all goes well, I sign an intention to adopt and wait for a court date.

Someone who adopted from China was very judgmental about the Russian process, saying s/he would never adopt from Russia because you "pick" your child. This is just not the case. I am not out shopping for a child with a list--blue eyes, chestnut hair, exceptional artistic ability, IQ > 110... I know that as a single mother I am not the best person to adopt a child with special needs. And I appreciate the fact that I will know that my child is as healthy as possible. I guess I see the referral process as the equivalent of not smoking or drinking (yeah--not so tough for me) or consuming too much caffeine (OUCH!) during a pregnancy.

I was hoping to adopt NEXT May. From what I'd read, Russian adoptions were taking 10-13 months. Now it seems that timeline might even be speeded up...let's hope my fundraising can keep pace!

Let me know what you want to know. I don't want to bore you all. But, this is certainly filling my head and my heart these days!!


1 comment:

Julie H. said...

Wonderful information. As always you are in my prayers. Love, Julie