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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Adoption Agencies Working in Russia – 2012

Over a dozen American adoption agencies currently hold permits to work in Russia.  Back in December, 3-D contacted all that we know of and asked if they wished for our website to highlight them.  We posed several of the most basic questions.  If they wanted to reach thousands of readers, free of charge, no strings attached, they simply needed to fill out the form, with two reminder e-mails in January.

Sounds simple enough, and attractive enough, for those understanding that our readership is predominantly adoptive parents, friends or family of adoptive parents, and adoptive-parent wannabes.  Talk about a tailored, target audience.

Two agencies responded:  Buckner and Lutheran Social Services.  They were appreciative, and polite, and took a few minutes out of their busy days to communicate.  “Refreshing and impressive” is all I can say.

Here are their profiles and interestingly enough, their costs are very similar.  Buckner includes all travel costs in their estimates, and LSS includes most travel, but not international airfares.


1.  Agency Name:    Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, Inc.

Website Address:     www.beafamily.org

2.  Contact Telephone:     214-319-3426

E-mail Contact:     iyoung@buckner.org   Irina Young, Russia Program Director

3.  Approximate Cost of a Russian Adoption in 2012:  $37,500 – $38,000+

Sum includes:  agency fees, international fees, and travel costs

4.  Items not covered in the overall cost include:  home study and post- placement fees, USCIS fees, out-of-pocket expenses related to family’s dossier preparation

5.  How many trips to Russia are required ? Three (3) trips

First trip:  5 – 7 days

Second trip:  3 – 5 days

Third trip: 10 -11 days

Both parents are required to travel on the first two trips; however, there is an option of only one parent traveling on the third trip.

6.  Names of regions in which your agency currently works:  St. Petersburg , Arkhangelsk and the Arkhangelsk region, Murmansk and the Murmansk region, Krasnodar and the Krasnodar region, Chuvashia, Novgorod.

7.  Ages of children available:  12 months – 15 years old

8.  Other comments (eligibility requirements of parents, registration of child in Moscow or in US, etc.): Eligibility requirements for parents:* Heterosexual married couples, who are between the ages of 25 – 50 years old, are eligible to adopt.   * Single heterosexual women who are living alone and are between the ages of 25 – 50 years old are also eligible to adopt.  * There should be no more than 45 years age difference between the parents’ age(s) and the age of the child whom they are adopting.  * Couples must have been married a minimum of 2 years.  Second marriages must be a minimum of 3 years.  * There may be no more than 15 years age difference between husband and wife.  * Families may not have more than 5 children under the age of 18 already living in their home to be able to adopt.  * U.S. citizens in all 50 states are eligible to adopt from this program. Waiting time for a referral: Wait time for a referral of  a male child older than 3 years of age is approximately 6 – 9 months; for a female child – 9-12 months.  Wait time for a referral of a boy younger than 3 years old is approximately 3 – 9 months. Wait time for a referral of a girl younger than 3 years old is approximately 16 + months. Registration of the child’s adoption:* The family will register the child’s adoption with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow.  * The family will  also register the child’s adoption in the U.S. after completing 4 post-placement  visits with the family’s social worker at 6, 12, 24 and 36 months.


1.  Agency Name:  Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsine and Upper Michigan, Inc.

Website Address:  www.lssadopt.org

2.  Contact Telephone and E-mail Contact:

Martha.Nack@lsswis.org    608-270-6625

Susan.Dilgard@lsswis.org   608-270-6653

3.  Approximate Cost of a Russian Adoption in 2012:  $33,250 +

Sum includes agency fee, foreign fee, in-country travel and US Embassy, refundable post-placement report deposit

4.  Items that would not be covered in the overall cost:  homestudy and post-placement fees, dossier prep, airfare to and from Russia, certifications/apostilles, Russian visas

5.  How many trips to Russia are required?  Two or Three Trips

Trip One:  7-10 days

Trip Two:  14-24 days (or 14 days with a Third Trip)

Trip Three:  3 days

6.  Names of regions in which your agency currently works:  17 Regions:  Stavropol, Kursk, Pskov, Tambov, Bryansk, Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Karelia (Petrozavodsk), Yaroslavl, Udmurtia, Perm/Komi, Omsk, Kirov, Novosibirsk, Buryatia, Vladivostok

