Part 1: International Adoption from Russia with Love
This international adoption story occurred just last year for one lucky family. Join me again on Friday for the finale:
John, 49, and Arina, 33, live in North Carolina and were unable to conceive naturally for several years after they married. Arina said to me recently, “We decided to pursue adoption instead of exploring infertility treatment. We were drawn to international adoption because we wanted a closed adoption, and we also wanted to help a waiting child.”
The couple actually built a spreadsheet of countries and their requirements, and started narrowing down their options. Arina said, “A friend had adopted from Guatemala, which was appealing to us, but their program had just closed when we began looking at our options. Of the countries we were eligible for, Russia’s program seemed to be the most stable. We found an international adoption agency and began the process,” she said.
The couple submitted our initial paperwork in September 2009, and they were completely finished with the dossier in December. Their home study was completed shortly thereafter.
This quickie adoption strategy is short, fast, sweet — and very expensive.
Arina remembered, “To our great surprise, within two days, we got an early morning call from the agency. They had a referral: a boy of 18 months! The photo made him real suddenly, there was a real child at the end of this process, and we were doubly invested.”
The couple rushed to complete the remaining paperwork, and traveled to St. Petersburg in January 2010. The new mom said, “The locals seemed to take great delight in telling us it was the coldest winter in recent memory. It was 30 below. The orphanage was hours away by car over icy roads… Then, although he was clearly scared and reserved when we first met him, our son walked in and everything was wonderful.
“Dillon stole our hearts after two days of visiting with him, and he wouldn’t let go of John when it was time for him to return to his caretaker. Leaving him behind was so very, very hard, as was the uncertainty about when our next trip would be,” Arina said.
Eight weeks later, the couple returned to St. Petersburg for court dates and embassy legal proceedings. She said, “We made the trip to the orphanage again, and heard our little boy laugh for the first time the day before we went to court. Our three-hour court hearing was nerve-wracking, but at the end of it, we were granted parenthood! We returned home, again without our child, to endure the 10-day waiting period before the decision took effect and we could claim Dillon.”
Two weeks later, the family returned to Russia, this time with clothing and supplies for baby Dillon. They’d have to wait several more weeks to bring him back to North Carolina.
Tune in Friday when we discover how these two invented adoption software that helps all parents.
Photo: John, Arina and Dillon
Update: Arina and John Kirk asked that we remove the full price of their Russian adoption.