7.  Ages of children available:  12 months – 15 years old

8.  Other comments (eligibility requirements of parents, registration of child in Moscow or in US, etc.): •Families must be flexible  •Married or single persons between 25 and 50 years old. Applicants over 50 on a case-by-case basis.   •No requirement for length of marriage or regarding previous divorce.   •No limit on number of children already in adopting family.  •Individuals with criminal record, mental health diagnosis, or history of cancer assessed on case-by-case basis.  •Applicants must be open to either gender, 0-36 months, or if adopting two children, 0-5 years.   •Travel required by both parents; currently 2-3 trips approximately 4-12 weeks apart.   •Family must complete post placement reports and registration.

Russia- Children Available:   •Children ages 12 months, toddlers, older children and sibling groups.  •Applicants must be open to a child of either gender.  •Birth parents have either terminated their parental rights or abandoned their child.   •Brief medical and family history may be available at time of acceptance; however, this is constantly changing. •Developmental delays as well as malnutrition should be anticipated due to institutional care.   •Children are from various racial and ethnic groups. •If a family resides in Wisconsin or Upper Michigan, LSS would also perform the homestudy.


Thanks, Buckner and LSS.  We appreciate your candor and ability to communicate.

Give them a call or e-mail if you need further info.  Keep in mind that some requirements may be agency rules, others may be Russia’s rules.  Check on regions where an agency is working and if those areas are moving forward with adoptions, or if they try to hinder foreign adoptions, or give referrals of severely-affected children.

More regions doesn’t necessarily mean a better agency.  Talk with the regional Yahoo group members to get a feel for how their process went and how well connected the workers were in a particular krai or oblast (region or state of Russia).

Communication with an agency is key.  Not that you want to be calling or e-mailing every day, but if you need them, you want to be sure that they’re accessible.  I’d say that this looks like a promising start.

Just reading over the materials makes my heart skip a beat:  is it time to adopt again???




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7 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Shelley says:

    Kudos to these agencies! I will be passing on their names. They sound very professional and I appreciate their transparency.

  2. avatar AP says:

    Two agencies responded. I hope this doesn’t mean that Russian adoptions are decreasing drastically.

    • avatar admin says:

      AP, you’re on to something. The tanking US economy, combined with the increasing cost/time of a Russian adoption (3-4 trips-?!), make it out of the mainstream’s reach. Agencies have been decreasing personnel and closing down their Russian programs. This results in more clients going to two or three big agencies who now charge way more than the average. As they say, “Whatever the market will bear.”

      The stats speak for themselves. Prospective adoptive parents are walking away in droves. In the year 2000, there were 18,857 adoptions from different countries to the US; in 2011, just 9,319. That’s about a 50% drop. In the year 2000, there were 4,286 Russian adoptees coming to the US; in 2011, only 962. That’s a decrease of over 75% simply calculating on my fingers and toes. Russian adoptions are under 25% of what the numbers used to be and that says a lot.

      Our best wishes to those still trying to match children and families, particularly when Russia is allowing fewer and fewer children without major problems to be adopted internationally.

  3. avatar AP says:

    I agree. I can honestly say that if we hadn’t adopted when we did in 2009 we would not be doing it now. We could barely afford it then – the time off from work for my husband who is self employed and had to hire someone to take care of his business was difficult and he went back after a week of the second trip. I stayed throughout the five weeks. There is no way we could be gone longer or make a third/fourth trip.

    Yes, we feel blessed to have our children, however I feel if other countries do not want Americans to adopt then they should just shut down. Making it so that adoptive parents need to jump through burning hoops and go into debt is counter productive. We came home so exhausted and now are going further into debt trying to pay for all the special needs of our children.

  4. avatar Ronald Katongole says:

    if any family wishes to adopt in Uganda ,in Africa-East AFRICA =Please contact me on the above email for details.i will be happy to work with any agency…. {edited}

    • avatar admin says:

      I’m sorry, but we are not advertising adoption services on this site. In the case of Uganda, an adoptive parent must generally reside for three years in Uganda, fostering their child for at least 36 months, before being allowed to adopt. I have friends running a very successful orphanage there.

      Parents, please be aware that there will be “helpful people” popping up from many countries about now. If you wish to know if adoption from that country is legal, possible, or advisable, please visit: http://adoption.state.gov/.

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